Thursday, 19 January 2012

The War-Ag had a stock of arable machinery.

Most tractors ran on petrol (gas), or started on petrol and run on TVO vaporizing oil (kerosene)

War time restrictions
During the second world war , everyone suffered in some way or other, what with the food rationing , restrictions on fuel and most of the young men away at war.

Mechanization was just becoming popular in farming through necessity , in that a great push was on for the country to become self sufficient in food production.
Every farm had to compulsorily plough up some pasture to grow potatoes and wheat , in all the regions around the country the government( locally called the War-Ag) had a stock of arable machinery for those farms that had never grown arable crops before. It included tractors, usually the Standard Fordson , ploughs cultivators drills an harvesting equipment.

Fuel for road use was severely rationed , and most tractors ran on petrol, or started on petrol and run on TVO vaporizing oil the kind that we now call heating oil for central heating the house. The petrol used on the farm was died red to prevent people from using it duty free on the roads, although it has been known for farm cars to run on a mixture that included a good proportion of TVO, you could always tell by the thin plume of light blue smoke emitted from the car exhaust.
Steel was another short commodity, metal and cast iron railings around buildings, and along the front of houses were commandeered, On older houses even now there is often a low sandstone wall with the stumps of iron where the railing have been cut down.

Coal was another product in big demand, every house had fire places down stairs and up, and with electricity produced by coal fired power stations. Factories often had one big steam engine to run all the machinery, in steel works smelting was a big consumer that was essential. All the railway locomotives were steam up the main lines, transport also essential.

Allotments were provided for those with not much garden to help grow food for their own table, In a lot of back gardens there was a pig sty, particularly in the rural areas.

Pigs A piglet was purchased, and any household scraps, and edible garden waste, were fed to the pig who was eventually slaughtered. The carcass was quartered and salted, and hung up from a beam in the pantry. The bacon was sliced from the flitch by hand, and usually had as much fat as lean, when fried the pan was awash with fat , this was used to fry stale bread.
Always on the inside of the ribs of the pig was great quantities of leaf fat, this was rendered down to produce lard for cooking, the crackling that was left after the fat was drained off was very popular with the kids.
Pork pies were produced, to use up meat that was lower down the legs and the jelly formed from boiling the pigs trotters was poured into the pie through a small hole in the top, this excluded any air gaps after the pie was cooked.
The pigs head was boiled to produce brawn, when all the meat on the head was cooked and the bones lifted out, the water in the pot was further evaporated and reduced. The contents were then ladled into large basins and the top sealed, and a heavy weight place on top to compress it until cold. This would keep for a while and then turned out onto a plate it was sliced brawn.

Milk was produced before the war using imported proteins such as linseed flakes , groundnut flakes and soya. These were the by-product of the vegetable oil crushers based in Liverpool, they also produced Astra soap at the Bibby's mill who also produced Dairy "cake" from the expeller flakes from crushing groundnut. Maize was imported in large quantities for animal and human consumption.
However when the U boats were sinking our ships in the Atlantic these products got into short supply, so it was essential to grow beans and peas. Occasionaly they were grown as crops in there own right, but more often for cattle feed they were sown as "dredge corn" . ,Oats wheat peas and beans all sown together , harvested when they all ripened , bindered ,stacked then threshed to produce an almost balanced ration for dairy cattle after it had been put through a roller mill.
Milking machines started to appear on farms due to the shortage of labor during the war, the milk was sent in churns to the towns and cities by train or by road transport. Some milk was made into butter and cheese on the farms and the whey fed to the pigs. Nothing was wasted.

Eggs , Hens were found on every farm and in a lot of back gardens, most of them ran foraging about the yards and troughs around the buildings. It was important to watch where a clucking hen emerged from, and quite likely more than one would be laying eggs in that nest. So late in the afternoon you would go around with a bucket to collect the eggs from all the known nests. Nearly all the eggs were collected up once a week by the local Egg packing station, each wooden crate held twenty dozen eggs packed two and half dozen to the tray. Some people preserved eggs in a preserving jell, and some eggs boiled hard then pickled in vinegar.
Production of eggs tended to be seasonal; when the days and day light got short during winter they stopped laying. This was overcome to a certain extent it was found, by putting a light on in the hen house, so they would stay awake longer and eat more food from the feed hoppers and water fountains provided.

