Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Way Grandpa Did it

Every once in a while I hear people say they want to farm the way Grandpa did it. I don't think some of them could hold up to it. Grandpa lived 9 miles out of Mt Gilead. If he wanted the plow fixed , he toted it to town. Got there by the time the blacksmith opened at 7 am. Got back home and hitched up the mule by 9 am and plowed till dark. Once he had a toothache all day Sunday. On Monday he was in Mt Gilead by the time the dentist opened at 7 am, got his tooth pulled, then home by 9 am, and plowed the rest of the day. And he never let the dentist use any anesthesia because he didn't have time to be whoozy behind the plow. Grandpa would chop in the fields until he almost quit sweating. When the waterboy came from the spring with a gallon of water, Grandpa would drink the entire gallon. Sweat would drip in a solid stream from his elbow until it cooled him back down. And he would keep chopping. He didn't have caffeine to get him started in the morning or a fan to cool him down at night. Other than a linament that smelled like turpentine, all his medicine came from plants he found in the woods. For arthritis he stuck his hand in a beehive and took a few stings. He pulled his oldest girl out of school by 9th grade to help on the farm. Or to be more accurate, he pulled her out to sleep. She was already working on the farm and doing homework in addition to farm chores was causing severe sleep deprivation. He put is oldest boy to work at the sawmill at age 13. His wife would work the fields too, leaving the youngest on a blanket at the end of the row, the next oldest watching the youngest, the next oldest hauling water, and the rest of the children working. They did it all about 3 steps ahead of malnutrition and about six steps ahead of starvation. I have no interest in farming like grandpa did it.