I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. (NIV) (Psalm 143: 6)                           

days gone by

Views of a Farm Boy--Dedicated to promote Iowa agriculture and Iowa values

Robert Vaughn--Urbandale, Iowa  EMAIL:

Sometimes my December post features pictures and stories of happenings during the current year. This time I am going to do a one-up on that! I am going to tell you about a recent adventure that reflects back memories from my boyhood farm days in the hill country of Western Iowa. Here's how it all played out. Last month, my long time friend Tony, took me on a field trip to Milo, Iowa to visit his friend, Dennis. You know how that goes--Dennis is now my friend, too. Anyway, we spent the next few hours looking at farm stuff that filled my mind with childhood memories of my growing--up years near Anthon, Iowa.

The first thing that caught my eye was this Aermotor windmill. That could be almost an exact replica of the windmill on our farm. Each fall, my dad would climb that ladder and stand on the platform to oil the engine. As for me--I never was much for heights. I just stood below with both feet on solid ground as I looked up and admired this feat of bravery.

(Left: Yes! Of course, my dad used a John Deere horse drawn disk something like this. The concrete slabs are wired to the top for extra tillage depth. He also cut his hay with a mower like this. Gitty-up Dick and Prince! Right: This horse drawn side-rake put the hay into easy to pick up rows.

Left: It is time to hitch your horses to the plow and head to the field. This was a slow process. My dad started at daybreak and worked till dark. Right: He couldn't see well enough to drive a tractor, so he farmed with horses all his life. Then when my brother got out of the army, he came home to farm. One of his early investments was a one row corn picker like this--yes, he pulled it with a tractor.

My View for the Month: Left: Tony ann Dennis. Right: Thrashing machine. Oat harvest was a very special time for farmers when I was a boy. All of the neighbors joined together with their horse drawn hayracks. They gathered the shocked oats from the field and brought them to the thrashing machine. The harvested grain was brought to the bin where it was stored for later sale or feed for farm animals. Thrashing day was a great event for the farmers as they worked, talked and laughed together, harvesting the grain. It was also a very special work-social gathering for farm wives, too. They teamed together to help each other fix "a dinner for thrashers" and an afternoon lunch to take to the field for always hungry farmers. But wait--our trip kinda ended like that, too. Tony took Dennis and me to the Milo Cafe for lunch. I had chicken fried chicken. This trip was a lot like living the Iowa Farm Boy days of my youth. Of course--that is a good thing!

(Left: We never had one of these machines so Dennis had to explain this. It picks up the raked hay from the rows and loads it on the horse drawn hayrack (right).

In today's farming world, a 24 row or even a 48 row corn planter is a common sight. Here is how my dad planted corn (left) using a two row horse drawn planter. What is that on the rear of the planter (right)? That is a spool of checkwire! The planter kicked out seed exactly 40 inches apart (horse width). This allowed the farmer to cultivate vertical and the next time horizontal. The rows had to be in perfect alignment and then the weeds would be controlled from both directions.