Posts Tagged With: farming.gardening

Cannot wait for spring!!!

My Mother use to stand on a box and harness a team of horses like these and go out and cultivate corn, she was 10 Years old at that time. When I was 10 Years old, my Grandfather would drive the team (different team of course) and my brother and cousin and I would follow the hay wagon and pitch the hay into the wagon. When the wagon was full we would pitch the hay in to the barn loft. When I reached 14 years of age my Grandfather was to old to farm any longer and I was busy chasing girls.


Categories: Life on the farm, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Paper Mache soil blocks

I thought about this early winter but got side tracked.  I will try Iceberg lettuce and Black beauty eggplant. It won’t be a big deal if it doesn’t workout because my son started plants for me and there are big box stores and lawn and garden centers near by.

I shredded 5 pages double page width of newspaper and folded them to fit in the shredder opening.


The shredded newspaper was covered with water and left to set over night.


The next morning I put the paper through a blender and strainer and I had my paper Mache slurry.


I was able to make eight blocks out of this batch of slurry and will plant Iceberg lettuce in these. My next batch, I want to make extra slurry to have blocks to dry out and test them for rehydration.


Categories: Accessible gardening, My Gardening Journals, soil blocks, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Planned garden modifications

My planned modifications will not be made until after the current season. This is a sketch up of the garden as it is today except for the weather buffer room on the end of the GH..


This is a sketch up of the intended  modified garden. Eight beds will be reduced to three beds app. 16 1/2″ deep/tall.

Garden Mod

This part of the garden is some 30′ away from the above garden and will be treated the same way.

Garden 2

The beds in the center that form the figure E will be removed to form a figure C.

Garden 2 mod

The remaining beds will also be app. 16 1/2″ deep/tall. There are several photos of the current garden through out my journal and I will post a follow up with photos of the modified garden.

Categories: Accessible gardening, My Gardening Journals, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Zone 5 and I have to get pro active

Its going down to 34 tonight and 33 tomorrow night but it looks safe after that. The potatoes have been planted, the spinach is up and looking good, onions, asparagus and garlic are also looking good. Come Monday I will plant lettuce, endive and more spinach and onions. On Tuesday I will plant four tomato plants and keep the hot caps handy. Toward the end of the Month, I will plant the peppers and eggplant. Still to come are broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, beets and several herbs. After the garden is planted I will re mulch the path ways, plant posies and re mulch the posy beds. In the mean time the grass is growing like a wild fire and there is about two years worth of fire wood piled in front of my compost bins. 

Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Never kill a black snake

This was sent to me by a friend. I don’t know if he originated it or just passing it on but I thought it was worth posting here. John

All my life I’ve been told not to kill black snakes because they kill poisonous snakes, But this is the first time I’ve actually seen proof….! The guy who snapped these photos said the rattler was still rattling all the way down!!!


Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: | 4 Comments

Just in time for Easter

 A few of the early spring blooms, few commentaries mostly photos.

This time of the year, these guys show up again. I have fired them several times but they keep coming back. I think this guy is drunk all the time.

And this guy stands around with his pruners but you never see anything pruned???

And this guy is always craping. Maybe that is why every thing is so green.

What kind of caracter would be cutting Christmas trees now? Maybe he is planning on Christmas in July?



This one is always looking fore something to cut down.


Now this one, I have seen him move between his food bowl and bed but I am not sure what velue he has for the garden.   John









Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Preserving food on the farm as told by my farther


Lorna’s post on “Wood stove cooking” got me daydreaming about life on the farm. And I thought that what my father told me about food preservation might be of interest to some of you. It is not about the specifics of preservation but it is about what was preserved for a family of 12 including grandparents and 14 on Sundays (the preacher and his wife ate dinner every Sunday with my grandparents).

My grandfather had a building the size of a one car garage. It was divided into two equal size rooms. One room had a potbelly stove in the center and deep shelves on the outside walls. The shelves were hinged to the walls and supported with chains. They were used for drying fruits and vegetables. When the harvest was complete and the weather cooled, it was time for butchering. My grandfather would take the flue off of the stove and fold the shelves against the walls. First came the hogs, my grandmother would cold pack some of the meat and store it in the pantry. The rest of the hog would be smoked. The bacon, hams and link sausages were hung on hooks in the ceiling. Some of the sausages were made into patties and partially cooked. Then a layer was put in a five gallon crock and covered with lard then another layer of sausages and lard until the crock was filled. These sausages were stored in the springhouse. Then came the beef and some was cold packed and some was dried.

