By Paula Mitchell
The days are slowly getting longer, although it won’t really be noticeable for another month or so. It is rather inconceivable to think that January is “zooming” by. So, what was it like in the 1700s when work took place during the day?
Most of the folk who moved into this community in the 1700s lived on a farm. They had to work hard all year long just to survive.
A typical day on the farm started early in the morning as soon as the sun began to rise. Farmers needed to take advantage of every minute of daylight to get their work complete. The family would have a quick breakfast of porridge, or pancakes with apple butter, and then everyone would go to work.
The men worked outside on the farm and in the fields. What they did depended on the time of year. During the spring, they would be tilling the soil and planting fields. They had to do all the work by hand or with the help of horses. During the fall they had to gather the harvest. The rest of the time they tended the fields, took care of their livestock, chopped wood, fixed fences, and made repairs on the house. There was always work to be done. A variety of crops were grown with the popular ones including wheat, buckwheat, corn, and hay. Butchering hogs in the fall gave way too many tasty meals.
The women worked just as hard as the men. They prepared the meals, sewed and mended the clothes, made candles, managed the garden, prepared the food for the wintertime, raised the children, churned butter, baked pies and bread, washed and ironed the clothes, did all the spring cleaning which included taking carpets and rugs out to be cleaned, washing down the walls, cleaning out the fireplaces, changing out the mattresses, gathering eggs, slopping the pigs, milking the cows, and making quilts.
Most children were put to work as soon as they were able. The boys helped their father with his work, and the girls helped their mother. This way, they learned the skills they would need when they grew up. Most families had six to 11 children, with grandparents being taken care of in the home.
There being no indoor plumbing or electricity, carrying water from the well was a daily exercise, and cleaning the wicks of the lanterns very important. Filling the wood box daily was a necessity as the household depended so much on this.
Horses were an important means of work and transportation. They were expensive, costing up to half a year’s wages.
The only day of the week that work was not done was on Sunday. On Sunday, everyone was required to go to church. Oftentimes, the preacher was invited for lunch where a delicious meal of chicken was served.
These folk were friendly and helpful. They were known for helping out their neighbors whenever there was a need.
Despite working hard all day and wearing the same clothes most of the time, bathing was usually once a week. Most persons had two pair of shoes…one for church and the other for work. Children went barefoot during the summer months and swam in the creeks for fun.
Evenings called for the family to sit by the fireside where stories were told and singing enjoyed. A lot of folklore was handed down from one generation to another. There was a strong bond of family, each one knowing family connections. Yet, there was time to sit on the porch on the warm summer evening to hear the crickets sing and watch the children catch fireflies.
Some of life’s instructions to ponder include the following:
- Floss one’s teeth.
- Take lots of photos.
- Remember that all news is biased.
- Don’t mess with drugs and don’t associate with those who do.
- Smile often
Sunday morning temperatures were a chilling 17 degrees. This is quite a change from the 50- and 60-degree temperatures that were enjoyed last week. One can definitely state that winter in this part of the world has its “ups and downs” when speaking of temperatures.
The beautiful moon that shone so brightly was called Wolf Moon.
Life is so much better when seated by the fireside to hear the “Talk of the Grove.”
Evelyn Varner enjoyed the visit Saturday of Donnie and Judy Smith of Bridgewater, Virginia.
Recent visitors of Rosalee Grogg were Terri Grogg and Claude.
Quotes for the week are as follows:
“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” — Arthur Rubenstein
“If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” — Albert Einstein
“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.” — Will Rogers
“It is better to be silent than to dispute with the ignorant.” — Pythagoras
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” — Edith Warton
The remainder of the January birthdays are as follows: Andy Hott, 19th; Cary Hevener and Zion Brubeck, 20th; Noah Nelson, Bob Fisher and Catherine Eye, 21st; Jackie Smith and Johnny Dorsey, 22nd; Charles Kiser, 24th; Myra Mitchell and Scott Rightsell, 25th; Violet Eye and Sue Ann Sites, 26th; Jarod Nelson, Marian Williams, and Brandon Simmons, 27th; Jamie Hoover, 28th; Lainey Simmons, 30th; and Jamie Watson, 31st.
This week’s clickety-clacks for the chin wagers are as follows:
- Soft drinks got the name “pop” because of the noise they made when the bottle was opened.
- Some Egyptian mummies had false teeth.
- Reindeer have six stomachs.
- Writing was invented about 5,000 years ago.
- A whippoorwill can make its whip-poor-will call up to 1,088 times an hour.
Concerns for this week are many, and they are as follows: Roger and Joan Ashley, Mercedes Aumann, Vernon “Fuzzy” Baldwin, Lynn Beatty, Jack Bennett, Jimmie Bennett, Bill Brackman, Jed Conrad, Jeff Evick, Ina Evick, Dan and Margaret Ferrell, Ron Gilkerson, Lola Graham, Rosalee Grogg, Marvin Hartman, Steve and Armanda Heavner, Gary and Jackie Hills, Virgil Homan, Jr., Charlee Marie Hoover, Keith Hoover, Myrtle Hoover, Debbie Horst, Doris Hull, Bob and Cynthia Hurry, Lisa Dawn Jamison, Alice Johnson, Kim Kline, Richard Judy, Melissa Lambert, Tammy Lambert, Robert Lambert, Rex Landis, Angela Lung, Linda Malcolm, Betty Mallow, Roger and Skip Mallow, Naomi Michael, Gary Mitchell, Gloria Moats, Joe Moats, the Mary Moats family, the Ruth Moyers family, Melvin Moats, Helen Nash, Aaron Nelson, Ruth Nelson, Bennie Nesselrodt, Cheryl Paine, Sutton Parrack, Shirley Pratt, the Betty Lou Propst family, Kathy Propst, Sheldon Propst, Mary Puffenbarger, Verla Puffenbarger, Jason Rexrode, Jimmy Rexrode, Kent Rexrode, Pam Rexrode, Glen and Jeannie Riggleman, Max Rodriguez, Donna Ruddle, Annie Simmons, Barbara Simmons, Barry and Phyllis Simmons, Davey Simmons, Erin Simmons, Eva Simmons, Tom Simmons, Robbie Sites, Ona Smith, Stanna Smith, Patricia Swecker, Rosa Tichenor, Ed Troutman, Sandra Vandevander, the Charles Lee Whetzel family, Ron White and Judy Williams.