Back in the early ’70’s, Bill came to the rescue of my father and I when we lost what was a small farm up the road (we rented it), was broken up into building lots in the spring, with no advance notice to us; we could have looked for other hay ground. As we entered August that year, our feed survey showed we were about 2000 bales short, to make it through the winter.
Enter Bill…with his more acres than I need to feed my 40 cows, from the other end of town! At the time, he had another farm much closer than us to bale it up, but as Bill would say, ‘I don’t know if they will want more than they usually get. I just don’t know!’…that kind of answer is what you would hear for HOURS! We knew he had many acres he just mowed every year because that other farm only took the same four fields each year!
See, we were good friends with his neighbor, whom he was always calling on for advice! Bill, one of the best people I ever met, never married and lived with his mother there, on the farm until she passed, and just a few years ago Bill passed, but not before leaving many precious descriptions of his life on the farm!
After he started selling us the hay on those acres, he was just mowing and leaving it; that continued until my father passed in 1988 and I just didn’t have the work force to cover those extra acres that far away. Most years we wouldn’t get down there until August, so by that time his haymows were getting full so we’d help him unload hay or even do chores!
This one time after unloading hay for him, I went into the barn where he was milking! He milked in pail milkers and after each cow he would dump the milk each cow gave into a pail and his mother would carry it to the milkhouse and pour it through a strainer into the bulk tank! Bill’s cows weren’t big producers, so most pails were less than half full! Then as one cow gave more than half a pail, Bill turned to me and said, “watch! She won’t take that one, it is too full…” When his mother came back with an empty pail she looked at the pail and walked away…Bill says, ” See, I told ya…” Only Bill and his 80+ year old mother!
Another time he was walking me through his machinery shed, when he kicked the blade on a nice looking little bulldozer parked there, mumbling “That is the last thing Burt stuck me with…” Burt was a recently deceased machinery salesman…
Or when he came out into the field to tell me he lives in FEAR! It took me hours as we stood there looking down over his farm toward his neighbor’s place! Over and over he told me he lives in fear everyday. Then he adds that his neighbor will bring cows back from their other place and they are just like locusts! They’ll come up through his fields devouring everything! It was years earlier when there was a major problem with cows and lack of feed that got all the way to State Vets and law enforcement! Like all things in Bill’s life, it never ended!
He bought a new tractor while trading in an old one only to go up the next day and buy it back! When something got delivered with a mark on the paint job from where it was chained down on the truck he said, “I don’t know…” over and over until even without asking, the dealers would always send spray pain to touch uop those spots, cause “I don’t know… going to rust…”
I know I will never get the time back waiting for Bill to answer, but I don’t know if I’ll ever stop chucklin’ when I think about Bill…