So yesterday I went to the funeral of Lyle Hynes. It was at the tiny country Methodist Church next to Farm 3. I have known Lyle for nearly 20 years, since we started the NCRS. He was the owner of Farm 5 before it became part of the NCRS. In fact, I can still remember him farming that 80 acres with his old John Deere 60 and B. You could hear the 2-cylinders popping several fields away as he was working ground back then. In fact, the very first year of the NCRS in 1994, we did not yet have a combine and he harvested our winter wheat crop with his old Case combine. And no cab of course. I've got pictures around somewhere that I will have to find. This was pre-digital of course. I also remember him out walking fields with his hired summer help picking rocks out of the fields and throwing them on a flat rack, and them dumping them in piles on the edge of the woods. Those huge piles are still there. He was in his 70's and I remember the high school kids that were helping say that he was hard to keep up with.
We started farming his farm in 1997 as part of the NCRS, and it was purchased some time after that with the understanding that he and his wife Marbeth could still live there. I remember seeing the two of them sitting out on the porch as we drove back and forth with tractors, planters and combines. They were asked if all of the equipment traffic bothered them and Marbeth said no, they like the excitement of someone working the farm that they had worked so long themselves. Sadly she died a few years ago after nearly 70 years of marriage. And now he has as well. At the funeral it was said that he was a numbers man. He could remember crops and yields from his farm by years. And also the crop price and the production costs. I remember that we bought a disk from him, and he told Doug and me how many pumps of a grease gun for each zerk. Like "that one takes 5 and a half pumps." And of course later we tested it, and he was right. In the early days of the farm tours, we used to stop at his place and he would address the group and give his views on things. Later he was known far and wide for his raspberries that he grew out front. Once when he was ill, we offered to water them, and he told us how many minutes to hold the hose on each spot. We even put in a drip system, but he preferred to hold the water hose. Why change what works?
But one thing I did not know about was his military service. It turns out he was a gunner on a B-26 bomber in World War II. He flew 25 bombing missions over France and Germany. Below is his service picture. Looks just like him. He was 92, and another veteran is gone.
But a good and long life it was. After all, he was a farmer.