Calkins Centennial Farm

Aunt Ada's Farm Diary

Volume I, to Aug. 10, 1967

Ada purchased the 40 acre Calkins Centential Farm early in 1967.
Mike, Jim and Harry are her brothers, Vina her sister, Ruth Kilgren a cousin.
Ruth, LaFern, Doris, Clarence and Sven are in-laws.
Pat, Les, Keith, Kelly, Tony, Lois, Alfred, and Tom are neices and nephews.
Bill is Bill Davis, owner of the Dighton Store.
Nora and Adolf Lempke are neighbors to the west, 
Herman and Marion Thomson are neighbors to the east.
Ginny, Dot are friends/roommates from Battle Creek.
Houghlands is the hardware in Tustin.
March 25, 1967 (Day before Easter) Saturday

Ginny, Dot and I left Battle Creek and drove to Mike's. We took Mike and Pat and went over to the farm. It was cold in the house and the driveway was full of snow but we looked through the house, barn, chickencoop. We didn't go in the garage because the door was frozen shut. They thought the house was quite a mess especially the attic where you wade ankle deep in beans! The house was bigger than they expected it to be. After taking pictures by the house we went back to Mike's where Ruth had lunch ready for us. After lunch we went over to the farm again and tramped through the fields, past the first stand of pine trees, out through the hardwood forest, around the other pines and back by way of the stone piles in the east field. We found some interesting rocks and moss and fungi by the stone piles. The snow was deep in some places and the ground was bare in others but it was still frozen so the water stood on the ground and it was a wet walk.
Front of house March 1967 Back of house March 1967
West of house March 1967 South of house March 1967
South East corner of barn March 1967 South side of chicken coop and house March 1967
Red Pines, Mike, Ada March 1967 Mike, Pat, Ada, March 1967

May 27, 1967 Saturday

I drove up to Mike's. After waiting awhile for Harry's to come Pat and I went on over to the house. After looking around a bit Pat swept the east bedroom, living room and the upstairs bedrooms. She piled all the things from the big chest into and onto the trunk. I sorted through the things that were dumped all over the west bedroom. Kelly helped Pat for awhile upstairs. Doris sorted out medicine and other stuff in the little pantry. Ruth and Sven came. He nailed down roof pieces on the barn. Ruth helped me sort things in the dish cupboard in the big pantry. Mike brought over some furniture and things to store there. He brought the trash burner but decided not to connect it because the birds had a nest of babies in the chimney. He dug a pit and we buried broken glass, medicines, poisions [sic], etc.

Harry did some outside electrical work and looked at the inside wiring and decided it was in quite good condition.

Tony and Pat scraped loose paint off the wood work in the kitchen and west bedroom.

I found the broken blue glass top hat and decided to take it back and glue it.

Mike and Sven took the ivy off the south side of the house. Mike took some of the old wiring down that went to the barn.

We looked at pictures and drank pop and ate Fritos and cookies.

June 29, 1967 Thursday

I drove up to Mike's in the forenoon, had lunch with Ruth, and then went to the house. I unloaded cleaning supplies and carried bags and boxes of debris from the house out to the standing portion of the (corn crib) shed. I swept out the little pantry and took the papers off the shelves. I also swept out the closet, rolled up the mattress and swept the west bedroom.

I stopped at the cemetary and left one of the planters from school and put the other one on my front porch.

We called Harry to see when he could come to finish the electrical work. He thinks probably next week Friday.

I thought we had left a flask and some old bottles on the cupboard when I was here in May but found nothing of them today.

June 30, 1967 Friday

Tom went over to the house with me. He looked through cards and pictures while I swept up the big pantry then we went upstairs and started on the attic. In the box he found a picture of Mercy Post, Hampton, Mass. 1790. In the attic we found dried apples. They must be from 1938 or before. There were beans all over the place! One sack was labeled Cranberry Beans 1938, in my handwriting. He looked through sacks, stacked papers and took down the twine and wire lines. I sorted and rearranged. I had lunch with them and took water over to mop the attic. I got that done and moved the things there over to a clean corner after it was dry. Then I tore off wall paper in the east bedroom for awhile.

Tom and I discovered one sweet william plant, a red rose and several white ones as well as a baby's breath-like plant which is all over the place. The pink rose by the east window is pretty now.

