Sunday, February 14, 2010

A woman in a man's world

This is my grandmother Dorothea Cline. I was named for her. My grandma ran the Agricultural Stablization and Conservation Service in our county for 25 years and she ran my grandpa a good bit longer than that. She sewed all of her own clothes, made quilts and pies, kept an imaculate house and still had time to make us root beer floats on hot summer days.
She worked very hard to convince farmers that the hilly country in Brown County Indiana wasn't well suited for row crops. That the farmers could earn more and save their topsoil by putting their land into pasture and raising beef and hay. She convinced land owners to manage their wood lots instead of just timbering off land with out thinking about the future. Grandma started the "Forestry Field Day" which I remember as one of the big events of the fall each year. She brought in foresters and other educators to teach about forest management for sustainability.  What I remember as a kid was the rail splitting demonstration and the apple cider and homemade baked goods and walking through the crispy leaves listening to the forester tell about the different trees and did I mention the apple cider? 
Grandma encouraged farmers to take advantage of government programs that would help them to build ponds to store water. Our county doesn't have a lot of natural spring water and good wells were hard to come by.  When I was a teenager Grandma was invited to Washington DC to receive an award from the president for her years of service. She was an amazing woman and way ahead of her time.
When I was in first grade learning how to spell my name I wasn't too crazy about being named  Dorothea, but now I am proud to be her namesake.

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