"This is a replica of what Diena [his wife] used when she was a kid. But they would put together plaster lathe like this, and dig them down on the bank of the lateral, or the ditch that's carrying the water to the rows. And then, put this in there, and then fill it up again. And then the water would, of course, run through there into the – down the row, to the other end hopefully. At that time these things rotted too fast. You know, plaster lathe is not very good wood. So, I understand Dad-in-law [John Thieszen] made himself a bucket, a long bucket in which he could dip these things so this could be tarred so they wouldn't rot so fast. That's why this is black. So, then after awhile, after they found that the lateral always cracked and broke and the water got away from them because they dug and filled and then it would dry sometimes you know. They took and they cut a slot in here and put a piece of tin in there so that they could control how much water went through there. And that's how they started distributing the water down the corn rows or the vegetables or whatever they were raising at that time."

Gordon Schmidt – Plaster Lathe Boxes


Other Excerpts from Gordon Schmidt & John Steingard's Interview:

Pearl Harbor
Conscientiouis Objectors
Postwar Fertilizer Use
Building Grain Bins
Miracle of Irrigation
Homemade Drilling Rigs
Leveling the Land
Digging Irrigation Wells by Hand
Water Pollution