Sunday, January 26, 2014

Winter 1946

For most of us living in the north, below zero weather is merely an inconvenience or an annoyance.  But we complain anyway.

Let me take you back to the home farm in central Wisconsin in 1946 and what it was like for my father on a morning when it was twenty-below zero.  He would crawl out of bed to a bedroom that was frigid as the wood stoves heating the house had gone out around midnight.  He lit the kerosene lamp that stood by his bedstead, pulled on his clothes, and walked to the dining room where he started the fire in the dining room stove.  Then to the kitchen where he started the kitchen cook stove.  Our drinking water, in a water pail as we had no indoor plumbing, had more than an inch of ice on it.  He would place the water pail directly on cook stove, so the ice would thaw and my mother would have water to make coffee for breakfast.

In between fire-starting, Pa woke me up by rapping on the stove pipe leading to the frigid bedroom above the dining room.

With both stoves going, Pa pulled on his wool barn coat, heavy woolen cap, and six buckle boots.  He lit the barn lantern and headed for the pump house, where he started the fire there—the one that kept our pump from freezing.  Then he walked the narrow path to the outside cattle tank, covered with ice.  He started the wood burning tank heater that would melt the ice so the cattle would have water when they were let out to drink later in the morning.

Next he walked the narrow, shoveled path through the snow to the potato cellar, a building built in the side of the hill just beyond the chicken house.  Here is where we stored our fall crop of potatoes as we waited for the price to come up a little before selling.  A stove in the potato cellar kept the potatoes from freezing and Pa started this next.

It was only now that he was ready to begin the morning milking.   Cows that we milked by hand.  By this time he expected that I would show up in the barn to help.

Not once did I hear him complain about the cold or about all the fire starting.  It was winter after all, and that is what you did when you lived on a farm in Waushara County in 1946.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Sometimes cold winter weather has to be endured; complaining doesn't help.


January 28, 5:00 p.m.  TV show, “Live at Five,” Channel 3 Madison.  The Quiet Season.

February 8, Sat. Garden Expo, Madison Alliant Center, 2:15 p.m. Garden Wisdom presentation.

February 9, Sun. Garden Expo, Madison Alliant Center, 10:15 Three Sisters Garden presentation.

February 23, 2:00 p.m. Gard Theater, Spring Green.  Showing of Winter on the Farm with questions and discussion.  Followed by book signing of THE QUIET SEASON. Sponsored by Wisconsin Public TV and Arcadia Bookstore.

For those interested in purchasing DVDS and Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):
A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps, DVD $20.00 shipping included (An hour-long documentary that has aired on public television.)

The Quiet Season by Jerry Apps $25.00 shipping included (Hardcover book about winter memories—A Farm Winter is based on this book.)

The Bundle: A Farm Winter DVD and The Quiet Season hardcover book - Save $5.00 only $40!
Order from:
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI  54984

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