Chester Chatter: Farm life and the family business

By Ruthie Douglas
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The family farm of times past was a great place to put down your roots. It was a comfort zone.

When I married Don Douglas, I had never been in a barn before. Don wanted to show me the cows and calves. I was afraid of the cows and the smell of manure was terrible. I learned I needed to instead smell the sweet hay and the saw dust on the floor.

I had always thought a farmer was slow-thinking and did not know how to really make a living. Soon I learned that a successful farm was indeed a business. We all lived in the big farmhouse. Lunch time was a business lunch without the cocktails.

In the 1950s, Chester had many farms. We met once a month at our houses to discuss problems that came up. We helped one another out when extra help was needed to get in the corn or gather the hay. And every now and them we took time to share a potluck supper. Those farmers certainly knew how to cook.

No one has yet to be able to guess correctly what last week’s object from Ruthie’s Attic is. So we’ll move on to something else. What is it?

A group of us lobbied for a return bottle law as we had bottles and cans tossed in our fields. We wrote out congressmen. Every farmer never missed a town meeting. We had our soil tested by the state.

Spring and summer were busy times but, come fall, and the silos filled, hay went under cover and we fussed around the barn.

My job was brushing the cows, clipping their hair and all the while I talked to them. We always had music playing on the radio. I like listening to the barn noises when it came to the end of the day. The cows were all named, It was like they were talking to one another as they much on their fresh laid hay.

It really was a family farm and not a factory. At day’s end, it was rewarding what had been done that day.

Family gatherings

Richard and Mary Putnam were in Saco, Maine, recently for the wedding of their daughter Heather.

Donna Whitney was in Virginia to take care of her daughter Corey, who had surgery recently.

Terry Blair of Ocala, Fla., is visiting her mother Judy Henning for the week.

Butch Eddy and Elaine Amsden have headed south for the winter to their home in Florida. Come the first frost and Butch is headed to warmed places.

The Domino Chicks met at the home of Linda Stowell on Wednesday. The gals always have a good time when they get together. Guess what I won?

Volunteers have been busy putting together letters for donations to assist the Chester-Andover Family Center. The center offers help to many folks.

Happy Halloween! Stay safe!

  • This week’s trivia question: Who is Chester’s oldest resident?
  • Answer to last week’s trivia question:  There are about 125 apples to a bushel.

Street Talk

If you could build something new in Chester, what would it be?

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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  1. Sarah Allan Waterman says:

    Hi Ruthie,
    My sister Juliet Allan Hansen and I enjoyed reading your articles on the way home from Buffalo, N.Y., and a visit to sister Judi Allan Naylor. Fond memories of Chester.