Home On The Farm
Top left: Donald and Marjory at the farm, circa 1924. He wears his beloved bib overalls and bare feet (no more "knee pants," in the summer, at least) but she has to wear pigtails with a long-sleeved dress and black stockings and shoes.
Top right: The Johnson family at the farm (circa 1924), after they moved there permanently in 1922.
Bottom: The farmhouse by moonlight in picture taken in 1932.
The photo shows the house's original configuration -- with two glassed, screened, shaded porches, both unheated and closed in winter.
The front porch on the left faced Lake Christina. In spring it was used as a hothouse to start tomato plants in dishpans and other seedlings in tin cans. In summer it provided a haven from mosquitoes and a superb theater for watching electrical storms over Lake Christina. Spiraea and yellow roses later softened the exterior lines.
The back porch to the west, at right, was used as an informal dining area in summer when the kitchen became unbearably hot from the wood range used for cooking and baking. A pass-through from the pantry moved food and dishes efficiently and a threshing crew could be accommodated at the tables. The back porch had a flat tin roof and was the ideal place to enjoy a summer hailstorm while eating watermelon or vanilla ice cream with soda crackers.
The pump house at far right is gone, replaced by an attached garage.
The foundation is extra high because the clay soil was so hard when the basement was dug that they gave up on going deeper.
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"For four years after Pa bought the farm, he farmed it along with the land around town. Livery business was a dead issue by then, and someone else was doing the drayage business, which was petering out, too." [8.32-3]
"Pa drove the Model T back and forth every day to farm, and we spent more and more time out there. He bought a small barn in town and moved it out by the lake. It had been a hog barn down by the old Creamery, where they fed the buttermilk to hogs. He fenced a small pasture along the lake, up along the hunting point to the north line, and left the four horses there overnight sometimes in the summer. He turned them out in the fenced area over Sunday. [8.32-4]
"He put a box in the spring where the water runs out from the tile from the slough into the lake south of the hunting point. Then you could fill a cup or a Thermos bottle or a pail with clear spring water. That was really living, compared to knee pants and piano lessons in town. [8.32-5]
"Pa built the house on the farm in the summer of 1922 for $4,000. It was almost a carbon copy of the one in town. When Pa built the house in town, the style for the year must have been to have those awful barn gable roofs, which made the upstairs closets narrow and slanting. When they started planning the farm house, he argued for days for a different roof style, but Ma held out for a house just like the one in town. She hadn't had that one long enough to get tired of it, I guess, and she must have been afraid she would come out short if the new one was any different." [8.77-5]