Thursday, October 30, 2008

Little House on the Prairie?

This morning I was sitting at the kitchen table talking with my mother and drinking coffee. Since one of my brothers has recently acquired a rooster and 3 hens, I asked her if chickens had to be kept warm in the winter. We had freezing temps this morning and I just wondered. Well, she began to talk about her childhood and I was amazed at the similarities to Little House on the Prairie.

I guess you could have called it Big Old Farmhouse on the Coastal Plain!

She said that her father, who she calls Papa, would buy 200 biddies that they would have to keep warm and take care of until they were big enough to go into the poultry yard with the already good sized flock. The chickens were very important to their survival, and she assured me that they always ate very well, thanks to her Papa and Mama.

She said there were chicken thieves who would come into the yard at night occasionally and take chickens from the roost. The chickens would be making all kind of noises and her Papa would go out with a gun. But she said he never shot at anyone, just went out to investigate.

I asked her what the chickens ate and she said they had plenty of corn and that they would take corn to the mill nearby and have cornmeal made. Then her mother would use the cornmeal and make some kind of concoction that the chickens loved.

She said that she would take a big dishpan full of her Mama's eggs to the store down the road and trade them in for things like sugar. Usually there would be a little change leftover, which her Mama would put away and save for Christmas. I hope the store keeper was nicer than Ms. Olson!!!

I think I want some chickens, but I'm not sure they would be profitable, since we would need to purchase food for them. A dozen eggs probably costs less than the food to feed them!

Then she told me about how much meat they had in their smokehouse. It was a nice smokehouse with lots of places to hang all kinds of hams, shoulders and sausage, etc.

Her Papa always had a cow so that all the children (11!) would have plenty of milk.

Don't get me wrong, I know they did not have the modern conveniences that we now have such as electric heat, air conditioning, indoor bathrooms and the like, but it sounds like a great childhood that my Mama had!

I think we all need to let our parents talk about their childhoods and make a record of these things.

Have your parents told you stories that make you yearn for those simpler times?


BLUE SKY said...

Yes! Reading this makes me wish I grew up back then. It probably wasn't fun all the time, but I think it sounds so interesting. Love you Mama.

Susan said...

It doesn't make me want to go back to those times (I like my indoor plumbing and hot running water!), but I do love to hear the stories.

Your mama sounds much like my Granny. She grew up on a farm in north Georgia, and called her parents Mama and Papa. They butchered pigs in the fall, and grew and picked cotton for their living. She was the oldest of 8 or 9 children, and her mother died when Granny was 8 years old, from typhoid or something like that. Granny cooked and ironed standing on a chair after her mother died. They cooked 3 big meals a day; as soon as breakfast was over they started lunch and so on. Papa remarried within a couple of years and that Mama became "Mama" to Granny. This was the lady I knew as my great-grandmother - she lived until I was 16. I love the stories! LOL

ancient one said...

Hi Debbie,

The give away has really been a hit... but it's because there is this BIG give away that mine is connected with. That's why there are so many comments.

I am going to tuck in a note with the bag with your blogspot addy on it... I hoped that some of those so anxious to get one of your bags will check you out..

I think I have lived the little house on the prairie life.... just on a small scale... my husband always had a regurlar job.. but he's kept chickens, cows (for beef) and a hog or two over the years..

We used to have a big garden and I would can and freeze some of our food... and we even had a wood heater for a while and kept the wood stacked for our heat..

Now, we just go to the grocery store.. although we sometimes eat some of the eggs.. so far we haven't tried goat ... but he sells a lot of them for eating..

You need to record your mom's memories while you can... my mother was raised by her brother and his wife and doesn't remember too much about her own mom and dad.. and as the years go by she remembers less and less.. when ever she tells me something from long ago, I try to write it down somewhere so I don't forget...

Terri said...

I love hearing the stories but I definitely would not want to live during those times. I love all the modern conveniences we have today - like my sewing machine!

Pen Pen said...

Loved your mom's story. My dad always seems to keep a few chickens and he and mama always have plenty of eggs. Sometimes they have very colorful eggs! I can remember just this one time that daddy had a lot of chickens and the day came for the chicken killing. I remember staying inside, but looking out the back door at the activities taking place outside. The thing I remember most is seeing the men grabbing the chickens and wringing their necks. They wouldn't die immediately, and they would jump up and down in the back of the truck, where they were throwing them. As a kid, we thought it was funny, but I don't know if I could handle it now, as an adult. But, I DO LOVE CHICKEN!!!!

Melinda said...

I enjoyed reading your mom's memories! Maybe you should make it a regular and you would be able to keep record and give all of us a good read while your at it! :)

I do love to read anything, especially first hand accounts of "life back then".

A couple of years ago my mother did write all of us kids some of her Christmas memories. I just loved them! Best Christmas present I got that year.

I harp at my dad to write his memories down, so far he hasn't. This post makes me think I ought to just ask the questions and write it myself. :)

Great post!

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