As I look back, life was great being raised on the farm. At the time, however, it seemed as though the city kids were so much better off than our family stuck in the country, dreaming of ways to entertain ourselves. Didn't know it at the time but a friend later told me she envied me because we always had all the milk we wanted as well as fresh meat.. One day, when I was in the 1st grade, we had to tell what we had to eat for breakfast. The city kids were saying just toast, but we had biscuits with gravy, sausage and sometimes fresh chicken (not frozen), rice or oatmeal. I always loved Mom's biscuits when she baked them just a little too long and they had a brown crust on the bottom. These I loved along with a dish of hot rice with cream (real cream).
In the spring we always had baby lambs and baby chicks, ducklings and goslings to play with and feed. Sometimes the ewe (mother) would disinherit her baby lamb and then we would get to feed it with a bottle. It was so great to see their little tails wiggle while they were nursing from a coke bottle with a long nipple. That was, until they got just the right age and then Pop would cut off the tail, with a corn knife, a hammer and a block of wood. Anyway whoever saw a sheep with a long tail.
In the fall at corn shucking time, my favorite Uncle Tom Dickey came up from Sims, IL to help harvest the corn crop. Uncle Tom and Pop would always be in the field at the break of day and work until dark. The wagons they used to shuck the corn had a high sideboard, called a bank board, on the right side if you were right handed, and on a cool crisp morning you could hear each ear of corn hit that board all the way from the fields. After all the fields were picked they raked the corn stalks up in to windrows with a team of horses and a dump rake, then waited for just the right conditions before they lighted each row with a corn cob soaked in kerosene on a piece of # 9 wire for a handle. I was never much for fires but this was somehow different and something I looked forward to each year. Can you imagine the dark fall night lighted with rows of corn stalks burning in an 80 acre field? Remember there weren't any lights out in the country, but you could see lights coming from Divernon and Pawnee. Since they never put fertilizer on the fields, other than manure, it provided potash for the crops.
Since Mom raised geese, we never had turkey for Thanksgiving, it was always goose. Mom knew just how to prepare it so it wouldn't be real greasy. All of our siblings were gone except Bob, Blanche and I, so this holiday was different. Mom always had plenty of food and it didn't matter how many extras came in. This particular day, two men came down the lane and Pop asked them to stay and eat Thanksgiving dinner with us. After dinner and visiting for some time, they left, but we never knew where they went or where they actually came from. I have always felt they were visiting angels. Mom was always feeding vagrants and I don't remember her turning any of them away. It seemed as though the farm was marked, since they had to walk down a long lane.
This is just a few of the incidents that I can recall, however, as I said, looking back, life down on the farm was GREAT!
Dorothy "Babe" Seppi