I've been without my computer for a few days. Now I'm back at it with more memories to share. Hope this one doesn't make you perspire! It's been a hot summer, hasn't it?
Hot summer days bring back memories of two of the hardest jobs I had to do in my childhood on the farm. One was pulling cockleburs.
In those day, most farmers didn’t spray to get rid of weeds in their corn fields. They pulled them by hand with the help of their children.
That would be an almost impossible job these days with corn planted so thickly in close rows. But back then, corn was “checked” when it was planted so the stalks grew equal distances apart in all directions allowing the farmer to cultivate between the rows.
Dad would awaken us early when he was ready to have us pick cockleburs so we’d be done by noon. We’d dress in jeans, long-sleeved shirts, and sturdy walking shoes.
Dad wore his straw hat. My brother wore a baseball cap. We girls donned our homemade sun bonnets. In those “costumes,” we were ready to withstand heat from overhead, sharp-edged corn leaves at face level, and nasty sand burrs on the ground.
Dad assigned us each a row or two, and the walking began. We kept our eyes cast down, looking for pesky weeds to pull. If we found one too big to pull, Dad chopped it off with a big corn knife which looked something lake a saber.
Up and down the rows we walked until the field was weed-free, and we were sweaty, dusty, and tired.
The other dreaded summer job was shocking oats bundles, and it was even worse than pulling cockleburs!
Instead of walking in at least a little shade provided by tall corn stalks, we had to work out in the blazing July sun. And those oats bundles were heavy!
Usually, my older sister and I worked together. We’d start by setting two bundles against each other. Then we’d pile about six more bundles against them to make a shock. The shocks stood there, the oats kernels safely drying out at the top, until threshing day.
The worst part of shocking was lifting a bundle and finding a snake under it. They were harmless garter snakes, but they scared me anyway.
The only good part about picking cockleburs and shocking was getting the job done so we could go back to the house. Mom usually had ice cold watermelon waiting for us.
Picking cockleburs and shocking - two jobs I’d rather reminisce about than ever do again.