The Average Farmer on the Family Farm

Iowan recalls the average farmer's daily activities on his family farm
CAPPER's Staff
Good Old Days
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The average farmer rose at about five o'clock in the morning and went to the barn to milk cows on his family farm. He was quiet and gentle with them and even squirted warm milk into the cats' mouths. One by one he let the cows out.

The large containers of milk were carried to the separator house. The handle on the separator was rotated until the little bell quit ringing and the milk was run through the machine. The cream ran into a separate receptacle and the skim milk was fed to the pigs.

As the farmer carried the skim milk to the hog house, every pig made a ruckus, begging to be fed.

By this time, the roosters were crowing and the hens were chirping. The cream check from the dairy herd and the daily egg gathering took care of the weekly household expenses.

Breakfast was next. The menu varied according to how laborious the day was to be. If it was field work, haying or picking corn, the meal could consist of bacon, ham and eggs, toast, jelly and coffee. Sometimes cereal and fried potatoes were added. After breakfast the farmer finished his chores, harnessed his horses and headed for the fields.

The mowers, rakes and hayracks were used in force during haying time. Corn planters were pulled by horses as were the binders when the grain was ready to be harvested. Barns were cleaned and manure spreaders fertilized the fields. There were no idle moments, but when the farm couple caught up with their tasks, they would go to town to do any business they needed to do and spend the rest of the day visiting.

If a neighbor was ill or had undergone surgery, the rest of the neighbors would pitch in and take care of his crop. The wives would go along with baskets of food to feed the hungry workers. Wasn't that great?

When winter came, the sled was used to haul wood or possibly to take the children to meet the school bus. If the country road was blocked, all of the farmers would come, armed with shovels, to help open the road.

Probably one of the most important jobs for the children was to keep the wood boxes filled and the reservoirs filled with water, so hot water was always available.

People visited each other, sometimes to play cards or have house dances. There was a real community spirit that people would never forget.

Madonna L. Storla
Postville, Iowa


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 


 


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