The blog tour will start later this month, so watch for the fun to begin!
To set the mood, I thought I’d share a bit of my research I gathered for the book. Here are some brief sketches from my grandpa about life on the farm.
When Grandpa was a boy, he had a lot of brothers and sisters. From oldest to youngest there were Floyd, Pearl, Bus, Lettie, Frank, Fred, Gladys, Florence, Roy, Jack, and Dale. They lived in a big farmhouse on the Coulter Farm. It had five bedrooms, and a full basement with a garage for their car. The basement was used as their wash room. They also had their corn grinders down there and an old wood stove.
The Coulters had a big enough table to fit everyone around it. When they sat around the table, there was no arguing, and no hollering . . . or else. Also, you ate what you were given, without a word. The Coulter family often went through 6-7 loaves of bread in one sitting—and this wasn’t just bread you could pick up from the store. Great-Grandma Coulter made it all from scratch!
On the Coulter Farm, their cooking stove was a wood stove. For an “ice box” his family had a cabinet, and inside was ice packed in sawdust. In the winter, Grandpa and his family would go down to the lake and cut ice. If stored properly, this ice would last all summer.
Even though the Coulters had many conveniences, their toilets were outside—they were called outhouses. Since they didn’t want to have to go into the cold at night, they’d keep buckets by their beds to be used when needed.
Grandpa Fred had an Aunt Lena and Uncle Charlie who lived near him. He also had an Aunt Ruth who lived in Manhattan, Kansas, and an Aunt Rose who lived in Colorado.
Every September, Grandpa’s family would cut wood to prepare for the winter. To go get wood, they had a wagon pulled by four horses. The wood they often cut was Red Elm. They had a buzz saw to split it all. Also, in the fall, they’d butcher two pigs at a time and wouldn’t let anything go to waste!
Once as a child, Grandpa had twelve skunks as pets! He and his brothers knew how to cut out the sacs that contained the fowl odor. Grandpa said they were as calm as kittens. One day when a neighbor his mother didn’t like very well came over, Grandpa Fred (he was a young boy at the time) let the skunks into the house. This woman felt something brushing her leg and she assumed it was a cat. When she looked down and saw it was a skunk she nearly jumped out of her skin! Grandpa Fred got a scolding for that, but he told his mother, “Well, you said you didn’t like her.” (The reason that Fred’s mom didn’t like her was because she always bragged on her children. “My son did this, and my son did that.”) Grandpa Fred said that neighbor never did come visiting again . . . and he was glad!
On the Coulter Farm, they had a player piano. It had many songs that it would play for them. Also, Grandpa and his brothers and sisters went to silent movies for entertainment. Can you imagine watching movies with no sound?
Grandpa said they had lots of pictures of their old house in Kansas and of Grandpa and Grandma Coulter’s wedding. He didn’t know what happened to them though.
Along with the house, there was a big barn on the Coulter Farm. There was also a ‘crik’ near the barn with ducks. Grandpa Evans could always be found down there.
On the Coulter Farm, they had pet geese–though some of them were mean. Grandpa Fred said they’d bite the back of his mother’s legs, and she was always covered with bruises. One day, Grandma Coulter had enough of the biting—there was one goose that always would get her. That day Grandma Coulter grabbed a big stick and waited in the yard. When that goose snuck up behind her, “WHAM,” she nailed him upside the head. Grandpa Fred said they had goose for dinner that night!
Sometimes they would shoot at the wild geese that would fly over their house. One day, Grandpa Fred saw a goose flying over, so he ran to get his dad. His dad dropped that goose in one shot. As his dad went to get the goose, Grandpa Fred heard, “FRED!”
Grandpa Fred ran over to see what was the matter. “Fred,” his dad said, “This is one of our pets!”
“Oh, well,” Grandpa Fred said, shrugging his shoulders. “At least we’ll have goose for dinner.”
For Christmas, Grandpa’s family would string popcorn around the tree. Their dad would make toys for each of them. They would also hang socks. Inside the socks they’d get fruit, nuts, and candy.
On the Coulter Farm they had many sows and pigs. They had five sows that would give them as many as eleven piglets at a time! One year, there was one runt that didn’t look like he was going to make it. Grandpa Fred felt sorry for the little guy, and he asked his dad if he could have it. His dad said he could. Grandpa Fred raised that runt and named him Bobby because he didn’t have a tail. When Bobby was young, Grandpa Fred kept him in a box in the bedroom. That pig oinked all night! When he grew up, Bobby followed Grandpa Fred everywhere he went. He was a fine pig and as an adult he weighed 200 pounds. Grandpa Fred sold Bobby to his uncle for breeding. He got $200 for him! That was a lot of money back then.
On the Coulter Farm, they’d sell their lambs and pigs when they were one year old. They also sold the wool.
On the Coulter Farm, Grandpa shared his room with his brother Roy. They shared bed too. Then, Frank and Bus shared a room. And Floyd, Dale and Jack shared a room. Pearl, Lettie, and Gladys also shared a room. And Grandpa and Grandpa Coulter had their own room.
The bedrooms had wood floors with scattered rugs. One day, Grandma Coulter polished the floor. Grandpa Coulter was walking across the room and before he knew it, he and the rug were under the bed! Grandpa Coulter yelled, “Bridgett, what did you do to that floor?” (Grandpa Fred never knew why his dad called his mom Bridgett, but that was his nickname for her.) Grandpa Fred said all the kids ran to see Great-grandpa Coulter under the bed, and they couldn’t stop laughing.
Grandpa Fred liked to go fishing with his brother, Roy. They’d go to Rock ‘Crik’. The water was hazy, but they’d always catch catfish and bullheads. They’d fish on the bank with poles. Their poles were a short stick and string. One time, they fished all night and came home with a wash tub full of catfish!
These are fun (well, I think they are!) I’ll post more in a few days.