My grandfather, G.M.C. Massey, took pride in his farming efforts in East Texas as well as his horse trading and teaching.
If I knew that I could make it interesting to you readers I would like to take you with me to a story of How I built up a field once, to the place that it produced three or four times as much as it did the last year before I moved on the place.
Well I think that I am going to tell it anyway now; as I like to think of it, and I have told it so much to anxious listeners, That I believe that some of you readers will enjoy it any way.
I had one 30-acre field that was so poor that My father-in-law told me when I moved there; that I had as well turn that field out to the pasture; for it would not pay a man to work it. That he had been there all the time, and he had, never seen that 30 acres make over 6 bales of cotton or 4 loads of corn. And I took time to tell him just what I aimed to do; And he said that looks good on paper but that it would not work out that way.
Of course I was going to teach that winter for 4 months, and the next summer 2 months, as all the Patrons were Farmers and they all needed their children during the making of the crops, and also in the gathering of the crops, and that give me the opportunity to farm too. So that winter I hired an old man, Wife’s uncle to help me through the year, And as soon as the crops were gathered, I put him to cleaning out the corners of the fence and throwing the dirt and the trash back as far as he could very well fo it and then when all that was done he went to breaking up the whole Field and he broke it up with an old iron Beamed turning plow about 4 inches in depth and he flat done it as well as I had ever seen done; Then when the 20th of March came I was loose to help him, and we layed off the rows 7 feet apart and WE planted it in corn: Then about the 20th of April I planted a row of peas in between the rows of corn and worked it well and when we wanted to lay the corn by in June it was dry and we waited a week so that we might have a rain to lay it by on, But it did not come and we had to do it any way, but not as we would have done if we had had the rain that we waited for but we took 24 inch heel sweeps and run the middles out and planted a row of peas in between the peas that was growing and the corn as I did not believe the corn was going to make anything, and I had a chance if it rained as it always did in September I could surely make a lot of peas; And sure enough it rained a lot in September And the peas wrapped the corn field up.
We picked the peas twice and filled 2 14 foot cribs full of peas and turned my hogs in there and they sure did well. But I only got 3 loads of corn, but the peas would have thrashed out 5 or 6 hundred bushels. But as soon as the stock got the run of the peas, I sowed the whole field in oats, and the next spring after I had pastured the Oats all the winter I took the stock off and let the Pats mature and mowed them and baled them, and put them away I guess about 2000 bales, and then turned around and sowed Peas, and the peas made a wonderful crop and I mowed, and baled them, and got several thousand bales of Pea hay.
Then we broke up the field, and the next year I planted half of it in cotton and half of it in corn, now listen:— in the mean time I had scraped up all the fertilizer that could be gotten at the Horse lot, and the cow lot as well as the wood pile and at the hog lot, I guess about 200 wagon loads, and had scattered it all over the poorest of the land And we made 25 bushels of corn to the acre and we made a bale of cotton to the acre, and we had only been on the place, that was our fourth year. So my father-in-law said you done it But I didn’t think that it could be.
You see what I mean:— Agriculture was a new subject in our schools and, the old people that came up in the past generation had the Idea that you learned from observation, and experience all the in’s and out’s of farming, And the Idea of a book telling us of the best plans and handing us new ideas and opinions was putting it In short words, SO “Somebody with wise ideas trying to tell somebody of experience how to farm” He said to me You cannot apply your book learning to experience and make it Work. It just cannot be done. But after this event in his life and his experience: He was an avowed believer in the experience of others, as he had watched this thing till it had proved itself to him. Many people are not progressing; because they are unlearned But they are willing to take TEACHING if DEMONSTRATED.