Making Ends Meet: Dad’s Memory of Farm Life in 1930s Nebraska

| 9/12/2012 4:59:43 PM

Homemade bread, butter, and jamThis story is from Deb Murphy and submitted as part of our Wisdom From Our Elders collection of self-sufficient tales from yesteryear. 

My dad was a young boy in Nebraska during the drought years or the “dirty thirties” as he calls them. He told me a story just the other day while we were discussing the high costs of groceries and gas. He told me they always had plenty to eat back then. Of course, they butchered, and had their own chickens and milk cows. He remembers milking seven cows by hand, and grandma would put the cream in a 3-gallon can that they lowered by rope into the well to keep cold. 

On Saturday, they would take a dozen eggs and the cream to town, and the money made from selling them bought the other items they couldn’t get off the farm. (Gas was 0.12 a gallon.) He said they didn’t have a lot of money, but they never went hungry. Grandma had fruit trees and a big garden and she put up many jars of fruits and vegetables for the winter. She was also a great baker. When my dad and his siblings came home from school, there were two fresh loaves of bread on the table every day, to be eaten with homemade butter and jam! 

 Photo by Fotolia/dušan zidar  

Please send email submissions to with the subject line “Elder Wisdom” or send mail to attn: Heidi Hunt, Re: Elder Wisdom, Mother Earth News, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609.

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