Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh, What a Life!

Years ago, I subscribed to a magazine that had a regular entry on an Amish family and their daily life. I found that very interesting, since the Amish are a people that prefer to stay off to themselves.We are fairly close friends with several of the local Amish families in our community today. We have used the services of one particular family, since they moved into this area many years ago. I am pretty sure it was in the late seventies or the early eighty's.I was fascinated by them at that time and still am to this day. I think the reason is simply because they live their lives so similar to the way my family was raised and I can identify with them more so because of that.My family has always been teased about being part Amish because we are so similar in our ways of doing things. My Mom tells of an Amish man who did marry into our family many, many years ago, but I am sure it has nothing to do with our genes or our lifestyle, but it does make things more interesting when brought up in a conversation.When us kids were growing up on the farm, we never give it a thought that we were any different from any other kids we associated with.Most of them lived very similar lives to ours.I think now, that a lot had to do with being so poor, but when you are young, you have no concept of money and it's effect on your lifestyle.Dad was self employed, with his own Bulldozing business.It was a small operation, but he stayed busy at it. We always had a house and plenty of acreage.We had cows,pigs,chickens, and a pony or two at all times. We raised a big garden every year and Mom canned everything she could.Dad raised corn and hay on the land for the livestock. That kept us busy during the picking season, since we did it by hand,as we did our milking. We always had several milk cows.Most of us kids knew how to milk cows. I'm not sure about the three youngest. Dad and Mom, and the five younger children, moved to an island in south Georgia, before they were old enough to learn. Dad was out and gone most days before we got out of bed, bulldozing for someone.He would come home many times, with a fine dust,covering everything but his eyes.I guess those were hot dry days like we are having now.He stayed busy with the bulldozer, but collecting the pay for his work, was sometimes a task.When Dad retired and moved away, in the early seventies, he left with many people still owing him for the work he had done. Dad was soft hearted, so he never pressured them to pay.Many times, he would take land or houses as payment. I never knew that until I was much older. Dad always owned a house or two, or another lot of ground somewhere, at all times.I guess that was better than no pay at all, but it doesn't buy groceries. Mom struggled for all of the years they were married to store everything she could from the gardens and the livestock we raised.We always had animals for meat, eggs from the chickens,milk from the cows. Mom used the milk every way possible. She made cottage cheese, butter, buttermilk.She even tackled homemade cheese. She tried to cook every garden vegetable possible to where we would eat it. We experimented a lot with all sorts of dishes, till we found a way we would eat different things. We were never that picky about our food. We were always so hungry from farm life and all the chores we had to do.Many times Mom would have something planned for supper, only to have some of us 9 kids to sneak in and eat it up before mealtime.It seems we were always hungry. We did not have free rein to the food like kids of today.I was one who did a lot of the experimenting with cooking. We were always craving something sweet.Very little sweets were brought into the house. The weekly groceries were minimal, and every item on the list was preplanned for a particular day and use. We dared not use anything for other than was it was intended.On occasion Mom would give us permission to cook up something sweet. She would always warn us though. We could cook up anything we wanted to,to satisfy our sweet tooth, but we'd better eat it. Nothing was to go to waste, so I would experiment until it was edible.We didn't have a lot of choices of things to use. We most usually had syrup, oatmeal, peanut butter, molasses,sometimes cereal, and of course flour, sugar, eggs, and meal.You would be surprised at some of the concoctions we'd end up with, but we'd eat it and be satisfied for awhile. I think that is where I got my love for experimenting with various foods and recipes. That is why I loved working for the school for years before the government got so involved and made every school begin using centralized recipes and foods. All the fun left out of it for me at that time. No more whipping anything up from scratch anymore.
Well, I've enjoyed reliving a little of my life here today, and will, no doubt relive bits and pieces along the way, but I'll stop for now, and get to my daily chore. Hope you've enjoyed reading bits of my early life and memories. Later!
(The top picture is Mom and Dad on their wedding day. January 27, 1946.In the bottom picture,I am the second from the right,front row.This picture was taken 10 plus years ago. I think it was at the party for Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary.)


  1. enjoyreading your story today, i'm not on blog to much but try to get on and catch up a little. time does go by fast, kids in the today world wouldn't know what to do back them, it was hard time but good time. My cousin was here last week from kansas and stay a few day we had a good time, when they was young they live in louisville and in the summer month they would spend some time with us on the farm, so we when to our home place andour grandparent old home place, we really enjoy seeing one another and doing thing together. she said that was the best time spending the summer with us on the farm. Now she has a little farm in mossouri.I really enjoy the amish and watching them, would like to know about them, Mae has a great niece that marry a amish in club run. This is all STAY COOL!

  2. Love your post! Don't think I ever really "looked" at that photo before...didn't realize that all the guys each have a mustache. Did you? I don't remember Dad ever wearing a mustache. Did he?

    Been trying to stay cool while doing some late spring cleaning. Spoke to Mom the other day after I saw the photo of her arm. (I forgot to ask if she was on blood thinners. Becky says they can cause bruises like that. Do you know if she takes anything like that?) She stayed on the phone with me for a very long time...I was so pleased...she is usually so worried about our bill that you can't keep her on there for long. I really enjoyed our chat! And you know, no matter how old I get...just the sound of mama's voice always makes me feel better!!

    One good thing about this drove you indoors long enough to write some of your great "good old days" stories!! Love them and love you...until later...Vicki