July 1, 1967 Saturday

Mr. Curtis got me out of bed to talk to me on the phone about my hay. He came over later and took a look at it. He wasn't sure that he wanted it. I called Mrs. Flint about her husband looking at the well. He's supposed to look at it within a few days.

Pat and I went over and tore off wall-paper in the west bedroom after we finished what little there was in the east bedroom. We took the west bed apart. In the chimney cupboard I found newspapers pasted on the wall with the date 1882 on them (The Chagrin Falls (Ohio) ----.) A Detroit paper in the next layer was dated 1894. I saved some scraps to try to look at more closely later. After lunch we took windows from Mike's to store in the garage for now. He took the lawn mower over and mowed quite a lot of lawn after unplugging the chimney. That was a real job as the swallows had built their nest solidly in it.

Pat and I finished removing paper in the west room and got much of the living room done. Some plaster came off the ceiling in there.

There were many layers of paper on both bedroom walls but mostly only one in the living room.

The little boy who came with Mr. Curtis said, "This is a real nice house you got here."

July 3, 1967 Monday

Pat worked with me over at the house and coined the word "neicely" when I told her she was being right neighborly.

We took the rest of the paper off the living room walls. We took some paper and some plaster off the ceiling. Mike got the trash burner set up and we started a fire in it. It felt good and helped take off the chill.

In the afternoon we went back and Pat cleaned out the back room, the washroom and then straightened up the kitchen, then she scraped paint. I sorted through things and Pat peeled wallpaper off the old table in the back room. It is an old, rough-material table.

I took the old ironing board to the attic, burned stuff in the trash burner. Pat cleaned out the wood box and it was a real mess!

I put the screen door on the front door and the first time Pat went out the door came off! The casing was so rotted and full of holes that it didn't hold the screws.

Mike Flint came over to check the well. He is supposed to come back in a week or ten days to work on it. The planks are quite rotted and need replacing. The cistern has quite a bit of water in it. It should be filled in.

Pat found a teaspoon in a box with the initials RT on it. It is made of Brazilian silver.

Mike shoveled some in the driveway so there won't be such a hump there to drive over.

Pat and I were silly and had the giggles for awhile.

We moved the old bed stead over with the rest of the junk. I took the blue oil cloth off the kitchen shelves.

July 4, 1967 Tuesday

Pat went over with me and it was chilly even with a fire in the trash burner. Pat scraped paint in the kitchen. Clarence, Lois and the boys brought the tractor and wagon and came over. Pat and Lois tore off wallpaper in the front bedroom upstairs (and froze). Then they took the carpeting off the stairs. Clarence cleaned out the well pit. John trimmed lilacs. Al and Tom loaded trash on the wagon. We looked in the garage and barn. We found a wooden, model T steering wheel in the garage. Tom found a wringer. I got a small wooden tub out of the barn. It had been used as a calf grain box. We all looked in the cellar. I dug the 22 caliber slug out of the west bedroom door. I discovered the north window in the west bedroom is put together with wooden pegs. We found some old tools.

I took Pat home and went to Vina's for dinner (lunch). Lois, Tom and I passed the tractor and wagon just before we got there. They dumped the junk in their ditch and set fire to it. Lois, Tom and Al went back with me in the P.M. Al cut lilacs and Tom swept and broke up old crates. Lois and I scraped paint. Al tore off wallpaper for awhile. We took everything out of the big gray box in the living room, I wiped it out and we screwed on the hinge and then the boys took the box to the attic. I started sorting through the things that were in the box but didn't get very far.

July 5, 1967 Wednesday

I worked alone at the house this forenoon. I scraped paint, trimmed lilacs and took off wallpaper. I went to Vina's for lunch and she and Tom came over with me. Tom trimmed lilacs. Vina and I took off wallpaper in the north bedroom upstairs. Some of it we had to soak. Tom helped us some. Mike and Ruth brought some electrical materials over and Mike put planks over the well. Mike got the chair down which was up in the garage. He found a sap bucket too. Tom found a small glass bottle in the corn crib and we noticed several interesting bottles in the cellar. We took Vina on a tour of the place. I took Vina and Tom home and came back to Mike's for supper.

