Recollections of Farm Life in the 1920's


| November/December 1985



11215 Oakland Drive Kalamazoo, MI 49002

We lived on a 114 acre farm of very light soil considered at that time to be too light for a farm tractor. So all farming was done with 4 horses.

There was no electricity or refrigeration on the farms in that area, so our lighting was by kerosene lamps and later on gasoline lamp, heat by a wood range in the kitchen, round oak stove in the living room, and another stove in the parlor which was seldom open for use during the cold weather. These stoves were generally taken down for cleaning and storage during the summer, with the exception of the wood range in the kitchen, although it was generally given a rest in the summer due to the enormous amount of heat it gave off making the kitchen very uncomfortable. In its place Mother used a five burner E Z Way kerosene stove with oven (these were considered very nice for summer cooking).

We generally had about 12 cows to milk, 2 brood sows with pigs, 4 horses, and about 75 to 100 chickens.

I very well recall one summer when the wind would not cooperate for quite some time. Our storage tank and drinking water tank at the old wooden windmill both ran dry, except for what was hand pumped. Therefore there was no water supply for the big cement tank in the barnyard. And so help me, only a farmer could tell you how much water 16 head of stock plus chicken and pigs could drink.

Well, one day my step dad went to town and came home with a pump jack and a nice red dishpan flywheel 1 HP Fairbanks Morse. They poured a concrete base for it just off the windmill platform and put it to work. This easily took care of our water problem and, as 1 was a youngster, it was my job to look after this and take care of the water supply along with my other chores. It was the only gasoline engine on the farm and I quite enjoyed it as most any youngster would.