When a farmer is heavy with age, having the ‘hots’ for a large farm gradually leaves him. With the kids raised, and out of the way, (maybe) we should be able to do what we want. For the retiree, every day is a Sunday, but we can work if we care to - thanks to the pleasure of retirment.
If you can’t retire from farming without suffering severe withdrawal pains, you need a fix. The only drugless fix I know of is to fix yourself up with a mini farm, let’s say about eight acres. Be sure it’s located between a couple of wheat fields, so you will have the right scenery to survive retirement.
What’s neat about mini farming, retirement style, is that you can have your cake and eat it too. There is no overworking of yourself, like during the slave days of necessity.
To keep that correct farm feeling goosing through your veins during the slowdown, you will need two mini combines and a tractor, (not that big old thing) Then saw off part of your cultivators, plows, etc. to fit your fun size farm. Keep your old straw baler, but shorten the hitch up a bit. Be sure and grow some certified seed. The extra responsibility will perk up your sagging retired eyes.
Sound silly? The heck it does! That’s exactly what the Howard Stormos are doing on their eight acres. Their mini farm holds a good size chunk of grain land, a modern ranch house, a machine shed, and a mini Knott’s Berry Farm. The Stormo and Son partnership berry farm helps Howard and Bernice fill their retirement hours between grain harvests.
Stormo’s six acres of grain land is about the right size for supplying the best kind of atmosphere to keep any retired farmer hooked on farming under control. To make a big deal out of mini farming, milk it for what it’s worth.
Howard wanted their heavy stand of certified barley harvest to last two days instead of a one day affair. So he and Mike didn’t start up their two six foot, overhauled combines ’til the heat of the day had passed.
To get into that post harvest feeling, Stormo’s acres again came to the rescue. The field had tons of first grade straw that needed baling. It all adds up to a bit of supplement to that Social Security check.
Howard was a former Indian Creek farmer and machinery parts man, so he has the ability of fixing up a lot of things that need fixing.
Stormos also have time left over to help the Doc Thompson family with the lively ‘Washington Lighting Sticks’ enterprise, but that’s another story. One need not lose work skills, unless that person can live without carrying on their past environment.
What’s interesting is that Stormos found room on their teeny dryland farm to start up the locally known raspberry farm. As a young fellow working on a berry ranch, I got hooked on berries of every kind. After a long winter of drought with no fresh berries, I’m in need of a good berry fix. Bernice comes to the rescue by calling us up to let me know the raspberries are ripe. Stormo’s berries carry me safely over the hump ’til fresh peaches are tasty enough to eat.
What intrigues me is, when berry picking time arrives, the Stormos put up about the same size sign advertising berries that Walt Knott used to hang up on his old berry shed.