Cousin Les Bowles told the story of when he was a young boy. His family lived in a typical wood dogtrot home, on the Bowles’ ranch built in the late 1800’s with bedrooms and parlor on one side, a covered open space between the kitchen on the opposite side. Tall masonry chimneys stood at both ends; one for warmth in the living quarters and the other for cooking. A covered front porch made an L that went around to the kitchen. A very typical Texas ranch home with running water (Les’ mother would give him a bucket and say fetch me some more water and he would run and get it). The house was pier and beam on cedar posts, with no underpinning. The walls were shiplap with no insulation or sheet rock, just some flimsy wallpaper covering the backside of the rough siding. The floor was knotty pine (in fashion now/just practical then) the knots would loosen and fall to the ground leaving holes as big as a silver dollar. That’s right, no insulation, because there were no plumbing or electrical wires to protect.
Typical Texas Hill Country ingenuity then was to use goat and cow skins for area
rugs (trendy and expensive now). The smaller goat skins were placed over the
holes in the floor to keep wind and varmints out. One night a blue northern blew
in with strong winds ripping the tin off the barn, spinning the windmill out of
control, and then the temperature dropped to freezing. The family had every quilt
and blanket they owned on the beds. The wind got stronger and Les dug deeper
under the cover. When daylight came, Les peaked out from the covers and saw
the goat skin moving about like something was under it. His father told him it was
a “booger bear” but it was just the wind blowing through the knot hole.
All the cousins agreed those were not the good old days. We prefer running hot
and cold water, and central heat and air. Yes, these are the good old days.
RIP Cousin Les Bowles