CumminsNursery

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Steve Cummins: 

1408 Trumansburg Rd, Ithaca NY 14456

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Dr. James N. Cummins
(Jim)
 
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(865) 233-3539 

 
 

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STORIES FROM CUMMINS NURSERY

About Cummins >> A family business >>Stories >> Dad's Corner

This is a section of Cummins Nursery dedicated to stories (preferably in some way connected to fruit and/or farming). We are open to stories you send in as well!!!

Kicking Leaves in Mr. Gage's Orchard | The Drive from Kinmundy | The Yellow Transparent Orchard | The Spray Crew |Hoodlin' |Loading Reefers | Ben Davis | Thirsty Cider | Backyard Orchards | Dad, Peeling Apples | Little Pearl and the Hot Box

On the Spray Crew

This was the proudest day of my life, the proudest day I'd ever have in all the days of my life. Today I was part of Daddy's spray crew. Today I was spraying the orchard for the very first time in my whole life. Today I've been part of the crew and from head to foot I'm bordeaux blue.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We had two spray rigs then, two Friend spray rigs, one pulled by our Caterpillar tractor, Ol' Yellow Cat, and one pulled by Ol' Dan and Ol' Rex. Six days a week the sprayers crept through the orchards, from March through September, every day, rain or shine. Today was the first day of spraying for the year 1937 and I was twelve years old and this was the first day ever for me to be a part of the spray crew.

Granddad drove bulldozerOl' Cat, smoking his briar pipe, and Daddy usually rode the tower atop the sprayer. Today, tho', Butch Gaston was in the tower and my Daddy was helping me learn how to drag hose on the ground. Butch's tower gun had four nozzles and loosed a tremendous lot of spray. The ground gun had just three nozzles and the holes in the nozzles were smaller than those in the tower gun. Daddy showed me how to hold the gun, to paint the tree with the filmy mist hard-driven from my gun, how to paint every leaf, every twig with the soft and pale-glowing bordeaux blue.

Daddy showed me how to coil the heavy hose around my shoulders to ease the pulling from the rig, and how to hit the centers of the trees. One thing, tho', that Daddy failed to tell me was to keep up with the forward-creeping rig. He didn't tell me that as the rig crept down the row, there would come a moment when the hose stretched tight and whirled the unwary sprayman around and maybe down. Daddy hadn't told me; the tightening hose snatched me forward, and as I spun around and fell, the full blast of our bordeaux spray painted first my Daddy and then me a lovely robins egg bordeaux blue.

Today I was a part of Daddy's spray crew and it was the very best day of my whole life.

Dr. James N. Cummins
Emeritus Professor of Pomology
Cornell University