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Odious Memories Of Our Farm

Our Latest Blog Entry

Odious Memories of Mother and Our Farm

by Judith Rivers-Moore

Most of us have unique memories of our mothers. The memories of my mother include aromas. Her wafts were often a dichotomy to her family. A large part of the reflections my mother conjured up include a combination of wonderful feminine whiffs called Evening In Paris Perfume, hair shampoo, the smells of her mouth watering cooking, and what most of the world considers ... a stench.

In 1946, I was six-years-old. We moved to a run-down farm reeking of its own set of pungent odors from a modern little two-bedroom bungalow with indoor plumbing. My parents had selected this farm for my mother’s chicken raising business expansion. For my mother, who did not drive, it was ideal. The city bus ran down our street. The house was in the city and the barn, and most of the land was still in the county.

My parents went to work with the help of my ten-year-old brother and my small

six-year-old hands. The place was in bad repair and old. We had to get used to many new chores, strange smells, and rats popping out of strange places. “First things first,” My mother said as she called services to pump out our over-the-brim outhouse. Cleaned and white-washed, this unique smelly and cold thing took more getting used to. It was a year before we could get our new bathroom installed inside the house. Second, they replaced the smelly iron tasting water kitchen sink pump with clean city water piped in from the street.

We spent weeks smelling the horrific stench of wallpaper dust as we removed seven layers. Soon the walls held fresh paint with a smell that lingered for days. I spent hours sanding corners inside the house where the former resident had missed his spittoons. Chewing tobacco odors never go away. With all the floors sanded, fresh paint on the walls, and the rat population down, my parents soon had the house in living order.

The barn was restructured and a floor was poured with cement. Mother ordered her first batch of chicks. She layered the floor with fresh dried corn cob mulch for baby chicks. It was spread under some brooder hoods. Finally ready to hold Mom’s chicken raising business. As the cute yellow chicks grew, so did their smell. Her rule for the chicken operation was to keep the stench and flies down as much as possible. So the waste was turned under on the six acres on the back property. Soon truckloads of chickens went off to market. Mother’s chickens or eggs always brought the best price, because she fed them carefully.

During those years, her ‘hellos’ to her children coming home from school offered a good deal of perspiration-filled hugs along with the additional bouquet of chicken manure, creosote, lime and chicken feed. One December day, I came home from school and walked around the side of the barn to check in. I found my mother drenched in a tray full of sour, putrid manure. Her boots slipped, and the jolt caused the tray to slap the tray against her body and face as she was trying to get it to her wheelbarrow. She saw me and screamed, “Get the hose!” I quickly washed her reeking body off with a full blast of freezing water. It took several showers and shampoos to get the lingering essence off of her body before she was comfortable with herself again.

What was interesting to watch was how our mother would clean and freshen herself up every day around 4:30 pm with a quick wash, a freshly ironed house dress, a little lipstick and a comb through her hair before dad rolled down the driveway in his Chevy at 5:30 pm for his dinner. Even on the hottest days, no one in our family could come to the table unwashed or without a good scrub of fragrant soap and water. Her evenings out with dad were begun with hugs for my brother and I. They filled their goodbyes with the wonderful sniffs of the intoxicating fragrance of Evening In Paris Perfume and Old Spice shaving lotion.

My brother and I had farm chores, along with our school work and his paper route. As we grew in strength, they challenged us to clean the henhouse of the 3-foot layer of corn cob combined with the chicken manure from 500 ‌ hens sold as roasting chickens after their egg-laying days were over. This took 3 work days and 12 cart loads. We took turns driving. My brother convinced me to ride on top of the load with my pitchfork stabbed deep into the muck and hold on. Being a prankster, he started the tractor in third gear. With that jolt, down to a real ‘in your face experience! I complained loudly in disgust to my mother, saying, “Mother, I am a girl... I will never do that wretched, icky job again.” She said “I’m a girl too.” She then teased, saying, “It’s good for your complexion!”

Mother was an amazing cook. She believed her husband and children deserved a great meal when they came home from work and school each day. She set forth to provide fragrant fruit pies, savory pot roasts and delectable chicken dinners. You could detect her kitchen magic as you approached the back door’s screened-in porch. The aromas would have us salivating with anticipation as we all sat down to eat together.

