Hello! It’s early you are, but no mind. Come to the house and refresh yourself. I’ll be lucky to get the milk bucket there before it freezes. Never seen such a winter as this back home. You’ve probably noticed by my talking, but me husband and I came over from Ireland. His brother came five years back and helped bring us over last summer.
Oh, and didn’t I think it grand in May! Sure, with the warm sun on my face I freckled up something fierce. But then you didn’t come to hear about that now. And where are my manners? Maggie Thornton’s the name. Me dear friend, Carrie, told me you want to learn about the life of a farmer. Sure and I only know what I’ve learned myself so far, but happy I am to share it.
My Da’s farm in Ireland was vastly different from here. The soil outside Boston is so rocky and hard. I believe the ground grows rocks! ‘Tis only too true. Himself and I spent the first several weeks picking more stones than weeds from our poor crop. Still, they do make for a sturdy pasture fence.
His brother came and helped plant, such different crops from home. The ground is too rocky for potatoes which I had just taken a fancy to. It takes to rye, corn, and the beans and peas, of course. I thought we planted too much, but if we hadn’t we’d be in a sorry state this long winter.
Do we have any extra to sell? Bless me, no. The ground yields just enough for us and the livestock to get through the winter. Himself took a job at the docks this winter to help out. Nothing much, but better than not. He’s a good hand with wood and they aren’t short of repairs that need doing. Many have turned to fishing instead of farming but I think my Robert will stay with the land.
Give me a moment while I get the pease porrage cooking. I don’t mind telling you I’m more than a wee bit tired of it. We go through a pot full every day. It’s filling though and good for the children.
The livestock, yes, we have our milk cow of course, you saw her in the barn. Himself hitched the team to go to town. We put up a good store of hay last summer to keep them through the snows. The loft is still half full.
We keep a couple dozen hens, or try to, since the fox wants them that bad. We are keeping our ears open for a dog to help. The hens will want to start setting in a few more weeks. We’ve only a couple of young cockerels left for meat. The new chicks will be a blessing. And eggs, I do miss the fresh eggs in winter. Oh, we get a few, but only enough for the baking.
Our neighbor has pigs and we’ll buy a pair of piglets when they farrow come spring. No sense wintering over a sow until the children get bigger and we need more meat than Robert can bring in hunting. The boys will start helping with the corn this summer, they are seven and eight already. Here it is 1719, where do the years go?
How did we come by this farm? Well and that’s a long story. Himself’s brother knew the farmer here more than well. Best of friends they were. But he up and moved his family to Rutland, that new community that opened up in the Indian Territory. I’d be scared to death, I would. We were only too happy to buy this place, rocky as it is, and call it home.
Must you leave so soon? Well, and it’s a fair walk back. Blessings on you and make free to stop again.