This was in the 1950's Before the days of combines. We had to collect the eggs from the field ark pens, into buckets. We hung the buckets on the handle bars of our bikes and rode down the main road from Bridgeford, about a quarter of a mile nearly all down hill. We got up to a fine turn of speed until one day I crashed with about twelve dozen eggs, these all broke across the road in front of Seighford Hall.Had to explain what happened, but nobody cared about my skinned knees and elbows.

Mothers Laying Hens

1950's Before the days of combines.

Mother always kept, a lot of laying hens,
Some in deep litter, some in field ark pens
Autumn they were put, onto far wheat stubble,
With pens on wheels, round the field did travel.

Each pen held fifty hens, they had slatted floors,
Nest boxes on each side, also flap down by the door,
Every two days they were moved, for the hens to range,
Glean wheat that fell at harvest, and to make a change.

Hens let out early morning, and closed again at night,
There was plenty foxes, to help themselves all right,
Eggs were collected every evening, by the bucket full,
Plenty hay in which they lay, took it by the sackful.

On wet days with dirty feet, walked into the nest,
Left foot prints on the other eggs, Oh what blooming pest,
With damp cloth we cleaned dirt off, worst ones we used Vim,
Took the bloom off them eggs, view of packers would be dim.

On dry days eggs were clean, onto sections packed,
Careful not to pack double yoked, or any that are cracked,
They were kept back for our breakfast, anything she tried,
Always nothing wasted, boiled or scrambled also fried.

Every Thursday lorry came, put out boxes in a dash,
Gave mother last weeks grading chit, and her hard earned cash,
Sometimes she was very pleased, others disappointed,
Deductions made for small eggs, and some that they had jilted.

So it was that these hens, came back in for winter,
In deep litter with light on, continued to lay to Easter,
Any falter or not look like lay, they got their poor old neck rung,
Into boiling pot they went, to feed her four hungry off-springs. (us lads)

Cheese - milk's leap towards immortality.
Clifton Fadiman (1904-1999)

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kansasfarmer said:

The US did not get bombed, but like Great Britain everything was rationed, although I think not as severely. My grandparents use to mention it from time to time, and the "looking back" column in our hometown newspaper will sometimes mention a certain item was no longer rationed on a certain date. One of the most interesting items I ever saw was a mention that the ban on weather forecasts had been lifted, I guess they didn't want to help the Japanese plan the invasion.
We still have alot of WW2 vets around, many, many of these spent at least part of the war in the UK.
Kansas also had a number of POW camps. I am not certain if this had anything to do with their placement, but we conveniently had alot of people who spoke German as well, both of my mothers parents and both sets of her grandparents spoke fluent German. The German POWs were hired out to work on farms. I knew a fellow who was in his early teens during the war, his father had a group of Germans working on his farm along with a guard. The Germans were plenty glad to be out of the war. According to his account, the guard slept under a tree all day. One afternoon he had taken a little walk and left his rifle against a tree, it came the time to go back to the camp and the guard hollered to one of the POWs, "hey Fritz, fetch my gun along will you??". According to Bob, the rare escapes were easy to find, they always ended up in the local beer hall.
# March 2, 2009 5:42 AM [Delete]

Owd Fred said:

I guess that’s why my old mother always got so good at forecasting the weather, I never realised that the broadcast weather forecasting had been so restricted during the war, but it made good sense.
I know we had black tarred paper blinds/shutters round the cowshed windows that had to be put up before they could switch any lights on for milking. And any window round the house that had no curtains also had an outside blind fitted.
Our farm was only a couple of hundred yards from the edge of a war time airfield and two huge fuel tanks, and just a bit further on round the different woods were the bomb dumps, so we were not too keen to be seen by potential German bombers.
Only once early on in the war did I remember mother taking us under the kitchen table when we heard an air raid siren, and heard the drone of a German plane. They were looking for the factories in town three miles away. In desperation they would drop bombs on any light they could see if they got lost.

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