Wednesday, February 10, 2016

FOR ALL "HOMESTEADS," from Minnesota, 1930

Dear Editor:

I was a town girl before marriage; nevertheless I loved the country. So it was a happy day when my husband, tired of clerking, decided to go back to the land which was his by birthright.
The lonely winter view from my"Old Home"
I shall never forget the day we went to look things over. It was in mid winter. Drifts blocked the roads, necessitating detours across fields. The house stood on a knoll, and was badly in need of paint. Just the old fashioned upright-and-a-half to which, as an after thought, had been added a small lean-to kitchen. Nearby was a summer kitchen.

In spite of the dreary appearance it made, standing there in deep snow with tumbled down out-buildings in the background, I was not dismayed. And the man of the house, satisfied with his wife's attitude toward her future domicile, rented the place.

It would take some time to describe the interior which had been bachelor quarters. My husband admonished me not to speak about paper and paint to the landlord.

"He's a close-fisted fellow," he said, and we mustn't ask for anything this year."

So I scrubbed and made the little house clean. It was dreadfully cold, so cold that we had three stoves burning up all the oxygen that crept in around the doors and windows, and still I wore overshoes while doing the morning work. Small wonder we had so much sickness each winter.

Secretly I did some figuring as to how I could change my home. We had a fine flock of Barred Plymouth Rocks (chickens). To them I turned for the solution, and they never failed me. How proud I was of that flock,--nucleus of so many things that followed.

Ten years we lived in the little house. During that time four babies were born, and one was taken by death. We had our joys and sorrows, like so many others. My health was never very rugged so we had a sale and decided to move West thinking it might prove beneficial.

There's so much that I miss. In winter I think of "the old home" as we all call it, standing bleak and deserted on the knoll, its old comrades, the maples, stripped and broken, guarding it like staunch friends.

Again in May I see a garden; close by an old orchard popped out pink and white. The maples are alive with birds. On a spacious lawn little children are romping with a collie. And on a sandy hilltop a flock of Barred Rocks are scratching in the sunshine, and brood hens are teaching their young chicks to look for food...All this and more we left.

I'd like to make a plea for all "old homesteads." Often they go out of the family into strange hands. How much nicer if they could be kept as a sort of shrine--"the old home" forever.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

TRYING TO BE CHEERFUL, 1932

Knowing that there was much sorrow in the world during the Depression, The Farmer's Wife magazine tried their best to print encouraging letters.

From Nebraska--
     We have worked hard the last seven years, worked early and late, and what have we to show for it? Nothing. Perhaps Mrs. M.A.M. (a previous writer) has not had the sickness and expense we have had.
     My husband worked at home till he was 21 to get the few essentials for farming, but had to sell everything and prepare for the army. With practically nothing at all, we married. Husband works by the day when he can get work. He had about $25 to begin with. How far would that go toward buying a farm or stocking it?
      By the time we saved a little money along came a baby and took it all. Five babies in six years, with one going on to the land beyond. Now don't think the babies were unwelcome. Far from it. There are things in this world of more value than mere possession of land.
     You don't know what it is to climb from the depths of poverty, you have never tried it. Does poverty hurt one? No, not as long as he puts his trust in God. It is a refining plant to bring out the gold that there is in us.
From Iowa--
     Dear Me! Everybody's talking hard times! Sometimes we feel sort of downhearted and discouraged about it. But I know one little boy who says, "Hard times are sort of cozy times." That's because the whole family works and plans together. It's like pioneer days when people had to build a new life in a new country. Most of us here wished we had lived in pioneer times. They seemed so thrilling and "cozy." Well now we've a chance to be pioneers.