My, how times have changed.
My Grandma was born on July 4, 1913. Yes, your math is correct— in just a few weeks, she will be turning 103 years old. She has lived through two world wars, the great depression, and so much more. Even though she doesn’t always remember what she had for lunch, the past is as sharp in her memory as can be. On my most recent visit with grandma on Friday, she was reminiscing about all of her years farming.
My grandma was born on a mixed farming operation where her family grew barley, oats and hay, and raised animals. She had seven siblings (she was the oldest girl), who all helped her parents in some form on their farm. At the time, their farm would have been considered large, and just like now, they grew a variety of crops to spread out risk.
What really impacted me were the technological changes that she has seen. Her first job on the farm was running to whatever field my great grandfather was working to tell him it was dinner time (he didn’t have a watch). Harvesting was done by hand, then with a thresher, and finally with a combine. The work was back-breaking, dusty and extremely physical. When they purchased a tractor for the first time, their farm was the talk of the neighbourhood.
My grandma tells a lot of stories about how hard everyone had to work to keep the farm running. Life was tough; one day she was cutting down a crop with a sickle mower, and the mower got stuck on a rock. There were no guards or warning signs on equipment then, and when she reached under to lift the mower over the rock, she lost her pinky finger.