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Pioneer Memoirs


Page 2

Written by Henry L. Darville

I dedicate my writings of “Boyhood Days” to my daughter, Diana (Darville) Allison, who is currently living with me in Weaverville, California.


HAYING TIME – Dad was given the hay (probably a mile) on each side of the railroad. He would mow the hay, let it dry, and then rake it into windrows.  When ready, the hayrack was put on the wagon.  We would go to the cured hay, haul to the barn or hay stack.  When loading, Dad and Harold pitched the hay into the haywagon and I would take a pitchfork and spread the hay evenly about the load.  They pitched the hay as high as they could, then drove to the barn to unload. I was too small to help unload.  Dad also had a field of alfalfa but I didn’t get in on the job.  I will go into detail of the harvesting of barley, oats and rye later.

PICNIC BESIDE THE FLOYD RIVER—I recall having many weekend picnics during the summer with the Buss family at a good spot near the river.  The picnic usually included a six-quart freezer of ice cream.  I guess the only ingredients we had to buy were sugar and salt.  Our cows and chickens gave us plenty of cream and eggs.  We kids, (four Buss boys, Ralph, Edith and I) had fun in shallow water areas of the river.  I think that is where I learned to swim (dog paddle.) We were able to fish from some deeper holes.  The fish we caught weren’t very big.  We used a bamboo pole with line, bobber and hook.  Several times, the adults, Bill, Harold, and my Dad would fish with a seine to catch enough fish to have a fish fry.  Of course, this was illegal, but we were on the Buss property and it was very unlikely a game warden would come around.  We always had an enjoyable picnic and had to leave before five o’clock, as the cows had to be milked.  I imagine some of the Buss boys, Frank, Lloyd, Harold and Ralph, can still remember those days.

A GOAT WAS ACQUIRED – Dad traded several sacks of corn on the cob for a goat.  We made some sort of harness for it and had it pulling our kids' wagon.  It had a mind of its own and didn’t always cooperate.  It would take a notion to butt one of us and got to be a big troublemaker.  We soon got tired of the goat. I don’t know what happened to it.

BOY ACTIVITIES – Summer (outdoor) Ralph and I went barefooted most hot days.  We had to wash our feet before going to bed.  Saturday was bath night. Mom heated a boiler tub of water on the stove.  A large, round tub was used to bathe in on the kitchen floor.  The hot water didn’t have to be carried very far.  We had a kids' wagon to play with and used it to haul wood to the house and feed to the chickens. Like all kids, we would pull or push one another around in the wagon.  There weren’t any big inclines to use to coast down.  We had a sled for a winter activity. (Same as the wagon, we would push or pull one another until we got tired.) A swing in the yard was supported by a large limb with a rope from a branch to an old tire to sit in.  The tires of those days were larger in circumference but much smaller in the tread area.  As kids do, we would push one another, seeing how high we could swing – fun at our age.  We were not into baseball, although we played on the school grounds at recess time or lunch hour.  When we got together with the Buss boys, we would play hide and seek as evening came on.  We needed it a little darker to hide better.  Ice skating was enjoyed when available.

HARVEST OF ICE – There was a pond of water, just to the east of our property, consisting of an acre or two.  It would freeze to a depth of twenty inches by mid-winter.  This was our source of obtaining ice.  We would have to travel about a mile and one-half to get to the pond.  We used a horse-drawn wagon or bob-sled, depending on how much snow or ice was on the road.  We needed to get to the ice before it was buried with snow.  Sometimes, strong winds would blow the snow from the ice.  Special ice saws were used to saw blocks of ice, which were pulled by ice tongs, loaded and transported back home.  We had an icehouse made by digging out an area like a basement to a house.  The blocks of ice were laid on a bed of straw with spacing between, stuffed with straw as each layer was laid. This went on until filled, probably six to eight feet. Ralph and I only got to go with the ice harvest crew on Saturday.  The work went on into the following week.  I can remember my Dad, Bill Buss and my half-brother, Harold Kriebs, making up the crew.  The ice usually lasted most of the summer. This is where we got our ice for the ice box in the house. We also used ice for making ice cream

WINTER TIME – Some work chores were dropped in the winter and others were created.  When it snowed, I remember having to make a lot of pathways...first to the pump, then to the barn, and the wood pile.  Oh, I forgot; which should have been the first was to clear a path to the outhouse, probably 100 feet from the house (no running water, no plumbing.) Most cold mornings, the ice had to be broken in the animal troughs for the animals to drink.  More wood had to be brought in.

