Haag, Rita / If you look back, it's not that far: memories of Mary Stella Sutter Haag recorded at age 103
Part I: Growing up in Perry, pp. -30 PDF (9.0 MB)
Although her dad didn't have a lot of tools, he was able to build some of the equipment they needed on the farm. "He built all his wagon boxes and such, hay racks and wagons to haul the hay. That was cheaper than buying it. You could buy them ready- made too, but that cost a lot of money." Life on the Farm "Oh, our farm was a big farm, we had about 14 milk cows. When I was about 12 I had to go out and help milk." Mary liked to be outdoors working with the cows, or in the garden. But of her sister Rose, two years older, Mary says, "she was more in the house. Well, really, I always helped Dad a lot. And in the garden and such. But Rose she done more baking, she wasn't too much to go around the barn." Women didn't help much in the field then. Most of the work was done by implements pulled by horses and it required a strong back and strong arms to guide the heavy equipment as the horses pulled it through the fields. But there were a few times when their help was needed. At the turn of the century, when so many people earned their livelihoods farming, life wasn't divided up the way it is now. We have our home life, our time in school or at work, our recreation time, time spent traveling to vacation or visit friends or relatives. Back then, almost all of the time was spent at home. Families didn't think so much about teaching their children how to do things--the children watched and learned as they worked. A good example is sewing. When asked if Mary learned these skills from her mother she said: "Oh ya, well we always had to help with it, so when she did that, we saw (how it was done). I can remember we had a treadle sewing machine. (Treadle machines had a foot-operated pedal that supplied the power to run the machine.) We made all our own clothes, so that's how we learned how. She did most of the sewing and we helped a lot outside, in the gardens and stuff."
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