War Shortage on the Farm

It wasn’t gasoline or tires

 C. D. Peterson     b. 1937

At 8 or 9 years old I tried to take on seed planting, cranking the shoulder-hung spreader, but Pop said, “By and by, when you grow up,” which is what he always said when I nagged him to do things like drive the tractor.  He took great pride in how well planted each field stood.  We put in alfalfa, timothy, clover, and, using a special machine, corn.  That first year with just the two us, we stood out and watched for the pointed green sprouts of corn to push up soon after Memorial Day, but only about half came.

“Tar,” Pop said.  “With the war, I couldn’t buy enough tar, and nobody had much left from last year.  No tar coating and the damn crows got the seed.”

That year, most farmers brought in an extra cutting of alfalfa to make up for the corn, but they couldn’t count on that, so everyone agreed to pool what tar could be found.  They would draw straws to see who got to plant and share corn next season and hoped they wouldn’t need to do it again after that.


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