Jessie Rodgers Memorial Day services set for county Truly our greatest generation Bertha Lashley Maia Swartz Jessie Rodgers Errors spell the end of Devils’ baseball season Senior Profile: Carry Hayslip Lady Hounds’ season ends with tourney loss to Paint Valley North Adams hosts Youth Volleyball Camp Time to get “Stroke Savvy” OVCTC, GE host Community Service Day 65 years in the pulpit Jamison, Richmond, Minshew conquer second race of 2017 Brushcreek season Manchester’s Cox signs with Rio basketball program Senior Profile: Andrew Weeks A dozen SHAC champions Thomas D Lute Sandra F Schwab Turning something broken into something beautiful Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide One dead, two injured in ATV accident 2017 Graduation Ceremonies West Union Alumni and Friends Educational Fund announces 2017 Scholarship Awards TAG students tour Pennsylvania Commissioners proclaim Older Americans Month Building an anti-drug culture one t-shirt at a time SECTIONAL CHAMPIONS NAES students awarded Science Camp scholarships SSCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program celebrates graduation Bauman selected to National 4-H Congress Lois Pertuset Hazel Nixon Philip L Paeltz Manchester Youth Volleyball Camp begins May 30 Jase Thatcher Figgins’ walk-off winner sends North Adams to Division III sectional finals Lady Hounds top East 10-3 in sectional opener Commissioner Pell, union reps travel to DC Forgotten experience brings back good memories for WUHS seniors Gordon Boldman Local teen injured in jeep accident BCI Investigation underway Rick Arnold Happy Mother’s Day- Do you want food? Robert Hodge Melvin Tipton Lady Dragons Basketball Camp begins May 22 Lady Devils Basketball Camp is May 30-June 1 National Day of Prayer celebrated in county NAES students enjoy day at GABP Car strikes Amish buggy near Winchester Eldon J Shoenleben Farming out life lessons to children and parents Proposed Medicaid changes could cost Adams County millions Annual ‘Redneck Run” returns to Manchester May 13 They really were the best of times West Union hosts Junior High, High School County Track Meets Figgins signs with SSCC Soccer Perfect again! Senior Profile: Caley Grooms James T Hughes Anderson signs with Rio Grande Basketball Senior Profile: Miranda Schiltz Playing for Dad, Part II Lady Indians win SHAC Big School title Danny Bryant Sadie Stamm Franklin E Brayfield Softball, baseball tourney match ups announced Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall coming to Georgetown next week Southern Ohio Genealogical Society offers program on ‘Family History Sources at the Ohio History Center’ Joseph A Johnson Jr Kramer tosses two shutouts in five days Trip to Akron = two more wins for Lady Indians softball Devils blank Dragons in non-conference battle Meade twins part of Rio baseball program Playing for Dad Senior Profile: Madison Welch As Mr. Seas It, for ACOVSD High School graduates We stayed up all night with Bob Clean up of Manchester’s abandoned gas stations continues Ribbon cutting held for canoe/kayak access sites Columbus Industries donates driveway repair to Animal Shelter North Adams Elementary recognizes March Students of the Month Animal Shelter Adoption Center announces new hours of operation Major road construction planned for summer months West Union Elementary honors March Students of the Month Charles D Jordan Betty Ginn Pamela M Hampton Former county sheriff celebrates 80th birthday Missing Adams County man is found Lady Hounds fall to Whiteoak in slugfest Calvert’s walk-off gives Hounds 9-8 win over Whiteoak Charles A Benjamin Give My Regards to Broadway Joyce Berry Joe L Easter William E Foster

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 *

© The People's Defender - All rights reserved