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Carley documents what it was like to grow up on a farm

SHARON — Longtime Sharon resident Richard “Dick” Carley signed copies of his book, “Growing Up On the Farm, a Sharon Mountain Story,” at the Sharon Historical Society on Jan. 15.Carley came to Sharon when he was 5 years old in 1942. He then began a 17-year journey working on the farm with his father, also Richard, who was the farm manager.When asked why he wrote the book, Carley said, “When I was a young man, my father told me he wished my grandfather had written down all he had done. Upon reflection I felt it was important to tell the story of life on Sharon Mountain at Fiddelstyx Farm, a dairy farm.”Carley said he was very close to his late father and almost titled this book, “A Love Letter to Dad.”The book covers the period from 1942 until 1959, when dairy production ended at the farm. Carley explained on July 1, 1959, the farm received a Federal Milk Order pricing milk at about $13 per hundredweight. Prior to that they were receiving a little over $18 per hundredweight. With an almost 30 percent drop in income the farm could not continue operations.At age 22, Carley reluctantly left the farm, became an engineer and began a 30-year career with the Connecticut Highway Department building roads and bridges all across the state.“Growing Up On the Farm, a Sharon Mountain Story” also chronicles young Carley’s memories of Sharon Mountain where Albert Metz built Fiddelstyx, a summer music school complete with stage, practice cabins and a farm to provide food for the campers and staff.According to Carley, his next Sharon Mountain memories are of Albert Metz’s nephew Bob, who became a role model and provided him with a positive attitude, comfort, care and devotion following a tragic accident.Carley’s father was not only a Sharon Mountain farmer, he also served as Sharon first selectman.Carley’s book has something for everyone: Sharon residents, students, history buffs, farmers, agricultural students and anyone who likes a good story. He writes about simple things like three different types of hay making that do not exist today; raising calves and working with horses; bringing milk to the milk stands; feeding 22 cats at once, and how he raised a bull for a short time before realizing it was a heifer calf, who would go on to become the herds’ best milker.Copies of Carley’s book may be ordered by telephoning 860-364-5652 or via email at macarley@sbcglobal.net.

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