The spring in the kitchen door latch gave out and we had trouble getting that door open.

July 6, 1967 Thursday

Lois, Al, Tom and I went uptown this morning. I wanted to look at light fixtures, which I did at Ace Hardware and Wards. I didn't buy any fixtures but I did buy weed killer, insect killer, wood filler, gloves, a broom, sandpaper, and pruning snips. We came back on the new highway by way of Tustin. I stopped at Mike's and changed clothes and then took the kids to Vina's and had lunch there.

In the afternoon I trimmed lilacs then worked on removing wall paper. While I was working up there Alice, Bud, Ann, Mark and Mrs. Kilgren stopped. They went on a tour of the buildings, including the "dungeon" as Ann called the cellar. She said, "Is Aunt Ada going to live here?" I started sorting pictures, post cards and clippings but didn't get very far. I put all the things into a box so they would be up off the floor. I sprayed all the rooms but the kitchen to help kill all the "livestock." Harry called and said they couldn't come tomorrow.

July 7, 1967 Friday

This forenoon Pat and I took off paper upstairs and then worked awhile at cutting lilacs. It was cool in the house but real warm outdoors when we worked out there. We came back for lunch and went back by way of the cemetary, where we watered the plants. In the afternoon Pat cut and cut and cut lilacs. She really made quite a change! I worked upstairs and finished taking off wall-paper and then cleaned up the debris. After that I measured the rooms and wrote down the measurements. I unloaded the paint and brushes and a suitcase and loaded in some things that I want to take back to wash. I put a button (not very securely) onto the living room outside door. Pat sat on the porch railing and it gave way with her. She got many scratches from the lilacs.

July 11, 1967 Tuesday

Pat and I arrived back from Battle Creek about noon. After having lunch we went over to the house to work. Pat took up the carpet in the front room upstairs. After that she started writing her book about my farm. (ha! ha!) I scrubbed the filthy floor in the west bedroom and closet and then proceeded to patching plaster. I used dry plaster and some of two kinds of pliable plsater and still didn't get all of the holes patched. I also washed the inside of the bedroom windows.

Jim stopped and visited for awhile. He wanted to know if I wanted the cane-seated chairs which grandma had had. I said I would like them, or some of them, if LaFern were willing to part with them.

It looked as if the granary had fallen down a little more.

2659 West 10 Mile Road
July 12, 1967 Wednesday

Pat and I went to the house this morning and I started with painting the closet and the west bedroom. It took a lot of paint on that rough plaster. The woodwork and ceiling didn't cover very well. Pat continued working on her book and performed her neicely duties. Just before lunch time Mike and Ruth stopped. They had returned from their trip earlier in the A.M. Pat stayed home in the P.M. and I continued with the painting. When I emptied the gallon I went for supper. Pat went back with me in the evening and we finished the bedroom in an hour or so.

July 13, 1967 Thursday

Pat and I went to the house. Pat sawed some pieces of wood in two to burn and then sorted things from the box in the living room. I sanded a single bed stead and washed the springs for it. I washed the filthy sink. Pat and I looked at pictures--some of ancisters [sic]. Pat and I went back in the afternoon. I put the primer coat on the bed and she took the oil cloth off in the washroom and then pulled tacks in the little pantry. Then she washed shelves and did some scraping in the big pantry. I cleared out the living room and mopped the floor, then patched two places in the linoleum. I broke a hole in the floor by the east bedroom door. Pat tried washing windows on the outside, even tho' it was cold and windy. I mopped the floor of the front bedroom upstairs. Pat cleaned up stoves and cupboards.

July 14, 1967 Friday

I worked alone at the house. First I went to Hougland's and got a gallon of gray floor paint, a little paint brush, Elmer's glue and three-in-one oil. I painted the west bedroom floor and then washed dishes. I got the china and silverware done before lunch. I moved one cupboard into the living room and put the washed dishes into it. I dusted some chairs and the dresser which was in the kitchen and put them in the living room. After lunch I washed odds and ends of glasses. Then painted one side of each piece of the single bed (I did that in the living room). I went upstairs and painted one side of each piece of the white iron bed. After that I swept and mopped the kitchen floor--using my dish water for that. It surely was dusty and dirty! I didn't get it clean but took off the first layer. It was so cool that the paint may not dry well.

