In my post about best-laid plans, I said I was contemplating some new directions for my next writing project…and planning some other things as well.

Before I tell you about those “other things,” I have to supply some historical background (which is appropriate enough, after all). So I’m going to give you a brief photo-essay for this preamble.

When my brother and sister and I were still toddlers, my father got out of the Navy and my parents moved back here, to the farm where my mother grew up. Back then, it was a chicken farm. Here are a few of the chickens, circa 1941. (For those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while, the nearer chicken house is now my office.)

And here is my mother on the farm, circa 1941.

(Actually, this is my favorite picture from that decade, although it’s not as clear. That’s my mother on the left, in 1949, having just shot a possum. Yep, that’s the possum.)

So the farm is where we grew up too. This is my brother with my mother’s father, Papa Tench. My brother got to ride on the combine because he was a boy.

And here’s my brother with my father, shortly after we moved back. As you can see, there were a number of things that were, er, guy territory. Although not possum-shooting, obviously.

And not grass cutting, because I got to do that too.

We raised hundreds of chickens, and we ate the eggs, and the chickens too. We raised pigs, and ate the pigs. We raised geese and ate the eggs (but not the geese.) We had a dairy cow named Taffy who ate the garden.

(My sister Deb on the left, me on the right, my mother with the grain bucket and the stylin’ pants. And yes, that is a Volkswagen van back there behind the grape arbor.)

We chopped our own wood and used it to heat the house.

We rode our ponies everywhere.

(My sister will kill me for putting that photo up. For some reason, she thinks our seventies-era clothes are less than flattering.)

We had acres of peach trees and apple trees and the world’s most enormous garden.

(I’m not completely sure who all those people are, helping dig the potatoes. We had a lot of random people living on the farm in those days. One of them used to clog in the living room. Another one lived in a tent down near the chicken houses.)

We canned peaches, and froze peaches, and canned applesauce, and froze vegetables, and stored root vegetables. We didn’t live entirely off the land. But we came close.

What does all this have to do with new directions? Stay tuned for the next post. In the meantime, you can admire our vintage farm-wear…

Showing 10 comments
  • Sarah Park

    Oh, I love seeing these old photographs! I can’t believe how much Emily looks like you did! And all those chickens by your office… wonderful.

  • LanaTron

    Fun pictures! Can’t wait for the next post to see what you have cooking.

  • Diane

    That photo of your mom with the daffodils is so perfect!!! And you hugging your horse? Love it.


  • Colleen in NS

    Yup, Emily totally looks like you back then!!! Lucy agrees, too. And we think your brother looks like Ben and Dan. Can’t wait to hear about your new directions!

  • Cindy Finley

    Love this, Susan! Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait to hear about new directions!

  • Susan T

    Looks like you were homesteading before it was cool and yet you weren’t isolationists and I you are all well educated… Love the photos!

  • Sahamamama

    I know, I know! Your next writing project will be on the evils of plaid polyester clothing. LOL. I am 45 and I had a pair of pants just like the pants Deb is wearing in the pony picture. Only mine were mustard gold and avocado green.

    We didn’t live on a farm, but we had a large garden. Did that canning thing — tomatoes, sauce, corn, applesauce, apple butter, peaches (my hand hurts thinking about these), pears, plums, beans, dilly beans, pickles, and tons of jam. We picked berries by the pailful, and made grape “concentrate” and fruit roll ups out of wild Concord grapes. (pucker).

    No chickens, though. But we went fishing a lot. Sunnies ended up in the frying pan. And this was in New Jersey in the 70s.

    Loved the photos, Susan. You look like Emily in 70s clothing. 🙂

  • Homeschool Blog

    What wonderful photos! It is so neat that you have so much family history simply in photos! Enjoy it! It is also inspiring to hear how self reliant your family was – such a great lesson for the current day.

  • Lynette

    Hi Susan,
    Just wanted you to know that for a year or so a group of young woman, and myself, have been reading though the suggested novels from your A Well Educated Mind and using the classical method. VERY GOOD> Wanted to let you know that we just finished Moby Dick–we highly recommend you finish it someday!
    Anyway–so enjoying the Conversation.
    Thanks for the fabulous work you do!

  • karensk

    LOVE the pics!! So sweet, especially getting to see the one of your mom when she was little.

    And the seventies apparel…YESSS!

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