CGP Community Stories

Everett Yerdon, November 7th, 2018

Title

Everett Yerdon, November 7th, 2018

Subject

Family Farming
Roseboom, NY
Family
Hunting
Weather
Farming Equipment
Farm Service Agency
Insurance
Farming Programs
Elk
New York
Politics

Description

Everett Yerdon is a second-generation farmer from Roseboom, NY. His family has owned the satellite farm since 1952. The Yerdons also owned a larger farm in Middlefield, which was sold off after Everett’s father passed. Everett grew up in the Roseboom area, living on the satellite farm for most of his life. After raising his own family on the property, and hosting family events over the years, Everett is full of fond memories of his loved ones, farm, and community that he shared with joy and laughter.

Recounting growing up on the farm, he tells stories of childhood memories such as working on the barn at age seven. Expressing happiness with the active, outdoor lifestyle he experienced as a kid, he reflects on the fact that his children grew up on the same farm with the same ideals. Everett says that his family still enjoys coming home and he sees it as a sign of a good family dynamic.

Everett talks about his community of Roseboom and the changes he has witnessed over the years, expressing approval of the community and its respectful nature. He approves of the people in charge but shares his perspective of the struggles of a small upstate community, such as road maintenance and lack of town employees.

When asked about financial concerns, he discusses the struggles that many farmers are facing today. Changes to farming programs, insurance, agricultural markets, and machinery have led to farmers often being overworked and underpaid. At the same time, he appreciates some of the changes to farming over the years, such as better insurance policies and machinery to deal with harsh New York winters.

Everett recalls two extreme winters that prevented him from working, as snow blocked he and his family in for multiple days as they had to wait for the plows to dig them out. The challenging conditions would not stop him from taking care of his animals though. He and his son made it to the barn via snowmobile or snowshoes.

These conditions led to some accidents, as every farmer experiences from time to time, such as cars stuck in snow, milk trucks tipping over, or even a slip of the blade and a trip to the emergency room. But even with the hardships and the accidents, Everett Yerdon expresses his love of farming and the life he has led on the farm.

Creator

Alex Lien

Publisher

Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York-College at Oneonta

Date

2018-11-07

Rights

Cooperstown Graduate Association, Cooperstown, NY

Format

audio/mpeg
image/jpeg

Language

en-US

Type

Sound
Image

Coverage

Upstate New York
Roseboom, NY
1945-2018

Interviewer

Alex Lien

Interviewee

Everett Yerdon

Location

179 Ziefle Road
Roseboom, NY

Transcription

Cooperstown Graduate Program
Oral History Project Fall 2018

AL = Alex Lien
EY = Everett Yerdon

[START OF TRACK 1, 0:00]

AL:
This is November 7, 2018, interview of Everett Yerdon by Alex Lien for the Cooperstown Graduate Program Research and Field-work course recorded at Everett’s family farm. I'd like to start by thanking you for taking the time to let me interview you. First question is why did your family settle in Roseboom?
EY:
The family settled in Middlefield mostly and this was a satellite farm that we had when we had the dairy farm in Middlefield Center. So we acquired the farm in [19]52. My father did and we used it to raise heifers and crops. When we got married, the house was fixed up a little bit and we moved in in [19]66 with the intention to swap houses with my father when he retired and he never lived to retire, so we're still here. We worked out of this place to run the main farm up in Middlefield center. We've been here 52 years now and it's been a nice place to be and the people around us have been real nice. So we've stayed right here and have no intention of going anywhere else.
AL:
Alright, then in your eyes how has Roseboom changed over the years?
EY:
Roseboom has gotten better over the years. I don't know if it's the increase in incomes in the area. People have come in and the offspring of the people that are here have done a lot better. The buildings and houses are in better shape. A lot of new houses. We've had a lot of people from downstate move up and build new houses and [it’s] just a good area.
AL:
So then would you say that you really enjoy the community in the area and do you interact with other people in Roseboom often?
EY:
I’ve been pretty busy so I haven't done a lot of interacting with anybody, but when I do, I’m well respected and I respect the people that are here I was the chairman of the church over here for 10 years, before they closed it. The attendance got so low that they closed it and merged with the one in Roseboom.
[Track 1, 02:37]
AL:
So how do you feel about the financial situation of upstate farmers like yourself.
EY:
Upstate farmers, or all the state’s farmers, are having an awful time. The prices of the products they sell are terrible. It’s the only industry where you buy all retail and sell wholesale. They told us a long time ago that a dairy cow was only 25 percent efficient for what you feed it to what you get back out. We should have quit doing that a long time ago. No, the prices are suppressed so we sold our dairy in [19]96. And we were getting pretty much the same money for milk as they are now. It's up a little bit now. At the time we did a whole herd in-farm inventory. They'd came out with a big book and you had to put down all your expenses and all your income. Got to the last page, your cost of production for a hundred pounds of milk, and it was thirteen dollars a hundred, what mine was. So I called the milk plant and my milk check came the same time and that was thirteen dollars a hundred. I called the milk plant and said “Is there going to be an increase in price of milk?” And he said “he didn't see it in the future.” I called Cornell and asked them to tell me what the average cost of production for 100 pounds of milk in New York State was. The guy says “Well that's simple, it's thirteen dollars a hundred.” So we were making milk for nothing. The extra crops we had or animals was what we were making a living on.

