Boring farm days gave way to excitement
After writing for so many years, I am ever mindful that our readers will tire of certain subjects I bring to your attention.
But, it is time to return to those thrilling days of long, long ago. Being a farm kid in the 1930s and ’40s was a very interesting and exciting time. I suppose at the time it didn’t seem like it was, but, looking back, I find it very satisfying that I grew up on a farm under less-than-desirable conditions. For one thing we were rather poor. Having to endure, and yet enjoy, the less-than-prosperous conditions we grew up with probably led to some real exhilarating phases for this ex-farm boy.
I recall looking up to the sky when I was a kid and hearing the roar of the six-engine B-36 flying overhead and wishing I could be up there some day. Even having a light plane buzz by and wave just intensified the urge to soar above the earth.
Some days of my youth were spent at some very mundane chores, such as sitting on a steel seat with my left foot up on a pedal to hold down the teeth of a hay rake. That would prevent the teeth from skipping over the new mown hay, then after a short distance having to press down on a pedal to dump the collected hay in the rake. Hour after hour riding that noisy, bumpy seat and working both pedals became a rather innocuous and mundane job.
Shocking grain in 100-plus degrees with no shade or wind was pure drudgery. Numerous bundles were gathered by the binder as it cut down the grain, gathered on a grated platform, and then dumped every few feet, then we had to come along after, lift those bundles into a shock so that the kernels wouldn’t sprout and try to grow. These bundles were later picked up by a bundle hauler using a rack hitched to horses.
The least popular task was hauling bales. I probably mentioned it before. We had a tally on the old small baler, and the southeast quarter of the K-farm was a full 160 acres of grassland and was hayed every summer. Sometimes we would consult the bale tally and read 7,000 bales or more. Now that was demoralizing to look out across that hayfield and realize that each of the 7,000 “idiot” blocks would have to be handled four times. Up onto the flatbed, stacked on the bed, hauled to the farmstead, thrown off the bed, stacked on the ground.
We prided ourselves if we could get four to five loads a day hauled before quitting time, which was always welcomed. I think the old flat bed held about 80 to 90 bales. Eighty times five was 400 bales per day.
Hmmm that meant it was going to take a very long time to haul all 7,000 bales into the stack. And did we ever sweat. It took alot of gunny sack-wrapped gallon water jugs just to keep us going with the sweat.
Thank goodness those days have disappeared.
Gerald “Jerry” Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.