~Back Row, Far Right: Harold Kriebs, Peter Mulder (on the end)

~Bottom, Lower Right: Henry & Edith Darville (twins)

SCHOOL DAYS – Schooling was a part of growing up.  The country one-room school house was about a mile-and-one-quarter from our house by way of the road.

The distance was shortened by crossing the property of Bill Buss and cutting at an angle.  We made quite a path, especially across the plowed field.  We had to cross the bridge where we came out upon the road, and then it was only a short distance to the school grounds.  The distance was shortened a little by crossing the river when covered with ice thick enough to support our weight.

The school ground was without water.  This was carried by bucket from the nearest farm, maybe equivalent to probably a long block.  A woodshed was in back of the school building for fuel for the stove...usually, corn cobs for starting, and coal.  Wood was rather scarce.  Just inside the entrance to the school, the chemical toilets were placed, one on right for the boys and one on the left for the girls.  The large one-room school had a raised sand box in the back for the 1st Graders to play in.  (I don’t recall if we had a kindergarten class.) A large pot-belled stove was in the middle.  I remember some sort of stand in the back for the water bucket.  I believe we all drank out of the same water dipper.  The one teacher had to teach all grades, one through eight. We had the usual recess periods and lunch hour.  Everybody brought their own lunch.  Depending on the time of the year, the teacher had us playing baseball and probably a few other games.  In the winter, with snow on the ground, there was a game called “Fox and Goose.” I have no idea now how it worked.  Guess the boys were building snow forts and throwing snowballs at each other.  I was a poor student as I didn’t like school. Homework wasn’t for me.

The last day of school in the spring was always a picnic by the river.  The 8th grade picnic was almost a disaster for me. The day before, another boy in 8th grad, Pete Mulder, talked us into asking our mother if we could go swimming as they had permission, so they said. Mom agreed to this.  There should have been some rules laid down, but there wasn’t. After eating, we older boys wandered to the river. Pete Mulder, the boy who asked us to go, asked if we were wearing our suits and of course we were.  Pete said they weren’t allowed but he encouraged Ralph and me to go into this shallow water with a sand beach.  They took off their shoes and went wading. About all that I can remember is that a plank was found and I laid on it and paddled around. I found myself floating downriver and for some reason got off the plank to wade ashore. I had floated out into some deep water, which I didn’t realize, and when I let go of the plank I was in water over my head.  I did not know how to swim. I was told that Pete ran to where the men were playing baseball and told them I was in the river and couldn’t get out.  My Dad ran over and went into the river and pulled me out. I believe he saw my hair floating. I was unconscious and he brought me up on the river bank, drained some water from me. I have no idea how long I was under the water, but it must not have been too long, to be able to bring me about.  This sure broke up the ball game and ended the picnic.  I never received any punishment. Later in the summer, I was taken into the river in shallow water, just to get over the fear of the water. Someone, it must have been Harold, taught me to swim right after that.

PHEASANT—One spring (maybe 1930) while walking across a field, I spotted a pheasant hen in a nest hidden in the grass.  She flew away as I approached, which is the reason I looked for a nest.  It appeared to have about a dozen eggs in it. I didn’t disturb anything and went on my way.  I visited her nest for several days and she remained on the eggs.  I was able to stay back and not scare her.  It rained for three days and I remained at home. The next and last time I went out to see my pheasant she was gone. Her eggs were hatched and only empty egg shells remained.  I must have expected to see her with baby chicks. Smart pheasant.

