Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Journey! Survival! 10

 “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein.”
              Proverbs XXV1  27

 The winter was cold much like this one. I was dealing with that as much as I could. It was March and we had other things to worry about. The cold was only making things more complicated.
 One early morning I opened one of the many boxes in my kitchen where I had been keeping all my preserves.
 They were all frozen and all the jars had split open.
 I had preserved lots of tomatoes, relishes, peas, corn, beans, applesauce, peaches and jams. I rushed to open all the other boxes, in a somewhat terrified state.
 I collapsed on the cold floor, the tears running down my face. “All that work; what were we going to do now?” They were all garbage.
  Money was extremely tight; we were relying on those preserves to get us through. We had a freezer, but a neighbour had taught me how to can. I thought it was the better way to go. It probably was, but not in this house.
 I pulled myself up off the floor. I disposed of the mess and moved on. I had no time for tears, it would not change anything. We would have to make do.
 My Hero’s pay was much smaller in the winter, and our bills near the end of March were much higher.
 We unfortunately had a floating interest loan on the farm and our payments had almost doubled. We had been struggling before this.
 The machinery lump sum payment was looming for May.
 Our freezer was almost empty we had sold most of the meat in the fall to pay more bills for the farm. This made for creative meals with meat no one would buy; beef tongue, beef heart, pork hocks and my favourite the gizzards, hearts and livers of our chickens; always known as chicken gut stew to us, as children; this was my childhood revisited. “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
  Somewhere, some one, was eating our steaks, roasts, hamburger, and capon chickens. I have no doubt, in a nice warm house.
 My brother came out to the farm to hunt one day. He brought me a rabbit all cleaned and ready to go. My Hero hated eating anything wild, for unknown childhood reasons, and I had promised him I would not cook wild meat. Well he soon figured out the stringy chicken stew was not chicken, but he ate it.
 I was grateful for my brother T’s skill at hunting. It was a change. Reality.
 We tried to keep our ever-troubling finances from our parents as to not worry them. I had stopped using the phone for long distance that meant no talking to family, keeping them away. There was no money for gas for the truck, so I rarely left the farm if only to pick up supplies.
 I was feeling much more isolated and helpless.
  Since it was March, we had to order fuel, and seed for planting soon. The tax bill was sitting on the table waiting to be paid.
 This farming thing was the most frustrating thing I had ever encountered in my life.
 When I was that little girl jammed in that cold, little house with 12 people, I remember watching my parents struggle to put food on the table, and pay the bills. I clearly had no idea how hard that had been for them.
 I had come full circle, back to where I started, but now, I was to be the problem solver. I had gained a whole new respect for my parents.
 We cut out everything we could; everything was depending on the shipment of our pigs to market at the end of April.
 In the meantime I was grateful for Mary the cow; we had plenty of milk and cream. M would help make butter, by shaking a glass jar. We were only getting two eggs a day from our poor, cold chickens, but that was enough. I had enough flour to last a couple of months more. I would make flat bread, not by choice the bread never would rise in this cold house. There were lots of beef bones for soup. I would buy some potatoes and carrots we would survive.
 The feed bill for the animals was staggering; they were eating well. This sometimes made me question if we were doing something wrong. “Would it not be a lot cheaper to not raise the animals, and just buy what we needed in the store? This is a funny business.
 Well, spring would be here soon. The bills would get paid after the sale of the pigs. I would plant a garden, and only can very little (I think the freezer in the woodshed would not even have to be plugged in most of the winter). Our family, and friends would come back to the warmer house to visit.
 The sun would be shining soon. Things would be better.



  1. Oh my...all those canned goods ruined...I could cry right along with you! Sometimes life just isn't "fair", is it?

  2. it is heart breaking to lose canned goodies. i know, i messed up about 2 dozen beans that i had processed incorrectly. all of the hard work of planting, picking and stringing those was live and learn for this must have happened how long ago as you wrote it in past tense? thanks so much for your comment about dad. wow, such a shame wonderful men succomb to stupid smoking.

  3. Alica This is true.But life goes on. Thanks for joining my blog.

    Mary Thank you. Not as much, now that I am older.

    Kritter Keeper. This was 27 years ago. This is part of my series The Journey! talking about my experiences of moving to this farm and how we came to be where we are today. The struggles etc.
    Yes I feel really sad when I watch people smoking now, after I watched what it did to my Dad. That is horrible about your beans. It is a lot of work.

  4. The series is called Our Journey! It starts back in Sept of 2010. Each one is numbered. Thank you

  5. The thought of losing all ones canned goods to the cold is just aweful...thank you for sharing another of your life experiences with us. You should consider putting this into a book...amazing.

  6. Thank you. Mr. H you are so kind. I started this series to tell our children what it was like.B

  7. Priceless story. It is a good reminder of how tough things can get and how tough we can be in the face of challenge. People without experiences like that never know how strong they can be.

  8. WOW, as the saying goes, "what doesn't kill you, will make you stronger" I see the strength in your words, and Praise you for the courage...
    I must add that I too was raised a Farmers Daughter and know doing what you Love can be hard work.

  9. So sad about the preserves. You should be so proud, you came through for your family. I will enjoy reading your Journey.

  10. My husband has a saying.. If it can, it will. That's why I always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. It's a 50/50 chance the worst is going to happen. :)

  11. You are to be admired Buttons.
    Your story is wonderful and I look forward to coming back and reading those older posts.

  12. Leenie I do appreciate things more now that I have experienced all that.Thank You.

    Blessings Farmers daughter cool!Thanks as always Blessing.

    Vi Thank you I hope you enjoy Our Journey.

    Nancy 50/50 sounds about right.I like to think 70/30 myself.Ever the optimist I guess.

    Susan Thank you there are people going through tougher situations then this I am sure. I at least had a upbringing from my parents to be able to cope. Enjoy Our Journey, I love remembering even if it stirs up some bad experiences. I have learned much from them.

  13. Oh dear, such heartbreak. I am looking forward to the next installment now.

  14. Dear Homemaker: I have been writing the next installment. Some of them are hard to write, but lessons are learned from old experiences. Thank you, I am glad you enjoy them.

  15. Dear Buttons, as today is Sunday my off day I took time to reed your older post regarding your Journey and this one. all I can say is buying the farm from the auction at that time is a good thing even though you and your family have gone throuh a lot, your journey up to the point where you are today has been very rough and tough fill with sufferings but worthy because i feel that you and your husband really like and enjoy farming and think not everyone could strat somthing like what you do in that case your family is very special...

  16. Dear Sheron: I hope you have had a nice Sunday.I am very lucky to have a wonderful husband and children. The Journey was long and bumpy but it all worked out. I tell this story so my children will know where they came from. I want them to know the work it took to get where we are today. In a warm house,and very happy.The farm means more if you know how it came to be. Thank you. I am happy you enjoyed Our Journey. B

  17. the heart break of all that work.


The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

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