Lowell tenant farmed across from the Solberg Elevator. Pictured is Pepper and a lamb with Rebecca Hill.
Betty’s Grandfather Tudor decided we needed a dog in order to properly operate
a farm, and delivered an English Shepherd pup, that was given the name of
Pepper. Not only did he become a devoted pet, but also a good dog for handling
sheep, when we started bringing feeder lambs in from the West by rail. The
railroad had laid out the town of Solberg across the road from us, but it had never
grown past one house, a grain elevator, and a railroad siding where we unloaded
Pepper and a few neighbors herded 500 lambs from the rail cars to the farmstead
lot. Western lambs were very particular about clean, fresh food, so I constructed
an automatic feeder system out of old chain link grain elevators. Using a worm
gear from an old windmill, a very large drive pulley, and a large electric motor, I
had a system that fed grain and pellets in from the overhead bin while moving any
old grain out the end and over the fence for the pigs. “Picky” lambs always had a
supply of fresh feed.
Having cattle so close to the railroad resulted in an experience we have
been unable to explain. I was cultivating corn in the forty-acre field south of the
house, when I heard Betty calling me. Without thinking about the fact that I was
much too far away from the house to have heard her, even if there had been no
tractor noise, I headed for the farmstead in high gear. When I arrived I found Betty
desperately trying to get the cows off the railroad track before the four o’clock train
came through. The children were alone in the house and there was no way one
person could herd the cows off the track and back into the lot. We still ponder how
the message came through so clearly to me -- ESP?