By Scott Cernek
One of the first articles I ever wrote for the newspaper was about spring time planting on the farm and riding on the back of the grain drill with our bare feet dangling in the soft fresh dirt. We always tried to plow in the fall so that in the spring we only needed to disc and drag the soil.
So when the ground was worked smooth like a garden my Dad would head out to the field with the M pulling the drill full of oats and alfalfa seed. The oats were the cover crop helping the alfalfa to take root that first season.
We cut the oats in the summer, and then maybe we could harvest a crop of alfalfa early in the fall. Then for the next several years the alfalfa would yield three or four cuttings a summer of fine hay for the dairy cows.
A farmer didn’t want the oats to grow too tall during May and June because then they might lodge when one of those summer thunder storms rolled in making a mess to harvest. I suppose the hybrids are better now, but back in the day if the oats were tall with a good head of grain at the end of the stalk, when a strong wind hit, the oats would fall flat.
When the grain was lying flat in the field, that meant driving very very slowly with the combine trying to pick it up off the ground. It also meant that you would be picking up dirt and possibly a few rocks that could damage the combine.
Anyway, we loved riding on the back of the grain drill. Ours had a wooden platform about 18 inches off the ground that the farmer would stand on to dump the seed into the seed boxes.
It was the perfect height for some young boys to sit on and drag their feet on the ground as it rolled across the field. Dad would make round after round in the field with us sitting on the back and our trusted dog, Lassie, jogging along behind for hours.
Our dog was just a mutt and looked nothing like Lassie from the TV show, but we loved her. She was such a loyal companion. Wherever we went around the farm she never left our side. She had one job, and that was to watch over us.
In fact her desire to be everywhere we were eventually cost her dearly. It happened

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