Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Boone nativeís memories prove to be long-lasting

Our dairy farm was a half-mile south of the Fulton road - four miles from the intersection of Ninth Street and Broadway. Ninth Street and Broadway are still in the same place, but when I was a kid, the Fulton road was being gradually graveled by farmers using their horses or mule teams hitched to "gravel wagons." The limestone from local hills gave Grindstone Creek its name. Local Boone County limestone was extremely hard and was therefore used for making grinding stones; most farms had one of those, and we kids sat on the seat and pretended we were on a bicycle as we pumped a huge, round grinding stone with our skinny legs. When I was tall enough, I helped Jim wash milk bottles by putting them through disinfecting water, clear water, draining them and storing them upside-down in wooden crates.

At age 14 I had a really demanding farm job. It was punching wires at the hay baler. The hay was sometimes a mixture of clover, alfalfa, timothy or other pasture hay. Dad cut it with a sickle mower and left it flat on the ground in the hayfield to "cure" for a sunny day or two. Then, depending on the humidity, sun and wind, he raked it into windrows with a horse-drawn sulky rake and turned it for the sun and wind to keep it from heating or molding when it was packed tightly into bales.

On baling day, Dad chose just the right spot for the baler and secured it in place. Helpers drove the team, pulling a sulky rake and later hitched to the "long tom" rake with long, smooth wooden "teeth" to move clay to the baler.

The cured hay was picked up on those teeth, and the team brought it close to the hay baler; the driver backed the rake away, leaving the loose hay in place to be baled. Dad stood at the baler, "feeding" just the right amount of cured hay each time the plunger was in position to stuff it down and forward. Jim and I took over from him. I pushed two wires through the wooden blocks to Jim, and he, on the opposite side of the baler, tied the wires quickly and firmly together. Each time a complete bale was "spit" out on to the ground, Jim hurried to move it out of the way; by then I had pushed two more wires through the block and he hurried back, ready to tie them.

I was 14 years old the first year I was part of that hay-baling crew, and I loved it! The joy of accomplishment was something I never forgot. I had to keep going in time with the mules, the machines and working men for a long hard, dirty, noisy dayís work. I valued the 75 cents I earned that first day, and by the way, I wonder if itís still where I hid it.

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