One of the best parts of growing up on a farm is that people and animals interact in ways different from those in cities or suburbs. They can share space while maintaining freedom. Animals don’t have to live like humans in order to be enjoyed by and to enjoy humans.

Not that that’s a bad thing.

Just different.

Here are some free-range friends from the animal kingdom captured on that good ole Brownie Kodak camera, mostly by my mother.

Daddy feeding our free-range chickens

Daddy and me with kitty and calf.

We had three dogs I remember from childhood: first, our answer to Lassie, was Teddy the collie.

Henry, Daddy, Teddy, and me.

Then there was our rat terrior Nellie. What a prolific ma she was! And how much fun we had with her many puppies.

Sisters Doris and Sue, amazed by the fecundity of Nellie as she nurses her babies

Some of these pictures will appear in Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. I couldn’t use all of them in the book or in this post. More tomorrow.

My New Beginning? I’m planning a trip to Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in October and November. Exciting.

What’s your New Beginning? Log in here. As we get close to the half-way point, the entries are piling up. We’ve passed 300, so make sure you come back to re-enter. You improve your chances by posting one each day.

I’ll be taking another Screen Sabbath on Sunday, so here are the last icons starting with 6. Once we hit 50, my heart beat will be speeding up!


61 Days Until Blush Launches


Oh how I love blueberry season.



Shirley Showalter


  1. Marian Beaman on July 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Isn’t it fun raiding photo albums? Almost every picture has a story. I remember pet dogs from Grandma’s house, Skippy and Boots, but the animal I liked most of all was a little lamb, which I connected to innocence in the post “A Walk in the Woods”…e-and-disgrace/

    Come to think of it, I could make a connection to Wm. Blake’s poem, but I’ll resist the urge for now.

  2. shirleyhs on July 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Unlike you and Mary, I never had a little lamb.

    I tried to check out your post but got an error message.

    And feel free to quote Blake anytime. 🙂

  3. Richard Gilbert on July 14, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I love those pictures, and you and yours look so happy. I envy you the puppies, something I’ve never raised as a kid or adult, though our share of kittens, chicks, ducklings, and lambs.

  4. Sherrey Meyer on July 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I loved seeing these animals from your childhood. We also had an “answer to Lassie” collie. Her name was Queenie (her former people named her). And as my younger brother grew older, he would bring home every stray and most of them became family pets after appropriate notices around the neighborhood and in the paper. To think my mother didn’t like dogs!

    Going through old photos is an evocative way to bring back those memories of times gone by. A great assist in memoir writing. And just downright fun!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    • shirleyhs on July 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks for making connections and telling your own Lassie story, Sherrey.

      What you say about photos is so true! I wonder how memoir will change now that we document nearly every life so much more easily.

      When we had to buy cameras, film, and scrapbooks, each picture represented much more work and cost.

      My mother was a pretty good storyteller with the camera. What a help that has been with my writing.

      May you see something new in a photo today!

Leave a Comment