Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A winter day in the farms

Welcome to my blog, Genzano it story
And this post, a winter day in the farms

Farms are usually very lonely places in the middle of nowhere specially in winter times

The country in winter is almost bear of all vegetation it is a lonely place. So one is waiting for spring times to come, because everything becomes better during spring.

                         A WINTER DAY IN THE FARMS
In order to compare these days to the old days, it is necessary to tell you a story, now the story that I am telling you is the story of my own life when I was young, you see life was very different in those times, but we accepted life as it was and did not complain, because that was the ways of life in the farms of those days, so what did we do during a winter day in the farm.
In the morning we would get up early usually just before dawn, and at once we would start doing our chores, we would start by feeding the horses and other farms animals, and we would also be grooming those animals, and at the same time we had to clean the stables as well, virtually we would collect all the manure that the horses and the other stable animals had made during the night before, we would load it on a strange devise like a field stretcher made of timber and wire, and then two of us would lift it and carry it to the manure heap, which was outside about 20 meters or so away from the building, at the same time we would still be grooming the horses with a hand brush, and at the same time we would continue to feed the horses and other farm animals, such as cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals with fresh serving of straw, oats, hay, grain, and whatever else was needed according to the animals needs, and sometimes according to the tusks that those animals were supposed to do during the day, because if the horses were going to do some work, we would give them more oats than normally did.
Once we had finished grooming the horses and cleaning all manure from the stable, the chicken coop, the pig stay, sweep the floors and everywhere else; then one of us would go to the well with a couple of buckets or other containers, so that we could bring some clean fresh water for the small animals to drink, and also for ourselves to drink and to wash our hands and face, and everyday even if it was very cold we used to wash our hands and face outside the building: Here I can assure you that this was the main hygiene that could be had in the farm each day, and this was the only time and place where we used to clean ourselves; at any other time when we got our hands dirty, we had to find a way how to clean ourselves with anything available around us.
By the time we had done all these chores, it would be time for the horse and the cows to be taken to the well to water them, (the horses and other large animals were watered only twice a day in winter time) and of course we had to stand on the well head in order to draw water with a bucket attached to a rope, we had to let the bucket down the well, and then with a flick of the rope we would make the bucket turn upside-down to fill itself, and then we would pull the bucket up the well and empty it into the trough; we had to draw as many buckets of water as they were needed until all the animals would not drink anymore; and now that I think about it, it really was a hard and dangerous job for a youth of my age.
After we had done all those chores as I have said above, it would have been time to eat something, so we would sit down on some sort of wooden stools to have breakfast. Breakfast was usually brought in from town, from one of us or one of our neighbours, there was always somebody on horseback that would go to town the evening before, and then would bring prepared food in the morning. Breakfast would usually consist of a few fried dry capsicums and a few olives, and at the best one or two small pieces of sausage, or something similar which my mother would have fried in the early hours of that morning, and then placed it in a saucepan with a few drops of fried oil at the bottom, we set around a larger wooden stool which acted like a table, and with a slice of bread in one hand and a fork or knife in the other hand, we would try to eat our small share of breakfast from the saucepan with as much bread as possible, as there was plenty of bread of very good nutritional quality, but not much of everything else. At lunge time we would have something similar to eat, but in the evening we had a large meal which we had to cook ourselves, sometimes we would cook homemade pasta, but usually we made a quick meal called ‘panecotto’ which was just cooked bread; to you this may seem strange that we cooked bread a second time for our main meal, but then over there it was the simplest meal to cook and very filling, therefore after a cold and long day of activities this very simple meal was very welcome, and it was also very easy to prepare: To prepare ‘panecotto’ all that was needed was a lively fire to boil some water, then we would throw in this boiling water as many slice of durum wheat bread as required, and in a minute or so we would drain the water out of the saucepan, we also would fry a small amount of oil in a frypan with garlic and pepper or tomatoes and pour it on the cooked bread, and that was all that was required, at this stage the ‘panecotto’ would be ready to be eaten.
Anyhow let me go back to breakfast, after breakfast weather permitting we would have to do some minor jobs, like hoeing in the kitchen garden, which was about half an acre of land, or working in the vineyard, or going out to cut and collect fire wood for ourselves, and also for our families in town, as they depended on us for their wood supply, in order to cook our meals and keep themselves warm, as at that time there wasn’t anything else to burn in order to keep warm.
During the day we would still feed the animals every now and then, and bring in the stable new straw and hay for the following night.
This is how life in the farms was in winter times, when the days were short and the weather was cold and wet.
But when the days became longer and the weather was fine, there was work to be done in the fields even if it was winter. We would have to get up earlier then, in order to feed the horses and get them ready for the tasks that they had to do: it could be just that we had to plough a field or something similar, but in order to do that we had to harness the horses and attach them with their harnesses to the appropriate devices; all this had to be done early enough in the morning even if it was very cold, so that some work could be done during the short winter days in the fields.
Apart what I have already said above, there were also other chores which had to be done in the farm in wintertime, like pruning and hoeing the vineyard, planting trees, pruning fruit and olives trees, cutting and collecting wood, and many other small jobs, so everyday there was always plenty to do.                  
But even though in wintertime we were busy in the farm, wintertime was very dreadful and sad especially for young people, because we were more isolated that at any other time of the year, and therefore it was very boring and it was very easy for one to become dull, therefore if we young people became dull it was due to this harsh environment, at other times of the year it would always be a bit better as there was more contact with the town’s community, and also because there were some important happenings to talk about, even if it would be in a restricted way, so we were happy to see springtime coming.

 Genzano it story
A winter day in the farms
Next time with, a spring day in the farms
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