Dad was blessed with five daughters and one son. I am number 3. That meant as a farm family in the ‘50s and ‘60s the girls did all the farm work that most boys did.
We started at age 9 or 10. Calf feeding, chicken feeding and egg collecting. Milking cows by hand started at age 11 or 12. We learned to use the surge machines when I turned thirteen. This was a big change and time saver.
Among other chores was haymaking, both with the old-time hay loader and horses and later the baler. Stacking hay bales in a hot hay barn on an 80-degree day is something you never forget. There also was calf pen cleaning by hand with a fork; fence making on hot days and bug-filled evenings. We helped with all the farm chores.
Then there was house work, cleaning and cooking. We learned the art of yeast baking at about the age of 12. I was 14. Mom and two older sisters were there to help and give advice. Dad always said the bread was really good. I am sure the first couple of times it wasn’t.
We also planted, weeded and then picked vegetables in our half-acre garden. There was a large strawberry patch too. We all learned to can and make jams and jellies, and we learned a lot. We all still can bake and cook for our families.
I married a farm boy, and we raised our family on a dairy farm. I guess I always was a farmer and still am. I love it.