Posted by: patwogan | February 8, 2009

Winter Chores

I played cards yesterday with a group of ladies all of whom were originally from cold north climates.  We were all sharing winter stories from our childhood, including the chores we were required to do. 

I remember especially the fact that we heated with wood.  That meant that the wood had to be cut and brought up from the pasture.  We had several hedge trees down by the creek which provided very hot fires.  I mentioned in the last post about “manning” one end of a six foot cross cut saw.  I use the term “manning” loosely as I know I wasn’t much good at pulling the saw through the tree.  I hated doing that particular chore.  It seemed like it was always cold weather when we cut down the trees.  I guess that was because there were so many warm weather chores that had to be done and this just got put off.  Hedge wood is hard but makes a very hot fire.  After the tree was cut down, Dad had to cut it up into usable lengths and split the larger limbs and the trunk using a wedge and sledge hammer.  He was quite good at this.  My job was to carry the split wood to the wood pile and stack it.  After the wood was all stacked, it also became my job to bring it in as needed for the wood stove.  Now that was a job at times because when it snowed or froze, the wood would stick together and sometimes one log had to be used to knock the others apart. As they say, those who burn wood get warm when they cut it and again when they burn it.

Another winter chore I have previously mentioned was milking the cows.  Even though the cow was warm to sit next to, the barn was always very cold.  It seemed milking time was always too early and too late.  I just didn’t understand why it had to be dark when we milked in the winter time.  I know now that it is important (especially to the cows) that milking be done at a regular time each day.  Then there were always animals to feed like pigs, calves, chickens, and cats and dogs.

Another of my chores was to gather the eggs.  At least, in the winter, I didn’t have to worry about black snakes in the nests like I did in the summer time.  But the chicken houses were also very cold and sometimes the eggs might freeze if you didn’t get them gathered in time.  I never liked reaching under the chickens still on the nests as sometimes they would peck your hand. 

I didn’t mind feeding the chickens and the calves, but I did not like messing with the pigs.  They were always so aggressive when they ate and I was a little bit afraid of them.  Besides, I didn’t like the smell of them or the food they ate.  It was truly called slop.  And it smelled really sour.  Ugh!  Then they would almost not let you get it poured into the trough before they started eating and it would get all over them.  I know they are supposed to be clean animals, but I don’t really believe it.

The year we had the lambs was a really cold winter.  One night especially I remember we had a new little calf and the five lambs in a little building.  When Mom went out to check on them, the calf and three of the lambs had frozen to death.  She brought the two remaining lambs into the house and put them in the oven to save them.   That was a really sad thing, but something one learns about living on a farm is death. 

It really wasn’t a chore, but we did not have modern plumbing and our outdoor bathroom was not heated.  It was about fifty feet from the house and had to be “visited” no matter what the temperature was outdoors.  (When we later moved to town, Mom said she just sat in the bathroom and thanked God for modern plumbing.)  I could definitely relate to that.

I was happy to move to town and vowed I would never live in the country again….but my daughters can attest to the fact that every spring I would be hunting for a place in the country.    But I still don’t like Winter!  And here in South Texas winter is when it gets into the high 50’s and that’s fine with me!



  1. Do you realize how much doing those chores prepared you for raising a family. Like the cows we required attention at definite intervals during every day. I am sure ther were times we were ready to eat and started before it hit the plate like the pigs. To your credit though only the liver and onions ever smelled bad to me. Love you

  2. That’s funny–I always thought liver and onions smelled good, and that THIS would be the time I liked them. It never was!

  3. Mom–I’m ready for another one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: