Wilbur named to the Wilmington College Dean’s List Opal Van Hoose Ruby Yazell Chris Volk North Adams High School holds annual Homecoming ceremonies Six workers injured in power plant explosion Commissioners hold proclamation ceremony for 4-H Week Senior Profile: Shyanne Tucker Coach Young Classic is Saturday at NAHS Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners

Enduring the winter on an Ohio farm

Anyone who has ever spent a day on a farm in this part of the country understands that when winter does finally arrive the reality of its consequences is severe, unless the farmer prepares for it in late fall. That preparation involves making certain that the barns are in good enough condition to shelter cattle and hogs and arranging the livestock to have them moved closer to the barns and barn yards and in close proximity to a good water supply. With some advance planning, the farm animals could endure the winter ahead of them.

When I grew up Dad had a lot of beef cattle and maybe up to 30 pigs he was raising into hogs. He prepared for Ohio winters which can be bitterly cold accompanied with lots of snow or sleet or just a miserable amount of cold rain. During the 60’s and 70’s, some of the worst winters were experienced in our history. By growing up here a person learns to deal with winter and dress appropriately according to the day’s weather. We must endure and we all do the best we can. For the livestock the bitter weather coming is new to them and can in many ways be fatal to them if their owner doesn’t care for them in the correct ways.

Twice a day I had to wrap up and head to the barns and feed the cows ground corn or cow feed and fill the mangers with several bales of hay, making certain that the hay was equally spread in the mangers so all the cows could get a chance to eat their share. When it was below freezing for more than a day, I got to go to the creek or pond, whichever their water supply was, and used an ax to break the ice that was preventing the livestock from drinking water. (Always felt Dad gave me a dull ax.)

With the hogs I had to make certain their feeder, which could hold maybe 8 burlap bags of feed when full, did indeed still have some of that feed left in it. You see hogs can and do consume huge amounts of feed and eat almost 24 hours a day. (where the expression eat like a hog comes from.) It was a daily occurrence that as many as eight 60 to 70 pound bags of feed had to be carried to and dumped into the feeder. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds as the hogs would churn up the dirt around a feeder into mud and walking through it carrying a bag of feed became a test of strength and balance. Once this was complete and if the temperature had been below freezing more than 24 hours, I took the ax and broke the ice for them to get water also. Let me remind you that cattle and hogs consume a lot of water and need to in order to remain healthy and it should never be forgotten that these animals are investments and nobody wants to lose their investment.

This procedure went on from late November until mid-March. If doing this in subzero bone chilling rain doesn’t sound like fun, then I have made my point, but if you farmed you did this and did it your best to protect the animals. I know when I was young and really didn’t understand the why of all this I decided I wasn’t going out there in that nasty weather and get so cold I would shiver and the wind would freeze my face. Once I figured they would do fine and be OK if I missed one time.

Of course feeding was done on a timely basis and when the time had just about passed my Dad asked me if I had done the feeding and I tried to side step him. He looked at me and said “you know the livestock have to eat and drink daily and if they don’t they will perish” and he then walked away. Feeling like the biggest jerk in the entire world, I suited up with the three layers of clothing, put on my four- buckle boots, a scarf to wrap around my neck and cover my face, grabbed my insulated gloves, and went out in almost total darkness and fed the cows and pigs that night, ashamed of what I almost had done. I can honestly say that never happened again, but I will say that I really hated fighting the elements of an Ohio winter. As much as I loved growing up on a farm and experiencing all that I did, this was a part that just had to be done and there definitely was no way around it.

When spring arrives there is the preparing and planting and new hope as the earth wakes up and warms up. In the summer a person watches the crops grow and enjoys working in hot weather, seeing that what was planted was growing. In the fall the farmer harvests his crops, enjoys watching the trees change colors with a flare, and can still be somewhat warm and also begin to prepare for the next season.

Then the farmer endures the long cold winter caring for his animals and trying to stay warm and begins his planning for what he will raise when spring finally does get here. It was still a great way to grow up even if a fourth of it had to be done in long under wear and coveralls. Stay warm!

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share his 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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