Update March 24, 2020, and more historical perspective - (by me)
The last few days our president, governors, and other leaders are struggling with how/when to get people back to work.
I know Manning and its rural community are just a speck on the map, but as best we can, many businesses are still open and employees working here.
If you read the various signs I've posted down below by the different business, each one is operating in their own special ways.
Horizon Equipment (Puck Implement) is restricting the public from going back into the service/repair areas of their building...they want/need to keep their service/repairmen healthy and safe so they can fix/repair the farmers' equipment for the VERY important spring planting season.
They also prefer that farmers call for parts rather than stopping in, so like we all need to do - JUST using some common sense will really help us all get through this pandemic.

Now I like to always present some historical perspective.
During the 1918 Pandemic, our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents not only had to deal with the Spanish Flu, many were fighting a world war, but even as much of a challenge - they had to work physically hard each day just to survive.

I always appreciate how I was exposed to what some of those struggles were like when I was a very little kid here on our farm, and also tagging along with my grandpa Louie Ehrichs over in Aspinwall.
I'm just old enough to remember the cook stove in our kitchen - I would tag along with my sister in the morning snow/cold to get cobs and firewood from the cob shed about 80 feet north of our house. We would bring in the cobs and chunks of wood and stoke the stove which would start heating the kitchen and mom could start making breakfast.

Another experience is I would stay with my grandparents in Aspinwall. When grandpa built his new home in the early 1950s he installed a coal/wood burning furnace.
As a kid I had fun pulling the shaker arm back and forth to knock the ashes into the pan. I remember the great smell in the cob room where I would help scoop some cobs into a bucket for grandpa.
Before bedtime, grandpa would add a lump of coal, so he didn't have to stoke the furnace all night...then early in the morning I would hear grandpa cranking the shaker in the basement.

Of course this was all fun to me, but now think about all of the work he had to do to heat the house. Louie had a corn sheller so he would shell ear corn. Then some of the cobs would be loaded on a truck or wagon and then he had to scoop them into the coal chute and into the basement of his house and into the cob room. He also had to unload coal into the chute. Then each day stoke the furnace, crank out the ashes, carry them up the steps and outside to spread on the lawn.

Louie Ehrichs corn sheller in front of his home in Aspinwall

On the Ehrichs century farm northwest of Aspinwall

Circa 1917: Alfred Ehrichs ran this corn sheller, made by the Joliet Manufacturing Co.
On top of the corn pile are Chris Ehrichs, Louie Ehrichs, August Ehrichs, and Carl Otto

Julius Ohrt picking corn with his Dultmeier wagon made in Manning.

A few months before Gerhardt Voge passed away and while I was talking with him during one of my many visits at his home - out of the blue he blurted - "Isn't it just amazing we can just turn a thermostat to crank up the heat or cool down the summer air."
Now he was 97 at the time and he knew a lot better than me how tough things use to be, but I was amazed at how he put into perspective the past with the present.

Now because of my experiences as a very young kid here on the farm helping carry cobs to the house, stoking the cattle water tank heater, and tagging along with my grandpa Ehrichs - when we built the new house on our farm I added a wood burning stove in the basement. I've basically heated the whole house since 1985...but with trees that fell down...we no longer have cobs and it isn't a coal burning stove.

Today I had to cut and split more wood.
Now the first 25 years I split the wood the old fashioned way with a wood-splitting maul, but the last 10 years the much easier way I've been using an electric log splitter.

Of course I use a chain saw to cut the logs, but then think back to 1918...there were no chainsaws, no log splitters - it was ALL done by hand, with the exception, some farmers used a big buzz saw powered by a belt from a tractor.

Henry & August Mundt cutting logs with a buzz saw, driven by a home-made power source.

March 24, 2020

Here you see the wood splitter, and other tools I use to cut/split the firewood.

After splitting wood, I went to town to pick up the mail and noticed they poured concrete in the forms at the old Bunz business.

March 24, 2020

Concrete walls poured March 24

March 21, 2020
A dichotomy between rural life & large populated urban life during a Pandemic.

While it is more difficult for people in large cities to get out and take walks in the sun and for people in construction to keep busy, rural life is still able to continue with some semblance of normalcy.
Many of these businesses are small with 5 or less workers, so they are able to maintain a minimal amount of interaction.
Some are family operated businesses, so they are interacting and living in the same home anyway for the most part.
I saw a lot of people out walking today March 21, 2020, and they were following the 6 foot rule - actually a whole lot more distance such as many yards...with a few exceptions like down below where a married couple is walking together.

Small family owned tiling business putting in some tile north of Manning

Small business continues to renovate the old Bunz Law building

A married couple out for a walk in the sun...also stopping to chat with a couple of people in the distance.
I teased the couple that they need to keep a 6 feet spacing - we still need some humor and laughter.

Of course, farmers/ranchers with livestock have to go out to tend to their chores on a daily basis & also get ready for spring planting - and truckers/shippers have to keep moving with vital food and other important supplies.
Not to mention all of the people who are in the medical profession, police, ambulance, fire fighters, and the mail delivery folks.

We need to make sure we keep our distance from these people for sure - we need to help keep them healthy so they can continue on with their very important and life-supporting activities.

Back to Dave Kusel's main page