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Ethnic: Irish/Scottish Superstition

Good Luck:

No man would ever leave Irelannd or Scotland without a bit of heather and a small bag of soil. Without these life in the new wold would be bitter.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN's [P880, F533, p880] crossed out and replaced with F533.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; WYANDOTTE

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; CUSTOM ; DIVINATION ; Earth ; ETHNIC ; Heather ; Herbal ; Irish ; LUCK ; NATURE ; New World ; SCOTTISH ; Soil ; SUPERSTITION ; TRAVEL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

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{ FAMILY SAGA }

MY GRANDPARENTS CAME FROM GERMANY, FROM WESTFALEN
AND HANOVER, MIGRATED TO THE CENTRAL AND NORTHERN
PART OF MINNESOTA TO FIND A BETTER LIFE FOR THEM-
SELVES. THE LIFE IN EUROPE WAS UNBEARABLE SINCE
THE LOWER CLASS WAS HELD DOWN WITH NO CHANCE TO
IMPROVE THEIR STATUS IN LIFE. MANY OTHERS HAD
ALREADY SETTLED IN NORTH CENTRAL U.S. UNDER THE
"HOMESTEAD ACT," WHERE A FAMILY COULD CULTIVATE AN
AREA OF LAND, 160 ACRES OR LESS, WITHOUT COST, LIVE
ON THE LAND AND CLAIM OWNERSHIP TO IT.
THESE PEOPLE IN THIS AREA CAME FROM THE SAME GENERAL
AREA IN EUROPE, SPOKE THE SAME LANGUAGE AND THE SAME
CULTURAL BACKGROUND TRYING TO IMPROVE THEIR LIFE WITH
LITTLE MONETARY CAPITAL TO START WITH. THEY DID NOT
TRAVEL FIRST CLASS. THEY HAD A LITTLE MORE THAN THE
CLOTHES ON THEIR BACK. ONCE THEY ARRIVED IN MINNESOTA
THE NEIGHBORS ALL WORKED TOGETHER BUILDING A LOG CABIN
AND SHARING WHAT THEY HAD.
INDIANS FREQUENTLY STRAYED THROUGH THE FARM AREA
LOOKING IN THE WINDOW OF THE LOG CABIN. WILD ANIMALS
WERE IN EVIDENCE AND WOULD FREQUENTLY ATTACK SMALLER
FARM ANIMALS. WITH EACH YEAR AS THEY EARNED A LITTLE
MONEY, THEY IMPROVED THEIR LIVING STANDARDS BY BUILDING
A BETTER AND OBTAINING MACHINERY TO HELP MAKE A
LIVING AND LATER ON SOME NEW BUILDINGS WERE ADDED.
MY MOTHER WAS THE OLDEST OF SEVEN CHILDREN. SHE WAS
NINE YEARS OLD WHEN MY GRANDPARENTS MIGRATED TO
AMERICA. MY FATHER WAS BORN IN MINNESOTA THE ONLY
SURVIVING CHILD, A TWIN. HIS YOUNGER DAYS WERE SPENT
IN A ONE ROOM LOG CABIN, WHICH LATER BECAME A SEVEN
ROOM HOUSE WITH BASEMENT AND ATTIC AS TIMES IMPROVED
ECONOMICALLY FOR THEM.
TRANSPORTATION WAS BY HORSE AND BUGGY OR ON FOOT.
THEREFORE, PEOPLE COMMUNICATED ONLY WITH OTHERS LIVING
WITHIN THE RADIUS OF A FEW MILES. MY MOTHER MARRIED
MY FATHER AT THE AGE OF 18. BEING NEIGHBORS, IT WAS
EASY FOR THEM TO BECOME ACQUAINTED.
THE BEGINNING WAS DIFFICULT, HAVING NO MODERN CONVEN-
IENCES. THE DAY BEGAN WITH RISING AT 5 A.M. DOING
CHORES, WHICH CONSISTED OF MILKING ABOUT 30 COWS,
POURING THE MILK IN 10 GALLON CANS, HAULING THE MILK TO
THE MILK HOUSE, RUNNING IT THROUGH THE SEPARATOR TO
SEPARATE THE CREAM FROM THE MILK AND STORING IT IN COLD
WATER UNTIL THE CREAM WAS HAULED TO THE CREAMERY TO BE
MADE INTO BUTTER. THE SKIM MILK WAS FED TO THE HOGS
TOGETHER WITH OTHER CEREALS AND CORN. THEN BREAKFAST
WAS SERVED. AFTER BREAKFAST THE MEN WOULD FEED THE
CATTLE, CLEAN THE BARN, DO WHATEVER FIELD WORK WAS
REQUIRED FOR THE DAY. PLOWING, CULTIVATING, SEEDING,
MAKING HAY BY CUTTING GRASS AND DRYING IT, OR HARVEST-
