Rooster Attack by Gerald Herbaugh It concerned one of my younger brothers being attacked by a large Rhode Island red rooster. My brother was playing in the yard between the barn and the house. I was in the barn with Dad doing chores, when we heard loud screaming like someone was being killed. We went to the barn door and saw the rooster on my brothers back pecking him and flogging him with its wings. Before we could do anything, the rooster flew up onto a pump handle on a cistern. He started crowing like he was king of the world. My brother was still down on the ground screaming.
My Dad went to the rack where the milk pails were hung up to keep dogs and cats out of them. There was a .22 rifle hanging there also. My Dad almost always had a gun available where ever he was on the farm. He went to the door, leaned up against the sill and shot the rooster in the head.My brother and I agree it was 60 to 70 yards away across the cow yard, the road, and up the hill that the cistern was on. The rooster fell off and hardly moved. My brother quit screaming when he heard the shot. He got up and went on doing his thing. Dad hung the gun up and we went back to milking.
Old Bird by Gerald Herbaugh
As I have said elsewhere, Dad had a saddle horse available 24/7. Usually, it was an old very well-trained quarter horse named Old Bird. Most of the time she stayed in a stall in the horse side of the barn. When we did the chores night and morning, someone let old bird out to get a drink at the stock tank about 100 yards at the edge of the corral. One night I was messing around and was sitting on Old Bird when my brother Larry let her out to get her drink. She bolted out the door, went around the barn and headed for the tank at a run. When she had enough water, she headed back for the barn at a dead run. Just as she was about to turn the corner around the barn, Larry jumped out waving his arms and yelling. I think she not only stopped but went backwards. Due to inertia, I went flying over her head. The corral was soft from years of dried cow manure, so I was not hurt. I went back to helping with chores while Larry had a good laugh.
Before Electricityby Gerald Herbaugh
Sometime before we got electricity, I was to go up a ladder into the hayloft and pitch hay down to the cows. It was an opening above the ally that went in front of the cows. During the winter we left the best milkers stay in at night. I pitched hay down to put in front of each cow to eat during the night The only light came from a lantern hanging in the area behind the cows. Dad had killed a coyote that been trying to get the sheep. He had skinned it and put the hide in the hayloft to dry. It probably was worth some money. He had left the head on it and my brother had moved it by the opening that went up from the ally and propped the mouth open so that the teeth were showing. When I climbed the ladder into the loft to put hay down for the cows, the first thing I saw was the open jaws a few inches from my face. I came down that ladder fast while Larry was having a good laugh.
Winter Morning by Gerald Herbaugh
Winter Morning My dad would wake my brother and I early in the morning and leave for the outhouse. We were supposed to be dressed and ready to go to the barn when he got back to the house. My older brother liked to sleep if possible so he would tell me to wake him when Dad went by our window on the way back to the house. In the winter, this was easy because it might be about 10 to 20 degrees below zero and his boots made a loud crunching sound in the snow that was always there. I would be nearly dressed, and my brother would leap out of bed and get dressed by the time we needed to be. Of course, we hurried because it was cold enough in the bedroom that there may be a half of a beef laying on the meat paper frozen and waiting to be cut and wrapped by my parents. We had a garden faucet in the kitchen with a 5-gal pail under it to catch the drips and to put potato peelings and other waste in. This was carried to the pigs. Some nights it was so cold that this froze and would not run. Dad had a blow torch that ran on white gas. He would get it running with a blue flame shooting out about 4 inches. This heated the pipe and faucet so that mother would have water to make breakfast. That meant that she was in a below freezing kitchen till the corn cob stove got hot enough to warm the room up. Our idea of being dressed for bitterly cold weather was, in addition to the normal coats, hats and gloves, an extra pair of jeans and a scarf to wrap around our neck and to pull up in front of our faces. Once we made it to the barn, it was time to clean the gutter of all the manure. The manure was pitched into a pile a little way from the door where it froze solid until spring. We would then get a manure spreader, load it with pitchforks, and spread it on the fields. The best milkers were left in the barn in really cold weather. The cows that had been left outside often would have trampled the snow into ice in front of the door so that it was impossible to get it open. When this happened, we climbed into the top door of the double door. One of us would get the axe and start chopping it free while someone else started feeding and milking the cows. It had to be open in time to get the next barn full in to be milked. For years we milked them by hand and carried the milk into the separator room where my dad turned the separator by hand and separated the cream out. This was the cash product. He always ran the separator and carried the cream to the house. He poured it into cream cans to be taken to town once a week to be sold at the creamery. The skim milk was fed to the calves and pigs. My brother and I carried it to the calf pen and bucket fed the calves. They put their heads through an opening in a gate and were given a small pail of milk. We could tell which ones had been fed by the milk on its muzzle. On the way to the pen, some always splashed out on our pant legs and was frozen solid by the time we were done. The pigs slept in a part of the same shed that the calves were housed in. Sometimes we would get in the pig nest with the pigs to get warm. Pigs will not foul their sleeping area like a cow will, so their nest was cleaner, and the pigs were warm and didn't mind.
