Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:
Dad spent one summer plowing up virgin prairie land with a ‘footburner’. This particular plow was noteworthy because, in order to cut the grassroots, it had to have an always sharp share — so the shares were made of a very soft iron so that whenever the share stopped cutting, you took it off the plow — laid on an anvil or a piece of railroad rail and hammered it out to a thin edge. I think I still have the hammer he used for that purpose; at any rate, he always called it the plowhammer.
Other recollections I have of this job consist of his associations with a fellow worker named Harry Hanner and his family and at least one squabble that they had. Dad and his family lived in one shack and Hanner in another. They mutually used an open slough well for their water supply. Hanner early started the practice of getting out extra early in the morning and drawing water from the well while it was unmuddied for his house use and then watering his horses also, without giving any consideration to Dad’s needs. After he had done this several days in a row, Dad made it a point to get out still earlier one morning and left the well as bemuddied as he had been finding it. As I remember it, there was a general ‘chewing match’ between both the ladies and the men. I think the feud was patched up somehow. As I remember it, this was in North Dakota.
He spent one winter in North Dakota and at least one summer in which he tried to raise a crop of wheat. He grew an excellent crop but it was hailed right into the ground just before it was ready to cut. The only nice thing about it was that the grain sprouted and grew33 into a hay crop before frost.
[Note: Vera says of the family wanderings — Grandfather Elias usually moved first and the children usually drifted along behind. And since Lester was born in Minnesota, Dad could not have spent more than two years in North Dakota. Some members of the family lived in Dakota for a awhile. Vera also recollects Grandpa swimming the Missouri River on his back with Dad riding on his stomach.]