Special Moments – Life on the Farm
Life on the farm was not just about raising animals and the chores involved with each type of animal. A lot
of it had to do with raising kids. Mom and Dad had their hands full with seven of us.
The good thing about a large family on a farm is there are a lot of kids to delegate chores to. For instance
there was Chug-Chug, a huge pig that had to be fed a lot. There was a long trough in his shed which was
used for his feed. I remember Chug-Chug’s yard always had vegetables from the garden tossed all over the
place. Before Dad left for work in the morning he took a bucket down to the garden and gathered vegetables
for the pig. This kept Chug-Chug happy all day, scrounging around for snacks when he wasn’t rolling in
With such a large family, Mom spent most of her time in the kitchen cooking. All day long food scraps, uneaten food on plates, peelings from potatoes and other vegetables went into a huge pot on the stove. By days end that pot was pretty full. After supper Dad mixed oatmeal, milk and water in with the scraps, boiled it down and gave it to one of us kids to “go slop Chug-Chug”, which meant dump it in the trough. When Chug-Chug heard us call him we had to get out of the shed fast, or end up in the slop when he tried to rub his nose against us as a greeting and thank you. He was one BIG and strong pig., but those were our special moments with Chug-Chug.
One day when Dad called us all in for supper, the most tantalizing aroma came from the kitchen. Us kids
washed up and scrambled to the table. At table we had to calm down, take our assigned places and hold our
hands in our lap. Dad pulled out Mom’s chair and pushed it in when she raised up a little. Then she tilted
her head when Dad bent down to kiss her cheek, complimenting her on the meal. Us kids all gazed at this
routine every evening. They were a loving couple to watch. It gave us comfort to be a part of those special
Special moments ~
There were many special moments every day on the farm. After Dad seated Mom at table he went and sat
down at the other end. He looked at each one of us kids to make sure we had scrubbed clean. When he was
satisfied he bowed his head, we all copied him and held hands round the table as Dad said prayers of
thanks. Then all faces were turned towards Dad.
When he shook his napkin open and laid it on his lap, we all did the same. Then we watched him carve the
roast. The plates were stacked in front of Dad. He would place a slice of meat on a plate, knowing who it
would go to and how much to give. Supper time was very traditional. The first plate was the best slice of
meat and two smaller pieces, which he cut up in tiny pieces – that was to be passed down to Mom who had the baby in a high chair next to her and the toddler on her other side. Each of us were served in turn according to Dad’s pattern. We could not take a bite of anything till all side dishes were passed around and everyone had some of everything on their plates.
When it was time to start eating, elder brother took a bite of meat and said, “Chug-Chug!” We all stared at
him with surprise and sadness. He got a right smart slap on the back of the head from Dad for saying that –
not too hard, just enough to let him know it was uncalled for to let the rest of us kids know our beloved
Chug-Chug was now on our plates. We ate anyway because that was the way of life on the farm.
After supper the dining room was cleared and all the dishes were done, the kitchen sparkling and the
breakfast table set for morning. It was us kids who did all that work while Mom and Dad had their special
moments alone with the baby and the toddler. When kitchen chores were done we all took our places in the
living room and either watched television or gathered around Dad for stories.
When bedtime came around we each kissed Mom and Dad goodnight and were told to remember our prayers.
These were our special moments on the farm.
~ ~ ~
© 2016 Phyllis Doyle Burns
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8 thoughts on “Special Moments – Life on the Farm”
Wonderful memories of childhood and family meals. I unfortunately was an only child as Mum lost three children either in pregnancy or stillborn. So what you described is what I always wanted but never had, until of course I had my own tribe of 5 kids. So in the end I did experience the many joys of family and still do. Beautifully described and heart warming of your beginnings in life.
Awww ! You got your large family after all, Tony. How wonderful. Thank you so much for your kind words. So happy you enjoyed and appreciated my story. My siblings and I have so many memories to reminisce over when we get together.
My family never lived on a farm, but my relatives on both sides did and so I spent a lot of time up on a John Deere and many a frigid morning doing chores. Later, I lived for a few years on a Kentucky farm where I raised hogs and grew tobacco.
I love this sort of reminiscent writing, Phyllis, and you do it so well.
Thank you Will for the kind compliment. So glad you love this type of writing. It is a memoir, which is considered to be in the poetry branch. A John Deere, well do I remember that. When I was a lot younger than in this story it was a John Deere that pulled my favorite little calf up out of a creek and every night herded the huge bull into his pen – that was a much larger farm east of the Cascade Mountains. I bet raising hogs was a tough job. Thanks again Will for reading, I appreciate it. Take care.
Beautiful memories, Phyllis. We didn’t grow up on a farm but my grandmother and uncle lived on one and we visited there every holidays and loved every minute of it. Now I have my Cackleberry Farm, so I am living the farm life of sorts. A pleasure to read.
Thank you so much John. I love to read stories of your Cackleberry Farm. Farm days for me are long gone, but the memories are so precious. Glad you liked the story.
What beautiful memories that will be cherished for life. I had always wanted to grow up on a farm. I never did get a chance but had friends that did. When I married, I wanted to raise our children up in the country. Due to my husband’s job, we never had a chance. I haven’t given up on the dream. I think it is a great place to raise kids, even if it is just the grandkids. This story brought back memories of my childhood. Thanks for sharing it!
Thank you so much, Tammy. Growing up on the farm was very special for us. I am so glad you enjoyed the memories.