It’s amazing to realise after all these years what a very small cog we are in this world of ours. It’s only this last few years that we have had a computer and the World Wide Web, with all the information that it contains, and how you can speak to the other side of the world speaking face to face on the screen.
Kids brought up with all the technology have no problem getting the yeds round it, but as an oldun, it takes some time for it to all sink in. Take re-setting the digital clocks about the house, including the one in the car and on the weather station and such like, all have a different sequence of pushing buttons and flashing numbers to be re-set with an OK button of one sort or another. Doing the job every day it would be okay, but only twice a year ya forget the sequence of buttons to press.
Back seventy odd years ago there was the wireless, and I mean wireless, although it did have a an aerial wire draped around the house to the shed down the garden, it was powered by a battery, a glass accumulator with two terminals on top and two loops with a short cord for carrying it when it had to be taken down the local filling station/ garage, to be re-charged. When the commentary of a big boxing match was to be broadcast, there would be a mad rush of everyone who needed the accumulator to be re-charged in readiness for that night. Then it progressed to a mains radio with its three buttons on the front and a dome speaker all built into a cabinet almost as big as a refrigerator.
Then in the early 1950’s we had our first television, in black and white, with its screen rolling up and blinking until father got it tuned in properly, there was only the BBC to watch and that had a test card on in between the odd program they put on in about three periods of the day, one of which was a kids program at tea time, and the others were mainly news programs.
The early telephones were wired via telephone poles and strung across into the houses that needed a phone, the school the shop, the estate and most of the farms, the rest of the village folk had a public telephone kiosk. Some phone lines were party lines that were shared with another house in the village, they had the same number, and had to listen to the pattern of ring tone to know if it was intended for them, if the other person was nosey, they could pick up and listen in to your conversation. Back then they were all just a two digit numbers and you could call anyone in the village without an operator that was marvellous, to ring outside the village you had to ring the operator who would plug you into the number you required, and further afield you may go through a number of operators into the region you required. As more folk wanted a telephone so the numbers were up graded to three digits, then as the exchanges became automated we were six digit numbers, and on again to the familiar ten digit numbers only to be eclipsed by the up and coming mobile phones of which were the size of a house brick.
I saw the first sugar beet harvesters come in, the first combines, the first round the cowshed milk pipe lines into churns in the dairy then eventually into bulk milk tanks, first bulk milk collections, the first cow cubicles invented 1960, and first milking parlours. On tractors, the first with a cabs, just enough to shelter you from the weather, the first Land Rovers were immediately preceded by the American army Jeep, the Land Rovers were demonstrated ploughing harrowing sowing and with a power take off drive, sawing wood on a saw bench. Not many machines were PTO driven back then. I saw the first drum/disc mowers that rapidly took over from the finger bar mowers, the Ferguson tractors were first with the hydraulic ploughs and implements to go with it, then all makes of tractor followed that same idea.
Father was well up to date when he was the first in the local area to have a milking machine, three unit buckets and a spare to change to when one was full, this was 1938. He had broken his arm, so he was a one handed milker, and the local farm merchant’s sales man came calling wanting someone in their area to buy a milking machine, to get the ball rolling, and that was what he did. They installed it and fitted an airline right through the cowsheds, and stayed for the first few milking’s to ensure it all worked at the right vacuum pressure, and soon got others around the local area to purchase one.
We were always brought up to be self-sufficient, in our farming, our repairs and improvements, in our replacement for the milking herd, in hay for the work horses and cows, though when tractors came along he had to buy the fuel. He always commented that when the tractors were resting in the shed, they were not burning/eating fuel like the horses always did, but then again the horses did not use fuel when they were working.
It was drilled into us that you cannot farm without common sense, look at thing how they are, not how you would like them to be, work with the weather it no use going against it and it impossible to get a good seed be when the ground is sad and cold and end up as it dries with large clods of soil that when they dry out are as solid as bricks
Educations What You Want
Educations what you want, or that is what I’m told,
Get on in life and see the world, seek your pot of gold.
More to life than toil and sweat, let others soil their hands,
Let education guide the way, nine till five, five days a week demand.
Over the years most folk done this, for better jobs they travelled,
Men they left the land in droves, off into town they pedalled.
With better money they bought a car, get about much quicker,
Then travelled even further afield, became the city slicker.
|This was taken of the cows and calves down the lane looking through the lower branches of a chestnut tree|
So, no I did not leave the land and did not become a city slicker, I followed the family’s tradition of farming, and who knows where the next fifty years will take us with the ones who now have custardy of the land. Twenty cows were the norm in the 1930’s when father started farming and when he retired 1975 it was sixty, then for my generation in the 1990’s a hundred cows was a very large herd.
Now I have just retired 2014 three farms in the village have been amalgamated to form a new herd in two units of three hundred and fifty cows and four hundred and fifty cows all out wintered and all dry over Christmas to calve in February, also rearing all their own replacements.
Almost would have been un-believable just a year or so ago, the same goes with the technology and gadgets such as sat nav’s on tractors that monitor seed and fertilizer according to the strength of the land to obtain the optimum yields.
I am way out of my depth and rapidly becoming out of date, it’s a younger mon’s job (below 60) and it still only works properly with common sense, and the most common sense thing fa me to have done is to retire, should have done it five years ago. While the mind and body are both willing and you are happy to carry on. So now it has happened and I feel happy to sit back and just watch how the modern younger farmers cope, and look closely for how much common sense they use.
One pound of learning requires ten pounds of common sense to apply it.
A handful of common sense is worth a bushel of learning.