July 15, 1967 Saturday

Pat and I worked at the house today. In the forenoon Pat painted shelves in the big pantry (and her hair) lavender. I painted the other side of the two bedsteads. I washed some jars and salt and pepper shakers. We took our hot soup, crackers, cheese, pop and other tidbits and went back to the "backer" part of the farm to eat. After eating we sunned ourselves and read. Then walked back through the pines. We found a few wild red raspberries in the woods. I carried the lilac clippings to the brush pile. Then dug the sod and dirt from the back cement step. Then Pat and I scraped paint in the kitchen and pulled some nails. Mike, Ruth and Sue stopped after they deposited the kids from camp. Pat took Sue on a tour of the house. Nora stopped and visited for a few minutes just before we left (for the grand opening of the old cellar at Mike's, from which I collected some jars and an old toaster.)

[red ink today, all the rest are blue] July 16, 1967 Sunday

Today we got lights. Mike, Harry, Rob, Vina's three boys and I came over from the family get-together at Vina's and Harry connected the lights. All the lights in the house seemed to work except the one in the east bedroom. The electric stove worked too--even the oven.

Ruth K. gave me some papers about the place and Vina gave me the wooden jewelry box which had been in the desk. It has deeds in it and tax receipts. Some other old papers too. Also, Uncle Lee's graduation (from 8th grade) diploma.

July 17, 1967 Monday

Pat and I worked at the house this A.M. It took all morning for me to get the stove cleaned. Pat washed the shelves in the little pantry and then started painting them--after pulling sixty-seven nails. It seemed good to have lights to work by! After lunch I went over and picked up Tom. Pat continued with the pantry painting, pulled nails elsewhere and scraped some paint. Tom cut more lilacs and then picked up some junk and found bottles and sleigh bells and old lisense [sic] plates. I wiped the other bed springs, scraped paint and washed the jars that I got from Mike's. We(?) quit work a bit early. I took Tom home and then Pat and I went to her house. I got packed and came back. (Pat got packed to go to work.)

July 19 Wednesday

I left Battle Creek after lunch and arrived at Mike's about four. I went on over to the house and unloaded the paint, plaster, window shades, etc. I put a shade up in the west bedroom, set the bed up in there and set the metal table up in the living room.

July 20 Thursday

This morning I patched plaster in the kitchen. I took down one board, which had nails on it, on the north wall and there were a lot of other places to patch too. I ran out of plaster (over 10#) before I finished filling all the holes. Lois invited me for lunch and Tom went back with me. (Lois and her friend came over to see the house after lunch.) He finished cutting one clump of lilacs, picked up some tin cans, cut up some pieces of wood and filled the wood box. After I used all of the plaster I painted the kitchen ceiling. After supper I went to Bill's and got more plaster. Then I went over to the house and filled the rest of the holes in the kitchen, cleaned the little pantry floor and put up the other shade in the west bedroom (not very well, tho'. I must do it better sometime!)

July 21, 1967 Friday

I sanded the plaster that I patched yesterday, washed some of the grime off the walls, etc. and started painting walls of the kitchen. I got the west wall mostly done before lunch, the south one done in the afternoon, and after an early supper I did most of the east wall.

I used the electric stove and it heated real well.

Ruth, Mike and Pat stopped on their way back from Cadillac. Mike looked at the open shelves in the big pantry and what is involved in removing them. He also looked at the front porch and decided it needed jacking up and raising the middle part. Also, the west end of the roof is rather disentergrating [sic]. The west end of the house has some quite poor siding. It is full of knot holes which have fallen out. Some of the siding is put on with square nails. Some pieces of siding have almost no over-lap.

July 22, 1967 Saturday

This morning I finished painting the kitchen and then painted the floor of the little pantry. Mike stopped over and took out the open shelves in the big pantry and took off the box from around the water tank. We had coffee and he said it was the first time in quite a few years hat he had drunk coffee in that house. After lunch I went back and scrubbed and waxed the kitchen floor. Then I went to Vina's and picked up Tom and Al and we went to Battle Creek. When I got over to the house this morning the door was stuck shut from the paint. I thought it had latched shut again so crawled in the bedroom window.

