Bill and Emily Brook Family Information

A History of Bill Brook and Emily Coleman Brook


HISTORY from Emily's writings


HISTORY from Michaelson's book


March 18, 1994

After 35 years of dairy farming my wife and I finished our farming career in 1986.  We now live in the town of Ovid, Michigan, population 1400, near where we completed our farming days.  We continue to enjoy Farm and Ranch Living, Country Woman and Country Handicrafts magazines.

Reading the Oct/Nov. 93 Farm and Ranch Living brought to mind some pictures and stories I would like to share with you.

In my high school days, my part in the threshing "ring" was loading the grain bundles on the team drawn wagon in an orderly fashion to make it easier to pitch them into the threshing machine.  In the transition from horses to tractors and combines, my dad bought a stacker buck rake to mount on the front of the John Deere tractor.  This buck rake, as we called it would pick up 4-5 shocks of grain and dump them onto a 1 1/2 ton truck that had a flared basket type rack.   It was my job to "try" to arrange the bundles for easy pitching into the thresher, before another load arrived.  As a team, we could replace 2 or 3 horse and wagon crews.  The upright rails on the buck rake were so high that it often brought down telephone lines as it traveled from farm to farm and field to field.                                   

I never had a chance to get a picture of the truck with its rack, because I was kept busy unloading.

Another part of our operation back then was raising and distilling 100 acres of peppermint on muck land. This land needed to be ditch drained for the mint to grow properly.  My Dad, Uncle and Granddad, who were partners then, devised a way to quickly clean the clogged drainage ditches.  Sticks of dynamite were placed in the center bottom of the ditch just below the water surface and 12 to 18 inches apart.  A blasting cap was then attached to the ends of two wires and a stick of dynamite at one end of a 20 rod string of dynamite.  The cap was detonated by touching the other ends of the two wires to the battery terminals in the truck that was parked 200 feet from the ditch.  One day, they were in a hurry.  A 40 rod string was set and bo-o-m!  A neighbor's house window was broken and five miles away, our high school windows rattled! After getting headaches from handling the dynamite bare-handed, we used rubber gloves and a furnace clinker remover to place the sticks in the ditch bottom.

The two groups of pictures should help explain my memories of the "good old days". (pictures unavailable)


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