Dairyland Driftings

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Bill Briden, Crookston, Minn., and his custom built 4 wheel drive.
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Filling silo on the Pangerl's Farm, Pine City, Minn., 1962

In writing this episode, I’m sort a paralleled to Peggy and
Jill Steinmetz, (daughters of the DURWARD STEINMETZ’S, LaFarge,
Wis.). They were among the fortunate few who were excused from
school to attend The Old Threshers’ Reunion, but they were
booked to give a report on the event when they got back. Now, there
is a broad-minded version of education – a field trip of events
depicting past history in reality, before their very eyes.

Got GEORGE CHRISTIAN with his tent and cot, ALICE, with her
luggage and took off for our annual Labor Day week of steam rally.
First stop BUDENSKI’S Thresh Meet on Sept. 2 netted no take,
their valley under water, definitely rained out. George, came up
with, if we want to take in PAUL HEMP’S MUSEUM, west of
Rochester, he’d buy the tickets. This indeed a very worthwhile
stop and we are very grateful for Paul’s hospitality and
certainly his museum deserves every consideration for those
antiquely inclined – Aren’t we all? Here too, we met a group
who had stopped at Budenski’s and were destined for Mt.
Pleasant.

The weather, very favorable on Labor Day for the Cedar Falls
show. We met several acquaintances including PRANK STEBRITZ and his
son, Tom who has just completed a Gaar-Scott model engine and is
now building a half scale 110 Case- won’t that be some in? An
outstanding attraction at this show is SMOLICK BROS. of Osage,
Iowa, 110 Case No. 29-237 pulling a 14 bottom plow and doing right
nice work.

By nightfall, we pulled into REUBEN BOHMAN’S yard at Alpha,
III. Their long standing invite now became a reality. The following
day, we toured that locality, visiting historic spots at Andover
and Bishop Hill, also two shaft coal mines. We met DONALD OLSON at
Galva, who owns a 75 Case No. 35445, which his father bought new in
1922. George Christian often spoke of hedge row fences ‘back in
Illinois.’ Now, here for the first time Alice and I really saw
such early day fence line, and did pick some Osage oranges from
said hedge trees. Donald was telling as how a single cylinder
engine is superior to a double in pulling hedge, said you need that
rocking pull you don’t get from a two cylinder steamer. In
addition to Reuben’s farming, he operates a 50 Case and Crabb
saw mill. Upon leaving, we were given pears and concord grapes, as
well as a 1910 Minneapolis Catalog. Thanks to Bohman’s for
their generosity and a good time.

By noon on the opening day of Old Settlers, we were driving
stakes for George’s tent and renewing old acquaintances put us
in stride with the many activities. A rather frustrated lady, in an
orange colored dress, came rushedly by, ‘Do you know which
engine the Governor is on?’ Momentarily, I was speechless, my
thinking was every engine had a governor on it. Somehow, I had to
get her off the hook. ‘I take it you mean some dignitary? He
would likely be on one of the leading engines in the parade, likely
up on the track by now.’

Meandering over to the Stillwater New Giant, sure enough there
was GLENN McNAMAR, Granger, Mo. as in years past. He was a typical
boy, spry and happy. To my surprise, he had some old machinery
catalogs in the tool box. He called my attention to one on the
Robinson engine. The only steamer with a LaGrippe friction clutch
invented by F. W. Robinson, himself. It was in reverse of the
customary, in that the inner side of flywheel had a wood band
fitted in to accommodate the expending clutch shoes. Says Glenn, he
remembered when Ed and Jim SMITH from Arbeela had one of those
engines and encountered no trouble at all. Another catalog of older
vintage showed the Eureka center-draft hay mower. The 5 or 6 foot
cutting bar operated directly behind the horses, using a long
double-tree, one horse would alternately walk in the standing hay
as the swath was cut forth and back, similar to a two way plow.
These machines were built in Utica, N. Y. and Glenn says he’d
like to locate such a mower.

Confabbing with EINER TOSTENSON, from Minneapolis, he got to,
‘Where is Alice?’ I sea, ‘I think she’s in the
Women’s Tent, some lend of cooking demonstration, I guess’.
‘That’s a joke’, says Einer ‘Nobody needs tell
these women how to cook’. That statement was further verified
in a chat with HAROLD OTTOWAY from Wichita, he came up with the
conclusion that serving good meals is one reason for the success of
this show – men just don’t go for pop and hamburgers.