Mike sent the picture frames with grandma and grandpa's pictures in them over with me. There is another picture in the frame with grandpa.

July 27, 1967 Thursday

This morning I did several clean-up jobs. I took the mirror frame off of Uncle Leslie's dresser, wiped out the drawers, put in shelf paper, and moved it into the kitchen. I cleaned out the little dresser and put it in the west bedroom. Ruth's desk I cleaned out and put into the living room. I wiped the pictures and picture frames of grandma and grandpa and set them on the desk. I put up the lamp braket in the kitchen and put a lamp into it. I put the other lamps and a few other objects around. In the afternoon I took the linoleum up in the big pantry and read the news of Sept 1929. (Tustin Times; Cadillac Evening News; and Grand Rapids Herald.) Mike and Ruth came over and Mike jacked up the toilet, put a log and boards under it and nailed it together to make it usable. It will be good to have an outhouse! I emptied the big box of cleaning supplies.

July 28, 1967 Friday

Pat and I went over to the house this morning. Pat painted in the big pantry. I took up the carpet in the east bedroom. My, was it dirty! It had Collier's for 1933 under it. Then I cleaned out the toilet. After that I took the old shingles off the roof of the toilet. I found 18 shingles in the the garage so I decided to reroof it. After lunch I went to Bill's and got roofing nails and started in on it. I took pieces of tar paper from the horse stable to put on under the shingles. I used the step-ladder to stand on. I got sore hands and sunburned face and arms but it looked quite presentable when I finshed. Some of the roof boards weren't solid enough to really hold the nails. There weren't quite enough shingles so I finished it out with a narrow strip of roofing which I cut in pieces. Pat finished the pantry and took down the awning outside the pantry window and removed the storm window room the washroom windows. I brought the board for the chimney cupboard door over and Mike cut it off for me. While I was sanding it Alice called and said she and Mildred and the children would come out. Pat and I went back over to the house and after looking at the changes, we looked at old cards and photographs.

July 29, 1967 Saturday

Pat had a dental appointment and Mike had to work so I took Ruth and Pat up town. I bought hinges (for the chimney closet), protectors to put under the legs of the bed, and a toilet paper holder.

After lunch I went to the house and gave the inside of the pantry cupboards a coat of paint (which is more mauve than lavender) and used the rest of the white paint, which I had, in giving the walls a second coat but I didn't have enough to finish. I put Ajax liquid cleanser on the floor and gave the floors a first cleaning---it will need about six more!

I took the key over to Mike's and came on back to Battle Creek. My first utilities bill (electric) came to Mike's.

July 31, 1967 Monday

I drove up from Battle Creek and got to Mike's about 9:30. I picked up the key after another cup of coffee and went over to the house. I put shelf paper in the mauve cupboards and then started washing dishes and putting them away. I polished some of the silverware. After lunch Pat came back with me and started scraping the front door. I finished polishing the silverware and washed more dishes. Some things I took to the attic; some things I put in the cupboard; and some things I put in the drawer to put on display later. Pat and I went back in the evening and she continued scraping. I measured for kitchen curtains; moved the brackets for the shade in the kitchen window, and fixed the shade brackets at the west bedroom window and put up the drapes in the west bedroom.

I brought up the toilet ornament and put it in place. I also put up the toilet tissue holder.

August 1, 1967 Tuesday

Pat and I went over to work again. She continued scraping. I wiped out the tall white, metal cupboard and the bottom of the kitchen cabinet. Then I started painting them but ran out of enamel. After lunch I went to Bill's and got more and finished those in the afternoon. Pat finished scraping the door and I put a coat of cobalt blue paint on it. I washed more dirty things and took some to the attic. Pat helped me put the dirty carpets in the trunk of the car. Pat wound balls of twine, I sorted odds and ends and found more roofing nails.

After Mrs. Spooncer's birthday supper I went back over and painted the back door blue. I put the window which was on the washroom window into the window beside the back door.

August 2, 1967 Wednesday

Pat and I went over to work again. Pat tried, without success, to take down the back eaves troughs. She then looked at pictures of ancestors. I put a second coat of blue paint on each door and painted the little cupboard white. After cleaning up and having lunch at Ruth's I came back to B.C.

