Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, August 27, 1994, Image 42

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Lancaster Fanning Staff
LANCASTER (Lancaster Co.)
Although Clarence Hamish is
90 years old, he has no intentions
of retiring.
“But now I work about 10 hours
a day instead of 15-18,” he said.
This year, Hamish stopped rais
ing steers but continues to work
most of the 300 acres of ground
that he and his son John own.
“Hard work, fresh air, and
enjoying things to do,” he said
were the reasons he is able to work
hard when the majority of people
his age are no longer able to cope
with life.
Harnish’s wife Esther of 66
years is 91 years of age. She rises at
5:30 a.m. because she has so much
to do.
“A woman’s work is never
done,” she said of the gardening,
flower beds, canning, and freezing
she does.
As she looks out the window at
the apples, blueberry, peach, and
plum trees and bushes, she notices
apples falling from the trees. She
plans to can them that day, not
because the couple needs anymore
Harnlsh and Ms son John review the bookkeeping
records. John said his dad can often calculate figures In his
head before people can push calculator or computer
- \s; s a
Ihh. * X
Clarence and Esther display a photograph of their Stras
burg farm where they began farming In 1929. Several
plaques have been awarded to Harnlsh for producing the
highest yield and quality of corn in the state.
Olds Just
food, but because “I just can’t see
things going to waste,” she said.
The couple married in 1929, at
the beginning of the Great
Depression, and set up housekeep
ing with sparse furnishings.
“We had nothing but good
health and knowing how to work,”
Hamish said. “We learned then
that you can live without things. If
you don’t buy what you can’t pay
for, you’ll never owe anyone,”
Hamish said.
For the first 11 years, in addition
to farming, Hamish also knocked
on Lancaster City doors to peddle
chickens, eggs, and butter that his
wife had churned.
Wheat was considered a basic
crop and the couple farmed at least
30 acres annually. “Wheat was a
big part of our income. We waited
until spring to take it to the mill so
that we could receive a belter
price,” Hamish said as he reflected
on the changes during his lifetime.
“Then, a manure fork was con
sidered a necessity, but today the
manure is pumped into tanks.
“It’s also easy to move feed
from one farm to another —some-
thing we couldn’t do back then,”
H %
> y
Keep Workin
Hamish said.
But Hamish isn’t one to extol
the virtues of “the good old days.”
“I sure do like thechanges,” said
Hamish as he recalled the slow
work of walking alter a plow. “I
like tractors much better and they
do a better job.”
In his growing-up years, he
often helped his dad who did
thrashing for neighbors. The long
hard work of loading hay bales is
only a memory now as cutting and
chopping can be done in one day.
It’s easier work for Mrs. Ham
ish too. She said, “My. we had nine
to 11 men at one table when the
thrashers came.”
She spoke of preparing a big
piece of beef, mashed potatoes,
noodles, bread, lima beans, cab
bage slaw, fruit and pie for the
meal. “When the thrashes came,
we let other things wait,” she said
of the never-ending household
duties when there were no house
hold appliances to ease the manual
One of Hamish’s fondest
memories is of Dutch Bucher, the
first county agent Bucher worked
closely with Hamish to lay out the
farm in S'/> -acre strips of com,
hay, and tomatoes in order to save
the dark loam soil that was easily
washable on his farm. In addition
to the strips. Hamish learned to let
chopped cornstalks stand over the
winter. Bucher also advised him
that his soil did not need as much
fertilizer as considered popular at
the time.
These soil saving efforts
resulted in Hamish receiving rec
ognition for having the highest
yield and quality shelled com in
Pennsylvania in 1954.
Hamish has always been sup-
DOrtivc of higher education. Of the
;ouple’s five children, one is a sur
geon, another a nurse, and another
a school teacher. Hamish, himself,
was a choice scholar who excelled
in math when he was graduated
from West Lampeter Vocational
High School
Hamish’s dad kept a close
watch on his son’s school
“My father was also good at
math. When I did my homework, I
had to explain how I got the answer
and not just show him an answer,”
Hamish said.
Although the school offered ag
courses, Hamish said that his
father gave him the best back
ground for successful fanning.
“For a long time, I had him look
ing over my shoulders,” Hamish
Any disagreements Hamish
might have had with his dad were
never verbalized. He said, “Some
times I might have disagreed in my
thoughts, but he always won out
because my feet were under his
When Hamish was graduated
from high school, his dad pre
sented him with a new Cleveland
“Bull didn’t get it handed to me.
I worked for free for my dad from
the time I was 18 until 21 years
old,” Hamish said.
Hamish’s math expertise pays
off. When he goes for lumber, he
has the price figured out before the
sales clerk punches the numbers on
the computer.
Hamish said, "I have an inclina
tion to toy with a computer. If I
were IS years younger or still had
livestock. I would look into buying
one, but at my age, why bother"?
When it comes to equipment,
Hamish said that he was always
prone to purchase new equipment
if it offered a better way to get
And Working
Ninety-one-year-old Esther Harnlsh packs a lunch for her .
husband, Clarence, 91, to take along on his field work. ;
“A woman’s work is never done,” says Esther. Even at
91-years-of age, she arises at 5:30 In order to work In her
garden and can fruit from the many fruit trees growing on
their land.
Jfome stead
:rops more economically,
rhrough the years - that meant
installing a bam cleaner, purchas
ing a hay baler as soon as World
War II was over, a hay crusher, and
) mixer to mix their own total mix
jd rations in which he saw a big
gain per day on less food.
Hamish said that he faced the
challenge between raising the
lucrative money crop, tobacco, and
remaining true to his conviction
that it was wrong to make money
off a product that he wouldn’t want
his sons to use.
He turned to raising tomatoes
instead of tobacco. They also
raised laying hens, cows, tuikeys,
and steers.
“I never regretted it,” he said. “It
gave me more time to take some
Bible study courses and gathering
eggs is much better than stripping
tobacco,” he said.
Through the years, Hamish said
that the weather often played
havoc on the best laid plans of far
mers. One year, he lost all his
tomato crop. “But we had cows
and chickens so we didn’t hurt too
badly.” Hamish said.
Church work is of prime impor
tance to Hamish, who said that he
puts God first in his life. “1 have a
little talk in the morning with the
Lord to find out what the Lord has
to say,” Hamish said. He also
spends 10 minutes daily on his
exercise bicycle and some time in a
sauna that they installed. He takes
a 15-minute nap, which he said
relaxes him and allows him to
return to work refreshed.
“If I were president, I would
pass a law for everyone to have off
from 12 to 2 p.m., H he said. That
allows time to eat, take a nap, and
Hamish said that he and his wife
have always been concerned about
what they eat They eat lots of fruit
(Turn to Pag* B 3)