So, starting where I left off in Blog #1, when I was 10 I started helping with field work. We didn't have most of the equipment needed for field work, so we "share cropped" with a neighbor farmer. What this means is we could use their equipment and in return, half of all our crops went to the other farmer. Sounds pretty good, right? At 10 years old, I didn't read the fine print. What this simple explanation of what "share cropping" is doesn't explain the fact, we didn't have access to the equipment until after their crops were in first. To speed up the process, we helped the neighbor farmer get their crops in BEFORE harvesting our crops. So my summers went like this: work on the neighbors first cutting of hay, then do our first cutting of hay, usually by the time this was done it was time for harvesting grains and then bailing straw, as we worked on these areas the second cutting of hay would get ready so we'd work on that at the same time, then move to our grain/straw/hay, by the time all that was done the third cutting of hay at the neighbors was ready, then our third cutting. Like I shared in Blog #1, all the hay and straw was square bailed and moved by hand. 1000's of bails every year.
When I was 10, 11 & 12 years old, this was all great! As you can imagine, when I moved into my teenage years, I became a little resistant. Working most everyday of the summer, sun up until sun down started to feel excessive. I didn't realize it at this time, but these years are when my character developed and my work ethic was instilled for my lifetime. I went through periods when I hated it but I learned skills that I still use everyday today.
When I turned 16, I got a job off the farm but when I wasn't at my job I was either working on the farm or training for sports where I excelled to some degree. The combination of my work ethic and "farm strength" made me popular with coaches...lol. I only weighed about 165lbs. but I could squat 405lbs. and bench 300lbs.
By the time I was ready to go to college, we started using round bails and the work load dropped significantly. I was still ready to get off the farm and find out what the outside world had in store for me. For some reason though, I didn't end up going far away???