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Old 11-15-2007, 03:13 PM   #41
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If you are comfortable with it, ebay could be a great source.
Search for some magazines like Country Gentleman, Capper's Farmer, Successful Farming and such.
You can probably get them fairly cheaply, and they will be packed with articles
that can shed a lot of light on life at the time!

If you were looking for the 1910-1920 era, I could send you a pile of southern farming
interest magazines for the cost of postage. :)

And if you want pure statistics, well, I have just about every Report of the Dept. of Agriculture
from around 1870 to 1950 or so. Want to know the bushel yield of oats? Livestock numbers? Hog cholera
in depth? Wine grape farming? fascinating stuff indeed!

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Old 11-15-2007, 04:18 PM   #42
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Did they dry any beef or sausages?
What kind of lady's magazines they may have gotten through the mail.
Did your g'ma make her own starch for ironing, or did she buy it in a box?
How did she hang her washing to dry in the winter when it was really cold?
My Grandma did not own a washing machine until 1982.... my Grandpa died and my Aunts didn't want her doing all that work alone. She did it the same as summer, hobbled out to the line and hung them. I don't see how they dried frozen though.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.....
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:45 PM   #43
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The dustbowl really did intrude on SW Minnesota and, I'm sure, on Iowa, as well. The place where I hunt deer is a farm near my home, where I was curious why some of the fence lines were elevated by 3 or 4 feet over the surrounding fields. I asked the owner of the farm (born 1914) why and he told me that the reason was the fences in place then caused the dirt blowing to make dirt drifts. the current fences were rebuilt on top of the mounds. The crops in that year, or years, had to be totally dried up for this to happen.

My grandmother in Minneapolis told me that they wetted rags and put them on the window sills each day to keep the dust out of the house, as much as possible. It must have seemed like the end of the world.

Re: windmills and electric lights. There were wind generators in the 30's, although expensive in those tough times. I've seen a few that still exist. There was the usual tower with a wind mill propellor attached to a generator that charged a bank of lead/acid batteries in a small building under the tower. As I remember, they were connected as 32 volts and probably only had enough power to run lights in the dairy barn and the house.
You might want to google Jacobs and Aeromotor for details of the history.

(an aside:) In todays Marshall, MN paper there was an article about 9 wind generators being erected south of town that will be capable of powering the whole town of at least 12,000 people (but only when the wind blows).

Typical corn cribs in MN and Iowa were two rectangular structures covered by a single connecting roof, with space between to drive a wagon through it. The sides were spaced boards that allowed the wind to dry and keep dry the corn cobs.
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:53 PM   #44
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Our house was built in 1880 and the summer kitchen is still standing, but used now for storage. There's still a cast-iron stove in it which, I'm sure, was used for heating and/or cooking.

It was miserably hot here this summer and I can't imagine how uncomfortable canning would've been. The previous ladies of this house had more stamina than I have.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:52 PM   #45
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My house was built in 1872, and the current kitchen used to be a separate building, connected to the house by a breezeway.

At some point, someone closed in the breezeway, and it is now a bathroom and a computer nook.
I just haven't been the same
since that house fell on my sister.
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Old 11-21-2007, 02:14 PM   #46
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I hate it when I try to look things up and get so many hits I cannot figure it out. But outside of Des Moines is a living farm. I'm sure they must have a web site. It is very good; I think it is run from the U of IA. They had several small farms, from Native Americans through the mid-20th-century. When I chatted with some of the college kids who work there I learned a lot. At the time (about 7 years ago) the young people actually read diaries and letters. Hopefully you have more patience with the internet than I do.
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Old 11-21-2007, 04:43 PM   #47
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Claire, it's called Living History Farms, and I learned a lot from their website. It would be a cool place to take children. I didn't know it was close to Des Moines. Grandpa's farm was in that area, near Bondurant.

GF, I may be calling on you!

You all are wonderful! You have answered so many questions for me, as well given me mind pictures that will help with my writing.
We get by with a little help from our friends
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Old 11-21-2007, 05:48 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Sparrowgrass
My house was built in 1872, and the current kitchen used to be a separate building, connected to the house by a breezeway.
This was a fairly common practice during this time, (and earlier) For two reasons. 1. Not to heat up the house during summer and 2. Often fires started in the kitchen, and the logic was it is better to lose the kitchen than the whole house.
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:08 PM   #49
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Hey Y'all, I am just jumping in here so this shows up on my threads to keep up on. Carry on......Love this stuff!

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Old 11-22-2007, 05:32 AM   #50
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Yes, it would absolutely be a cool place to take kids. I was most impressed that when I asked questions, the people who were working there (as I said, college students) came up with many answers. I'll never forget watching a woman work in a kitchen, and seeing her skirt hit the fireplace a few times. When I asked about it she said that I was right, the second cause of death for women in that era WAS fire. (The first cause was childbirth or secondary causes to childbirth). She said that just that year she had her skirt catch fire. Then she said that now they try to make the clothes out of more fire-proofed materials. I like it that she actually was paying attention. Go for it. They do know what they are doing, and they are good at it.

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