Wednesday, October 16, 2013

COUNTRY GIRL STORY; part 1; 1915; From Her "Beloved Southland'

The following account is written by a single woman in her early twenties. She lives in her “beloved Southland” on a farm of two hundred acres, twenty-five of which are cleared. The nearest village, which consists of twenty or so houses, is three miles from her farm. This is the way the farm looked when she first saw it:

“Around the house was an old-fashioned flower garden planted years before. The woods and creek were beautiful. The day we arrived, after we had crossed the creek and were inside the clearing, what we saw made us forget the long drive through black stumps and fallen trees. The oaks were just coming into leaf. The dogwoods formed a semi-circle around the place and were white with bloom against the green of the pines, while the wisteria hung in great clusters and the bridal wreath was one heap of white flowers.”

This was the first entrancing glimpse. But any one who knows about farm work, realizes that this view of a run-down, neglected old place means a long struggle. Nature has reached out hands to pull the whole cultivation back into the wilderness. In that tangled fragrant clearing was waiting a severe test for a trained farmer, not to say, for a beginner. But this girl was determined to live on the farm, and she stood ready to face all difficulties in the attainment of her desire. That neglected garden was typical. She soon had it cleaned and the bulbs reset, and it was not long before there were flowers for every month in the year. All difficulties seem to have been met with a spirit of determination and of cheer. “We were crazy,” she declares, “to live on a farm and determine not to fail; but as soon as one problem was solved, another would bob up. There was never a day without some unexpected happening, and adventures were plentiful.”

An average day of her life on the farm is a busy one. She says:

“The sun wakes me up in the morning, or maybe it is the mocking-birds singing. I work in the garden gathering the vegetables, picking the flowers, or cultivating, until breakfast time. After breakfast I make the beds and straighten the bed-room; then I work in the garden again until about 9:30 or 10:00 o'clock. Then I come in and help with the dinner or sew or study or write, and if it is bread-baking day I always knead the bread and prepare it for the oven. As we have breakfast about five-thirty o'clock we get so hungry we have dinner about 11:30. After dinner we rest a half hour either by reading or by lying down. In the afternoon after a bath I study or sew until it is cool enough to work in the garden. For supper we only make coffee and warm over something left from dinner. We have supper at five o'clock, but usually have a bowl of clabber or a glass of milk before going to bed. I work in the garden until dark; then we talk a while and go to bed about nine o'clock. In the winter we talk or read after supper until bed-time. However, in canning time the study, the sewing, and a good part of the reading are put aside.”