Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak Harper, Hupp, Defense lead Lady Devils to fourth consecutive sectional championship West Union Elementary recognizes Students of the Month for January Second Healthy Hero awarded by Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition Coal company files to intervene in power plant closings Senior Profile: Jessica Sowards Senior Profile: Dennis Welch Dorothy E Walls Mabel Chamblin Michael R Jones Marie I Simmons Ray Johnson One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary

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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2016 People's Defender