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Out On The Mudline

Is A Mule With A Haircut Better Looking?

By W. P. Sissell

A Valuable Acquisition

  I probably should have made that title plural for, in this instance, one acquisition made the other possible. Not  many weeks after our move to the farm Grand Dad Will decided he did not like the tractor he had purchased from Mr. Trusty and was going to let it go back. Dad said “whoa” and took up the payments. This was valuable to him because he had been talking to Mr. Beck about putting a sawmill together and was looking for a power source. Grandad’s F-20, although sometimes not powerful enough, would fill that gap.

  Dad knew that once he got a mill together and working he would be able to get plenty of business sawing for the public in addition to the logs he would get from clearing the bottom land he now owned. At present they left the larger trees for poisoning. As the dead limbs fell they were piled around the base of the tree and burned. This sometimes left a number of blackened spires in the middle of the field.

  My brother, Reuel, Jr., showed me an interesting phenomena of those spires. If one stood beside one and looked into moving clouds above, one usually loses his point of reference and the spire seems to be falling on you.

  Dad was exactly right on the lumber business. He had logs hauled from as far as Oakland. His main point was to have all the lumber he needed for the farm operation. Years later that mill was moved to the side of the road on the Nolen place.

Buildings Appear

  Buildings appeared in order of their need. Dad was a very diversified farmer. Every tenant had a corn acreage so that they could feed their livestock (a cow and hogs) and have cornmeal. He got his share of that crop and needed buildings. Although there was a large corncrib in the barn, (used mostly to feed the work stock) he needed more storage. A large double crib flanked the east side of the machinery area. The remainder of the east side was sometimes used to keep special lumber in storage and sometimes as corn storage. Our hammer mill (for grinding the corn for dairy feed) had its own location. Grinding corn was often a Saturday morning job. All this was several years in developing.

  When planting time arrived in the spring all the mules had to have a hair cut. I learned from the several hands how to “roach” a mule. I wonder sometimes if I could still do that. I had to stand on a box to shear most of them.

Guess What?

  Somewhere within that time frame the Kraft Cheese plant opened—a market for  milk from people who lived in the country. I don’t know how many routes they had in the area, although, I do know that those routes extended into Panola County. I’ve written about Dad and Mother’s dairy south of Water Valley. On that Mud Line farm several cows appeared. Most of these were Holstein, recognizable by their black and white coloration. One of these, Topsy, calved shortly after we got her and my parents gave me her calf. I named my calf, Boots (four white stockinged legs). It immediately became my daily job to feed the calves (we kept the calves from the high producers in the herd).

  Later Dad bought a Guernsey bull from Gayosa Farms (orange and white coloration). Later still I was one of the 4-H members who bought registered Jerseys with money loaned by the Mechanics Bank. My cow’s name was Irene and her AJCC registry number (without looking) was 1202822. When I went into the service I had seven cows, and my milk check was more than the largest monthly check I ever received from the Army.

  The Mud Line dairy was never as large as the one on Highway 32. We, until I went into the service, averaged milking some 25 cows year around. For a while our milk went directly to the Kraft Farm north of Grenada to supply Camp McCain. Later it went to Mr. Avent in Oxford.

  Our wish for you is a great week—Nannette and I visited Bob and Mary Samuels in Beebe, Arkansas the first of last week. It was no cooler there than it is here. We went fom Beebe to Mountain View while on the road. Thank you for your encouragements.

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