On the onset of winter the other room would be filled with hams, bacon, sausages, dried beef and feed sacks filled with dried apples, peaches, pears and plumbs and I can not remember what vegetables were dried, all hanging from the ceiling . There would be several “hogs head barrels” (60 gallon wooden barrel) along the outside walls. One would be filled with pickles another with sauer kraut and one with apple cider vinegar. I can not remember what if anything else that was stored there. But I can remember that building still being used when I was a kid and the aroma when you entered it.

The pantry was off the kitchen and almost the size of the outside building. It was lined on three walls with shelves from floor to ceiling. The shelves would be filled with cold packed meats, canned vegetables, canned fruits and sacks of wheat flower, buckwheat flower, sugar and salt. I don’t know what herbs and spiced they used.

There was a spring fed stone trough directly below the kitchen which fed a hand pump at the kitchen sink. Butter and milk was stored in that trough. The spring in the house also fed a stone trough outside in a stone springhouse which was primarily used for a root cellar. The springhouse was about 8’ X 12’ and the only part above ground was the roof. You could stand up without hitting your head. Both sides were filled with all sorts of root crops some winter apples and some winter pears and onions. The trough held the five gallon crock of sausages and lard and another five gallon crock of just lard.

That sounds like an awfully lot of food but I know what teenage boys can eat and I know how I ate when I was helping my other grandfather farm. The farm raised food was always supplemented with squirrel, rabbit, groundhog, turkey and deer. John

Categories: Life on the farm | Tags: , | 9 Comments

My next chore completed

After taking 12 truck loads of shredded leaves to city hall, this is what I have to look at untill spring.:-(   Now I have to truck in 5 yds of composted HM to be ready for spring.8-)   John


Categories: Composting | Tags: | Leave a comment

Second year RB/SFG core sample

This year’s core sample was taken adjacent to last year’s sample. There was only about an inch of recognizable compost on top and it spilled out onto the floor when I tilted the tube to remove the sample. When I removed the sample, it just fell apart. The bed is about 88% full of what looks like plain old garden soil thanks to the many worms. At the end of next growing season I expect the beds to be nearly 100% filled with soil/worm casing. Then it will be interesting how the moisture retention will be and how the plants perform.


A close-up photo of the core sample.


This is a photo of semi-finished compost that the beds were top dressed with this spring. As usual all comments are welcome.    John


Categories: Composting, Core sample | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Sweet Potato harvest for 2009

This is my sweet potato harvest for 2009. A total of 21lb 9oz or about one lb per square. I planted 20 squares with one slip per square (SFG style). At $0.52 per slip, I am not sure they are worth the space. They are Georgia Jets and I would be interested in what others have harvested this year, particularly in the northern climates. As usual, all comments are welcome. John


Categories: sweet potatoes | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

The last potato tower for 2009

I should give a recap on the tower. The base of the tower is 8” deep. Two Kennebec seed potatoes were planted 6” deep, then two tiers added and filled with compost. The seed potatoes ended up about 16”+ deep. This was not an incremental filling of the tower. The tower was filled within 15min of planting. After about 2-3 weeks the one sprout broke through the surface and the other never showed up. When harvested there were no signs of it ever trying so it turned out to be a dud spud.


This is the first spud harvested. The stolen is coming from an area very close to the surface. I do not know if it was above or below ground but not any where near the seed potato or root zone of the main plant. The stolen is bent around so as to get a continuous view from potato to stem.


Here you can see three stolen near the top of an underground stem. On the end of that stem is a portion of the seed potato that is about 16” away from the upper most stolen.


The next three photos are a closer photo of each stolen so you can trace it from potato to stem.




The total weight of the potatoes were 4lb 14oz.



The largest was 1lb 3oz.


As Usual, all comments are welcome.   John

Categories: Potato Tower | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

One comparison between RB/SFG and conventional gardening

Last years squash bed was planted in hills. When looking down from above, it would look like double fives on a pair of dice. After the plants emerged the bed was heavily mulched with leaf mold and compost. The harvest was typical of my squash beds at 39-41 squash (depending how many times I count them).


This is the same area converted to raised beds filled with 100% compost. This is the first year for the raised beds in this area. Last years squash bed was 90” wide and this years RB for squash is 40” wide, less that 45% of last years bed. The number of squash in the RB 29 a substantial increase per sq/ft production. As usual all comments are welcome. John



Categories: My Gardening Journals, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Who sez potato rhizoms don’t grow on the stem?

