Farming requires hard work and dedication as there’s no time clock to punch. Farmers work until the job is finished. Having lived on a farm all my life, it seems important to me to share stories of our local farmers from time to time.
One special farm family comes from the Noble County area. For over a hundred years, the Robinson Farm has been in their family. Today Jerry Robinson lives there and keeps the family working together. He recalls many stories of the farm over the years.
Back in 1909, Perley and Rachel Robinson decided to purchase eighty acres in Noble County for $400. They had been renting a farm and wanted a place of their own. Nothing but brush grew on the land and only enough grass for two cows and two horses.
Three small coal mines were dug into the banks to provide heating for their home and perhaps they sold a little to help with expenses. These small mines even had tracks and coal cars.
This great-grandfather built a sturdy home there of oak 2x4s. That home still stands today and provided a place for the second generation, Ralph’s family, to live.
Ralph and his wife, Bonnie, had six children, four boys and two girls. All four boys, Jerry included, were born at home while the two girls came later in life and were born at Caldwell Hospital. One of the boys was placed in the oven of a wood burner to keep him warm.
When Jerry was four years old, he had an accident while trying to wire something to his wagon. The wire flew into his eye and he’s been blind in his right eye ever since. But that’s no excuse for not working!
From the beginning, the Robinsons chose to raise Hereford cattle, and still do today. They rented 1500 acres of pasture from the coal company, and more from neighbors for pasture and hay.
Jerry still remembers that when he was five years old they had two horses, Doc and Bell, that pulled their farm equipment before their first tractor, which was purchased in 1949. Like most farmers, tractors are special to Jerry and he even has an extensive Ford and New Holland model tractor collection.
He’s lived on this same farm all his life and helped his dad with farm-work in the evenings after school. This never seemed a chore, as it was just something he liked doing.
Being on his tractor and tending his beef cattle give him enjoyment. Night calls to the barn to help bring a new calf into the world are nothing new to him. Over the years, he worked for the highway department, but farming has always been in his blood.
Jerry’s son, Dinty, loves the farm as much as his dad. The grandsons, that fifth generation, are great workers and eager helpers. Most days, someone is working from 6-6, and often later during haying season. They might work until three in the morning if rain is predicted and hay needs to be brought in.
His grandsons play an important role on the farm. Dolan, Colin and Lane spend hours each day practicing their sport, which is riding horses. Dolan got his first horse at the age of six and was in a horse show that same day.
These rare young men would rather be outside riding, hunting, and trapping instead of watching television or playing video games. Whatever they do in the future, these modern cowboys won’t sit behind a desk.
Lane keeps track of all cattle birth dates, and even names each calf. An unusual happening, on the farm recently, involved a heifer that was having trouble delivering her calf. She was taken to OSU by trailer and they performed a C-section there. Mother and calf are doing fine. Lane named this new calf Lucky.
Once in a while Jerry and his wife vacation and as you might imagine, especially enjoy being in the open country. Jerry likes the open space of the west and has been to Alaska, parts of Canada, and Hawaii. This summer, Nova Scotia was their destination for several weeks of summer exploration.
There have been many changes Jerry remembers from those early years on the farm. The equipment is bigger and easier to use. Now the tractor has a cab with heat, AC and even music. Coyotes and bobcats are new to the scene, so newborn calves are kept in the barn for a few days.
Squirrel hunting is the only kind of hunting Jerry likes to do. He doesn’t want to kill something unless it can be eaten. An ideal dinner would be fried squirrel with sweet potatoes and squirrel gravy.
Bush-hogging keeps him busy in the summer months as he likes to have things looking neat at Robinson Farm. Many say, “It’s the cleanest farm in Noble County.”