Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances

We just simply called it ‘plowing’

It always seemed to me that when the breaking plows were hitched up and the lime spreader hooked up and both were headed to a field, the new crop year had just arrived. Until the invention of no-till crop farming there just was no way to raise your crop unless you turned your sod under and opened the fields to the soil that lay under it. This was always referred to as “breaking ground” or “busting sod” or just plain “plowing.”

Since I was from the era of crop rotation, almost every acre we plowed was covered with sod or legume grasses. This type of ground cover eliminated erosion but when it was time to turn up new ground the job was harder to than it ever looked from a distance. Our tractor, which was good-sized for its time, could pull a set of two plows and each plow would turn over a swath of dirt 14 inches across, so two plows let us break ground at a rate of 28 inches every time you crossed a field. Since we plowed close to 50 acres or more it is easy to see that that tractor was going to be at work pulling those plows for many days.

Plowing was introducing the onslaught of spring and a new growing season. By opening the ground to new dirt, we also opened up the advent of the hopes for a bumper crop that year if all went well, if the season was warm enough at the right time or if it was dry when needed and we got enough rains when that was needed. (Other than these minor details the hope for success was almost a cinch.)

As a matter of fact if any farmer or gardener was asking when new ground is plowed, did they smell a distinct scent around that ground? Actually they do. Now all my life I have always thought the scent was the smell of that new year and all the growing potential that was in that dirt was waiting for me to put it to use. I cheated and Googled what causes a scent when the ground is plowed and here is Google’s answer: “Bacteria called Geosmin that emits an earthy smell from these bacteria in the soil that is giving its scent.” I don’t know about anybody else but that definition just kills that great smell we inhale as the earth is coming to life and I’m running my machinery through my fields creating huge seed beds. I think I’m going back to that “earthy scent” is the call to a farmer to continue plowing and this could well be the year that surpasses any year before it. There is always that possibility isn’t there? At least that is what the smell of spring emitted to me meant.

Plowing is one of the harder tasks that confronts a farmer. Not only is it hard on the equipment, but the farmer seldom receives a smooth ride while plowing is in progress. You are bumped, pitched, and jostled in every direction and all the while he is working his hardest to keep the plows on course and doing their job. If you have plowed before, I’m positive you understand. If you haven’t, just take my word or go to a bar with a mechanical bull and ride it on high. I recall that maybe halfway through what we had to plow, Dad would head to that tractor store and buy a padded seat cushion as he was too sore to sit. This worked for maybe a couple of days and then he resumed standing while driving the tractor at every chance he could get.

I still think this was the hardest part of growing a crop but it also was the most promising. With the days growing warmer and longer, and the scent of hope and chance in the air it was a great time to be a farmer. It also is great to put your muscle and mind into planting a garden or even a flower bed. Getting your hands in the dirt never was an act of shame but an association with Mother Earth and reminds us of just what feeds us and feeds the livestock that we also eat. We are fortunate in one way not to have to depend on growing all we eat but I personally feel it is a must to at least understand the why and the where all our substance does come from.

I have heard retired farmers or people that have moved away from farming say, “Well I don’t work in the soil like I used to and I do grow a small garden but I still have a little bit of dirt in my shoes and can’t shake it out. If you keep even a little dirt in your shoes you will never lose the scent that says “new dirt.”

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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The Good Old Days

Rick Houser

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2016 News Democrat