OPOSSUM – One time the Floyd River was about out of its banks. Ralph and I had walked to the river to see the high water.  It was still being contained. We came upon some baby opossums at the edge of the river. They must have been flooded out of a nest. (On second thought, do opossums live in nests?) They looked like a bunch of newborn kittens, with practically no hair and didn’t have their eyes open yet. Ralph and I gathered them up and took them home. Mom made us take them back to where they were found. We never saw them again and assumed the mother opossum had taken them away.

DEATH OF LAVONNE BUSS’ FATHER – Toward evening we got word that (I think the name was Wilbur) Mr. Criswell had entered his barn and was kicked in the head by a horse. He didn’t live.  This was Lila’s husband and Lavonne’s father and also my uncle. Lavonne says this was 1929 and she was only seven years old.  The funeral service was conducted in the home, which was the custom in those years.  I guess boys will be boys, but we were out around the buildings playing hide and seek. I am quite sure it was the Buss boys, Ralph and me, and there may have been more. We got to making so much noise as the service was going on that an adult came out of the house and asked that we be quiet. I don’t know how this happened to come to mind. This was the first funeral service I ever attended.

LOSS OF FARM - 1930 and 1931 were two years of drought with no crops.
Irrigation was not established in Iowa, so everything dried up. This happened on top of having to build a new house in 1927. The house that burned only had $1500 insurance, about half of the amount needed to replace it. The bank had a mortgage and there was no money to pay on it, so they had to foreclose on the property that was in default on the loan. A public auction was held on January 5, 1932. (This date wasn't from memory. My mother had kept a handbill announcing the sale.) See the list of assets on the hand bill image. It was a sad day to see everything, including animals, being sold. I was 13 at the time. Dad moved his family into LeMars. I don't know what kind of work he was able to find.

TRIP TO FLORIDA - In the fall of 1932, my Dad built a cover on an auto frame, making a trailer to tow and live in while traveling, a forerunner to the modern day trailers. It contained a double-wide bunk in the front, and a small built-in cabinet for dishes and food. The entrance was through the back door. He had provided a stand to support a gasoline stove for cooking. Also, it had a gasoline lantern for light. He purchased an old, used truck to tow the trailer. Dad had our touring car, which was an Oakland. Don't imagine very many people nowadays have ever heard of this make of automobile. Dad had read and received advertisements on request from a realtor in Florida of land for homesteading and so he took his family there. The truck was loaded with our furnishings that we could take, including Mom's piano. It made rather a heavy load. Guess we must have looked like what they called in the Dust Bowl days as "Oakies." I have no idea how long it took to get there. I remember I lost my dog, Jack, in Little Rock, Arkansas. We could not find him when ready to leave one morning. Some time was spent looking and we had to give up. I am sure that left me in tears as I was very close to that dog. I believe it was December when we left LeMars. We stayed the first night with my Uncle Johnnie and Aunt Annie in Omaha, Nebraska. I remember coming to the Gulf, probably Louisiana, and seeing an ocean for the first time in my life. We finally arrived at our destination somewhere a little south of Jacksonville, Florida. Dad looked up the realtor who took him and Harold out to the property available for homesteading. What a disappointment that was! It was nothing but swamp. Dad should have made a trip to Florida to look this over before bringing his family and all his furniture with him.

He and Harold looked for work and found none. They did find a day's job with an oyster fisherman. They went out in his small boat for six miles or so to a reef where they spent several hours filling the boat with oysters. On the return trip, the waves increased to where they had to do a lot of bailing water out of the boat to keep from sinking. They finally got back and never wanted to do that again.

Guess Dad, Mom and Harold got together and decided to return to LeMars, Iowa. They needed money and managed to sell the piano, the Oakland automobile, and some home-cured hams brought with us. I don't remember much about the return trip. With the piano gone, some room was made in the back of the truck for a couple to ride. I believe Ralph and I, being small, rode in the back of the truck, probably switching with the others now and then.

