Comments On Article: The Diary Of Sarah, February 7-13, 1932
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I lived on a small hog farm as a youngster. We had hogs, chickens and a horse and we rented pasture to a cattle farmer. There was feeding, gathering eggs, butchering chickens, watering animals, tending to pregnant animals and assisting in birth, castrating young male hogs, putting rings in the hogs' noses and trimming the boar's tusks, gardening, tending fields and pastures, repairing fences, occasional carpentry and regular home maintenance. We sent the pigs to a local processor for butchering, but my dad had helped butcher hogs on his dad's farm when he was younger. We were always busy. My dad worked full time in addition to farming and I had no brothers, so it was just my dad and his girls doing this work in the time we had around job and school. My mother had frequent health issues but she weeded the garden, canned and froze food from it, took care of the house and laundry and cooked our meals at home except for some Sunday lunches, when we might eat out. She also sewed many of our clothes as we were growing up. Anyone who is lazy on a farm isn't going to have a farm for long.
I also want to note that when I was growing up (60's and 70's), there were many family farms, and cattle and hogs were always pastured. It was just the way it was done. It was disastrous for many family farms when factory farms started taking over.
We used to have a smallholding. We farmed pigs, kept hens and sheep and had one pet goat. As well as growing vegetables. The pigs were taken away to be slaughtered, then to the butchers and then, bagged, to us to be sorted out and sold onto friends. We always had to be up to feed them. It was regardless of the weather and I got wet and muddy many times.
Not as full on work as a farm, when you have milking to do as well as the plants side of things.
I grew up on a small farm, and took over all the housework, gardening, and livestock care at the age of 12, when my mom had to get an outside job because the farm alone wasn't being profitable enough. As stressful and exhausting as that time was, sometimes I do miss the animals! I still live on rural acreage, but I wouldn't call it a farm - I grow a fairly big garden, but just for myself (not as a source of income) and I don't keep any livestock anymore. If hay were cheaper or Michigan winters were shorter, I would love to raise goats again:)
I've never lived on a farm. Always a city, though small ones, person. I wanted a small hobby farm, but that was before housing prices put that out of reach. We are stuck here, maybe forever, so I try to make the best of it, and I buy products from local farmers instead. We live in a fairly new neighborhood with all the new characteristics like small yards and lots of rules. I've already mentioned how there are no landlines here, just fiber for the internet. We are all electric. They were going to put in natural gas lines but quit when the problems with severe cold start showing up in lines in different parts of the country. The spontaneous combustion of some gas lines that burned houses in parts of the country probably had some sway in that decision too. We are allowed to have solar panels.
I have a garden that produces pretty well for its size. We have some fruit trees and bushes. I thought I'd be able to can tomatoes last year and bought jars, but the weather ruined the crop before I bought the pressure canner, so that's something I have to buy this year. I'll can stew and beans if I don't get enough from the garden. I want to have a one-year pantry.
I think part of why Sarah can do so much more than most modern people is that she grew up working harder and naturally has the endurance. I think her unprocessed diet all her life and lack of micro plastics in food and bodies and all the pollution we live in has something to do with it too. I don't want to imitate Sarah, but I do want to make sure I have the health and endurance to do the tasks that ensure I will have security in our present day. For me, that means doing for ourselves tasks that we might have paid someone else to do. I was so proud when I started producing all of our own garlic. Garlic is hard to mess up but it still made me feel good that I never have to buy garlic for cooking or seed because I produce all of it myself. :) I am trying to grow other things that don't need to be bought too, like sweet potato slips and saving some seed. This study has made me think of so many more ways I can do things for myself. :)
We have a small farm and raise all our food except wheat; however, I buy that from a local mill, so it has little carbon footprint. I am retired now, so my days are not as hectic and that is a huge help. My typical day changes with the season. In summer, fall, and winter, I hand milk my dairy cow and handle all the milk -- making butter, cheese, kefir, buttermilk and soft cheeses. I have a large garden and can all that we typically eat through the year; my usual monthly groceries, including toiletries, is about $60-75. I make up for that in animal feed! LOL I have 17 hens and share/sell my eggs and I have dairy goats for cheese and soap. I make all our soap, bread, crackers, cakes, cookies, pies, and so forth. We pasture raise a beef and a pig every year, but they are processed off property. It's more than we can handle, although we sometimes have a friend in who will help us skin and quarter a beef for the processor. It saves us about $100 to do that. We do not process chickens, but we eat very little chicken meat. Pigs and beef are processed in the winter, usually December.