Because of the Late Blight hitting my tomatoes this year, I terminated the potato plants in an effort to save whatever crop I had. The Yukon Gold potatoes look great and the Kennebec potatoes are smaller but the perfect size for DW and me. I could have left them grow but I did not want to take the chance. Since I did terminate the plants, I decided to harvest the first potato tower. I covered the building of and the growth of the tower in an earlier post. Now it is time to see what I got.


The tower is 20 ½” tall. I tied garden twine around the main sprouts and attached a bungee cord to keep the plant in position as I remove the compost from around the spuds and rhizomes.


This is the first spud I came to. It is about 16” above the seed potato I had planted. The rhizome and potato were growing horizontally not upward like many people say.


The second spud was located about 13 1/2 “from the seed potato.


Here I started to remove the next level.


There seams to be rhizomes with marble size potatoes everywhere.


This is the potato plant as removed from the soil. It is about 20” from the tip of the green to the seed potato. There were three nice potatoes below the seed potato. I hope this answers some questions as where potatoes grow on a plant.


The weight of the potatoes on this plant is meaningless but it was 3 lb 3 oz. As usual, all comments are welcome.


Categories: Potato Tower | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The anxiety of gardening.

After the devastation of my tomatoes by the Late Blight, I was more than a little anxious about the condition of my potatoes. The Yukon Gold potatoes had been dying back but I thought it was the normal time for them to be doing so. Two 2’ X 8’ beds back to back in the foreground are YGs and had been cleaned off. The two beds behind them are Kennebec potatoes and look great, I do not think they are affected (yet). Both types of spuds exceeded 40” in plant growth and as you can see, my pathways should have been about 6’ instead of 18” wide.


This photo is of the bed on the left. I lifted the spuds for the first 14” only on Aug 07th

P1010005 copy 

These two spuds were harvested on July 20th from the same 14” area and weigh 1lb 7oz


These spuds are the same ones in the first photo and weigh 6lb 2oz. The total weight for 2.33 squares is 7lb 9oz or 3lb 6oz per square. If these two squares are representative of all the squares in the potato beds that will be 204lb of potatoes. Do any of you have tomatoes that you want to trade for potatoes? Hummm….. I wonder how a slice of potato would taste on a hamburger.



Categories: Potato | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

A remarkable potato.

After the garden had been planted, I had a volunteer potato sprout. I soon pulled it out, after a few days, another sprout appeared, and I removed it. Eventually two more sprouts appeared from under the frame of the RB/SFG. I thought if that potato wants to grow that much I will let it go and see what happens. Well I needed to access the backside of the pepper and eggplant beds to harvest and the potato plant had to go.


I found a pile of potatoes on top of the path and a couple under the edge of the bed. That crazy potato had raised the bed from 3” to 4”. There is about 2” to 3” of wood chip mulch on the path.


That one potato plant produced 31/2 lb of potatoes not counting the many small ones. The scale looks like crap but weighs very accurately. The basket weighs exactly one lb. Make sure to read the rest of the post after this next photo as this potato also raised some interesting questions.


The next series of photos are of a portion of the stalk that I cut off that shows various views of potatoes that were growing totally off the ground and potato stolons above leaf branches. In addition, these are Yukon Gold potatoes that are not supposed to do well in a tower, now I am wondering why. Maybe another experiment is coming next spring. As usual, all comments are welcome.   John






Categories: My Gardening Journals, Potato, Potato Tower, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

There’s trouble in River City

Late blight on tomatoes and maybe on potatoes. Well until last week, I did not know what I had. I knew that I was having some sort of problem with the tomatoes what I did not know was that it could also affect the potatoes. What a bummer. It is the same blight that struck Ireland in the 1840s

 This is what the tomatoes looked like the middle of July.


This is what they looked like a few days later I knew it was not blossom end rot.


It was clear that every thing had to go.

The next two photos are of the same spot before and after the blight. There were between 30 and 40 tomatoes on each plant.





The vent to the GH is right behind the tomato plants. Now do I have to fumigate the GH or what????


 As usual, all comments are welcom.         John

Categories: My Gardening Journals | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Who said it was a “dud-spud”?

It may have been late but it finally showed up. It must have done some loop de loops or a barrel role. I hope I will learn something from these two spuds.


Yesterday’s harvest brought the potato total to 27oz.


A little OT for my journal, but I have never had ten blooms at the same time on my cacti.           John


Categories: Potato Tower | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Guess what is for supper

I checked the YG potatoes today too see if I would be getting any potatoes this year. They were about 4” and 10” from the end of the bed on 2 plants. Both potatoes were about an inch under the soil and I am hoping there are larger ones underneath. The potatoes are about the size of a baseball and weighed 11oz


PT1 is doing very good and I cannot wait to harvest.


