|Posted by [email protected] on September 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM||comments (8)|
Growing up in the country on a dairy farm was very limiting as far as socialization was concerned. We hardly ever went to visit anyone our age. I can remember that I was 21 years old before I ever spent the night at a friend’s house. We did have a few neighbors that were our age. We used to ride our bikes at night after the chores were done and go and visit our neighbor kids. There were Carol, David and Joyce all siblings and their cousin Jeff that lived on the neighboring two farms. It would be nothing for us to go up there or for them to come to our place to play. I was 12 when I got my first bike. It was so much easier to go and see them after we got the bikes. My older sister RuthAnne and I would take off and ride for hours when the work was done. We had an old pig house that we converted into a play house and that is where we would all congregate to play. This was out behind our barn so we were always close by if needed for anything. Or we would go to our friend’s farms and help them finish their chores so we could play. We had other neighbors on the other side that we would play with on the way home from school. If we didn’t get home at a specific time, my parents always knew that we played a game of barnyard basketball and got sidetracked. My parents never got frantic because we weren’t home at a specific time just as long as we got there before chores were to be done.
|Posted by [email protected] on September 4, 2012 at 4:20 PM||comments (1)|
I was blessed to have both my mother and my fraternal grandmother raise me. Lillian Emily James Myers (Nan) was born in Cogan House, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1910 to Thomas and Della Hepler James. Nan was one of seven children. She married my Pappy, Otto Harry Myers and had my Aunt Helen Myers Barto in November, 1933 and my father Harry Otto Myers in June, 1940.
Nanny and Pappy Myers bought the farm that I was raised on in Cogan Station in 1951. It was not a large dairy farm, only 125 acres of which only 58 were tillable, but it was big enough for Pappy and Dad to farm. Unfortunately, in 1970 Emphysema took Pappy leaving my dad to take over the farm. I was six at the time. I am thankful that we were able to stay on the farm after Pappy died.
I have lots of wonderful memories of Nan’s cooking and canning. She had her routine. Every Monday was wash day. She would go to the cellar and pull out the wringer washing machine and she and mom would do laundry. I have great memories of watching the two of them go at the washing. Nan would wash and put the clothes through the wringer, and Mom would hang the clothes on the clothes line behind the house. Every Friday was cleaning day. We would dust and straighten the furniture first and then run the sweeper. We had two good living rooms and then we had the dining/living room where we spent most of our time.
Nan never got her driver’s license because that would mean that she would have to be the gopher and that would have taken her away from her household duties. She was the chief cook and bottle washer in the family. Oh my mother helped out, but Nan ran the house.
Canning was a big deal to our family. We had two huge gardens both of them almost an acre in size. I can remember canning around 500 quarts of tomatoes, 400 pints of sweet corn, 200 quarts of green beans, lots of pickles, pickled beets and a variety of other garden vegetables. Dad would dig the potatoes with the potato digger in the morning and by late afternoon the potatoes were dry enough to crate up and put in the cellar for the winter. We would go to the garden and pick the sweet corn and Dad would back the pickup truck back to the fence and we would shuck the sweet corn and throw the husk over into the pasture for the cows. Boy did they ever like that treat. It would be nothing for us to do a couple of bushel at a time.
We would butcher every fall. I can remember watching them butcher for the first time. I never watched again after that. Finally Dad would take them to John Flook or to Harlan Bower to have the animals processed. I can remember Nan butchering the chickens and yes, they really do run around like a chicken with their heads cut off when they are butchered. That was not a fun time for me either. We would do a hundred in a day. Nan had a very large egg business. We would take care of 150 chickens. We would get a basket full of eggs every day. People would stop by and pick them up or when my dad would take her grocery shopping, she would have my dad drop them off to certain customers.
Every fall we would make the rounds to the area apple orchards so that Nan could get a variety of apples to can into applesauce or to make apple schnitz (dried apples) for the winter. We had several different orchards that we went to. We would go to Landons in Canton, and there was one in Nippenose Valley that we would go to also. Sometimes we went to Wentzlers in Muncy but not often.
Nan made holidays special for the whole family that included the extended family also. It would be nothing for us to have 30 family members at Christmas and Easter. We went to my other grandparents for Thanksgiving. She would prepare a 30+ pound turkey for Christmas. We got our turkeys from our neighbor, Dale Wheeland. He raised the biggest most delicious turkeys that you could ask for. We always ordered a year ahead so that Dale was sure to have the size that Nan wanted. The turkey would barely fit in the over. Every Christmas she and Mom would make caramel popcorn and homemade Chex Mix. Sometimes they would even make popcorn balls. Refrigerator cookies were one of my favorites at Christmas. She would also make raisin filled cookies, but I didn’t like them as much as my sister RuthAnne did.
I remember one year we got a Grand Bride cook stove. It didn’t look like much in the antique (junk) store, but when Nan was through with it, it shone bright black and silver highlights. She would cook on it and bake bread in it and we also used it for heat. It sat in the archway between our kitchen and dining/living room. She would sit by it at night and mend socks or watch TV with my dad.
Nan’s baking was the best. She would make lots of cookies and pies. After breakfast some mornings, our neighbor, Skip Kiess, would stop by on his way to spread manure with his coffee cup in hand and have a treat of some of Nan’s cookies. I also remember one summer when we were putting hay in, she had made a big meal for all of the workers doing hay. There were us girls, my Mom and Dad, my cousin John and his wife and their three children, my cousin Pork and my cousin John’s friend Charlie. Whenever John and his family would come out to the farm, my cousin’s son Jesse would call and ask Nan to make her Schketti (spaghetti). Well this particular time Nan made pies for dessert. We were all sitting around the table eating our dessert when Charlie complemented Nan on her pumpkin pie. John told Charlie that it wasn’t pumpkin. Charlie asked what it was and John told him it was squash pie. Charlie spit out his mouthful and put his fork down and said that he hated squash and would not finish the pie. My cousin John, who sat across the table from Charlie, stood up with fork in hand and proceeded to take Charlie’s piece of pie and commented that meant there was more for him.
