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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. [2]-30 PDF (9.0 MB)

Page 5

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

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