Branch No. 6 Show at Koster Ranch

| May/June 1991

  • Jacob Price's Peteluma press
    Jacob Price's Peteluma press, c. 1865 owned by Ken McCrary, baling at Koster Ranch in 1990. Crew: Paul Reno, Cliff & Bill Koster and Dominic Duarte.
  • Champion wobble gear mower
    Dave Lyons mowing with an 1870 Champion wobble gear mower in the drought stricken hay field at Koster ranch, 1990. Mower is not restored, cuts as good as ever.

  • Jacob Price's Peteluma press
  • Champion wobble gear mower

Oakland, California 94602

As you know we have had four years of drought and this winter is starting off cold, with no rain to speak of yet. The drought hurt our grain bearing crops; the cold got the citrus.

Last winter I planted a crop of barley and winter peas, a real mixture, to have a hay crop to bale hay with the 'Peteluma' on June 9 and 10. Irrigation water was cut back 50 percent so we lost that in April.

I had to get out the swather and trim up around the wheat field for hay. The commercial combine usually passes through the San Joquin Valley the last week in May.

And it so happens we had half the rain we got, in three days over Memorial weekend. We got out the binder and cut wheat for the Threshing Bee the last week in May. The ground really had a soaking and the weather stayed cloudy and cold.

We had to keep hay turned or it wouldn't have dried enough to shock the grain bundles. Lots of cut hay on the ground spoiled. The rain packed the ground so hard the bean crop couldn't come through and we had to replant it. So at show time, June 9 and 10, the local farmers were behind on farming, which hurt the attendance crowd.