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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)

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the barn and unloaded in the hay mow. We'd try to take one load down with us at noon and
get it unloaded before we ate our dinner. We'd try to bring back two loads and unload them
in the afternoon. In the barn we would have one team on the hayfork rope and the other team
hitched to the wagon. One man would stick the fork into the hay and handle the trip rope (a
smaller rope that could easily be handled by hand. It was about a half inch thick, while the
hayfork rope was over an inch thick). Then, one or two men in the hay mow would spread
the hay out and try to keep it a level pile. The mow was full of hay and corn fodder for
bedding animals by the end of the fall. What a good feeling!
We had to milk our cows by hand every morning and night. We got up at 6 O'clock in the
morning so we could get things done in the field after milking. After milking each morning,
somebody would take the milk to the cheese factory (one mile south of the farm at the
intersection of the church road and Hwy 78) with a team of horses hitched to the milk rig.
For many years we used King and Scott, a lighter team. After returning home from the
cheese factory, it was time to "slop the hogs" as we called it. We mixed feed and whey into
a liquid slop. After all the rest of the chores were done during the day, we got the cows back
into the barn to milk them again. We had about 25 cows and enough people that each would
milk about 4 or 5 cows each time. In the wintertime some of the cows would dry up so there
wasn't quite as much time spent milking during those months.
Monday was wash day, unless the weather was such that we couldn't hang the clothes on the
In the summer we would always place tubs, boilers or barrels under the drain pipes that led
from the eave spouts and gutters that ran along the roof of the house or the Bu (the summer
kitchen). That water was used to wash and rinse clothes and also to fill the reservoir
attached to the wood stove, which supplied us with warm water for our personal
use--washing and bathing.
In the winter we would use the water that accumulated in our cisterns. Out first cistern was
under our kitchen floor. There was a trap door on the floor, which was opened, and then
with a pail in your hand, (with a rope attached if the water was low) kneeled down on the
floor and dipped the pail to get as much water as possible. This was used to fill the boiler,
and the reservoir.
When the boiler was filled with water, a portion of a Fels-Naphtha bar of soap was shaved
off into the water to produce soapy water. When the water was hot enough, it was carried by
the pail full to the tub or machine for washing to begin. In the earliest days, washing was
done by hand, with one tub for the washing board, and the second tub with cold water for
The second cistern we had on the farm was built into the hillside behind the house, with the
help of Christian Rusten. It was deep and provided a great deal of rain water, which was
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