Tuesday, October 5, 2010

CHICKEN FARMING IN THE 60'S

Another very cool 40 degree morning to begin a mostly cloudy day.
After finishing outside chores I'm kinda glad that I have a lot of work to do inside today.
I stuck to my schedule change and baked layers this morning.
I got laundry started while I was waiting for ovens so it worked out well.
After lunch I cleaned house for the afternoon and still finished including hanging out towels before hubbie got home from work.At least I don't dread the late night work anymore.
I walked the dogs this evening while hubbie steamed us some greenbeans,okra and corn on the cob for supper. Never had steamed okra before,one of hubbie's friends at work told him about it so we tried it and it was surprisingly good,not slimy like boiled okra.
It is so good to still have fresh garden vegetables this late. We are hoping the frost holds off a while longer.
I searched through pictures for my October decade posts tonight.
I didn't find anything for the 60's so I thought I would share a glimpse of my dad's poultry business in those days.
Chesterfield Mills in Asheville,NC would bring day old chicks to our farm. Dad had the gas fired brooders all warm for them when they arrived.
The mill furnished all the feed and we did all the work for 14 weeks ,that's how long it took to get them to fryer size without the growth hormones they use today.Dad payed my brother and me $10 each out of the check he got for each 14 week period,we thought we were rich!
Huge poultry trucks would come in the pre-dawn hours ,the lights in the chicken houses would be turned off and yellow bulbs would be put in so the men catching the chickens wouldn't step on them. They reached under the chickens and counting legs would come up with an exact number in each hand a total of 15 . They were put in crates that were stacked on the trucks. I remember staying up all night just so I could watch them. The next day we would always find some chickens that had managed to escape the grasp of the men as they poked them into the crates. Those were our fryers and egg layers.
Almost immediately the task of cleaning out the house was started, it had to be scraped clean of all chicken manure and fresh clean wood shavings spread in it by the time more chicks arrived.
In those days there were quite a few poultry farms in this area,but when Chesterfield Mills closed in the late 60's , all chicken farming came to an end.
The 60's were lean years but as kids we didn't notice because we were always fed and clothed. I do remember we only got 1 pair of shoes and they had to last all year.If they got to small you hoped it was warm weather so you could cut the toe end open.
What would kids think today if they had to wear the same shoes for a year ?????
This post has brought back some special memories for me growing up and I realize how hard life truly was in this time for my parents trying to feed and raise 3 children.
I do know that eventually my dad had to sell 1/2 of his farm to pay off the debt of building that chicken house. I know it must have broke his heart to let 1/2 of his land that he had worked so hard to keep go but I never heard him whine or complain about anything. He just kept plugging along and kept a positive attitude.Here is that chicken house now. My brother uses it for his machine shop and storage. It is over 100 feet long and 40 feet wide,it was a very large building.
After the chicken business close my dad became a produce farmer,he was a good provider and always worked from daylight till dark doing what he loved, farming.I learned a lot from my dad about life and how to make it work for you when things seem dark and hopeless. I thank the Lord everyday for having such a hard working dad that passed that quality down to me and I pray everyday that I have been able to pass it own to my kids.Here is dad (next to tractor) in October in the late 60's with a helping hand neighbor getting the corn in the barn as my brother watches.This old WD45 tractor was the only tractor he ever had.
Thanking God for my humble beginnings, and what kind of person they made me.
Good Night and God Bless.

2 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Thank God for hard-working Americans like your Dad... Farming was and is a rough business ---lots of hard work and not much money.

I think of that generation of Americans who worked hard and never 'expected' our Govt to take care of them. These days, people don't want to work --and they feel entitled to get money from the Govt.. Drives me crazy!!! Our parents and grandparents would turn over in their graves... What has happened to our country???? So SAD.

Have a great day...
Hugs,
Betsy

Country Mouse Studio said...

I agree with Betsy, people expected to work and they did. These are wonderful stories