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Greg's Meats

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bill's Bits

There were just two kinds of trees on our farmstead and they were Cottonwoods and Boxelder. The Cottonwood tree were a fast growing tree and that probably is why my uncle planted them for my Dad when he was  starting a new married life and farming the 80 acre farm and raising 5 children.

The Boxelder trees were not a great looking tree, as trees go, but they also grew fast and offered some shade around the yard.  There were just a handful of Ash trees and they were very slow growing, but very graceful as the grew older.

There was a thicket of Plum trees east of the house and they produced a lot of plums that Mom canned and later made plum pudding with dumplings. (Boy! I'd give anyting to have a bowl of that now!!!)

Now, back to the Cottonwood trees.  Along about July or August the Cottonwood trees produced a lot of cotton-type white feathery cotton-like blooms that covered the ground.  This was not a problem, but I soon found out why they were called Cottonwood trees.

Boxelder tees were not he prettiest tree in the world, but they did produce shade and later some available wood to burn in the stove or furnace.  Once they were cut down and sawed up, it was time to split the logs into decent size to put in the stove.  It was the splitting of these logs that was quite a chore.  Boxelder wood does not necessarily grow in straight lines like oak or other trees, so the best way to split the logs was to store them for some time and do the splitting when the logs were frozen.  It then made the splitting job somewhat easier, but not as easy as some other woods.

Corn Cobs could produce a quick hot fire, but they burned out quite fast. They did help get the wood started to burn and if there was enough money, we even got a small load of hard coal.  The hard-type coal was somewhat cheaper and it came in large chunks that it had to be broken up with an all metal sledge hammer.
My Mom informed me that the hard coal was known as Anthracite coal and softer coal was known as Bituminous Coal.

Keeping warm and safe on the farm was very imprtant, to say the least. Later on, fuel oil came along and the wood and coal were replaced and now each home had to have a fuel oil tank outside or inside if possible, because the fuel flowed better if it was out of the severe cold.  Even later, a long came L P gas in a tube-like tank that lasted all winter if you could afford it.

The biggest job was to possibly get the most heat for your house at the most reasonable cost.  That is still the overall problem homeowners still face today...

Owning a farm home or one in town or the big city is still faced with rising fuel and electrical costs that makes one dig alittle deeper in their pocket to pay everyone on time.

Town owners also have to deal with other costs like sewer and water, plus any type of street improvements.  Budgeting all the additional costs can be a real headache, but
in the long run it's great to have a place called "HOME!"

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