Government horses by Gerald Herbaugh
This is a story that I got the basics from my dad and the uncle that helped him. My Grandfather had made a deal to sell horses to the army. They were to be green broke. That means they were to be trained a little bit. The governments rule for deciding this was to have two Carrols set up a certain distance apart. I never found out how far this was. My uncle and Dad would herd some horses from a pasture into one of the corrals, they had probably not been in a pen before this. My dad’s job was to catch, put on a saddle and bridle, and “ride” the horse to the other Carroll. If he made it there the horse was sold and sent to wherever the army still had horse
Counting Horses by Gerald Herbaugh
I am not sure where this story came from, but from all the other things I have heard about grandfather, I think the basic idea is true. It seems that grandfather needed to borrow a sum of money to pull off one of his deals. He was going to use a large herd of horses for collateral. He took the banker to a windmill and tank in the middle of nowhere on the ranch. Soon dad drove a group of horses to the tank. They were all thirsty from being chased there. They were milling around the tank with grandpa telling the banker to hurry up and get a count because my uncle was bringing more. He yelled for my dad to get them out of there. Soon my uncle herded up another group of horses. The banker counted them, and my uncle drove them away. They waited and my dad drove up the same horses that he had driven away around some hills, by the time he had chased them around, they were thirsty again and did not stand quietly for the banker to notice they were the same. Dad herded them away and my uncle brought the same ones up that he had before. This went on till the banker had a large enough number to make the loan. I have no Idea how it all worked out.
Corn Picking by Gerald Herbaugh
When I was younger, the corn was picked into an iron wheeled wagon that was about twelve feet long, four feet wide, and two feet deep. The back side had what we called a bang board. It was a side about six feet high. I picked the row next to the wagon and only had to throw the ears of corn over the side. My older brother picked the next two rows out, and my dad picked two rows father from the wagon. They threw their ears against the bang board, and they fell into the wagon box. The wagon was pulled by a team of horses called Susie and Moldy. They were a dull white color with coin sized bluish colored spots all over most of their body. They would move the wagon up the row when my dad would make a clucking sound with his tongue. He would move them up about the length of the wagon so that we could throw the corn into the back part. When we had picked the corn along the wagon to the front, he would cluck at the team again. We would move throughout the field in twelve-foot segments until the wagon was full. My brother and I would try to have the middle of the wagon full enough at the end of the row that some ears would slide off onto the ground. Then we would do our best to tell him that the wagon wouldn't hold much more. If it was at the far end of the field, my dad would get into the wagon, push ears into the ends of the wagon, and tell us that it would hold enough to get to the end towards home. We usually would come to some places what were overgrown with cockleburs. These burs would stick to our pant legs making big balls on our cuffs. We would pick these off on the slow ride home. On Saturday we would pick a load in the morning and one in the afternoon sometimes. On weekdays, we picked small loads after school. Sometimes we saw deer in the pasture next to the cornfield. We almost always saw ring neck pheasants. The field on our property was about one hundred acres. At one corner of the field the rows were short. My dad usually planted this small area to popcorn. We would get a small wagon load. Enough was shoveled into the hay loft to fill a large box there. The box had a hand corn sheller mounted on the side. We would shell popcorn and pour it from bucket to bucket in the wind to remove the chaff. We spent many cold winter evenings popping corn from this box and making popcorn balls. We usually planted two to three hundred acres on rented land. We put extra corn in a temporary crib made of snow fence. If the crop was good, we had a sheller come in and shell the ears leaving a big pile of cobs. The shelled corn was sold for cash. Usually, the corn was hauled in and ground into the milk cow feed right off the wagon. We would grind a mixture of alfalfa hay and whole ear corn with a hammer mill. The hammer mill was driven by the old regular farmal tractor with a long belt. My older brother usually got the tractor and mill lined up so that the belt would work. Sometimes it would run off the pulley and my dad would have to get it lined up. The hammer mill would start up with its high-pitched roar. After my dad had put belt dressing on the belt, checked everything, and given out safety warning, my brother would start shoveling corn ears while I pitched in alfalfa hay. The mill blew the feed into the granary next to the milking area of the barn. My brother was supposed to always push anything that did not slide into the grinder with a small stick. Once just as we were finishing, he pushed the last ears in with his hand. The grinder made a sound that we all knew it should not have made. My dad came over just in time to see my brother Larry’s cotton flannel glove shoot out the spout as cotton pulp. The hammer mill knives had missed his fingers by a fourth of an inch. We got a good lecture about the neighbor who had lost his arm in his hammermill. We were sure careful after that.
Haymaking by Gerald Herbaugh
My older brother Larry tells me that we put up about a hundred acres of alfalfa hay and twenty to thirty acres of prairie hay every year. We did this in partnership with a neighbor Marvin Smith. He had some of the equipment and we had some. Also, it was better to do more at once, so we did a large field together. The equipment involved was several mowers, a rake, several sweeps, and a stacker. I pulled a small, converted horse mower with a four-foot sickle and Marven and Dad had seven-foot sickles. Marven would go first then me with Dad following to make sure I did not have problem. When a large field was cut, we would wait till it had dried out enough to store in a stack without spoiling. We would go in with dump rakes and rake it into rows. The dump rakes were converted horse rakes that had a lever to pull to dump it. The levers had been pulled by the person driving the horses. A rope was tied to it so the tractor driver could pull it. We then would go in with sweeps on the front of the tractor and gather a pile to take to the stacker. The sweeps had wooden teeth about 6 or 8 feet long with metal tips to slide along the ground and slide under the rows of hay. When a pile was on the sweep they were lifted in the front and taken to the overhead stacker. It had teeth like the sweeps. They were on long arms that were on a pivot. The load was pulled up with a tractor or the team of horses. Someone was on top of the stack to move the hay around with a pitchfork to keep it in a good shape as it got taller. When it was as tall as the stacker would make it, the top was rounded to shed water. This hay was fed to the cattle in the winter. Dad would often take the team with a hay wagon to load a load then he could send the team back to the corral gate with no input. He often got off to do something else. Susie and moldy knew where to go and wait. He often used the horses because it was too cold for the tractor to start and it would not come home by itself.
GORDON HOLLOW RAID by Gerald Herbaugh This took place back when every hill hollow, and gully had a name. This took place in Gordon hollow. My friend had come home from Vietnam and did not have a job and lived with his parents. I had tried for several years to get a job with two degrees in college. One of our friends had a farm in Missouri that he let us live in the old house there for watching his cattle. It was called Gordon hollow. The old house that we lived in had two rooms with a big fireplace in one. We had an outhouse Outback, In the room with a fireplace the floor was covered with mattresses we had gotten from an old building. Many of our friends came there on the weekend to drink and crash and not have to worry about driving home and getting stopped by the police. My friend and I rode around in a 47 Chevy panel truck. We usually had a big party there on weekends and many people would come to drink and party and ride the horse that my youngest brother brought up there. The old neighbors were concerned that we were doing something crazy and reported this to the police and so one night they raided the place. My friend and I both had long hair and beards and at this time of the police knew that long hair either caused drugs or drugs caused long hair. The police came with maybe 40 of them in the night and they were going up the wrong hollow, they went up pumpkin hollow instead of Gordon hollow, so they were late, if they had not been late two daughters of one of the police officers was there earlier but they were gone when they came and raided. My brother had ridden off with some girl on the horse and was on a hill above the cabin when it happened, he just watched. My friend and I had put a chain across the door because some prisoner had broken out a few days earlier and we didn't want him coming in without knowledge. The officer ran up and said he had a warrant. He must have gone to class to learn how to do this because it was an old door with individual panels of glass, and he kicked it hard enough to pull the chain hook out of the door sill and not break anything. We had always told everyone not to bring anything like drugs they could bring alcohol but no drugs, so they searched around tore up the furniture, ripped open the back of the couch, turned over everything found no drugs and just suddenly, they filed out and the night was quiet. The game warden was with them, and I think he was supposed to guide them but made a mistake too anyway my friend knew him well and talked to him about the hunting and fishing and then one of the police officers said is this everybody and my friend said Well you had us surrounded don't you know. I think they got a real surprise because they vacuumed the floor and seat of my pickup truck that pulled the horse trailer and maybe the panel truck too. I'm sure one of them was with the DEA and took that vacuum bag back to have it tested for drugs. I'm sure they were very surprised when no peek on the gas chromatograph came back with any drugs in it. Anyway no one was in any trouble with the interesting evening and afterwards it was kind of funny to look back on it because a couple of policemen came up to visit the next weekend and they were upset that they hadn't been invited to help with the raid and talked for a while over the fence. We stayed there for quite a while during the winter to watch his cattle and then too many people complained to him, and he told us we would have to leave, which was OK.
