Hard Work Never Hurt

Working when I grew up was just something you did. There was no excessive sitting in the house watching TV or listening to the Radio if there were things to do and there was always work to do.

We picked rocks, we picked weeds. I picked a weed called cheat grass out of our fields by the gunny sack full. I hoed weeds in the garden and pulled more weeds affectionately called “Fire Weeds.” For two summers I hoed and pulled weeds on newly planted rows of trees, which totaled 7 miles. These are called “Wind Rows.” I remember calling them many other names.

We butchered pigs, beef, and chickens. We did chores feeding pigs, sheep, cows and calves, ducks, and horses. We ground barley and oats with a feed grinder attached by a long belt to the back of a tractor. This grinding was very dirty work.

As my Dad said,

When we were resting, we fixed fence.
Old fence in North Central Montana

I don’t think anyone fixed this fence in a while..

When it was 40 below the animals still needed to be fed. There were no water heaters at that time so the ice had to broken in whatever water trough or pan so the animals could drink. No I didn’t know anything about wind chill then, only we knew the wind was damn cold.

When it was time to run the tractor I began when I was 6 or 7 and had a terrible time trying to turn the cultivator at the end of the strip. I remember crying big tears cause I couldn’t turn the old Case tractor very well. When harvest came I drove a truck in the harvest field when I was that age and took a loaded grain truck to town which was 16 miles each way when I was 8 years old.

Young Russ Crites learning to drive tractor in Montana

I learned on this tractor

Work was no stranger to me and I don’t think I was abused or hurt by any of this. I grew up fast, but I learned Hard Work didn’t kill me. It is kinda strange looking at 7 and 8 years old kids now and thinking what they would say if I said we are now going to hoe 7 miles of trees.. Probably amount to Child Abuse now…

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