The Farm


When Mom and Dad first got married they rented a farm close to Centralia Kansas. The rented place was about five miles from the farm where Mom was born. I was born in the Centralia house in November of 1923. My brother Al was born just fifteen months later in February of 1925.

The farm in Seneca that we all remember was purchased around 1926. Mom and dad purchased the farm from mom's dad Joseph Olberding. He homesteaded the land and sold off portions to each of his children.

The soil was rich and fertile and of the rains came at the appropriate times it produced enough to provide for the family and the animals.. I remember the corn, wheat, oats, sorghum, alfalfa sugar cane and even a little popcorn.

The farm was self sufficient. The corn was canned in fruit jars or ground into meal for human consumption or fed to fatten up the pigs. Alfalfa and oats were fed to the horses and cattle and what was not needed for them was sold to the local grainer We made molasses from the sugar cane We canned it in half gallon tin cans. dad took car loads of syrup to St Joseph Missouri and sold it on street corners. Sometimes he did real good but other times it was a waste of time and gas..

There were two creeks on the place, Water ran in the creeks most times but during the drought the creeks went dry so we had to hand pump the water from the well into tanks for the animals. Weather seemed to control everything since there was no irrigation it was either to wet or to dry. We spent lots of Sundays at Mass praying for rain.

We raised cows, pigs and chickens. We had draft horses but I don't remember ever having a baby colt so I guess we purchased horses from other farmers. We raised our own calves. We kept the heifers to eventually have more babies and also to produce milk. We sold or butchered the bulls so we usually had meat on the table. We raised chickens for the eggs to eat or to sell. We sold some of the butchered and cleaned pullets to families in town. I remember we got ten cents more for the chickens if we butchered them.

We had a garden and raised potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, peas, radishes and onions. During the drought we had to carry buckets of water from the well to the garden. We had a couple apple trees and peach trees and a black walnut tree. I don't remember the apple trees ever producing anything but green apples. We kids climbed into the trees sprinkled the green apples with salt and are them before they had a chance to get ripe. The peach trees produced a few shriveled peaches which mom made into jam. The black walnut tree produced enough walnuts to keep us busy during the winter evenings . Dad would take a sack of walnuts to the barn and crack the walnuts so we could sit around the stove and eat the meat.

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