Harold was six years older than me, putting him at 18 or 19. He and Dad did all the driving. The tires on the truck were getting thin and they had quite a few flat tires. We finally made it back to LeMars. We must have been gone two to two and one-half months. Upon return, we stayed with Bill Buss and family a short time. Bill rented a farm three miles out of Kingsley, Iowa, maybe 30 miles east of LeMars. They all moved there but Edith and I. We were boarded at Grandma Darville's in LeMars. We were there until June of 1933. After school was out, Edith went to live in Kingsley and I went out to Harold and Opal's for the summer.

LIFE ON HAROLD DARVILLE'S FARM - I have backtracked a year on my story to fit living on a farm I will cover the years of being 14 and 15 years old.

The summer before we went to Florida, I lived with my Uncle Harold and family (my aunt Opal, Joyce age 4, and Jean, who was just a baby.) My parents were living in LeMars at the time. This was shortly after they left the farm. I will combine my bits of memory including 1933 and 1934. I enjoyed very much living with their family. In the summer '33, they took me home with them after school was out in June. Harold had another young fellow working for him that summer. We both had the same room upstairs. I wish I could remember his name, but I don't. He owned a pair of white mules which were used where needed. I remember using them to pull a plow. Those mules would stop to rest after making a round trip from one side of the field and back. I could hardly get them going again. They had my number. I recall that on one occasion, Harold came out and got them going again. I remember using a cultivator in the fields of small corn. Harold had six to eight cows to be milked morning and night. I think we must have gone down across the railroad tracks to their holding pen very early in the morning. Seems like the sun had not risen. While we were doing this, my Aunt Opal would be in the kitchen making breakfast for us. She also had two children to care for.

When we returned to the house with our buckets of milk, they had to be run through the cream separator. I remember using pure cream on oatmeal. It was so good. Farm people work from daylight to dark. We would be milking the cows after supper at night. It was getting dusk by the time we finished. We would go in to LeMars on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. I recall we usually took in a can of cream to the creamery to sell. Harold used to give a half-dollar to spend as I wanted. It was the custom of many farmers to come to town to shop at those times. There was a Lancaster family that often came in when we did. I would look up the two boys and we would wander around town for perhaps two hours until time to go home. I remember saving my fifty cents until I had enough to buy a pocket knife. Could not have cost that much. I had lost the knife I rescued when the house burned. During the summer of 1933, we would stop by my parent's house, probably long enough to get clean clothes. Harold and Opal would leave Joyce and Jean with their Grandmother while shopping. We would often visit a short time with Grandmother Edith Darville in LeMars and it seems like the summer went fast. I recall my aunt asking me to go out and kill a rooster for supper. I had never killed a chicken before. I had to do what I was told. A four-foot heavy wire with a hook on the end was used to catch a chicken by the leg. A block of wood was available to lay the chickens on. I swung the ax and separated the head from the body. The headless rooster jumped into the air a couple of times and then my deed was over. I have never again chopped the head off any chicken. When summer was over and time for me to go back to school, my uncle took me to JCPenney and bought me a set of clothes. I believe I will separate memories of harvesting now.

THRASHING TIME - this applies to living on the farm with my parents and prior to leaving the farm and with the two summers with Uncle Harold and family.

I remember when the oats and barley were ripe my Dad would be using the binder (it is listed on the Sale Bill.) This would cut the grain and as it fell behind the cutting bar, it was carried and bunched for tying. (I believe Dad often had trouble with the piece of equipment that did the tying.)

After this, the bundle will be held until three or four were accumulated, then released to fall on the ground. Think they managed to keep them in windrows. Next the bundles were stacked by setting them on end, heads up and leaning against one another. I'm not sure, but think each shock of grain may have had as many as eight bundles. As a boy, I was able to help a little. I can remember stacking barley made one itch from the beards. There can be rain in Iowa at that time. The shocking is to keep the grain from the ground and the rain will run off better.

