My sister and I once washed some chickens! We were very young at the time – preschoolers! I have no real memories of the washing process but have a very vague mental picture of a number of very wet, bedraggled dead chickens lined up on a potato or sugar bag in the sun. Needless to say, Mum wasn’t impressed with our helping the hen to keep her chickens clean!
Helping Dad at the carrot washer was a semi-frequent task after school on winter Mondays and Wednesdays. The rollers sorted the carrots into three size ranges: small, premium, and large. We checked the carrots as they rolled down the slope, discarded any deformed or broken ones and pushed the rest into the labelled plastic bags. Dad dealt with the larger numbers of the best size. I preferred the little ones as there was always a chance of nibbling a few of the very tasty broken tips. They were definitely the best carrots for eating raw. Nothing in the shops these days is in any way comparable to these freshly washed morsels. It was fun to use the big scales to weigh the bags and the gadget that twisted the wires holding the bags closed.
Dad started growing corn at about the time I started High School. Having an income at the same time as all the expenses of buying books and uniforms and the haircuts and dentist visits was very useful. Fresh corn was a regular part of our diet in summer from then on – cooked within a few minutes of picking. Fresh is definitely best! Lots of the excess corn was frozen for use for the rest of the year.
We alternately walked or rode bikes to primary school but caught the bus to high school. Standing for ages waiting for the bus on frosty mornings was not fun! Leather school shoes and thin grey stockings provided little insulation from the cold, so chilblains were a regular occurrence!