The first few nights, rats kept us awake. That scared me, because I knew of some people whose baby got chewed on by rats when I was a teenager in Harlem. We put out poison, and that stopped the rat scurryings.
There we were with twenty acres, and no tractor. I recall Cliff and his brother, Phil, cutting weeds in that pen behind the house with scythes. I could hear them talking and laughing, but I couldn't see them for the weeds.
Behind the tractor is the trailer house we rented from my parents before we bought our farm.
It wasn't long before Daddy sold us the old Minneapolis Moline tractor he'd had for awhile; he didn't use it anyhow. As always with my parents, we paid a certain amount each week until the tractor was ours. So we had a tractor, but no implements. The brakes on that tractor were very undependable.
I felt like I was living out "Little House on the Prairie"; I learned to bake bread and make jelly. There was an apple tree behind the house, and we had quite a few pies that fall. Life was exciting!
Then it was winter. The only heat in the house was a stove in the living room; it had once had a fan to help distribute the heat, but that had long-since stopped working. I moved our son's crib into the living room so he'd be closer to the heat. He was sick a lot that winter, or maybe, just because he was my first child, it just seemed like he was sick a lot. When people came to visit, they'd huddle around that stove trying to keep warm. The kitchen was so cold that my home-made bread wouldn't rise, so I'd bring it to the living room and put it behind the stove. Then the side of the dough next to the stove would cook.
Our pipes froze often. Little house on the prairie indeed! Later on we got a wood stove for the basement, which helped immensely. It heated the kitchen floor, and we could open the door to the basement and let heat up into the house.
Everything little gain we made on that place was so hard-won, so treasured, such an adventure. I'm doing these entries mostly to refresh my own memory, so I don't forget the good times we had.
Cliff figures we can make it on Social Security because we know what it is to do without; we got by on very little back in the early days of our marriage.
Of course, we don't have my parents to help us now.