WASH DAY by Gerald Herbaugh When mother did laundry it was with an old Maytag washer that was ran with a gasoline motor. It had a lever that came out about a foot that had a square pad two inches square that she sort of stomped on till it started. It had a long exhaust pipe that could be put far away from the machine to not have fumes by you. Usually, the machine sat on the covered porch that was off the kitchen. Hot water was carried from the kitchen to put in it. It was a ringer washing machine that you put the clothes in the tub, and they banged around in it and then she ran them through the ringer to get the water out. The ringer was two rubber rollers that were held tightly together with a spring. There was a safety lever to use if you got caught in them or too many cloths at once to plug it. The clothes went in a wooden bushel basket to be carried to the clothesline. They were hung up even in very wintry weather. I can remember hearing them crackle on the clothesline from being frozen. I do not know if they froze dry or if it warmed up later in the day to dry them out, but they got dry.
The Blizzard by Gerald Herbaugh
I was about five years old when this Blizzard happened, my older brother Larry was 9. This Blizzard was the famous Nebraska Blizzard of 1949. You can Google it and find many pictures and articles about it. I can remember that we had sleigh rides off the roof with two-story house. The South side of most buildings were covered to the roof. The house had a kitchen and dining area that ran east and West. There was a covered porch that ran on the South side of it. The snowdrifts completely covered it to the roof. It blew back under to the depth of about 3 feet against the door. My dad had brought a scoop shovel into the house and when he opened the door there was a drift there about 3 feet deep. He shoveled a path from the door to the end of the porch where the wind had cleared the snow. According to the articles the wind was 60 miles an hour. In the dining room there was a door that went to the outside with panels. The wind had blown snow through the cracks and made little drifts on the linoleum floor. We just left them for weeks because that corner of the room never got above freezing. The house was heated with a fuel oil heater in the opposite corner of the room. This was a large fuel oil heater that was about five feet high because we stood on chairs and put our blankets over the top to warm them up to go to bed. Dad carried fuel in five gallon pails from the 55 gallon drum that was on the north side of the chicken house by the driveway. Because it was on the north side of the building it had no snow covering it up. There was a large arch that went into the living room and mother covered it with a quilt with nails in the wall to keep the heat in the dining room. There was a cookstove that burned wood or cobs in the kitchen area but it was only ran during the day when we were using it. There was a faucet in the kitchen over a 5-gallon pail that I can remember my dad thawing out in the mornings with a white gas blowtorch. I still have that blow torch somewhere in my barn, it was a very nice brass blowtorch with a pump to pressurize the gas inside. It shot out a stream of gas about the size of a pencil lead, my dad would hold his hand over the end until a pool of gas formed in the reservoir that he would light when it was all burned up, he turned it on and the torch was blowing hot flame. Electricity came to Custer county years before, but my brother Larry and I do not think we had electricity at the time of this storm, this made it a little less hardship on us than people that were dependent on it. The cream separator was run by hand and the house was lit with an Aladdin lamp. A kerosine lantern was used in the barn. I was too small to help with chores much at this time, but I did go out some and saw the chicken house buried to the roof on its South side where the door was. My dad shoveled a trench that looked like a tunnel almost into the door. Chickens were very important to us, and he fed them and carried hot water to them to drink. I don’t remember anything about the pigs, calves, and sheep. They did have a shed to go in and must have made it ok.