Whitesburg KY

Working the new ground

When my dad was a young boy, his parents cleared land up near the top of the mountain where we now live. There was a place near the top of the mountain called the Big Bench that was fairly level.

They would clear away the trees and buses from an area and plant it for a few years. They didn’t have fertilizer to use, and after a few years the ground became poor and they would clear another new ground.

At one end of the field, over in a hollow, they dug a spring to get fresh water so that once they climbed to the top of the mountain to work, they wouldn’t have to climb back down until evening time.

One spring it came my dad’s turn to help hoe the corn that day. They ate breakfast early and fixed their dinner to take with them so they wouldn’t have to walk off the mountain at dinnertime, then climb back up the mountain again for the evening’s work.

They had the cornbread left over from supper the evening before, so they crumbled the bread into a metal lard pail and filled it up with milk. They were going to have cornbread and milk for dinner.

When they got to the field they sat the bottom of the pail down in the spring water to keep it cool until dinnertime.

At midday they were hot, tired and hungry. They worked their row of corn across the field to the spring and stopped for dinner.

When they got the pail out of the spring and took off the metal lid, they found that ants had found their milk and bread. The top of the milk was covered in little ants.

Dad said that Grandpa sat looking at the little ants on top of his dinner for a moment, then looked far down the mountain to the homeplace.

He then stirred up his milk and bread with the ants, and they all started eating dinner.

Dad said that was the best milk and bread he’d ever eaten.

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