Osage Orange Lumber Projects and Other Hedge Stories

Readers share hedge anecdotes and shed some light on a vintage tractor ad from our May issue.

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by AdobeStock/Gerry

Dad thought he was boss, but hedge posts ruled the farm

In 1956, we moved from Peoria to a place north of Edelstein, Illinois. Dad decided he had had enough of the oppressive city life.

Every winter for the first couple of years, we got snowed in for several days at a time as we were the only place on this 1-mile stretch of gravel/mud road. One winter in about 1960, we were snowed in for several days. Dad decided he was going to travel across fields to Lawn Ridge, a small, unincorporated town northwest of us.

Lawn Ridge was located at the intersection of (then) State Route 88 (now 40) and Blueridge Road. In that town was a tavern. The tavern not only sold the regular tavern articles, but also essentials like bread and milk. Dad said he needed to go there for bread and milk. Mom always said he needed cigarettes more than bread and milk.

The trip across country would be about 1-1/2 miles through snow and drifts. So, Dad decided he would fire up the 1935 Farmall F-30, find a spot in our old west hedge row to go through and head to Lawn Ridge. It was a good plan, but anyone familiar with the F-30 knew it had what some folks call a “wide stance” on the rear axle.

Dad apparently underestimated the width of the rear axle and promptly wedged the F-30 between two hedge trees. Knowing my dad, he probably thought he could just bull his way through but that just made the F-30 more trapped. We couldn’t afford a chainsaw back then, so he walked back to the house. The next day, the township finally cleared the road and the neighbor with a World War II-vintage Jeep stopped in.

Learning of the F-30 predicament, the neighbor and Dad drove out to the hedge and used a winch and cable on the Jeep to free the F-30 from the hedge row. Dad didn’t try that again.

Later in the 1960s, we learned our old gravel/mud road was to be totally rebuilt for the full mile. That winter Dad bought a Montgomery Ward chainsaw (probably on time). It was the heaviest piece of equipment I can remember for one man to operate. That winter, Dad and I cut the hedge row along the south edge of the property for hedge posts, since the hedge row was to be bulldozed out anyway. We burned all of the brush and salvaged over 1,000 hedge posts. We stacked them in an upright position down in the pasture. Dad died in 1982, and when mom died in 2004, we sold the farm.

Those darned hedge posts were still there in the pasture in 2004, showing my dad who really was boss.

Rich Brehmer, Deer Creek, Illinois

An appreciation for the luster of hedge and Osage orange lumber

I really enjoy your magazine. I am 86 years old and can relate to your stories and pictures. I have shocked wheat and oats. I had a John Deere binder and a 28-inch Bell City thresher. I started farming with a TE-20 Ferguson to a WD45 Allis. Two years ago, I quit with a 7020 Allis and a 9600b Ford and a C11 Gleaner combine.

I have cut hedge with a two-man crosscut and a bow saw before there were chainsaws. In this area, there are quite a few hedge rows still standing. I am replying to the Wisconsin reader about staples in old hedge. I know now we chainsaw a notch about 1/2-inch deep (3/4-inch if the bark is still on) for the wire to set in and use No. 12 wire to go around the post: The barbed wire stays there.

I have a bandsaw mill. A straight log measuring more than 10 inches by 8 feet long will produce some beautiful boards, rotating the log until about a 3- by 3-inch center is firewood. The boards will bisquit-joint very well. I have made several pieces of furniture, including bedframes, sewing machine cabinets and chairs.

My granddaughter made a “Rancher’s Companion” box for boots and gloves. She got first place at the Kansas State Fair. It is a beautiful yellow but with time it will darken to almost like walnut, but with a beautiful grain.

If younger, I would build kitchen cabinets with hedge. I lost my partner and wife two years ago. Like me, she wanted to be cremated, so my son made a 6- by 6- by 18-inch box for her ashes. His neighbors carved her name and roses on the lid. It’s very pretty and yellow was her favorite color. I asked him to make me one too.

Joe Chizek, Cuba, Kansas

Looking for leads on plow

old plow propped up against a tree in a back yard

We were given an old plow to repair. How do I find what year it was made? The 74-year-old lady who gave it to us said her grandfather and father used the plow. We would like to get it as close as possible to how it would have looked when new. It is in well-used condition and has sat outside for years. The longest piece is metal and has a line through it. Markings read BF Avery & Sons King 25. When restored, the plow will have two handles.

Elaine Wilson, 3437 Brookmeade Dr.,
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

An answer to the Fordson-Ronning truck production numbers question

collection of vintage illustrations of Fordson-Ronning tractor trucks.

This is in response to a question from Bob Gallagher, Onalaska, Wisconsin, on Page 6 of the May 2022 issue of Farm Collector. He asked if any Fordson-Ronning trucks were ever produced. The answer is yes, but the number built seems to be small. They were demonstrated at the Minnesota State Fair in 1924. Only a few parts of the truck still exist, such as the canopies that were kept by the inventor, Adolph Ronning.

golden brown paper advertisement for a fordson-ronning truck

The Road Planer was built and at least one machine is still known to exist (also kept by the inventor). The design was changed to tractor in the rear and steering in front and became the basis of road graders as royalties were collected by Ronning for many years from many companies.

I have been researching the Ronning inventions for more than 20 years.

Arnold Zempel, 150 60th St. SE,
Montivideo, MN 56265

Anyone know anything about this wrench?

Looking for information on this adjustable wrench. It has two holes; a bolt is installed when the desired size is needed. No maker’s name is on it. The only markings are 4-3/4 Patent No. 8F2243 patent pending. Does anyone know who made it and what its purpose was? The wrench weighs 21 pounds and is 34-1/2 inches long.

Tom Weleske, 218 Broadway,
Hallock, MN 56728-4313


Send letters to:

Farm Collector Editorial
1503 SW 42nd St.
Topeka, KS 66609;
fax: (785) 274-4385;
email or online.

  • Updated on Sep 15, 2022
  • Originally Published on Aug 30, 2022
Tagged with: hedge, letters to the editor, mystery implement, plow, vintage ad
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