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BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl/   As dry as it is here in NCIA, it`s kind of a worrisome reminder of what has happened in the past when the rains shut down for a few years.  A older relative talked about hand corn picking "Threeee roooows"  (Norwegian brogue) seems he was able to straddle one row back in the "dirty 30`s".

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53 Replies
Nebrfarmr
Veteran Advisor

Re: Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

Yup, watched it with the kids.  I was looking at my 4 year old, when that old guy was talking about his little sister, who was about the same size as my little one, was describing her getting sick from the dust, catching the 'fever', and dying right there in the house.  

Probably the most emotional moment of it, for me.

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highyields
Senior Contributor

Re: Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

couple of stories from my great grandparents,  34 or 36 didn't have any crop at all, 34 great grandpa went north about 20 miles and bought some corn stalks so he could feed the milk cow,  in 36 didn't have much neither, one of thos years Gr grandpa went to his sister house/farm 20 miles south east of him and helped picked corn because they happed to get a rain that year.   whats really interesting is that the rain still follows those patterns on dry years.   

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R John
Frequent Contributor

Re: Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

Yes, it was truly troublesome. I farm in far, far WCKS, an area that is about 100 miles north of Boise City, OK, and my father told stories about those days. One of his most memorable sayings was, "Farm like it is not going to rain again." I have been no-tilling for 6 years now and I'm really concerned that if the drought perisists we may not grow enough cover to avoid a situation like the '30s. After the crop failures of the last two years we are in a very fragile condition. I didn't plant winter wheat this fall due to dryness and a fear of losing the ground cover I have. Neighbors that continue to use tillage didn't have a choice of planting or not and they do not have a stand of their wheat and they may be facing a problem this coming spring like that seen in the program. The only fields that show promise are those that were no-till fallowed and they happened to catch a few rains that I didn't get.

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k-289
Esteemed Advisor

Re: Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

Seems a similarities of today's times   - land buying for future generations -  exuberant commoditie prices - and then came the unknown being  ''drought ''  - it will be interesting if history is repeated again --- 

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Jeff_a_Caldwell
Senior Contributor

Re: Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

I loved that show last night. Can't wait to see it again tonight. I grew up out there in No Man's Land (though north of where the show focuses) and used to travel that whole Panhandle region a lot. Been through Boise City many a time. I can recall my granddad telling me about when they'd have to shoot the cattle like they talked about last night. I can hardly fathom the pain that would cause a guy who's poured his life into it. 

 

Pretty amazing stories, though. I'm proud to say I come from the stock that survived that thing. The timing of this all is interesting too -- my dad, who grew up in Oklahoma, gave me a bunch of old family photos the other day, including this one, my great, great grandfather. You can almost hear him saying "quit your back-talkin' unless you want to taste the business end of this cane!"

 

189736_10151330794352386_644543577_n.jpg

 

Anybody else have any family stories from the Dust Bowl days? 

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Jeff_a_Caldwell
Senior Contributor

Re: Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

Hi, R John: Where about is your farm? I lived in Dodge for a few years and grew up in Sheridan County. I probably have driven by your place heading back and forth between the two many times!

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

Yep,   been walking about pretty sober today.  

 

Know the Coen's.  And a couple others in there.  Grew up east of them.

 

As I remember the last dirty spring storm to roll in was 1958 or 9.  after the snow storm of 1957 that ended the 50's drought.  Farming practices did really change things, but not  until the recent history.  And that may not be enough if the wind has a big winter.

 

My uncle was in bed with undulant fever on black sunday in '35.  Called me last night to tell me about it.  He's 86 this next month.  He lost a little sister too.

 

R John & k-289,   

I totally agree that we are really on the edge again and this winter does not feel good.  We had little showers and a mild winter that gave us a mirracle average to poor crop last year.  No wind last winter, but this one----we have already had a couple of hard winds and the temp is running up and down like a dry winter will.  Following two years dryer than those in the 30s, if we get hard dry artic fronts this year things could look rough by spring.

 

Thanks For the post Jeff------I totally agree the film is as good as the "Worst Hard Times" book was.  Very well done.

 

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Jeff_a_Caldwell
Senior Contributor

Re: Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

SW, I dug that book back out again last night while I was watching it. I remember the first time I read it, I almost had to put the dang thing down about half a dozen times because I was getting so depressed just reading about everything those folks went through! But, I finished it. Great read. I remember at one point where one family finally had a decent stand of wheat and it felt like things were going to turn around, then the 'hoppers whittled it down to the nubs. 

 

We were just chatting about this in the office here earlier today: What would you have done if you were there farming and this happened? Would you pull up stakes and head out or try to stay and tough it out? I honestly have to say I don't know if I'm tough enough to endure something like that. I hope none of us ever have to find out!

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Anyone watch Dust Bowl on PBS?

My lungs barely made it through the 50's, when I was a child.  I would have been a casualty.  --------- after being too stubborn to leave.

 

I have a friend who was older and in his teens in the 30's told me a funny story--------------- always an upbeat family, but they had nothing and left sw ks to return later.

He said he was 16 or 17 before he realized his family(with 6 children) was annually following the fruit harvest picking in california and apples in the northwest.  His parents called it vacation and he thought they were spending all that time picking to get spending money.  Camped in a tent out of the back of an old truck every year and they saw yellowstone, grand canyon, columbia river, etc.  Finally were able to come back to this area year round.

 

Well put , the book made the mental depression so vivid-----it was hard to take and yet hard to put down.  A great read.

 

totally agree

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