Dogwood Ramblings

A nice lady from Ava tracked me down and we had a delightful phone visit. She said this column is the first one she reads in the Herald each week and she says we are of the same thought processes, and agreed more Dogwood folk should be getting news to me. She wondered how long I have been doing this column and I told her this week would be the 265th time. That adds up to just over 5 years, quite a surprise for me as I had not considered that previously.

Son, Ron, drove me to see my oncologist last Thursday and we were pleased with good reports. I do some medical tests from home and they have been good. Then, Ron asked me if I had ever seen him bowl. Well, yes, but that was back in 1974 or so. Ron took me to a bowling place and I watched him. He is quite good at it, grinning most of the time from the sheer pleasure he gets.

This cold has been miserable, the misery enhanced with wind. Again, my concern goes for the elderly, wildlife, pets and cattle. Ron has increased hay for the cattle and we are thankful all the calving is behind us. We had a similar weather situation back in ’76 and ’77 or so when school was closed for a few weeks and had some frozen teats on a few cows. When we dairy farmed on the Boeddeker home farm in North Dakota our cattle were kept in the barn, bedded down in stanchions with straw, well fed with silage and alfalfa hay, and brushed nearly daily. Each cow had to have a strap (surcingle) put over its back for those heavy milk machines and then carried to the chill tank and emptied, then back to the next cow. Took a long time to do all that and we had to sit in between cows, not always a safe place! Then we moved to a smaller farm and back to hand milking – hard on the wrists.

The home farm barn had to be cleaned daily and that “product” was loaded onto what we called a stone boat, and then the two horses, Alice and Alice, (named after Willie’s brother Virgil’s girlfriend) pulled the stone boat out onto the fields and with pitchfork it was spread on fields. We didn’t have anything like today’s manure spreaders, all was manual labor, but we survived. I recall one time when the snow was so deep we had to shovel a path from the house to the barn and also had ropes strung the whole way so we wouldn’t get lost in a sometimes whiteout situation. Willie chose Missouri as the place to get back into the dairy business in 1975 and he claimed it would never be like North Dakota. Yeah, right!

I just finished watching The Fiddler on the Roof again. If you’ve not seen it, please try to do so. It is the story of the Jews being kicked out of their homes/farms/businesses in Russia with only a three day notice by the Communists. There are radicals in this world who would like to do this to us, but they are taking lives of men, women and children to meet their unholy goals. Please do pray for all who are suffering at the hands of others, worldwide.

Many of you may recall Doris Witchey, known as Little Bit. She worked in several different cafes in Ava and also at Emerson in their kitchen. She passed away Saturday the 28th.

Many churches cancelled services. One of my sons told me I was NOT going to church. Weather is supposed to improve in a few days. Do be careful out there and stay warm. Again, I remind you to check on the elderly and the sick. Remember, spring will get here…sometime.