When I was growing up, mid-October was potato harvesting time. During those years we planted twenty acres of potatoes,sometimes more. We planted them by hand, cultivated them with a one-horse walking cultivator, and spent untold hours hoeing out the weeds the cultivator missed.
Come October and potato harvest time, our country school, along with all the country schools in central Wisconsin closed two weeks for potato vacation. Some vacation. Every chilly vacation day morning we loaded wooden potato crates on our steel-wheeled wagon pulled by Frank and Charlie our trusty draft horses.
We distributed the potato crates every few yards across the field, and Pa and a hired man began digging. Each used a six-tine barn fork and backed their way across the field, each digging two rows while my two brothers and I scrambled to pick the big white potatoes into pails that when full we dumped into the potato boxes.
It was back breaking work, but the smells of new potatoes and freshly turned soil were pleasant ones. And besides that, we earned a handsome one cent a bushel for the potatoes we picked, more than most of the kids in the neighborhood who received no pay whatever for their efforts. I purchased my first .22 rifle with potato picking money.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Everybody has a story to tell.
CHECK THIS OUT: CRANBERRY RED book launch:
Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, Sunday October 24, 1:00 p.m.
Learn all about cranberry growing, county agent work, and what happens when research goes amuck. UW Press is the publisher of this, my fourth novel, in the Ames County series.
October 19, 6:30 p.m. Rhinelander Public Library, Horse Drawn Days
October 23, 6:00 p.m. Oregon Public Library. Living a Country Year.
October 24, 1:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Cranberry Red
October 28, 7:00 p.m. Oconto Falls Library.
October 30, 9-4:00, Writing Workshop, The Clearing.
November 3, 3:15 p.m. Wisconsin Library Association, Wisconsin Dells, Horse Drawn Days, Barns of Wisconsin.
November 5-7, National Farm Toy Show, Dyersville, Iowa. Horse Drawn Days, Barns of Wisconsin and more.
November 13, 9:30 a.m. Sheboygan Falls Library, Horse Drawn Days.