No Electricity and no running water
Since the electricity had been cut off, we had to use kerosene lamps for light and then we used the cast irons that you heated on the stove to do the ironing. To wash clothing, they heated a boiler on the stove and in the summer time we had a washing machine. It was wooden and the agitator was powered by hand. You pulled this stick and that ran the agitator and the kids did that kind of work. We also had a summer kitchen on that farm and in the hot summer you did the cooking out there.
The bathroom was a pot and had to be emptied. You used that at night and in the day time you had an outside two-holer. You used Montgomery Ward catalogs to wipe with. All modern conveniences right.
The next farm we lived on we did not have running water in the house. We had a small pump about 20 feet from the house and we pumped the water and brought it into the house. We did have a sink and the water was piped out kind of like they do now if you don’t have a sewer line. So, we didn’t have to empty a bucket with our waste water.
I think we had a cistern on that farm and a pump in the utility room. We used the cistern water for washing our hair and clothing. We took baths in one of the laundry tubs and that was on Saturday night. In winter we changed our long underwear on Saturday night. I had 2 pairs of long underwear. I probably had 2 changes of clothing to wear to school.
The next farm we lived on had no running water either. The water was at the bottom of a hill and we had to carry it to the house. In winter we had to let the stock outside and we had a cast iron stove in the stock tank to keep the water from freezing.
Things were a little better at this farm. My Mother was able to get a washing machine powered by a Briggs and Stratton engine. It moved the agitator and the wringer. We were also able to get a gas-powered iron and did not have to heat the irons on the stove any more. We did not have telephones on any of these places.
We had a nice yard at this house and I was 12 years old and mowed the yard by hand pushing the mower. We had a croquet set and my little brother and I played croquet every day in the summer so I kept the yard up.
I started milking cows when I was about 10 years old and when I was 12, I was milking 4 cows every morning and evening. I also washed the separator and helped my Mother around the house with dishes and canning and getting the eggs ready for market. This is just a little bit about what life was about on a dairy farm in Minnesota in the late thirties and early forties.