Holidays From the Olden Days

| 6/11/2012 9:46:29 AM

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This story is from Pearl O'Neill and was submitted as part of our Wisdom from Our Elders collection of self-sufficient tales from yesteryear. 

In the olden days, my family and I lived on a farm in northwest New Jersey. Back in those days, we had lots of snow and hills to slide on with our Christmas sleighs and enjoy the holidays.

On Christmas Day, the farm animals had to be cared for first. My father always had 24 milk cows, so every morning and night we milked the cows. We had to use a kerosene lantern hung on a beam in the barn to have light to milk the cows when I was 7 years old. Once you learn to milk, you never forget how.1929 Ford Model A 

All the food — wheat and corn — needed to feed the farm animals was grown on our farm. We had chickens for eggs and meat. We had a large vegetable garden, and my mother put up all kinds of vegetables and even crocks of sauerkraut and pickles. Our large apple orchard provided fruit for apple butter and applesauce.

When it came near Christmas, our mother sewed new clothes for us. The material came from used clothes sent to us from the city. Chicken feed came in printed sacks, and these were used for clothes, too.

Our Christmas tree came from the woods on our farm. We would walk in the woods and find just the right tree and then cut it down. The tree was decorated with homemade ornaments. We did not have glue, so some were made out of flour and water. While in the woods, we collected ground pine for wreaths and garland. This ground pine is an evergreen vinery plant that creeps along the ground and has florets that look similar to crow’s feet. Princess pine also grew in the woods, but we did not gather this. These plants are a variation of a family of plants called ground moss.

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