Mom's Uncle Dwight, similar in appearance to Don, always seemed as good-natured as Uncle Don seemed ill-tempered. We didn't see much of him because he worked all the time. So did his three daughters and his wife, our Aunt Nora. A working dairy farm seemed a hard life, and I think it was. My three cousins were up every morning before dawn to do the morning milking, and to bed late after the evening milking and homework and other chores needed to keep the farm running.
She did yell at me for chasing the chickens once, but once was enough. Chickens don't lay eggs when they are upset by small-town hoodlums.
When Mom brought the milk home she immediately mixed it with water and a powdered milk that was used for calves. I think she invented one-percent milk. She also froze some of it in the freezer in the basement, so we got in the necessary habit of shaking the jug of milk before we used it.
Mom was frugal with the milk, too, even after stretching it. (Here's the milk story, kids.) Occasionally we had bread and milk to eat, but most often we ate oatmeal for breakfast. Here's the way it worked. The first boy got a heaping spoonful of oatmeal in the bowl, and poured milk on it. Mom allowed some small amount of brown sugar. The first boy ate the oatmeal, but had to leave the milk. The second boy got a heaping spoonful of oatmeal in the remaining milk and added a little sugar. He had to leave the milk. We followed the same process for the third boy. The last boy got to eat the oatmeal and drink the milk, which was pretty sweet from all the sugar. We rotated who was first, going oldest to youngest. (That's the milk story.) It's easy to see why my brother B doesn't like oatmeal. I still love brown sugar though.
During one visit to Aunt Nora's in the spring we boys found an incredible water park right next to the barn. There was a twenty foot length of black mud that was slick and exactly the right consistency for running and sliding from one end to the other. I don't know how long we did that, but we were covered in the stuff when Mom came out of the house. Our cousins didn't join us, but laughed heartily while we enjoyed our playtime in the slippery ground. Mom used newspaper and some plastic to cover the car seats so the filth from our clothes didn't ingrain itself in the car. Turns out the black mess wasn't just mud and water, but a by-product of the many milk cows that came through the barn every day. Even after much scrubbing, each of us got a bad case of ringworm and had to coat our sores with a thick, tar-smelling substance every morning and night for weeks. Mom never forgot that incident. Neither did we, though I have to admit it sure was a lot of fun for a while.