I got a mattress, two pillows, dishtowels, groceries, & curtain fixtures, 2 green lawn chairs.

August 7, 1967 Monday

I drove up from B.C. this morning and after having a cup of coffee and picking up Pat at Mike's we came over to this house. It had been raining but was cleared enough for us to unload the car. Something had really dug under the back doorstep. The painted things were dry and I put the cupboards into the (kitchen) pantry. Then Pat put away the groceries which I had brought. I proceeded with putting up the red & white checked curtains which I had made while in B.C. Nora invited us for lunch when we went to tell them about the cows being in their corn. We made the bed, moved the table into the dining room (after clearing it off) and then cleaned out the back room. There were many little goodies tucked under the eaves---rollers from shades; bottles; tools; whet stones; mittens; etc. I took the zinc off the table top. We went to Mike's for supper and then we went to Dighton & got eleven panes (20x28) of glass and some putty. We came back to the house and set two traps by the back door.

Pat and I proceeded to make preparations for sleeping here. She took the folding cot to the north room upstairs and I slept downstairs in the west room.

August 8, 1967 Tuesday

Today we had our first breakfast in our rejuvinated house. The oven made good toast. After breakfast I took Pat and went over and got Al and Tom and then took Pat home. The boys and I started in on the cellar. We found newspapers for 1916 and 1917 around some of the windows. We found quite a number of old jars and bottles. It was really a mess! Al dug pits and we buried broken glass, ancient canned goods, etc. After a lunch of soup, corned beef sandwiches, coolaid, potato chips and cookies we went back and finished the cellar. While I did dishes the boys cut more of the grass and weeds that blocked the view of the road. After a snack we tackled the garage. It was a mess and we buried more stuff--rusty nails, bolts, etc. There was a mess from the grain--the parts the rodents left. After sorting, sweeping and rearranging we got it so I could put the car in. We tried it before I took the boys home and had supper with them. After supper I finished hemming the red table cloth and then Mike, Ruth, Pat and Phyllis came over to see the latest accomplishments.

August 9, 1967 Wednesday

I awoke fairly early so got up and finished painting the second coat in the kitchen. Just as I finished that Lois brought Vina and the boys over. We looked around and looked at some photos. Tom reset the trap which the animal had sprung. I washed kitchen, dining room and bedroom windows inside and out and put a shade up in the kitchen. After lunch I put a new window pane in the east bedroom (that took quite awhile). Then I patched the plaster on the walls in there. I went to Mike's for supper and got water, went to Dighton and got a few groceries and more plaster. On my way back I stopped at Burk's. I came back and starting painting in the east bedroom. While I was working there Lois and her friend came over. They had a hard time getting my attention as it was very windy and I had the radio on. I didn't paint very long as there is no light in there that works.

August 10, 1967 Thursday

I decided I might as well continue with the painting while I waited for Dot, Ginny and Mrs. Haskell to come. So after having breakfast and tidying up the house I painted in the east bedroom. It was chilly but with a fire and keeping busy I was warm enough. They arrived about 12:30 and we had coffee and then I got lunch. Meanwhile, they unloaded Dot's grass rug, my three rag-rug carpets, a chair from Mrs. H. and my electra-charge light. After lunch we decided to go antique-hunting, so we packed up Pat and went to Lake City and then down to the junction of 66 and 115. I bought two blue willow bowls. We came back back and went to Dighton and Tustin, where I got a few groceries and Dot bought me a frying pan. We got motel rooms at Mineral Springs and then came back here where I got supper. Dot and Pat worked on digging a ditch for putting the wire to the garage. Mrs. H. helped me and Ginny cut grass and weeds. After eating Mrs. H. did dishes and read; so did Gin. The other girls continued with the ditch and I finished painting the east room. After that we went to Mike's and got water, made arrangements for tomorrow and then Dot dropped me off here and they went on to the motel.

[There appear to have been many taped inserts (pictures?): July 21, July 29, Aug. 2, Aug. 8, and Aug. 10. A layout of the house complete with measurements (see below) and a vehicle inspection form are tucked inside the back cover (formerly taped). The back page has a list of taxes paid by year 12/23/79 to 12/5/39 totaling $1194.49.]
CCF house floor plan (main) CCF house floor plan (upstairs) Ditch digging bill