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CCFB News» November 2018

Downwind“Older than Dirt”

11/01/2018 @ 7:30 am | By Bob Rohrer, CAE,FBCM,Manager

Most farms (with the exception of those wacky hydroponic, non-soil based operations that are trendy today) consider dirt (soil) pretty important.  Soil, as the plant’s growing medium, is one of the main factors in growing crops. Start with quality soil and throw in a bit of sun and timely moisture you have the makings of a pretty darn good farm.


So, what is dirt? It is a mixture of rocks, silt, sand, clay, loam, moisture, minerals and organic material. This combination can support life. There are hundreds of types of soil. The soil “parts” are produced from rocks (parent material) through the processes of weathering and natural erosion. Water, wind, temperature change, gravity, chemical interaction, living organisms and pressure differences break down the rocks. It takes hundreds of thousands of years to create some of these great soils we enjoy in the Midwest that support so much life.  Some soils date nearly back to the creation of the earth, millions of years ago.


And thus, the creation of the phrase, you are “older than dirt”.


I saw a quiz the other day on the world’s greatest of time waster, Facebook, and could not help myself. I took the “older than dirt” quiz.  I passed easily with the following “yes, I vividly remember” questions:


You might be “older than dirt” if you remember…

  • Candy cigarettes (I could have been the Marlboro Kid)
  • Soda pop machines with glass bottles (I once drank 6 Mountain Dews from a bottle dispensing machine to set my personal best)
  • Five and Dime (Having a spare quarter while in the Ben Franklin Five and Dime candy aisle was near heaven)
  • Metal lunch-boxes (I wonder…did I get beat up a lunch time because I had a Charlie Brown lunch box or a PB&J sandwich in it?)
  • Metal ice cube trays (Perhaps the most aggravating, frustrating ice making system ever)
  • Wax coke bottle candy (Drink a taste of sugar water and then chew on wax…brilliant concept)


There were a few “older than dirt” questions that I did not remember…

  • Party telephone lines (do college dorms count?)
  • Butch wax (my bowl hair cut style eliminated the need for this and Brylcream)
  • Blackjack gum (I went for the Bubble Yum with its secret ingredient, spider eggs)
  • Home milk delivery in glass bottles (Our cow delivered home milk in a bucket)


I can’t help noticing all of the “older than Dirt” questions that I best related to were associated with candy, beverage and food. And maybe that is telling…strong memories connect to something one finds important; in my case, FOOD.


So, now that it is official that I achieved “Older than Dirt” status, I find there is a level of pride and achievement that comes as a result.  Over my many years above the dirt on this planet, I conquered my candy cigarette addiction. My lunch-box is now a plastic Target shopping bag and no one has beat me up this entire year. Spare quarters go into my vacation jar and eventually I will save enough to shop the candy aisle again. I can’t remember the last time I chewed on wax. I do still drink an occasional Mountain Dew…just not by the 6-pack.


And being older than dirt, I have a great appreciation for soil, farmers use and care of this great resource and especially the FOOD it supports and provides! Thank you, Mother Earth and thank you, Farmers!

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