The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings to readers of the Quill. May the recent sunshine and fair weather bring a positive outlook to everyone.
If it is raining by the time you read this (as the weatherman now predicts) please remember 1983, 1987, 1988, and 1989. It was very difficult to raise good crops those years due to a shortage of summer rainfall. In fact, I promised myself during those years to never complain of rain, as without it there is little gain and/or grain.
Some of you'ns can remember that sick feelin' of operating a combine with the empty no-grain-sound of the machine underneath you. My neighbor would make sure he sent his truck to the elevator at least once a day during harvest, whether it was full or not, just to let'em know he was yet working diligently.
Years ago this date would have still been early to start planting corn. In fact, if all equipment was ready and the weather fit, but the calendar didn't show May 10 or the hedge leaves the size of squirrels ears, a man would set about doing other work, trimming hedge rows, and fixn' fence was a favorite pastime until May 10.
Planting corn, years ago, was a rather arduous' job, kinda like pickin' honey offa' thorn tree (a difficult thing to do). For one thing, back in the days of horses, you had to ride on the planter, and on colder windy days, their was no way to warm up. In other field work with horses, you could, and probably would, get off and walk, which warmed you up right nicely.
In fact, many a folk thought it rather lazy and too hard on the horses, to ride. There were carts with seats available but for the most part, they were "rump pinchers" and considered a lazy way by many a farmer with strong work ethics.
As tractors came in to use, many if not most, were made to allow the operator to stand as he operated his steel steed. He was accustom to standing while working horses anyway, and sitting on the old steel steed was somewhat hard on the back, especially with steel wheels.
One ole farmer, I knew, refused to convert to planting with the tractor. He reasoned the horses afforded him some help in the operation and the tractor had no thought processes of its own.
Well trained horses could often run on their own whilst a tractor needed constant attention and never responded to verbal commands. As tractor use for planting came into practice, he turned the planting over to his son-in-law to take over that part of the operation.
That was it, they were not going to drag him any further into the 20th century.
To the young son-in-law planting with a tractor was as natural as a hog eatin' slop. But not to the old time horse farmer. He felt the young son-in-law was "gettin" soft as a baby's behind."
I never fully understood the reasoning of the ole horse farmer until recent years. Now that we've got GPS this and GPS that, electronic giz'mos for everything, and automatic steering-thats it, you're not draggin me any further into the 21st century. I'm turning many of those new fangled computer driven machines over to the next generation.
A little white rust in the wrong place and the best, highest priced machine in the world won't even start. Never had that problem with the team of horses, model A John Deere or Farmal.
In fact, as I progressed to larger tractors with cabs, I even learned to sit whilst at field work. It appears sometimes ifn' it can't be done from the seat of a tractor, some of these young folks won't do it.
I'll have to admit these new cabs are nice in many ways. In fact, going both ways in the field you are either warm or cool to your liken'.
With the old heat housers (as nice as they were) you froze going one way, especially on a windy day, and roasted going the other way. Eat'n a fair share of dirt and dust and coughn' it up during the night, was just the way it was. Nobody knew any better.
Early tractor cabs, as I remember, were noisy, as being inside an actively operated bass drum during one of Elvis' concerts. Along with the noise you got to eat all the dust the thing would capture, and the ones I had early on, were efficient at capturing dust.
I'm not sure, in looking back, that whilst threshing oats and wheat or mohn' hay out of twice rained on red clover, was a dirty job. At least you generally had a breeze and could see clean air at a distance.
Those early cabs had no air conditioning and opening the windows to catch your breath allowed the greatest efficiencies in capturing noise and dust.
Come to think of it, these young wipper snappers has it pretty good, and I'm glad for it. But, you are still not draggn' me any further into the 21st computer controlled century.
I'm tired of being boss anyway's. Alls I has to do now, is gopher this and gopher that. Put me on a tractor, and I can listen to the radio even with my hearing damaged ears, and when something goes wrong, I just look dumb and exclaim "how did that happen?" and hope you don't have any problems fixn' it".
I learned those lessons from a hired man of a neighbor, a few years back. He used to say, "when you get into trouble-just play dumb" then he would proudly proclaim how good he was at it. He could pretend to be "dumber than a box of rocks" but I was never sure if he was pretending or not.
One time, when his boss'es model 70 diesel John Deere tractor stalled, the engine started running backwards. He was cultivating corn and idled it down too low on the end rows, just as he hit the clutch.
Being the smart man he was, he figured out if he put the tractor in reverse gear, he could continue cultivating until quitn' time. He then informed his boss of the peculiarity of those John Deere tractors, seeing as how the transmission got fouled up.
But, of course, now instead of the air intake thru a filter, it now entered the engine thru the muffler-unfiltered. As dirty as cultivating is, you can imagine what all that dust did to the engine.
And, he never once questioned why all the oil in the oil bath air cleaner had blown out and was actn' like a muffler, puffin out black smoke. "A peck a' common sense is worth a whole bushel a' learnin".
He shoulda' just shut the engine off and started it again and replaced the oil in the air cleaner. But then he wouldn't have lived up to his well learned reputation of being dumber than a post.
The reputation had served him well over the years, and had gotten him out of many a self-indused tight spot, and he was right proud of it.
Catch ya later.