When the shocked grain has been in the field and is dry, it is time to bring in the thrashing machines. I can remember only one time at Uncle Harold's. The person doing the thrashing came in with a steam-powered tractor towing his thrashing machine. It was set up in an area where the straw was to accumulate. I remember it having a long belt. When all set up, men would be bringing in the shocks of grain from the field and a team with a hay wagon that was loaded would drive up alongside the harvester, which had an intake area to pitch the grain shocks into. It would then be moved up into the thrasher that had knives to cut the twine. As the grain proceeded through the thrasher, the heads were cut off. The grain went up to be loaded in a wagon and the straw and chafe would go out the end to be blown into a stack. I remember being placed on a small platform to stand on and control the direction of the straw being blown out. Uncle Harold was up on the straw pile spreading it out to make a uniform stack. It sure was a big day for me as I must have been 15 at the time. Uncle Harold leased land about three miles from where he lived. I can remember cultivating corn when it was fifteen inches high (more or less.) Harold and I spent a day cutting milkweed on the edge of the cornfield. We used a scythe and I was a little to slight and not heavy enough, so I had a hard time struggling with it. Aunt Opal would bring a cold drink, a sandwich, cake or cookie to where we were working. I think the drink was cherry nectar or something similar. Guess that was an early forerunner of today's coffee breaks. I can remember hauling a wagonload of grain pulled by two horses from the leased field to the farm where Harold's family lived. It was 3 miles one way. I was 15 years old and could handle a team fairly well. The grain was just harvested in the field and loaded into the wagon. I did fairly well on this trip until almost home.

The road had a steep incline to cross the railroad tracks. I did not know enough to give the horses a brief rest and encourage a faster pace to make it to the top of the grade. I only got halfway up when the horses could not make it to the top and came to a stop. They were able to hold the wagon from going back down the road. My Uncle Gerben Keizer was working at the grain elevator a short ways off and saw the trouble I was having. He came to my rescue. It would have been very easy to cramp the front wheels of the wagon and start rolling back, which would have tipped the load into the road.

Gerben climbed up into the driver's seat and managed to get the two horses to dig in and get the load over the tracks. Shortly thereafter, the load of grain was elevated up and guided into the bins.

MISCELLANEOUS ROUND UP - by this title I imply that I remembered several things to be incorporated into my story. There will not be in any date order. Shortly after I left the farm to go back to school in Kingsley, Iowa, Opal got mad at the cow she was milking and hauled off with a good kick.

Guess her punishment for kicking the cow was to end with a broken toe (The small things that happen on a farm!). Another incident took place on returning home from an evening in LeMars. It was dark and in those days the automobile headlights were only half as bright as today's cars (2004.) Harold came upon a T in the road, where he had to go right or left and since he was rolling right along, he could not make the sharp turn and went straight ahead through a shallow ditch continuing on through the fence. It was no problem to back out and continue on our way. Uncle Harold went back the next day and repaired the hole in the fence.

BATH TIME - After being all wet and sweaty from working in the field, my uncle and I would take a towel and soap and head for the river to wash off the dirt and odor. The Floyd River always was quite muddy but we did feel a lot better and I imagined we smelled a lot cleaner for our trip into LeMars.

FAMILY LIFE - I don't remember much of the family life the two summers with my aunt and uncle. I remember rocking Jean on my lap many times while Opal was preparing supper. On the farm, the evening meal was called supper. We used to play pinochle quite often in the short evening we had. Sorry, but I can't remember much about Joyce. Guess the children were in bed and fast asleep soon after we ate and probably not up when we went into the fields to work. I remembered Joyce following me around outside while I was doing chores.