I decided that we should eliminate the dairy farm about that time. My brothers were getting older I was in business with my brothers and they were getting older and a couple younger ones had already left the farm. So we made the decision [and] we sold out. We kept this satellite farm. I actually had to buy it from my brothers and we just stayed here and it worked out. We rented land out for I think four or five years and we decided that maybe we could do something with it ourselves. We started looking around at different animals and whatever. One guy says “Have deer.” And I said well I didn't like the little deer; there’s too many state regulations with deer. Another guy said, “Well, stay away from Buffalo they'll kill you.” And I know a couple places where that has happened. Another guy says, “Do elk.” I said, “Really, they do elk?” “Yeah.” He gave us the name of a few farms that did elk and we went out and visited those in Vermont Pennsylvania and a couple in New York and decided that would be the thing to do. So we started putting up the high fence in [19]99 and bought our first animals in 2000 and we did the elk farming for 17 years, sold breeding stock to people and sold some bulls to shooting preserves. I didn't do any of the shooting here on our farm, we’re too close to the village and I didn't want to do that anyway. We did it for 17 years. Our intention was to do it for 10 years. We sold meat. We got into a meat business, butchered them and took them to a slaughterhouse so it could get sold for resale. If you do it yourself, you can't resell it. Anyway so it was all done through a processing plant. And we sold more of our meat right here at the freezer. We had two restaurants that we provided meat to and we sold most of it right out of our freezer on weekends and we had a lot of people who came and bought meat. A lot of good people that we'd met along the way. We used the land to raise feed for the elk and sold extra hay crops. I raised some oats and rye, different grain crops and mostly hay. We've been here over fifty-two years.
AL:
What would you say was the most profitable crop or animal you had to raise on a farm?
EY:
The elk was the most profitable animal and the most profitable crop was rye. I called the mill, “You guys use rye if I combine it,” and they said “No.” And so I said I mowed it off and let it lay and it lays for a week or so it turns white and you bale it up and sell the straw. You get five to seven dollars a bale back in them days for a straw. People going to the state fair come and picked up a nice looking straw.
[Track 1, 07:54]
AL:
What was it like growing up on a farm?
EY:
Oh gosh, it's being like a wild Indian. We could roam anywhere we wanted to. The main farm was fifteen hundred acres and we didn't have to go to town to amuse ourselves. In [19]52, my dad added on to the barn and I got pictures of me up on top, nailing boards on the rafters in [19]52, so it made me what seven?
AL:
So what were the struggles you faced over the years as a farmer in Roseboom?
EY:
Right here, it was mostly help, trying to get the hay in and move the animals and whatever. I had friends that I could call on but sometimes they were busy. We actually boarded animals for another guy that wanted some elk. We had him here for a few years, which was a good income. But the biggest struggle was the weather, getting the crops in and handling the animals when they had to move them for help.
AL:
Can you describe how you ran the farm over the years especially while raising your family?
EY:
Well, the family grew up, the kids were here. I have three kids and they all had a place to roam and it was pretty safe back here. We had a pool at one time and they all learned to swim. They didn't have to go to the gym. They had enough chores to do so they all had things to do and they all appreciated it, I think, because they've all come back.
AL:
Can you describe any agricultural changes you had to make over the years such as government policy changes or just anything you wanted to do it yourself?
EY:
Well I haven't really changed very much. I haven't raised corn in a long time. I didn't really have a use for it. The guy that rented the land first raised corn on it for four or five years. We still do a program through the ASCE office, which is FSA now changed to Farm Service Agency and we abide by what are the rules they have. You have to fence your animals away from the creek for so big an area, a certain area, so that it doesn't get into the streams. My biggest niche on that is they should have some kind of a government program to clean up these streams. It was supposed to happen and they ran out of money about eight years ago. You go down, canoe down, the creek down here and every time you go under a bridge there's a bunch of tires somebody’s thrown off. It would be nice to have some of that cleaned up but it's a big problem, it would be a very expensive project for the state to do. But they have other projects that need it worse I believe.
[Track 1, 11:11]
AL:
What are the other projects that would be more important that you know about?
EY:
