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THE OLD HOME PLACE

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HAY MAKER

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I remember the old home place like yesterday;
Two miles off the county road,across two creeks run along the creek bottom for another mile and you were home.

I guess I have always enjoyed bottom land and creek bottoms ,I grew up on one in Washington county and now home stead,farm and ranch along DARMSTADT creek here in KENDALL county.

I have alot of time to think when I do field work ,sometimes 12 or even 14 hour days a man can do alot of thinking in that much time I like to think about the old days when a mans word meant something life was slower and the simpler things appreciated more.No R CALF ,NCBA just neighbors helping each other and getting along.
How many of yall remember the old house your were probably born and raised in? I remember our old house just like it was yesterday.

My parents had bought a farm of their own a year before I was born, about 6 miles east of a little town called BURTON .The farm consisted of a three-bedroom house, with kitchen and living room (no indoors plumbing at the time), a smokehouse, and a three stall, 2 crib, 2 shelter, barn. There were six hundred forty acres there and my father and mother worked the land with a team of mules until the early 1950's when they began to get modern and traded the mules and one-row equipment for a John Deere tractor with two-row equipment.
They like most around there farmed cotton and corn and planted hay for the cattle.

My earliest memories of the family and the farm, was my father digging stumps out in the fields. He would cut down trees in the fields and once the fields were cleared, he would use the team of mules and a one row breaking plow to turn the soil over to about six inches deep ,then a disk was used to break down the large clods of dirt. After the disking was finished, a harrow would be used to break down the soil until it was reasonably smooth and ready for the planter to insert the seeds into the ground. When the crops were up to a few inches high, commercial fertilizer would be added. Then the family would use hoes to thin out the cotton until there were three to five stalks of cotton in each clump, six to eight inches apart. My father would plow the rows with the team of mules and a one-row cultivator.

In mid-July the crops would be up to two feet high and didn’t need much attention. From mid-July until early September was called 'laid by' time. That just meant the crops were put aside for a while. During 'laid by' time, my father,and some neighbors would get out their axes and cross cut saws, hitch up the mules to the wooden wheel wagons and go to the wooded areas and cut fire wood for winter use. He cut sixteen-inch logs up to eight inches in diameter for easy handling. Several cords of wood was hauled home and piled up so it would dry and be easier to split in the Fall, as green wood doesn't split or burn well.

While the men were in the woods cutting firewood for cooking and heating, my mother would work in her garden and peach orchard. She would can enough vegetables and fruit to last for a year. We didn't buy much from the grocery store in those days. I only remember my parents buying flour, meal, salt, pepper, and coffee. We always had apples and oranges at Christmas time.


After my mother finished the canning she would get out her pedal operated, Singer sewing machine and make clothes for the family out of printed flour sacks.

My mother and her mother would get together and make quilts for the beds. The process was called, 'framing quilts'. The quilt tops were sewn from colorful pieces of cloth and made into many patterns. The patterns were only limited by their imaginations. After the quilt top was sewn, the inside of the quilt would be stuffed with seedless cotton.


Sometimes the women would make mattresses and pillows from the downy feathers of chickens and geese. There was no heat in the house at night and those feather beds and homemade quilts sure felt good on a cold winter's night.

Washing (called laundry now a days) was a weekly chore. My father would stack wood under a 50 gallon, cast iron pot in the back yard. He would fill the pot 3/4 full of water and add some homemade soap. My mother would bring all our soiled clothing and bedding outside and soak them in the boiling, soapy water. She would dip them out with a stick, let them cool, and rub them on a scrub board. The clothing and bedding was then rinsed, and wrung out by hand. The clothing was dipped in starch, and hung on the clothesline with the bedding to dry in the fresh air and sunshine.

The washing was then taken into the house for ironing. My mother would set the ironing board up next to the stove. She had two cast-iron irons that she used to iron with. The clothing was sprinkled with water before ironing. The irons were set on top of the wood-burning stove and when the irons were just the right temperatures, she would use one while the other was heating. All the shirts, trousers, blouses, and dresses were carefully ironed and hung in the closets. Everyone in the household bathed and put on clean clothes everyday, even if we were just going to work in the fields.I guess I could go on forever about the "old days" but this is getting long and IM sure your tired of my rambling.....................good luck
 

Soapweed

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That was interesting, Hay Maker. Maybe today is "gooder" days than the "good old days" were. I think it was 1956 when we got electricity on our ranch. Before that it was kerosene lamps and lanterns and for a few years, there was a windcharger which generated 32-volt electricity. This mostly just ran the lights, but I think Mom had a toaster and a few other 32-volt primitive kitchen appliances.

Just this evening, my night calver and I were discussing how electricity has made calving much easier. At least a person can see what is going on, with good yard lights and barn lights. It would be pretty hard wandering out through the cows carrying a kerosene lantern, and trying to keep it from going out in the wind.

Speaking of wind, we have had four solid days of hard northwest wind. It has finally kind of died down, at least temporarily, this evening. The temperature is about 27 degrees, and if it gets below about 20 degrees, we put calving cows into individual box stalls in the barns. Haven't had to do this much so far this season. We are over half done calving, and it has been fairly smooth sailing up to this point in time, but it ain't over 'til it's over.
 

HAY MAKER

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soapweed, glad to hear your calving is going smooth,looks like you made a good call on that last bunch of cows you bought.Wind blew pretty good here today too,but its MARCH wind always blows in March.I have to agree with you about "gooder days" just electricity on a place makes all the differnce,not to mention in door plumbing.I dont miss sitting in an out house contemplating lifes mysteries,LOL...................good luck
 

nr

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Thank you for taking time to write all your home information, Haymaker. Much of it reminded me of my Grandma Ernst talking about her young years in Pennsylvania. REally wish I'd been bright enough to have her talk into a tape recorder. Guess things were too busy chasing kiddies to think of saving history.
What do you mean by a two shelter barn, please?

I grew up in a two bedroom unexceptional house except my dad plunked down the whole $7000 it cost back then, paid for it in full totally shocking the builder who wouldn't take the money because the banks weren't open that day! Dad didn't like the idea of a mortgage or any debt of any kind since his dad, a hard working tailor, had gone bankrupt due to a set of unfortunate circumstances which all coalesced simultaneously.
 

sw

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Haymaker,
if looking out of the window of a tractor all day long gives you time to think and come up with this stuff, maybe we should find you a custom farmer to work for so you can entertain us every night in stead of annoy us all day!!!! :lol: thanks for the post and oh yeah, good luck
 

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