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Ron and Marti Steed have been selling property in the Hudson Valley for over 45 years.

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Farm Life Back in the Day

Doyles at Dutchess County Farm NY

Life on the Farm was hard back in the early 1900s.  These rural residents weren’t exactly pioneers; but there was much of the pioneer spirit and way of life still remaining in rural Dutchess County at that time. The fields were still plowed by teams of horses or mules and hay was piled in two-story mounds. Large stones and rocks were extracted from the earth by hand and later used for rock walls to divide your land from your neighbors’.



Running water in your home came in the form of a hand pump which emerged from the kitchen floor bringing cold water into the sink.  Baths were taken in the kitchen too in the huge caste iron tub which doubled as the base for the food prep table. The kitchen was the center of the home, where the heartbeat of the family could be felt. The kitchen, complete with two rocking chairs and large dining table with chairs for family members and more, was the room from which warmth was spread to the rest of the house.  This warmth emanated as much from the huge cook stove and warming ovens as from the lively conversation and review of the day’s events. The kitchen, where busy hands prepared the daily bread and meals that warmed the bodies and the souls of the family and those travelers that passed looking for work, wanting to compare crop production and to exchange remarks about the weather, the last hunt or the fish that got away.



Several generations sometimes lived on the farms at the same time. Often homes of equal size were built next to each other and chores were shared among parents, children and grand-children. Barns were built big enough for all until extra money could be saved to fund a new build; but in the early 1900s there was precious little extra. Families kept company with each other, the Sunday service and monthly Grange meeting may have been the highlights of their social calendar, shadowed only by the occasional wedding, birth or funeral. 




Children learned that the live stock were not pets and that cats and dogs had their chores on the farm as well.  Only the occasional eccentric Auntie might get away with making a pet out of the prize rooster.Boys learned to farm, to use their rifles and to hunt with bow and arrow at a very tender age; while the girls occupied their time with cooking, canning meats and vegetables for winter, sewing and the more...





... gentle farm chores like feeding live stock and cleaning out the barns; while attempting to save time for their herb & flower gardens.If you look closely in the windows of this barn, you will see two flags crossed in each; and if we look closely into our windows today we will see our flag displayed with pride and in honor of our soldiers serving here and abroad.



Although times have changed and today’s’ farms are modernized with the latest machinery and techniques in farm management, many of the family owned farms in our area are still worked by descendants of these pioneers and they, as we all do, reflect upon a simpler time gone by with appreciation of those that came before us.

The farms in our valleys are so beautiful even the best photographer can not capture their majesty nor relay their importance and special role in perpetuating the American way of life in the country.

Come to the country; and if you leave, you’ll leave with a smile!

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