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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Elwin Kingsbury farm: A true Vermont farmhouse


By Bob Kingsbury

In the '50s, dad and mom bought the farm, which was all run down, for dairy farming. We were so poor, we couldn't afford to pay attention. The entire Valley was all farming and lumber mills. At the farm our family had three work horses, some farm equipment, and not many dairy animals. Dad worked at the Park & Pollard feed mill, which was formerly the Riford Joslin feed mill, well known to all farmers.


We had many long, hard days to get the dairy farm up and running. I was in school and every morning (4 a.m.) and night (8 to 9 p.m.) there were chores. Cutting the hay and field corn harvesting might go until 2 a.m. if it looked like rain because wet hay is not useful.

The farmhouse has been rebuilt over the years by dad and his choice carpenters, Frank Weston and Art Livingston.

The cellar was excavated by hand with a one-horse scoop and a long chain. Gramp Lovett, dad and I shoveled most of it with round-pointed hand shovels. All new cement walls were built. We loaded all the river gravel with hand shovels, hauled it from the river to the farmhouse site with a dump cart and farm tractor.

Gramp Lovett and I mixed all the cement and gravel by hand with a cement mixer. The carpenters supervised the job and Gramp was very fussy and precise. I was more or less a hand shovel operator and there was lots of shoveling between loading gravel, cleaning the stables and spreading the manure on the fields.

As time went on, the house was in shape and in time dad wanted to put a five-car garage up. Dad was an excellent carpenter. With the purchase of the farm, dad acquired a sawmill. He bought soft wood logs from all over. Paul Hartshorn hauled many, many loads to the mill which was located at the old mill site, just above the farm next to Route 100. We used all the lumber from the mill to construct the five-car garage.

Dad was a hard worker and with the rest of us, I did all the chores at the farm and mill. He had quit his feed mill job to do farm work full time and get the buildings up to date. Mom kept the house in order and took care of the family vegetable garden.

We also had two corn silos. Dad sawed the silo lumber at the mill. He did the sawing and I put the sawed lumber in a pile at the end of the mill. Many long days were spent sawing and piling the lumber for the silo. The silo lumber was then hauled away to be tongue and grooved and left to air dry. When ready, we erected the silos with Leo Marble.

As time went on we had acquired approximately 100 dairy animals. In between farm chores we continued to do custom lumber sawing. Dad was always very proud to keep the farm buildings neat and in good shape. The family farm will be greatly missed. I put some of the best years of my life into the farm.

We had good days when Gramp and Gram Lovett, along with dad's mother, would stop over for Thanksgiving and Christmas. That was a table full. The family farm days seem to have left. Family farm values were and still are very important to remember. All the money in the world cannot replace those values.

Charles Defreest Sr., grandfather of the Defreest farm, who was also a selectman for many years, said, "When man invented the car and airplanes, it helped separate families and spread them all over. Horses and wagons kept families and family values close and together." A very wise man.

So long to the family farm. It will be missed.

Bob Kingsbury is the oldest son of the late Elwin Kingsbury and lives in Florida.


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