Posts Tagged ‘manure’

Manure Hauling in 1948 (Part II)

January 27, 2011

After Loel Diggs* sent his comments about manure hauling (that I posted in Part I), I asked him how long it had been since his family raised oats. In response, he sent the following comments.

Pictured is Loel Diggs (11 years old in this 1948 photo) manure hauling with his Uncle Frank's rig: a Farmall B tractor and Oliver Superior No. 7** manure spreader. (Click on photo to enlarge.)***

Memories of Loel Diggs

Regarding Raising Oats and Trading Labor

Oats haven’t been grown on the farm since back in the mid to late ’50s, once Dad decided to get completely out of livestock. Not only were oats used for a grain crop for livestock and straw for bedding, oats were also used as a cover crop for crops such as Alfalfa, Timothy, Brome, and Sweet Clover when grown for next year’s Hay or Pasture land. The Farm was on a 3 year rotation growing Corn, Soybeans and Oats, so hay ground and pastures would not be changed for three years or more.

Your spreader series just reminded me of the way labor would be traded between farmers when harvest and other such jobs needed to be done, and all parties involved did not have all the mechanized equipment to get the job done quickly. Dad and two of my Uncles (two of my Mother’s 4 brothers) traded a lot of labor when harvest, haying and manure hauling was done between the three Farmsteads.

The uncles that my Dad traded labor with the most were: Conrad and Franklin Majorowicz. All the farmsteads were within a 6 mile radius of each other.

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*Loel grew up on his family’s farm northeast of Rolfe, Iowa, 1/2 mile west of Des Moines Township School (D.M.T.) where he graduated from high school in 1956.

**The following quote about the Oliver Superior No. 7 model of manure spreader (pictured above) is according to a web page.

In 1939 Oliver introduced the Oliver Superior No. 7 spreader. This was the first spreader designed specifically for use with rubber tires. This was the Cadillac of all spreaders. With rubber tires, a smooth ride and a wide non-slip footboard for the operator, hauling manure was no longer a painful chore (unless you filled the box with a pitchfork.) The farmer now had a handy pedal clutch to start and stop the spreading. The tractor user could operate the spreader with a rope. The machine was made was with sheet ingot iron instead of wood which saved 400 pounds over competitive outfits. Ribs were incorporated into the sides for additional strength.

***UPDATE: After posting the above photo, I asked Loel what model of tractor he thinks is in the upper right of the photo. He said it looks like his Uncle Conrad’s WC Allis-Chalmers.

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


Manure Hauling in 1948 (Part I)

January 25, 2011

Loel Diggs, formerly of rural Rolfe, Iowa, (D.M.T. ’56) saw my post that included a photo of a manure spreader beater bar. Doing so prompted him to send to me two photos and manure spreader-related memories from his youth.

This picture of Loel was taken in 1948, not in 1961 as dated on the white border. He was about 11 years old at the time. The tractor is a Farmall B. The tractor and spreader shown here were owned by Loel's Uncle Frank. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Manure Hauling Memories of Loel Diggs

I found these pictures* that my Mom took of me when the mid summer (after oat harvest) manure hauling season was going on. I had two uncles** that were involved in raising livestock, as my parents*** were, so a couple weeks in early August were spent removing all the manure piles around the barns and the cattle sheds cleaned out.

I wasn’t old enough to run the tractor with the manure loader, but was old enough to to run a rig back and forth from cattle yard to field. Really felt grown up, (even though I was only about 11 years old when these pictures were taken) that I was trusted with a rig, to drive it, unload it and not tear the spreader up. At the time these pictures were taken the spreaders being used were all recently converted horse drawn spreaders being pulled by tractors. Being that the spreaders were designed to be pulled by horses, the mechanics of the spreaders could be stressed very heavily during manure hauling season, because of the increased speed capable with a tractor over the speed of horses. Even at the age I was, I was reminded that if I broke the unload mechanism (floor conveyor chain) I got to unload the spreader with a pitch fork. I recall in having that honor only once or twice, with help in pitching it off from my Dad, of course!

Relating to the beater reels and bars [referred to in a previous post], if the baler twine was not always taken out of the hay being fed or out of the straw being used for bedding you would spend time cutting the twine off the beater reels and bars with your jackknife. You might say you could get up close and personal with beater bars—— doing that type of cleanup!

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*The second photo will be posted in Part II.

