Tuesday, March 20, 2012

onion flavored chickens and bitter weed milk

I went to Powell's new hardware yesterday and I went a little wild on buying garden supplies. I even bought a few potatoes to plant. I will need to get my dirt pile hauled in and then try to plant every thing.
I may have to hire the neighbor boy to help me but I am going to try to do it my self because I love playing in the dirt.
I remember one time daddy was planting garden and Clayton was helping. Clayton like macaroni and daddy told him to go tell mama to send some macaroni out to plant. Clayton went and mama refused to give him the macaroni and Clayton was really mad. he was about 5 or 6 years old at the time.
One summer the tomatoes were ripe and before going to work daddy assigned me the job of keeping the chickens out of the tomatoes. I chased one old hen out several times and she would come sneaking back to get a ripe tomato. I lost my temper and picked up a rock and threw it at her. Wham! I hit her and knocked her out. I went to the house crying, "Mama I have killed the old red hen." after a while she got up and wallowed off. That was the last time she went into the garden that day.
One summer we hung our onions in bunches in the old house when we harvested them and the following spring daddy bought some baby chicks. He assigned me the job of taking care of them , perhaps that is why I like to raise chickens, any way about the time they were getting to the age to fry the old onions still hanging in the room where we raised the chicks began to fall and the young chickens devoured them with gusto. When we butchered some of the young roosters they had a slight onion flavor .
I picked goose berries and black berries for mama to make cobbles with. I liked picking the black berries because it freed me from crying babies. I wagged Clayton, Fleta and Betty on my hip more than mama did I think.
Me and Richard went to the barn with daddy to run the cows in to milk and before long he put us to milking cows. I don't know how old we were but I know we were milking our own cows while we were going to school at coin which would have made Richard 8 or so and me 9 years old.I liked milking cows and I always liked cows, nothing smells better to me than a bunch of cows with the green grass smell in the spring of the year.
Much of our food was from the cows, milk and cream was much of our diet. I remember in the 50's when the dry years arrived our cows ate bitter weeds and the milk had a bitter taste. We drank it any way because we had no choice and I am sure the cows had no choice either.
We never had many laying hens and we never feed them. They had to scratch for their food in the barn yard and weed patches. My job was to hunt the hen nest and I spent time in the summer listing for cackling hens.
We feed the cows cotton seed meal and Clayton was 3 or 4 he started going in the barn and eating it. Daddy locked the barn door and the barn gate to keep him out of the cow feed, I guess it wasn't the idea baby food. One day Clayton attempted to craw under the big old gate and got stuck. I heard him crying and went to see , there he was with his face down in the muddy cow lot unable to go forward and to determined to go backwards.
Persimmons were devoured in the fall and any thing else we found to eat. I don't think we had enough food in those years because I remember being hunger most of the time.


The 4th Sister said...

I detested that bitter weed milk

Sister--Three said...

I loved to eat the cow feed. Me and Clayton were alike in that. I hated milking cows though.

Times were better by the time Fleta and I were the age you speak of...but we never had a lot.

Sister--Three said...

Patsy, I looked...I will get my first social security check Aug. 15!

Donna said...

One of the reasons I keep planting a garden is the memories it evokes.