Archive for Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Son, daughter continue work fatherr satarted

January 23, 2008

What started as a dream of one man's wish to leave the city for a life on the farm has become a legacy that his two children have continued to value long after his death.

It's been 87 years since the family of Phyllis A. Gable and brother Charles Gable moved to their 152 1/2- acre farm west of Lansing on 163rd Street, and while a lot has changed to the land their father bought in 1921, the principles have stayed the same.

The idea of protecting the rich Kansas soil their father wanted so badly has stayed with Phyllis and Charles, which is evident by the many soil conservation efforts that can be seen around their land.

The siblings have now been honored with the 2007 Leavenworth County Bankers' Soil Conservation Award, recognizing the efforts they've put in to protecting everything they hold so dear in life.

"I wish father could have been here to see this," said Charles, whose father died in 1983.

Soil conservation efforts on the farm started with the construction of waterways sometime before 1969, Charles recalled. From there, they've added windbreaks, terraces and buffer strips to stop the erosion of good soil throughout their land.

"We're pleased to be recognized," Phyllis said. "We've spent an awful lot of money."

The Gables haven't farmed themselves since 1968; the Aufdemberger family handles that now, but they've still had a huge say on how important it is to protect the soil.

Phyllis said she couldn't understand why more farmers don't make soil conservation a priority. While she knows how much the cost of those efforts can burden a farmer, she said it's worth it in the end.

The past couple of years she said the farm has done well in the crops it's produced, which she attributes to the good soil they've managed to maintain on the land. From corn and soybeans to wheat and oats, Phyllis described the crops as "wonderful."

The two aren't sure how much longer they'll be able to stay on the farm, but both said they were sure they've got some time left in them. The farm is not only a place of pride for what they've accomplished on the land, but it holds all of their past memories.

When their parents purchased the farm in 1921, Phyllis and Charles lived with their grandparents in town to attend school but would come out on the weekends to help. Charles started farming at age 8 and said he's loved it every since, although he said that it's been his life for so long that he can't quite remember what about it he first fell in love with.

The farm didn't get a tractor until 1950, so Charles remembers most of the years riding horses while he helped his father in the fields. For a short time, to supplement a tough crop market, the farm raised dairy cows, where for the most part, each cow was milked by hand.

Phyllis said she enjoyed the quiet, peaceful nature of the farm and their congestion-free lifestyle. The past 87 years have been good for her, so much so, that she can't imagine living anywhere else.

Both admit that it was a long, hard process getting the farm to the place it is now. It took a lot of time and money to build the conservation structures, but the commitment was worth it as they look out over their land of rolling hills and think back to the dream of one city boy that started it all.

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