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Young Herdsman

PEN AND INK

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During the depression of the 1930’s there was no fortune to be made in farming, but the farm did feed you. Folks in the city did not fair as well. On the farm everyone had chores and worked together for the common good.
My grandfather had a large herd of Holsteins on his farm in Waterloo County. My father was too young for school but his task was to get the cows from the pasture and into the barn for milking twice a day. In the Mennonite community the men did the field and barn work and the women tended to the hens, the house and the garden. My grandmother made her own butter, schmeer case (a yogurt like spreading cheese with a sharp bite) and Koch case (a cooked skim milk, sticky spreading cheese with caraway seeds). Both are Pennsylvania-Deutsche delicacies and I miss them.
Dad worked on the farm until he was twenty-one and then for another year to acquire some heifers from grandpa to get Dad started in the dairy business. The second winter Dad’s pure bred heifers all got pneumonia after the barn doors were blown open during a major blizzard. The herd all had to be put down. Dad still owed major money for the cattle and looked for work off the farm He never went back to farming but he never forgot his rural roots. Every fall at ploughing match time, he went to the attic and brought down his Massey- Harris walking plow and his tools and stakes.
We called Dad our champion ploughman, but that’s another story. Jenny