Dairyland Driftings

By Gil
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August Hemming (with mustache). Louis Johnson (right). Photo made 1907.

Time again for another episode. Somehow time seems to go faster
when you’re facing a deadline – Elmer says by the 6th. Time is
something (not a thing) we’ve always had, I presume, one might
say, plenty of it and for free; but, it’s what you do with it.
One often hears the remark, ‘I should have done this or that,
but I didn’t have time’. Some years ago, BEN LOUIS put a
different slant on things when he replied, ‘You had time, but
you did something else instead’, now-you take it from there. We
all know our time is limited, and it’d do us well to take
inventory now and then to see how it is being spent. I guess it was
ever thus, man pitted against time – you buy certain equipment to
save time, well, actually, time is about as hard to save as the air
we breathe, or the rays from the sun. Much advertising is simply a
means or scheme in deceiving people and dwelling on their
imaginations – telling all the ‘good’ points, omitting any
possible drawbacks. I’ve noted many occasions a person gets in
the notion for a newer car and in no time the old one is full of
faults. CHARLEY FRANSEEN once said he foxed his horse ’cause
‘it was full of heaves’.

Got a letter, rather three, from Trondheim, Norway. So now,
I’m corresponding with a Norwegian girl in Norway. Well, I,
er-that is, it’s my wife. Will say time is a bit more pressing,
in my sudden status as a bachelor, with cows, crops and cooking,
vying for place, one can readily appreciate the little jobs that
pressed the lady of the house. Oh, I had a couple months notice,
but took no stock on their intentions till it got to be a reality.
Sorta ‘missed the water after the well went dry’. So, now,
I not only need a secretary, it should be one that can cook and
drive tractor.

I may be harboring a misconstrued conception, but somehow
something tells me her trip to Norway came out of a remark made by
a good friend of mine back in 1950. I was in the process of
building my barn; EDDIE MAREK was the main helper besides the
carpenter, ARTHUR GRIMH and his apprentice, LARRY WEDIN. We were
getting organized, in a fashion, to pour the footings. EDDIE is a
card in his own rights, but this time he came up with a remark that
really stuck, ‘I see you are making the same mistake I
did,’ he having built a barn two years previous. That set me to
thinking – here was to be something like five thousand bucks at
stake, but how could I quit then, with the stage set and
‘mortar comin’ up’. In due season, I proudly had a new
barn that cost us twice what our farm did. Our barn is not in any
sense elaborate and the farm we bought at low-ebb in ’38. Time
went on, can’t say I lived in regret, but dairying on a small
scale often causes one to ponder. Last January, I was asked to help
my brother-in-law, HARVEY JOHNSON to help saw some 25 thousand feet
of logs. Thinking this timber was cut mostly to clear more land I
says, ‘I’ll take the slabs, but what’s all the lumber
for’? Before going further get the circumstances involved –
Harvey owns a house in the village of Grantsburg where his wife is
employed. He was in line to take over the home place, having stayed
with his folks, operating the farm. His mother passed away last
August. His dad LOUIS JOHNSON, my father-in-law, now 82 would be
limited help. Now back to the lumber -Harvey says, ‘If I’m
gonna farm, I have to build a barn and make it handier to
chore.’ That’s when I poured it on, ‘So, you’re
gonna make the same mistake too, the very thought is absurd.’
His wife seemed to be thinking the same, only in a more modest way.
In a matter of a couple months, the farm was sold and an auction
held. Though a bit reluctant, this done, gave Louis a chance to
really relax. His desire to visit his homeland now looked like a
reality. Coming to this country in 1902, this would be his first
chance to visit and get acquainted with his relations over there.
Not wanting to go alone, he decided on taking his two daughters
along; my Alice and Rosella, Mrs. Clarence Nelson from


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