There is a second sprout from the spud in the PT2 that broke the surface several days ago. The “Dud Spud” is still a no show and it is doubtful that it will.


The TPT is not looking very good. The largest sprout broke when it came to the seam of the two carboys but is still trying to grow. All of the tips though are turning brown and I think the GH is too hot this time of year to grow potatoes. I removed some of the soil so there is about ½” left above the sprouts. I hope that they will recover.     John


Categories: Potato | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guess who showed up for the party?

This bugger grew through 16” of compost to get here. His friend in the far corner is a no-show so far. Maybe he will get here later, I hope. This is the tower where I planted two spuds and filled it to the top at the same time. It may end up telling me more about the anatomy of a potato plant than the transparent tower. Click on the photo for a medium size and click again for a large size photo.


It was very chilly this morning and I do not know if Butch was trying to get warm or trying to get a suntan.       John 


Categories: Potato Tower | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

TPT sprouts part two (short post/photos)

I have set the TPT upright. I do not know if light was leaking in (I do not think so) but there are definitely leaves forming at the end of the sprouts. As long as they do not begin to rot, I will let them grow.



This is the largest sprout that is visible and you can see the leaves. They have 10”-11” to go to break the surface. I will continue to take photos of there progress and keep you posted. As usual, all comments are welcome.    John


Categories: Potato Tower | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

I do grow veggies other than potatoes

I have been posting about potatoes so often I thought I should show you my other veggies. This is my asparagus bed. I planted two-year-old crowns and supposedly, I can make limited cuttings next spring. They look so spindly I sort of dough it.


The bell peppers are Big Dippers and are loaded with blossoms.

Bell Peppers

The Bibb lettuce is fantastic and will be my annual lettuce. It also did very well in the GH last winter.

Bib Lettuce

The broccoli looks good and is about to develop heads. The three plants in front are purple cabbage.


I have not grown Brussels sprouts for a while and will not be able to predict outcome until late summer. And another three purple cabbage in front.

Brussels Sprouts

The Butterbush winter squash have sprouted and have to grow about 10” North to reach the trellis. I will tie them to the sticks to get them off the soil as soon as possible to help me combat the squash bugs.


Cauliflower is not showing any sign of heads yet but it usually takes longer than the broccoli.


The eggplant is chucking full of blossoms and looking great.


I free sowed the endive and thin it as we eat. As soon as I thin it, it fills back in.


Onion plants are just taking root and hard to see. I also planted 12 Alisa Craig onions that can get up to five pounds each.


Cannot say much about the tomatoes except they are on there way to higher places.


The Zucchini are on there way to the first rung of the ladder. I will see how this goes.


The sweet potatoes are growing slowly, the weather has been very cool but I hope the roots are developing well.

Sweet Potatoes

Ok, I have to say something about the potatoes. The ones in the foreground are the Kennebec and the ones in the background are the Yukon Gold. The fence to the right is four ft tall. As usual, all comments are welcome.


Categories: My Gardening Journals, Potato, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Some think there is no intrigue in gardening



Today, I was filling a compost bin from a pile of kitchen, lawn and garden debris that had accumulated from late winter/early spring. While doing so, I noticed a particularly long sprout. Upon investigation, it turned out to be a potato sprout about 16” to 18” long. There were several small sprouts along the length of the main sprout (see red arrows, there are several on the underneath side you cannot see). Are they lateral stem sprouts or stolons?



The next two photos are enlargements of the areas of the red arrows. The plot thickens and what timing for my experiments in my journal with potato towers. Stay tuned for further developments. As usual, all comments are welcome.   John




Categories: My Gardening Journals, Potato | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

I dig potatoes



While not yet, but I am looking forward in anticipation. The Yukon Gold potatoes are growing gangbusters.



They were planted 8”deep 16 days ago and are now 16+” tall.



I do not remember what day I planted the Kennebec potatoes but they broke through the surface about 4-5 days ago.



Which brings me to the potato tower; I planted one Kennebec spud in the tower 8” deep the same time as the other Kennebec spuds.



It broke through the surface the same day as the first Kennebec spud in the beds and I quickly put the first tier in place.



This is a close-up of the previous photo.



The next morning I filled the tier about half way and placed some compost up against the plant to the leaves.



This is a close-up of how I covered the plant. It is about 2-3” below the surface of the compost.



