Weatherford Democrat


August 27, 2012

COLUMN: Gathering up the eggs

— My friend and neighbor, Ed Stout, sent me an email recently which contained an excerpt from a 1934 Montgomery Ward mail order catalog. I scanned over it without enthusiasm until I reached the farm supplies section. Man, did this bring back some memories...

In 1934, my mother and father married and settled down here on the Pore Farm. And yes, my parents were actually married. During this time, life down on the farm was quite different from today. The Great Depression had the nation in a death grip, jobs were scarce, and money was almost non-existent. Even if goods were being sold for ten cents on the dollar, this does no good if you don’t have a dime. Folks went to town infrequently, and the infamous Montgomery Ward catalog saw a lot of action.

The farm section of the catalog Ed sent to me offered baby chickens for sale. They would be shipped straight from the hatchery postpaid. Prices (delivered and guaranteed) ranged from $1.90 per 25 light mixed breed chicks, up to $2.75 for 25 Buff Orpingtons. Chicks today cost about this same amount — per chick. Probably most farm folks during that time merely raised their own, allowing a few hens to nest and raise the chicks when they hatched. Grandpa and Grandma Jones had a small rock brooder house in which they raised baby chickens in the late winter and early spring. It had a small stone fireplace to keep the young birds warm. My mom and dad had a similar brooder house in which they heated with a kerosene heater. Since kerosene was 13 cents per gallon, this was a rather pricey operation.

Because our mailbox down on Route One Millsap was nearly a mile from the house, we rarely ordered baby chicks by mail. Instead, we would buy them from Weatherford Poultry and Egg Co. or Gus Vincent Produce on North Main Street. My mother always preferred Plymouth Rocks (Dominickers) or Rhode Island Reds. They were a good compromise for use as both laying hens and eating chickens. Only when we penned them up did we occasionally raise white Leghorn fryers. They grew rapidly and were soon ready to take to the frozen food locker in Weatherford. Although they are also excellent laying hens, white leghorns don’t last long if they are allowed to “free-range” because of all the hawks and owls out in the country.

As part of our daily routine, we would religiously tend the chickens and gather up the eggs each evening. They were an important part of our existence during those early days, and even more important to the earlier generations. They provided a cheap and abundant supply of fresh eggs and meat before the days of refrigeration. Each chicken walking around the farmstead was either an egg factory or a Sunday dinner waiting to be fried.

Many folks today are beginning to see the value of farm fresh free-range eggs, although not too many of our nouveau farmers here in Parker County tend to pluck and fry their pet chickens. If the price of groceries keeps getting higher, some of these folks may have to start doing it the way we did in on the Pore Farm back in the ‘40s. Never name anything you might want to eat.

Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy Commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to

Text Only
  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    Not much is known about this Joseph’s life. The one thing I know for sure is that he was a very brave man.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet!

    Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Showing respect

    My sister Robbie Benton’s funeral was Friday afternoon at White’s Funeral Home. The gravesite was outside of Mineral Wells. The respect shown by the good folks of Parker County and the surrounding area was overwhelming.

    April 17, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Going on a wild goose chase

    In recent years I’ve written quite a bit about the introduction and negative consequences of non-native or invasive species. Fire ants, killer bees, English sparrows, Asian carp, feral hogs and others too numerous to list have forever changed our local ecosystem.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo


    Have you seen those TV offers where they give a price for one product and then offer a second like items for-free? All you have to do is pay a separate shipping and handling charge for the “free” items.

    April 13, 2014

  • John Paul Carter-color.jpg NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s in a name?

    Names are important. When my son, Rush, (who’s named after my father) and his wife, Vanessa, were expecting their third daughter, I gave up on having a male namesake and suggested, in jest, they call her “Johnnie Pauline.”

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: The Christian and the government

    The church in the Old Testament lived under a theocracy. That is, both the church and state were one. God anointed kings. Civil laws and religious laws were one and the same.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Getting in the chicken business

    Anyone who is my age or older has heard the famous quote, “A chicken in every pot.” It is normally attributed to Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential bid.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIEWPOINT: Obsessed with sports

    I remember reading a synopsis of the five reasons for the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon in which he listed the Romans’ obsession with sports at the coliseum as a cause of the fall of the empire.

    April 6, 2014

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    On March 21, this paper published an article about a six-month drug trafficking investigation involving 12 people. On the front page was a photo of the 12 people involved. The use of drugs had made them a sorry-looking bunch. The look in their eyes was particularly disturbing.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video