What we are made of When summer really arrived Horse project 4-H members head to Ohio State Fair Defender hosts annual Cornhole Tournament George’s Brave Shave’ benefits other Year of planning, work pays off for 2017 fair Local teen opens new business Why can’t you stop? Camp first step in preparation for 2018 Greyhounds on the gridiron Young awarded SEDAB Scholarship Fair hosts Hall of Fame broadcaster Peebles goes back-to-back at the Barnyard The sport of goats Massive storms rumble through Ohio Valley James W Morgan Tiffany R Edwards Marshall W Groves Fairgoers wanna iguana! SSCC moving forward with plans for Adams County campus Mary Wallingford Leslie V Lawrence Jr Fair hosts Cheerleading Competition Peebles FFA installs 2017-18 Officers Adams County Fair Baby Contest Seniors Citizens and Armed Forces Day at the fair Cheers! It’s mocktail time! North Adams Beta Club attends National Convention at Disney ‘You won’t believe the chaos it rains around you’ McCarty’s receive 4-H Alumni award McKayla Raines crowned 2017 Junior Fair Queen Eastern knocks off Peebles 10-5 to capture 14 U baseball tourney Just listen for the answer Time to teach a little History Fair hosts Little Miss and Mister, Toddler shows Jason E Palmer Dorothy Stephenson Shane G Varney The weekend I joined the Army David Stutz Patty Davis Battle results in new chief at the Division of Wildlife Join in with ‘Adams County Rocks’ After 500-mile journey, pigeon ‘drops’ in for a visit Nine-run third inning leads Peebles to upset win in SHYL 12U baseball tournament finals Willie L White David A Presley Connie Greene Carolyn Belczyk retiring from OSU Extension Young’s reign as Fair Queen ends, new journey begins Robert L Boone Esther C Malone Independence Day parade puts patriotism on display Being an addict’s mom: a sad and scary place to be White House newest addition to People’s Defender mailing list Young leaving Manchester to become Ripley Principal Leadoff homer holds up, Manchester takes 10U softball tourney 1-0 over North Adams North Adams tops Manchester in 12U semis Monday Night League concludes with SHAC showdown How we see ourselves In the good ole’ summertime Ronnie L Roush Elizabeth A Gifford Tom White Ivan H Copas Kathleen Lewis Paul Minton Jessica A Edmisten Workhouse helps free up jail space Penguin ‘chills’ with kids in library visit ‘Heroin has taken me to my darkest places’ The beauty of the giant combine West Union gets past North Adams 5-2 in 10U baseball tourney play Eastern Brown hosts annual Girls Soccer Shootout “It’s been a real community effort” Summer ball winds down for local squads Submit your Knothole team photos! Gokey, Morgan, Young to perform at 2017 Festival of the Bells Just looking around the room When in the course of human events When your dreams seem out of reach Ricky A Smith Ricky A Smith Dean McClellan Ruby O Shell Peggy R Atkinson Caroline E Fulton Marcia R Baldwin Juanita N Lewis Mary K Hilterbran Jack D Reed ‘I had no gumption except to get high’ Long-lost siblings meet for the first time after nearly six decades apart Freedom Festival to honor the American Flag ‘Music and Memory’ at Adams County Manor renews lives lost to dementia Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy takes gold at 2017 Ohio Police and Fire Games Toole awarded Winchester Alumni Scholarship Lady Devils host Summer Varsity Shootout In 14U, Peebles finishes regular season with blowout win Der professionelle Basketball-Traum Local pair attend Wabash College Wrestling Camp

Looking forward to that morning break

When I was growing up on the farm my Dad and family raised a lot of tobacco and hay. To handle the volume properly it was very necessary to hire a lot of help. Along with Web the hired hand there was my brother Ben, sister Peg, Mom and myself that worked with Dad in roles where we could help the best, but at heavy crop times more men were needed.

Just like today, good farm hands are hard to find, if they can be found at all. Dad wouldn’t hire just anyone that came along. He wanted men who tried and gave effort to the task. Along with the prevailing wages at the time, which weren’t that great, Dad used what today would be called a perk. At about ten in the morning he would stop us all and open the truck and say “come on boys let’s take a break.” With that he would reach in the truck and pull out a large thermos of coffee and a two gallon jar of home brewed ice tea and an applesauce cake. The men quickly gathered around and got coffee, tea and a piece of cake and found some shade to rest in.

I have to feel my dad was the first farmer to offer a coffee break to farm field hands. He might not have been, but to this day I have yet to be told of another who offered it. So Dad wins. He had a couple of reasons to do this. First, he hired boys from town. Dad felt that they were raised on pop and potato chips and would run out of steam before lunch. He said it was better to refuel their engines and thought he would be repaid many times over by the regenerated energy they got from a few minutes of rest and some nutrition. Second, our family was not typical in the big bacon and egg type breakfasts. We normally had coffee, cereal or oatmeal. So about 10a.m., Dad always took that break whether we had help there or not.

My Mom prepared the break food. She brewed sweet ice tea that had a tasty unique flavor to it. She made strong coffee that went over well with the men and she would bake a spice cake and add applesauce to it to moisten it. She also would add raisins and if she ran out of those she substituted another ingredient, and in my mom’s case that could be good or very scary since a person never really knew what the substitute was.

If she didn’t bake a cake, we got oatmeal or Toll House cookies. Both of course were homemade. There was one main ingredient she put in all her tea, cakes and cookies, a large helping of sugar. Mom never cut corners when it came to her cooking and anyone who sampled any of her cooking will attest that she did it well. In the 10 to 20 minute break the men got the large intake of sugar that more than re-energized them.

I recall the breaks a lot when we cut tobacco but they were there also for setting tobacco or baling hay and straw. As we were in the stripping room for what seemed like most of the winter, a coffee break definitely was a daily necessity. Imagine my surprise when I became old enough to work for other farmers and learned a morning break didn’t exist except at our farm? I was in shock and quite disappointed. It made working for your Dad much more desirable. This small perk seemed to always get Dad the hired hands he needed when he needed them. Men weren’t afraid of hard work, but being treated with a little concern for them had to help the cause.

Dada always tried to have safe working conditions to prevent injuries. He paid weekly and paid the going rate. He asked that he receive a hard days labor for a decent pay (minimum wage) and added a home cooked lunch and the morning coffee break. Maybe all that sugar kept the men’s minds off of the wages. By the way, if all was not consumed in the morning, we would stop around 3 p.m. and finish off the rest. A two break day on a farm! Unheard of, but enjoyed.

I feel I must mention that there was a by product with the break. That was the conversation. Those could be the latest local or world news. Sometimes it could be a few whopper stories or just some plain old gossip. No matter what the topic I found it to be entertaining to say the least. Today they are just good old stories from a good old time.

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and likes to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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Rick Houser

The Good Old Days

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