So they may not have been too surprised to come here and find a new name and look. After all, I tend to often not like what I write and I’ve got time on my hands to fiddle with things. Also, the way I had been using my name in giant red letters as the blog’s name seemed a little over the top.
OK, then, but what the heck is Brome Hill?
It’s a tribute of sorts to my dad, Tom Steinbach, and I can’t think of a better way to name this blog. If you read my ramblings in that newspaper whose name I still can’t bring myself to use, you are familiar with my dad. I wrote about him several times after he died in 2008 at age 69.
My parents, Tom and JoAnn, were farm crisis victims. After many years, they finally quit fighting to keep their farm in Lucas County and moved to Chariton during my sophomore year in college. Dad would have been 47 or 48 at the time. They started over with practically nothing, which is even more meaningful to me after losing my job at 45 than it was then.
The name Brome Hill is symbolic.
Brome grasses, more accurately known as Bromus, are in the genus of the grass family Poaceae. We didn’t know or care about that back then. All we knew was the stuff grew well in a field that Dad called Brome Hill. Each summer we would cut that grass at least two or three times and store it as silage for the cattle we fed.
We did it in the face of resistance. During some of the darkest days of my parents’ fight to keep the farm, the loan officer they worked with at the bank wanted them to tear up Brome Hill and plant it to corn or soybeans, which, the banker hoped, would generate more revenue.
Dad wouldn’t do it, saying it would only erode the already poor soil on a hill that wasn’t good for much other than raising hay or grazing livestock. But he did plant maybe the first no-till field of corn in a 100-mile radius on Brome Hill one spring after taking off the first cutting of hay. No-till planting is common now, but you should have heard the neighbors’ comments about that first field of no-till corn, which was far from the main road and hard to get to, but they still came to look and laugh.
The name Brome Hill and what it stood for are things I’ve not forgotten — namely Dad’s willingness to try something different even though others laughed at him and his stubbornness when he knew he was right. Those are things I’d be honored to have people think about me.
For many years I had the dream of owning a weekly newspaper somewhere and naming my company Brome Hill Publishing. That will probably never happen and it’s a lot cheaper to start a blog than it would be to start a newspaper company anyway. And Dad would have appreciated that even though I never saw him use a computer and I doubt if he would have known a blog from a bog.