In November of 1975 the Emergency Land Fund closed the South Carolina office and moved Jim, along with us, to their model farm 30 miles south of Jackson, Mississippi. We left Mt. Pleasant, SC and moved to Simpson County. The farm was to serve as a testing ground and example of ways to make money on a small acreage. There were rabbits and green house tomatoes with plans for raising potatoes and running a grading shed for cucumbers and potatoes.
We lived in the house on the 5 acres. Two workers were to have trailers behind the house later. We added goats, chickens and a garden. Jilo started school at Piney Woods School. We started going to Voice of Calvary in Mendenhall. I learned how to can, freeze and pickle. Jim and I learned how to milk the goat. The chickens lived and we had eggs. We met a couple from Maine, she was a nurse midwife and he raised goats. He taught us all we needed to know about raising goats and rabbits. She delivered our third daughter, Ayanna at a friends house. Our oldest daughter Jilo was awake and watched Ayanna born. Ife slept through it all.
I remember our first litter of rabbits and checking the goat, Tanya, a thousand times to see if she’d gone into labor yet. Finally finding the two kids, already up and around the morning after the night we didn’t check. I remember picking black berries outside the back door and making pies and finally getting some milk from the goat. Putting up 10 quarts of yellow squash and finding it mushy and inedible. Making cheese.
I remember the smell of pine trees on a hot summer day. Tornadoes touching down nearby. Jilo as a rock in the school play. Jim’s 16 year old sister spending the summer with us. All the visitors and work and milking and new baby and being tired. Going to Michigan and St. Louis for visits, Learning to drive a jeep and a pickup truck.
November 17, 1975
Dear ma and Henry,
Here’s our new address. The new house is fine. Kitchen, living room and dining room are a large room with ceiling to roof, has three bedrooms, 3 baths, utility and former garage converted to den (very big. It’s clean, wall to wall carpets and paneled throughout. It’s brick. There are three green houses, one in use for tomatoes and 8 rabbits. There are near neighbors. Four different houses about the distance at Old Plank, maybe a bit closer, not much – all white. Black people are near though.
Jilo won’t be going to school until next year, but they’re doing fine. Jim likes the work. Today they planted more tomatoes and there’s one man who comes to work with him, more on that later.
Will write more soon – did you all decide on the move yet? Love, Kris
February 11, 1976
Dear Henry and Mommy
I was really surprised to go out this morning and find 2 baby goats walking around. She’d been giving us so many false signs, we didn’t keep checking last night and she delivered alone. I figured she could do all right, she looks pretty rugged. This weekend we’ll start getting our own goat milk. by fall we should be doing eggs, milk, vegetables and maybe honey. Ta Tum.
We had to rush out there this morning and build the milk stand. we got the wood a month ago, but as usual waited ‘til the last minute was passed to do the job. Did I tell you I single handedly planted green house 1 with prunings #2. all the seedlings just about died so, since some of the prunings in #2 were taking root where they were thrown, I decided to try transplanting them and now I just need to do about 10 more and it’ll be done. They look better than the originals!
Jim rototilled the garden area and yesterday he and Mr. Reuben cut down some trees near the spot for firewood and to clear it out. There were only 2 so I hope for no root interference.
What else? Jim and I both had milking lessons and finally got little streams coming out. Luckily we met the goat people. When we tried milking this morning we got not one drop. The poor goat we so full. Her udder and nipples are so large and low the kids could find them and had to be shown where they are. They look like those at Belle Isle with the droopy ears, like their mother.
I hope we have dry weather for awhile so we can plant soon. Everyone and all the animals are doing fine. I take my driving test tomorrow. If I can start on a hill I’m ok. I went to take it last week, but had to get a Mississippi permit first. Write soon. Love and Happy Birthday – Kris
PS As i was going to the house this morning for iodine for the kids navel – i found 2 cattle on our driveway one went to the front of the house-about 20 min. later both were gone. Some day!
On envelope: Ta Tum- i finally got my drivers license. and guess who called last night – Daddy! Jim and I finally caught on to milking. We got about 1 1/4 qts of milk and the goat kicked it over. Better next time.
Eventually the Emergency Land Fund wanted us to move to the Mississippi Delta to manage a soy bean farm. We decided to stay in Simpson county and moved to 173 1/2 St. John Road.