Problems for farmersby
multiplied during war
hear farmers tell of turning plows, moldboard plows, disc harrows, cultivators
and all sorts of farm equipment. |
I know little of these implements although
I was born and raised on a Panhandle
farm. The reason for my ignorance, all we had to farm with in my youth was Krause
one-ways, Jefferoy chisels and a pair of John Deere grain drills hitched together.
Although the only crops we raised were wheat and milo, we certainly raised
our share of those grains as my father farmed six sections of dryland using six
tractors, six plows and six chisels, and planted it all with two grain drills.
He stayed put during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Said he was too broke
to leave. It wasn't easy working on the WPA helping build Highway 83 between Perryton
At times he drove a school bus, worked for the county and played dance music every
It seemed each time a neighbor gave up because of hard
times, somehow Dad was offered the land and usually ended up with more equipment.
When the drought finally ended and the rains came, he was ready and able to take
worked well until World War
II took most of the workforce to war. Dad called on long-lost relatives, cruised
the roads looking for hitchhikers, watched for prisoners released from jail and
offered higher than usual wages trying to keep enough tractor drivers to farm.
Finally, he gave up and began hiring young high school boys with no farm experience.
Somehow, the farming was done, but the problems nearly drove him crazy.
problems of keeping one old worn-out tractor and plow running during the war when
parts and tires were rationed was multiplied six times, then multiplied again
when the boys began work. We started at daylight, stopped to refuel at noon, ate
in the field and worked until dark-thirty six days a week. There were no sun shades,
air conditioners, radios nor seat cushions. We had a gallon jug of water and sheer,
mind-boggling boredom going round section fields.
By mid-afternoon, young
minds began to wander, speeds were adjusted so that tractors came closer in front
or behind. Each tractor had a supply of dirt clods, and the wars began. If you
became sleepy, it was legal to stop for a moment to jog around your tractor. This
opened the door to chase baby rabbits and moving baby birds into plowed ground.
kinds of critters and reptiles began showing up in toolboxes, grease was smeared
on iron steering wheels, grass burrs dropped on gunny sack seat pads all amidst
flying dirt clods. Dad finally had to place Uncle CB in the field full time to
keep the tractors running and the pranks at bay.
At about age 12 or so,
I asked Dad if I could plow at night. I was tired of the sun and thought the cool
of night would be better. It was the longest spell of time I can remember. About
2 in the morning, my feeble tractor headlights made from old school bus lights
and a 6-volt generator running off the power pulley on the tractor showed something
up ahead in the plow furrow. As the object got closer, I slowed down and stopped.
It was a one-way plow sitting at ease.
It was a mystery until I looked
behind to find my own plow missing.
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" January 6, 2008 Column
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