Had a great visit with Dad yesterday and we talked almost the
entire time of things that happened on the farm. Some before my
time, some I remember, and some I heard for the first time.
Of course the Great American Heat Wave of 1936 came up, which
is when the average temperature in Iowa was 108 degrees in July,
and set a record that stands today. It was even hotter than 2016
when the gloom and doom crowd cried ‘Global Warming’.
It was also the year the first tractor arrived on the farm as
the horses wouldn’t work in the daytime heat and all work that
involved the horses had to be done at night when regular folk
would be sleeping on their porches. They slept on the porch
because it was cooler than the house.
Then the winter of the same year came up when Iowa set the
all-time snowfall record of 42.9 inches and the average
temperature for the entire winter was 12.6 degrees and this
combination left over 100,000 Iowa farms isolated for seven
We talked of the horse-drawn manure spreader that sat by the
barn and how us kids used to get in so much trouble playing on
the old machinery. My sister attracted a bull that got loose
while wearing her red sweater and I got stung by a nest full of
hornets that was hidden on the spreader. Until I found it.
We ended up with barns. Ours was red and Dad’s caregiver said
the farm she grew up had a white barn. And the memories of
painting the old barn came flooding back. For our red barn a
mixture of linseed oil and rust, mixed to perfection, ended with
a perfect red color.
Way back when there weren’t many paint choices and paint was
too expensive. I ventured that the white barn was painted with
a mixture of the linseed oil and lime. When home I checked and
it was milk and lime added to the linseed oil used to make the
When paint became more available, and cheaper, many farmers
would choose red paint to honor the tradition. Don’t know if
paints back then sealed as good as the linseed oil and don’t
care enough to research it.
So our stroll down memory lane was actually walking the rows,
but we all had smiles on our faces when it ended. Enjoy our
Wednesday as it’ll be about a week before we get another.
Comments are always welcome.