Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Saturday on the Farm

                                              Billy Max,    Donna,     LaRoy
                                Donna, Max Sr., Max Jr., Eva, LaRoy

No school today!!  "Get to play?"  Most Saturdays--no play.  There was  plenty of work  to do.  We always had fence to fix. clean the chicken house and creosote the roosts and some of the sides to keep the mites down, clean the milking part of the barn.   We had sheep so in winter we had to clean the sheep barn.  In the summer time they were on pasture.  The pasture had a creek running through it and the sheep kept the bottom of the trees trimmed as high as they could reach.  They also kept the weeds out of the pasture.  It looked just like a golf course.  The grass was native buffalo grass.

The first chore we had to do was milk the cows.  We had 5 stalls to put the cows in.  Most of the time we had 6 to 8 cows to milk.  We milked by hand.  The cats always came to watch us milk because we had a pan we would put some milk in for them.  They would stand at the back of the cows and we would squirt milk at them trying to hit their mouths.  If you weren't watching, someone might squirt you in the back of the head!!  Then we would take the milk to the house and  separate it (the cream from the milk).  The separator we had was a crank type.  It had a bell on the crank that would tell you how fast to turn the crank.  It was important to turn it at just the right speed to do a good job.  We were reminded often to "listen to that bell".  Later we got an electric separator.  The cream we would put in the cream can.  The separated milk we would feed to the pigs and bucket calves.  New born calves got whole milk for a while to get a good start.

On the north side of the barn there were 3 large stalls where we kept the horses.  Most of the time we had 4 horses, two teams, that we used to feed silage to the cattle in winter.  There was a walkway  through the center of the barn with  a ladder at one end that you could climb up into the haymow.   The haymow was a large room that covered the whole barn where we kept hay for the horses and milk cows.

Some Saturdays the folks would take the eggs and cream to Swifts in Salina to sell and use the money to buy groceries.  This would take them 5 or 6 hours because they would shop at Montgomery Ward's.  It was a large department store that had clothing and farm supplies.  It was also a catalog store.  This would give us time to have a calf riding contest while they were gone.  Sometimes our neighbor kids would come over and ride, too.  We had a corral so we could run the calves through the chute.  We would put a pipe behind them so they couldn't back up.  Someone would get on the back of the calf,  someone else would open the front gate and away we would go!  Sometimes good--sometimes bad!!  These calves weighed 500 to 600 lbs, so they were good sized calves.  One time the calf I was riding got too close to the barbed wire fence.  I have a scar on my left leg  about 5 inches long yet today.  We would watch down the driveway for our folks to come home because they would bring home candy for us.  Dad was never very happy when he found out we were riding his calves.  He would say "you will run the weight off of those calves".  But we would do it again when we got the chance.

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