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On The Mudline

Time May Change Me, But I Can’t Change Time

This Changing World

In the few months since the US 278 signs have been added to our Mississippi 6 we wonder just how much our traffic flow has increased.  Sometimes it gets into minutes of time it takes us to get into that flow.  What a love affair we Americans have with the automobile.  How long will we be able to afford fuel for them?

Is a change coming?  When we moved from Water Valley to the farm on the Mud Line in 1929 there was no tractor—that first year, only horses and mules.  The next year dad took over the payments on his father’s tractor—a 1929 Farmall 10-20 and I’ve been told that it was the first that Mr. Trusty sold—(grand-dad liked new things but not that tractor, he liked his horses better). The disc that came with it was really a pulverizing disc and it soon had hooks added to hold a log for weight.  All the stables were occupied by mules or horses.  They were the primary source of power and they didn’t use gasoline, tractor fuel or diesel fuel.  

A pair of young Missouri mules was the last addition made to the herd.  These young mules were the largest in the herd, gentle and easy to work.  

A Tractor to Replace the Mule?

In the meantime the number of tractors was increasing.  People were still thinking in terms of mule power I guess for the first addition was a Farmall F12. The twelve stood for the size of the motor and this tractor carried a two row cultivator and pulled a two bottom plow.  The next addition was the one my dad bought especially for me, an H John Deere.  This tractor was John Deere’s competitive tractor with International—if you look in the records you will find that its rated horse power was 13, yes, everyone’s still thinking about the power of the horse. In the second or third overhaul of that F 12’s engine it got new, larger sleeves—and guess what—it now could be called an F 14—it really pulled that two 14 inch bottom plow better.  

Tractors Now Provide the Power

By the time I got back from the service a part of the farm had been sold.  An H Farmall had replaced the 10-20 and a C Farmall replaced the H John Deere when it accidentally burned.  With the exception of several,  the work stock all had been sold individually  so that we were fairly sure that they were not used for zoo food.  

When I finished College and moved to the farm in the Delta mules were almost a thing of the past.  I took that pair of young Missouri mules, I thought, now about eight years old, to the delta primarily for running “water furrows.” I inserted that “I thought” previously because when I noticed that the people were not riding Sam I chided them because I knew that both Bob and Sam rode.  When I grabbed Sam’s hame he very unpolitely threw me before I ever got on him.  Emit Morgan was hollering to me,  “no sir, that’s not Sam!”.  It seems that Sam got hurt when he and his mate ran away with a load of silage sorghum.  The broken tongue almost severed a hind leg. This Sam was his replacement. That pair and another that dad had at the Taylor  place were gone a couple of years later.

Machines Love Fuel

Without wondering I think that most of us know that our fuel hungry machines will not operate without fuel.  How will my and your great grandchildren get their machines to operate?

The Delta Farm Press, June 1, 2007 Issue, has several interesting articles.  One headline  states  “Farm bill may support switchgrass”—what is switchgrass?  Another   reads, Energy farm could power Ag’s future—I know about a cotton farm, a corn farm and a bean farm but an energy farm.  The article continues to state that so—called energy farms could be the wave of the future.  Then the reading gets exciting to me.  Remember what I wrote above about Sam getting hurt—ran away with a load of  silage sorghum.  Last week I wrote that most of the families on our farm had a sorghum patch most  years—to give you an inkling about what this article is suggesting—suppose that all that cotton land was planted to sorghum.

When you read this I will be in Jackson attending the Methodist Conference.  You will not be able to reach me at the usual addresses but do not fear, I have not gone crazy.  

We spent the afternoon visiting with a special guest, Winfred McCain whom I knew when we were small boys.  Winfred, who lives in Seattle, Washington, was in town for a class reunion and came over for a visit.  It was a very enjoyable visit.  

Do have a great week.

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