Category Archives: family

The “Farm Wife”

I used to think I wanted to be a farm wife. I always thought I would follow my Mom’s example. Working unpaid for the ranch. Doing the same work as the men, plus the books, the cooking, cleaning and taking care of me, the kid AND having a full-time off the ranch job for health insurance and financial security. I thought I’d marry, and my husband would take over for my Dad and I would continue my Mom’s role.

See the woman in the center. That "farm wife" is the reason there is a farm in the first place.

See the woman in the center? That “farm wife” is the reason there is a farm in the first place.

Then I grew up. I realized just how much work it was to be a farm wife. I realized they did the heavy lifting. They were the unappreciated glue that held everything together. I finally understood I am not tough or smart enough for the “farm wife” label. Nope. I can handle being a rancHER. That’s easy. But farm wife? I simply don’t have the balls for it. Major props to you Farm Wives! Thank you for running this industry we call agriculture! We all know what you do, but we don’t vocally ever recognize and appreciate you in a way where you get to hear or see it. I hope that starts to change, and after what I’ve witnessed over the past few days, I think it will. We need to respect, praise and appreciate the women that keep us going.

 

Probably the most important read out of all of this. 

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Throwback Thursday: Margie

This photo is going to be a hard one, I’m skeptical if I’ll ever know more about it then I already do. But then, my readers have surprised me again and again with who they know.

Margie

Margie

This photo comes from the Sammie’s Friends envelope. There is writing on it, but it is hard to make out. It looks like at one point this photo was pasted into an album, when they did that the writing was bleached. This is what I could make out:

“To Sammie, With lots of lite Love, Margie”

I thought perhaps she wrote, with lots of love. But the two words don’t match up when I compared them. I can clearly see a ‘t’ in lite. So who knows, really? But there is no date or last name.

Since most of these photos seem to be from the 1940’s and Margie’s hair and make-up, which are swoon worthy, seem to reflect the style of the 40’s, I think we can safely assume, this was taken in the 40’s. This leads me to believe Margie was probably a friend from school. Which means she probably went to Greenville High School.

Here is my question to you Indian Valley historians – do you know who this is? Do you remember Margie that would have been in her late teens/early 20’s in the 1940’s? Does her photo ring a bell? Please leave me a comment if you have any leads!

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Throwback Thursday: May 4, 1947 “Shirley”

This is another photo from the envelope labeled “Sammie’s Friends”. This photo has “To Sammie, A swell guy, Sincerely, Shirley May 4, 1947” written on the back of it, no last name, no place.

Shirley

Shirley

This looks like a high school prom or graduation picture. Look at her beautiful hair and dress and the corsage. Also how badass is that car? Also I can tell by the trees it’s in Plumas County. I went ahead and looked up all the “Shirley’s” that could have gone to school with Sammie.  This lead me to a Shirley Benson (class of 1947).

The back of the photo

The back of the photo

 Ms. Benson’s trail has gone cold. If anyone has anything to add or offer with this photo, I’d really appreciate your help! Thanks!

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Throwback Thursday: Sammie Brown Jr & Jinks Retzlaff

This is yet another photo from the envelope marked “Sammie’s Friends“. Unfortunately, there is no date or writing on the back of this photo so I don’t know much. I do know who this beautiful woman is now! It’s Jinks from last week’s Throwback Thursday. From what I gather, Sammie and Jinks went to high school together and were close friends. Sammie Brown is on the left.  I wonder what they were doing? It looks like they are dressed up in their fancy clothes and I see what looks like a theater marquee behind them. Look at Jinks’ beautiful corsage. I think we should bring those back as a fashion accessory and hats too. She looks so classy and elegant. The men too.

Sammie Brown, Jinks Retzlaff

Thanks to last week’s post and help from a local community group on Facebook, I was able to find Jinks’ family. Both of the pictures I featured on this blog are being sent to her family. These will be the third and fourth pictures from my collection that I was able to get to the families. I’ve enjoyed this project so much and have started learning more about my community. Stayed tuned, I have more to come.

