Nature is our friend. The sun ripens. The rain waters. All in its season.
Nature is our enemy. Drought. We don’t expect summer rain here in this valley. But when the winter is dry, so go our wells. Rain out of season, when a summer storm can ruin the apricots and raisins out to dry. Hail knocking the bloom off the trees in spring. Frost on the oranges or peach blossoms. I’ve heard it said the farmer is never satisfied. Not true. We work a whole year for one paycheck. We get anxious when we have worked ten months without pay and the crop is ruined.
The packing house. We are dependent on the packing business to get our fruit to market. We know they must make a living and pay their workers. But here it is 1956. It costs so much more to farm today than it did back in 1938. In ’38 I got five dollars a box for my plums. Yesterday the packing house offered me five dollars a box for my plums. They drive new cars. I can’t even buy mama a new dress this year.
Culls. A little mark made by hail or a twig and the peach is worth nothing. City folk want their peaches looking perfect. They won’t buy a peach with a mark on it. So the packing house won’t buy a peach with a mark on it. They throw them away or feed them to pigs. Someitmes the cull is only ripe. Can’t send a ripe peach across the country or it will rot on the way. That ripe peach really tastes good. The city folk have never tasted ripe peach. The hogs eat better than them folk.
Drove by the old Jones place today. He’s pulled out his peaches. Them trees weren’t all that old, had several years life left in them. Said the price was too low for too long. Going to plant grapes. At least you can make raisins or wine if the table grape price is low. It will only take a couple years to make a profit. Maybe.
All said God’s nature is meant to be good for His people. Hard not to think one is not sinning when nature goes wrong. Is it me or my neighbor? The weather hits us all bout the same way.
Only $5 bucks a box for the plums this year. Got $5 a box twenty years ago. How can we live on this? Cost more to water them than we got paid for them. Packing house guys bought new cars.
Was up all night again with the oranges. Cut some open and there’s ice inside. Won’t sell now for anything but juice. Maybe not that if the packing house doesn’t send pickers right away. Another year without a crop. Can’t afford a wind machine so have to get by with running water by the trees. Old Johnson hot him some tires and burned them in his oranges last night. Smoke came over this way. Think I’ll pull out the oranges and plant almonds.
Smitty tore out his peaches. Price too low. Says he’s putting in walnuts. Crazy. Will take five years afor theres a crop of nuts. Old George sold his forty for subdivision. Had a good well. Good dirt. Pitiful to cover with houses and orads. Suppose if I sold I’d move to town.
Can’t farm the west side. All alkali soild. Look at it -0 all covered in white like Minnesota snow.
Bought the twenty south of Pa. nice young vines. Sunflowers. Dirt is always good if theres sunflowers.
Been looking at tractors. Pa wants to sell the home place. Move to town. Says he’s getting too old to care for the team and he’ll give me the horses. Rather get me a tractor.
Have to sell a few acres to pay the bills. Henson wants the west twenty. Not paying all that much but enough to live on awhile.
Another year without much rain. Remember five year back when there was so much rain the river bridge washed out. Clarence couldn’t get off his island for a month. Had to row over and walk to Burton’s store for provisions.
Water level dropping. If there ain’t rain this winter will have to lower the well in the vines. Don’t know yet. may need a new house well. When the house was build there was a hand pump in the kitchen sink. Talk about inside plumbing.
Pete had cotton here few years back. Cotton tall as your shoulders. Had to let it fallow now some three years. Says he can’t afford to lower the well.
Ma and her folks came from Denmark because the oldest son got the farm. Pa came because he didn’t want to get conscripted to fight Germany. He was lucky he didn’t get drafted WW1 to fight the same enemy. I was a year too young for the draft.
Had to get a job at Sunmaid. Never had a weekly paycheck before. Do piece work now & then but rather nice to have money every week. Hard to get all the farm work done during daylight.
I came to Minnesota at age three from Denmark and homesteaded in the north when we got married. Then Pa & Ma moved to California and some of us kids followed. In Minnesota we had cows and milk and hay. Here is warmer and can grow lot of crops. Here is warmer but harder to farm.
Drove out east of town Sunday to visit. New houses being built at the edge of town. Recall used to be vineyards the last time I was there. Those city folk ain’t gonna like the dust when we need to disc. Should never put a town top of good farmland.
Ma & Pa never spoke of the old country or family there. We didn’t know English.it was my job to go to school and learn it and teach them. Pa caught on quick and seldom spoke Dane after that. It was hard for Ma. She didn’t talk all that much around us. Figure she talked Dane to Pa. Thyggesen’s visited Denmark last year. Pa doesn’t want to go back.
People say farmers are always complaining about the weather. We are dependent on the weather, prisoners of weather. Too much or too little weather means less money. We work all year, put lots of money into necessities of life and farm, and get one paycheck a year. Who else would do this job.
I got no sympathy for the big farms. They’re just another big business owned by some investor with no love of the soil who lives in town and pays someone to do the dirty work.
There was much more, of course, but am compliling these comments and old photos to publish later this year. Donnalee