Monday, May 28, 2018

Time to Plant the Garden

Well here it is towards the end of  May.
We started thinking garden at the Old Farmer's House at the first of the month.
And we had weather cold enough to snow in Western NY.
This is why safe planting time there was mid May.

"If you plant peas on St. Patrick's Day, 
and then it snows on them; you will have a bumper crop."
Perhaps the peas and onion sets are in early, they will survive. 
Soon the carrots, beets, swiss chard, kohlrabi etc will be planted

We would eagerly go out each morning to see if any had sprouted.
Then the squashes, tomatoes,
 and the corn at the north end of the garden. 
After the tomatoes are planted we would go out the next
morning and see how they were doing.
The Old Farmer would point out where one
was chopped down like a little tree
The damage was from the "cut worm".
It would eat through the stem just above the ground level.
You would loose a few each year and if you had extra
plants you could fill in. This only happened the first few
days before they "hardened" up.

The Old Farmer had nice straight rows in his garden. 
It was a big garden, he kept a line rolled up on two sticks in the barn.
Each spring it came out and started the first row, the line must have been
100 feet long! Then each row after he moved the line over 2 feet, more
or less depending on what was being planted. 
After the line was set he would go down along it with the hoe
and make the furrow in which to plant the seeds.  

I will never forget The Old Farmer taking me out to the new garden
after a heavy shower. It had been very dry.
He said that he supposed I thought we had a good rain now
and the garden was well watered. I agreed. 
The he bent over and flicked over a bit of dirt with his finger.
Only the thinnest bit on top was set, underneath was still dry dusty soil.  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Old Farmer's Wife

The Old Farmer's wife was a good mother.
She cooked and cleaned and canned the produce of the garden.

The Old Farmer's children learned cooking
by helping prepare vegetables and observing.
They were sent to the basement to bring up potatoes
or the back room to get canned goods.

They learned cleaning with weekly chores.
Each was responsible for their bedroom and a living room
or dining room or bathroom as assigned.
These became daily chores when school was out for the summer.
Beds were made and sinks scoured daily.

They learned canning by picking the produce and washing the jars.
And watching the loading of the canner
and hearing the lids pop when the jars came out.


When the old farmer's back was out she got the heating pad
and made him comfortable.
When the children had the mumps and measles and chicken pox
they were babied and loved back to health.

And she had lots of favorite sayings. Mostly was "it takes two to tango".
We could not get away with saying it was the other persons fault!

The Old Farmer's wife was a good mother.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Easter Egg Hunt

   If you have been reading my blog, The Old Farmer's Daughter
you know the Old Farmer was a big kid at heart! 

Every year the night before Easter the whole family
gathered around the big round table in the kitchen
and we colored the hard boiled eggs in colored dyes. 
 Overnight the magic happened courtesy of 
The Old Farmer hiding the eggs and a basket for each child. 

Usually it was still winter in our neck of the woods so
the big hunt was held in the large dining room. 
There was a basket in the corner of the bay window. 
A blue egg in the middle of the snake plant! 
One under the radiator! 
One egg was missing...the Old Farmer hinted,
warmer, warmer, oops cooler, warmer, warmer, HOT ! 
Where was it? Aha! Climbing on a chair it was found
overhead in a flower wall pocket!

Then off to church in our new Easter clothes and hats.  
Back home to a breakfast of hard boiled eggs and coffee cake. 
Dinner of ham and deviled eggs. 
And chocolate bunnies for desert. 


Monday, January 29, 2018

New schedule for the Old Farmer's Daughter

The Old Farmer's Daughter 

Is going to start posting periodically

As seasonal posts come up.

This is an effort to avoid repeating myself.

I thank all my followers and if you are not

following on my blogg or via blogger

I hope you will consider doing so

so that you don't miss any of my great upcoming stories !

Monday, January 22, 2018

Snow Days

Snow Days.
Didn't we all love them! 

A play day, a fun day, a romping in the snow day. 
Unfortunately they were few and far between.
If the side road was impassable The Old Farmer's children
had to hike to the top of the hill on the main road to catch the bus! 

When we had one we made the most of it.
One of this Old Farmer's daughter favorite memories of a day at home
would be when The Old Farmer's wife covered a card table with
a blanket to make a tent, a cave, an igloo! 
We would use a dining room chair as a doorway
to crawl into the cozy space. 

