Friday, October 15, 2010

The Manure Spreader

I went for a bicycle ride the other day and watched a farmer spreading a large pile of manure that had been dumped in his field.There were  three John Deere tractors in the field.They all had enclosed cabs I suspect with air conditioning.There was an industrial sized big bucket loader that was scooping up the manure and dumping it into very large manure spreaders.And the size of the field !It looked to be a country block. As soon as the manure was spread there was another large tractor there with a cultivator to work the field up and bury the manure.In three days everything was completed.
            Back in the 1940’s  when we were doing the job on Dad’s farm it took three weeks !The manure pile was out behind the barn and a team of horses pulled the manure spreader.A man used a five tyne fork, maybe two men were working at the job and it was their muscles that supplied the power. Our fields were mostly ten acre fields.
            I can remember a strange and scary incident that happened away back then.There was a line fence between our two farms. We had a gate in it which we used all the time.Year after year we went through this gate with our loads of hay.The cows walked through this gate all the time.This year we were spreading manure in this field going through the gate with every load.One time we came back through with an empty manure spreader and there was a big chuck and the back two wheels had fallen down to the axle in a hole.The horses gave an extra pull and the manure spreader came out.We went back to look to see what had happened.There was a six foot hole in diameter in the middle of the gateway.We looked down it for about twenty feet and saw water at the bottom.We learned later that many years ago before dad got the farm there was a steam powered saw mill on the spot used to saw the trees into lumber.This must have been the dug well to get water to operate the steam engine.The top of the well had been planked over and soil put over the top of that.The planks had finally rotted through and the large hole was left.It took many loads of earth to fill up the hole and make this gateway a safe spot to drive our wagons through.