The Mad River in Waitsfield, Vermont on a cool fall morning. Photo: Jeff Knight

Well, the hay was all put up in the barn and the canning was also finished. Coming next would be butchering if we had a steer or pig to put up. Also, deer hunting was right around the corner. Hopefully, dad had gotten enough wood to last the winter. Fall was still a very busy time for us. Mom had to hustle to get all our winter clothes out and repaired and/or new ones that fit. Also, we usually got new shoes and boots from Ward Lumber Co. along with the weekly grocery delivery.


Sears and Montgomery Wards were a godsend to country folks. Mail order was very handy and there were no computers back then. Ward Lumber’s orders were usually done on the phone. You ordered on Tuesday and got delivery Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Kingsbury delivered the mail every day (different Kingsbury from the Waitsfield Kingsburys).

Fall was a great time for us kids. Before chores and after school, we could hurry home, change our clothes and scoot up into the woods for a little squirrel and partridge hunting. Always looking and trying for something for a meal. Mom even cleaned our kills for us, too. By the time we came out of the woods, it’d be about dark and we’d head right into milking.

Supper was usually about 8 p.m. By then we’d be falling asleep in our chairs and mom would shoo us off to bed. As we got older, we cleaned up after supper doing dishes, putting leftover food away, and getting the youngers ones ready for bed. Lord, those days were long ago.

Guess we are having Indian summer. It was 50 degrees at 7 a.m. Nice. The lower degrees will be here soon enough.

I was honored with a visit from my oldest child, Margaret, and her husband Bob, for most of a week for my birthday. Yes, I am now 86. I remember as a kid 60 was considered old. What misconceptions we had. We also signed me up at two assisted-living homes for the future – probably in five or so years. My body seems to be giving out on me. We go on and do what needs doing.

It hasn’t been all that long ago when even people living in town or village were doing some farming. Many families had chickens and a milk cow. Before everyone got a car, they had horses and buggies and/or wagons and big gardens. Some things were very good, but some things weren’t. Doctors were scarce and sickness rampant especially in the winter. School kids had the measles, mumps, flu, whooping cough and chicken pox. And the summers brought polio. Most all of those are eradicated now. Thank heavens.

So folks, until next time be well, joyful if possible, and peaceful.