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Experiences

February 8, 2015

A friend of mine was asking about all the things I’ve done because I seemed to know so much about so many ‘Old-fashioned’ tasks.   Here’s how I know.

Well, I grew up with my Ma and Pappy and their old fashioned farm. All they had was electricity, they got their water from a pump in the kitchen, they used an out house for toileting and took baths in wash pans.  Pappy milked and cared for the milk by hand and hauled coal from back on the hill with a sledge and his team of work horses…I can remember “Fred” the other one died before I was old enough to know his name.  But Fred lived until I was probably six or eight.

Ma cooked and baked on a coal/wood stove.  It was larger than most of the ones in my stories.  Mrs. Casey has one like it.  Ma’s stove had a reservoir beside the oven where the water was always hot (not boiling, but hot enough for washing dishes etc.) It even had a thermostat on the front of the oven, but it wasn’t very dependable.  Ma tested the heat by putting her hand in the oven space.  Somehow she knew by how it felt.

My father helped Pappy make hay.  They cut the high grass with a big scythe and then when it was dry loaded it on a long wagon (Pulled by Fred and his mate) to take back to the barn. I must have been about ten when Dad bought a new Ford tractor with a mower.  He also got a single furrow plow and a disc to cut up the plowed furrows…
When I married Louie we lived on the reservation for a couple years and visited Grandma Howe over and over after we lived in Ohio. We didn’t even have electricity there.  Louie, bless his heart, bought me a second or third hand gas range for cooking.  We heated with a little wood stove in our two room house.  But I’ve done my share of cooking over an open fire too (that’s how I know how to do it  )  I learned first how to butcher sheep on the reservation and then did it myself when we had sheep cows and deer.  My daughter and I processed an entire deer on our kitchen counter, from skinning to freezing.
I can’t say I ever traveled by wagon or even traveled far on horseback, but I’ve ridden since my daddy got me ‘Snooksie’ when I was three years old.  She was only a yearling so we grew together.  From there on I was around horses  my entire life so I know how they are.
My mom and dad kept a milk cow from as early as I remember.  She was a Holstein and gave 4 gallons of milk at a milking in a day when even Holsteins didn’t product that much milk.  Mom did the milking.  Dad could milk but Mom was better at it.  LOL   My brother and I learned to milk by watching Pappy milk his three or four cows and Mom milk ‘Elsie’ That was our cow.  My brother and I weren’t very good milkers but we knew how to get milk from her if something happened that Mom or Dad couldn’t.
I’ve chased cows, fixed fence and trudged through snow to do it.  I remember one Christmas morning when I got up early to see our four or five horses trailing away down through the neighbors corn field.  (they didn’t go far, there was corn cobs and stalks on the ground left from when the neighbor cut it so they just stopped to chow down)  I called Notah and Rachael to go after them and I bundled up to go see where the fence was down.  While they brought the horses back I fixed fence.  The deer had come through in the dark and taken it down.  Something must have spooked them and they ran through it.  The horse thought  “Woohoo!  Somebody made us a gate”
Christmas morning was delayed for about 3 hours.  After we got the horses in we were too cold to open gifts till we warmed up with hot coffee and FOOD.   LOL  and yes, we are a coffee drinking family.  Notah and Rach started getting ‘coffee milk’ when they were just kids….
Okay enough for now.  More about ‘my life’  at a later date…
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