By the next morning, it had grown another couple of inches and I pulled some compost into the hole covering the stem.



I repeated this for two more days and the tier was full.



I added the second and last tier and will repeat the process until it is full. The tower is 20 ½” tall and that should be enough to show if the process works for me or not. As usual, all comments are welcome.    John


Categories: My Gardening Journals, Potato, Potato Tower, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes your mind is changed for you

While cleaning up the shop, I checked the potato chitting progress. To my surprise, some of the sprouts were turning black near the very tip. I do not know if it was the low humidity or the temperature variation but it never happened when they sprouted in the fruit cellar. I decided to plant them as soon as possible.p50802252 


My potato beds are 2’ wide and I use a folding rule as a guide to plant location. I will start 6” form the end of the bed with the first row and 12” from the end of the bed with the second row which stagers the plants from row to row. A bulb planter works nice in compost to produce a 2” hole 5” deep which is perfect for the small seed potatoes.p5100228 


Here you can see the full bulb planter and the hole I just made with the spud in place. I use the small end of a dial rod to poke the compost out of the planter and back into the hole. The pieces of mini-blind slats are used to mark the location of the last spud in a row. If I have to leave for some reason, it can be difficult to see where I stopped.p5100229


After all seed potatoes are planted, I top-dressed the beds another 3” bringing the depth of the seed potatoes to 8”.p5100230


I also planted the potato tower and top-dressed it. All potatoes that were planted today were Kennebec and were planted in the same fashion.p5100227 


I could not help noticing how the Yukon Gold potatoes were growing. They were planted two weeks to the day before this photo. If the Kennebec potato in the tower grows this fast, it will require daily attention and early in the morning before the sun hits the plant stem. I think I understand why some people say they got additional potatoes but it was not worth the effort. Nevertheless, I am going to try to do it correctly and we will see what happens. As usual, all comments are welcome.   Johnp5100231 

Categories: Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Tomatoes are planted. (both of them)

We are supposed to have a day and one half with out rain and the grass is too wet to mow so I planted my tomatoes. Another attribute of gardening in a soil less mix is you can plant right after a rain and not ruin the soil. In this photo, I have dug a trench about 6” deep and about 10” long. I add about a hand full of garden tone and a tablespoon of Epson salts and mix them into the soil. Then I will trim the bottom leaves off for about 8” above the root ball and lay the plant horizontally in the trench. p5060222


I temporarily tie the plant to a stake until it grows upright on its own. Then I will install the tomato cages after any danger of frost is past.p5060223


As usual, all comments are welcome.    John

Categories: My Gardening Journals, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Yesterday was a beautiful day

While yesterday was a beautiful day, I cut grass and got some planting done. The SFG/RB accessories worked great and I could have planted all day. I used scallions and radishes to make my grid, which should/could have been planted earlier. Oh well it will be there for the second planting. 


I planted two types of lettuce, Bibb and Little Gem along with direct sowing spinach and endive. The tomato plant is an Early Girl and should give me some toms very early. J



The winter onions look great but I only use these for onion sets that I grow all winter in the GH.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 


My hardiness zone has changed form 5 to 5B. The minimum temps. and frost dates have not changed so the USDA has confused me again. I am going to take a chance on an early spring though with the planting but keep some buckets and hot caps handy in case of frost/freeze. So here is to a fantastic 2009 gardening season. As usual all comments are welcome.     John 


Categories: My Gardening Journals, Square Foot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Life on the farm as I remember it



When I was a very young boy, my family would spend almost every weekend on the farm. My grandmother died at a very young age and my mother being the oldest child felt a responsibility of taking care of her father and sisters and brother. My grandparents on my dad’s side were elderly when I was young and I only have a vague memory of them. My dad had four brothers and three sisters and they needed little help running the farm. Next to my immediate family, it is probably the most memorable part of my life.

