Instruments and implements

A-Z challenge - My memories of life on the farm in the nineteen fifties and sixties

Instruments

The piano was in the lounge room. In her youth, Mum had sometimes played piano at dances and was keen for her girls to learn. At least three of us played regularly and I had lessons through both primary and secondary school years. One of my sisters was accomplished at playing by ear and could pick out almost any tune. Another sister went on to become a music teacher. 

As children, we were often expected to play in front of visitors so easy duets were popular pieces to cover this duty. The piano was a great source of in-house entertainment too as we often gathered around and sang along to popular songs of the day, hymns or old favourite songs we had learnt from Mum. A violin rested on top of the piano but I don’t remember it being played very often. One of my sisters played a piano accordion too.

Implements

Plough, binder, harvester, elevator, cultivator, seeder, baler, slasher, combine, stripper, scarifier, tiller:  just a few of the implements that could be found on our farm. I did not know exactly what each one did as a child but there was an interesting collection of old implements behind the large machinery shed that Dad had built. This binder below was one of those.
1942 - Binder with Ben Arnold  - Horgan family photos
This old binder was one of the implements behind the shed
(Benno Heinrich Arnold of Stockport 1907-1970)

These old implements were interesting to climb on and explore and a great place to play all sorts of imaginary games. Luckily our tetanus shots were always up to date. A gallery of implements used on farms from the twenties to the seventies can be seen in The History of South Australian Agriculture photo database. There were quite a few of these lurking behind the shed.

Those were just the paddock related implements. In the cowshed there was the milking machine and separator, the shearing shed had the shearers’ posts and the wool press. A farm was a fascinating place for a curious child.

Next J - Jelly jests

Comments

  1. It seems that we had somewhat similar childhoods . . . just on different continents! (I blogged about my childlhood memories last April). We had both piano and violin in my home too, but my Mother was the violinist and played fairly often at church and community events. We children each received years of piano lessons, and can all be called upon to play a hymn or two in church, but my eldest sister is the most accomplished and teaches piano lessons in her home. We also had plenty of implements in the barns and sheds, and many of them still reside on the old family farm . . . hay mowers and rakes and hay pushers, manure spreaders and many other such things.

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    1. I must read your posts from last April when this rush of writing is over. One of my sisters still plays the organ in her local church too.

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  2. My aunt hand manual shears she used for dagging, I remember thinking they were huge as a small child, huge and sharp. The milking machines were sources of wonder as well - farm equipment can be fascinating, especially to children.

    I can play the piano one-handed, I am pretty bad when trying to use both hands - it sounds like you all are a musical family. :)

    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

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    1. Yes those manual shears were rather large and very sharp too. I would like to think we could all hold a tune, we certainly had plenty of practice singing hymns in church.

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  3. Hi Carmel - we had an upright piano - but none of us were that musical ... I was probably the worst; however I can understand the need on a farm to entertain the family at times and other guests etc., Love the fact you've included farm implements to remind us all of what's what out at the farm ... cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/i-is-for-ice-age-art.html

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    1. Some in the family were more interested and willing to practice than others. Some had lessons too. Television came to our house in 1962 so music and card games were good evening entertainment. Implements were of course more important in the daily farm work.

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  4. We had a bunch of these as well -- including the piano, as my mom was a school music teacher. I'm amazed at the resourcefulness of country children who make playthings out of whatever is around -- toys or farm equipment!

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    1. The wood heap was a good place to play too but one often ended up with splinters.

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  5. I never learned a musical instrument as a child and feel the lack sorely. I do however appreciate musicianship by going to concerts reasonably regularly. Loved the list of farm implements - such a lot to learn on a farm methinks.

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    1. As they say - never too late to learn but I no longer play just enjoy listening to music nowadays.

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