Summer of ’64

Carol’s sunflowers didn’t fare too well in the wind of the past 2 days of storms!

‘A wet year will scare you to death , but a dry year will starve you to death’; that is the way it was told to me back in the summer of 1964 when this area went through what until now, has been the worst drought in my life. So when reading articles lately of the drought in parts of New Hampshire along with areas in northern and western N.Y., and many other northern tier states. Those pictures of parched, dry earth and farmers looking at withered up crops, bring back many memories.

Like cows that were reaching up into trees for every dried up leaf they could get or eating bare, small shrubs in normal years they would never go near. Cows that were in pastures with any swampy area would spendĀ their days rummaging thru the dried up mud for any green that might appear, or huddles under trees trying to cool down and ward off pesty flies that seem so much worse in hot, humid weather…

That was when I first heard about what old Uncle Marshall called ‘tuck it corn’! Now to be polite, that means short, withered up yellow corn, ain’t only worth sticking where the sun don’t shine; only Marshall would tell you using more colorful words! Great fun to hear when you’re a kid!

For the hay crop that year people commented by saying things like you could watch a snake crawling through the grass! Others said you could see a field mouse before the hawk did! It was my first experience with seeing how many different ‘weeds’…such as burdock… cows will eat when put into a bale of hay!

Back in ’64 being connected was more a long distance phone call or a written letter sent via snail mail, to use today’s jargon! This made it all the more important to somehow put up enough feed to make it through the winter with the hope that the growing season of ’65 would be better; that eternal hope farmers live by on a day to day basis! Also said to be the reason why farmers faces are so wrinkled from smiling so much…huh?

Needless to say our hot dry summer of ’64 was spent covering any ground we could for hay. Some of the places traveling by car were 45 minutes away! Those were long trips with the Massey Harris 30 I had the privilege to drive to rake hay or at times, draw wagons home…most often only partial loads.

Overall, looking back we were one of the lucky ones. When the spring of ’65 came around, we still had all our animals; not having to sell any for lack of feed, for poor prices due to condition and the market being flooded. Things were a lot more regional in those times!

Even today, with modern technology allowing one part of the country to help another; the pain of both man and animal is still real…Oh to be real!

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