Many fragrances on the farm came from our fruit trees. Their blossoms reminded us that spring had arrived. bringing wafts of their essence. The air would be heavenly sweet as I swung from my apple tree swing. On a windy spring day, the pear orchard looked like a blizzard of snow as the petals flew off the twelve trees. These soft aromas announced the coming of the summer fruit when pears, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and apples were enjoyed fresh, canned, frozen or jellied. Hard work in the kitchen for all of us, but the aroma of fresh-made jelly stayed for days in our home like an exotic perfume..

On that seven acre farm our efforts gleaned from our orchards and prolific gardens while providing us with the earthy aromatic fresh fruits, vegetables and tomatoes. All these enjoyments found their way to our dinner table year round through fresh, cooked, canned, pickled or frozen. Neighbors and our egg or chicken customers would also ask for our sweet corn, asparagus, green beans, amazing tomatoes and strawberries.

When I garden now on my suburban plot, it is hard to pass by my tomato plants without rubbing the savory aroma of the vine on my hand. The pungent smell brings instant recall of my mother, family and mother earth’s, often pleasing and odious bouquets of our life on the farm. 

Our Second Blog Entry

Fifty Years - My How Time Flies

by Judith Rivers-Moore

Recently there have seen many shows on television regarding the landing and walk on the moon on July 20th, 1969 by two amazingly courageous men, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin with Michael Collins awaiting their return to Apollo 11. This is and was "such a big deal" considering this was the first time any of them had to do it. We have come far over the past fifty years.


I was at NASA on Edwards AFB in California at the time to witness the "fly by the seat of your pants attitudes", the inspiring creativity, and let's get it done enthusiasm of hundreds of men in engineering and on the flight line ... brought to their jobs daily.

My little GS-3 job offered the safe and sensitive clearance in the Technical Library. It was just my window away from our hangar where Chuck Yeager's Bell X-1 and usually two X-15's sat among other aircraft. So much was happening in the shops along the way to the hangar where I worked. In this beehive of activity, we were creating testing items on the X-15 flights for the newly announced space goals by President Kennedy ... the metals, telemetry, cameras, fuels and instruments designed to prepare for the space program flights.


I was there from 62, 63 and a half of 64, meeting test pilots, the first group of astronauts that came through to use our amazing equipment and various testing areas that helped them gain skills to be an astronaut. NASA and other parts of the base held very unique equipment including the rocket sled and accelerator. While Joe Walker was our main test pilot, some of the astronauts flew the X-15's off the B-52' wing attachment and into the outer atmosphere.


My office was next door to where test pilots changed into their flight gear. While these news worthy men walked into or by my office for many months, there is one man that says it all for the group. He would come by my office in his bright orange suit and ask me to open my safe for him to write various things on the charts we pulled out.

One day my curiosity got the best of me as I saw him heading out the door onto the ramp. I questioned Milt, "What do you do exactly?" He smiled, his usual generous smile and replied. "Look out the back door Judy, this will show you." I walked ten feet to the back door and saw a large C-47 airplane with a tow rope attached to what looked like a balsa bathtub with wings.


Milt Thompson continued with the project name. "This is called the Lifting Body Project. I get in the small device and the C-47 tows me up into the air and lets the tow rope loose and I glide back over the Edwards AFB Lakebed, recording the air, wind, temps, for the correct date, etc. and put that in the charts you keep in the safe." (This was before computers were small... data rooms were as big as a house.).


I shook my head in wonder, "That thing looks like it could fall apart any minute! Why in the world would you want to do that?" He again smiled and said, "Someday we will land our spaceships on that dry lake bed out there and the astronauts will need the information I and others have collected for them."


I am ashamed to say my astonished, (pea brain) reply was, "That's impossible!" He laughed and said. "All it takes is faith the size of a grain of mustard." with that he walked out and got in the glider contraption, gave the signal and both went down the runway.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Orville_Thompson

also flew the X-15.

