A Birdhouse for my Grandson

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This year we got our nine year old grandson his first tool box with real tools for Christmas. To help get him started, I cut out a birdhouse out of some scrap cedar lumber that I had in my garage.  I predrilled the holes and put in the screws. When I was finished I took it all apart and put the pieces and the screws in a zip-lock bag for him to put together. It will be a good project for him to complete.

Bag full of pieces

Grandson’s first Christmas project

Winter house for birds


Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Backfire (a Quadrille)

Farmall M 13

The old red Farmall M

     sits idly in the field

Not shiny red,

     but still

     its engine roars

     like fifty Harleys

     passing by

Shotgun cracks

     shoot fire into the sky

Grandson and Grandpa

     enjoy the flame

     that blows out its pipe

     with every crack


Farmall M Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today Dee asked to write a Quadrille for d’Verse Poetry Pub and use the word fire in in it.  This old tractor holds a lot of nostalgia for me. I drove one as a teen on my uncle’s farm for five summers. Now they are just show pieces for collectors.

Come join us at d’Verse: https://dversepoets.com/

Grandson on the M


When my Grandson was three years old, he went with his mom to visit the farm. The old tractor seemed the perfect place to set him, high on the seat. He loved it and thought he was really driving.  When I was a teen I loved driving my uncle’s Farmall M. It had a lot of power and when the throttle was cut back quickly, it would backfire like a shotgun. This poem is to good memories for both old and young.

The old red Farmall sits idly in the field

Not shiny red, but still its engine roars

Like fifty Harleys passing by

Its shotgun cracks shoot fire into the sky


Years of wind and weather scrubbed its rugged frame

But still the inner heartbeat has not changed

Life still surges through its veins

The bellowing roar is just the same

Creating awe in young and old

Grandson and Grandpa enjoy the flame

That blows out its pipe with every crack


He sits high on his seat

Behind the wheel he’s a farmer too

Who loves the feeling of strength and power

In ways only little boys and old men understand

He’s only three but in command


There’s nothing like it that Farmall M

In my mind the memory never ends

Nor in the little one’s childlike kingdom

Where joy begins and laughter sweet

Long remembered, indelible on his mind

That throne of power

That only he and Grandpa understand!


Photos: Dwight L. Roth   &  The old M from Farmall M & H – Mark Miller




Black Raspberry Pie

Grandma's Black Raspberry Pie


My grandmother made the best pies. I loved going to her house each summer knowing that she would have fresh baked raspberry pies waiting in the fridge. This poem is for her.

Some folks like warm pie, but I prefer mine cold. My mom and grandma always made their pies from scratch. This means they  made their own crust by mixing up the flour and shortening, salt and water, and rolled it out with a rolling pin. They mixed fresh fruit with sugar and cornstarch and poured it into the pie crust. Most of the time they added a top crust, pinching the edges to hold them together to make a scalloped appearance.

My earliest recollection of real fruit pie

Is sitting at the kitchen table

In my Grandma Hartzler’s house

Watching her cut into a big fourteen inch Raspberry pie

 Thick and smooth with a dip of real whipped cream

Straining out all the seeds with a cheese cloth

Adding cornstarch to thicken the remaining juice

Flaky crust made with flour and lard

Real cream skimmed off the top of glass milk jugs

Raw milk straight from the cow

No pasteurization No homogenization

Cream floating to the top

It always brought a smile to her face and a sparkle to her eye

To watch her grandson eat her black raspberry pie

No need to wait till dinner

She knew I couldn’t wait

So from the fridge she took the pie

And put a big slice on my plate