Sod and Stubble: The Story of a Kansas Homestead

By John Ise | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
The First Months in the Log Cabin

I T was a good summer, Rosie's first summer in the little cabin, with fair rains, and fair crops of spring wheat, oats, sod corn and barley, with late lettuce, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and roasting ears for the table. There was not much of the field crops, to be sure -- perhaps ten acres altogether -- but five acres was sod corn that Henry planted in the sod with a hatchet. It was a back-breaking job, and the field looked big enough before he finished planting. Henry did not get a corn planter or "stabber" until two years later. Very few weeds grew in the sod corn, so there was little hoeing to do the first summer.

Prices were good at first, for what little butter and stuff there was to sell. The first butter Rosie sold brought forty cents a pound, but all prices soon began to decline, and before the end of the summer, butter was worth only ten cents a pound, and eggs scarcely worth taking to town. Some of the local politicians talked about a panic and hard times in the country, but Rosie knew only that butter and eggs were cheap.

A few weeks after Rosie came, Henry took a load of oats to Cawker City, and brought back three chairs and some sugar. Rosie was proud of the new chairs, but later in the year she saw that it had been an extravagance, for they really needed the oats for the horses, and they could have done without the chairs.

In keeping her little cabin, Rosie faced difficulties that would have disheartened a less resolute soul. Her stove was so small that she could bake only two loaves of bread at a time, so she had to bake almost every day. The floor was of cottonwood lumber, which had warped so badly that it was a problem to set the bed so that all four legs would rest on the floor. One

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