Horse Farming Days

Johnny Shaw’s two draft horses clip-clopped down the tree-lined driveway, past the white farmhouse, down the county road to the field; the old wagon laden with several years of accumulated chicken manure.  My brother and myself, knew what came next.

The wagon had to be unloaded the way it was loaded.  In other words, Johnny didn’t have a new-fangled spreader, like everyone else.  It was labor intensive, the chicken manure handled twice.

Farming went mechanized, during and after the war.  Johnny Shaw didn’t get the memo–or more likely, was just stubborn, set in his ways.

Our formerly white tee shirts, were now shades of gray.  The smell of ammonia was hard to ignore on that hot, humid, summer day.  Riding to and from the field refreshed with cooling breezes.

I don’t remember how many trips were made back-and-forth.  There was no goofing off this time.  Johnny stood watch nearby, he wanted his money’s worth.  Locusts and crickets chirped their afternoon tunes, when around six in the afternoon, Johnny announced, “that’s the last scoopful, the one we’ve waited for all day.”

It was hard, dirty, smelly work for ninety cents an hour–much less than the prevailing wage.  The big lunch had to be worth something–however.  Cleaning chicken houses, was immediately scratched off our career choice lists.


Take the Day Off…

Thank you.  I will–after mowing and trimming the lawn.  By then, my energy will have been spent.

The job’s done–three hours later.  Dehydrated, on the verge of heat exhaustion.  My fingers are cramping up as I write this.  I’m giving myself the rest of the day off.


Sirius, the Dog-Star

Reigns supreme in the sky

My imagination hidden

Under the porch

Like a hot, tired hound dog

During scorching days of August.

I could go to the beach anytime I wanted?

No, it’s too sandy

There are too many tourists

I could go fishing?

Too many gnats and bugs

Again–it’s too hot.

The car needs washed?

Here I sit–full of excuses

Doing none of these

All or nothing–never satisfied