The Ladies Page


| September/October 1975


In days gone by, this was the time of year when all activity was geared to the soft throb of a steam engine. Threshing days down on the farm! I can still feel a tremor of the warm excitement.

There came the day when the sewing machine was carried from the house and Mother set up shop in the side yard, sewing up fly nets. Horse flies could be nasty and vicious in August and September. Who wanted a runaway team at threshing time?

These horse blankets (as we girls called them) were sewed together out of gunny sacks. They were gaily lettered with Father's favorite brand of dairy feed. Also we used bran sacks. What a dusty day when these had to be shaken out in preparation for sewing, and then ripped apart. Oh! How we itched and squirmed!

When Dick and Nance were fully bedecked in these (the cheapest thing to be had, of course) they became to us, a steed for King Arthur or Sir Lancelot. Prince and Bess were our second team and when Prince was in the pasture and we'd had a heavy rain to wash him clean, he was snow white and regal under burlap. Yes, we were a dreamy foursome of girls in spite of the rugged reality of everyday survival on the farm.

If the season had been ample with moisture there might be a supply of water left for the steam engine in the marsh ditch. Or, perhaps a nearby creek could supply us. If these failed, we prayed the wind would be brisk enough to provide water from the well. If not, it was everybody to the pump handle. You took your turn, whether you liked it or not. The cows were thirsty from the heat on such a day, and consumed gallon upon gallon of water as they jostled for position at the watering tank.