Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Comment on Farmer Smith and Modern Farming

Comment by Danny on Farmer Smith and Modern Farming

 The date of the photo is in the early '50's. According to the bumper, it's a Model A, instead of a T.
" I know well the story above. I think on it a good bit, too, from time to time.

My grandpa share-cropped cotton, corn and produce with his own mules; traded butter, eggs, milk, and produce with the rolling store for the things they couldn't grow/make, used a well/spring to keep things cooled ( til the ice wagons started running out where they lived ), raised hogs and butchered and smoked them, up until my daddy was 14 and all but two of the kids had married and left home, when he gave up and moved the rest of them to town, where he went to work at a veneer mill.

He then bought a cut-down Model-T Ford, that had 2 wooden boxes for seats and a flatbed for the body ( I have a picture of it ), and paid a man to teach my daddy's older brother to drive, so my uncle could drive my grandpa to work, my granny to the store, or wherever needed..

It was the only car my grandpa ever owned, and he never drove it. Nor did my granny, either.

They both died in the 1980's, in their 80's, still having never driven a vehicle.

Daddy said that grandpa never was the same, health-wise, after he moved them off the farm.

I almost forgot; they didn't have an indoor toilet until they were in their 60's.

I know the difference between the slop jar, and the slop bucket, myself. :)

 Grandpa was down to just raising 3 hogs a year, when they moved off the farm. He would cure and smoke two for family, and whoever helped him with the killing would divide the other one. They would either let him cure and smoke it along with his, or take it with them when
they were through."


  1. I come from a "hog-killing" family. Stories such as that one could fit most families in the rural South and other farming parts of the country who were raised "pre-electricity". One of my grandmothers never had a license. My uncle bought her a car and tried to teach her to drive, but she never had the desire. This was in the early seventies. I only ever remember her driving it once. She worked in the local school lunchroom late in her life and it was a very cold winter morning that I had stayed all night with her. The rest of the time she walked to and from work. Much simpler times with a greater quality of life.

    1. Much simpler times with a greater quality of life.

      Amen and reminds me of my Great Aunt Lucy: :)

      Aunt Lucy was a terrible driver. She could not learn how to back, so she finally had the rear of the garage removed so she could pull straight through! When she drove down Mosby Avenue in Littleton, she always stayed precisely in the middle of the road, and everyone would pull over to the side of the road in fear of their life!

  2. Interesting story. My grandfather has kinda the same story before I was born but he did drive. Like yours he eventually moved the family to the city and started working for an ice factory until it closed and then became a scout for the St. Louis brick company going around and finding clay deposits. He kept his land though, or some of it, and continued dappling in raising hogs and such until I was almost a teenager.

    Man I HATED butchering day though. To this day I will do everything in my power to avoid such sessions if at all possible. I helped my brother and niece dress out a deer she killed last year in her first youth hunt since my brother had never done it. I remembered then why I hated it so much.

    1. Thanks and reminded me of a picture that I haven't seen in years and will search for it. It shows me around six years old staring at the dead hogs at hog killing time. Mother said and I remember that I was fascinated with it. This was at Daddy's first farm, Ivanhoe.

  3. Sometime around the time of this photo, daddy said they attended the funeral of a distant family member, which took place about 11 or 12 miles away.

    When they drove up to the church, some of the people outside just stood there, staring, with their mouth hung open. Daddy said he never could figure out if it was because of the car, or the fact that everybody's hair was laid straight back, or both.


    I come by my rednecked-ness honestly. :)

    Central Alabamaian

    1. if it was because of the car, or the fact that everybody's hair was laid straight back, or both.

      I come by my rednecked-ness honestly. :)

      Rednecks, the backbone of the Army of Northern Virginia and for that matter probably every Southern army. As my nephew would say: The salt of the earth.

  4. Those few of us that remember life before free citizens became debt slaves know a different world. Families working hard and saving to buy a stove, car or whatever. Easy credit and the need for instant gratification made America a country of slaves. If you owe a bank, credit union or charge card company for everything you own then you are simply a bankers slave. A debt slave can never be free.


