Drat that darn dog

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

Darning

By Wuerzele via Wikimedia Commons
Farm work was tough on clothes. There was always mending and darning to be done. Socks were darned and re-darned to make them last. Men’s work trousers were patched over and over.

When the sheets wore thin they were cut down the middle then the sides resewn together. Knitted jumpers were darned where holes had appeared. I’m grateful I no longer feel the need to darn anything!

The skill did come in handy at boarding school in the sixties, those 30 denier stockings were liable to hole. When a dab of nail polish would not suffice to stop a run, that darn skill was useful.

Dogs

Dogs were essential for working with sheep. Flossie was treasured and she worked hard. Sometimes, of course, the dog would run contrary to orders and try to anticipate where the sheep were to go. In such a case my father in retelling the story would  refer to ‘that darn dog.’ He was a very mild-mannered man and I never heard him use language stronger than that.

The bond between man and dog working together each day was strong and close. Often Dad would sit on the veranda after meals with his dog. How sad it was when a dog became old and no longer able to work, the inevitable day would come for the dog to be put down. No trip to the vet for a needle like our pampered pet pooches of today. The heartbreak of disposing of one's own dog was part and parcel of farm life.

Next E - Early childhood and Easter

22 comments:

  1. I recently darned a sock, hadn't done that in awhile. I was irritated it had worn out so quickly. Putting a beloved pet down would be hard. My mother who grew up on a farm remembers her dad always made sure the kids weren't around. Thanks for sharing your memories with us!

    #AtoZChallenge
    "Female Scientists Before Our Time"
    http://shells-tales-sails.blogspot.com/

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    1. Yes, our parents made sure we were not around but we knew enough to miss the animal once it did not reappear.

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  2. Hi Carmel - yes I guess in farming the family was self-sufficient for all things ... I'm sure your father was very fond of 'those or that darn dog' ... gentle telling - thank you ... cheers Hilary
    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/d-is-for-ducks-dabbling-diving-domestic.html

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    1. Forgot darning ... haven't done that for years ... I cobbled a sock together the other day - it lasted on wear ... and is now on its way out! Cheers H

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    2. Flour and sugar were bought in large sacks and there was a weekly shop for ten loaves of bread for all those school sandwiches. Australia has never had meals provided at schools.

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  3. Wow, I don't even know what darning socks or jumpers mean! It's strange, even when we poor as I was growing up, it rarely meant mending clothes... I believe we should do more of that instead of throwing stuff out and buying new ones. I say I believe so but I don't quite do or have the skills for it! 😉

    Today on my Journey To Courageous Living D is Daring to be gentle with yourself: come, check it out.

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    1. I still mend and patch if need be, but I never developed my mother's fine darning skills.

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  4. Nice post. Well done for choosing two words for each letter, I've just been sticking with one!

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  5. I remember learning darning. I don't think it will become a craze like knitting or patchwork. A bit hard to take off your shoes and say look at my latest darning.

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    1. Love it! I'll see your darning and raise you one foot.

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    2. A foot and a worn elbow.

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    3. That's it! You stitched me up.

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  6. I've had to take two cats to the vet to be put to sleep in recent years and the experience was heart-wrenching to say the least. I can't imagine having to do it "the old fashioned" way.

    D is for Denver Airport: Alien Circus Reptiles Stole Your Luggage

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  7. I'm afraid I gave up darning as soon as I grew up! Old socks are used as dusters and new socks purchased, whether we can afford them or not! https://shirleycorder.com/determine/

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  8. Tamara and Shirley, thanks for visiting.

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  9. I am enjoying your charming series of stories.Your life was so different from this city kid's except for the darning of those darn school stockings....and I remember that my Nanna used to cut up and remake the bedsheets.

    Jill - Blogging the #AtoZChallenge at ballau.blogspot.com

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  10. I also remember the sheets being cut up and resewn with a seam down the middle. I learnt to darn but haven't used it for years. What a wasteful age we live in! How nice to be able to just go and buy new socks.

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  11. Jill and Linda thanks for dropping by. The sheets were not so comfortable with seams down the middle or large patches, but once a person was asleep it did not matter a jot.

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  12. They made em tough on those old farms. Feel sorry for your Dad having to put his mate down the old-fashioned way. How awful.
    My husband's cousin was a farmer and his pet name for the house dog was "Useless". Still does it now he's left the farm. He has a very dry sense of humour.
    We didn't do cross-stitch in hessian but I do remember sewing felt onto hessian in primary school.
    xx Rowena

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    1. No doubt our dogs were called useless at various times too but generally had inoffensive names like Toby, Lassie, Brownie and so on. I think we named our pet lambs too.

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  13. Oh Carmel - all great memories here. I have a darning toadstool but am ashamed to say I don't use it much. You have to be tough to work on a farm don't you. I don't think I could put any of my pets down - take them the vet yes but do it myself, no. But you don't know what you can do until you have to do it do you?

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    1. Darning toadstool, yes that's what I thought Mum called it but on my last visit to South Australia my siblings said it was a darning mushroom. "Well I'll be darned" as dear old Dad used to say.

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