I have lost my way a little this summer. There has been so much going on that I just have not sat down to write anything. I have strong views, and I wear my heart on my sleeves.
My goals, for the most part, are to keep my articles light and fun. With all the hate, unrest, and the assassination of law enforcement officers, I have been building up with a lot to say. But I believe we all need just a little humor to carry us through.
My story is more about me. Years ago, and I do mean years ago, when I left the family farm to work in the big city (Delaware), I told myself that I would never bale hay or work on fence again. I remember someone saying at one time, “never say never.”
I had always been around farm animals all my life. I bought horses after getting married, and we had a small farm. The fence was in very bad shape, so mending and rebuilding fence was a tall order.
The fields on both sides had animals. The fence on each end was good, so building it was not very bad. When I was little, the hay bales were bigger than me.
People find it hard to believe that when I was 5 years old, I drove the tractor and baler. My older brother and sister unloaded the wagons, and my dad would stack the hay on the wagons.
We had this old Ford tractor. I want to say it was a 901. Dad bought it new 1959. I would drive it with the baler and pulled two wagons on the back while baling hay. The clutch petal was very high. I was very little and had a very hard time pushing the clutch in to stop the tractor. When I went to stop the tractor, I would stand both feet on the clutch and both hands under the steering wheel to help push myself down to disengage the tractor.
For those that know about baling, you also have to disengage the power take off (PTO). I would plug the baler up and sometimes stop to0 fast and dad would come flying off the wagon. The neighbors always said they could tell we were baling from all of the swearing coming from the fields!
Even with all the things I was called and being very hot, I did not mind baling. As I got older and could handle the bales, baling became much harder. First, I would unload the wagons. I had to make sure I did not overload the guy stacking in the hay loft. I was hot and dirty.
Now, the last step in haying. I got big enough to stack hay in the loft. There was nothing good to say about that. Hot, dirty, and the air was full of hay dust.
Sometime the light was very bad, and you could fall into holes. Sweet was the name of the day. Sometimes you would come out black with dirt. Maybe that’s why I have hay fever now!
As we had less brothers and sister on the farm, dad bought a kick baler. It was less hands-on. The bales were much smaller, but I still did not like unloading the wagons.
Another big job was taking care of the fence. We had a dairy farm, so fence was very important. It always amazed me that a 1,000-pound cow could get out of an inch-by-inch square hole. Then go stand in the middle of the road.
We were always walking the fence looking for areas that needed fixed. We had several different pastures, so we could rotate them to help maintain good animal health. I am very sure that I had replaced every fence post on the farm by hand. I had the hardest time keeping the post holes straight. So, when I left the farm, no more haying, and no more fence. Believe me, never say “no more.”
Off and on, I have helped bale hay for several different people. I have showed people how to repair fence and fix fence. Just two weeks ago, I moved the vinyl fence around the house. It beat me up a little. There are so many things that I did not like doing when I was younger that I would never change. If I could go back to the days when I was younger, I would with open arms. Even just one day to work with my dad again.
I can only end this with I hope you all can find peace.
Loren Pool is a retired Delaware County deputy sheriff.