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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jun 24, 2011

It was a productive weekend because the spraying of the corn was finished one day and two days later, the soybeans were sprayed.

In spite of a slow start to the crop year, everything is growing and progressing with the rows of corn starting to close with their canopy.

I performed my duties of being the modern day agricultural Gunga Din, carrying water for the sprayer.

I remember my dad spraying in the 1950s with a Farmall B and a sprayer that held not more than 200 gallons.

The sprayer boom was not more than 12 feet wide.

What I remember of its colors, it probably was bought at the Montgomery Ward farm store, one of his favorite places.

Here we are fifty-plus years later with a sprayer that holds 1,000 gallons and a boom of 90 feet.

It is not the size of today’s equipment that impresses me as much as what my dad accomplished with some very modest equipment.

He used that combination of Farmall B and Wards sprayer for much of the 1950s.

I remember being told to watch the tank as it was filling with water to shut the hydrant off when it was full.

Even at age 8, I was in charge of water for spraying.

He had no cab, no spray monitor and certainly no satellite guidance.

He did it the way every else did.

He knew his tractor speed, tank pressure and nozzle size.

He did not have anything to listen to either while he worked.

If he wanted to hear any music, he sang and he sang frequently as he worked.

If I want to remember what sounds I associate with spraying, it is the tractor and my dad’s voice.

He had about three favorite songs and I do not believe he knew all the verses, but that did not stop him.

My dad did the spraying and Sid, the elderly hired man, was in charge of cultivating with the front- mounted cultivator on a John Deere A, a tractor with no power steering.

Sid was a very quiet man with a very low voice.

He only spoke when he needed to and singing was out of the question.

To pass the time cultivating, he smoked cigarettes.

Add baling the first cutting of hay to these duties and you had the month of June.

It was a good life then and a half century later, it remains a good life.

For my sisters and me, that first month of school vacation was one of the best months of the year because we still had two more months of vacation ahead of us.

We still spray today and kids still enjoy summer vacation from school, but cultivating has disappeared.

Our cultivator will sit in a corner of the shed, unused for another year.

Cultivating was a job I enjoyed.

Of course, I had a cab with air conditioning and a radio where Sid had only an umbrella and the sound of the 2-cylinder John Deere.

Oh yes, I had power steering, another necessity.

However, it was all good work and it was all a good time.

I am sure my dad and Sid would agree.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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