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Date:9/1/2014 6:49:33 AM
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Farm Implements, Part II
From the barn at the homestead I pulled out two planters for my Ruthie to photograph. Both are corn planters. The first is a hand planter. One simply loads the two containers with seeds and then jab the point into the dirt, push the handles together, and one or two corn seeds are planted. There,s even a selector for the container you wish to use. The benefit of this is that the planter does not have to stoop over in order to plant seed. I can imagine that with some practice, an experienced worker could move along rather rapidly. For me personally, even at my present age, I can plant corn by hand probably as fast as that planter. After almost half a century experience of planting seeds, I can drop any size seed into the furrow at the desired intervals without even having to stoop. Of course, for the last 30 some years Eldest Brother David and I have quibbled annually about the proper spacing of seeds. Don't matter which type of seed, of course, it's just that he thinks that I plant them too far apart and I think that he plants them too close together. (Or maybe it's the other way around) Regardless, dear Belle-soeur Susie just shakes her head and covers the seeds with her hoe. Susie, needless to say, does more work than the two of us together. Over 30 years ago, when we were planting the garden, Pa admired how fast his daughter-in-law worked. He said to Susie, "You're a pretty good little hoer!" Only Pa, the portly little French Canuck with his Gallic charm, could get away with that one. Susie knew she was the apple of Pa's eye.

As for the second planter, that is a corn planter designed to be horse drawn. Nowadays, we just put the chain through the hook attachment of David's Farmall and can plant an acre in an hour. (We no longer put in that much corn, but if we ever decide to do it again, it wouldn't be a problem.) The only problem that I can recall is that I needed to shout to David to slow up at the end of each row so I could disengage the planter. Like most other mechanized farm implements designed in the 19th century, the planter is operated by an ingenious belt system powered by the turning of its wheels. You have to wear leather gloves when working behind this planter because just a half-hour of slamming down the metal hand clutch and pulling it up again will tear the skin off the palm of your hand and your fingertips.

I've planted corn behind that mechanized planter for my Pa and for Eldest Brother David for more years than I can recall. Big Brother Tommy has done the same. As the years go on, I can only hope that these venerable devices will still be used at La Ferme Sabloneuse. -- Gary
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