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  • Writer's pictureMelody Lager

Continuation of Lowell Hill's story of a young farmer.

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

the lambs. The highway patrol would stop the traffic on Highway #3 and #69 while

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?

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