Milton Orville Thompson offered me that day a wonderful testimony, but also the attitude I saw in every one of the people striving and working around me. I saw people stretch their limits for a common goal.


I was there when the Cuban Missile crisis occurred (Edwards had the largest Missile Rocket Base in the hills above the lake bed at that time), and when Kennedy was assassinated. Any one of these could have brought us to a shutdown. What I saw was people not missing a beat and working harder through the hurts and losses, and wondering what was going to happen to the program and their jobs. Yet they continued moving toward their set goals. From engineers, to mechanics and paper pushers, there was a goal to be met and ... they met those goals. Much to be honored and admired,


We began landing the Space Shuttles at Edward AFB on April 14th, 1981.

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Our First Blog Entry

SENIORS - Are Reporting

by Judith Rivers-Moore

Home Title Theft

Home title theft, also known as deed theft, is the process of fraudulently putting a house deed in another person’s name. A thief steals your identity, then uses it forge a deed, making it look like they’re the property owner.

There are several ways home title theft can occur:

The thief can refinance the mortgage, cashing out the equity and walking away with the difference. On top of that, they won’t pay the new mortgage, meaning you’ll face foreclosure.


They can open a home equity line of credit (HELOC) in your name, taking out the equity on your home and not making the payment.

They can open a home equity line of credit (HELOC) in your name, taking out the equity on your home and not making the payment.


If they target an empty home – like unoccupied vacation homes or rental properties – they can use forged deed to sell the home and profit without you knowing.

They can con seniors or homeowners in crisis with an offer of “refinancing.” The deal is then documented as an actual home sale, transferring ownership to the thief.

What Happens If A Property Title Is Stolen?

If someone steals your property title, a lot can happen. First, if the title is stolen and you’re not aware, you can lose your property. The thief could sell your property or refinance it, not pay the mortgage and allow it to enter foreclosure.

The theft of your deed is the result of identity theft. Criminals are using your identity to steal your home. Follow the steps on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) identity theft site. These steps include:

What Happens If A Property Title Is Stolen?

If someone steals your property title, a lot can happen. First, if the title is stolen and you’re not aware, you can lose your property. The thief could sell your property or refinance it, not pay the mortgage and allow it to enter foreclosure.

The theft of your deed is the result of identity theft. Criminals are using your identity to steal your home. Follow the steps on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) identity theft site. These steps include:

  • Call the companies where fraud occurred
  • Place a fraud alert with your creditors and pull your credit reports
  • Report identity theft to the FTC
  • File a report with your local police department
  • The first step is incredibly important. Calling applicable companies, such as your mortgage lender and your title insurance company, will start the ball rolling. If you suspect title theft, you need to act quickly. Identity theft could also mean fraudulent purchases in your name on credit cards.

According to the FBI, 9,600 victims lost over $56 million in 2017 due to real estate and rental fraud. There are not specific numbers on home title theft, but many see these schemes as a fast-growing area of cybercrime.

While other areas of identity theft are more prevalent, your home is a big target. It has more value than a stolen credit card, both emotionally and financially. A stolen home deed can leave you homeless and ruin your credit.

The most likely targets of deed theft are those with significant home equity who are not suspecting fraud. Unfortunately, this means seniors. They’re targeted because they’re more likely to have spent their lives investing in their home. They’re more trusting and generally aren’t tech-savvy.

The other big target of home title thieves is people with second properties. Whether these are vacation homes or investment properties, these properties don’t get as much attention as a primary residence. If you own a property like this, be hawkish about receiving bills and notices.

The less attention you’re paying, the more opportunity thieves have. With more time, they’ll be able to commit the crime without you noticing.

How To Protect Yourself From Title Fraud

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to protect yourself from title fraud. Remember that thieves are looking for easy targets. If you’re vigilant, thieves are either going to avoid you or get caught in the act. The first step to protecting yourself is being aware. Continue to raise your awareness with the following tips:

Keep An Eye Out For Missing Bills

When normal bills start disappearing or changing at random, your deed status could be at risk. If you’ve noticed you never received a bill or an automatic withdrawal never happen, contact the company immediately. This could be a small error, or something could be amiss.

