I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
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Farm bureaus 100th may produce some
By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................March 13, 2012
Because we have tickets to the 100th anniversary celebration
for the DeKalb County Farm Bureau on March 24, I need to brush
up on my agricultural knowledge.
Wanting to collect some local lingo familiar to farmers 50 or
100 years ago, I searched for terminology known to only Corn
Belt natives of the soil.
For example, you would know I was from the Waterman area in the
late 1940s if I said, My dad works for The Ag, and we
head up the Narrow Cement to shop at A&P and Monkey Wards.
For unknowing readers, that means my father worked at the DeKalb
Agricultural Association plant in Waterman, and we used Waterman
DeKalb County Farm Bureau president Paul Rasmussen stands
in front of a grain bin and machine shed on the home place
on Story Road northeast of Sycamore where he grew up. (Barry
the first one-lane wide concrete road in the county to
go to the supermarket known as A&P and the Montgomery Ward
Also, if you have been here most of your life, you talked about
the four lane, which was the stretch of Route 23
between DeKalb and Sycamore.
I can recall the verbal commands used by Doc Corson and his hired
man, Alfred Johnson, who used to let me ride on their hay rack
when they still used draft horses to farm on Baseline Road. When
shouting Gee, the horses were supposed to turn right;
when you said Haw, they would go to the left. Try
programming that into to your John Deeres GPS nowadays
and see where it gets you.
If you farmed the home place, that meant your father
owned that same piece of land, and you were likely born there.
I was reminded of this last week when I visited Farm Bureau President
Paul Rasmussen on the family farm on Story Road northeast of
Sycamore. He also offered this old saying: If it rains
on Easter, it will surely rain the next seven Sundays.
You know someone is from the Midwest when they say supper
is the evening meal, you gotta make hay while the sun shines
and a good fence is horse high, bull strong and hog tight.
I saw Jeff Marshalls dad, Joe, at the bank the other day,
and he explained hows your ears? means how
is the corn maturing. We also talked about fodder meaning silage,
and I said it also reminded me of the little ditty Hello
muddah, hello faddah; here I am at Camp Granada
Now to strike up a conversation at the March 24 celebration event,
I may resort to Al Goldens recent guessing game for the
DeKalb Kiwanis. He had everyone write down what they thought
were the exact yields per acre in the county of corn and soybeans
this past season. The winners were Clark Neher, who guessed 184
just a hair off the USDA official total of 183.9 bushels
of corn per acre and Jim Morel who picked 59.6 for soybeans
very close to the actual 59.8 bushels per acre.
But if a politician gets up to give a speech at the banquet,
I can only hope a farmer in the back of the room shouts, Cow
died, dont need your bull.
I found an interesting book written by Dr. Grandon Tolstedt,
now a resident of Wesley Willows in Rockford, who lived in the
Dakotas most of his life. His Rural Encyclopedia
is meant to preserve memories of his childhood in farm country.
Using his book, I verified some of the terms used here. Thanks
for sharing it with me, Grandon.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
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PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115