When getting outdoors in our snowsuits
we would play fox and goose, making concentric circle paths
in the snow with a cross through them to a safe space in the center. 
When the fox caught a goose (one of the other players)
they became the fox until they could catch a "goose". 
There was a lot of slipping and falling down in the 
bulky suits which were hard to move in! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Hot Potato

It was really cold out and The Old Farmer 
decided it was time to take us out into the wild
for a cookout. The old fashioned way.
None of these civilized picnics with the grill and charcoal stuff. 

We trekked through the snow to the field at the far side of the garden
from the farmhouse. There The Old Farmer lit a wood fire
and got it going good. We picked up any sticks and limbs we
found around to help stoke it. 

When there was a good bed of coals he put foil wrapped potatoes
deep back under them, pushing with a stick.
Then we had to wait, and wait, "how much longer!" 
Sitting in the snow around the fire we shivered and chatted for an hour,
until the taters would be ready. 

When the Old Farmer deemed it had been long enough
he raked the foil packages out with another stick,
digging until he found them all. Hot potato, hot potato!
Tossing from hand to hand to unwrap them hot potatoes
which were charred on the outside and did not look to appetizing! 

Ah, but inside they were light and fluffy
and so good to have something hot to eat on that cold day outside. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Skating on the Pond

Cold Cold Cold
Like we are having now. 

It is time to check the pond and go ICE SKATING! 

Before we were allowed on the ice the old farmer would
sweep snow off the edge to see how thick it was.
If 3" or more he would edge out farther into the ice
and check again. 
And he would show us how to check. 4-5" was good to go.
It was amazing how clear the ice might
be so you could see how thick it was. 

Then let the fun begin! 
Someone would start with the snow shovel
and make paths until there was a large clear area. 
We were warned to stay away from the left side
along which there were muskrat holes and thinner places in the ice. 
At the far end a spring ran into the pond so that was thinner too. 

So when deemed safe we spent many a winter day
down on the pond. Just skating back and forth.
The neighbor boys would play hockey. 

Occassionally the top of the ice would get wet with snow on it
then the ice would refreeze all tiny bumpy and be unusuable,
pretty much for the rest of the winter :   ( 

Play safe everyone!~ 

Monday, December 18, 2017


So it came to pass as the excitement of Christmas approached
a gift wrapping table was set up in the back bedroom.

The Old Farmer's Wife helped the little ones wrap their packages.
The older ones wrapped themselves! 

The Old Farmer was many things, 
but he was not an artist when it came to wrapping packages! 
Fortunately the Old Farmer's Wife helped out.


Guess which was from The Old Farmer to The Old Farmer's Wife?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas On Main Street

The Old Farmer's Daughter would like to say how much I enjoyed
the past couple weeks on her school's facebook page. 
We have been remembering our small town and the stores on Main Street
It was fun to remember many and learn of some I didn't remember.
Go Starpoint! 

So there came a time when The Old Farmer
and The Old Farmer's Wife decided I was old enough
to go Christmas shopping by myself!  

I was dropped off at the corner of Main Street
just above the bridge (widest bridge in the world! at that time).
The street was decorated for the holidays. 
My heart was pounding with excitement! 
With some trepidation I set off up the street.

The Old Farmer's Daugher goes Christmas Shopping

I had $10.00 and 5 gifts to buy. 
First stop the menswear store to get a tie for The Old Farmer.
Second stop the 5 and dime.
Evening in Paris gift set for The Old Farmer's wife.
Then some gifts for the brother and sisters.
Life saver's gift book? Pez? 

A dollar went a long ways then!

All to soon the adventure over and I waited on the corner
for The Old Farmer's Wife to pick me up.  

Are all those celebrating ready for Christmas?
What are you doing for the holidays?

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Desk and the Rat

I believe I mentioned the backroom of the farmhouse in the past.
Originally it was the kitchen area with a big old cookstove. 
You would come in the back door to this room to warm
yourself by the fire in the winter, and dry your clothes and boots! 
Or when you awoke on a cold morning would hustle down
one of the many staircases to get warm.
There was a narrow back stairs that came down directly here too. 