ING. MOTHER WOULD HAVE CLEAN UP WORK, LIKE WASHING THE
SEPARATOR, FEEDING THE CHICKENS, COLLECTING EGGS, WASHING
IRONING AND MENDING CLOTHES AND GENERAL CARE OF THE
HOUSE, FOOD, AND CHILDREN. IT WAS ALSO HER JOB TO SEED
THE GARDEN AND KEEP IT WEED FREE. CAN ENOUGH FOOD TO
LAST THROUGH THE WINTER. GENERALLY CARE FOR ALL FOOD
PREPARATION AND STORAGE.
BECAUSE OF NECESSITY TO SURVIVE IN REMOTE AREAS, MY
PARENTS HAD TO BE RESOURCEFUL, GROW THEIR OWN VEGETABLES,
FRUITS AND GRAINS, RAISE THEIR OWN MEAT AND PROCESS
IT THE BEST WAY THAT THEY KNEW HOW. MY GRANDPARENTS
STARTED A LARGE APPLE, PLUM AND CHERRY ORCHARD WHICH
SERVED OUR FAMILY WELL AND LEFT SOME TO SELL. THE
APPLES WERE PICKED OFF THE TREES IN THE FALL, WRAPPED
IN PIECES OF NEWSPAPER AND STORED IN BARRELS OR BOXES
IN THE BASEMENT TO BE USED IN THE WINTER MONTHS. APPLE
SLICES WERE DRIED ON STRINGS, APPLE SAUCE, APPLE BUTTER
AND APPLE CIDER WAS ALSO MADE AND STORED. THE CHILDREN
WOULD SIT IN THE APPLE ORCHARD ON OCCASION AND SELL
APPLES TO ROAD WORKERS GOING BY, TWO APPLES FOR 5 CENTS.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ORCHARD, WE ALSO CONTAINED A BEE
HIVE TO GIVE US A LITTLE HONEY EVERY FALL. AT TIMES,
DAD WOULD GO LOOK FOR BEE HIVES IN THE WOODED AREAS.
WHEN HE WOULD FIND ONE, HE WOULD SMOKE THE BEES OUT WITH
SULPHUR AND BRING SEVERAL GALLONS OF HONEY FOR THE
FAMILY.
THE POTATOES WERE PLANTED ON THE FIELDS, DUG WITH PITCH
FORKS BY HAND, PICKED AND THROWN ON TO A WAGON, HAULED
INTO THE BASEMENT AND STORED FOR WINTER USE. THE WHEAT
OATS, AND BARLEY WERE HAULED TO THE LOCAL GRAINERY TO
BE PROCESSED INTO FLOUR AND CEREALS. HOWEVER, ENOUGH
GRAINS WERE HELD BACK TO FEED CATTLE AND CHICKENS. MOTHER
ALWAYS USED GRAHAM OR WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR IN THE BREAD
FLOUR WHEN BAKING BREAD. ALL FOODS THAT HAD TO BE
PURCHASED FROM THE LOCAL STORE, WAS PURCHASED IN LARGE
QUANTITIES IN ORDER TO MAKE IT LESS EXPENSIVE. FLOUR
BY THE 100 LB. SACK, OATMEAL BY THE 100 LB. SACK, 5
GALLON CANS OF SYRUP TO BE USED ON BREAD, INSTEAD OF
BUTTER, BECAUSE BUTTER HAD TO BE SOLD, IT WAS TOO
EXPENSIVE. BEEF AND HOGS WERE SLAUGHTERED AS THE NEED
EXISTED TO SUPPLY US WITH FOOD. THIS WAS DONE COOPERA-
TIVELY WITH OTHER NEIGHBORS IN ORDER TO MAKE IT EASIER.
VEGETABLES, SUCH AS CARROTS, TURNIPS, BEETS, RUTEBAGAS,
PUMPKIN MELONS, WERE STORED IN THE BASEMENT. THE ROOT
VEGETABLES WERE PACKED IN SAND TO KEEP THEM AIRTIGHT.
ALL TYPES OF BERRIES AND NUTS WERE PICKED IN THE WOODS
AND CANNED.
SOMETIMES, WE WOULD HAVE A LITTLE VARIETY AFTER THE BOYS
RETURNED FROM A HUNTING VENTURE IN THE NEAR WOODED AREA.
PHEASANT, VENISON, QUAIL, YOUNG PIGEONS, WILD TURKEY,
GEESE OR DUCK, JACKRABBIT WERE ALL USED AND MADE PART OF
OUR DIET WHEN AVAILABLE.
THERE WERE OTHER AREAS WHERE THRIFT AND SELF HELP WAS
OUR WAY OF LIFE. IN THE WINTER TIME, JANUARY AND
FEBRUARY, THE MEN WOULD CUT BLOCKS OF ICE, SEVERAL
FEET SQUARE, FROM THE NEARBY FROZEN LAKES, HAUL
IT HOME AND PACK IT IN SAWDUST IN OUR SMALL ICEHOUSE,
TO BE USED DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS. HOWEVER, IT ONLY
LASTED ABOUT HALF OF THE SUMMER. A BLOCK OF ICE WAS
PLACED IN AN ICEBOX, WHICH WAS ABOUT THE SIZE OF A SMALL
REFRIGERATOR, IN THE HOUSE. IT WOULD COOL THE INSIDE
AND THE MELTED ICE WATER WAS COLLECTED AT THE BOTTOM.
