My earliest memories of my paternal grandparents farmhouse are some of my happiest and most educational.
My husband and I both grow up in farming families. Some of our farm experiences are similar and some are very different.
We would like to share some of our experiences.
My grandparents lived in a log cabin style farmhouse with a breeze way separating the kitchen from the rest of the house. This
was the design of houses during that time. The living room and bedrooms were separated from the kitchen by a open porch
usually referred to as breeze way or dog run. The purpose of this separation was two fold. It kept the whole house from burning
down in the event of a fire and keep the heat from cooking during the summer from heating up the rest of the house. Their house
had a guest bedroom off the breeze way. There was a wash shelf complete with a hand pump to draw water on one side of the
breeze way. This is where you washed up to eat and baths where taken there sometimes also. There was also a storage room for
the freezer and shelves for canned vegetables as well as storage for brooms, mops etc. Indoor plumbing was not installed
until the late 60's or early 70's.
I have to smile now when I think of the outhouse. It was a small wooden building with a long bench seat running across the
back of it with a large hole in it. There was no window and it was scary when the door was closed for a little kid. Always
check for spiders, wasps and snakes before you sit was told to us again and again. Yes we found spiders and an occasional
snake although I must say I am thankful I was not the one who found the snakes. I did have the unfortunate experience of
partially falling through the hole one time. My head and elbows and ankles were all that was visible when my grandmother
answered my cries for help. She had to laugh for a minute before she could help me up. Catalogs did indeed get used as toilet
paper in those days. I'm suprised there was no reports of ink poisioning. Since there was not enough money or candy in the
world to entice me to use the outhouse after dark, I was thankful for the chamber pot or pee pot or pee can as it was
referred to by some. This metal pot with a lid was placed behind a curtain in the corner of the bedroom and used during the
night instead of walking the 300 or so feet to the outhouse in pitch black with unknown wild animals roaming about.
The kitchen was the hub of my grandparents' farmhouse. My granny's kitchen had a wood burning stove for many years.
I am in awe when I think of the meals she prepared on it. I have wonderful memories of the kitchen being filled with
mouthwatering smells. Then there is the pie safe. A wooden cabinet with shelves and screen on all the sides. I'm not sure how it
got that name but my guess is "It got that name because pies were stored in it while they cooled". It was also used to store
canned vegetables and such like. In my opinion, it was better than any child's dream of a candy store. There was one shelf that
was always filled with pound cake, lady fingers, tea cakes, divinity or homemade peanut butter crackers. I once asked my
grandmother how she could leave food in the pie safe and never have problems with bugs and insects. She pointed down to the
legs of the pie safe where I noticed each leg sat in a mason jar lid. Each lid had a white powder in it. She explained that she
placed boric acid powder in the lids and this stopped anything from crawling up the legs of the pie safe.
The Living Room
The living room was always filled with laughter. Story-telling was fun and educational. We learned many life lessons and good
values from the stories we were told. My granddad loved to get on the floor and play with the grandkids. He gave horse back
rides and helped us build elaborate farmhouses and fences to corral the animals with the kindling for the fireplace. I once
watched my granddad raise the window in the living room, take his shotgun and shoot at the flock of black birds in the corn
field. He filled a 5 gallon bucket with the birds that he killed with one blast from his shotgun. Granny made a black bird
pie with them.
When I remember those carefree days at the farmhouse, I always
have to laugh and wonder "How did we survive...???"
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