One of the popular tasks that had to be performed by the boys was working at the farm. Not only did it give us a degree of freedom from work around our cottages, but it gave us insight into animal husbandry, cultivating and growing crops and the "birds and the bees" as we saw the animals breed and then care for their young. We learned about the cycle of life as we saw the Shelbyville Reduction Factory come and haul away the carcasses of some of our beloved animals.
We milked the registered Holstein cows daily. Sometimes we milked them by hand when the automated milkers were not working properly. We took the cans of milk to the kitchen walk-in coolers where it was later served to the residents. We mixed cow manure with straw that was later spread from a manure wagon to fertilize the fields.
We picked vegtables from our truck farm. Sometimes an errant, thrown tomato would start a tomato war that was soon ended by the farmers. We used corn knives to cut corn, stalks and all, that were loaded onto wagons and taken to the silo where it was stored to feed the animals. We put up hay in the loft of the barn for the animals.
We hitched up the horses early each morning and ran a trash and garbage route stopping at each of the buildings. The garbage was fed to the hogs. They ate as well as we did. In later years the use of horses gave way to tractors. Doc and Barney were the last horses to survive this transition.
We wrestled with the young bulls until they got too strong and large. Were were never sure of the time when they could best us until it was too late....ouch. Walter "Iggy" Bankhart earned the nickname Piggy, later shortened to Iggy, when he raised a fair prize hog for IMH.
In general we grew up to become strong, husky youths. All of us felt a debt of gratitude to the farmers who oversaw us and passed along their lessons of patience, safety and guidance.