Broom Making

By Gracie Roberts – 30 Dec 2019

What do you see in this photograph? 

IF you are a farmer you might see $$$$ signs all over the field, because you know that you need to spread lime, and lime cost money.  You will know that sage grass (sedge grass) is the land’s way of calling for help.

If you are one who seeks the meaning of life you might see a perfect place to get away from it all for a few minutes. A perfect place on a warm sunny spring day to lay on the ground among the tall sage grass, look up at the clouds, relax, and reflect on that great question…, “What is the purpose for my existence?” 

Or, you might see a field of brooms.  Yes, brooms. Very vivid visions of fields of brooms….

Clouse Sisters 

Clockwise from the tallest girl: Lorene, Pearl, Dimple, & Ruby Clouse @ 1942

Obviously in their “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes.

Once upon a time, eighty years ago, in an area called Board Valley, there lived four sisters just trying to stay alive. My Mom (Ma) was the oldest (12 years old) sister still living at home when her mother died suddenly. Out of necessity, my Mom learned to be the woman of the house. One of the things she learned was how to make a broom. Remember, this was way before vacuums, sweepers, or Roombas. Sage grass grew all around her old log home, where not much of anything else would grow. The sisters gathered the sage grass, bundled it into manageable amounts, and secured them onto any old stick they could find laying around. Finding something to secure the sage grass to the stick was not an easy task.  Sometimes they used strips of old innertubes, if they were fortunate enough to have one. Yes, those were the good old days.

 Reba Lorene Ashburn making a broom

Reba Lorene Ashburn teaching granddaughter, Angela (Roberts) Stout how to make a broom.

Angela (Roberts) Stout with grandmother, Reba Lorene Ashburn

Final product.  When asked how long a sage brush broom would last, Lorene replied, "Depends how much sweeping you do"!

Ma is now 90 years old and can still talk about memories from her childhood. We decided to capture the memory of broom making by having Ma show us how she did it.  We gathered the items needed to make said broom and headed to Ma’s for some quality time.  Precious memories are made at these types of family gatherings.  Memories to share with our grandchildren about their Ma, Granny, and Grandma.

This business is a member of