    1. While grandpa was still on the farm, a salesman from town talked him into taking a 'iceless icebox' on trial, That lasted all of about a month, till grandpa got tired of having to pay for kerosene (plus the 'iceless icebox' ) for the lamp to heat the ammonia on the chiller. Back to the dealer it went. The old icebox was paid for, the ice for the icebox was dirt-cheap, and no need for the extra kerosene.

      No power, nor water, nor phone, nor trash, nor gas, nor sewer bill, either.

      No plumbing problems, either. Just dug another hole, moved 'the house', and filled the first hole with the dirt from the second hole...planted a tree if you wanted to. :)

      No tag for the wagon the mules pulled, or payments for it. Very little maintenance, to boot.

      For mule-fuel, ever-so-often they would shuck however much corn was needed, and take it to the mill to be ground up for the stock and family use.

      If you didn't want to pay for, or didn't have the money to pay for, the kerosene to light up the house at night with, you just went to sleep with the chickens, sat in the dark, or set around a fire in the fireplace or outside.

      And......nobody came to throw you out for 'unfit living conditions'.

      { I awoke, on some winter mornings, through my early twenties, with ice on the INSIDE of the windows where I slept, but that's another story. Makes one understand what being cold, inside the house, really, really means.)

      Times were much freer then.

      We were all freer.

      Central Alabamaian

    2. ice on the INSIDE of the windows where I slept,

      Thanks and that happens at Dixeland also.

  5. My great grandparents never drove a car,my great grandfather did buy a farm tractor and the attachments though.
    They had several hundred acres of bottomland,and the land in and between 3 hollers in the W.Va mountains.Great grandfather was a blacksmith by trade,when he bought the tractor,he raised the $$$ by building a sawmill,and cutting and milling the timber off the mountains between the 3 hollers.
    The family moved there in the late 1700's. The house was built with boards from trees felled to clear more land for farming/livestock,as was the outhouse. They didn't get power to the house until the 1950's. When I was young,I can remember the root cellar dug into the mountainside across the small creek next to the house. I remember the smokehouse,I remember the sawmill,the outhouse was still used 'till the mid 70's,as the family was large,and if everyone showed up for a holiday,the one bathroom in the house wouldn't accommodate everyone,but the 4 seater outhouse would.
    Water was supplied from a spring fed cistern that was about a half mile up the holler from the house until the '70's when a well was drilled closer to the house.
    My great grandparents raised 13 kids off of the land,and out of the house they built with their own hands-plus they sent all but three of those kids to college.
    There wasn't a grocery store around until the 1960's,just a small hardware and general store in the closest town.
    My great grandmas,and grandmother used to pick a couple of chickens for Sunday dinner,and chop their heads off with a hatchet.Hogs were butchered,hams smoked,bacon was brined and smoked,some sausages were smoked as well.
    Woke up to ice on the inside of the windows many times,the only heat was from the wood and coal burning furnace just off the kitchen and dining room-upstairs rooms were heated with very simple kerosene heaters,nothing like the ones they make today.
    My uncle has all of my great grandfathers blacksmith tools,which hopefully he is going to give to me since my cousins don't want them.
    I was fascinated with the blacksmith shop when I was young, great grandpa was old,but he would still make parts for just about anything that broke.
    Somewhere,I have pictures taken of my grandparents in model A's and model T's.
    Try setting up your own sawmill,felling and milling trees from your own property,and building your house out of it,there's so many absurd regulations and codes to follow,and so many permits you have to pay for that it's insanity-and that's using your trees,from your land,to build your house,on your land.

    1. Thanks and If you can find the pictures, it would be good to put them on-line, as they will theoretically be saved forever. brocktownsend@gmail.com. Where was this in WV? I went to military school in Lewisburg.

  6. We were raised to be men and women.

    Today, kids are raised, for the most part, to be perpetual children; to always cry out in outrage when their favorite nipple isn't available, or their favorite song isn't being sung.

    When this merry-go-round ride ends, and it will, they will have to get off and learn the hard way what life really is about.

    Wooo Weee!

    From some of them.....this will not be a pretty sight.

    Central Alabamaian