Spring was a time of new life and preparation. There were newborn
calves, lambs, pigs, and horses to care for. To prepare the
soil in the
spring, farmers burned the corn stalks left from last year's
crop, spread manure on the fields as fertilizer, and plowed
the soil. Dean Buller said when you plowed with the horses,
you could plow about two and a half or three acres a day. Each
farm usually had no more than 30 acres of corn.
Today, an average
farmer in Nebraska will plant around 150
acres of corn, and the average is even higher in York County.
had 800 farmers in the year 2000, and ag statistical services
around 200,000 acres of corn planted. That puts the average
number of acres
of corn per farm at 250 acres, a huge increase.
Spring was the time that all this corn and
most other crops
was (and still is) planted. Spring is also a time of unpredictable
-- rain, hail, a late snowstorm, strong winds and even a
tornado could make
planting difficult. Hollis Miller remembers
how his family
would prepare to plant:
|"In those days when they got ready to plant in
the spring … they'd cut the cornstalks and then
rake them into a row and set them afire …They had
more fires in those days than they do now. And of course
if they had a fire that got to your farmstead it was
usually final because nobody could get to you fast enough
to help you. So we had to
be awfully, awfully careful … I can remember helping
as a young kid, fight fires in the pastures."
Miller (Quicktime required)
Written by Claudia Reinhardt.