The wives worked right along beside the husbands, in the farming area [near Andice]. Cotton was the main crop; they raised cotton and corn. And they had a garden. That was the way they got their food. And they had wild berries, wild plums, in the woods. The garden things—they had to dry their beans, but they did use jars to put up the wild berries, the plums and the green grapes, the little wild grapes, mustang grapes. Green grapes made the best amber colored jelly. And they also made grape juice when the grapes got ripe.
They had their own meat, in that they killed their hogs and cured it. They cured the hams and bacons, and they ground their sausage and cooked off their hog lard. And the cracklins from the hog lard, they made into lye soap. In a big old wash pot, my mother made lye soap, even after I was a child. And I made lye soap when I first married, and it certainly did smell good when you washed your clothes and let sunshine do the drying; clean, fresh smell.
They had out back of my father and mother's home, what we called the smoke house. It was a little room, and in that they smoked their meat, if they smoked any meat. My parents never smoked any meat, they just cured it and hung it. And in that smoke house often times it was a dirt floor because it [the meat] dripped as it aged. But the hams were hung and the bacons, slabs of bacon, were hung. My mother, I don't remember what she did, she may have sewed bags made out of old sheets or something, and stuffed the sausage in those and hung them up in bags to dry. And that was their meat. Some fancy people who had a lot of money, they had a rock center in there where they put their fire, and they used oak or pecan wood to give it a flavor.
There was no electricity, they used kerosene lamps. They used wood stoves to heat and cook on. They had no refrigeration. We had what we called a water cooler. It had a pan on the top which was of galvanized tin and it had about three or four shelves with legs on the sides and a tray at the bottom up off the floor on a little leg. And to keep things cool, they put cold water from the well in the top and they took material which was like an old sheet and put it in the water and brought it down around those legs and fed it into the bottom. It acted as sort of a wick to keep the water flowing, and that kept their milk fresh for at least a couple of days, and the butter was kept pretty firm. Other wise in the summer it would have just melted away.