Remembering Growing Crops on the Family Farm

Growing crops and eating together helped build community on our family farm.

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I remember my grandparents' 320-acre family farm in south-central Kansas. My grandparents are gone now, but I remember those good times we had on the family farm growing crops and sharing food.

There was no running water in the house. It was carried in from a windmill a short distance from the house. Meals were cooked on an old wood-burning stove. The kitchen had a cabinet with a flour bin. The dining room had a wood-burning stove.

My uncle and his three children lived with us, as did my unmarried aunt, who did much of the cooking. There were family reunions with aunts, uncles and cousins. Meals were eaten on a long table that seated 12 to 14. Those who couldn't sit at the table grabbed a plate and ate wherever they could. The food was delicious.

We grew crops, and I especially remember the watermelons. We cousins would go to the field and burst open a melon and eat it right there. There were also sand plums and wild grapes, which made good jelly.

We played games outside. We'd take a wagon and go to a distant hill and ride down the hill in the wagon. We used a wagon wheel for a merry-go-round.

My grandparents were hard-working people. I remember Grandma in her ankle-length dresses and Grandpa relaxing in his special recliner chair. 

Helen Stoddard
Cambridge, Kansas

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.