The first thing I would do upon arrival would be to check the pie chest to see if any of my aunts baked any pies. Usually there would be one piece left, what a coincidence. As I got a little older, it became my job to clean all the chimneys on the oil lamps and take the chambermaid to the outhouse and empty it. That was one job I wish I never had. I would usually help collect eggs for breakfast and sometimes we would find an egg that everybody else missed for some time. That is another odor you do not want to experience. The garden was located between the house and the barn with a grape arbor running the length of the garden. On the other end of the house was a large old orchard with pears, plums, sweet and sour cherries, peaches and several apples with different ripening dates. The apple trees were huge and there was no way we could pick the apples on top, we could only pick the apples on the lower branches from a ladder. The apples from the tops would be collected as they fell. The orchard was covered with a very dense growth of orchard grass and many fallen apples would be undamaged. The damaged apples would be made into sauce and pies or sliced and dried for storage. Other jobs that I had were taking the horses to the watering trough twice a day and taking the cows to pasture in the morning and bringing them back to the barn in the evening for milking. Milking was one job I was not good at. Cows that were never known to kick, tried to kick me and that job went to someone else. My grandfather had a 60 GAL wooden barrel that was used for hog swill, it would be filled with mash, the excess milk along with table scraps except for meat, and bones and they went to the dogs. When the butter would turn rancid, it would be mixed with lye and used for soap. It was also my job to keep out of the way of the farming activities.

On my grandfather Best’s farm, my aunts and uncles married at an older age and two of my uncles never did marry. So labor to run the farm was less of a problem and most of our time there was just visiting. The most memorable times on both farms were mealtime. There was a brick oven in the back yard and it never cooled down, my grandmother would bake every single day. I use to travel in my employment to most of the states including Canada and Mexico. I was on expense account and ate at some very fine restaurants, including one of the worlds ten best located in Lancaster, Pa. None of them even came close to an everyday meal on a productive farm.

While, I am in school now, we still spend weekends on the farm, and I still have the jobs as before. In addition, my brother, cousin, and I are spending most of our summer vacation helping my grandfather. The garden and farm crops have all been planted. In the morning, we have to get the hay in the barn that my grandfather cut with a scythe and raked into windrows. I am still too small in stature to pitch the hay up onto the hay wagon, so it was my job to stack the hay as my brother and cousin pitched it on the wagon. My grandfather drove the team, Jake and Clyde. When a fork full of hay would come extra close to me, I knew there would be a black snake in it. It seems that when a field is cut the black snakes head for the windrows to get in the shade. When my brother or cousin seen one it would come straight at me. They just wanted to see me dance I guess.

Once in awhile my grandfather would leave and go shopping or visiting and let us boys alone with my aunt. My aunt was young but older than we boys were. You know the old saying,”boys will be boys” well we decided to ride the old sow. We put some corn in the trough and when she was distracted, my brother slung his leg over her back and grabbed both ears. Well between her and the pen was all this slop and the opening she was headed for was only big enough for her. You guessed it, my brother ended up on his back in the middle of all that slop. Pay back time for the snakes, HA HA. On another occasion, we decided to ride the calf. She did not go for that shit, threw my brother, and jumped a fence. It took my grandfather three days to find the calf. To say my grandfather was a little POed is an understatement but I thing it reminded him of his own children.

At the end of the day, we had to clean the horse stalls, put down new bedding, feed and water them. After that we had to take showers, oh my. The shower consisted of a pipe coming from a spring into a horse-watering trough and from the overthrow of the trough over a bank above a wood platform that looked like a skid, maybe it was. There was a community washcloth and a bar of soap but no towels.  The water was so cold, it was like someone standing there and hitting you with a baseball bat. After that, you stood in the sunshine until you were dry enough to get dressed. Soon we would hear my aunt calling, “suppertime” you would be so hungry that you could eat the north end of a southbound skunk.   Soon after dinner, the sun would start to go down and you headed for bed. On each bed was a feather mattress, feather pillows and a feather comforter. All I can remember is laying there listening to the owls, foxes chasing rabbits, katydids singing for mates and watching bats flying in one window and out the other trying to catch insects. All of a sudden, it is morning, not quite daylight yet and that damned rooster is out there crowing his ass off. Oh my it starts all over again I wonder when school starts.

Usually on Saturday evening we would head for New Bethlehem, Pa to do some shopping or get a haircut. Even if we were farm boys at that time, we were not permitted to look shabby. We had to get back to the farm in time to listen to the Judy Kenova show and the Grand Old Oprey on a battery operated radio, our only contact with the outside world. My grandfather may have known that once we boys started chasing girls that we would not be much help on the farm and decided to retire. Soon after, he sold the team and the farm equipment. We continued to visit quite often but it was not the same. In the fall of 1954, my father and I were getting dressed to go deer hunting on the farm when we got a call from a neighbor who said that my grandfather was fine but the house burned down. What a loss, most of the furniture was from my great grandfather and every single piece was an antique. My grandfather then sold the barn and a Sears one hole outhouse. Surprisingly, he got more $ for the outhouse than he did for the barn.

Any comments will be appreciated.




Categories: Life on the farm | Tags: , | 13 Comments

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: