Dad’s Tractor

Early on, Dad found an old International Model H tractor, much like one that Uncle Jim would have had back in the day. It ran, didn’t look fantastic, but not bad. He drove it all the way from home to the farm. Quite a ride, well over 25 miles. He stuck to the back roads to avoid as much traffic as he could, but most farmers will understand, not everybody in a vehicle was happy with him being on the road. It made for an interesting and nerve racking drive, but he got it done. That was Dad. If it needed to be done, he would do it, period.

The farmer that farmed the place at the time gave him an old sickle bar mower which he used as much as possible (the mower was old, and required a lot of additional attention, plus it tended to get plugged up quite a bit. Again, Dad would do what he had to do to keep mowing. He wanted to keep that farm looking sharp, and he accomplished that despite any roadblocks put up by machines. He had the farmer gene in him, when it breaks, don’t whine about it, fix it and move on. Not that he didn’t get a little bit “tee’d off” at times, but what else can you do, you drive down 25 miles one way to mow, the mower breaks, you fix it so you didn’t make the trip for nothing.

As time moved on, it became apparent that the old tractor and mower were more trouble than they were worth. He broke down and got a riding mower and continued to maintain the park like lawn in the front end. He still kept the tractor running, and he cleaned it up and painted it, not to show condition, but it still, to this day, looks pretty good, dusty maybe, but good.

The old tractor became the center of fun for Dad during family celebrations. All the young kids took their turn riding with grandpa and the look in Dad’s eye’s told a story of complete pride, contentment and happiness, a feeling that he had all the time, but it really showed at the farm.

Teaching Don Don to drive the tractor

Oops, I made a huge mistake on this one. Originally, I said that this was my brother Jim. Mom saw the post and said, nope, that is Don Don, my sister (Madonna).

As I originally posted, one of the favorite parts of running around the farm, was playing on the tractor. I guess we can lay the blame on Pop and Uncle Jim. The picture is all the proof needed. They got Don Don going at a very early age.

As we grew, we found out that climbing around on, and playing on all the farm equipment was fun, and it turned out to be one of our favorite activities. Even later yet, Jim bought a riding mower, which he was more than happy to teach us how to drive it, not in mowing mode though. I remember driving around the yard many times. Maybe this is why today, I still enjoy mowing, at the farm…

Chillin at the farm

“Thank God, I’m a Country Boy”, one of my favorite John Denver tunes. Life at the farm was pretty good, even if it was only a day here, a day there. Sometimes it was just layin around enjoying the summer breezes with family, sometimes it was playing, exploring the farm as if we were seasoned explorers, discovering new places.

This pic of myself, my sister Don Don (Madonna), and our little brother Jim, was taken in the back yard of the farm. Looks like we were pretty “chill” on that afternoon. I can almost feel the warm breeze blowing thru the yard….

Not exactly Dial Soap

Aunt Millie, like many farm wives, made a lot of things that were needed to keep the household going. Here is a recipe for “hard soap”. I am assuming that by hard, it is in bar form, used to wash up like we use any one of the modern bar soaps. I have to think that having lye in it, this soap had to be pretty hard on the skin.

Hard Soap

Region of origin: Handed Down                     Origin date: N/A

Tradition: Laundry & Hand                              Prep time: N/A       Servings: N/A

4 lbs. soft grease (Not Heated)                         Pour 1 can lye over 4 lbs.

Stir in 1 can Lewis Lye, Dissolve                      of soft grease. Stir 15 min. Add 3

real good, then add slowly 3                            qts. of soft water and stir till begins to

Quarts of soft water, a little at                           thicken. Put aside 48 hours. Cut into

a time. After all water has been                        bars. Best made when moon is full.

added, Stir for 10 minutes.

Gathering the Eggs

I was talking with my younger sister Kim, this morning, and she relayed a story to me from the farm that she graciously is allowing me to share.

One of her favorite things to do at the farm was to gather the eggs. She happened to be staying overnight or for a couple of days at the farm, and she went out to gather the eggs. She found and gathered up several eggs, but, she did not have a basket with her to carry them. She carried them all in her hands the best she could.

Oops, on the way back to the house, she managed to drop one. Oh oh, now what? Always one to think on her feet, she scooped up the egg, and proceeded to take it back to the hen house and put it back in the nest. I wonder what went thru that hen’s mind when she want to set on her eggs. “Oh my, I really do need to go on a diet”? Who knows, Kim went on with her business of delivering the eggs to Aunt Millie’s kitchen, just as she was supposed to, then went on with her day.

For what ever reason, Aunt Millie found her way out to the hen house and found the broken egg. You could not pull the wool over Millie’s eyes. You know that thing, when your Mom says that she has eyes in back of her head? Well, I think Aunt Millie had a set all the way around her head. Either that, or she was so tuned into her flock, that she knew how many eggs were to be coming, I do not know the real answer to that question.

