Reinhardt Family History

Memories of Eggs and Chickens

Stories from Neil Reinhardt

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Memories
of Eggs & Chickens

Day Off

We had trudged through the field to school, only to find the door locked. The kids who were already at school were playing outside. While the weather was quite cold, the sun was shining brightly. No one noticed the cold as they played noisily in the school yard. Soon a member of the school board stopped and told us we may as well go home as the teacher was sick and there would be no school that day.

Since there would be no school, and since it was such a nice day, several boys about my age decided to spend the day at our place. They had their syrup pail lunch buckets, and we would make a day of it. Two of the boys had walked about 1-1/2 miles to school from the east, and now they would have to walk 1-1/2 miles west in the path I always took to and from school. Later they would have a very long hike home.

As I was the host it was my job when we got to our farm to point out the things of interest that 13 year old farm boys talk about when they get together. One told of his dad's Fordson tractor and the job he was having getting it started, sometimes cranking and cussing for half an hour before it would start. So the first thing I had to show them was the McCormick-Deering tractor we had. We opened the shed door to reveal where it was stored away for the winter. The radiator had been drained. Before rubber tires, tractors were seldom used in the winter, except for belt power to operate a saw rig. I opened the engine covering to show them the impulse starter on the magneto. This had to be tripped before trying to crank the tractor. Next I opened the priming cocks and squirted a little gas in them, to show the others how it started. I then went to the front of the tractor and grabbed the crank. I could hardly move it, but on the first pull it started. It had to be quickly stopped, because there was no water in the radiator and if my mother heard it, she might come to see what we were doing.

The next stop was the barn. When the door was opened there was a bellow that shook the rafters. The large bull did not like strangers, and he bellowed and pawed the straw to show it.

We had Brown Swiss cattle. The only other herd in the neighborhood was the Brown Swiss herd on the Galloway farm about two miles away. The other boys came from farms where Red and White, or Black and White cattle were kept. Brown Swiss cattle are solid brown in color, and only have a light streak down their backs. I showed everyone a two day old calf. They are very light, almost white colored when born, and do not turn brown until about six or eight months of age.

Next I had to show the horses. I had been telling them about the one we had with a little sore on his neck. As soon as my dad would take the collar from it's peg on the wall, the horse would start to dance and get very nervous. This was because he had a sore on the top of his neck which was painful when the collar touched it.

The sore was not unlike a blister you get on your hands, after using a shovel or hoe, when the hands are not accustomed to hard work.

When I took the collar from it's peg on the wall and walked to his stall, he stood perfectly still. This was a big disappointment to me after telling how wild he would be. I reached over and put my hand on his neck, and then all hell broke loose! He bucked and jumped, and when I tried to get out of the stall, he stepped on my foot. My dad had just had him to the blacksmith shop a week earlier, and he was sharp shod in preparation for the winter and it's ice. The calk went through a brand new pair of shoes that my dad had bought for me while he was in town. I could not get my foot loose from his, but he did not step down again. He held his foot off the ground, until one of my friends helped get my shoe free. When I took my shoe off, expecting the worst, I was surprised to find that the calk went between my toes, so my foot was only bruised. I had to limp to school the next day.

Although I didn't learn anything in school that day, I learned to keep my feet clear where a sharp shod horse could not step on them.