When a prediction of roast hit the radio airways, it meant all hands on deck to save every growing that we possibly could. Late garden was even better than early garden, and we hurried to pick beans, tomatoes and everything we had proudly watched reach maturity during those waning days of summer.
The wood heater had to be put up in the bedroom. My mother hated to see it happen. Though a small model, it took up space, created ashes and honestly was not a thing of beauty.
Often a new stovepipe was needed to replace a rusted-out section. The mat placed underneath had warped during storage in the shed and we had to set flatirons on the corners to flatten its shape. A fresh coat of black paint was needed, too. Installing the stove usually was a major project, but we welcomed the warmth its sides provided.
Winterizing meant consolidating our living quarters. The most comfortable rocking chairs were move into he bedroom along with the table and held the reading lamp, magazines and lots of other stuff that saw frequent use. The living room and dining room were not heated in winter except on occasions when special company was coming.
The animals had to be protected. Loose boards at the barn were nailed tight and shut out some of the cold wind. Clear plastic sheeting had not come on the market, so we tacked mesh coated with isinglass across the front of the henhouse over the chicken wire. It let in plenty of light so the chickens wouldn’t get their days and nights mixed up and go to roost prematurely. Holes were plugged in outbuildings and around the house in various ways.
There was nonstop shelling and preserving and storing of the food supply that we gathered in. We filled a crock with water glass solution, put it in the cellar, and added eggs while the hens were still laying well because you never knew when they might stop. They kept us supplied with fresh eggs for scrambling while the water glass could be used satisfactorily in cooking. There was no running to the corner market for eggs.
We have it easy today, comparatively speaking, but the satisfaction and coziness that we felt around the fire following a hard day’s work winterizing cannot be matched.