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Life on the Farm

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My folks were farm people, and we lived in Northern Minnesota. Although we didn't have acres of "farm" land, we still referred to ourselves as farmers. We raised pigs and chickens, we had a huge garden and there was a small creek on the end of our property that was loaded with fish. Life was good!

There wasn't an ounce of fat on my Dad, and while Mom was probably 10 to 20 pounds over on her weight, it wasn't because she didn't work hard. She either had bread dough rising on the back of the stove, or it was already in loaf form, sending out delicious smells from the oven. Our floors were wood, and I remember my Mom would get down on her hands and knees and scrub the floor with a brush. That takes a lot of energy. And when her work in the house was done she would be in the garden pulling weeds, hoeing or watering. In the fall there was the gathering of the produce and canning. We had enough to last the entire winter.

My job as a kid was to search out the nests the chickens had and gather the eggs. What a fun game it was for me! Up in the hayloft, I knew all the hiding places those hens had! And I can remember collecting a nice-sized basket of those large brown eggs every time. We had more than we could use, and we sold them to a local grocery store located about 10 miles from us. It gave us an income large enough to buy sugar, coffee, flour and other stuff we couldn't produce in our garden.

Looking back on it, wash day was not any fun for my Mom. The water had to be heated in big boilers on top of the stove, and our washing machine had a gas engine and "wringers" that we put the clothing through into cool water, where they were rinsed, then through the wringer again so they'd be ready to be hung out on the clothesline. Can you imagine today's stay-at-home Mom's going through all that to wash and dry the laundry?

We did not have electricity, we did not have running water, nor indoor plumbing! In fact, at night you could lay in bed and hear acorns falling onto the roof of the house now and then. That was because bears were climbing in the trees and they would knock the acorns loose so they would fall on our roof.

But the fishing was great in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" and just before the week-end if we were have a "Fish Fry" my Dad would go to one of the lakes nearby, or to our creek, and he would come home with enough fish to feed everyone!

People do not live this type of life any longer; but I'm glad I had the opportunity when I was a child. I had no true "toys" other than paper dolls and coloring books, but in those days we used our imagination and we had no problem finding things to do. Many of the areas near our house had fences made of small poles -- maybe 4-inches or so across. They were wonderful to walk on bare-footed. I can't remember ever falling, in fact, I've never had a broken bone.

So here's to the "Good Ole Days" and anyone old enough to remember!