Life on the Farm Memories

I have discovered a new blog to follow! Earl B. Russell writes about growing up poor on a Tennessee farm. He’s posted on such memories as his mother doing laundry with a washboard, smoking fresh sausages and salting hams after the hog-killing, living without electricity, and racing around with the boys in a ’59 Dodge Pickup. Among other stories of his life. One of his links led to the page (part of for  Mary Carol’s Weakley County Tennessee Genealogy and History site where I found fabulous stories of life in days gone by. Mary Carol’s site and some of Earl’s posts are all about my husband’s side of the family, all from the East Tennessee countryside. I’m thinking about how I need to write down all those stories, and soon.

Farm life is just not the same anymore. Small family farms are disappearing fast, replaced by big factory farms, so if you’re from a farm family you’ve definitely got history worth writing. My husband remembers pulling eggs from under crabby setting hens lined up on shelves of hay in a long chicken shed. His mother and her siblings picked cotton by hand, hoed out weeds, and shelled peas when they were yet little kids. Actually she still shells peas (beans). I remember eating Granny’s supper of backbone and beans – and liking it – when I first joined the family. And then there’s the big breakfasts of fried tenderloin, milk gravy and the red-eye gravy made with fat and coffee, homemade biscuits, and scrambled eggs. Oh, heaven.

I do have a videotape of Granny and her daughter (my mother-in-law) sitting at an old wood table, reminiscing. During our Christmas visit to Tennessee I wrote down some of my mother-in-law’s famous recipes and her comments about them. I’m supposed to be reflecting on how to write her stories of early life in the Tennessee countryside mixed with her classic Southern recipes. Thank, you Earl, for setting some kindling under me.


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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7 Responses to Life on the Farm Memories

  1. janmorrill says:

    Thanks for the blog referral! My dad also grew up on a farm. Many of these memories sound familiar to the stories his family has told, so I’ll share this with him.

  2. Linda, thank you so much for this completely unexpected and much appreciated story. The memories you have of your husband’s family have a very familiar ring to me.

    I’m now following your blog and look forward to delving deeper into your work.

    You made my day!

  3. Thanks for your post. Earl has inspired several of us to get busy on the blog circuit. He’s a patient teacher/mentor. I look forward to following you.

  4. Thank you all. I do love these farm stories. Earl, you found this post before I could get around to notifying you about it. You kept me up late last night – glad we found each other.

  5. Earl sent me your blog knowing how much I would enjoy it. It’s excellent. Wonderful reading the stories that won’t be repeated in the environment we now live re: rural farm life. I will continue to follow you and your very engaging entries.

  6. robinsnestofchicks says:

    I grew up on a farm in Iowa. This makes me realize that I should be writing down some of the things that I remember! I remember getting eggs from under hens that were broody, hoping they wouldn’t peck me! I do miss the farm!

  7. Yes, Robin, you’ve got history! Do write down those memories. Most kids these days have no idea what farm life is or was like – even I, growing up a suburban girl in the 60s-70s, had no idea until I met my husband’s family. My own dad never told me anything about his farm life, and I didn’t know to ask.

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