Poverty Acres

  (Washington Court House, Ohio)
Home of The Hot Plate Catering, Best Sweet Corn, and Pumpkin Farm
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Always the darkest just before light cont...

       Always the darkest just before light Cont…

   Fortunately, my dad and the Good Lord had prepared me for such an accident a few months before. A friend I played with many times was killed tragically in an accident. He and his brothers and sisters were in the back of their truck one afternoon. His mother pulled forward and then backed up. She did not realize he had fallen off and backed over him. He got up, ran to her arms to hug her, and died in her arms. My dad took me to the funeral and showed me what can happen if I did not keep safety in my mind at all times. He had me touch him and explained death to me.

   The night we found my dad I was the first to arrive at the tractor and picker still running. I immediately stopped the power take off and shut the tractor off. When I touched the back of his neck, I knew he was gone. He had taught me well and he had made a tragic mistake. He was very sick and a snowstorm was headed our way. He asked my mother to keep us at the house and get the milking done. He needed to get the corn in before the storm got to our farm. He was too weak to get the picker unplugged so he broke his own safety rules. He turned the power take off on and then was pulled into the picker while trying to get it unclogged.

   Within an hour, we had over 300 farmers at our farm. I still am in awe when I think about that night. They came to help and support us in any way they could. They did not leave after that night either, as they rotated helping us for three months. That was when I realized this was permanent. Our dad was not coming back and the farm, my 4-H calf, my tractor, and my whole world was at auction in Jan. of 1964.

   That alone was dark enough, but an even greater blow was yet to come. My mom informed me we were moving to town, she had no choice. That was bad, but then the next blow to my life was my dog could not go with us to town. Perky, my German Shepherd, was going to another farm. My 250-acre world just turned into a two-bedroom apartment with no pets.

   I am sharing this farm story for more then one reason. The first is to make every farmer that reads this think twice before you break safety rules including myself and my own family. Another is an example of how an accident changes everyone’s life not just the life of the person in the accident. It is the root of why I work very hard every year to help my wife, MaryAnn save a piece of her family farm. It is a small story compared to many families across this great country trying to save their family farms.

   It has been said, that for every door closed in life, the Good Lord opens up two more for you to choose to go through. I am very thankful that he has continued to give me a choice and even has led me to an awesome person to share my life with.

   Our recent family tragedy reminds us of many we have made it through. In this New Year, we close another door yet to face two doors to choose. We pray to choose the one with light, to preserve our home, our jobs, our health, and the safety of our family and friends. We are thankful and proud for Tyler’s service and pray he returns safe and well to home.

   Time for a break! I will share some more another day. May our entire Poverty Acre friends and family stay safe! Spring is coming. New life and new light is on its way.

Always the Darkest just before Light


           Always the darkest just before light

  Uncle Charlie said I should write a book and the truth is I probably could. I was born on a dairy farm just eight miles east of Johnstown, Ohio. Any dairy farmer could tell you it really gets the darkest just before dawn. I have seen it so dark you can not see your hand when you put it an inch from your face.

   It is a lot like life itself. I can not count the times my life has looked so dark I wondered if I could survive until something good happened. I remember my life starting at about three years old on the farm. I was with my Dad in the hay field picking up the smaller size round bales we had then. I was setting on an Allis Chalmers tractor with a hand clutch. My Dad would pull the clutch handle to pull the tractor and wagon forward to the next bales. One time he got off, picked up the bales and tossed them on the wagon, and then I pulled on the hand clutch. Man was he shouting at me! Then I pushed it forward and stopped. When he realized I could do it properly, that began my work with him on the farm. Imagine – three years old – people would file charges against him today. They was some of the happiest days of my life.

  He bought me my own tractor when I was seven, yes I was seven years old! It was a Farmall H International. The neighbors had Farmall M’s and he new I liked them. They had glass pack mufflers and would gun the engines to impress my sisters when they passed the house. My Dad took the exhaust muffler off mine and put a straight downspout on it. It sounded like a hemi. People heard me for miles and many neighbors complained I was too young for that.

  One day, while I was still seven, I pulled an older steel wheeled two bottom plow from behind the barns to the barn yard area. My Dad was gone some where so I cleaned it up and painted it green. When he got home, he was mad that I was on the tractor without him being around. Then he looked the plow over and said, "You know Bub – I think we have some new plow shears for that in the old shed". He found them and we put them on the old plow. He told me I could pull it through the fields, but because of the steel wheels, I could not take it on the roads. He would set the depth on the plow with the hand levers. For the next couple of years, he would plow with the Allis and I on the Farmall. I can still remember us stopping when the sun was up so high in the sky and listen for my mom ringing the dinner bell. I can still smell the fresh plowed ground like it was yesterday. I have cherished those two years all my life.

  On October 28, 1963, I was nine at the time, my two oldest sisters and I were to find my dad bent over in a corn picker. His body was there but daddy was gone. A few days later one of his favorite presidents was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Thus began the first darkest time of my life, but may define who I am today. Do accidents change our world? Is there light after the darkest hour?

Got work to do for now, but will continue the search for light later. Happy New Year to all our Poverty Acre Friends. May 2010 bring great light!


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