So now it was kind of a catch all room. 
There were the laundry tubs at one end 
...and the washing machine. 
A big double freezer in the middle. 
Various boxes and cabinets here and there.
And the big roll top desk at the other end. 

The desk had history. 
The family had been in the printing business 
for three generations. 
This was the great grandfather's office desk when 
he printed a local Ohio town newspaper. 

It came to pass that there was rustling heard in the clutter of the back room. 
The Old Farmer observed papers chewed up in the desk drawer
for the makings of a nest! The hunt for the miscreant was on! 

Of course all of us were in on it including the old beagle, our hunting dog,
perhaps we were supposed to circle the area so the "mouse" would be cornered. 
The Old Farmer's weapon of choice was a broom. 
He cautiously opened the lower desk drawer. 

Out burst the mouse who had transitioned into a RAT!
All chaos broke loose, the Old Farmer swiped at it with the broom,
the dog leaped forward, the rat ran between leaping feet, scurried
around the boxes, the Old Farmer all along trying to smack it with 
the broom, while usually hitting the dog who was right in the fray. 
Eventually the culprit was back in the corner behind the desk and
was dispatched to the great beyond.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Nickel on the railroad

Thanksgiving 1957

The feast is over and the I am remembering our
hike earlier in the day.
It is a yearly thing, The Old Farmer takes us out
to hike the rail line that crosses the back road into town.

It is quite scenic, going around a curve and with shale like
cliffs on one side. It was chilly out today.
There were 4 of us kids. We tried to outdo each other
walking on the rails, follow the leader.
Picking up dead leaves and stones along the tracks.
We had a healthy curiosity as all kids do
We were full of questions, what kind
of leaf it this, what tree did it come from.
The Old Farmer had the answers and pointed
out the matching tree. 

What would happen if we left a penny on the rail?
Then The Old Farmer took a nickel from his pocket
And searched along the rock cliff for the perfect spot.
He swept off the debris and put the nickel there,
And told us all to remember where it was, next year
We would come back and find it!

Continued...present day...

 So the Old Farmer's Wife had a respite from family
so she could concentrate on the big dinner.
And when we went back to find that nickel...
...never could find it-after a year of anticipation! 
It was a mystery, did a squirrel or a bird dislodge it? 
Or did someone else actually find it!? 

Monday, November 20, 2017

What is a first cousin....

There were many discussions over the years 
Especially at Thanksgiving dinner,
about extended families and who was who. 
Especially Cousins. Can you imagine such a mundane
subject becoming intense! It can!
Who was a cousin, what was a cousin once removed? 
Who was a first cousin, who was a second cousin..
Oh good grief, now I am getting confused all over again! 
There were many opinions.  

I'll try to sort this out a bit,
First cousins, the children of siblings to each other.
Second cousin, the children of first cousins to each other. 
Cousin once removed. Once removed refers to generations,
So your once removed cousin is the child of your first cousin. 

Now The Old Farmer's Daughter is going on vacation! 
Let's celebrate our farmers who make this possible. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Church Life

The Old Farmer's Wife was a good catholic. 
And the Old Farmer loved her so he promised to
go to church with her and raise the children as catholics too.

The Old Farmer and his wife were active community members
and both belonged to the church societies.
 The men of the church belonged to the Holy Name Society.
And the women had the Rosary Altar Society.

The men did the barbecuing at the yearly church dinner.
And helped run the lawn fete. This involved building booths
and running the games, there were darts and balloons, with one
small balloon in the middle for a bigger prize.
And the venerable ping pong ball in the goldfish bowls.
Pounding in a nail with hammer, can you do it in one blow!?

The women cooked and served family style at the church dinner.
They had a rotation for cleaning the church and bringing flowers in. 
My funny memory of the ladies was the teas at our house.
One older lady was something of a diviner.

I may have mentioned the Old Farmer's Wife had a teacup
collection and when she held the tea was proud to use these.
(No? well we will get to it!~)
She went out to buy loose leaf tea special.
And the diviner would read the tea leaves.
This always struck me as incongruous.
But it was "just for fun".

Monday, November 6, 2017

Elderberry Wine

The Old Farm was truely an old farm.
It appeared to be a prosperous farm in the 1800s.
The house was expanded in Victorian times from
its original farmhouse. 

