Life on the Farm
I guess the first year we
were married we had corn planted. I went out to pick
some and a saw a big snake, so I went home without
picking any. Later Bob said, "That corn should be
ready." So I said, "Yes, you come with me and weíll pick
it." I did not want him to know that I was afraid of
snakes. He eventually found out that I was scared to
death of snakes. We had no lawn mower back then, so the
grass around the house was higher. When I went out back
to my garden, Iíd scream if there was a snake, and Bob
would come running with a shovel. Later, when the lads
were bigger, they took over the job. Anytime they heard
me screaming they would come running.
I would take the kids in
the stroller and weed the garden, help coil hay, or if I
did not have the kids, I would rake hay with the horses.
Sometimes mother would come down and stay with the kids
for a day or two when we were working in the fields.
Sometimes, during pickling season, I would be out in
field all day and, of course, would get no housework
done. When we came in, Bob would help me with the
housework and pickling.
At thrashing time the
neighbors (usually 10 or 12 men) would get together and
go from one place to another, bringing the thrashing
machine with them. The women would bake for a week ahead
of time - pies and what not all. Usually, I had the men
for dinner and supper and could they eat! Dinner (noon)
was meat, potatoes, vegetables and usually pie. Supper
was fried potatoes, meat and whatever was left over.
Earlier, the grain would have been cut and tied into
sheaves by the binder, then stooked in the fields and
left to dry. At thrashing time, they loaded the stooks
onto a wagon, brought them to the barn and forked them
into the thrashing machine. The straw would be blown
into the mow and the grain would go into the granary,
which had different sections for wheat, oats, etc. All
this was done with horses, except for the thrashing
machine, which was powered by a tractor.
Killing pigs in the fall
was a major event. Nothing was wasted. They would stick
the pig and hold a bowl under it to catch the blood to
make blood sausage. The intestines were cleaned to be
used for sausage casings. The head would go into head
cheese. We would smoke the sausages, hams, and bacon. In
the fall, the smoke house was always full. The neighbors
would bring their meat over to be smoked too. Once the
meat was frozen, it would be buried in the grain and
kept frozen until early summer, if we had any left by
that time. We had to be careful getting the meat out
because sometimes the cats shit in the grain.
Keith was born in December
1949, and we got electricity near the last of October
1949. Dad had an ice house when I was growing up, but
Bob and I didnít. We kept things cool in the cellar as
it had an earth floor. Boy, that was something when the
electricity came in - first a radio, then a fridge. It
saved so many trips up and down the cellar steps.
Manny Laundry, our neighbor,
came over on a Saturday night when we were doing chores.
He had ordered chickens, so he came to see if we could
drive him into town to get the chickens. While Bob
finished the chores, I took Manny in to get the
chickens. Our car had a rumble seat, so we sat the
chickens on the seat. On the way home, I slid off the
road, which was wet and muddy in the spring of the year.
The box flew open and the chickens got out. There were
chickens everywhere. I picked them up and put them back
in the box while Manny went to get a neighbour with a
horse to pull us out. I told Manny that I did not want
to drive anymore, but he would not drive. He made me
drive the car and I remember Bob saying afterwards he
was glad that Manny had done that.
winter the roads were not open and we could not drive
cars. We used horses and sleighs. On the day before
Christmas, when the kids were small, I would put a
couple of bricks in the oven in the morning. In the
afternoon, we would load the kids and the bricks into
the sleigh and cover them up with blankets and a buffalo
robe and drive the 9 miles up to my parents. Gifts were
wrapped up and placed under the tree. We stayed there
for the night and the next morning the lads would take
the cutter and go back to do the chores. Christmas
dinner would be goose, as I raised geese, and the rest
of the dinner would be similar to what we have now. Then
in the afternoon we would go back home. Later on when we
had more kids we would have Christmas at home.
At Easter, the kids would
put out their caps or toques to make a nest for the
Easter bunny. One year, when the kids were small, I had
put jelly beans in all the nests, but in morning most of
them were gone. We couldnít figure that out. Later, when
I was watering the big fern, I found them. I figured it
had to have been a mouse that moved them.
those days, no one ever locked the house or took the
keys out of the car ignition. Someone said there was a
bum around town, so when Bob and I were going into town,
we decided to lock the doors. When we returned, Bob felt
his pockets, and said, "You must have the keys." I said
"No," and when he went to the door, he found the keys in
the lock, but the door was locked!
In the winter, Bob would
usually feed the hens. In those days women wore skirts,
so when I went to feed them, the rooster would peck my
legs, but the rooster would not bother Bob. One time, I
put on Bobís pants and the rooster never bothered me at
The outhouse on the farm
was behind the granary. It was falling down, so Bob
built a new one at the end of the wood shed with the
door opening into the wood shed. We called it our inside
toilet because we didnít have to go outside to get to
it, just through the wood shed, which was attached to
Bob never came in from the
fields without a 4-leaf clover. Now Don has no trouble
finding them and Bev seems to have the same talent. On
the day of Glen and Julieís wedding, we went to supper
at the Braeside United Church before going to the
wedding and Don found a 5-leaf clover for me.