FARM BOY'S GLIMPSE OF MEMORIES
August 17, 2015
A dairy and vegetable farm in this rural region was the setting. The four seasons of the year determined the course of daily events during those Depression years of the 1930's. The scene was a white farm house and dairy barn surrounded by cultivated farm acreage, tucked away in the picturesque rolling Boston hills of western New York. A glimpse over the hills of the western horizon would often display the glistening sunset streaming across the clear Lake Erie waters. That was my childhood homestead. Other farm families were our neighbors and when in need, they were always there! There is so much one remembers from my early childhood days and what a joy it is to share just as glimpse of some of those memories.
We were a family of five: Mom, Dad, my older sister and brother; and I was the youngest. We each had our jobs to do and we each helped each other. For the most part, my mother was in charge of the household duties and my Dad managed the farm chores. But, each of the five of us were busy with both house and farm, and there never was a dull moment.
Rural electricity had not as yet seen the light of day in our area. Kerosene lamps and lanterns provided light for both house and barn. And wood served as the source of fuel for the kitchen stove and the living room heater. One battery operated radio and one newspaper provided the news, the weather forecast, and the farmers market report. These two media sources, along with "word of mouth" from neighbors served as our chief source of news of the day.
Daily milking chores...morning and evening...were done by hand, and milk cooling was in a cold water bath. The farm tools were powered by a team of horses...Doll and Jim...and they were almost a part of the family. In fact, if I could get away with it, I would give each an extra measure of grain over and above their regular portion. Our 500 chickens provided eggs for the family and for market. Cleaning the barn and the chicken house was a daily task.
The season of the year determined the daily farm tasks. Spring was fence mending, getting the soil ready for planting, and sowing the seeds. During the summer season there was weeding and cultivating, hay mowing and gathering, and early harvesting season of peas, beans, and cucumbers. The autumn season was the major season for harvesting potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, and grain. Winter was major tool repair, sorting potatoes for market, and barn repairs. Of course, for the three family youngsters, attending school at the one room school house was in season, three of the four seasons of the year.
Our Mom had a schedule as well, with the various household tasks. Sunday evening water was put into the laundry wash boiler and placed on top of the kitchen stove. Monday was laundry day in the hand pumped washer, with hand ringer and, in fair weather, the laundry was hung on clotheslines in the out of doors. Tuesday was cloths ironing day with the use of flatirons heated on the top of the kitchen stove. Wednesday was sowing and mending day. On Thursdays, major tasks were planned such as painting woodwork, wallpapering, quilt making, curtain cleaning, and rug making. Friday was the day for major house cleaning and Saturdays were always reserved for homemade baking days. During the harvest season...home canning of fruits, vegetables, jam and jelly... was a major undertaking. Much of the food we ate was produced on the farm, and preserved for use during the long winter months.
These are just a few of memory glimpses of my early boyhood days. I realize that many things and ways of doing things have changed over the years. But these are memories which are far more than just a passing thought.They are remembrances I take pride in sharing with others. You know, we are here where we are today, because of the many yesterdays which came before us. You see, we are like a lump of clay in the hands of the Creator; we are forever being molded by the many experiences of yesterday. Indeed, memories last a lifetime.