‘We didn’t call it laundry back in the day’

This is the second in the series “Mildred’s Musings.”

Mildred Luckey Harris Baker lived in the Pleasant Hill community in the southwestern area of Milam County. She was a member of the countywide group of people who wrote Matchless Milam: History of Milam County.

This area of Milam County was settled in the 1860s. Mildred’s family was among the early settlers, coming from Georgia.

Mildred lived a full life, to age 94. She wrote this 14 years ago:
My Life at Pleasant Hill
By Mildred Luckey Harris Baker
We didn’t use the word “laundry” much but our dirty clothes were washed outside.

Water was heated in the iron wash pots with a fire built by the side. Three wash tubs sat along the bench.

The first had a rub board, with warm water from the wash pot and the garments and linens were scrubbed with homemade lye soap.

They were then placed in the wash pot that had been refilled with water and heated.

Soap was added and they were boiled.

After a few minutes the items were lifted from the pot with a sock, usually an old broom handle, placed in fresh water in the second tub.

They were rinsed up and down, wrung, and placed in the third tub of “blueing” water. A pan of starch, made earlier so that it could cool, was the last stop for shirt and dresses, and all items were hung on the clothesline.

At some time, early on, my father bought 100 acres bordering on the west and 100 bordering on the east.

Part of the 300 acres was pasture, trees and grass for the cattle, mules and horses. The rest, and I don’t remember the acreage, was farmed.

We raised cotton, corn, maize, peanuts and many kinds of vegetables. Daddy sold lots of vegetables in town, door to door. There were tenant farmers, usually about three families that lived in the houses on the acquired land.

All the farming was done with mules hitched to plows, cultivators, planters and wagons.

I plowed corn with a middle buster behind one mule or plowed cotton with a walking cultivator behind two mules.

I stripped sugar cane with a wooden homemade blade so that it could be cut by hand with a knife, and hauled in the wagon to the syrup mill in the next community.

Continued next week.

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2010-06-24 digital edition

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