For me it probably isn't much of anything that they could change that would do. We had a flood here in, gosh I’ve forgotten now when it was, eight or 10 years ago, and the fence went down and I had four bulls that left us and went down the stream. We went out looking for them, I couldn't find them, and down in back is a gravel bank and I assumed that they got out of the water because they were in the water up to their necks down in there and they went up and back of the gravel bank. I didn't go down to try to drive them back because I would have chased them out. And they stayed around apparently because it was about five, six days when the water went down they come walking back up to see what was going on and with a little grain in the pail I was able to coax them back into a different pen. [New York] Senator James Seward “How's it going?” I told him what we had a problem with a lot of fence went down. He says, “there's a program that'll help pay for that.” I went to the FSA office and they said, “This is the last day you can sign up for that.” So I did and they granted me money. You did your work. You put your fence back up and keep all your bills and they paid most all of it, actually, for putting up the fence back down in here. That was a good program that I really wasn't aware about until my senator I saw him at a farm show and [he told me]. It was the last day you could sign up for it. I didn't need the money that was allotted to me and they only paid you what you actually spent. You couldn't claim your own labor. I think that it only hired-in labor or machinery. It was a good help. Other than that I haven't had much call for any of the farm programs.
AL:
Have you ever had to hire-in labor to help yourself on the farm?
EY:
Most of it was volunteer and most everybody would come and give you a hand and if you give them lunch or something along the way they were happy to help you out. I haven't really bought or paid any labor. There's too many connections with that with all the taxes and Social Security whatever. Years ago when we had the big farm we had about 25 people on the payroll. There was a twenty-five percent tax on their payroll went to the government at the end of every week paid in a month and paid in Social Security and federal taxes. It was very expensive. Some of these programs need to be changed to keep farmers going.
AL:
How would you change those programs if you had the ability to?
EY:
Well I don't know if I could do much to change it. I was talking with a lady from Italy, and her brother had a farm over there. One time we were bringing tractors back from down on the pier with our trucking. You go down there and a guy was buying these tractors, and I think you get a thousand hours on them and the government in Italy was giving him another tractor, taking their tractor and bringing it and selling it, reselling it over here and they would come into New York City and we'd pick them up at a pier and bring them up to a dealer, but over there at that time the government was, they wanted their farmers and they gave them new machinery. And every year, you were allotted a vacation and they put an ag person out of the college on your farm to run your farm for you. If there was some kind of a program like that available here, maybe more people would be interested in. When we were farmers like one percent of the population farmed it and now it's less than a half a percent, I think, of the people actually farming, growing the food for everybody else.
[Track 1, 15:45]
AL:
So you said that that program provided vacation time. Did you ever get or did you get many vacations over the years?
EY:
I don't know what it is. [laughter] No we never went on vacation. I did take two weeks off when I got married and went out to Yellowstone Park and back and that's the only time I’ve been away from the farm.
AL:
What did you like about owning a farm?
EY:
Well we didn't really know anything different back then. You just grew up with it and went right on with it had to be done we thought. Nobody had a problem with it. Like I said we had places to roam and things to do and had so much going on that everybody went and did their own thing so there was never any real conflicts and we were provided with everything we needed. No reason to look for something different.
AL:
Okay, I guess that leads me to the next question. Could you describe a different career you would have liked to have had if you didn't become a farmer?
EY:
Well when I got out of college, I told my father I had a job offer at Cazenovia equipment. He says, “I think you got all the job you can handle right here,” as we had machinery. We had three combines running and tractor trailers on the road and we capitalized on that and made it even bigger. We went into bulk milk trucks and so we had plenty to do so other than that I don't know of anything different I've done, maybe a mechanic, truck mechanic, heavy equipment, or something because after we sold out I went to work for the county as a heavy equipment mechanic. I enjoyed that. I had no problem with that, so I don't know of anything else I would have been happy with.
[Track 1,17:50]
AL:
Can you tell me about your mechanic job? Your previous heavy mechanic job, can you tell me about it?
EY:
Well we did fix all the equipment when I had my own trucks. We worked on them sometimes nights, all night. I had a hired man one night who was milking the cows and I was working on a truck, I had the light on underneath it there working on it and the next day I see him. He says, “when you go to bed? That light was on under the truck when I went to bed and it was still on when I got up.” I said “Yep. I was still there too.” I had the thing ready to go. The feeling of accomplishment for making or fixing something was always good. When I went to the county it was the same thing. They bring in equipment that night that they want it in the morning and we worked on it during the night and got it back going for them. We did the service on the cars, the social service, Office for the Aging, all the sheriff's cars came in and were serviced at night, so they didn't get held up and were able to use it all in the morning. And then the trucks had to be serviced, hitch put on the back or straighten something that got bent during the day. It was a good deal. It was all inside working and I had good boys working with me.
AL:
Are there any other jobs you had over the years aside from that one and farming?
EY:
No. I just worked on snowmobiles nights for a guy over here but that was just a hobby thing. I was on the board of the cooperative insurance company for 34 years. That was an interesting thing but there wasn't a real job, it was just to go to the meetings, but other than that, no, I haven’t worked anywhere else.
[Track 1, 19:48]
AL:
What made you decide to be on the board for the insurance company?
EY:
One of the fellows passed away and one of the guys on the board came and asked me if I would be interested in serving on the board. “What's it consists of?” He says, “Well you get ten dollars for the meeting and we have a lunch and you go in there and keep your mouth shut and let the guys run the meeting.” [laughter] Seemed like a chance to hobnob with the big wigs in town and I thought it was a good deal. But it escalated up bigger and bigger till we had to go to merge with Erie-Niagara out in Buffalo and we had to go out there for the meetings, so I was the last original board member from our local insurance company here to retire from that board which was just last year.
AL:
How did you learn your kind of tools of the trade for farming?
EY:
Grew up with it.
AL:
Alright
EY:
You go to the farm meetings when they have meetings. When we were doing spray, they had to have a license to spray. They only wanted to know who was running the chemicals, who was using the chemicals. Before that you just went and bought anything you wanted. The chemical companies would have a meeting and tell you how this one worked or that one worked and what you should use. They had representatives you out with helping out whatever you needed. It five dollars to go to the meeting to get your license, they just wanted to know. Now it's a hundred and some dollars, you got attend three or four meetings and half of the chemicals that really worked they took off the market. They won't let you use them anymore. The pre-emergent [herbicide] was one that we used for oats. You could spray your grain crop with an underseeding on and it wouldn't kill the underseeding.
They took it off the market, sent it to Brazil. They could use it in Brazil and we can import the wheat from Brazil with the sprayed chemicals. Pretty stupid but that's our government. They do some strange things.
AL:
Can you describe any accidents that had happened on the farm over the years or other ones you had heard about in Roseboom.
EY:
I don’t know, must have forgot them. I cut string off a calf one time with a knife. Had him tied up to a stanchion. The stanchion swung around and bumped me on the head and I got mad so I cut that string with a vengeance and the knife went through the string and went into my knee. So we had a problem with that, it kind of locked up a couple days later and I was in the hospital for 13 days or something like that for arthroscopic surgery on that. I don't know if we had any. Nobody really ever got hurt. They rolled a truck over, a milk truck over one time. I might have aged a little bit on that. Guy called me in the morning, “I rolled your truck over.” Oh boy. I had to clean that one up and get it fixed. Another [time] I had a hay truck and it went over down [Middleburg] hill, an axle spring broke and went in the ditch and tipped that over. Other than that, no serious injuries or anything.
[Track 1, 23:36]
AL:
Can you describe any years that had anomalies for like weather or your crops just weren't working right or the animals were acting weird?
EY:
Well we never really had weather. This has been the worst year that we've ever had that I can ever remember. I had another farmer here the other day talking about and he's a little bit younger than I am, but he says, “I never remember a year as bad weather as this. We have crops in the field you can't get in the field to harvest them now.” Back in, must have been in the [19]80s. Somewhere in the [19]80s we had a wet fall and we were chopping corn for silage. We had a 200-horse [power] four-wheel drive tractor and I put two wheels on the chopper. I made a bracket that would bolt to the existing wheel put another wheel on there so that it would stay out of the mud and we were able to harvest our corn that fall. We did the neighbor's corn for him because they were having the same problem. Back in, must have been [19]58, I think around [19]58, we had a drought and there was no hay. We were trucking in hay from all the way out to Buffalo. We’d go up by Buffalo and bring in hay, take two or three trucks out and bring it back and sell it to the farmers. And that got cleaned up and my father says “I'm going to go west till I find hay. I'll call you.” A week later, he called from Michigan and he says, ‘They've