Ohio Valley FFA Officers for 2016-17 named ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley West Union holds football Homecoming festivities First graders pick the Sheriff Cross honored by ODNR with the prestigious Cardinal Award Renowned Ohio artist visits WUHS Don and Venita Bowles named 2016 Outstanding Fair Supporters PES students part of new Lego League Ferno donates $2,500 to OVCTC From the cistern to the city water Basketball officiating class being offered in October Peebles rolls by West Union in straight sets Par for the course, Dragons sweep SHAC Golf titles Greyhounds hang on late for first win of 2016 season You have to understand the process to understand the job Alex K Miller Ann E Campbell Scott N Atkinson Senior Profile: Tyler Fowler Martin named to All-Tourney Team in North/South Battlefield Classic 200 years on the banks of the Ohio, in a little town called Moscow Edwin P Prince ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley Volleyball teams honor young cancer patient MHS honors veterans during pregame Kirker Covered Bridge gets a ‘Brown Goose’ facelift Adams County Heritage Days are Sept. 30-Oct. 1 Lady Devils prevail 1-0 over Peebles on Kickin’ Cancer Night Senior Profile: Patrick Baldwin Michael W Milby James R Grooms Sr. Fall Festival crowns Little Miss and Mister UPDATE: Pike County multiple murder Investigation; redacted autopsy reports released West Union Elementary names August Students of the Month SHAC streak continues for North Adams volleyball West Union volleyball picks up a pair of W’s Animal Shelter booth sees record crowds at Old Timer’s Day Festival Dragons top Manchester in Defender Bowl battle, 28-22 Senior Profile: Kendall Gallowitz Lady Dragons grab early lead in SHAC Tourney, final round is coming Friday Another Old Timer’s Days in the books and successful Run Gio Foundation to hold Oct. 1 benefit in Adams County Betty L Kelley Tom Cross, ACTVB Director, to receive ODNR Cardinal Award Seaman Fall Festival begins Wednesday, runs through Saturday Dragons still lead after two rounds of SHAC Golf, McCarty tops individual leader board Lady Dragons get SHAC win, downing Fayetteville 3-1 Overcoming obstacles, Pennywitt etches his name in MHS record books Dragons take first day lead in SHAC Golf Tourney New drug treatment offers more hope for recovering addicts Ronnie G Nace Lucille Wright Lois M Bixler Time to change those soccer rules Senior Profile: Hannah Grimes ‘Cruising up and down the main drag all night long’ Community effort erects town clock S Bridge to be replaced on Graces Run Road Senior Profile: Brittany Caldwell Lady Dragons break ACCC course record Dragons roll in county gridiron battle Down to last play, Hounds fall in heartbreaker I never won, but those lawn games were special times Donnie Austin Shari R Hiltibran Bentonville hosts 40th Annual Harvest Festival West Union soccer teams sweep Williamsburg, St. Patrick “Rockin” the mats again Senior Profile: Brittany Caldwell Sylvester Mefford Local teens selected to State 4-H Teen Leadership Council Connect with Serpent Mound over Old Timer’s Days Guthrie to speak about pests and diseases in beekeeping Old Timers Days Festival Cornhole Tournament is this week Defender Bowl coming Thursday Bentonville Harvest Festival holds Toddler Pageants 40th Anniversary Bentonville Harvest Festival hosts Baby Show 9/11 Reminds Us That We Are All Americans Lady Dragons are 2016 County Cup winners Bob Birchfield Senior Profile: Ryan Henderson Dragons take JV golf match Another rough night for Greyhounds, Notre Dame rolls to big win Remembering 9/11-15 years later Hughes honored at GABP Concussions and Youth Sports Roberta Newman to retire after more than 46 years at First State Bank Reaching out to the Baton Rouge flood victims Bentonville Harvest Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary Fire it up! Annual Jr. Fair BBQ cooks up another savory fare Lady Indians take down Whiteoak in four sets Senior Profile: Zack Best Greyhounds produce three winners at the 2016 Dragon Run Lady Hounds win in five sets at West Union Teresa Houdeshell Rosa Grooms Roy C Shiveley Mathew R Potts Staggs and Louiso to visit nation’s capital MLSD board members disagree on the merits of drug-testing students

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.

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