Farm Collector


By Staff

Yes, I’ve been runnin’ steam engines f’r more than
fifty years, 
An’ th’ more I studies their habits, the certainer it
That human bein’s came closest to God an’ the angeles
They first created steam engines an’ set ’em to
workin’ f’r men:
F’r of all of men’s inventions, from now, way back to the
Steam engines comes the nearest to bein’ like flesh an’

Gas engines has their merits — they pack more power to the
pound – 
But that’s no great advantage, so long as you stay on the
An’ when it comes to flyin’ I’ll wait till they make a
That ain’t so darnd dependent on havin’ its gasoline.

Steam engines now, are human, just like a man or a mule,
They ain’t at all particular about what they have for
If there ain’t no cole pile handy there’s other tricks you
can turn,
F’r there’s no place on creation where you can’t find
somethin’ to burn
Blubber, hay or cactus — I’ve got up steam with ’em all

An’ I even fired a B’iler without no fuel at all.

That was up in the Andes Mountains, atop o’ the timber
On a pumpin’ job — unwaterin’ the Cerro de Pasco
Seventy miles from a railroad, three miles up in the sky —
They bile at 180 when you get up that high,
We fired fer a while on cord wood, packed up on Llamas,
Is a stinkin’, half baked camel, till our cholo choppers got
An’ quit in a bunch, one payday, we might have been shut down
If me an’ th’ head geologer hadn’t ah’ made a

He said right where we was workin’ was an old volcano’s
An’ there must be a fire in the mountain yet if we could only
get it out.

I told him if he’d locate it I’d hook it some way.
He said I couldn’t do it, so I bet him a whole months
I thought the youngster was bluffin’, but he was there with
the dope,
F’r he showed me a hot spring b’illin’ a short ways
down th’ slope.
Well, I screwed up a coil o’ steam pipe an’ shoved it down
in that hole,
An’ it turned that engine over just like we was burnin’
I couldn’t get up much pressure, but I rigged up a
condensin’ gear,
An’ we pumped them Spanish workin’s dry on half of an

I never seen a gas engine that hadn’t a yellow streak,
But steam engines act like people, they’ll do everything but
A diesel comes in handy — if speakin’ o’
But the whole internal combustion tribe — they are nothin’ at
all but machines.
They’ll deliver their rated horsepower, but when they’ve
done that they stop,
Just give ’em a pound of overload, an’ theres junk all
over th’ shop.
Now, a good steam engine is different, its got what you might call
To tackle a job that’s twice its size without any ifs or
Like a man thats gone to his limit but still makes good on his
It’s the same with your old steam engine — there’s always
power in reserve.

Throw all your drafts wide open, fasten your pop valve
Give her the steam an’ watch her pull you over the peak all

At Rangoon, on a floatin’ derrick, I was loadin’ teak
onto ships
An’ I made good friends with an elephant who was workin’
th’ timber slips.
We used to chin in the evenin’s, when he came down f’r his
An’ I’d toot good night on my whistle, an’ he’s
answer back up the path.
One day we shifted our moorin’s, an’ when this big boy
came along
He started to wade up twords us, when I seen there was
somethin’ wrong.
He stopped short off in his splashin’ and hollered to me
f’r help,
An’ I never heard nothin’ more pitiful — like than to
hear that elephant yelp.
He’d stepped right into a quicksand, a dozen feet from the
An’ t’was up to me to save him, an’ the only question
was how.

I grabbed the end of a log chain an’ went right over the
An’ yelled to my Burmah fireman to open his dampers wide
An’ throw some pitch in the firebox, to get all the head he
While I got a hitch round the elephant, a-sinkin’ there where
he stood.

I dived right under his belly an’ I hauled that log-chain
Right back o’ the big boy’s shoulder, before he sank out
of sight,
Only Ms trunk was showin’ a-tootin’ a farewell
Before I could swing the derrick round an’ make the hist gear
Then I pulled my throttle over, an’ I recon I prayed a
That my old steam engine’d tackle the load — and she stood
right up to it.

I don’t suppose no steam engine has ever took no such
Since steam was first invented, an’ none won’t ever
It streached that wire cable, it buckled the derrick mast,
It sprung the boom like a fish pole — but all the tackle held
F’r mebe a couple o’ minutes I didn’t know what to
F’r instead o’ the elephant risin’, the scow was
beginnin’ to sink.
But just as the strain got tightest an’ the engine almost
The sand let go in a hurry, an’ up the elephant popped
Like a mud-cat caught on a fish-hook an’ squealin’ to beat
the band,
He looked more scared than happy as I swung him over to
He pretty near wrecked the derrick before I could save my
Then he ran down the road a-tootin’ an’ I never seen him

  • Published on Mar 1, 1960
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