William L Ivarson Jr Senior Profile: Braydan Gaffin Senior Profile: Ethan Pennywitt Senior Center spreading Christmas cheer Stout named Administrator of Monarch Meadows Richard Francis Frank B Young William Scaff Gregory A Silvia Jr Davis now the winningest coach in Lady Devils basketball history Clutch plays give Green Devils OT win Eighth grade Greyhounds go on the road, grab 55-41 conference win at Whiteoak Lady Indians can’t hang on, fall to Eastern Brown Indians open up with big Homecoming win Greyhounds drilled by Fairfield in season opener How to sell 94 losses NAES leads local schools represented at PBIS Showcase PHS Beta Club recognized as National School of Distinction MES wins Momentum Award for second year running Fire destroys Winchester business Martha Becraft Cynthia A Sopher Clarys Holliday Basketball Special: 2017-18 Justice girls lead Peebles to win over Felicity Senior Profile: Adison Wright Lady Dragons slain by buzzer-beater Freshmen double-doubles lead Lady Hounds to win in opener County mourns passing of OVSD Board member Tom Reed Peebles man arrested in connection with woman’s disappearance Leaving a written legacy Not really ready to go back to pioneer days Peebles Jr./Sr. High School awarded PBIS Bronze Award North Adams High School named National Beta School of Distinction Operation Christmas Child collects 1,867 boxes Samantha Jameson honored as Young Professional of the Year Youth Deer Season again plagued by bad weather Humane Society hosting Ugly Christmas Sweater contest Dec. 9 Local centenarian celebrates birthday number 100 with family and friends Jerry R Pratt Edward Lykins Jr NAES students focus on spreading kindness Leland P Sautter Kelly B Anderson Dorothy Grooms Sharon D Brumley Anna J Grooms Local student/athletes awarded Wendy’s Heisman Awards Lady Devils JV triumph in opener Senior Profile: Colten Ball Peebles hosts SHAC Boys Preview Lady Devils fall in tough opener Janet A Pedicord Nettie R Fleshman Senior Profile: Sianna Mills North Adams boys ride the ‘3’ train to victory Lady Devils trounce Georgetown Senior Profile: Austin Stamper North Adams’ Williams named OIAAA Administrator of the Year County hoops squads on display in SHAC Girls Preview Going off the grid Michael L Chamblin A newer, kinder county pound takes a more humane approach TAG students are winners at Invention Convention Adams County Florist decks the halls Thomas J Reed Shirley A Stiffler Sharon G Wright Lottie J Meade June R Williams Lions and Cowboys and no Bengals, thankfully Senior Profile: Tyler Horsley North Adams sweeps Manchester Cheer Championships Indians face tough test in first pre-season scrimmage Senior Profile: Abby Faulkner Seas reflects on second state tournament experience NA’s Harper signs to continue hoops career at Rio Grande Hendrickson named Assistant Coach of the Year in Division III girls soccer Take the hint, it’s Thanksgiving time again Small Business Saturday in Adams County Art Council’s newest production will have you ‘laughing through your tears’ North Adams students working to help the homeless Grateful Richard A Graham #SawyerStrong Billy L Smalley With some help from Adams County, Ohio Statehouse now has wheelchair charging station Wenstrup announces re-election campaign Delta Dental provides two local schools with new drinking fountains Ernie McFarland honored by Ohio Bankers League Veterans Day parade, ceremony held in West Union Adams County schools celebrate Veterans Day Being the change November: As Mr. Seas it Protecting Ohio seniors from rising healthcare costs It’s November-have some soup and pie SHAC Boys Preview is Nov. 24 at Peebles June Hall Alice B Himes Claudia U Mitchell

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