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 Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic

We just simply called it ‘plowing’

It always seemed to me that when the breaking plows were hitched up and the lime spreader hooked up and both were headed to a field, the new crop year had just arrived. Until the invention of no-till crop farming there just was no way to raise your crop unless you turned your sod under and opened the fields to the soil that lay under it. This was always referred to as “breaking ground” or “busting sod” or just plain “plowing.”

Since I was from the era of crop rotation, almost every acre we plowed was covered with sod or legume grasses. This type of ground cover eliminated erosion but when it was time to turn up new ground the job was harder to than it ever looked from a distance. Our tractor, which was good-sized for its time, could pull a set of two plows and each plow would turn over a swath of dirt 14 inches across, so two plows let us break ground at a rate of 28 inches every time you crossed a field. Since we plowed close to 50 acres or more it is easy to see that that tractor was going to be at work pulling those plows for many days.

Plowing was introducing the onslaught of spring and a new growing season. By opening the ground to new dirt, we also opened up the advent of the hopes for a bumper crop that year if all went well, if the season was warm enough at the right time or if it was dry when needed and we got enough rains when that was needed. (Other than these minor details the hope for success was almost a cinch.)

As a matter of fact if any farmer or gardener was asking when new ground is plowed, did they smell a distinct scent around that ground? Actually they do. Now all my life I have always thought the scent was the smell of that new year and all the growing potential that was in that dirt was waiting for me to put it to use. I cheated and Googled what causes a scent when the ground is plowed and here is Google’s answer: “Bacteria called Geosmin that emits an earthy smell from these bacteria in the soil that is giving its scent.” I don’t know about anybody else but that definition just kills that great smell we inhale as the earth is coming to life and I’m running my machinery through my fields creating huge seed beds. I think I’m going back to that “earthy scent” is the call to a farmer to continue plowing and this could well be the year that surpasses any year before it. There is always that possibility isn’t there? At least that is what the smell of spring emitted to me meant.

Plowing is one of the harder tasks that confronts a farmer. Not only is it hard on the equipment, but the farmer seldom receives a smooth ride while plowing is in progress. You are bumped, pitched, and jostled in every direction and all the while he is working his hardest to keep the plows on course and doing their job. If you have plowed before, I’m positive you understand. If you haven’t, just take my word or go to a bar with a mechanical bull and ride it on high. I recall that maybe halfway through what we had to plow, Dad would head to that tractor store and buy a padded seat cushion as he was too sore to sit. This worked for maybe a couple of days and then he resumed standing while driving the tractor at every chance he could get.

I still think this was the hardest part of growing a crop but it also was the most promising. With the days growing warmer and longer, and the scent of hope and chance in the air it was a great time to be a farmer. It also is great to put your muscle and mind into planting a garden or even a flower bed. Getting your hands in the dirt never was an act of shame but an association with Mother Earth and reminds us of just what feeds us and feeds the livestock that we also eat. We are fortunate in one way not to have to depend on growing all we eat but I personally feel it is a must to at least understand the why and the where all our substance does come from.

I have heard retired farmers or people that have moved away from farming say, “Well I don’t work in the soil like I used to and I do grow a small garden but I still have a little bit of dirt in my shoes and can’t shake it out. If you keep even a little dirt in your shoes you will never lose the scent that says “new dirt.”

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

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The Good Old Days

Rick Houser

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2016 People's Defender