**Loel’s two uncles referred to here were Conrad and Franklin Majorowicz.

***Emma and Tom Diggs

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

I Stepped in It (Part II)

January 11, 2011

(Continued from Part I.)

Here is the farmer after I asked him for permission, and just before loading composted chicken manure into the spreader. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

And, he was! I stopped to ask him if I could take photos to post on my blog. When doing so, I walked out into the field. Just a few steps.

And, after those just few steps it dawned on me that even though I was just at the edge of the field, I could still be stepping in manure, even if I avoided the big chunks. Oh well. Too late!


A few miles north of Jefferson, Iowa, filling up before the next round (next two photos) in the field. (Click photo to enlarge.)


Composted chicken manure (from the pile in the previous photo) being spread by a Chandler litter spreader. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


Composted chicken manure. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The farmer gave his permission; he also said that the manure in the pile he was spreading was “chicken manure mixed with compost.” Well…that shot my connections from the day before (i.e., the nearby cows, and the sign on the back of the guy’s pickup), but, again, oh well!

I realize this might be a little anticlimactic after Part I. I had so many photos I just had to break it into two parts. Maybe to jazz it up a little we can make believe that instead of me being out and about, it was some other woman. Let’s name her Jezebelle. She’s a photographer for National Geographic. And, she drove into the driveway of the field and went out into the field to talk to the farmer. He offered her a cup of ice water from the cab of his end loader, and they developed a relationship Jezebelle would never forget, only because the manure smell stayed on her mind. Bridges of Madison County-esque!

Now, I must go clean my shoes.

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

I Stepped in It (Part I)

January 10, 2011

My shoes are still in the garage. I had such a heyday (two of them) on Monday and Tuesday of last week, ending with me unwittingly stepping in chicken manure and then getting in the car to drive away (i.e., the car did not smell pretty).

North of Jefferson, Iowa.

Last Monday, on no certain timetable, I drove to Rolfe for an overnight stay. Just north of Jefferson I looked to the west and saw a beautiful picture: a field with straight east/west rows of stubble and a manure spreader* throwing out chunks of manure. By the time I thought to take a picture, I was too far past the rows of the spreader location. By the time I turned around and came back, the spreader was at the opposite corner of the field. It appeared that the operator was taking a break.

I imagine that any farmer (or maybe just anyone, period!) will roll his/her eyes reading this post. Actually, I’m kind of embarrassed to say I did this because it was just so loosey-goosey. However, one thing I’m learning more after leaving full-time teacher-librarian work four years ago and having melanoma (now being almost five years cancer free) is to smell those flowers. So, here’s what I did.

When the tractor stopped at the edge of the field near the manure pile, I pulled off the highway and started to drive up the gravel road. I wanted to ask the farmer if he’d soon resume spreading manure. Just as I got near the field entrance, he pulled out onto the gravel road. Do I stop him? Or, do I just keep driving?

By the time the few seconds passed before we met on the road, I hadn’t developed a game plan. I drove past him and over the hill (so that he wouldn’t think I was stalking him!), planning to turn around. But, there were some cattle just past the hill on the opposite side of the gravel road. Hmmm. Cattle. Manure. I made a connection!

This bovine was over the hill across the gravel road from the spreader/manure pile. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


(Click on photo to enlarge the "bleep" text on this sign.)

So, I stopped and took photos of the cattle. Then I drove back to near the manure pile and saw the farmer’s pickup (which was there the first time I went past.) On the rear window of the pickup was a sign, which, if I had seen it in the Target parking lot, or if Jackson was with me and could read it, I’d think it was highly inappropriate. Somehow, seeing it out in this field, it seemed to fit. I made another connection!!! Boy, I’m really learning now!

This pile is the same field as in the first photo. The windmill was not in this field. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

After taking many photos, I drove the rest of the way to Rolfe, scanning the countryside for another operating tractor/manure spreader. I didn’t see any, but from a distance, took photos of anything that might have been a stationary manure spreader. (When I got home, at closer inspection, I realized that almost all of the maybe-a-manure-spreader photos were of something else.)

Once in Rolfe I ran several errands and did some work at Gunderland, all the while hoping that on my drive back to Perry the next day, the same guy would be out spreading manure north of Jefferson.

Since this is such a cliff-hanger, I’ll post Part II mid-week.

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After I post Part II, I’ll stay out of the manure talk and probably move on to a post about Mother’s watercolors of the Pocahontas grain elevator. Or, something else!

*I later learned it was a Chandler litter spreader.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)