The dust rises up behind the little old Ford tractor as dad deep breaks the sandy ground, turning over soil that hasn’t seen the sunlight in probably years. This task is not easy when sand has a mind of its own, some places softer than others, digging deeper in the earth, sometimes raising the front of the tractor, much like popping a wheelie on your favorite bike. Plowing two rows at a time takes a while if you’ve ever given all the work to a small tractor. I should know, it’s the one I learned to drive on. It would take several days to plow forty acres. That would be a small task with today’s contraptions called tractors. Back then there were no air conditioners on them, we were lucky if there was a small canopy over the top. After the deep breaking was finished, we would change the plows and go to work again making furrows, trying hard to keep the front wheel in the furrow of the first one, often they weren’t that straight. Gradually that task was finished as well, now to put the planter boxes on and fill them with the pink colored, treated cotton seed. As dad planted, one of us boys always sat at the back, making sure the planter boxes were emptying about the same or making sure they weren’t stopped up. Before putting in the seed, I can see the little holes the seeds would eventually fall through and the mechanism that regulated the speed at which they would fall. This again took several days. After about a week you could see the cotton start to sprout, that is if there had been enough moisture and you weren’t dry planting, that was the worst, it may never come up and if it did, it was often spotty or late. After a couple of weeks’ worth of growing it was time to drag out the hoes and get ready for chopping, oh what fun! Somedays though, with today’s fast paced life, I might enjoy a job that didn’t take much thought. Usually cotton was planted on the south side of the farm and about half of the north. Part of the north field was used to plant sorghum (maize) for the hogs. This time of the year we had the hogs fenced in at the center of the farm, taking about ten acres. After harvesting in the fall, the whole farm was fenced off for the pigs, until the next spring, depending on how many pigs we had. I was one happy fellow when in the late 70’s dad began selling off all the hogs, only keeping what he thought was needed to eat. As I say that, I can remember the whole procedure dad used from killing the hog, putting it into boiling water, scraping the scalded skin off, removing all the hair, and stringing it up from the back tendons, gutting and chopping it up. Sounds gross I know, but that’s part of what we did growing up on the farm. That reminds me of a post someone placed on Facebook of someone saying that killing animals for food was cruelty to animals, “why don’t you go to the store and buy it”? Just thought I’d throw that in for comic relief. Growing up on a farm was never as easy as magazines make it look. Kudo’s to all of the farmers for all their hard work to provide for us.
Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)