Sixty years ago I farmed with Bricie Walker part of the time in the summer. He share-cropped or rented fields in several places on Stinking Creek. It started because he had several fields of corn down at the mouth of Road Fork. I missed being on the farm and driving tractor back home. So I asked him if he would mind if I did some cultivating corn for him just for the fun of being in the fields again. He was skeptical at first; I guess it was unusual for a girl to be driving a tractor. He gave me a try and I must have passed with flying colors, because he did not hesitate to let me spend days on his Farmall tractor.
In the early sixties all the corn on the Creek had to be cultivated or hoed by hand. We did not have a spray for the weeds then, so it meant driving up and down the rows at least twice before the corn got too tall for the tractor to run over. Most of the time this was late May and through June during the hot times. I begged Bricie to let me do that work as it was the kind of work I had done on my father’s farm in Indiana.
He even let me borrow his tractor to do some of my farm work. So began the farmer’s exchange program very much like back home, where farmers and neighbors often helped each other without counting the hours. I bought a Cub tractor with the heat of the day without worrying about white-eyeing the mule. I must admit that I sometimes got pretty sleepy cultivating row after row on those hot June days.
In spite of our many hours of trying to keep the corn field clean whether by hoeing or tractor work, the cockleburs found a way to make harvesting the corn by hand mighty uncomfortable. In spite of the struggle to keep ahead of those weeds, we were ready the next spring to try all over again. That is a characteristic of a farmer or gardener―to try again and again against many odds.