Sunday, June 29, 2008


At springtime, the farmer of today always feels a rush of excitement at the start of the planting season. In this excerpt from Prairie Pioneers, a novel written by Emery Stoops (1999, 2003, p. 81) Clint, a pioneer in the Oklahoma strip, feels even a greater excitement. For the first time in this land’s history, it is being plowed.

By February 15, snow from the blizzard had thawed again, and it was time once more to plow sod. Clint gripped the handles of his plow, listened to the clank of metal-tipped tugs transferring power to the hooks of on singletrees, heard the crunch of sod roots and the gentle panting of Nell and Bess as they leaned into their stretching collars with a ton of pressure. He watched a twelve-inch strip of sod rise and curl across the shiny moldboard of his plow and leave a black ribbon of soil that had not seen the sun during the last million years. There was the smell of leather mingled with steamy sweat, dust from dried grass, and the aroma of newly turned soil. Clint felt at one with his universe. The sounds, the sight, the smell, the feel of this turning prairie soothed his determined soul.

"There is something about plowing sod,” Clint said to Lylie that evening, “that just makes me feel terribly good. It wears me out, but it makes me feel…feel so satisfied. It’s like a fish getting back to water. I just feel like I’d always been a sod buster.”

He tried to find words and then continued, “I guess God made us out of soil, and we just long to get back into it”

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