From the time the first furrows were creased across our fields until the corn was planted, our farm had an air of bustle about it. We could sense the pulse of things growing. They were days of change. At first the trees were tinged a faint green and then, suddenly, as if overnight, they broke into full leaf. The air came in heavy and fertile with promise through open doors and windows. These were happy times when we could wake in the morning and not have to lace shoes
Staples such as yeast, coffee, sugar, cocoa, and for special, peanut butter, were what the store provided; otherwise, we used what we raised on the farm. We did our own butchering and preserving of the meat, either by canning or smoking, for there was no city or home freezers in those days. The cistern was where we stored the cream before it was churned. Also in the cool corners of our basement we
Mama's recipes showed how we lived without much money. They were very unexpensive and yet high in food value--we never heard of a vitamin pill in those days. Most of the time, Mama cooked by "omtrint" and by "guess" and it was always good. The hard to resist odors from Mama's kitchen followed us all around the farmyard. She brought with her old culture from her beloved Norway. Much of it is now fast disappearing, though some of her arts are being utilized today by various offspring. Mama cooked on the old-fashioned wood range that Papa and we kids kept well-stocked with wood (when we all failed, Mama uncomplainedly gathered the wood).
The double-duty kitchen cookstove provided heat and the hot water long as we had remembered to fill the reservoir often enough. Also sometimes in winter, snow was melted to wash clothes. This was a two day job. The clothes too soiled were washed on a board, then into the stick-locomoted machine run by one offspring, but mostly two children were employed at one time. The water was soft and when used with Mama's lyesoap, clothes came out spotless and sometimes faded.
Vigorous boiling of the clothes made them nice and clean, but was real murder on the elastic. Our unmentionables were at half-mast most of the time. We never knew which to drop, them or our books when at school. Later they were strung up in the east and south rooms of our upstairs to dry, where they hung like ghosts until we children were terrified when we would wake at night, having to make the hated run to the out-house, or in coldest weather, we were permitted to use the white-owl under the bed. No wonder we were afraid of the dark! We never needed ghost stories!
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