Hobby belts couple together at the show

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Linda Hamling (upper left) is busy working on a quilt. Her sewing machine is powered by a generator belted to her husband Dan’s International Harvester I-4 industrial tractor.

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Many couples find a way to enjoy one another's hobbies, or at least they find the grace to be supportive, but Dan and Linda Hamling of Albion, Neb., figured out a unique way to stitch their leisure-time passions into a remarkably innovative demonstration. Dan, on one extreme, enjoys restoring and showing old tractors, while Linda, an avid quilter, enjoys a different patchwork of events, and prefers more modern machines - sewing machines, that is.

"I was getting a little tired of not being able to do much at the tractor shows we were attending," Linda shouts as she signals Dan to kill the engine of the couple's 1944 International Harvester I-4 tractor, running at its governed speed of 1650 rpm. With the tractor quieted, Linda explains that their solution was to belt the tractor to a generator, which would in turn supply the electricity to run her sewing machine. The result keeps peace in the family, and provides food for thought to show goers.

"I thought it was a good idea," Dan says with a smile. "This way she can do what she wants and I can do what I want at the same show." Neither thought their formula for marital bliss would end up making such a popular exhibit though. "We have quite a few people stop to ask questions," Linda says. "I don't always get much sewing done, but we get lots of nice comments." Both agree they have more fun together at the shows than ever before. Dan won't go so far as to admit to actually running the sewing machine; however, Linda does enjoy driving the tractor in parades now. Either way, the Hamlings provide a fine example of how past and present can be belted up with a remarkably fruitful outcome.