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 Indians bounce back with 67-59 win over East OHSAA Baseball Pitch Count Regulation approved for 2017 At the buzzer, Rothwell gives Dragons an overtime win Greyhounds fall to Portsmouth Lady Indians roll past West Union 80-29 From Division II to the Senior Bowl COSI On Wheels visits West Union Elementary News from the Peebles PTO NAJH Basketball hosting ‘Play For The Cure’ Jan. 28 North Adams Elementary recognizes Students and Staff Members of the Month for December Honoring a coaching legend Benefit will assist double-lung transplant patient Peebles to be featured in new documentary Cleaning the stables-the worst job on the farm Wenstrup reselected to serve on House Intelligence Committee Venture Hawks and Sheriff’s Department square off on Feb. 12 Cecil R Dupree Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week Star Wars costume exhibition coming to Museum Center

When we couldn’t keep up with Mom

web1_RickHouser.jpgBy Rick Houser –

I grew up in a family that depended mostly on tobacco for the largest part of our annual income.  When you were at the warehouse watching your crops sell and bringing home the biggest check, you could see that the entire year was enjoyable. But for most of the calender year, there was little to do in the raising of a tobacco crop, ask anyone who has worked in the crop. Some parts of the process were lighter and less strenuous and others were very hard labor, but there was one that could range from easy to hard  and was a continuous job and that was hoeing tobacco.
Let me back up here and do a little explaining. A good tobacco farmer cultivated his crops and kept the field immaculate from weeds. To do this the farmer used a set of cultivators that would dig into the ground and keep the soil loose and the shovels were adjusted to move the loose soil gradually closer and up around the base of the plants, which also pulled the weeds loose or covered them which then would smother the weed out.  No matter how good the farmer was, that wasn’t perfect in removing all the weeds. Here is where the hoe comes in. The weeds that were missed had to be chopped and removed by a person walking through a tobacco patch following the cultivator as they did their job and then you did yours.
At our farm my Dad had the job of doing the cultivating. It was well known in the area that Dad was an expert at developing a set of cultivators that would break the soil loose and move it as close as anyone could and cover more weeds than most others could. He had walked behind the tractor before and didn’t like using a hoe at all. Therefore he studied closely and experimented on cultivators until he could in most cases change the job of us using a hoe to chop weeds to instead raking back soil off the plant. He disliked the weeds and the hoe and did his best to make sure the hoe was not used very often.
On most days Dad would get into a tobacco patch about 6 a.m. and begin cultivating. About 6:30 we arrived with a hoe in hand and began the boring job of hoeing tobacco. We began early because the mornings were as cool as it was going to get and in most cases we finished before lunch and the heat of the day.
When I say we I think of the hoeing crew as my brother Ben,  our hired hand Web, my Mom and myself. In this crew existed a secret weapon. Mom could wield a hoe like a finely-honed tool. To most people when they think of a hoe, they see what is in the hardware store these days. They are not made of the best steel nor do they have a sharp edge on them and are looked at more now as a tool that most have little use for, but my Mom could and did prove that she could make her hoe do wondrous things and in her hands it could move across a field quickly and accurately, while looking as though little to no effort was even needed.
Mom had picked out a hoe when she and Dad married from the ones on her parent’s farm in 1934 and brought a favorite hoe with her and it was safe to say that it had been well broken in long before their wedding. The blade was thin and narrow and  held an edge like a razor.  She could work her row (most times two since the rest of us couldn’t keep up) and work the hoe around each plant like a magic wand, removing any weed that dared get in her path. The rest of us were using newer hoes with duller edges and only working on one row just trying to keep up.
The entire time Mom was singing hymns and other favorite tunes to entertain herself and also was kind of rubbing it in that she was that far ahead of us. I don’t think it was intentional but when Mom was in a patch with us we would finish right behind Dad and the tractor when he finished.  If Mom couldn’t be with us that day we fought over who used her hoe. (Brother Ben always got to use it with the argument that he was oldest and had seniority.
Most tobacco patches could be easy to care for and there was little need to use the hoes as Dad and cultivators took care of most of the job. Once in a while we might hit morning glory vines or white clover and then we quickly grew to hate our hoe and were glad Mom was with us to help us get through the mess. Most growing seasons a patch was cultivated three times and sometimes four.
Although we worked it as a family and helped each other out we still found it really hard and boring work. Seeing the morning begin and the sun rise was the best part of the day other than finishing when we could all cheer at the end.
By the way my Dad carried a hoe on his cultivator so he could jump in to help when he finished, but I don’t recall ever seeing that hoe in his hands. He always just happened to finish as we did. That is how it worked when there is one in the lead and Mom pushing. Teamwork!

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He now has a book of his stories “There Are Places to Remember” He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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