What is a typical day for a farmer’s wife? Farming seems so easy! Could you walk a day in a farm wife’s shoes?
Up before it’s light outside!
Fix a HUGE breakfast for the family – ham, potatoes, applesauce, hot biscuits, and anything else left in the cupboard. Wash all the dishes by hand.
Help with milking the cows – squirting a little bit into the cat’s mouths that are sitting there watching every move you make, and hoping you haven’t forgotten them.
Strain the milk, save the cream in the five gallon milk can because the dairy pays a little bit for it, which helps. Feed the strained milk back to the chickens and pigs. I’ve tried making cottage cheese, but it never tasted like Walter’s mothers’ so the animals enjoyed it all.
Get the children off to school.
Time to wash all those little discs that strained the milk. If there is enough cream, now make butter..on an old fashioned butter churn. Straighten up the house and make the beds.
Start weeding the garden, and perhaps find enough vegetables for dinner and supper. Dig around the base of the potato plants for the little potatoes–they are delicious at this size. Green beans are prolific. Maybe there is a squash, too.
If apples are ripe, make a couple of pies, or take some cherries out of the freezer for a treat. If you baked bread yesterday, just add some excellent homemade jam for a taste treat. Mother Johnson also had bees, and would collect honey. That was really good with hot bread.
Dinner and supper were the same big meals, just change the meat to beef or pork, add fresh vegetables and those pies you made earlier, and everyone had a big meal.
Bring the cows back across Center Road from the meadow behind the house to the barn to be milked.
Sometimes I drove tractor to help Walter pick up the lugs of cherries from the migrants after they picked the trees. This was before mechanical cherry pickers, of course.
By dark we were all ready for bed. It had been a typical day for us.
In spite of the work, I loved being here, and doing all the things I’d never done before. I never heard my husband, Walter, complain about anything either. Maybe he was surprised that a city girl could adapt to the country life so well.
Evelyn Johnson. For additional information on farm life, barns, barn restoration and historical barns of Old Mission Peninsula go to [http://www.barnsofoldmissionpeninsula.com]
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