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20.

ground under the house I could see buckets and boxes, and chickens
were walking around pecking in the coarse grit that had probably
been scattered there for them.

Fred soon reappeared, wearing street shoes, and led me out
on the back porch where his wife, Susie, was feeding the chickens.
"Oh, what a nice lot of chickens you have!" I exclaimed. "And so
many of them are frying size."

"Yessum, I'm proud of my chickens," Susie declared. "I had
lots more of 'em, but the old river rats have eaten so many of 'em.
Some of them rats are big as cats."

"Why don;t you catch the rats?" I inquired.
"Me catch them rats!" she exclaimed. "Lawsy, Miss, they'll
fight you!"

Fred opened the gate to the poultry wire fence that en-
closed the flourishing garden. "It surely does take lots of feed
for those chickens," he grumbles. "If we didn't raise our own corn
I don't know what we'd use for money to buy chicken feed with. Now,
just look, Miss! Ain't my garden pretty. It stays like this just
as long as I have time to work it. It provides us plenty of vegetables
to cook with our little home-raised meat for dinner, and we have home-
raised grits, eggs, and meat for breakfast. I think that's good
enough for anybody." I looked at the rows of cabbages, tomatoes,
squashes and cucumbers. Beyond them was a patch of knee-high corn, and
a wide space in which sweet potato plants were growing. "Miss, do you
see all this land planted in something to eat? It used to be I could
afford to hire it plowed up in the spring, but now I don't have money
to pay out for anything like that, so I just have to dig it up and

1878

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