There were old orchards; pear and apple.
A quince tree, vineyard, and black raspberries gone wild.
Walnut trees and a patch of elderberry bushes.

Elderberries (Sambucus) were/are used medicinally by many.
The berries are black or very dark blue and have a sharp, sweet flavor 
that makes them highly preferred for desserts, syrups, jams, jellies.
They are full of minerals, antioxidands, and vitamins.

For many years an old couple would come by in the right season
and ask to pick some berries. Of course permission was given.
That was the way in the country. 
A couple months later a bottle of elderberry wine would appear! 

(From Kraft Foods page)
3-4 lbs ripe elderberries
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 packet sure jell
4 1/2 cups gran sugar
1/4 tsp butter

Place berries in a large pot and crush with a potato masher to release 
some of the juices. Turn the heat to medium and continue to crush
 as the mixture heats up to a boil. Once the berries and their juices reach a boil,
 reduce the heat to low and let the berries simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Slowly transfer the mashed berries and juice over the sieve (or 4 layers cheesecloth)
to strain the juice into the pot. Let strain for an hour. 

 You will need 3 cups of juice to make one batch of jelly if using MCP pectin, 
3 3/4 cups of juice if using SureJell pectin

Place 3 cups (or 3 3/4 cups depending on your brand of pectin) of juice into a large, 
high sided, wide pot (8-quart). Add the lemon juice and pectin. 
Bring to a boil on high heat. 

Add sugar and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon. 
Bring to a boil again. Watch the pot as the mixture will foam up considerably. 
You may need to lower the heat a bit to keep the foam from boiling over the pot.
Add  sugar and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon. 

Bring to a boil again. Watch the pot as the mixture will foam up considerably. 
You may need to lower the heat a bit to keep the foam from boiling over the pot.
Boil exactly 1 minute, ladle into jars and seal in a hot water bath, 5 minutes.  

Monday, October 23, 2017

All Hallow's Eve Memories

I look out the window and see the leaves falling
The spiders are weaving the webs around the front door. 
I think the season calls for leaving the webs through the end of the month.
Why you ask? Its soon to be All Hallows Eve!

My mind wanders back to Halloween on the farm.
We always carved the pumpkins and roasted the seeds. 
The Old Farmer would get the pumpkins started by cutting out
a round lid with a notch to fit it in place. And carefully
held the knife on an angle inwards so the lid was beveled
to fit and would not fall in!

The pumpkins went out at sunset with a candle inside.

Then there was the year
The Old Farmer made a pumpkin man
to sit in a chair out by the road.
He stuffed an old pair of overalls with straw
and put him in an old pair of boots.
And he had a spooky pumpkin head. 

Something dark and scary happened overnight
and in the morning his parts were scattered to all corners. 
Halloween did not disappoint.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fall Leaves and Walnuts

Does it feel like fall yet? 
Are the leaves blowing in the wind?
Is there a chill in the air?
On the Old Farm there was a front woods
and a back woods. 
There were beech trees and ash trees and oaks and maples.
There was a chestnut tree. And english walnuts.

The Old Farmer's children as children all over the world
would collect the prettiest fall leaves they could find.
Beech leaves were yellow. 
Maples were red and golden. 
We would bring our samples home and the Old Farmer's Wife
would iron them between sheets of wax paper to preserve them. 
Then off to school for show and tell. 

And oh the bounty of walnuts. 
We would collect a basket full and spend
an evening in front of tv cracking shells and separating
the nuts into a bowl. 
These would make wonderful coffee cakes in the coming months.

This recipe is an easy quick coffee cake we learned in 4-H.
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortning
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
Grease bottom of 8" x 8" x 2" baking pan.
Sift and measure flour. sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
And shortening and cut in with pastry blender or fork.
Add beaten egg and milk. Spread in greased pan.
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle over cake mixture.
You want it on chunky so it sinks and and forms pockets of deliciousness.
If spread evenly and thin it will not work.
Bake at 350' for 30-35 minutes, serve hot!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Getting the Old Farmhouse in Shape for the Winter

The Old Farmhouse needed a bit of work from time to time.
Painting those fancy corbels was tricky! 
( The ornate decorative brackets under the eaves. )

One Old Farmer's Daughter remembers
 being on the roof where they overlapped
with the Old Farmer 
  reaching to paint them.
Of course in places you could put a ladder
on a porch roof, which made it much easier. 

