Little Orphan Annie

Little Orphan Annie

I had a few rabbits and a few sheep and was just starting in the 4H club.   

The phone rang one day and it was Frank S. Aichelman the son of Uncle Frank that I have already talked about. 

Frank had a few sheep and one of the ewes had twins and would not take care of one of the babies.  He asked my mother if  it was OK with her if he could give me the orphaned lamb. 

Mom asked me and of course I was excited for the opportunity.  Frank drove in the yard a few minutes later with this poor scrawny little lamb.  He  explained that she needed to be kept warm and suggested for a few days that she get about 3 ounces of milk per feeding from a nursing bottle. 

Mom still had a bottle or two left from taking care of my brother Bud and so I began to try to feed the lamb with mom’s coaching and help.  I don’t think it took very many days for the lamb to sleep all night and of course she and I became good friends.  I had a dog named Towser and a pigeon I had saved from some sort of problem so if I went to the field to thin my  sugar beets Mom could see where I was.

I  was on my hands and knees thinning beets and wasn’t much good at it.  But she could see the dog or the pigeon or the lamb because they were watching me work.

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The day the bank closed

The day the bank closed.

The main cash crop for the farms around Brighton Colorado was the Sugar Beet.  There were three beet checks and the last one of the year was the last Friday in October.

The Sugar Beet Check was the one the farmer used to settle the accounts with the suppliers who helped him raise the crop.

There were three checks and the first two were usually spent to defray the labor cost to get the beets ready for  the growth period that got the beets grown big enough for harvest.  We planted them as early as the ground was warm enough to have the seeds germinate and they kept on growing until they were finally stopped by frost.

The sugar beet seeds grew in a cluster so that when the beets came up in the spring they needed to be thinned so that the beet could grow separated from others in order for it to reach its optimum size.   If the beets were not thinned, the tonnage for the crop would not pay the expense of growing it.   If the beets were allowed plenty of room and nutrients for growth they could become much larger and of course were more valuable. 

The worker who thinned the beats would use a short handled hoe and work either stooped over, or worked on his hands and knees and removed the beets so that the beets were 8 to 12 inches apart.

When the beets were thinned they were cultivated with either a horse drawn device or a tractor that had knives that cut the weeds that naturally invade any crop.  The second cultivation put a small ditch between the rows of beets so they could be watered with irrigation.  Then they might need to be cultivated another time and maybe had to be gone through with a hoe to remove the weeds. 

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