Life on the Farm

The farmers raised cows, horses, sheep, pigs and chickens. The crops were hay raised for the horses and cows, along with oats, potatoes and vegetables.

Every family was quite self-sufficient. In the fall the farmer killed a pig, filled the molasses jug, bought a barrel of flour and with vegetables, home made bread and baked beans the family fared very well.

On the farms they used to sheer their sheep, carve the wool, knit the socks and underclothes. Years ago they used the flour bag to make bloomers with. Many mothers would buy the flour bag for $2 and then she’d wash the bag and make things for the children. When the men went off to the woods, the women settled down to rug making and quilting. They never heard of recycling but they knew the meaning of thrift, so they used up everything. Leftover pieces of new materials went into quilts. The good parts of old woolen garments were used in rug making; extra fat was used in soap making.

Most families lived on farms. They spent hours doing chores, such as separating milk, taking care of the pigs, horses and cattle. Many families kept the pigs in the house for awhile and fed them by a baby’s nipple. Any materials they needed for the use on the farm were collected ahead of time. The families that had sheep made sure their own sheep had a different mark then the next man’s. It could be a paint mark or a hole in the ear, some type of mark on the tail, notch on the left ear or something that they could tell their sheep from someone else’s.

Most houses years ago were two storey buildings, usually having two sets of stairs. One led to the kitchen and the other to the living room. In the morning the old man would roar from the bottom of the stairs at 5:00 am and if you didn’t get up the first time you wouldn’t be called the second time. If you stayed in bed and never got up for breakfast you would go without as everyone ate together. There was no eating at odd hours. The only day you could sleep in was Sunday.

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