A blessing was the Old Farmhouse 
having permanently colored shingles.
They were cement asbestos, 
very rigid and stonelike.

Every fall the screens were taken off 
the old windows and storm windows 
put in their place. 
And vice versa in the spring. 
No triple tracks back then.
And think about all the storage space
this took in the off season too! 
 The Old Farmer's children's job was to wash them prior to installing for the season.

This one picture shows the corbels and the siding
and some of the many windows needing to be changed spring and fall.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Shift Work and Children's Games

The Old Farmer had another job. 
He was a printer by trade. 
But his heart was in farming. 

The printing trade was learned through a series of steps.
You started as an apprentice, running and toting for
the master printer. When you had learned all the ins and outs
of the materials and how they were used you moved up to
Journeyman. Then maybe you assisted in loading the ink
and paper rolls. learning to run the presses.
There was a lot more to this than you might think.
You had to get the ink flowing evenly.
To do it right you ran a test page checked it and adjusted as necessary.
If you just ran it and waited for it to get flowing as it went
you may have wasted a lot of ink and paper in the process. 

And learning to use colors!
The Old Farmer was a Master Printer.

Well the point of this story from the Old Farmer's Daughter's
point of view was how he always made time to play a game
with me before heading off to shift work in the afternoon,
or when getting home after a night shift before going to bed
for the day.

It was often chinese checkers. Or cards.
We played war where when two cards you each put down matched...
the first person to shout war could confiscate all the cards down on the table.
The first person to run out of cards lost. 
And our personal family game, Jud.
Named with a shortened family members name.
This was an abbreviated game of rummy with just
4 cards instead of 7 and you made your sets of 3 or runs. 

I hope all children can have these fun memories of their fathers.
They seem like little things but are big to the children.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Old Farmhouse Needed a Lot of Work

 As mentioned in my previous entry
the old plaster was coming loose from the lathe. 
If anyone was too rambunctious upstairs a new crack
might form on the ceiling downstairs! 
An interesting aside about old plaster, the coarse base layer
was full of horsehair, which made it strong and then the
skim coat was thin and smooth, sticking well to the coarse base. 

The Old Farmer spent many years as time and money allowed
knocking off the loose plaster and putting up drywall.
 The Old Farmer's Wife was usually in charge of choosing
a suitable wallpaper to finish the project.
She was conservative and classic in her choices
so not to offend anyone's sensibilities.

There were places with old wallpaper and sound plaster. 
Removing old wallpaper was quite the project. Not the easy
damp and strip of the new glues. This stuff was on there!
and in many layers! You had to rent a steamer. It had a big flat head
That fed the steam to the surface, then followed scrapping, 
there were places with 10 layers of old paper! 
It was a hot messy job.

The fascinating thing was when old dates
were found penciled on the wall under the paper. 
I remember in the front hall a place
marked with the paperer's name and date of the project.
My memory recalls 1896, altho there is some disagreement
about that!

Monday, September 18, 2017

How We Got a Farm

I heard a story.
The Old Farmer got a deal on the farmhouse.
He had a growing family. The proposed house was in disrepair. 
An old gentleman lived there. He had an old horse. 

An arrangement was made that the old gent
would continue to live upstairs
and the Old Farmer and his family would live
in the downstairs and renovate as time allowed.
He had his farm! 


It was a grand old farmhouse, 
made for entertaining.
With double doors between rooms
that could be opened to make a large space. 
The whole ground floor could be opened 
but for the back room,
which had the huge wood cookstove
 and washtubs 
and a swinging door.

The plaster was coming loose from 
the lathe in several places.
A couple times a large section fell
 and it was luck for no one to be
 under when it happened.
 The Old Farmer's wife,
expecting a child was under one 
such fall, and had moved aside just 
before catastrophe might have struck. 
Over the years new drywall was 
put up and walls were papered. 

The Old Farmer's Wife made her personal project
stripping the paint off the main staircase railing and posts.
It was a beautiful thing of black walnut when done. 
That project took several months.
I can still see her sitting there step after step, 
moving upward as she worked on each piece.