Archive | April, 2012

Mom(Hattie) and Dad

16 Apr

Mom(Hattie) and Dad

Mom tells what life on the farm was like when she got married in 1942 (70 years ago).

“My introduction to farm life,began on Feb.22,1942,my wedding day.
Paul, my new husband,took me to his family home.
When his parents knew that we were getting married,they bought a house in Mattoon,IL,a town about eight miles away.They left the home for Paul. They had come to the same house when they were married.
The Hortenstine farm lay right against the edge of Gays,IL, a small town of 250 people.
That first night it seemed that a freight train roared through that little town every hour on the hour.And then very early in the morning, the roosters started crowing. The thought came to me “This must be why farmers get up so early, it’s those noisy roosters.” I had no idea how early Paul got up, but he was up at 4:30 sharp every morning and went out to do chores.
He milked three cows and took care of the cattle, horses, hogs, sheep, and chickens. Of course that meant that I was expected to get up and have breakfast ready when he came back in. And this was not toast and coffee, it was a real farmer’s breakfast.(For one fleeting moment I wondered if maybe I could get this whole thing anulled.) On top of this, he brought in a big bucket of warm milk, which had to be put through a special strainer. He helped for the first week then I was on my own. How I hated the smell of that warm milk. Sometimes when he wasn’t looking I would pour some of it down the sink.
I had so many crocks of milk in the refridgerator that there was little room for anything else. As the milk cooled a thick yellow cream would rise to the top. I skimmed the cream off and churned some for butter and Paul sold the rest to a creamery in town.
Once a week I would set some of the skimmed milk out of the fridge to clabber. Then I put it into a large granite pan on the stove until it steamed and the milk solids separated from the whey. I then took the milk solids out and put them into a cheese cloth bag and hung it up to drip dry. If it wasn’t freezing outside I hung it on the clothes line.
After a couple hours or so I took them out of the bag and put them into a crock, added some of that good thick cream, added salt and stirred it, and the let it set for at least 30 minutes, and it had an ‘out of this world taste.’
One day Paul came home with this big tall, awkward separator. It had about 40 metal discs among various and sundry other parts that were a real pain to wash every day. But separating the cream from the milk meant that I could throw out alot of the skimmed milk, which helped to free up the fridge for other things. Much later we bought a pasteurizer, which was great.
After we had been married about a week, we had just gone to bed one night , when suddenly there were two shotgun blasts outside our window.Then there were pots and pans banging together plus other strange noises. At first we were startled, but soon realized what was happening.
In those days family and friends often would “chevari ” newly weds. There were about 25 of them and they put me in the manure spreader and made Paul pull me uptown down Main Street. Of course, some of the men helped push the spreader and everyone else walked behind laughing and whooping it up. I was very thankful that it was dark and most of the town was in bed. They put Paul in the spreader with me and let him ride home.
They had brought lots of good food with them and we had a real party. It was quite late when evey one had gone home.
But nothing could deter Paul from his appointed rounds and the next morning he was up at 4:30, ready to begin the day.
It took quite a while but I finally adjusted to this routine.
And thus my wonderful life on the farm began seventy years ago. I’ll have more to say later as a lot has happened in seventy years.” Hattie