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Throwback Thursday: March 27, 1935

I have a good one for this week’s Throwback Thursday. When I found these pictures I got a serious kick out of them. I can remember back when I was in high school and what a big deal it was getting a good couple picture with your boyfriend. You always had that one friend tasked with trying to take the perfect candid shot, but subtly, you know? And it was a big deal because this was back before smart phones, we actually had to get pictures developed to see how they turned out!

Mary and Floyd holdig hands
Anyway this photo is of my Great Aunt Mary Allison Brown and our neighbor’s Dad, Floyd Neer. The back of the picture says they are at the Greenville High School.
I’ve had the honor of meeting both of these people. And the families are still friends! However, apparently back in high school they were a couple. I had no clue. To be honest, I don’t know that much about Aunt Mary. I actually spent quite a lot of time with her. But we never talked of her past very much that I can remember. I find myself learning more about her and the rest of the family as I go through my box of photos and glean bits from history books.

mary and floyd
Aunt Mary ended up marrying Cecil McIntyre. And Floyd married Margaret. Both couples were married for their lifetimes.

"Mary Brown and Floyd Neer at the G.H.S. Mar. 27, 1935"

“Mary Brown and Floyd Neer at the G.H.S.
Mar. 27, 1935”

These photos are among my favorite I have found so far because I can imagine this happening. I’m betting Mary had her sister take these photos. I almost feel like these would have been a whisper scandalous for 1935 high school kids! I wonder if they were at a dance? I wonder why the couple didn’t work out?
Could you just imagine how different Indian Valley would be if it did? These are the times I wish the older generations were still around because I would love to hear the details of this story. If any of my Neer friends would like a good quality digital copy, please let me know and I will shoot one right over. Till next week!

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Bathrooms, Perverts and the Humanity Card

Agriculture, at times, has an image problem. I spend a great amount of my time advocating for agriculture to combat this. I share so much of my life in an effort to connect to the public and show farmers and ranchers are human, we want the best for our animals, land and family, just like them. I wanted to use my relationship with the public to educate and influence their thoughts about my way of life.
But I what I didn’t realize, was how much people influenced MY life. They have changed how I feel and perceive many, many social issues. You see, I got to know people who live very different lives from me. People that live in the city, rich people, poor people, people from other countries, religions, orientations, well, you get it. But I learned they are just like me! They have soapboxes too, and sometimes all they want is to have their soapboxes recognized.
There is a big issue making waves in my social media circles. It’s not an agriculture issue, per se, but it is something that I’ve seen many of my agriculture peers talk about. The recent North Carolina bathroom law. Basically, this law requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender of their birth certificate, not how they currently identify.

Does God or religion really belong in our public bathrooms? I'm kinda of the mind that our cell phones don't even belong in there.

Does God or religion really belong in our public bathrooms? I’m kinda of the mind that our cell phones don’t even belong in there.



This law has brought out a lot of ugly. Some people are very concerned about what happens in the privacy of a locked stall. Some people have apparently turned in their humanity cards over it. Ag people have been posting horrible memes, advocating violence and assault to the transgender community. Even a well known agricultural cartoon posted about it. I realize that most of my ag peers have little to no experience with transgender, or other gender identities. They do not know what these labels are or why they are important. They just know it’s different, therefore, scary and wrong.

And this breaks my heart.
You see I believe agriculture is better than that. Since we so proudly and often tout we are a minority and we are often misunderstood by the public, who better than us to stand behind other minorities? We KNOW what’s it like for people to have preconceived ideas about us, and we do not like it.

I see straw man excuses being used – that our women and girls need to be protected from “pervs”. That it’s about the children. It’s a “safety” issue (I actually do agree with the safety argument. We should all safely be able to use a restroom without fear of being attacked or having our genitals mutilated by vigilantes.

Yes, as the agricultural community threaten a minority that already has 1 in 2 assaulted. Aren't we brave?

Yes, as the agricultural community threaten a minority that already has 1 in 2 assaulted. Aren’t we brave?

But guess what? Our transgender friends are not the ones committing the crimes they are accused of. According to actual statistics (which again, agriculture loves to trot out to proves our points):

  • Approximately 4/5 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim
  • The average age of a rapist is 31 years old.
  • 52% are white
  • 22% of imprisoned rapists report that they are married.
  • Juveniles accounted for 16% of forcible rape arrestees in 1995 and 17% of those arrested for other sex offenses.
  • In 1 in 3 sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated — 30% with alcohol, 4% with drugs
  • In 2001, 11% of rapes involved the use of a weapon — 3% used a gun, 6% used a knife, and 2 % used another form of weapon.
This is our reality. Like it or not.

This is our reality. Like it or not.

HOWEVER:
One in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives.
Instead of blaming and targeting our transgender peers, and preventing them from peeing comfortably in public, let’s talk about the white, intoxicated, married man that is actually a threat to us, shall we?

Men have scared me.

Men have scared me.

I have several points here. First and most importantly:

  • No matter how you feel about people that have different beliefs, lifestyles or orientations, it is NEVER ok to advocate violence or death to them because of how they label themselves. Think about that for a second. Let that sink in. Some of our ag peers are suggesting we hurt, mutilate, attack and kill, actual human beings, that have family, friends, hopes and dreams because of the bathroom that is actually appropriate for them to use.
  • If you are advocating for agriculture on social media, you are in the public’s eye. If you post horrible, hateful meme’s or encourage physical attacks against people that are different you, you are part of agriculture’s image problem. It might be funny to you, and that IS totally your prerogative (Yay, freedom of speech!), but at least have the decency to keep the hate to yourself. Some of us work very hard to build bridges with our consumers, don’t blow that for us.
  • Try having some empathy and sympathy. The saying goes, be kind, everyone is fighting a hard battle…. If you, your kid, your sister or brother or Mom or Dad was in this position, how would you treat them? Would you advocate for them to be attacked?
If you have a handle like cowgirlamerica, you are speaking for a lot of us. Please don't share hateful things. Use your power for good!

If you have a handle like cowgirlamerica, you are speaking for a lot of us. Please don’t share hateful things. Don’t use straw man attacks.  Don’t block your peers when you get called out for posting horrible things. Use your power for good!

For someone who loves agriculture and the people in it, it makes me sad, angry, hurt, scared, worried, fearful and a whole other slew of emotions to see my peers in agriculture sharing a rubber band applicator and inferring it’s ok to harm a fellow human being because of how they gender identify. Think of the bigger picture. We are all human. Keep that humanity card friends.

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Throwback Thursday: The Brown Home

It has been a few months since I have posted a Throwback blog. It’s time for a good one.

When my Grandfather died, and the rest of the family was fighting, I quietly slipped away with all the pictures I could find (and the cast iron cookware). I ended up with a rather big box of family and ranch photos. Before I donate them to my local University, I’m scanning them into my computer for safe keeping. As I do this I try and learn the story of the photo if I can. It’s my ultimate goal to write a book or two about this family – we have such a rich history, I think it’d be great.

For today’s Throwback post, I selected a very interesting picture indeed. This photo is one of the very oldest I have of the Brown side. It shows the first few years of my family’s time in the Plumas/Lassen area. It was taken in Coppervale, a now abandoned town in Lassen County.  It would be around 1880.  My Great, Great, Grandparents, Samuel A. and Mary Priscilla (fun fact: my pet pig Silly is named after Mary), came from Washington County, Tennessee. According to records they spent time in both Lassen County and Glenn County, California. I’m assuming they were the family inventors of summering in the Sierra Nevada’s and wintering in the Sacramento Valley – our family STILL does this.

I don’t know if this is true or not because no names are written on this picture, but according to my research the three children in the picture look to be about the same ages as Albert, Clara, and Birdy, Samuel and Mary’s three eldest children. They would go on to have one more son, Samuel F.,who would become my Great Grandfather.  This side of the family tends to get very confusing because they all named their children after each other. In fact, if I was born a boy, I would have been named Samuel as well.

The Brown’s ultimately ended up in Indian Valley, which is in Plumas County. However before we explore that ranch, I still have several more photos from this time that I need to research. Stay tuned!

The Brown Home at Coppervale Lassen Co

The Brown Home at Coppervale Lassen Co


The Brown Home at Coppervale, Lassen Co

The Brown Home at Coppervale, Lassen Co

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Throwback Thursday: Little Brown’s

I thought this would be an appropriate time to post a picture of some my Dad’s family. This is a rare picture that has lots of information on the back. The top says “Little Brown’s Dec. 1956” then a list of names and birth dates. I know by the background is was taken in the Family house on Stampfli Lane. 

December 1956

Little Brown’s

From left to right:

Sandra D.
Carl E.
James E. (Jim)
Gary L.
Linda I.
Fletcher L. (Larry)

It’s also noted on the picture that “ALL have BLUE eyes”. It’s funny because the Brown family blue eyes are totally a thing. I have them, my Dad obviously has them, my Grandfather had them as well, but past that point I don’t know. All the pictures past my Grandfather are in black and white.
I think it is worth noting my Dad is the last surviving Brown brother.

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Throwback Thursday: March 5, 1953

The Brown side of the family has always been just a touch horse crazy. In the old box of family photos I inherited, I’d say about 75% are horse photos. Photos of horses out in fields, photos of foals, photos of mares. It drives me crazy because often the names and dates are written on the back of the horse photos but not on the photos of people!

This week’s Throwback Thursday photo does have names on the back, and not just the horses’. I found it in an album labeled ‘Sammie’s friends‘.  The woman “at halter” is Bess. Look at her hair and outfit, pretty glamorous for horse holding! This was March 5, 1953, in a little over a year, Sammie Jr would be dead from polio, and my Dad would be born.

Bess is holding ‘Crescent’ and ‘Vicki’, age one day, is the the foal. They are in the front field of the Table Mountain Ranch. I think I’ve seen Bess in some other photos, I might even be able to find her last name if I keep looking. In the meantime, if you recognize her, please leave a comment below?

Bess at Halter

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Throwback Thursday: The Browns

"Sammie Hazel Samuel & Fletcher Brown

“Sammie Hazel Samuel & Fletcher Brown

I’m excited about this Throwback Thursday. It’s one of the few photo’s that have names on the back and comes from my direct line of relatives. This is Sammie Jr.,  Hazel, Samuel and Fletcher Brown. My Great Uncle, Great Grandparents and Grandfather, respectively. They are standing in front of the family home on Stampfli Lane in Indian Valley. I would say this photo was probably taken in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s, based on Sammie Jr.’s age here.

Look at the beautiful penmanship!

Look at the beautiful penmanship on the back of the photo!

After my Grandfather’s death, we briefly lived in this home for a few summers. I can safely tell you it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. Between the family history and the varmints living in it, I screamed like a girl often. In addition to that, the water was from a hand-dug well – so it smelled like sulfur and turned my hair and nails red if I showered in it. I either had to bribe neighbors with food or go down to the campground to find a decent shower where I would actually smell better after.

The Brown Family Home today. The window on the left is the background from the top photo.

The Brown Family Home today. The window on the right is the background from the top photo.

Sadly, everyone in this photo has died. I was lucky enough to know my Grandfather and my Dad does have memories of his Grandparents, so stay tuned for some future blogs about them.  This whole family is buried at Memorial Park Cemetery, Oroville, Butte County, CA, 5646 Lincoln Blvd, CA 95966.

  • Hazel (Lucas) Brown     born Feb 2 1890       died May 18 1967     
  • Samuel F. Brown            born Mar 14 1883    died Oct 21 1960             
  • Samuel F. Brown            born Sep 3 1926       died Aug 21 1954
  • Fletcher Lucas Brown    born 1921                  died Nov 9 1995

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