THE ICEBOX WATER PAN HAD TO BE EMPTIED EVERY FEW HOURS,
IF YOU WANTED TO AVOID MOPPING UP THE FLOOR.
DOING THE FAMILY LAUNDRY WAS AN ALL DAY CHORE. THE
ONLY LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT WAS A LARGE WATER BOILER, WHICH
WAS PLACED ON TOP OF A COOKSTOVE FILLED WITH RAIN WATER
AND BROUGHT TO A BOIL. ONE LARGE CAKE OF SOAP 3 X 5
INCHES WAS SHAVED AND ADDED TO THE WATER. THE SOILED
CLOTHING WAS RUBBED ON A CORRUGATED WASHBOARD THEN PLACED
IN THIS WASH BOILER AND BOILED FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES.
WHILE IT WAS BOILING, A CLOTHES STOMPER, WHICH LOOKED
LIKE AN OVERSIZED PLUNGER WITH LONG HANDLE, WAS USED
TO STOMP THE CLOTHES AND MOVE THE CLOTHES AROUND IN A
SIMILAR MANNER AS THE MODERN WASHING MACHINE DOES.
AFTER 30 MINUTES OF THIS ACTIVITY, THE CLOTHES WERE
PLACED IN TWO RINSE WATERS IN TWO LARGE GALVANIZED TUBS,
THEN RAN THROUGH A HAND WRINGER AND HUNG ON THE LINE OUT-
DOORS.
THE SOFT WATER WHICH WAS USED FOR WASHING CLOTHES WAS
COLLECTED FROM THE ROOF OF THE HOUSE THROUGH EAVES
WHICH LED THE WATER INTO A LARGE CISTERN WHICH WAS
LOCATED UNDER THE KITCHEN FLOOR. AN OLD HAND PUMP
PLACED OVER AN ALL-PURPOSE KITCHEN SINK WAS USED TO
PUMP THE WATER OUT OF THE CISTERN.
THE DRINKING WATER WAS OBTAINED FROM A WELL OUTSIDE
WHICH ALSO HAD TO BE PUMPED BY HAND. WHEN A BELT WAS
ATTACHED TO THIS PUMP, {IT} COULD BE MADE TO OPERATE BY
USING THE WINDMILL. THE WIND WOULD MOVE A LARGE WHEEL,
WHICH WAS ABOUT 100 FT. IN THE AIR AND THE POWER WOULD
PUMP THE WATER AUTOMATICALLY, WHICH WAS VERY HANDY FOR
FILLING A LARGE TANK OF WATER FOR THE CATTLE.
WHEN GEESE WERE KILLED FOR FOOD, THE FEATHERS WERE USED
FOR MAKING PILLOWS, ALSO SOME CHICKEN FEATHERS WERE
USED.
THE CORN SHUCKS WERE DRIED AND USED IN MAKING
MATTRESSES FOR THE BEDS.
WOOL FROM THE SHEEP WAS GATHERED, CLEANED AND CARDED
AND SPUN ON THE SPINNING WHEEL, THEN USED FOR MAKING
HOSE, MITTENS AND SWEATHERS, AND SCARFS AND MENDING
YARN.
THE NEIGHBORS OFTEN HAD QUILTING PARTIES. A LARGE
PIECE OF CLOTH WAS STRETCHED ON A FRAME ABOUT THE SIZE
OF A DOUBLE BED. A LAYER OF CLEAN AND CARDED WOOL WAS
PLACED ON THIS CLOTH. ANOTHER PIECE OF CLOTH WAS
PLACED OVER THIS AND THEN THE LADIES WOULD STITCH THE
LAYERS TOGETHER, WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE A WARM QUILT
FOR THE BED.
THE ROOMS IN THE HOUSE WERE KEPT WARM WITH SEVERAL
STOVES. A LARGE WOODSTOVE IN THE KITCHEN SERVED FOR
PREPARING MEALS AND KEPT THE KITCHEN WARM. A FURNACE
IN THE BASEMENT WHICH DIRECTED THE HEAT THROUGH A
FAIRLY LARGE OPENING, 3 FEET BY 3 FEET IN THE FLOOR OF
THE DINING ROOM, KEPT THE OTHER AREAS OF THE HOUSE
FAIRLY WARM. AN AIR VENT IN THE CEILING OF THE DINING
ROOM WOULD ALLOW SOME HEAT TO GET TO THE UPSTAIRS
SLEEPING ROOMS. THE LIVING ROOM HAD A POT-BELLIED
STOVE TO KEEP THE ROOM COSY AND WARM. ASHES WERE OFTEN
USED TO CLEAN AND SCOUR BURNT KETTLES.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; PEORIA

Keyword(s): America ; BUILDING ; Chores ; Cloth ; Discovery ; Domestic ; Domesticity ; FAMILY ; Farm ; FARMING ; FOOD ; Machinery ; Migration ; Minnesota ; New World ; Quilt ; Survival

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Tale

Date learned: 11-01-1971

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