Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)
TITLE: In His Field
By Grace Merkey
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My husbandís name is George, which meansĒ tiller of the soil, farmer. He is certainly well named as he canít remember when he didnít want to be a farmer. When he was in the fifth grade, he got his wish. He and his dad used horses to farm with. George, his dad and a couple other people dug Prickly Pears one summer. The government paid for this but it was very little. When the owner of the land saw this big improvement, he raised their rent. A windmill pumped water into a tank for the livestock. Georgeís dad bought him a Brown Swiss calf for 4H. He is sure his calf was better than his friendís, which was judged better.
They moved quite often when he was growing up. The last farm was in Portis, Kansas. Georgeís mother worried about him working with horses. One day when he was hooking up four horses to a harrow, she asked what she could do to help. He asked her to go get an oilcan. While she was gone he got the horses hooked up. When she returned he sprinkled oil here and there. This seemed like a good plan until his mother told his dad and he informed her that no oil was needed in this situation.
When George was 14 and in the 8th grade, he bought a team of horses for $175.00.
He helped his Grandpa and some neighbors thrash grain. He left in the morning with a lit kerosene lantern in front and one in back. For a full days work he got $1.00 plus $.50 for the team and wagon. They had 100 sheep in need of shearing. The men who usually did it were off fighting in WWII. George and his dad got an old shearing machine from a farmer who wasnít using it. It scarcely ran fast enough to cut wool but George and his dad pulled, clawed and chewed the wool off. They learned by trial and error. The next year George would skip school on Friday and shear sheep over the weekend. He got 40 cents a head. He was responsible for: catching and holding the sheep, shearing, laying the wool out with the outside up, folding it in, one side over the other and then rolling it up, (like a sleeping bag, tying it, putting the wool in a bag, and climbing in and tramping it down. When the bags were full he would sew it shut using a big nail and twine. When full they weighed between four and five hundred pounds so it was a problem getting them into a pickup.
After serving two years in the Marines, George came back to the farm. Georgeís cousin Viola, introduced him to me at church and we ultimately became engaged and married. We had four children while living in Portis. I can vouch for the fact that he is an outstanding husband and father. We had around 20 dairy cows. We sold the cream for about $15.00 a can, about enough to buy groceries for a week. He was able to sell two or three cans a week. George also did custom baling for which he got ten cents a bale. Finally we decided to have a farm sale and move to Colorado. This included 27 milk cows, 115 ewes, 8 sows, 8 gilts, one boar and 72 weaning pigs. We lived in Wiley, CO for four years and then moved to Monte Vista. Here George planted a garden each year and has had outstanding success.
So, you see, you are very likely to find my husband out standing in his field/garden.
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