How’s Your Writing?

How’s Your Writing Going?
It’s a question friends, neighbors, and relatives often ask. Well, it’s going OK. We keep writing a weekly column for the Tomah Journal entitled “Ask Your Science Teacher”. Our first book, by the same name, Ask Your Science Teacher, has been out for about 18 months.
Whenever a book is on, publishers will look at the sales numbers and ask to “pick it up” and republish if the numbers look good. So our new, revised, top-notch, Grade A book will come out in November published by Experiment Publishing out of New York. Completely revamped, updated, and added to. They changed the title slightly to Ask a Science Teacher. It has 250 articles about how the world works and things you always wanted to know.
Our second science book Ask Your Science Teacher-Volume 2 will be ready in about 4 months. We don’t know who the publisher will be.
Our pride and joy right now is an account of growing up on that Crawford County, Wisconsin farm out on Oak Grove Ridge a few miles northwest of Seneca.
The basic manuscript is done, but needs a ton of editing and reworking. I have an artist doing sketches, another artist doing the color front cover, and a learned person, former Air Force colonel, doing the first read-through.
Each continuing blog will contain a snippet from the manuscript and I invite your comments and feedback.
Shocking oats
I was a typical kid on the farm, always wanting to do more grownup things. During oat harvesting time, carrying water to the workers in the field was the first assigned task. When we were about 12 years old we learned to shock grain.
Learning to make a good shock that would stand up to the wind was not easy. Dad or Mom had showed us how. We wore a straw hat with string beneath the chin. That straw hat was the only protection against the scorching summer sun. No sun screen lotion and no sunglasses. Sunglasses were for city dudes and Hollywood types. We donned long sleeve shirts so the grain bristles did not cut into the arms. Levis or blue jeans, , whitish canvas gloves from Johnson’s One-Stop Shopping Center and farmers high-back leather shoes completed our grain shocking outfit.
The Scheckels made a nine bundle shock. A bundle was grabbed under each arm. One knee was thrust forward a tad and a bundle placed on each side of the knee with the tops of each bundle touching. Usually the two bundles, with bristle ends on the ground about 18 inches apart, could support themselves free-standing. If not, you picked the bundles up and tried again.
This technique was repeated two more times, two bundles on each side of the original two and slightly turned in on the ends. Now, a competent “shocker” had a good start. Six bundles free standing, three on one side, three on the other.
Two more bundles were added, one on each side, and placed at the center of the three on each side. Finally a cap, to shed the rain, was made. That last, and ninth bundle, was held with the stalk ends against the tummy, and the tops bent and fanned out. The bristle ends of the bundle were fanned out. Then this cap was placed on top of the eight bundles, with further bending of the stalks fanned out and down.

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