Tag Archives: chickens

Raising Livestock

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My grandfather Robert was born in March of 1933 in Joplin, Missouri. When he was around five years old, he and his family moved to Kinser Road, which was four and a half miles from Main Street. Grandpa and his family rented a house that was on some acreage. He, his mother, his father, his three younger sisters, and his one younger brother lived in this house. Across the street they had a few more acres with a barn and a pasture that they had rented from the same man that they had rented their house from. Altogether, they had around nine to ten acres.

On this land, my grandfather and his family owned and raised cows. He said that they would usually raise three to five cows at a time and about a hundred chickens every year. He and his father were always in charge of taking care of the cows, and his little brother was in charge of the chickens.

“Every morning I would get up early and go to milk the cows. Then I would feed them and make sure that they had plenty of water. Every evening, I would do the same routine as I did in the morning. In the morning, after we were done milking, I would strain the milk, put it in a can, and then put the can in some cold water so it would chill. We then sold the milk to a truck that came by every morning.” When asked how much he sold it for he said, “It varied, because, the man who drove the truck would figure out how much butter fat was in each ten-gallon can of milk. That amount would determine how much it would be sold for per pound. Then, the truck would take it to the Gateway Creamery that was located at 7th and Virginia in Joplin.”

Grandpa Robert said he never really enjoyed raising the livestock and taking care of them, and he had no favorite task or anything that he specifically enjoyed. “It was tedious work,” he said. He then went on to say that his least favorite part of his job was probably getting up at seven every day to milk and feed the cows, no matter what the weather or the day. “I also hated getting water to water them and to chill the milk because I had to get it from a well. We didn’t have a water pump, just a well out by the barn. I had to throw the bucket down into the water and pull the crank so it would come back up to me.”

Grandpa says that he did learn quite a bit from living on Kinser Road and from the experiences that came with raising the livestock. “I, of course, learned how to take care of the cows, how to feed them, how to water them, and how to milk them. However, I also learned responsibility, because the cows needed to be taken care of by me every day, no matter what. I also learned how to discipline myself. Once in awhile my parents were gone for one reason or another and they weren’t there to help remind me or warn me not to procrastinate with my chores. I’m sure that the lessons I learned helped me sometime later in my life, and I’m grateful for them.”

Grandpa and his family moved away from Kinser Road and from the house they rented in 1950, when he was around seventeen years old. However, he said he gained life lessons and memories he would never forget, abilities that would help him later in life and recollections he could always think of fondly.

Brown, Robert. Personal interview. 25 Nov. 2012

The Life of a Child on the Farm

My grandma Patsy grew up on a farm near Joplin, Missouri. She said the most amount of work was working with the animals. Caring for the Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 2.59.18 PManimals gave Patsy a deeper sense of responsibility and an appreciation for life, because she had to care for an animal that would later provide food them. She and her family lived on the farm and were as self-sufficient as possible. They raised their own animals such as pigs, cows, chickens, and goats. Raising the animals themselves helped her to have a deeper connection to nature.

An upside to raising animals was that Patsy and her family could have access to food, even in hard times, and back then, most everyone was having a hard time. The cows would provide them with milk and meat, the chickens with eggs, food and feathers. The pigs would give them food when they needed. They didn’t have pigs very often. The goats, on the other hand, served a different propose. “We never had a lawn mower; instead we had goats,” said Patsy as she laughed.

One might think that over time they would have a shortage of animals on the farm, but not in this situation. They kept the animals and produce for themselves; therefore, they never sold the goods from the farm. Her role on the farm was that she fed the chickens, milked the cows, and watered the pigs, but Patsy’s favorite thing about living on the farm was that she got to spend a lot of time with the family.

Patsy said the worst part about raising animals was having to wake up early every day, having the cow spill the milk, and seeing the animals die, but it had to be done in order for the family to have food. Everyone had a job or role to be done on the farm. It was expected that you would get it done, because the family was relying on you. Patsy said that her favorite part about raising the animals was getting to see and play with the baby animals. Her family had raised animals since before she was even born; she said that her father and mother decided to raise livestock after he got out of the service.

Patsy thinks that a lot of things about raising animals have changed mostly because a lot of it is done by machines. Now even the cows are milked by machines. Also, she thinks that now people look at more of it as a job, but back when she was younger, it was a way of life and support.

Patsy said that being able to have had the chance to raise animals on the farm was one of the greatest experiences she had ever had. “If you ever have the chance to do something like raise an animal, you should do it,” she said. It has made her responsible, caring, close to nature, and appreciative of where things really come from. To this day, she wastes very little, and what she does discard, she recycles.