Either way, you could save yourself the headache by following up. If you miss these bills, you could miss foreclosure notices too. That would put you in a world of hurt down the line

Monitor Your Credit Report

Regularly looking at your credit report is good practice, regardless of title fraud. You need to be up to date with payments and know there’s no fraudulent charges. Monitoring your credit report is an effective way to catch signs of title fraud.

You can sign up for a premium credit monitoring service to assuage any fears. These services offer many proactive credit protections. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft before, or just want the extra protection, consider paying for a credit monitoring service.

Make Sure You Have Title Insurance

A title company insures that title of the property is free and clear. It protects against any claims or liens made against the property. There are two types of title insurance: lender’s and owner’s.

The lender’s title is required by your mortgage company and assures them the title is cleared for sale. An owner’s title insurance policy is what protects you after you buy the property. It protects you in case any liens or claims are filed or discovered after the property becomes yours.

Title insurance is a one-time fee often included with closing costs when you buy your home. If you opted in on an owner’s policy title insurance, you’re covered.

Enroll In Title Protection Services

Title protection services – like Home Title Lock – have come under fire recently. Homeowners can check their title status/land records themselves or sign up for a free county consumer text notification service. Since these services provide already free and available information, many have discounted them as not worth it.

Homeowners can check their title status/land records themselves or sign up for a free county consumer text notification service. Since these services provide already free and available information, many have discounted them as not worth it.

That may be true if you have an owner’s title insurance policy that would protect you in this scenario. But if you opted out of that, a service that monitors your records 24/7 for $15 - $20 a month could be worth it. While other types of identity theft may be more prevalent, your home is likely your biggest investment.

Beware of scammers posing as title protection services. As more people look to secure their titles, more scammers are taking advantage of them. Do your research and don’t make this decision on a whim. If someone’s emailing you or calling you to get you to sign up for title protection, they could try to con you.

The Bottom Line

While the internet and tech have brought us great things, the lack of security around our information means that it’s leaked out all over the web. Thieves are using this information to commit identity theft. They’re taking out lines of credit in people’s names and racking up massive debt.

They’re also using this identity theft to steal home titles. Imagine sinking your energy, money and time into your home, only to have someone forge a deed and sell it off under your nose. It peoples every year.

Remember what this article covered. Focus on protecting yourself. Stay up on bills, monitor your credit report and take steps to be insured against title theft. Be aware of what criminals are doing to avoid getting conned out of your home.

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Determining A Goal

By Judith  Rivers-Moore

I don’t know about you, but setting a new goal will whizz by my mind often.

I was raised on a farm and you rolled out of bed with goals for the day that had to be achieved… or else… Things Piled UP.

While personally I have one of those lives that I like to pile goals on my plate,

I have now found in the later years to be more discerning:

I say no more often to volunteering my precious time.

Committing to weight loss without a good plan.

Giving myself too little time to accomplish the goal.

Recently I completed a long-term goal of completing the written story/history of a trip taken with my daughters 6 and 10 in 1976 on the Bicentennial Trail. It took me two installments and five years to get it almost finished. I still have the photos to put in and the mementos….so the goal goes on.

So who remembers that far back… fortunately… ME.

Setting the Goal - and why do this:

The two adults in the family thought it might be fun to take a summer and go back east on the Bicentennial Trail. We set the goal, the budget and made plans. All of a sudden my hubby came home with a “new proposal”. He would take a sabbatical from his teaching job and we could then take an amazing 8 months on the road as he completed a research project and see more states.


WOW! All of a sudden this goal became an enormous one. We had to pull our children out of school and I had to educate them on the road. We had to have more money, set up a banking system, find maps and more campgrounds. We had no internet, no GPS, no cell phones. We had one American express credit card that would manage our funds that were deposited from the school district .. for us. (the world had never heard of these conveniences).

So in a nutshell, determining a goal for yourself or your family can have ramifications.


It may present you with problems to sort out, barriers to move through, dangers, learning experiences, appreciation of how others live and so much more. Yet the end results will give you many rewards; strength to get through problems and more importantly, lasting and wonderful memories for yourself and many others in your life.