"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. Wm H.F. Kugel
Perhaps this chapter of "Our Friends on the Acres" should be entitled "Wm. Kugel and Family" as Mr. Kugel has outstanding cooperation from his sons, daughters and wife in operating the Kugel farm of 200 acres in Grand Meadow township, Clayton county, 6 1/2 miles southeast of Postville.
Vernon, 23 year old son of the Kugels, and Donald, who is 20, take as much interest in operating the farm as their parents. Since 1938 Mr. Kugel has been a member of the Northeast Iowa Farm Record Association and Vernon, with the assistance of his younger brother, keeps an accurate account of the crops, number of acres devoted to oats, barley and corn, and the yield per acre, as well as many other worthwhile statistics, which is paying dividends. When the Herald writer visited the Kugel farm, Vernon and donald explained many interesting features of the farm and during a tour of the buildings pointed out labor saving machinery and other devices which have been installed to save time and money.
The Kugel farm is one of the most modern in this vicinity. In the spring of 1939 the old house on the property was torn down and a two-story modern eight-room home went up in its place. A chimney, standing 38 feet high, was the only part of the old building which was utilized. "We built this new house around the old chimney," Mrs. Kugel explained. "It looked funny at first when the men started putting up our home, to see the tall chimney standing by itself, but I guess that is often done by the contractors." Instead of plastering the walls of the home, sheetrock was purchased. "Two different lengths were used," Vernon stated. "We used five tons of sheets, 4X12 feet and 4X8 feet."
From May 20 until early in November when the new house was being constructed, the Kugel family lived in a large machine shed. Two rolling doors were used to divide the shed into three rooms and two windows from the old house were built into the shed to make "livable" quarters. Mrs. Kugel and her daughters, Eunice, 17, Gertrude, 12 and Bernadine, 8, went to work cleaning the old building and arranging furniture. "We had quite a time at first," Mrs. Kugel remarked, "but it wasn't so bad after we got things arranged. We had a few cold nights late in the fall and finally moved into the basement of the new house before the house was fully completed."
Wm. H.F. Kugel was born December 10, 1887, a son of Mr. and Mrs. August Kugel. The August Kugel farm is now owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Roy Pixler and adjoins the Wm. Kugel property to the south. In 1911 August Kugel purchased what is today the Wm. Kugel farm from Charles F. Radloff. Mr. Radloff had owned the property for two years, buying it from Gottlieb Brandt.
On February 22, 1916, Mr. Kugel was married to Miss Amelia Hamann, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Hamann of Farmersburg township, near National. She was born October 24, 1890, and had always resided on the Hamann farm. After their marriage they decided to follow the farming occupation and moved to the farm Mr. Kugel's father had purchased from Chas. Radloff. No one had been living on the property for seven years, so the buildings were in a run-down condition. They immediately began a rebuilding program which is still in progress. They rented the farm from Mr. Kugel's father for two years, then they purchased it. At that time it consisted of 160 acres. In 1925 an additional 40 acres of land adjoining their property on the southwest was purchased from Albert Zieman, so the farm consists of 200 acres today.
Buildings on the farm are all in first class condition. The barn, 36X80 feet, was put up in 1927; separator and cook house in 1926; hog house in 1927. The oldest structures are a wood shed and another barn which have been on the place since before they owned it. The corn crib was erected in 1918, the garage and hen house in 1919 and the machine shed in 1920. "That was the year we shingled the house," Mrs. Kugel said. "Everything was high in those days and I believe hogs were about 21 cents a pound."
During a tour of the farm, Vernon and Donald Kugel pointed out the granary which has been built into the corn crib. "Our hammermill is located right in the building and we can grind corn, barley and oats without doing any hauling," they stated. An elevator, powered by horses, is also available for use which speeds up the work of putting grain into the building. Corn husking isn't much of a job for the Kugels as they have a corn picker. "Last year we picked over 3,000 bushels in less than a week." Vernon said. At the present time the big barn on the property is full of hay, half alfalfa and half timothy. "We cut the alfalfa twice this year," he said, "getting about two tons to the acre."
According to accurate records on the crops, the Kugels this year received 1,948 bushels of oats on 33 acres, 489 bushels of barley on nine acres, and 81 tons of hay. Thirty-three acres are devoted to corn, which "will probably run about 70 bushels to the acre." Last year wasn't quite as good a grain year as only 820 bushels of oats were realized from 20 acres; 286 bushels of barley from 15 acres. But corn was a great crop in 1939, as 36 acres yielded 3,070 bushels.
All the corn on the farm is past danger of frost. In fact, they have already husked three loads and are feeding it to hogs in the fattening pen. This week they plan on selling 60 hogs. Mr. Kugel has 22 additional hogs and 82 feeder pigs. Other livestock includes 21 milch cows, both Guernseys and Shorthorns, and six horses. The Kugels also have a large flock of chickens.
For eight years Donald and Vernon were active in 4-H club work and it proved profitable for them. In recent years they have been assisting their sisters, Gertrude and Eunice, who are interested in the club work. During the Big-Four fair in Postville, Gertrude and Eunice sold four Shorthorn baby beeves, receiving from $11.75 to $12.75 per cwt. for them.
The Kugel children, with the exception of Vernon and Eunice, are now attending school. Donald is a Postville high senior, Gertrude and Bernadine attend Grand Meadow district No. 5 school. Eunice was graduated from Postville high school last May and Vernon has been devoting his full time to the farm in recent years after attending Luana high school two years.
~Postville Herald, September 25, 1940
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