A Farm Life
Remembering A Day In The Life Of Most Farm Mothers in the 1930's
Farm Life was good, though each day was a little long because it was
always before light and until after dark!
Mom was up a couple hours before first light every morning. Light the
kerosene lamp to light the kitchen enough to search for something to fix for breakfast. No easy task because farm
life in those days required a huge family breakfast. At our house the main fare was usually home made biscuits, hen
eggs, milk gravy, fried potatoes and depending on the time of year maybe a side helping of pork, bacon, ham
or sausage. Top that off with some kind of home canned jelly, home raised honey or home cooked molasses.
Thirty minutes before mom had breakfast
finished it is time to wake the rest of the house.
Dad has to hurry and get his clothes and other stuff ready for a 3 mile
walk to work; he worked on the railroad, manual labor (was there any other kind in those days). Mom had made him
and the school age kids a sack lunch from some of the breakfast food she had just cooked. (Have you ever had a
biscuit and fried potato sandwich?).
Family breakfast is now on the table and kids are dragged in. It was a
requirement that the entire family had to be at the table when each meal started and remain there until everyone
was finished. Once to the table it never took much coaxing to get everyone to eat a hearty breakfast because they
knew it was the main meal until supper time which was usually about dark.
Breakfast is over, dad is off to work and mom is washing the dishes by
hand while waiting for the first light of day. That little chore needs to be finished by the breaking of first
light. More to do outside when it is light enough to see.
Time to milk the cows and take care of the other livestock. This little
job required taking the kids along so she could teach them to milk the cows, slop the hogs and take care of all the
farm critters. Taking care of the livestock was done before milking because once the milking is over it was
necessary to get the milk to the house to prevent getting dirt in the open top milk bucket. Most all farms had a
milking stool and ours was no different, however our stool also doubled as a feed bucket.
That little chore is done and the kids only got squirted with milk once
this morning. Now back to the house, strain the milk, set the container of milk in cool water to keep it
fresh. Sometimes excess milk was set aside to allow the cream to rise to the top for skimming to make butter. Hot
biscuits were a lot better if you had butter, still the same today.
Sometimes there were more cows and they produced more milk than the family
could use. When this happened there was a hand crank separator to collect the cream and it was saved in five or ten
gallon milk and placed out by the road in a tub of water. It was picked up by milk route man and taken to a
creamery for making butter and cheese. It paid a little bit and helped buy a few staples. The skim milk was fed
back to the chickens and pigs.
Now it's time to get the school age kids off to school. Be sure each one
has their lunch and books if any were brought home the previous day (bringing school books home was a rarity and
Kids are off to school. Is it time to rest? Did Farm Life allow mother's
any time for R&R? Not in this case. It was now time to work the vegetable garden and after that the cotton and
corn fields. Kids not old enough for school were taken along to the fields. What fun! This was somewhat relaxing
though because there were less people responsibilities with dad off to work on the railroad and the older kids off
to school. Didn't last long though because kids started getting home from school about 4:30 pm (Does this sound a
little late? They walked to and from school).
Kids are home now and looking for a snack but very seldom being treated to
one, sorry you will have to wait until supper time. You can go out to play a few minutes before we do the regular
chores. Same routine as in the morning with one added chore of gathering the hen eggs.
After chores time to start supper, not too surprising many of the supper
time meals consisted of the same menu as breakfast. Most all of the food had been raised on the farm. It was good
though because the menu would change based on the season of the year. In spring and summer maybe a few fresh
vegetables from the garden and in the fall it would be canned stuff or maybe dried beans and peas.
Even with breakfast and supper menu being the same, they were big meals
and occasionally the meat might change from pork to chicken. Now for Sunday when company comes add fresh
vegetables and those pies mom made earlier, and everyone has an exceptionally big meal.
In spite of the tough schedule everyone loved being there and never
complained. After all Farm Life was and still is the good life. Now can you imagine how many of today's modern city
folk can survive a good farm life and do it without complaining.