Ken’s Memories of the Old Chicken House

Even when we were very young Gary and I had basic chores that we had to do when we got home from school. The chores revolved around milking the cow, feeding the pigs and chickens. We also had to gather the eggs and carry them into the house. In the chicken house we kept a sow who would have babies during the most bitter cold days of winter. She was not the friendly sort of pig in the best of times and in the worst of times, when it was 10 below zero, and she had babies to protect she was downright nasty.

Gary always managed to get the job of milking the cow and I would get the job of feeding the pigs and getting the eggs. The reason for this division of labor was he had to put on the kickers to keep the cow from knocking over the pail of milk when he was milking the cow. To get the kickers to work you need to be able to lean on the rear in of the cow and get the cow to step one step sideways in the process of stepping sideways you could clip that chain between the two kickers and tighten it up so the cow couldn’t kick over the bucket of milk.

At my weight, I could push on the cow until the chickens came home, and the cow would look at me and think “what’s that dumb fool doing back there you’re an annoyance” and not move an inch. Gary on the other hand could get the cow to move and then to my delight he could also milk the cow. Try as I might I could get one squirt a minute and he could get 60 squirts a minute and so that’s the way it was. When he was done milking he we meet and carried the milk bucket into the old well house where we had a cream separator and pouring the milk into the cream separator.

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Gary would us the pail on the right to milk the cow. Then we would put the cream in the canister on the left and take to Joannes Dairy..

We would then sell the cream at Joannes Dairy in Flagler Colorado and have a little bit of spending money for the farm. The long and short of this story is that by the time we were done doing our chores which generally took about two hours and we came in from outdoors we were cold as the dickens.

When we came in from the farm in the middle of the winter our feet would be so cold that we would put our feet in the hot water in the bathtub to warm them up. It was excruciatingly painful when you stuck frozen feet in the hot water but eventually it made them so that they felt normal again. Then we would have a nice dinner, watch television and then at 9:30 we would go to bed.

Reason we went to bed at 9:30 was because our only television station was out of Goodland Kansas which was Central Standard Time zone and that’s their 10 o’clock news started at 9 o’clock in Rocky Mountain Time zone. The news lasted for 30 minutes and when the news was over it was time to go to bed.

When we were in grade school we got a dog from the Fellers and the dog had the perfect little white tie on his front chest it was tied with a Windsor knot on the top and then came out just like a tie you would wear to church today on his chest and we called him Rusty White Tie. I will write a full story about Rusty White Tie some other time. Daddy called him his bird dog, because daddy would make him sit on the post around the yard like a little bird and bounce there until daddy would let him get down.

At any rate at 9:20 Rusty White Tie would normally be laying under the kitchen table and just observing the world as the time approaches 930 he knew that that he would thrown out. Gary and I would let him stay indoors so he would get down on his belly and crawl to the steps to go upstairs when he hit the steps he would go 100 miles an hour under one of our beds or in a closet until we could not find him. But generally speaking, we never tried to find him because it was cold and we wanted him to stay indoors so when we were all settled in bed, out came Rusty White Tie. Happy as could be.

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