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Kvam, Ingerid M. / The Skalet family : ancestors and descendants of Sever and Malla Skalet

Sever and Malla Skalet,   pp. 7-26 PDF (6.5 MB)

Page 15

The following stories about life on the Skalet farm were written as memories by Phil and
Thora, but should help give the idea of their "way of life"!
Pud recalls a day that should have been an average day of cleaning the barn, but: It was the
spring of the year, about corn planting time. Before Dad and my older brothers went to the
field , they would pull a wagon into the barn for Steve, Maurice and myself to clean the
gutters and load the manure on this wagon with a box on it. It would always get to be a very
large load. We could move the wagon along the drive way without the horses. This
particular day, after we had the load on, we were going to try to push the wagon out of the
barn. The tricky part was that there was an upward grade before the wagon ended up
outside. We pushed hard, but didn't quite make it. The wagon came rolling back into the
barn and the left hind wheel ran right over my right foot. OUCH! I guess I started to holler
and cry, so brother Steve picked me up and carried me back to the house. I lost the toe nail
on that foot, but it grew back. However, every 4 or 5 years since then, I lose it and re-grow
On the farm it was a good 150 yards from the kitchen door to the barn door, the ground was
level going, and the chicken house was in the middle. Grant would tease a Plymouth Rock
rooster on his way to the barn. I, Pud, was never far behind, and was always on the watch for
that rooster, because at the age of 4 or 5, that rooster looked pretty mean with his sharp spurs
and his big bill. I was a fast runner, but so was that rooster. It was a daily trip; sometimes
faster than others.
When it came time to cut grain on the ridge, we would take two teams up with the wagon
loaded with water, oats, and hay in the box to feed the horses at noon. Three horses would
be hitched to the grain binder in the morning, and at noon we sometimes would switch
horses in order for them to rest if the weather was real hot. Malla and two boys would carry
the food up to the ridge for us to eat our dinner. We would eat in the shade under a tree, rest
for an hour, and then back to work. Those dinners always tasted so good. As the binder was
going, there was a nice place to ride for a small boy just to Sever's left on a platform where
the grain went after it went through the sickle. It was a little bit dusty, but it was always fun
to be with my Dad and the horses.
When it came time to do the haying in the summer, we would get started after milking and
chores were done in the morning. After the horses were harnessed, we would take two teams
up to the ridge. One team would be hitched to the mower, and the other to the dump rake,
raking hay into windrows to later be cocked (small piles intended for drying purposes). After
drying was sufficient, we would take pitch forks and load it into wagons to be taken back to
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