Life on the farm
The old country house offered only minimal comforts. One tap, always running, provided a trickle of water. You always had to keep water in reserve for the kitchen, washing clothes and cleaning. There were no baths, except on Saturday, but you could take a sponge bath in a basin filled with lukewarm water. After several years a pump was finally installed hooked up to a well.
Two streams crossed the Larouche’s property; a small one, between the house and the barn, where the girls washed diapers in summer, and the Alderbrooke stream which the Larouche children call the river, suitable for swimming to the delight of all concerned.
Two wooden stoves, one of which operated non-stop all winter, were used to heat the house and cook. Creosote build-up in the chimney caused frequent fires. Renée recalls that “for the worst ones, we’d wrap wet towels around the pipes — one went through the boys’ room, the other through the girls’. We’d even throw water on them.” Despite all this Céline and Agnès feel nostalgic for their family home
Coming down the stairs from right to left are: Suzanne, Françoise, Marie, Agnès, Gaëtan, Jean, Germain and Denise. On the gallery behind them is aunt Honorine Bédard.
The farm had to meet the needs of the entire family.
The older girls abandoned their studies early to help their mother and care for the children. In that sense Agnès became a sort of second mother, which didn’t displease her. “I really liked taking care of my mother and the little ones … showing them how to do things, helping with the chores and all that.”
The older boys worked in the fields, aided by horses and farm machinery.
From left to right: Unknown, Léon Bédard (son of Honorius), Marie Larouche, Agnès Larouche, Françoise Larouche and Alfred Larouche.
Gaëtan in the fields at the end of the 1940s.
Germain on the horse named Moineau.
Once the farming season was launched with the blessing of the seeds, everybody had to contribute.