Every season brought its work and activities. In the spring, the farmers prepared for their spring work. The harness was washed, greased, and the plows put into shape for service. The horses were divested of their long coat of hair by lots of grooming and gradually working them. Then the work would start in earnest when the ground had dried sufficiently.
When one followed the plow or harrow all day, he didn't need to take a walk in the evening for exercise, or take a sleeping tablet to make him sleep. Then up in the morning at six, breakfast with eggs and bacon, and often fried potatoes or buckwheat cakes. What a contrast from today with our cereals and orange juice.
Then came the summer and harvest time. The cradling of wheat and oats and cutting hay. The wheat and oats were raked into sheaves and tied by hand. The hay in early times was cut by scythe. Then came the mower and rake. This was made of long wooden teeth that ran close to the ground and dumped the load in windrows.
Then came the wheat and oats reaper that cut the grain and kicked it off in sheaves that had to be tied by hand. Then came the binder that both cut and tied the sheaves, and today we have the combine that threshes as well.
The valley was a beehive of activity during the summer months. Crooked Creek was known as the best bass stream in Western Pennsylvania. People came from as far as Latrobe, Jeannette, Leechburg and Apollo to camp or stay at homes in the valley. It was like a summer resort and gave lots of entertainment for the country boys and girls. I can remember as high as 40 in one camp from Apollo. Our home was always full and I wonder now where we all slept.
There was good swmming and boating as South Bend had a dam that backed the water up for 2 miles. A mill race brought the water to the flour mill. It was quite a let down when fall came and the vacationers left for their homes. The boys who came to our house for the summer were sons of merchants my father sold to in Pittsburgh.
They were always wanting to develop their muscles and get tough. Once they asked a neighbor if they could cut down some dead trees and he gave them permission. They worked like beavers, chopping energetically, and before they got through, they had their hands so sore and blistered they could hardly use them, but they said that was what was needed to make them tough.
They wanted to ride horses so we gave them the horses without any saddles and told them they had to devlop gristle to be a good rider. They ended up so sore they couldn't sit down, but every fall I went home with them for a week and they gave a country kid the works.