got an abundance of hay in Michigan.” He said “They’re going to rail car it. Put it in a rail and send it.” We had the train still coming into Cherry Valley and Milford and Cooperstown. And they had a rail car come in all three places with hay in it and they sold it. I think you had to have a 50-car ton in order to get twenty-five ton in it. And he said, “if I could make a dollar a ton and supply hay, that's all I want.” We did that the rest of the summer. Most of the time the farmers would come and take it right off the rail car and we got through the drought on that. It [19]69 or [19]96 after we sold out, I was a crop adjuster for the FSA office. They had sold crop insurance to the farmers and they needed someone to go out and weigh the corn to see what the actual crop grew. There was a drought and the corn definitely wasn't as good as it could have been. I went to Syracuse and learned how to weigh corn by the length of the row or the number of ears in a 16 foot stretch and you could tell how many tons of corn was on that field whether it was going to be grain or whether it was going to be silage or whatever by weighing a certain length of the row. There's a formula that went with it, the width of the rows, everybody's were different. Every farmer at that time, and still do, have what their crops grew record at the office. Every year you report your crop tons per acres, so you have a base. And when they had the drought you had to go buy that base what they would have had an average of three years a base and then you could see how much less crop they had. But it was a catastrophic insurance and it only paid after you lost 50 percent of your crop. Then it would pay 50 percent of your loss after that so it really didn't pay very well. It was designed to give you seed back for another crop if you had a total loss. And our county wasn't as bad as it was other places in the state, so we didn't we have the loss of anybody in our county. I did one in Herkimer County that had a slight loss. I did Delaware County too at the time. I went over to Delaware County and did corn over there for quite a few farms over there. I think we had one loss over there. Other than that our area actually had enough rain to grow decent corn that year but western parts of the state was really dry. It worked for them. The crop insurance program has changed a lot. Now it costs more but it covers a lot more. So this year with the wet, there's places where there are soybeans with water laying in the rows that they're not going to be able to get that and their crop insurance will probably cover the cost of that cover the profit maybe even.
AL:
Do you enjoy that it covers more but is more expensive or would you prefer it to be how it used to be?
EY:
No, I think it's a better crop insurance now. I mean it costs the farmers more and they're required to have it if they have any of the other FSA programs. There’s a lot of programs out there they put in manure systems, they cement barnyards where cattle erode the land and it runs off in the creeks. The programs are a lot better as far as the environment. And the crop insurances, you have to have that if you're going to have the other programs, they make it mandatory which I don't know as I go along with that part of it. But it works and most of the guys I've talked to are happy with the programs.
AL:
What kind of hobbies do you have?
EY:
Hobbies?
[START OF TRACK 2, 0:00]
EY:
I have a field gun collection nothing special but do hunting mostly.
AL:
What do you hunt for?
EY:
Well, I like to think I hunt for most anything that's legal and in-season but I haven't shot any rabbits in 30 years. I have rabbit dogs if someone goes out with me I let them do the shooting anyway. We used to have a lot of snowshoe rabbits around locally and then bobcats moved in and coyotes come and cleaned them all out, so you have to travel quite a ways for snowshoe rabbits now in wintertime. Cotton tails are pretty near extinct right here in our area. But mostly small game and deer. I’ve made the trip into Canada for caribou one time, that was a good trip. I thought I wanted a New York State bear. I did wound one up north one time and the next guy down got the bear so that was all right. As long as it didn't get wounded and get lost. But other than that we just mostly deer hunt.
AL:
Do you hunt for pleasure or for the meat or a little of both?
EY:
Well we do the pleasure and we keep the antlers. As I told my son and my grandson, every set of antlers is a trophy; it don't matter if it's a spiker, an eleven pointer, or what. I've taken everything from a spike up to eleven points now. The next one is going to be really a challenge. [laughter] Twelve. I'll probably never see one. I don't like to shoot does. We do use the meat when we get animals. It's always taken care of and put in the freezer and used one way or another. I like the dried venison. We use it. It's always used up. Hides, I used to get ten bucks for a deer hide. Now they’re are two or three dollars for a deer hide. A lot of guys are just leaving them in the woods. My grandmother always said, “Waste not want not.” So we take care of everything we get. Trapping beaver down here. I had a nuisance beaver in the creek here one time and some DEC [New York State Department of Environmental Conservation] guys stopped by, and they were looking at the elk. I said, “You guys come to pick up your beaver?”

“No but we see you've got a problem,” because they flooded my pasture out. So we're talking a little while. “What have I got to do to get a nuisance permit to trap them out?”
“Oh,” he says, “the guy right here in the other side of the truck,” but he wouldn't give up any information, “but I'll give you a permit.” They sent me a nuisance permit and I trapped a couple beaver out and they got one big one and they have to be buried in the off season. I had the traps out and caught a little small one. My grandson was 3,4 years old and he went down to check traps with me. He knew that we usually eat what we drag home. And I'm bringing out this little beaver towed it in the cart behind the wheeler.
He looks up at me and he says, “We got to eat that thing?” [laughter] I said, “No, we're not going to eat that, we're going to bury it.” We've been looking at it now and we need to do more trapping again this year. The beaver aren't worth anything, I guess, maybe a real nice one's ten bucks. It takes about four hours labor once you trap a beaver to skin them, stretch them and scrape them. So it isn't very profitable. It’s just for the fun of it. I had guys that come in and trapped them before so I haven't had to do that. Now we've got another dam in the creek down here and its flooding out my pasture again, so they come back but it isn't all bad because they’ve cut a lot of the brush that's plugging up the creek.
AL:
What do you plan for the future?
EY:
Wake up every morning. [laughter] We probably aren't going to change a lot. We don't have the elk here now. We have dairy cows, heifers, in the pastures during the summer and we still make hay and sell hay for horse hay, cattle hay whatever. Probably won't change much on that. I don't see any big trips anywhere so it's not too bad right here at home. Maybe you do a little hunting. We don't do like we used to, the big jaunts cross country. We used to years ago when I started hunting, all the farmers around were hunters, they'd all get their chores done and all get together and we hunt with a party of 10,15 people and we hunt their farm, our farm, the next guy's farm. You never went anywhere other than right around your neighborhood, and we were busy all day long and we took quite a few deer. Now the land's all been bought up by other people and subdivided and everything, so nobody wants you to come on their land. So now it's kind of “go in the woods and set by a tree and maybe something will come by.” So it's a lot more boring than it used to be. We still do get out and watch trees grow. I don't know too much is going to change. I'm not going to walk like I used to.
[Track 2, 05:58]
AL:
Has the political environment never changed in Roseboom?
EY:
Hasn't really changed that much. Everybody that's in office seems to be doing what's best for the area. I don't see a lot of difference when the people are in office are pretty much there until they don't want to do it anymore. We have a problem with our road people. It’s gotten better. I don't know if the salaries are high enough yet for what they have to do. They're doing the same job as the state and the counties are doing. We have lost people to the county and the state.
They have come up with more money for them. At present we have a young fella in there that's doing real well. And things have gotten a lot better than they ever used to be when they first moved in here. We had guys in there that run on alcohol mostly I guess. They got the job done. We were snowed in here for a week at one time and they just didn't come in and plow. They couldn't, they didn't have any equipment big enough. Then they finally got the roads opened up that were more important. We weren't shipping milk at all and so we were able to go in and out with snowmobiles. Actually one morning I was going to milk at the main farm, four o'clock in the morning with a snowmobile I got going out across the flats out here and the snowmobile quit. I'm in the middle of the road. About a foot of snow on the road and there's snow plows coming from the other end and I can't get this thing to run.
