This was a typical day in harvesting or thrashing.
As I lived in 1920, 1921 and 1922. Get
up in the morning at 4 a.m.. Slice
a slab of bacon. Peel about 1
gallon of potatoes. Soak the bacon. Start a fire, we used cow chips for fuel to cook with in a
kitchen range stove. Put water on
the stove with coffee in one pot and just water in the other pot.
Go to water well to get water for house use if cows were there, which dad
brought home, when he brought the work horses home.
Then dad and I milked the cows, usually 6 to 8 cows.
Take the milk to house or where the separator was kept, the milk had to
be separated. Then get more water
from water well, as you went to the house to make breakfast as fast as you
could, hoping none of my 4 or 5 children, all babies, the oldest 5 or 6 years
old, wouldn't wake up during this time.
Dad called or woke the men, helpers, after the milk was separated.
Dad and the men would feed the horses and harness 8 horses.
Four were needed for header machine and 2 horses for each of 2 header
Then the men, usually 6, would come in and eat breakfast.
Dad and the men went to the field then.
By that time, the family ( children ) were all awake.
They all had to be taken care of. By
then it was 6:30 or 7 o'clock, after the children and I had breakfast. The calves, pigs, chickens and any other livestock had to be
By then the bread dough was ready to be loafed.
Around 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. a heavy lunch had to be made and carried to the
men in the harvest field. The lunch
included dishes, drinks, and food. Most
always it was 1/2 to 3/4 miles to the field.
We had a buggy, but I had to harness the horse and hitch it to the buggy. Lunch for the men, the children, and myself packed in the
buggy and off we would go to the harvest field.
Many times the breakfast dishes were not done by lunch time, coffee break, and at times I would have left the kids home. But worried all the time.
After lunch it was time to make a big dinner. We made all home-made items, from cottage cheese, noodles,
bread cake, pie, and fresh home butchered ( slaughtered ) chickens.
My family always took one shift for dad and helpers.
They ate first. Then the children and myself.
All water had to be carried to the house from the water well.
All fuel (cow chips) also had to be carried to the house, the ashes had to
be carried outdoors.
At 4 p.m., or about that time, lunch had to be taken out to the men
again, like the a.m. lunch. Usually
lots of dishes not washed yet from the noon meal or from fixing lunch.
Then you must start supper ( evening meal ) and start evening chores, in
between baking, 10 to 12 loafs of bread each day.
About sundown, dad and the harvest help came home from the fields.
The older children usually had brought the milk cows home from the
pasture for the evening milking. If
the cows were not home in time. Then
I or dad had to go bring the cows home. But,
then first came supper for the harvest help.
Then the family supper and then milk the cows, separate the milk, feed
the baby calves.
Then you went to the house to put the children to bed, by then it would be
9:30 to 10 o'clock. Then wash up
the dishes, see to the water supply for the next morning to make coffee and have
hot water in the second kettle and you had to make the bread dough for the next
By midnight, you could go to bed, if the children felt good and slept.
If not you got up to see after the children, until 4 o'clock a.m..
Then you had to get up to start the next day.
Sunday, dad got the supplies for the coming week.
Lots of times, neighbors would bring your supplies and repairs often were
done at night or Sunday.
John Linenberger wrote this letter to Elizabeth Linenberger on November
11, 1955 from Garden City, Kansas. While he worked in the sugar factory in
Garden City, Elizabeth stayed at home in Washington, Kansas.
Dear Loving Wife, to let you know that I am okay and hope the same of you.
I am enclosing a check and would put it in the bank.
Keep out what you need and tell Katie and Betty, thanks for the letters.
And tell all hello for me. The
weather is real nice so far, so good. I
must quit I can't see the lines no more. So
bye for this time. Hope to hear
from you and don't overdue yourself at the bazaar.
Hope you know what I mean. So
bye for now. I remain your loving John as ever.
N. 11 Street