Ross Brothers Farm
Year 1 – 2000: First point of business was figuring out how to cut the grass. The lot measures
350 feet wide, by 750 feet long. This should equal out to about 5 acres. 3 acres are open field
with the remaining in timbered out woods. Not having the knowledge as to maintain a large
yard, I knew right away that a push mover just wouldn’t “cut it”. The first yard implement was a
Snapper Riding Mower with a 32” cut. It would take about 6 hours to cut the grass. Now that is
a long time!
During the first year a number of white pine trees were planted. Just guessing it was around 50
or 60. The trees were ordered from the State of Indiana and were planted very early spring
along the east and west side of the property. We also planted a few elderberry bushes. Two
of those remain today. At last count we still had about 15 white pines growing. The next couple
of years we also planted 4 or 5 black walnut trees in the lower part of the property. Seems we
just can’t get enough tress and bushes.
Early spring of 2001 a gravel drive way was made and a barbed wire fence and gate were
installed across the front of the property. I wish now I had taken pictures to capture the moments
of anger and frustration of installing a barbed wire fence! Remember a range fence was
designed to keep “things” out, not in.
In 2002, it seems like we built a 12 by 20 yard barn, this is still a work in progress. We
completed the fence around the upper part of the property and planted more trees and plants.
If you look around the property today, hopefully you will find a variety of plants, trees and bushes.
When first purchased the land was bare, nothing but grass was growing. Not one single tree
extended beyond the tree line on the north side of the property.
Oh, yes the garden. Since day one, attempts have been made to grow something that looks like
or represents a garden. Let me say this, it is easier said than done. 5 years and still not one
basket of tomatoes, potatoes or corn on the cob! Heck, not even a sunflower big enough to brag
about. Something about a garden, they take a lot of time and work. You can’t just turn over
some ground, plant a few seeds and except it to grow. It just doesn’t happen that way.
2003 brought yet another crop failure. We would not have survived as frontiersmen. We
would have turned into another Donner party if we relied on our wits and ground to keep us fed.
Idea’s and plans for the property seemed to grow with every passing day. During this time
frame we purchased a generator, added a 55 gallon plastic drum that was used to store water
and supplied a gravity fed running water system for the cabin, added a front porch and built a
small utility shed.
2003 also took us into the 21st century. A Sears lawn tractor with a 40” cut was purchased. This
cut grass cutting time down to 4 hours. Electricity comes to the property. While I don’t recall the
cost to hook-up, trench and install electricity, it was worth every penny. It seems we also added
the outside privy shower too.
More trees were planted that included green ash, (also known as the Freedom Tree from the
Eisenhower years), a sycamore, scotch pines, blue spruces along with a few dwarf evergreens
and one Pin Oak. Also 2 weeping willows and a cork screw willow. I keep on cutting down the
forsythia better known as a “banana bush”. Wow, sure seems like we are planting a bunch of
trees. But keep in mind, not one tree grew on the upper part of property prior to 2000.
In 2003 we were gifted with a 1948 Case VAC tractor. Our cousin Flip graciously donated one
of his tractors to our cause. Thanks Flip. Let me see, that free gift cost the price of an old
beat-up Woods brush hog, a single bottom plow and a tine row tiller. Let’s not forget to add
in the new batteries, hydraulic and transmission gear oil and a bunch of other items to get and
keep the tractor running. But what farm would be complete without an actual tractor! Did I
mention the brakes don’t work?
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