I’m cranking, it's coming and starting pretty soon, I'm going to have to drag it out the road because they can't see me in the dark. Finally it started up the light come on and I got off to the side and the snowplow went on by plowing the state road. So we got everything out of the way and went on our way. But it was just one of those things. We had times when they didn't bother to plow us out. At one time when my wife was pregnant with our son, we had gone to someone's house, I think it was for a Christmas party or something, anyway, when we come back the road was blown full. We had a [19]69 Chevy Chevelle. We come in the road, I figured I could hit the drift and get through it or whatever and I didn't, I got partway through it. So, I had to come back to the house to get a snowmobile to get the people out of the car. I forgot how it happened but she's very pregnant, due to have a baby, and we got everybody back in the house and we got a phone call that they wanted to know if we were all right.
The road commissioner heard that we were stuck out there in the road on our way to the hospital. No, they got the story a little bit wrong but thanks for looking out for us. They did call to make sure we were all right. They came in and plowed road. I got the car out. I got a tractor out and pulled the car on to get them and got that out when they plowed the road the next morning. So everything was fine but they had their story a little mixed up. [laughter]
[Track 2, 09:56]
AL:
Can you describe any monumental winter that you had to deal with?
EY:
Just that couple is all and then the school bus actually used to come in and turn around right here and sometimes he'd get stuck in when we used to have snow and the wind blew across the flats there and put it on the road.
My son was drawing milk for a guy down in Cobleskill and he was snowed in here and he walked on snow shoes out. There was probably five, six feet of snow in the road. I had worked on getting milk out at the other farms. All right though to two or three o'clock in the morning I guess before we got the milk truck loaded and headed back to the city and I'd come over and there was no way I could get in here. So I went to my mother's and stayed overnight and my son, he has snow shoes on, he walked out to the road and he says, “Well there's no way I can go anywhere.” He called his guy he was driving for at the time and he says well don't bother to come down here or get a ride down. “My trucks are all down in New York City,” he says, “and they can't get back so whatever is in the milk tanks is going to have to stay.” So he says, “we'll it get straightened out in a day or so.” We're snowed in here for a couple of days that time. My wife went out and we had dairy cows in the barn at that time. My wife and kids took care of them for two or three days. Snow up to their waist or more in the driveway. We don't have the snow like that anymore. I don't know why but we have equipment now that I could move it with anyway but back then I didn't. There was only two or three winters like that that we had any problem.
AL:
And when did those winters happen?
EY:
Had to be, [19]93, [19]94 in there. My son was drawing milk. The other one happened, I said we had a [19]69 Chevy car so it had to be [19]72. I think Brian was a little guy. He was born in the [19]70s. Other than that, we mostly have just normal winters.
AL:
So you said you have the equipment now. How often do you normally acquire new equipment for your farm?
EY:
I just keep fixing it. I don't buy anything new. I've actually resurrected a couple of old tractors that I use every day with bucket loaders on them. We have a couple of bigger tractors that have got to be 25,30 years old now. They still run good and everything, so I don't really replace new equipment.
[Track 2, 13:10]
AL:
Do you have a preferred manufacturer that you like to have and support?
EY:
I like New Holland hay equipment. Other than that if I turn the key and make some noise up front, I drive it.
AL:
Well that's all I really have for questions today. Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?
EY:
I don't know if there's much else going on.
AL:
Well then I'd like to thank you again for meeting with me and having a great interview.
EY:
Good talking to you.
AL:
Sounds good.
[END OF TRACK 2, 13:48]

Duration

29:59-Track 1
13:50-Track 2

Bit Rate/Frequency

160 kbps

Time Summary

Track 1- Family and Farming
Track 2- Hobbies

Files

Citation

Alex Lien, “Everett Yerdon, November 7th, 2018,” CGP Community Stories, accessed February 19, 2019, http://cgpcommunitystories.org/items/show/351.