Well, the first question from Millie to Kim, Did you break any eggs? Kim’s answer, No, and she did not waver one step from that until she told me the story today. We determined that it was one of those “white lies”.

Kim, if you see this, feel free to correct or add to the story, this is a classic that needs to live on for others to hear.

A little chicken poop goes a long way.

Can’t believe that I am going to tell this story, but it is a memory from my childhood, and it happened on the farm. Today, it is pretty funny, I don’t think I was amused when I was a kid.

When I was really young, I enjoyed my thumb. Yes, I was a thumb sucker. Day and night, and there didn’t seem to be anything to stop me.

We were all down at the farm one Sunday afternoon, Mom and Dad, me and my siblings, and Pop. Me and Pop were really close, except for this day that I will never forget.

Everybody was just kind of enjoying the day, Pop and Uncle Jim, sitting on the well platform, and me running around in the yard, with my trusty ole thumb in my mouth. Pop got an idea to break me of that nasty habit. He decided to find a fresh pile of chicken poop, which he promptly stuck my thumb into it. Well, you know this young child thru a “shit” fit. It was loud enough that Aunt Millie came out from her kitchen to see what the problem was. You think I was angry? Well, as she was cleaning off my thumb for future use, she scolded Pop and Uncle Jim for their ornery actions. She promised in no uncertain terms, that this WOULD NOT happen again. Once My thumb was cleaned up, I was back to enjoying my thumb, and I was feeling pretty bad ass, cause Pop and Uncle Jim got put into their place quite handily. Now, I want to tell you that both Pop and Uncle Jim were a big part of my life growing up, and my anger of that day was forgotten soon, and they continued to be an influence in my life.

Moral of the story, if your young child is sucking their thumb, don’t use chicken poop to try to stop them.

Early Winter

Well, the fall color is now laying on the ground. It has gotten colder, and the crops are in the bin. To some, that means nothing more than WINTER. Cold, ugly winter. I disagree, at least to a certain degree. I don’t mind the cold, I look forward to snow. I don’t exactly like the sub zero temps, and I absolutely hate the wind and the countless cloudy days.

That being said, you can still find beauty during winter, especially at the farm.

From Aunt Millie’s Cookbook

When I say Aunt Millies Cookbook, not only am I talking food for the family. I am also talking stuff for the critters. Since they relied on their hogs, their cattle and chickens, they had to take care of them as if they were family. Here is a recipe for a hog cholera cure. NOT for human consumption. Just sayin……….

Hog Cholera Cure

Coppers ½ lb.

Spanish Brown ¼ lb.

Black Antimony ¼ lb.

Carbolic Acid ½ oz.

Oil Rhodium 10 drops

Gum Asafoetide ¼ oz.

Cayenne Pepper 1 oz.

Water 1 gal.

For preventive

1 pt. In 3 gal. of slop. Twice a day for 2 or 3 days a week.

For ill hogs

½ pt. In 1 pt. Of milk for a drench

Chicken Cures

1 Tsp. of salt to 1 gal. of water stops chickens from pecking and eating each other while closed in brooder house.

Welcome to the Farm

Back when we were young kids, we would often spend Sunday afternoons at Aunt Millie’s and Uncle Jim’s farm. It was a great place for a kid to just run and have fun, without all the distractions that we have in town.

A typical summer Sunday would be to load up in the car, and head down to the farm. It would seem like a long drive, but soon we would be on the old dirt road leading to the place. As soon as we turned into the drive, Jim’s 2 dogs would run around the house to greet us as we pulled in. Jim would be setting on the well platform, pipe ablaze, enjoying life. He would come out, open the gate, allowing us in and the dogs to greet us up close and personal.

Millie would come out of either the kitchen or the garden to welcome us, and soon we were running around the place. First we would check out the tractor, and all the other implements that were resting in the lot, then we would head to the barn to check on the cows and pigs.

Before you knew it, we were called in for lunch. My favorite was Millie’s fried chicken. We would fill our plates with chicken, garden fresh vegetables, and for dessert, one of Millie’s home made pies or cakes. Then of course, we would grab a few cookies as we headed back out the door to explore some more.

Time to check out the chicken coop, maybe gather some eggs and peek in the brooder house if Millie had some baby chicks to get raised up. Then, more than likely, we would head down to the pasture. Maybe the cows were back there by now, if not, the pasture was a place to explore, imaginations running wild.

It is safe to say that the farm was, and still is to this day, a special place for the Fromm Family. Today when we visit, it is those memories, and the new memories that we are creating for the younger family members, that makes the farm such a special place for us.

I invite you to follow this blog, as I share with you, memories from our past, and the farm, as Mom, and the rest of the family enjoys it today.

Pop and Don Don, our grandpa on Dad’s side, and my sister Madonna.