At this writing, Spring has sprung and a man's fancy turns to field work. (Oh Yeah?) At any rate, we are now engaged in pursuit of a grain crop. My 'Little Genius' plow has been giving my old I-H 10-20 a rough time. Disheartening to think in all probability, I plowed up some Horned Lark or Field Sparrow nests, insomuch as their presence seemed to protest my procedure. Unlike the Killdeer, whose unyielding attitude permits one to locate his nest and thusly avoid its' destruction. I recall driving thru the Red River Valley one fall, a farmer, plowing close to the highway using a M-M tractor. He was almost obscured by hundreds of Gulls circling him and evidently feeding on some morsels turned up by his plow. What a thrill it must have been to him and to me, it was a chance to take some movies. Was consoling my Case 50 the other day-says I, 'The Lord willing, we'll give you the pleasure of the belt-work lined up to the 28 X 50, come August.' It's got to a point where the demand for by-products exceed that of a product. My 'Combining' naber was paying 65 cents a bale for threshed straw-whereas I bought excellent 2nd crop alfalfa at 50 cents a bale. Likewise, timber by-products were in great demand. Although, at most mills, sawdust was for free, if you are lucky enough to find it. Shavings run as high as 12 dollars a truckload (delivered, of course). Hardwood slabs were moving at a dollar a pick-up load and on up. Perhaps, the lumbering enterprise hasn't made rich operators, but some of their disposal problems were solved, at least, temporarily.
HARRY SCHELL, from Blue River, Wisconsin stopped in while making the rounds in the interest of the many saw-mills throughout Dairy land and into upper Michigan. Hammering mill-saws and selling supplies keeps him and his helper, HARVEY HENDRICHSON, on-the-ball. We were busy sawing lumber (in effigy), when Alice bothered us with pie and coffee. Come again Harry, I'll have the 'roll-away' ready for another 'setting'.
Was over to Birchwood recently to the Veneer Factory. To my sad surprise, their stationary slide valve 85 hp. Erie (13 X 16) engine set idle, though still belted up, it was covered with a plastic. Seems with kiln drying and using steam for power, they were forced to buy coal for fuel, so are now operating with high-line energy! The attendant was telling me the concern recently installed some new equipment, which had to be operated very slowly in making proper adjustments and there the 'wire-winding-power' was out, so the steamer had taken over for that crucial moment. Bought a Fairmont gas engine over at Rice Lake and I decided to stop at the Excelsior plant where steam still rolls the works. Using a chain drive off a Lentz poppit valve engine, 19 X 21, 350 hp. I was told at the office, absolutely no visitors and there were numerous signs on the premises to that effect. 'Well I just wanted to see the steamer run'. By thus limiting my intrusion to the engine and boiler room, the Boss man flipped a switch and very shortly I was escorted and even permitted*to take pictures.
HARDY LINDBLAD was over to Medford on a business trip and hoped to visit the steam-powered furniture factory, but he said they were very reluctant to any visitors there, too. Precautions, is a big word for industries. Hardy, who owns that superheated 60 Case, was telling me he has a project to build a low pressure boiler for the bakery in Frederic. Steam heat and sterilizing, puts a boiler in a rather unique position. We visited one evening with ARVID ANDERSON, another steam fan; has a live toy steam model in his basement, where his 'would be T-V time' is spent. Aside from the space for the furnace, he has wall to wall miniature railroading. Arvid has a park-size locomotive under construction at this time and his ambition knows no bounds. Showing him a copy of IMA, he lost no time tossing out a couple bucks and says-Put me down. Come the last Sunday in April, we were forced, more or less, by legislation to go on Daylight-Saving Time, which only adds, to the already confusion of hectic modern day schedule. Being adjacent to the Minnesota border and the Twin Cities, where standard time prevails two months more than Wisconsin, crossing the border, be it radio, T-V or auto, one gets continually disconcerted. How can we expect nations to agree, when even joining states set up such unnecessary problems? If time is to be tampered with, let it be on a national basis, or not at all.
A fellow casually approached his neighbor, 'You should buy shades for your windows'. 'Why so?' 'Well, I saw you kissing your wife last night'. 'Ha! That's a joke on you, I wasn't even home last night'.
For some time, I've had correspondence with RODNEY PITTS from Can-by, Oregon. Must say it puts me to task, in effort to answer his con glam-oration of witty paraphrasing. By the way Rod bears the Title of Chaplain of W.S.F. I have it in writing that we are invited to his Ranch, perchance we are world-fair minded, and since I have a sister in Seattle, (Mercer Island) we may just finally venture that far, we hope. Puts me in mind of JENS HANSEN, a stern ole bachelor, at a county fair some years ago-said he was tempted to go into a girlie side show-gazing around to make sure no acquaintance would see him-then after getting inside the tent, much to his surprise, there were his neighbor too.
Got word that WILLARD LUNDE, who operates a tire shop and gas station in St. Croix Falls, Wis. is a gas engine fan. Musta got the bug from restoring several engines for nearby collectors. In his own collection, he has restored a Wollery, a Stover and an air-cool Associated.
The latter seems to be his pet and if anybody stops for a look at it, he clips on the battery, a couple jerks of the flywheels and it's off like new. The Woolery was salvaged from a swamp and gave him quite a tussle, but it too is now all painted and among the living-showed Willard a copy of IMA and the minute he saw Sparks from Old Plugs, he hands me a couple frog-leaves, before I got my order book out. From there, I visited perhaps one of the early antique collectors in this region, DENNIE MAGNUSON, Center City, Minn. He has almost completed restoration of eight engines this past winter-a 6 hp Bloomer, 4 hp horizontal R & V, a 2 hp F.M., 1 hp Ideal, 2 hp Assoc-a 2 hp Alpha, 3 hp Economy and a 3 hp Sandow. Surprising, what you find, he says-that R & V, I believe it was, has 5 piston rings, one of which encircles the piston pin. Dennie is secretary of our Branch No. 1. Had a very interesting letter recently from MARCUS LEONARD, Salina, Kansas, who celebrated his 90th birthday, April 18. He has contributed many interesting factual articles from his long experience. His penmanship, like that of FRANK STE-BRITZ, Algona, Iowa, simply amazes me. Both these steam men greatly appreciate any letters from steam fans, do write them.