Junior High Lady Hounds get season-opening sweep Lady Devils roll past Paint Valley in season opener Senior Profile: Jessica Johnson Michael E Roberts Sr Evelyn L Jones Thomas M Calvert Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES Second half spells doom as Greyhounds fall to Hillcrest 42-12 in finale Senior Profile: Sarah McFarland WU’s Horton will continue golf career at SSU Lady Devils’ season ends in heartbreak with 3-2 loss in District championship battle Christine R. Ritchey Operation Christmas Child begins Nov. 14 Mental Health levy on tomorrow’s ballot Wanda L. Nixon David Rogers Robert “Bobby” Leonard Keneth Waters Commissioner Worley seeks re-election Republican challenger vies for Commissioner’s seat Charles Cooper Thelma J White

We’re all supposed to eat a pound of dirt in our lives

web1_RickHouser.jpgBy Rick Houser

In the spring of the year when the temperatures rise to more comfortable levels and the trees come back to life with their green leaves, farmers see the other signs of spring also. That’s when the farmers hit the fields to prepare them into seed beds for the year’s new crops, with their tractors, trucks, and equipment visible to all who pass by.

To those passers by it all looks easy. These days it is a lot different than in the past when I farmed but no matter, it is all aimed at the same result. Aiming for a bumper crop! The equipment is bigger and the procedures have been consolidated even to the point of no till planting a crop. When I see a field being worked, I watch in amazement at how much the process has changed and only can wish it had existed back in the 50’s, and 60’s and even the 70’s.

When I farmed all the fields were mold board plowed and when it was time to plant the corn or beans, the ground was leveled with a device a farmer made called a “drag”. The drag was made with heavy 4 X 4’s and connected by 2 x 6’s and fence posts and concrete blocks were added on top for additional weight. The drag was hitched to the tractor by cables and the driver pulled all this weight over uneven plowed ground and leveled the field so that a disc could then be used to create a seed bed for the crop. Dragging a field could be dangerous as the surface to travel could sometimes be very uncertain. To drag a field was equal to riding a bronco bull and there was always the added feature of dust and lots of it.

As for the dust part, the same could be said when discing the field, which took two times over the field at the least. If the drag didn’t dislocate your back, the disc might do it. No matter how smooth or rough, the one thing that was constant was that there would be dust. Looking from the road, farming on tractors looked easy to be doing, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have worked the ground and have it be so dusty that I didn’t even get a sun tan. (That was the one perk I wanted to get.) You could taste the dirt as it stuck to your teeth. Your eyes naturally itched and your face and arms became a clay brown by the end of the day. When I stopped for a drink of water from the water jug, I did much more rinsing and spitting than swallowing. (Sometimes I thought I was spitting out mud.)

Very rarely did a farmer return home in the evening as clean as he was when he left in the morning. The thing is that we never really complained about it. It was just a part of farming and we accepted that. So when we worked with mother earth we never gave it a thought that mother earth would always come out on top and leave her marks on us to boot. I do know that when the planting season began and the weather cooperated, our days were long and the work was anything but easy. By the way, the tractors had no shock absorbers and the seats on our Ford tractors weren’t padded either, so it didn’t take too long before operating the tractor was mostly done in a standing position.

The farmer has come a long way from the Ford 8N tractors to the tractors of today but it’s safe to say their days are still as long and the dust is still out there just waiting to help make their days unpleasant. A common denominator between the then and the now is that farmers know going in to the business of agriculture that there is a feeling that comes over us that we are going to conquer the soil and succeed at raising a good crop. I don’t have a name for that feeling but any farmer will tell you it exists and I think that is what keeps them coming back again for another year.

I don’t farm anymore but I do garden and I look forward to seeing a seed pop through the ground and become a plant. I feel like I did this and it gives me cause to smile with satisfaction. Sure, there is a lot of hard labor and tons of dust but I guess it is all worth it. When I would begin to complain about all the dust my Dad would say, “Remember son we are all supposed to eat a pound of dirt in our lives.” Well at this moment I remember that and I can safely say I ate more than my pounds worth of southern Ohio clay.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2016 People's Defender