by Harry Slocum Tordoff
I watched a farmer at work one day
Gathering hay in the modern way;
Not loosely packed as they used to do,
But, using a method fairly new.
A tractor pulling a Baling Machine
That packed it tight, to the extreme;
Wired it up, then dropped it clear,
To be picked up later by other gear.
Fifty-five pounds was about the weight
Although it would sometimes fluctuate.
I couldn’t help but think of days
When haying was done in more primitive ways.
I remember my Dad sitting high on the seat
Of a horse drawn mower, out in the heat;
Working all day in the glaring sun
To get a small patch of mowing done,
Then, in the process of curing that hay
He’d labor and sweat with a fork all day.
And when, at last, it ripened right,
He’d slave like a beaver from morn till night.
The flat bed wagon was brought into play
And loaded high with forkfulls of hay.
Then it was driven straight back to the barn,
With winter feed from our little farm.
It had to be tossed through a second floor door
And packed in the loft, so’s to leave room for more.
After days on end of sweat and toil
To gather this product of the soil,
The loft was filled with loose packed hay
That would keep the stock going for many a day.
The modern way of gathering hay
That I watched the farmer use that day,
Was really something for me to see,
For it stirred my lagging memory.
It made me think of the days my Dad
Worked like a Trojan for all he had.
It made me compare the modern ways
With those of the farmer of olden days.
And remember my Dad out in the field,
Harvesting the Summer’s yield
A Vanishing Art
by Harry Slocum Tordoff
Sam Drew wiped his sweaty brow, reached for a steel bar and shoved it into the forge. Before exerting the energy necessary to put the blower into action, he took an old corncob pipe from his back overall pocket, filled it with strong black tobacco and laid a live coal from the glowing fire atop the black bowl. He soon had it going to his satisfaction and while contentedly puffing away, began turning the crank of the blower.
Soon, the coals began to throw off sparks and Sam pushed the metal deeper into the fiercely burning bed. After several adjustments and turnings, he removed a bright, yellow hot, bar of steel from the fire, picked up a hammer from the rack behind the anvil and began to shape it into the rough likeness of a horse shoe.
It took several “re-heats” and shapings to bring the finished product to size proportions and shape the “Corks.” Then, Sam dipped it quickly into the cooling tub, removed it and scanned it with an experienced eye, then automatically dropped it into the water filled wooden tub for its final cooling.
His was a vanishing art, plied only by a few diehards during this modern era. Of the few Blacksmiths left, Sam Drew had the distinction of being among the best. His years at the forge had given him a knowledge of the craft that would probably never be equaled in future years.
Modern machinery has replaced the blacksmith shop, but it can never replace the ingenuity and craftsmanship one used to find in “The Old Village Blacksmith Shop.” Whatever it was that any member of a given community might be in need of, if it was made of metal the Old Blacksmith was adept at making it and most of the time while he was busily engaged in his work, his customers were having an enjoyable visit with neighbors of the area.
Yes, today’s modern living does afford us a lot of pleasures, unknown to generations past, but one thing it can never come close to is the atmosphere generated around the “Old Village Blacksmith Shop.” For a few minutes of sheer ecstasy, let your mind wander into the land of nostalgia and spend a while in visitation with a “Sam Drew” of the dim past. I’m sure it will linger in your memory as one of life’s highlights.
by Lee Allen Wheeler
He built him an iron vault
Above the San Andreas fault.
His nickname was The Crazy Yank,
The man who ran the Piggy Bank.
His bank was soon filled to the sky
With money gathered on the sly.
Right through the side door with a slosh
Came dirty money for a wash.
For just a simple ten percent
Your dough was laundered, starched, unbent.
His situation was quite grand,
And pretty as a money band.
But, alas, one sunny day
He had to stop his making hay.
An earthquake rumbled once… then twice,
Then took his bank, but left the mice.
by Ralph A. Fisher
Three cats have I of tiger stripe,
Each with vest of flowing white…
Three cats with busy tongue that softly wipe
From each soiled vest, the dew of night.
by Shirley Stewart
Astronomy is one of the most fascinating hobbies available. Even without expensive equipment, observing the stars can be enjoyable. It’s a simple matter, in the northern hemisphere, to locate Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Both are shaped like dippers. The North Star (Polaris) can be pinpointed by following the handle of Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper) to the end of its handle. The ancients believed many of the constellations resembled animals and named them accordingly. For example: Corvus, the crow; Leo, the lion; Draco, the dragon; and Cletus, the whale.
Star maps of the constellations are available for the novice. The planets, too, are fine subjects for observation. The ancients believed the planet Venus was two stars… Hesperos, the evening star and Phosphoros, the morning star. Mercury also appears this way. The morning appearance was called Apollo and the evening manifestation was Hermes. The planet Mars has a reddish cast. Through a telescope, it appears to have canals, which caused much speculation when Schiaparelli first discovered them. The moon is the final and most interesting subject. During full moon, the mare are visible to the naked eye. A pair of ordinary binoculars makes them clearer, more defined. For anyone who is searching for a new hobby, it’s a rewarding experience to lift your eyes to the stars.
In Cow-Poke Country
by Remelda Gibson
A range is good for anyone
To face the sun
From day to day.
When cattle stray,
At leisured pace to stream or pond,
There is a bond
Between the men
Who ride again
To watch and guard.
The job is lengthy-houred and hard,
Yet, herders find
Great peace of mind
Short Circuit 2
Published by Harry S. and Etna L. Tordoff,
Cranston, R.I. 02920 for the U.A.P.