The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Rain, Heat, and Kitchen Stoves!"

Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois. It is good to get back together with you'ns and share some thoughts.

Draw up a comfortable chair and let's share awhile.The rain over the weekend, along with a slight cool'n in temperature was a welcome event.

I knew the fair activities would bring on a change in the weather. Some folk got more rain in their area than others did elsewhere.

What ever the case may be I'm a hope'n ever one got a good drink for their crops, yards, and gardens.

Up North, they got several goose drown'n rains. Two and one half inches (2 1/2") rain each time over a one-half (1/2) hour period.

No doubt that much rain in a very short period of time led to much of the water be'n wasted in run off.

The heat has had it's toll on mankind and livestock alike.

Some folk have died from heat and there are reports of one unfortunate feller losing forty (40) head fat cattle from the heat.

Another feller in South Dakota lost several hundred head in death due to the heat.

In one of those cases the local fire department came to the feed lot and hosed the cattle down a try'n to stop the death loss.

I heard that in one instance the cattle had a heat gun applied to them measure'n body temperature. The gun measured body temperatures hover'n around 114 degrees.

No animal can survive those temperatures for long and if'n they do they will never do well again.

A lot of fellers likes to feed those black Angus and black baldy cattle.

That color really absorbs the sun's temperature, as you can only imagine.

Some feed lots have no form of shade and the animals are crowded in fairly close.

It's hard to protect them from heats harmful way in those circumstances.

A few years back heat came up, like last week, dure'n hog farrow'n time.

A neighbor sprinkled his sows and had fans on them but he still lost seven (7) sows to the heat.

He would no sooner transfer the litter from one dead sow to a live'n sow and before he knew it another one had died.

Losing cattle and hogs to the heat is no way to make a profit. My hat is off to all livestock folk dure'n these hot and humid days.

With all this heat I am reminded of homes in the summer time back in the days of kitchen stoves and no air conditioners or electricity. Those were the days of summer kitchens and wood sheds.

The summer kitchens kept most of the extra unwanted heat out of the main homestead dure'n warmer months.

The woodshed was where you took ornery boys anytime of the year to teach the disciplines of life.

Usually a leather razor strap was strategically located in the woodshed for urgent usage!

Some folk didn't utilize the woodshed entirely for discipline. On occasion, at the right season, a peach twig served the purpose just fine. In fact, some of us boys in our family threw a celebration when the "ole peach tree" in the back yard died.

It was a short lived exuberance however, fer we soon found out Pa had not forgotten the location of the woodshed nor its usefulness in discipline'n there in.

Kitchen stoves were placed at one end of the farm kitchen near an outlet to the chimney.

A black stovepipe with a damper to control draft led from the chimney outlet to the back of the stove.

Once a year, in the springtime usually, the stovepipe was taken down by Pa, carried out to the ash pile located at the back of the house, and pounded to remove the accumulated soot.

Kitchen stoves were massive hulks of iron decorated often with silver scroll'n.

The warm'n oven was above the stove. Ma put bread dough in the warm'n oven to rise and stashed pies there to keep em warm. This was also a good place to dry mittens.

Most stoves consisted of six removable cast-iron lids.

The two lids farthest to the left were directly over the firebox and provided the hottest heat. Farther to the right, less heat was available.

A good cook knew all this and moved the cook'n pots, skillets, tea kettles, and coffee pot depend'n on whether high heat or more warm'n was needed.

On iron'n day, sod irons replaced cook'n pots and the wood of choice was oak, which provided an even, long-last'n heat to keep the sod irons at a constant temperature.

If'n the stove was used to warm the kitchen dure'n cold weather, wood choice would be white oak or maple.

Cook stoves had a water reservoir alongside the oven. It provided the families source of warm water for washing and bath'n.

With an open oven door family members propped their feet close to the open'n to warm them after come'n in from cold weather.

The ash drawer was under the firebox. It was a daily task to pull it out and carry ashes to the ash pile outdoors.

That was often one of many daily chores of chillen's of yesteryear. No boredom in those days.

The word was unheard of! Behind the kitchen stove farmers warmed baby pigs born too early in the spring, weak and cold calves found a place there, and newly arrived chicks were nurtured there.

The farm dog kept warm there on a farmer's old coat dur'n cold winter nights.

Dur'n the cold winter months, everyone in the family bathed in front of the wood stove (on Saturday night), one at a time, in a galvanized washtub with hot water right from the stove's reservoir.

Well it's been swell review'n a few thoughts with you'ns and I'm a think'n we gots it mighty convenient these days!

I'll be a look'n forward to pass'n a little time with you'ns next week.

Keep on Smile'n
Catch ya Later
Barnyard Bruke