Monday, January 8, 2018

About This Photo

After writing my last post I looked more closely at this photo. There's a lot about that time in my life here.


Center left in the photo you can see a building. That was our tobacco barn. We were growing burley tobacco at the time, which has to be hung in a well-ventilated building to dry. It looks like the barn is empty so all the stripping was done by then and the tobacco taken to the auction. We had another barn full on land we were leasing then--tobacco takes a lot of space to dry and packing it in too tight could cause mold.

I believe this photo was taken in February of 1983, when my first husband was working away in Virginia. That winter the boys and I took care of the place, from getting in the firewood to stripping the tobacco and caring for the livestock. I was working full time on a different mail route that winter, and the boys (my four older sons) were 9, 10, 12 and 14. Jon, the twelve-year-old, built a horse shed by himself and we also built a small greenhouse, fenced in 23 acres, laid water lines to the barnlot and got the tobacco seedbed planted. The driveway, as you can see in the photo, was a right mess, deeply rutted so that sometimes we had to walk. The boys routinely walked a mile to the schoolbus anyway, and I often walked out to the mailbox which was also a mile away, so it wasn't much of a hardship to walk the driveway.

That's Jon's pony Goldberry in the photo, although I think by this time he'd sold her to Derek, and had another horse. The cow is either Honey or Daisy, the two Jerseys we were milking at the time. We also had a few head of beef cattle, chickens and depending on the time of year pigs and turkeys.

We had no electricity yet--that didn't come until 1989.

Would I go back to living like that? Yes, with the exception of the tobacco. And nowadays we are even better prepared for it than we were then, in many ways. Our income was unstable since my ex-husband worked construction (and wasn't union so even when he worked the pay wasn't great), and now we have a steady income, free gas, and a nice root cellar built by Larry my second hubby. The house is much nicer too--back then it was barely finished, a cabin really. So even if we took out the electricity and raised stock again, we would still be living a lot more comfortably than we were in those days.

Ah, memories!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

6 comments:

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

At about that time I'd have been carrying bales of straw around on the farm. 83 was a bitterly cold winter if I remember correctly; the wind set into blowing from the north-east (the coldest direction) in January and stayed in that quarter till late March.
I enjoyed farm work at the time but think I changed direction at just the right time. I certainly wouldn't want to go back to it now!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

That was a different way of life - very interesting!

Brig said...

You made it through the hard times.
If I had my times on the ranches to do over again, I would in a heart beat.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

It sounds amazing - not in the romantic sense but in that it's truly different from any way I have lived in my life. You must have been immensely strong - both physically and emotionally.

hart said...

You and your sons were just amazing. I am impressed.

Nance said...

In the 1980s I and my husband owned a smalltown grocery store. We were open 8 to 6 every day 6 days a week and 8 until noon on Sunday. We lifted, stacked, carried, walked . . . But nothing like you and the boys. They were good days. Would love to go back and do it again. What memories you and your boys made . . .

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...