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By Staff | Apr 3, 2015

Just after the first of the year my tax preparer sent me the farm depreciation schedule to be updated because it had been quite a while since items that were long gone had been lined out.

The schedule was 11 pages long, but having been here since 1975, I knew what was here and what was not.

I started at the top of the first page, working my way toward the bottom.

Ford tractor and backhoe purchased in 1952 for $1,755, that’s gone.

Ford tractor purchased in 1954, which is still here.

Bear Cat mill purchased in 1955, that’s still here. Although the last time it was used was probably in the early 1960s.

It sits in the same place it always has next to the IH UD525 power unit, but that’s another story involving grinding ear corn for cattle feed.

Horse (Duke) purchased in 1953 for $150.

What? Duke is on the depreciation schedule?

I remember my uncles buying a palomino named Duke in 1953 when I was 6 years old.

I do not why these two bachelor farmers bought that horse except that they thought they were going to herd cattle with it.

My uncles, one of them in particular, liked to buy things, I believe for the sake of buying them.

These two were not cowboys in any sense of the word, so Duke went the way of most good intentions. Nothing happened.

Duke was a gentle horse that became more of a family pet than anything else, especially a horse bought to round up cattle.

My sister was the horse nut and one Sunday morning when I was about 7 and she was 5, my aunt put us on Duke’s back as she led him as part of her daily chores.

My sister was excited and I was reluctant about our ride.

She rode in front of me as my aunt led Duke out of the barn.

I don’t know how it happened, but we fell off the horse and I landed on my right arm.

It had to be the greatest pain I have experienced. My aunt tried to make me feel better and that afternoon she took me to a doctor who sent me to the hospital.

I had no idea what was happening to me as they checked my arm and then they put something over my face and told me to breathe in.

When I woke up, my parents were standing over me. What was this thing on my arm and why was it suspended?

I learned I had a broken arm and would be in the hospital for a few days and the thing on my arm would be there for a while.

I was in the first grade and the school year was almost over so my mother got my school work to do at home and that was the end of the first grade.

That was also the end of my horse riding endeavors.

Later, my dad got my sisters and me a Shetland pony and I was not that fond of him either.

Duke was still on the farm when I arrived in 1975, leading a life of leisure, usually in the cattle yard eating alongside the cattle.

Around 1980 he had digestive problems and due to his age, the vet put him down.

I last saw Duke being winched into a rendering truck taking his place next to some dead cows and hogs.

When I drew a line through “horse (Duke) 1953 $150,” on the depreciation schedule, not only was he officially gone, but was now depreciated out.

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

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