DAD BUILDS A STRAW BARN - The above writing makes me recall other events of interest (maybe to me only.) One year the telephone/telegraph company replaced lots of poles and wire. Farmers living along the right-of-way of the railroad tracks were given wire and poles for hauling them away. Dad obtained enough poles to make a straw barn for cows and horses. Some poles were put upright in the ground to support a roof made of poles which was high enough for horses to enter. It had one large door in the front. When the grain was thrashed, the straw was directed to the top of this barn. When finished, it had as much as ten feet of straw on the top and the sides were covered. It was a great winter shelter for the animals, as temperatures in Iowa get as low as twenty below zero in a cold spell.

COW ATTACKS HENRY - when I was 7 or 8 years old, Dad had a cow with a new calf which was in a separate corral from the rest of the cattle. I climbed the wooden gate and walked over to have a better look at the new calf. The mother cow did not like the intrusion. She started after me with her head down and I took off at a run for the side of the corn crib. I was blocked from going to the gate. As I mentioned before, the cribs are built with space between the boards and could be climbed like a ladder if not full of corn. (Perhaps with smaller feet.) I climbed high enough to get out of reach of the cow. My Dad was working around the barn and I let out a yell for help. He came to my rescue. I learned to stay away from an animal with a baby after that. Looking back, it seems like I was always getting into trouble and had to be rescued.

INDOOR ACTIVITIES - These were somewhat limited. I remember the three of us (Edith, Ralph and I) playing cards. Seems like there were several types of games...we had checkers, dominos, tinker toys, an erector set and a hand-cranked phonograph. Dad bought a battery-operated radio (remember; no electricity.) It took an outdoor antenna reaching out to a nearby tree. Reception was very poor.

The radio had three dials to be aligned and was difficult to tune. The adults took care of operating the radio. I don't recall listening to any programs, only the news. Edith had her dolls and I suppose girl things. I don't remember participating in many outdoor activities other than ice skating in the winter and playing on the swing in the summer.

THE END - My brain has quit functioning and time has come to halt recalling what a boy encounters in living on a farm. I cannot make any comparison from the late 1920s to the farm life of a boy in the year 2004.

FLOYD RIVER - I meant to add this earlier. For those that do not know, the Floyd River was named after the only man to die (of appendicitis) on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. His body was buried at the entrance of the Floyd river into the Missouri River. I believe I have heard in the past that flooding washed our Mr. Floyd's grave. I can't verify this.

Farm Memories Continued:

KITTEN STEPPED ON - We had three new kittens. Edith, Ralph and I each had one for our own. They were about a month old. One evening, after dark, Dad came in the house and said he had stepped on a kitten on the back porch. It turned out to be my kitten that got killed. I was only 9 or 10 at the time and I felt real bad about it.

PONIES ACQUIRED - Bill Buss, our neighbor, bought his four boys two Shetland ponies. It was the first time in my life that I learned that horses could be that small. I enjoyed having a ride and the Buss boys had lots of enjoyment riding them.

PIG BUTCHERED - When I was about ten years old, I witnessed the butchering of a pig. It always haunted me, as I could see the pig being laid on its back and a butcher knife slitting its throat, with a loud squeal from the pig. It was released and blood just poured from its throat. It was only a short time for the pig to collapse on the ground. Next, the pig was hung on a singletree and a block-and-tackle used to raise it to drop in a barrel of hot water. Shortly thereafter, it was withdrawn and the hair was all scraped off with knives. It was then gutted and cut up for our use.

HAT AS TARGET - One afternoon, Harold Kriebs and Bill Buss returned from hunting pheasants. Bill suggested to Harold that he couldn't hit his hat when it was thrown into the air. Harold took him up on it. Bill then threw his hat high into the air. Harold shot it full of holes with the 12-gage shotgun pellets. I don't know if the hat was useable after that.

NAP TIME - I caused considerable concern one afternoon. Seems like Harold and Mom spent quite a lot of time looking for me. It turned out that Harold found me asleep on the seat of an old buggy parked out back in the junk area.

