Fall was a time of harvest and preparation for the cold winter months. After a fall frost, farmers picked corn by hand and stored it in a corncrib to dry. Later, the corn kernels were removed from the cob (shelled) and used to feed cows, horses, and pigs.
“You had a peg on your hand and you’d open the shucks and pull the ear out an throw it in the wagon. Usually took two rows at a time. Team [of horses] learned to walk slow. And you’d just go down through the field picking corn. That was hard work. You had to put in long days to get anything done.” — Kenneth Jackson (Quicktime required)
Families picked and stored apples and potatoes and canned other garden vegetables for winter meals.
After a summer of helping on the farm, children returned to school. Grade school children attended a one-room schoolhouse within a few miles of their house. Some high school-age children traveled farther, attending high school in town.
In late fall, farmers repaired barns, hog houses, and chicken houses, patching holes and cracks to keep out the winter weather. Farmers usually butchered a hog or cow in November to provide meat for the family through the winter. The ham from the hogs would be cured in a salty brine solution and then hung in a smoke house The salt and smoke helped preserve the meat.
Written by Claudia Reinhardt.