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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Chores

Daily Draw: Wisdom of the Oracle ~ Chop Wood

Doing life's chores. I learned to drive at nine, on the old grey and red Ford tractor. Pulling the hay wagon. Hay was tossed loose onto the big wagon. Only once did I jerk the clutch and drive out from under the hay. You want to see men mad? Yikes. One time was enough. Once loaded I'd turn to the barn, pulling up parallel with the enormous window above me.

I'd run and get mother, her place was on the other side of the barn, with a long rope tied onto the boxy teal and cream Pontiac. When she backed up the hooks would fall onto the hay wagon, the guys would anchor them, we'd all join in shouting to mom when to GO and when to STOP. At stop the hooks would loosen and the hay would drop onto the barn floor.

My little brother and I would then take coffee cans of rock salt and liberally sprinkle each new layer of hay. Because fresh hay can combust, burning the barn down. My dad would always tell me to quit eating the salt, did I want my blood to turn to dust?

Then we'd repeat who know how many times. Once that hay was in the barn it was my daily job to climb the ladder up to the top of the hay and throw a good pitchfork load down to each cow locked in her stanchion and the milking would start. I've never milked but often watched as dad would squirt milk in the barn cats mouth, always a knee slapper to a small farm girl.

"As a farm girl, even when I was quite young, I had my 'farm chores' - but I had time also to be alone, to explore the fields, woods and creek side. And to read." ~ Joyce Carol Oates 1938-

10 comments:

  1. Whew that was a lot of hard work, and a good memory(well maybe) of days gone by, hot Summer days of childhood.

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    1. well you know, the oldest memories are the last to go :)

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  2. Hi Sharyn! I love your vivid anecdote. I wish I remembered more stories from my childhood but I can't seem to recall most of them. I was a city slicker from Austin,Texas who moved to a small town in Colorado when I was 11. I didn't run a farm with my family like you did but I did certain chores like getting eggs from the chicken house and feeding the chickens. It was still an interesting culture shock. Wishing you well!! Xoxo MM

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    1. I LOVE my little hens (4) and their mini-rooster. (1)
      Mother took it seriously,getting chicks 500 at a time. Lovely to see you again!

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  3. Thank you for letting us take a peek in you childhood. What a great deal of responsibility you already had when you was a little girl. At that age a only played with my dolls... I wasn't trusted with much else but drying the dishes.

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    1. Oh I hated doing dishes. The only cleaning aid my mother ever had in the house was flake White King Soap, touted as "takes so little". If you didn't have enough none of the grease would wash off, too much and the wash water sort of jelled. And there were always things like a leftover bean that would bump my hand in the water...shudder shudder

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  4. The wide open fields and forests of a farm saved me as a young girl. I had never heard of salting new hay to keep it from combusting.

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    1. Now you know, stick with me kid...said in my best Bogart voice.

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  5. When I close my eyes I can still see the barn, the hay and your dad on the milking stool squirting the cats. Good memories. Thanks Sharyn.

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    1. Once we were playing hide and seek and I thought hiding in the hay would fool everyone. Quick into the barn and up the ladder and then was pulling some hay back and your dad said Hello. Near gave me heart failure. He was probably on a Four of Swords mini retreat :) laying there with his arms behind his head.

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I welcome your thoughts. Good bad or indifferent; opinions are the lifeblood of conversation and I always learn something from anyone with a new point of view. Thank you for visiting, Sharyn