Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Opies Parents

Standing on the same porch are David and Sarah Hyre, the parents of Opie. The stone house was contracted by his father Jonathan Hyre, with local stone masons. The Civil War interrupted the construction, but was resumed afterwards. Plagued with labor troubles, sentiment against him because of his stand during the war, and the lack of funds, Jonathan abandoned the project. This left the house an incomplete shell.
David spent some time in trying to complete the construction with the skills that he had learned from the stone masons. But time being of the essence, David contracted with local carpenters to finish the construction of the exterior and interior of the house. This was to be the new home of David and his bride, Sarah.
David was a self sufficient and progressive farmer. Over the years the farm had been cleared, orchards and a vineyard were planted near the house. Surrounding them you can see a grape vine. With this grape, David won a bronze medal and certificate for his grapes at the 1905 Worlds Fair in St. Louis. The medal had its place on the family organ in the parlor. The certificate was kept out of sight and only brought out on special occasions. The certificate was bordered by Greek Goddeses and the nude back view of a Male God. For this reason the certificate was banishment to the closet. As I painted a bit, Granny Freda pulled the framed certificate out and gave it to me for the frame. I have this certificate, in the frame, proudly displayed over my living room fireplace mantle.
The orginal vine was destroyed. But, fortunately my husband took a cutting from this vine and it now grows on our back deck. The second year we had it, the squirls almost destroyed it. They chewed through the vine, but fortunately it survived. I plan to take cuttings and give them to other members of the family.
My husbands brother Mike Hyre gave us the bronze metal. He said the medal and certificate should stay together. I truly appreciate his gesture and will treasure them both. Someday they will both together be give to one of my children.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Good Times

I just had to put this charming picture of Granny Freddie and Grand Pal Opie in the blog. It was taken in 1970, on their front porch. Freda is wearing a red dress. She said it was her favorite color but when she was young a lady did not wear red. Also she wore her nylon hose with a garder just below the knees. Most of the time her skirt tail was long enough to hide them.
Notice that Opie has his house shoes on. He would wear his knee high gum boots to the barn and always change his shoes when he came back to the house. You did not come back from the barn or garden to inside the house. If he did, I imagine, Freda would have chased him out with the broom.
Dogs or cats were allowed indoors. Animals belonged outside. They could stay on the porch or go to the barn to keep warm. They usually had a collie dog to help with the cows. One of the boys brought in the beagle. They kept it and named him Slugo. I was told that, Slugo killed a chicken. That was almost like a death sentence for a dog. But instead, Opie tied the chicken around the dogs neck and let him wear it for a few days. Slugo never killed another chicken. I'm not sure if this was true. But, it did sound like something Opie would do.
The two boys, Jeff and Mark, in the picture are Great Grand Children and also first cousins. Both were born on the same day but one year apart. Mark still loves corn on the cob. I love the way Opie is looking at Mark. My husband gives people the same look. It must be a family trait. They were also alike in a lot of other ways.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Off the Beaten Path

I'm going off the beaten path and posting a few things, that is not part of our beloved hills. I recently finished these two paintings. One is of my grand daughter. Here she is just four years of age and she is conducting the great Gulf of Mexico. I did not see the Ocean until I was 31 years old, and it was a good while later when I beheld the Gulf. One was just as magnificent as the other. I became as a child beholding and delighting in one of Gods true wonders. But, to me the Mountain Forest will always be His Cathedral .

The next painting is of Indigo. A very special person asked if I would paint this for his wife. As Indigo suddenly died and his wife has grieved for her. I had planned to paint her looking out a window, but she was so elegant, like a beautiful piece of porcelain. She deserved an exotic setting. She is supposed to be transcending her aura to the tree of life.
Oh, well we mountain folks can dream. I hope Dawn will like this piece.