HOW WE TOOK OUR VACATION TRIP -1895

While the modern Farmer’s method of taking a vacation trip
is usually by railway train or automobile, there are indisputable
points in favor of the method given in this article – a real
personal experience narration.

The late summer and early fall’s farm work – Corn – Plowing
– Threshing – Hay harvesting, etc. was all cleaned up, and father
decided that the whole family should take a trip to
Grandfather’s who lived about two hundred miles away.
Consequently, on the first day of September, we all climbed into
the farm wagon and started. The weather was beginning to grow cold;
the team could travel to good advantage and we could better enjoy
the trip than at any other time of the year. This was several years
ago, and while our outfit served us very well it could be improved
at small cost in this day, and would add greatly to the success of
the trip.

Our wagon was fitted with ordinary bows, covered with coarse
muslin. Ample bedding was stored in the wagon, it having a double
box, and several days supply of bread and cookies was provided
before the start. Various other eatables also were supplied, such
as cold meat, fried chicken, jams, jellies, pie, etc.

A gun and some fishing tackle were taken along, and by use of
these the larder was replenished at small cost and with much sport
and recreation in fishing and hunting. Nuts, Paw-paws and
persimmons also figured in the daily menu. In this way our expenses
were practically nothing; the food the most wholesome and
nutritious.

We would hitch up the team very early in the morning, while it
was cool and pleasant, drive till it began to get warm (usually
this was not about noon, and often not at all) then un-hitch for
dinner.

Plenty of grass along the roadway, and here we turned the horses
to graze, always having a little grain to give them. Dinner usually
was a cold snack, with possibly a little game or fish, cooked in a
skillet over a small fire. The tablecloth upon which we ate was
spread under some shady tree, on the grass, or across some giant
stump from which a tree had been cut.

After a good long rest at noon, we would resume our journey
driving till the cool of the evening, when we would go into camp
for the night. A spot was usually selected near some stream where
water was handy, trees plentiful, and wood easy to secure from
fallen timber. Here we would build a roaring camp-fire, and another
smaller fire on which to cook the evening meal. The camp-fire threw
out such a great light that we rarely ever had cause to light a
lamp or lantern-and what a cheerful light.

Usually there was some farmhouse near, and here we would secure
fresh sweet milk, cream and butter, and ripe luscious fruit. What
appetites the travel and fresh outdoor air stimulated, and how we
did relish every meal. There is some flavor to this out-door cooked
food that is peculiarly its own and with the ravishing appetites
one has but to exercise care not to eat too much and the beneficial
effect is unbelievable. And what sound peaceful slumbers these
combined influences induced; I still can hear the soothing,
sleep-producing sound of the horses contentedly chewing their hay
near the wagon as I drifted off to slumber-land and and complete
rest.

About half-way on the trip we stopped over for a few day’s
visit with an old uncle; then pursued our journey to my
grandfather’s, having been on our two-hundred mile trip seven
days. We spent a couple of weeks there, visiting, fishing, hunting,
nutting, etc; then turned our faces toward home. The return trip
was even more delightful than going down, as the weather was still
cooler than when we left home. The air more bracing and beneficial.
We were just a week on the return trip.

And now comes the remarkable part of my sketch. Our expenses for
the entire trip were but Five dollars, and we at all times had all
we cared for in the way of eatables, feed for the horses, etc. On
few occasions farmers would take nothing for the corn and hay we
secured of them, but everything was paid for where we could induce
the owner to take pay. Of course, everything was much cheaper then
than now, and the cost of a trip would be increased accordingly,
but it would be only a fraction of what most trips cost, Looking
back now, I can see many ways in which the success of such a trip
could be materially increased. I should take along an oil-stove to
use in cases of emergency when no wood was obtainable. Where
firewood is to be secured, however, the out-door open fire imparts
a much better flavor to the food than when cooked over oil.

Our supply of music on the trip herewith described was somewhat
limited (instruments were not so plentiful nor so cheap twenty
years ago- 1895). On a trip now a days, one easily could include in
the outfit a good phonograph, violin, concertina, etc., and the
supply of music would be almost limitless, adding greatly to the
pleasures of the trip, especially at evening, after supper had been
eaten and an idle hour was being spent before bed-time. To the
farmer who never spends a vacation, I have this to say: You cannot
understand how a trip of this sort will rest and refresh you till
you try one.

Relax your mind as well as your muscles, and at the end of your
vacation you’ll feel more like taking hold of the late fall and
early winter work around the farm; you’ll have a vim and go
about you that only such a rest-period can instill.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment