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Archive for July, 2008

Our first farm

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil
and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.
[Dwight David Eisenhower]

childhood home

Rachel’s grandfather, mother, sister Esther, and Rachel.
Esther was 2 years old and Rachel was 7 so this was 1913.

My father loved animals, and he wanted to be a farmer so badly that we moved to a big farm Southeast of Cherryvale [Kansas]. Our house was a four roomed house, but huge rooms. And Grandpa Jim had the smallest bedroom. The big bedroom, which accommodated four beds, belonged to the rest of the family. The living room and the dining room and the kitchen were ample for a farm. There was a wrap-around porch, which means it ran all the way around and each room had a door that opened out on this big porch.

Close to the kitchen door was a cistern and a cellar. The cellar was over half way into the ground and then the top of it was covered with another building which we called the smoke house. Many things were stored there like, cured meat that bake in one part of the smoke house could smoke the meat—that’s the way they processed it in those days—and the cream separator. That was a machine turned by hand that separated the cream from the rest of the milk.

In the barn lot was a huge barn that could accommodate a lot of horses and cows in stalls and the hay mow above and there were other sheds, like the chicken shed and chicken house and the pig sheds and many trees—mostly locust. In the spring of the year when they would bloom, great bunches of blossoms would hang down like bunches of grapes and the odor was delightful. Back of the house was a wood lot and that was mostly Maple.

Well, there were many things new to all of us except Grandpa Jim. He had been through all of this before. And the big yard was fenced around the house and many trees and bushes and two rose bushes I remember especially—one was a huge pink rose called a cabbage rose. The other one was more or less a wild rose. It was yellow, not as large a blossom as the pink one, but had millions of thorns everywhere. You could hardly pick a rose for getting struck. And there were lilacs, and lilies, and irises. The yard was loaded with beautiful flowers.

The following is an MP3 audio file of Mama telling the same story as quoted above:

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