After Gerald and I married, I called on Nan lots of time for canning, freezing and cooking advice. She gave me several of her recipes that I still use today. She was of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and certainly came out in her cooking and her values. Sadly, Nan went home to be with her Lord and Savior in 1998, but her memory is still very much alive in our family.
|Posted by [email protected] on August 25, 2012 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
I love living in the country. It is so nice to live in an area where you can look out over the land that God created and see the beauty in just the tiniest things. The other day a friend of ours stopped in the market after a play date with another friend of ours. She brought in her two little boys and they had a catapillar that they had found that day and decided to take it home and watch it turn into a butterfly. This little creature was a beautiful ugly little thing. I was never fond of wiggly things. It was white and black stripped with some yellow on it. It was a hungry little bugger as it had already eaten quite a bit of the leaves that they had in the cup with it. It is amazing how God had designed this ugly little creature to turn into a beautiful butterfly. We are like that in His eyes. We are not all created alike, but we are created in God's image. He has designed us to grow from an ugly sinful person to a beautiful born again creature in His eyes. Lately, my faith has wavered, but God always pulls me back to Him. Are you the catapillar or are you the butterfly? God is there to help you turn from the catapillar to the butterfly.
|Posted by [email protected] on August 9, 2012 at 5:40 PM||comments (1)|
Reflecting back on my years growing up on a dairy farm in Lycoming County, PA, I see that God was preparing me for my future life. I can remember many summers of helping my mother and grandmother can the vegetables out of our garden. Our garden was close to an acre of land and then there was the sweet corn field and the potato patch that just as big. It would be nothing for them to can 500 quarts of tomatoes and to “put up” as they called it just as many pints of sweet corn. Oh there were other vegetables like pickles, pickled beets, green beans and many other tasty foods. I can remember long hours of picking potatoes. My dad would use the potato digger and then we would have to crate up the potatoes after they laid in the sun for several hours to make sure they were dry and then carefully place them in the potato bin the in the cellar. We would use that supply of potatoes and canned goods up during the winter and spring and start all over again. There were 6 of us in the household, but it seemed like every weekend we would have lots of cousins that came to visit. My grandmother was the chief cook for our clan. She was of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage so we had a lot of meat and potatoes. She was an excellent cook. I learned a lot from her. She has gone home to be with the Lord for many years now, but she taught me well and has passed down some recipes that my clan now likes. Take time to appreciate your elders, you may never know what you will learn from them that you will use later in life.
I have a little note to add to this. My husband pointed out that I no longer pick potatoes or other vegetables for that matter. I guess my thoughts were that my mother and grandmother prepared me to be the wife of a farmer. Even though I no longer am able, due to health reasons, to help him plant or harvest the vegetables, I am here for other reasons. I support everything that my husband does. He is a great husband, father and provider for our family. He is a very hard working man and I will back him up on anything that he does. So even though I am not able to be of help to him in certain ways, I will always have his back. Oh I do help with the market and other things like bookkeeping and such but it just isn't the same as when I was able to help with the planting and harvesting.
|Posted by [email protected] on August 8, 2012 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
It is a sad day today here on our farm. We received word that a dairy farmer friend of ours lost his life in a tragic farming accident. They aren’t sure how it happened, but all we know is that he is gone. I reflect back on several times that we have gotten together with him and his wife. We went on a vacation to Ohio several years ago and made it a point to stop and go out for supper with them. This is the first time that we ever ate alligator. We attended many farm meeting that he was at. I was on an executive committee of one of our national farm organizations with him and we supported each other on dairy issues. This past weekend my husband and I went on a short overnight get away and we were within 60 miles or so of our friend’s farm. I mentioned to my husband that we weren’t that far away maybe we should pop over but it was late in the day and we had traveled three quarters of the way across Pennsylvania as it was so we decided maybe we could another time. Thinking back, I wish we would have taken the time to pop in. You never know when a life will be cut short. So if you take anything out of this little paragraph, never put off to another time something that you can do today. You never know how much time God has for you left on this earth.
|Posted by [email protected] on||comments (2)|
Growing up on farm did not make it easy to get away because we didn’t have anyone to do chores while we were gone. I never remember taking a vacation away from the farm overnight at all while growing up. Yes we would go to our grandparent’s house in Williamsport and spend the night, or to our Aunt and Uncle’s cabin for the weekend but still went home to do chores. I think in a way our Sunday drives were our vacations. We would leave right after the breakfast dishes were done and the German bologna and cheese sandwiches were made and the drink jug was filled we would set out for our adventure for the day. We would never know in which direction my father would travel but more than likely we would go north toward Liberty, PA and down through Morris, PA through the lower portion of the PA Grand Canyon. This was his favorite route. My dad would put one of his bluegrass 8 tracks or maybe it was Marty Robbins or Johnny Cash in to the cars built in player and we would spend quality family time together in the station wagon. We would stop at the fish hatchery and see the beautiful colored fish swim around in their clear pools of running water, and eat our lunch, or stop by the Carsontown church or Little Pine State Park and use their comfort facilities. Finally ending up in Jersey Shore at the Alleghany Creamery for our favorite ice cream. I remember my dad’s as being teaberry, my mom’s was butter pecan and mine was whatever looked good at the time. I always had a hard time choosing from so many different flavors. We would finally reach home just in time to go out and so night time chores. It was nice to spend time together in the car with my family. Oh to be able to do that just one more time.