The buck flies would just eat you up

Posted by | May 10, 2017

“My parents farmed. Well, it’s a good life, but it’s a hard life. They raised cattle, sheep, and hogs for a living. [Their farm] had a lot of…… It wasn’t much level land, it was more rolling hills and pasture was in… It was sorta rough land. This farm had four springs on it and it run by gravity. We had it piped into the house. The creek run through the farm and these springs had water that came out to the creek.

Joe Compton and his son plant corn. Courtesy Bland County History Archives.

Joe Compton and his son plant corn. Courtesy Bland County History Archives.

“The house had fourteen rooms. It had up stairs and a front stairs, and a back stairs and it had eight fireplaces in it, and it was the old Dr. Bishop’s house. We got electricity when I was about about fourteen, fifteen years old when we got electricity. We didn’t have a phone. We had an old-time phone that you cranked it. Each one would have a different ring and you would ring maybe one ring would be one neighbor and you would ring two rings would be another neighbor. It was an old-time phone and it was on batteries.

“We had a dairy barn and a sheep barn. We used to raise lambs, and we had a big chicken house, and we had chickens. Rhode Island Reds. We raised baby chicks and we had baby pigs and all of that. Out from the house. You didn’t want them too close.

“The dairy barn was across the road. The milking parlor was built out of stone, big rock and the dairy barn was built with weathered board planks. We had several cows. We’d milk cows and made our spending money. We had Jersey and Holsteins. We fed them corn and skim milk. We had a cream separator and we would take the cream off that milk and then you after you a five or ten gallon can you would take it to the freight station and ship it off to Fairmont Creamery Company and you would take the separated milk and feed your hogs. I always helped with the milking. Everybody had a milk stool and a bucket.

Joe Compton's last horse. Courtesy Bland County History Archives.

Joe Compton’s last horse. Courtesy Bland County History Archives.

“We raised corn and wheat and hay. We had a corn planter and we always hooked up two horses to plant it. I didn’t like hoeing corn. The buck flies would just eat you up. We cut that corn by hand if we wanted to make silage we cut it by hand and put it on a wagon and brought it in, and then they chopped it at the silo or if you wanted to shuck the corn, you would cut it and put it in shocks and then you would go back the last of October or the first of November when it got a little damp and shuck out that corn and haul it in.

[What was your favorite job on the farm?] “Go swimming.

“The government had to have everything government inspected before you could sell it. The eggs had to be candled and the meat had to be government inspected and you couldn’t sell them. It’s changed so much you have to be a big farmer to make a living because a little farmer can’t hardly make a living.”


Blanche Compton
b. Clearfork, VA 1921
interviewed by granddaughter
Jennifer Belcher on Feb 15, 1997
Bland County [VA] History Archives

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