Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sugar Sacks & Mason Jars

In the 50s and 60s, one of my summer chores was to take cold water to my father and brother as they worked in the fields, cultivating corn/beans or putting up hay. Thermos water coolers were not that common in those days, so I would fill a quart Mason jar with ice cubes and water, place it in an empty 5 lb. sugar sack and walk through the pasture or ride my bike to the field. The sack's multiple layers help to insulate the jar.

Sometimes, I would add a slice of banana bread or a handful of cookies to the bag. When I reached the top of the field, I would wait until the tractor was turned around and stopped before I handed the sack to my father or brother. I remember how they enjoyed the cold drink and snack after working in the blazing afternoon sun in a tractor without a cab for shade. With their thirst quenched, they handed me a tattered sack and and empty Mason jar they had taken with them in the morning, and I left the new one at the top of the field for them to enjoy later. Pictured above is my father on the John Deere tractor (I think it was a "B") that he and my brother used for years. If I remember correctly, the cultivator was attached to the sides of the tractor. I remember riding on the bar behind the driver's seat and hanging on for dear life. 

Several years later I worked in the same fields, cultivating or baling. I had the luxury of a tractor cab to keep the sun off of my head. I took an insulated cooler to the field with me, but I looked forward to the afternoons when my mom drove the pickup into the field and handed me a sugar sack that contained a Mason jar filled with cold water.


  1. I love the photos and the memories!

  2. what a wonderful story. you're a good writer - you should write a book. I'd buy it.


  4. Oh Nancy, what a nice post. I too, remember some of those jobs, helping my Dad in the fields, and his appreciation for those small things I could contribute. We only lived on the farm for 15 years and I was 5 when we bought it, but it seemed I lived there my entire life - it was a lovely place to remember. I also remember sitting on the wheel bar on an International Harvester B tractor. I suppose it would be illegal now to sit there! LOL

  5. I, too, love your tales. It reminds me of when I lived on the family farm in Alabama, and I got to ride the Ford tractor. There are so many people today that have missed out on this kind of wonderful life...


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