Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Good Old Days!

We use to hear older folks telling of how things were when they were young, and it seemed so different from our time of growing up, but now,I guess our time of growing up,seems just as different to the youth of today. Growing up on a farm, with lots of room to roam outdoors, is almost rare any more.So many kids never get the opportunity to run free on acres and acres of land, free to play, and explore new things, as my siblings and I did growing up.Being bored was never a problem for us. Then too, with so many siblings, we always had each other to play with, or close neighbor kids who would visit often. The word bored never entered our minds.We always had lots of friends to drop by for one reason or another.Dad knew a lot of people through his work , and Mom and us kids had lots of friends from church and school, so we had lots of friends over often.But even when no one else was visiting, we could always find ways to entertain ourselves. Working on the farm took up lots of our time, but I still remember lots of play time, too.We all had our chores to do. With a farm and farm animals, there is always something that needs attending to.We'd milk the cows early mornings and late in the afternoon every day. We always had at least one cow to milk at all times.The chickens ran loose, so they pretty much took care of themselves. We always had pigs to water and feed.When the feed was low, we had a field of clover where we would spend lots of time sitting out in the pasture picking bushel baskets of clover for the pigs. Who would have thought picking clover on those hot days could be that much fun. The cattle had lots of pasture, so they only needed feeding during the winter season.We always raised our own hay and corn, so Dad always had feed for the animals through the winter months.During the fall, we always had lots of pumpkins we'd raise in the corn. We'd gather a huge hay wagon load of pumpkins, and each day, we'd go out and cut up several pumpkins to feed to the livestock. I don't know if they liked them that much, but they ate them. I guess it was better than no food at all.We ate a lot of pumpkin ourselves. Mom would can many jars of it and we'd eat pumpkin quite often, but at least she would cook it and add cinnamon and sugar to it. We all loves it. Mom would buy a half gallon of Bob White syrup weekly, so we had lots of those jars for canning. They used the # 63 jar lids.I've never used a lot of that size myself canning, but we used them a lot back then.A few of the 9 kids can today. It gets in your blood.I have canned every year since I left home at the age of 18.That is a craft that is trying to make a comeback with some of the younger folks today, but most folks don't have access to a garden plot of their own anymore, as we do. They buy most of their produce from the various markets, or maybe from the Amish.I remember every nook and cranny of the old houses we lived in, being filled with cans of various foods. Most of our lives we had access to fruit trees for canning.Then we always had to pick wild berries.That's why I grow the tame berries today. I hated those thorns. A lot of folks say they do not taste as good, but I am willing to sacrifice a little flavor for the thornless berries.I only use the juice of my berries, anyway, for jellies and cobblers.We would can lots of green beans, tomatoes, and oh, yes, squash. I think we ate more squash and pumpkin than any other family in America,but we were never hungry. Mom grew up in South Louisiana, so she had to learn to cook all over again in Kentucky.We ate a lot of things other folks never heard of, but Mom would always find ways to make anything taste good.My mother was a tough lady. I could probably write a book just about her.She deserves a lot of credit for the raising of us 9 kids.Dad was always there in the background, making a living, and keeping the roof over head, even though it leaked quite a bit at times.We were never without a home.Dad saw to that. Mom did most of the raising of the kids.She tried her best to raise us in church,too. We were in church about as much as we were in school.Bible School every summer,GA's or RA's after school some weekdays,Sunday School on Sunday mornings, Training Union on Sunday nights,prayer meetings every Wednesday.Sometimes I think that's why many of us don't attend church today. We got burnt out on church, if there is such a thing. I hate it for Mom, because she worries so about the fact more of us don't attend church today.I guess we all think we have good reasons for not attending, although there is really no good reason for not attending church on a regular basis.She is 84 now and Dad has been gone for now on to 10 years, but Mom still attends church, pretty much every time the doors are open.She never drove a car, but she always managed to get us and herself a ride to church somehow, as she does for herself even today.While it's so hot outdoors, I thought I'd share just a few more bits of my past.It was hard back then to realize how grateful we would be,later, for the kind of raising we had. And at the time, we thought we had it so bad.

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