By Jeff Gilliland
BOSTON – For most of their lives Jerry and Jim Cluff have patterned their ways after their parents’, raising cattle and crops to feed them and working other jobs elsewhere. So when their parents passed away two months apart this year and it was time to build a new corn crib, they didn’t see much sense in changing things.
James and Mariellen Cluff, the boys’ parents, passed away in July and May, respectively. When they were gone, the family farm on Caplinger Road near Boston needed a new corn crib.
“Dad was too tight. He’d never redo it. He patched and patched and patched,” Jerry said. “It was about to fall over so we said it’s time to do something.
“A lot of people always said why don’t you get a grain bin, but just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it’s better.”
Rather than go the modern route and build a metal grain bin like most farmers would, the Cluff boys decided to build a wooden corn crib just like their dad used.
“That’s what was here so we kind of decided that’s what we were going to put back. It’s what dad did and it worked for him, so we’ll do it dad’s way,” Jerry said.
The corn crib will have two six-foot wide bins, 24 feet long and 12 feet tall. But it’s not the only tradition of their father’s the bothers maintain.
Most farmers who feed their cattle from corn they raise remove the corn from the cob, then supplement the corn with hay or something else. The Cluffs grind and corn and cob together for feed.
“We’re about the only ones around except for the Amish that still grind their own feed using the cob as roughage so we don’t have to add hay,” Jerry said. “I’m doing in that way because dad did. A lot of people say you get lots of nutrients and vitamins from the cob, so there’s no reason not to.”
James and Mariellen were already farming in the Boston area when in 1970 James inherited the current Cluff farm his aunt had owned.
In addition to raising cattle and feed, James drove a school bus for Hills and Dales and Mariellen was a nurse in the rehab unit at Greenfield Area Medical Center and then worked at the Chillicothe VA.
The Cluff boys raise 70 to 80 beef cattle, plus hay and corn. Jerry works for the Ohio Department of Transportation in Hillsboro and Jim helps refurbish airplanes at the old Airborne facility near Wilmington.
They both work first shift then work have been working on the corn crib after their regular jobs. Jerry’s wife, Rachel, serves as their woodcutter. They hoped to have the roof on the crib by mid-October, because they’ll need it in just a few days to store their corn.
“They’re keeping the simple traditions their dad did going on the farm,” Rachel said. “Everything’s kind of outdated, but it’s still going.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.