Patsy L. Personal Interview. 24 November 2012.


Growing Up On The Farm

A a child, Pa liked to play cowboys and indians.

Think about how much technology we use during the day. It’s working even before we wake up. Air conditioning, television, smart phones, computers, and running water; all these are things that the past generations lived without. These technological advances make life easier, but you don’t need them to be happy in life. We see this through the story of Paul Magnin, my grandpa’s, childhood.

Growing up near St. James, a small Missouri town, Paul (or Pa, as I may refer to him) lived on a farm outside of town with his family. They had no TV, no air conditioning, no telephone, and no indoor plumbing. They lived with what we think of today as the bare minimum, but they were happy, nonetheless. It was these aspects that influenced Pa’s childhood, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.

On a normal school day, Pa and his siblings would wake up early in the morning, do morning farm chores, and walk one mile to their one room schoolhouse. There was one teacher for grades 1st through 8th. The school had only an outhouse. Pa recalled how they would have to hold up one finger if they had to “tinkle” and two fingers if they had to poop. Pa smiled as he recalled how he and his friends would always hold up two fingers, because the teacher wouldn’t always let them go if they held up one.  He spent one year in town school, but didn’t like it. It was from the one room schoolhouse that he had the fondest memories, because it was so unique.

The town school Pa went to for a year.

The town school Pa went to for a year.

Punishments at school were different than they are today. In schools today, teachers aren’t allowed to lay a hand on kids. When Pa was in elementary school, it was expected for children to be spanked on the hand with a ruler if they misbehaved. Pa said it was effective because the sharp pain would get kids to behave immediately. This was important to teachers like Pa’s because they were the only teacher in the school. They needed to spend more time on teaching and less time on punishing. With the development of bigger schools and smaller class sizes, teachers began to use other methods of punishment because they had more one on one time with the students.

In the mornings when they didn’t have school, Pa and his siblings would make PB and J sandwiches and high tail it for the creek. Not only was it cooler by the creek, but if they stayed in the house they would have to do chores. Kids those days were less likely to be cooped up inside since there was no air conditioning and no technology to keep them there. Instead of sitting around by themselves watching TV or playing video games, Pa and his siblings would play in the woods next to the farm and down by the creek, doing things like searching for cow patties and flinging them at each other.They would play war, cowboys and Indians, go looking for tadpoles and frogs, play on their stick horses, and chase headless chickens.

Pa and his siblings would chase headless chickens such as the one in this picture.

Pa and his siblings would chase headless chickens such as this one.

Every Saturday, Pa and his family would drive into town. While the grown ups ran errands, the kids would go to the movie theatre to see a show. Pa and his siblings could get in for a quarter each, and they could each get a Coke for a dime and popcorn for fifteen cents. Once they were in, they could spend all afternoon there. There was always a double feature, cartoons, and Movietone News (The news would be similar to the beginning of “Up,” when Carl is in the movie theaters.)

The atmosphere was different from today, especially in small towns like St. James. Everyone knew everyone, like Mayberry in the “Andy Griffith Show.” People would sit on their porches and talk to everyone who passed by. “Your whole world was right there in the town you lived in; that was your world.” Pa explained. “It was so different than the world today. It wasn’t as worldly, but it was clean.”

“Doing drugs” was stealing one of your dad’s cigarettes and smoking it behind the barn. One time, Pa recalls, his dad caught him trying a cigarette when he was five. His dad said, “So, you wanna smoke.” He then made Pa smoke a pipe until he was sick. Pa didn’t smoke again for 20 years.

Pa tried smoking as a child, only to be caught by his father.

Pa tried smoking as a child, only to be caught by his father.

Pa had a childhood much different than those of children today. He had no television, air conditioning, heating, phones, or running water. He lived without the technology common to today. Yet he had experiences that he could not have gotten anywhere else. Pa’s life was not what we today would call ideal, but he said he wouldn’t have had it any other way.


Magnin, Paul. Personal interview. 24 Nov. 2012
St. Jame’s Public School. 2011. Photograph. St. James. Waymarking. 2011. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://www.waymarking.com/gallery/image.aspx?f=1&guid=2bc529b4-a94b-404f-aaa0-3eeba8e78c64>.
Headless Chicken. 1945. Photograph. JayNoel.com. Jay Noel, 2006. Web. 2 Dec. 2012. <http://www.jaynoel.com/2006_02_01_archive.html>.

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