My dad was a poor dirt farmer in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Each spring he would fence off approximately 10' by 10' in the rich mud of the barnyard. Here he planted tomatoes. I'm telling you those tomatoes were big. It was nothing to see a small tomato the size of a basketball. A neighbor came by one day to purchase a bushel. He wouldn't take a whole tomato, and dad would not cut it. Mom raised chickens. When she threw them corn, if they did not catch it in the air, they had to eat it off the stalk.
Dad had to quit planting watermelon: too much damage. One time, just before harvest, one of the largest and ripest rolled off the hill, tore down the barn, rolled over our mule, made him sick for four days, hit the creek and caused a flood for three miles. Seeds from that melon weighed three pounds each.
The next year, dad planted melons in a ditch. I could send you a picture of that melon, but the photo weighs 10 pounds. A neighbor wanted to purchase one of those melons, but his wagon was too small to handle it. The following summer, the old mule kicked one of the small melons and drowned.
That afternoon, our entire family went to a church meeting and an earthquake swallowed the farm. Now we have a hole farm.
-John W. Mahan, Ashland, KY
NO CALLOUSES IN THE NINETIES
Thank you for sending our first issue of Farm Collector. We really enjoyed all the stories about farm collections and 'the old days.' I tell you what, I wouldn't put any of that 'natural' ice in my mouth today, what with all the pollution. Things are sure different these days than they used to be. If people had to work that hard now, they'd all starve to death, no doubt in my mind. Good luck to your new publication.
-Franklin T. Kelley, Albany, NY
RISING TO THE TOP
We are so glad to see a magazine like Farm Collector! It is so nice to read about the things we remember from our childhood, growing up on the farm. My husband just shook his head when he thought about all that work. He says that's why there was less crime back then, because all the youngun's were too tired to go out and get in trouble. Maybe, I said, but I surely do not miss running a cream separator. (Of course, all we eat now is 'light' margarine anyway). I remember using a DeLaval cream separator. It worked good, but it was the devil to clean.
-Rhona f. Fredricey, Eden Prairie, MN
Compliments? Complaints? Suggestions? Ideas? Comments? Memories? Questions? We'll print 'em all, as space allows. Send your letters to FARM COLLECTOR, 1503 SW 42nd Street, Topeka, KS 66609-1266; FAX (785) 274-4377; email firstname.lastname@example.org