My winters are quieter. There are still critters to feed and hay to put out. Plus, there is the usual bedding to clean and hooves to trim. But, most of my winter is working in the house. I spin, knit, weave, quilt, and crochet. We heat with wood until this year when we switched to a propane boiler. Up until this year, we spent a lot of the warmer winter days cutting and splitting wood. I hate doing it in the summer because of the heat... I keep a small greenhouse built from recycled goods where in the winter I grow lettuce for us and start seeds. We call it a Frankenstein greenhouse because it is pallets, an old garage frame left from a goat shelter, cement blocks, and reclaimed plastic. I use old table tops and wood boards for my growing tables.
I had an older farm woman tell me when I was a young mother that one did all the outside work in spring, summer, and fall and worked inside in the winter.... and that included dusting! LOL She was quite wise and am I so grateful to have had her wisdom poured into my life... I really like Sarah for the same reason; she's happy and an excellent steward with her time...
I have nattered far too long! Thanks for inviting a sharing!
I lived on a farm as a teenager and loved every minute of it. We had sheep, chickens, hogs, 35 milk cows but fortunately milking machines, small beef herd and garden. A favorite task in the summer was bringing in the cows for milking.
My dh and I had our own homestead with huge gardens, orchard, goats, ducks and chickens briefly. Even now living in town at put in a large garden each year.
My paternal grandparents were on a rented farm during the Depression years and grandmother often commented that it made almost no difference in their lives. The farmed with horses, cut wood from farm for heating and cooking, windmill for pumping water, huge gardens with the usual canning and storage of the crop and even harvested nuts from the timber. Three sons for slave labor helped a lot I'm sure!! In 1933 she wrote an article for a farm publication where she lauded farm life and said that she was thankful that it kept her sons too busy for mischief. On that she was 100% incorrect as those three were specialists in mischief!!
I also live on a small farm. We grow most of our own food and boy is that busy! I have not purchased any meat, dairy, or eggs in the grocery store for about 5 years now. We have about 10 dual purpose goats for both dairy and meat, about 20 chickens, and 2 ducks for eggs. We also raise our own meat chickens every year. In the summer, I grow a very large garden and can or freeze a lot of it that lasts us most of the year. I live in northern Montana in huckleberry territory so we make lots of jams and freeze our abundance. We fish our river for trout in the spring and summer--froze over now.
Overall, its a very busy hectic life but I wouldnt have it any other way as it is extremely rewarding looking at a plate of food knowing where it all came from! Oh, I also work 3 days a week as a home health/hospice nurse and my hubby is retired which helps!
I've had goats, pigs and poultry. Lived on an old timer's cattle ranch for awhile. It's all a lot of work and never enough hands to make it easy.
Most of the wringer washers I know of did have a gas or electric motor to agitate and pump out the water. It usually ran the wringer too.
We live on a small farm (23 acres), and animal chores are a priority. We are older, so no big animals to butcher. But just butchered 16 extra roosters, and 3 Tom turkeys. We have many chickens, and incubate eggs for chicks. We just grow out all of them, and will butcher the roosters when they are big enough. We also have geese, lots of turkeys, and rabbits. And a large garden, and two small greenhouses. There is always something to clean, something to repair, something to put up. Husband is handicapped now, so the outside animal and garden work falls on me, so I just do the best I can. The past week, and weeks to come have been very challenging because of the freezing temps...so all the water has to be hauled from the house to the animals. Thank God for wagons. I try to find the easiest way to do things...easy on my time and my body (ha). Keeping the woodburning stove going in this weather is also a challenge, and the wood and kindling stocked up inside the house. I wouldn't change living this way for anything, love it.
We have had 5 chickens at a time now twice, but that was when we lived in Oregon. We are on 1/2 acre at our home, but in 2020 bought 5 1/2 acres that will one day have a farm for us on along with the house. Hopefully this year or next we will have built it and have it at least closed in as we are diy the whole project. We have a large garden at the farm as we call it and have 4 raised beds here with multiple things that hold strawberries and asparagus around the 1/2 acre. At our Oregon house I only shopped for things I couldn't grow. That was on 1/8 acre, but we crammed everything in from a pear and apple tree, berries, veggies, etc. I can't as much here due to hoa regulations, but I grow enough to blend in with the landscaping that they don't notice. My grandparents grew as much as they possibly could and always had lots of fresh produce.
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