We had ice skates and often went ice skating in the winter when the sloughs and ponds were frozen over. There was one pond we used to go to with our friends the Ford boys, where we ten had to shovel a path around the pond to expose the ice. We skated and we would build a bonfire to warm up by and to sit around and smoke wild grapevines. They sure had a bite on your tongue. Other times we smoked corn silk or weed seeds in corncob pipes we made with a corncob section and a piece of hollow wild grapevine. We always had a pocket knife to help us to create these on the spot smoking devices.
Sometimes the slough in our pasture would be flooded and we had a quarter mile long stretch of ice. Some of it would be slightly wind ruffened, but you sure could get some speed up skating across that. There was a barbed wire fence to stop you if you couldn't make it on your own. I usually had my share of barbed wire cuts and scrapes, but it was great fun.
In this same pasture on the other side of the slough was a grove of Persimmon trees. They were close together so they didn't grow very large trunks, maybe six inch tapering to four or five ft. and slimming to about 25 ft. They were extremely flexible, so we boys would climb up and they would bend, and you could ride the upper part of it to the ground they were so springy. We would swing over and grab another and make like Tarzan. It was another way we had to amuse ourselves on a Sunday afternoon.
We had a hill of pure sand a short distance south of the house, and we spent a lot of time digging deep holes and tunnels in the sand I guess the reason we never were buried alive was it was very moist and that made for much more solid walls for the short tunnels we used to construct.
I spent a lot of time trying to make gunpowder out of sulphur, charcoal and saltpeter, but never came up with the right combination.
We made our own lye soap from hog lard and lye, cooking it down in a large iron kettle with a wood fire, then letting it harden and cutting it into bars and storing the bars on shelf boards that had a place in the smoke house.
Harold had some steel traps and had a trap line to catch mink, raccoon & possums. He skinned them and stretched the hides on a board until they dried. Places like Sears Roebuck and the Faulke Fur Co. bought them. He had to get up very early to run the trap line, and one morning at about 3 A.M. he was crossing a field in the dark and kicked a skunk. I remember him standing in the field south of the house. The wind was out of the north, I guess, and I brought him some clothes. He stripped his off and buried them on the spot.