Monday, May 30, 2016

Tuesday was...

Tuesday follows Monday and that means ironing!
(refer to last weeks blog)
So Monday night The Old Farmers Wife took down the dry laundry from the line.
It was brought in and spread out on a table or the ironing board and sprinkled,
yes we made it wet again! Our Farmer's Wife technique was to dip her hand in bowl of water
and shake hand over the dry laundry. More citified folks had corked sprinkler caps you could
put on a bottle of your choice up to high end figurals. A great collectible. 

By the way fresh laundry brought in from outdoors smells so good,
now we buy fresh linen scent.
So sprinkled and folded and rolled up tight, packed back in the laundry basket overnight.
Sitting overnight allowed the sprinkling to evenly dampen the fabric before ironing.
This would be almost all but for towels and washcloths, and sheets,
altho I think some people did iron sheets too! But we gave them a good shake,
then folded them up in our house.
Us girls were trained starting with hankies only, then moved up to aprons, skirts then pants;
pants and pleats required a bit of skill but blouses/shirts were the hardest.
You started with the collar and cuffs, then went to the sleeves, then laying lengthwise over the edge of the board so you could iron out the center of the sleeve with the iron hanging
over edge of board so you wouldn't get a crease.
Halfway there! Now the shoulders over the tip of the board, then the body of shirt/blouse. 
As a previous comment noted on washday,
"no wonder my aunt was tired at the end of the day".
And that was just the half of it! No dryers or steam irons or wrinkle free fabrics....

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day

Honoring our American

With Gratitude
Will return to our regular programing Tuesday.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday was Wash Day

Monday was laundry day.  That was determined by the Old Farmer’s wife. 
Tuesday was the alternate if it happened to rain on Monday, but in the winter the clothes were hung in the basement so the weather did not matter.
So by Monday morning, each member of the family was responsible to bring to the laundry room their hamper of dirty clothes.  The laundry room was just the backroom of the house where the laundry tubs were, definitely a multi-purpose area. 
 (Sometimes the tubs were used for bathing dirty children.)
The washer was electric, but each step was manual.  The washer had to be filled with water and soap, the clothes put in and then turn the swisher on for 15- 20 minutes depending on the dirty-ishness of that particular load.  Then the swisher turned off and the clothes lifted out to the spinner (or wringer) and spun.  Then the clothes were lifted into a laundry tub filled with water to rinse.  Then the clothes were lifted back into the spinner and spun as dry as possible, then lifted to the basket to be taken outside (or to the basement) and to be hung.
Somewhere in that procedure, when the wash water or the rinse water were dirty, the tubs were emptied and refilled with fresh water.  And for items that were bleached, such as sheets and towels, bleach was added to the tub and then when the items needing bleach were finished, the tubs were emptied.
In earlier days a hand cranked wringer was used, and a washboard and a bar of Fels Naptha soap (A strong bar soap) rubbed on ring around the collar and cuff and other stubborn stains and scrubbed.
One thing the Old Farmer’s wife always said as we drove past a home with the laundry hanging out to dry, “You can always tell how a woman keeps her house by the way she hangs her laundry.”  And then there was the old joke –
“I heard there was a hanging at your place.”
 Ah, such was life on the farm.
(Contributed by Old Farmer''s Daughter #2 with some inclusion info from Old Farmer's Daughter #1)


Monday, May 16, 2016

An Earthier Subject

Ah, the old manure pile!
Welcome farmers and want to be farmers!
Any self respecting farm had a manure pile out back of the barn. This was a great asset for the garden. It would be full of straw and .... well manure, cow manure, pig manure, chicken manure, goat ... etc. Your stock of choice.
Our main pile was outside a large window opening behind the main pen in the barn.
You would pitchfork it out the window onto the pile. After aging for a year,
and over the winter it was ready to spread on the garden. Rotting the manure
in this manner is really important, it is full of bacteria and the aging
and heat from this process kills the bad germs off.
Do not put fresh manure on the garden!
This job was usually handled by my father or brother as he grew into it.
Not being pc us girls were spared from the job! When my brother was a senior in
high school he tossed the manure and his HS ring right out the window,
it was never found again! Still out behind the barn (or in the garden) to this day.
One year my father built a manure sled. It was two long logs for the base
topped with planks. he loaded up the manure and dragged it with the tractor up to the garden,
all us kids riding along. The first row of pitching the manure into the garden went well.
But on the turn, it seems it was too long and not maneuverable
 and we went topsy turvy. tipping over! What fun we had as kids!
Well that is a picture of the finished product, doesn't it look good!?

Monday, May 9, 2016

How Tall Is Your Corn

Welcome old and new farmers....

 We used to say your corn should be knee high by the fourth of July. Now this was in the northern states, actually down here in Virginie we are eating corn by the fourth!
How do you plant your corn?  We always planted four seeds to a hole.
One for the worm;
One for the crow;
One to rot;
And one to grow!
Now normally you would get more than one to propagate, maybe two or three...
but this ensured a full row without large gaps in it.
Speaking of gaps; for corn to produce it needs to be planted in several rows, not one long row as I have seen beginners do. You need several rows or a block of corn so that the tassels will spread their pollen to the silks and give you a nice full ear of corn.
Another tip for serious corn lovers, plant 4 rows, then a week or two later plant another 4 rows and then again. I would say every two weeks and you will have fresh corn producing for a couple months!
The Old Farmer was quite the connoisseur of corn, he knew how many rows of kernels on an ear of different varieties and swore by picking it right before dinner while mother was getting the water to boiling. He would say if it wasn't in the pot within 15 minutes of picking it would start to turn to starch and loose its sweetness. All I know is we had awful good corn!

Now you have a hint how much you are missing if you are buying it at the grocery.