Colorado Homestead Had No Water but a Homemade Freezer

Wife and husband on Colorado homestead survived without a water source.

| Good Old Days

On my husband's claim in Bacca County, Colorado, where I went as a bride in 1917, we had no water and we had to haul it three miles, sometimes five miles, in large barrels. My husband tried to dig a well on that Colorado homestead, but the water was so deep and the rock so thick, he had to give it up.

But he did make use of the unfinished well. He placed a large pole across the opening some feet below the rim and there he hung jackrabbits, cottontails, wild ducks-anything he had shot -and let them freeze. He put a heavy cover over the well and weighted it down.

Outside the east window of our half dugout, he built a box about the size of the lower sash. Two ends of the box were screened, and the side attached to the window frame was open. We put what we wanted to keep cool into the box, and I was able to raise the window sash and reach the food from inside the house.

The crib for our baby was a 100-pound Arbuckle coffee box, well padded. You had to really work to make life happen on that Colorado homestead.

Ruth Curt Fields 
Auburn, Washington

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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