the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Feed Bag Heritage

I just bought a new bag of chicken feed, what they call "scratch."  It's mostly cracked corn, with some sunflower seeds in the mix.  They also get a granular "laying mash" to get better egg production.  Both come in heavy paper bags like this one.  Couldn't get more plain and practical.

Decades ago, feed for chickens and other farm animals came in cotton bags.  Once manufacturers realized thrifty farm wives were using the material for clothing, they began using attractive prints (like those at the right) and smaller labels, or paper labels that could be torn off.

I don't know when the practice ended, but they were still doing it in the 1950's when my father took his new, city-bred wife to live in the country, where they kept chickens and rabbits.  My mother never took to farm life and it didn't last long, but she lived there when she became pregnant with me.  And though she never could stand to kill and dress chickens, she could sew anything.  (Still can.)  So she used the feed bags to make a quilt for her first baby, using the appropriate theme - chickens, with a quilted pattern of chicken wire, which you can see on the left side of the picture above. 

When I had my first baby I tried my hand at quilting, but I'm afraid Mom didn't pass her sewing talents on to me.  But my mother's baby quilt hung in my daughter's nursery, and hangs in my bedroom today.

1 comment:

  1. and the chicken wire quilting! Yo mamma is an amazing woman, Starr!