Sunday, March 10, 2013


Extra Jobs after We Bought and Moved to Grandpa's Farm

Daddy may not have had a years long plan in his head, but to me, it almost seemed that way.   We no sooner moved in until he was cleaning up around the square rock house and building the new roof on it.  Of course, there were always the daily chores, bringing cows from the pasture, grinding feed for the cattle, milking, gathering eggs, weekly laundry and making sure we had water.

After the Rock house roof was finished, the two roomer, extending from the east end of the house porch was moved to begin the new barn.  Farm work was never ending, so buildings and repairs sometimes waited weeks or months...years.  But they were never forgotten.  Grandpa kept his fences in good shape.  During his years there he walked the fences every Sunday after breakfast.  He carried pliers, a hammer and pocket of staples to repair as he went or remember some place to make major repairs during the week.  But as he aged, the fences kept aging also.  I think the first fence project was across the entire north side of the farm.  It was a half mile long, from the west end at the road separating our land from Albert Miller's farm.  It ended when it reached Hiram White's place on the east.  The back fence was a mile long, running from that northeast corner by Hiram's to the river bank on the south.  That installment took a long time.

The Orchard had been planted and required upkeep.  When the trees began bearing fruit, it had to be gathered, preserved or sold.  All the family: aunts, uncles, grandparents had free access.  One year our dear friends, Sylvia and Percy Ryan from Ryan, Oklahoma came with their children.  They were our ages.  We always had lots of fun together.  They are Albert Lee, Clarissa, Judy and Euleen.  Percy had tin cans with lids and the sealer.  Daddy had arranged for big black cast iron boiling kettles from among the family.  One had lye water for eating the skin off the peaches.  Then a kettle of cold soda water to kill the lye.  They had made bushel size chicken wire baskets for dipping the fruit into the kettles into the water with the front-end loader on our Ford Tractor.

Mother worked in the kitchen making sugar syrup for pouring into the cans filled with peaches.  And she prepared meals for the work force of twelve hungry workers.  Sylvia worked under a shade tree at a table near the pealing and cooling process.  She supervised us eight children, some almost teens.  You see their names above and we were Carlton, Donnie, Pallie and Linda Kay.  Our jobs were to cut the peaches off the seeds, called stones.  We cut them into wedges.  Some of us filled the cans.  Some of the older ones helped Sylvia put on the tops and turn the crank that set the lids.  Then they were given back to Daddy and Percy to boil them in the big kettles until they had sealed.

It was a wonderful time.  The work continued about a week.  As we cut the fresh, tree ripened peaches to go into the cans, the juice ran down our arms and dripped off our elbows.  Often we could lick it off and Oh that juice was so good.  Doing that work in the hot summer time under that old shade tree, we didn't need sugar syrup on our peaches.  The taste and joy and fun continue in my mind to this day.


  1. I would love to have one of those good, sweet, juicy, fresh peaches right now. And remember drying all the peaches and apricots, then during the Winters, adding water and cooking them "down" and making the best Jam or candy, depending how long you cooked them, you ever have eaten!! Oh, the memories to cherish

  2. I wonder why we didn't put peaches up in cans more than that one time. I also wonder if we had enough to last more than a year. I remember them on the shelves in the rock house.

  3. I just had no idea that a person could have tin cans with lids and a sealer...I always thought of that as a factory owned thing. Why didn't you use glass jars? Were tin cans cheaper or maybe the peaches lasted longer?