We wrote earlier this week about how you could make use of your time since harvest was over early for most folks. The premise was there were better things you could do than till the soil this fall, especially when it is wet.
What did your grandfather's 'to-do' list look like if he finished harvest early and the weather was still good? It's almost an oxymoron, because in the "good old days," they rarely started corn harvest before mid-October, and thought it was great to be done by Thanksgiving. Many times it wasn't done then.
We'll ignore reality and dream anyway. We used a 1952 edition of Prairie Farmer to help us refresh our memory on what his list might look like.
1. Invent a corn rake! Huh? Yes, that's what the Puzey brothers did in the early 1950s in Vermilion County, Ill., near the Indiana border. The corn rake moved corn from the corn crib to the corn sheller when it was time to shell corn from the crib.
2. Talk to seed salesmen. Hardly anyone thought about ordering corn until harvest was over. That meant a lot of chats around the dining room table about corn in December in many years.
3. Check the wiring in the old farmhouse. Ohio State University reported in 1952 that fires in the home were the second-leading cause of all fatalities in the farm home. It took them five years to figure out that one. Falls were the leading cause.
4. Order more picket fence. No, not to keep the snow off the road. It was a bumper crop, and you will need more to make more picket corn cribs for ear corn in the future. In 1952, Barney Welter, Will County, Ill., spent $190 for picket fence and a tarp to hold 1,600 bushels of corn. He thought it was a cheap investment. I thought it was an OK way to store corn too on the farm in the late '60s growing up, until the picket let loose one day and 800 bushels went all over the ground. Where were the Puzey brothers with their corn rake?
5. Ask Harry Ferguson about a new corn picker. That's right, the Harry Ferguson. That's what the ad said. Actually, it said to talk to one of his dealers. Ads hawked the two-row mounted and one-row pull type Ferguson-Belle City corn picker in 1952. To be honest, I never heard of it until now.
6. Clean out the cattle barn before winter. That'd be instead of the alternative – letting it get so deep. John Deere would have sold your granddad a model 30 or model 40 hydraulic loader in 1952 to make the job easier. Or he could have bought a model 50 for the new John Deere 50 and 60 tractors. But it was still a trip bucket!
7. Plan future lubrication needs. That's what Mobil was pitching in August, 1953. They wanted grandpa to plan for his fuel and oil needs for 1953, and make an early order.
8. Spend more time at church. That's good for today, too. Ten churches received $25 each from Indiana Farm Bureau in 1952, and the awards were given out at a rural leadership meeting at Purdue University.
9. Tell the wife to go get some Gold Medal Flour. He just saw an ad featuring a Golden Date Cake, and man, it looked good!
10. Make sure the old gas furnace has another year left in it. If it doesn't, he could have bought a Siegler Two-in-One Heatmaker and had a "Tropical Floor Furnace" right there in the living room!