Plenty of peas
A-Z challenge - My memories of life on the farm in the nineteen fifties and sixties
PigsMy brother received two mated sows for his sixteenth birthday. Imagine our excitement when large litters were born. The pigs were “large whites” and sometimes had up to thirteen piglets in a litter. It was difficult to prevent the sows from rolling onto and squashing one of their litter. Clean straw had to be added to the pens regularly, cleaning out the pen before adding fresh straw was a really smelly job. Thank goodness I never had to do it. Once the pigs started to grow the pen could be opened into the small paddock where they often proceeded to roll in the mud. Pigs were bred for the market for several years.
Pine treesMy father planted a row of pine trees along one side of the driveway and named the property, Pine Creek. At this stage, there was no town water supply on the farm and he watered and tendered those trees carefully until they were established.
Pens and penfriendAfter several years of practising one’s letters in pencil at primary school, we graduated to pen and ink. The school desks had a hole where the inkwell sat and after carefully dipping the nib in, one started to write. It was difficult to get the right amount of ink on the pen and a blotter was used to soak up the extra ink blobs on the page. If a person pressed too hard there would be a hole in the paper or the nib would split and be ruined. One wrote slowly and carefully. I remember the excitement of getting my first fountain pen. It had a removable cartridge which could be refilled. The end of the cartridge was carefully inserted into an ink bottle and ink drawn up into it like a syringe.
While I was still at primary school I had a penfriend in New Zealand. Her name was Helen Uhlenberg from Taranaki in the North island. We had practised writing letters at school and once the letter was deemed acceptable we rewrote it on good paper to be posted. It was very exciting to receive a letter from someone far away in a different country.
We also practised our penmanship by writing letters to the Five Stars Club which was the children's page of the Southern Cross newspaper and several of us had letters published there over the years. Letter writing practice was an excellent preparation for boarding school where each Sunday night we wrote a letter home to our parents. Mum wrote to me every week at boarding school without fail. I wish I had some of those letters now.
Next Q - Quinces and the Queen