The Great Depression: Life on the Farm
PIGS, CHICKENS, FRUITS, NUTS, & CORN
Last time I told you a story about my childhood, I
seemed to ramble on and on. I'll try to make this one short and sweet. I
told you about our cows. We also raised pigs and chickens.
We called the pigs hogs. Seemed like all they did was
eat, so I guess that was a good name for them. When we butchered one, my
daddy did most of the work. He made sugar-cured hams that were better than
any ham you have ever tasted. We had some pork chops and roast pork, but
mostly it was all ground up and made into sausage. That got canned so that
it would keep all year long.
We bought the chickens when they were very small. We
had a big chicken house for them and a fenced area where they could roam
around outside. When they got big, we kept some just to lay eggs and
killed some so we could have fried chicken. Some of them grew almost as
big as a turkey. That's because one of my brothers did some kind of
operation on them. From them on, they were called capons. I don't think
anyone sells those anymore. Maybe they just don't want to do that extra
work. They sure don't know what they're missing. Capons were really good.
Now we have ham, sausage, eggs, chicken, and capons
to add to that long list of things that we didn't have to buy. Weren't we
I might as well tell you about the fruit we had too.
We had strawberries, blueberries, red raspberries, and loads of
blackberries. They grew wild, so we had enough of them to make lots of
Did we ever have grapes! There was one long arbor of
white grapes. The purple grapes were on an arbor along the sidewalk from
the house to the barn .. down one side, over the top, and down the other
side. I don't know why my daddy planted so many. Mostly we just made lots
of grape jelly. My daddy was smart enough to learn how to make wine, but
he didn't do that. He didn't think wine was good for you.
Some of our fruit was on trees. There were pears;
apples for sauce, cider, and vinegar, and one sour cherry tree. Our
biggest fruit tree was a mulberry. I don't know anyone who has a mulberry
tree. Do you suppose they don't grow anymore? All I know is that those
mulberries and sour cherries mixed together made the best pie you ever
One big tree we had was a black walnut. Those walnuts
had a much thicker shell than you are used to on English walnuts, and we
had to use a hammer to crack it. After all that trouble, black walnuts
just simply weren't as good as your English walnuts. But they were okay
for cookies or muffins.
We didn't grow corn. It took lots of land for a
cornfield and we only had seven acres. But some of our relatives did grow
corn. They had heard about my father canning sausage and wanted to do the
same with their corn. Once a year, they came to our house with a whole
truckload of corn. Their whole family would come. They brought all kinds
of casseroles, cakes, pies, and a salad to have a big supper after all the
work was done. The older people shucked corn and cut it off the cob ready
for my daddy to can it. We got to play all day with lots of kids for a
change. That was one glorious day!
I also found a way to have corn-on-the-cob all season
long. The farmers trucks loaded with corn on the way to the market passed
right by our farm. Every time they went up that steep hill in the road,
they lost a few ears. I just jumped on my bike, gathered them up, and we
were all set for a feast!
Now I've really told you about all the things we
either grew or raised on our farm. I do believe if the whole world around
us had disappeared, we could have gotten along quite well for a long time.
Didn't I have a wonderful childhood?
Presentations in PowerPoint format
Have a great year!