FALL FROM CORN CRIB - This relates to the time I had trouble with hauling a load of grain and wasn't able to make it up a short incline crossing the railroad tracks. Leroy, Eugene and I climbed up a ladder to the first floor of the granary. The elevator was taking grain to the bins. I was last to go up and at the top, for some reason, I lost my hold and fell backwards to the ground some ten feet below. I woke up on the front lawn where I was carried. Nothing broken, only the wind knocked out of me. I was not injured.

GEESE ATTACK ME - Mom raised several geese and they had the run of the barnyard. Geese are very noisy. One afternoon while I was walking past this flock of geese, one big gander took out after me with his wings spread out banging on the ground. I held my own step, hoping he would stop. He came up and pinched me with his big beak and it left the spot black and blue and he used his wings to beat against my legs. Guess he was only protecting his flock.

HAROLD KRIEBS MODEL T - One afternoon, having nothing to do, I climbed into Harold's recently purchased Model T Ford and, having watched him start the car, I decided to try it. I had to turn on a switch and set some levers on the side of the steering wheel then get out and crank it. It started right up. I then climbed back into the car, released the brake and pushed on the pedals. I remember there being 3 foot pedals. Guess one was for reverse, one for going forward and third one may have been the brake. The car moved slowly forward and I didn't know how to stop it. I ran into a small tree that brought me to a stop and the engine stopped. Harold came running out of the house after hearing the noise. No damage was done, as the car was moving slowly. I must have been ten years old. I don't recall having any punishment.

BAD LUCK WITH TURKEYS - One year--it must have been 1928 or 1929--Mom and Dad bought a number of turkey eggs and hatched them in the incubators in the basement of our house. Seems like there could have been three or four dozen baby turkeys hatched from those eggs. One very hot day some months later, we were away for a few hours. Upon returning, the turkeys were found to be all bunched up in the chicken house and most of them smothered. Less than 12 turkeys remained alive. They were raised and were killed at Thanksgiving then sold. That was the only attempt at raising turkeys.

PIG CRUSHED - We were living in the new house and the temporary building used while the new house was being built was moved to a suitable area for a chicken house. One afternoon, a storm blew in (called a cyclone) and a strong force of wind blew the chicken house over onto its roof. When the building was righted soon thereafter, it was found that one of our pigs was lying there dead, having been crushed under the building when the wind blew it over.

HOUSE MATCHES - Another bad thing to do was to try to start a small bonfire. I must have taken a couple of matches from the house and Ralph and I went out back near a big cottonwood tree. I fixed some small sticks to start a fire. My two matches sputtered out. I sent Ralph to go ask Mom for a couple more to take to the field for Dad where he was working. (Of course, that was a lie.) Ralph came back with two matches. I must have been ten years old and Ralph was eight. When he came back, it was with my Mom. She took me back to the house and gave me a spanking with a switch for punishment. It was good that she knew I was up to something, as it may have prevented a large fire.

FROSTY WINDOWS – Our house had storm windows we put up in the fall and removed in the spring. I can remember it getting so cold inside the house when I got up that the window in my bedroom was covered with frost. In those days, double-paned glass windows were not manufactured, to my knowledge. You may have noticed in one picture of the twins in a box beside an old car, the house was covered with paper three or four feet off the ground. This was done each fall for insulation.  When the first snow came, snow would be piled up against the paper for additional insulation.

HOME BREW – The second summer I was on Uncle Harold’s farm, he had made some home brew.  I was given enough to where I became intoxicated. I was staggering around the house. We all went to LeMars after supper and in an hour I became very sick and of course, up came my supper with the home brew I had drank.  I crawled into the back seat of the car and suffered by myself.  I don’t remember anything about the after effects. I owe it to my Uncle Harold that I could never stand the smell of alcoholic beverages from then on. I may have tasted beer when young but I rejected it and to this day I do not drink beer, wine or liquor. 

~The End of Farm Memories-Boyhood Days
~Written by Henry L. Darville – age 85, Weaverville, CA -- 2003
~Edited for punction & spelling by Milt Keizer, permission granted by Henry Darville --2007

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