Just how I fell heir to running the stationary Eli baler is
beyond me, but I sensed with a steamer and some added man power
this could be a working project. My first prospect, George BEDNAR
from N. W. Minneapolis. He went to work oiling up this latest
acquisition. Overheard him talking, ‘Let’s see there’s
some do-jigger in here that works, Oh yes, I see it’s got a
link valve motion’. About that time, here comes my friend
Helmer SELVERSON from Amery, Wis. Seems he had acquired a similar
baler and was curious to see it operate so he gets booked to help
tie wires. In further pursuit, I prodded Bob McLAREN from Manilla,
Iowa to give us a hand. In trying to explain the workings, I tell
him, putting in the blocks, they have to sort a synchronize with
the plunger. He sees, ‘I don’t know what that word means,
but it sounds like a lot of fun’. Well, in due time we were set
up and doing business, but as far as Bob was concerned, he
couldn’t conceive the idea that baling straw was ‘having
fun’, but we managed to bale all the threshed straw and we were
grateful for the use of Ray ERNST’S 6 hp N. S. and 12 h p
Russell to power the baler as well as C.B. Killing’s
‘masterpiece’ in steam. Floyd CARTER, Monmouth, III. got
involved with operating the two threshers, 30 inch hand feed
Russell and 32 inch complete Port Huron. Rumors are evident that
with Floyd’s seniority rating, he will continue in charge of
the threshing.

Ed VOGEL, who flies his airplane to Mt. Pleasant every year
showed some movies on their farming operations and steam threshing
still using bundle teams, horses and mules. Not only threshing
grain, but hulling clover and threshing beans on their Buhl, Idaho
irrigated farm, rather I should say ranch. Very interesting
pictures, Yes, hundreds of steam fans, but only one Ed Vogel,
yet.

On the last morning of Old Threshers, Oliver RHEA from
Pennsylvania had left the Sater house as usual -at the crack of
dawn (as Geo. De Ruyter would say). Before we left, in comes
Oliver, seems he had forgotten his tobacco, but there was a bit
more involved, he was going from door to door with a 3-in-1 oil
can, talking to himself, ‘I’m gonna oil these hinges, if
it’s the last thing I do’. From my shaving procedure, I cut
in, ‘Yeah, they been squeaking all right, but am not you doing
that after the horse is stolen? -the show is about over’.
‘What you mean’? he sea, ‘this been going on for eleven
years’, and then added, ‘Bill won’t dare come in
tonight, he’ll think it’s the wrong house’. (Anyhow,
Thanks, Oliver, from us and Mary Ellen, too).

After a hearty pancake breakfast, I walked with Bud WAGNER of De
Moines over to Helen Wood’s engine to start fire. Cleaning
flues and checking the water was quite routine but finding the
smoke-stack plugged with wet paper sort a lowered his ego.
‘Gosh, too bad’-, I sees. Bud sees, ‘Yes, too den bad,
this is the last day or I’d get even with somebody’. (I
think that’s the words he used?) Rawligh CREEK’S double N-S
was victim of the same gesture, but somehow two red strings got
left hanging outside, so Rawligh smelled the rat before starting a
fire.

The following week-end, we three hit for the Red River Valley to
Alf Elden’s steam-up at Oslo, Minn. Stopped at Bill BRIDENS,
Crookston, the first night, to gander over his array of collectors
items. Had a ride on Bill’s home-made 4 wheel drive, with a 200
hp Diesel Motor, capable of pulling a 10 bottom plow at 3 m.p.h.
Now, that’s what I call a ‘la la ba loosa’. Must say,
we sure enjoyed our visit at Bridens, Thanks, indeed.

Arrived at ELDENS about noon on Saturday, the various activities
and displays were widely divided to avoid congestion. Briden had
supervision of the chain-drive Giant No. 3806 and there was ample
help to keep bundles moving. To my delight, I had opportunity to
cut bands for the handfed Peerless thresher, which AIF acquired
from Nielsville, Wis. It is unique in that it has no sieves. His
sawmill is another oddity, purchased in Norway and known as a
bench-Mill, using a straight saw, 46 inch, to compensate for boards
being sawed from either side. Much could be said of Eldens varied
equipment, not to mention the interesting museum on the grounds.
Movies were run in the evening of various steam shows and here as
at Mt. Pleasant, I was privileged to show a film on threshing in
England, that I received from Art Clark of Sussex, truly a film
amazingly different.

One can hardly span the vast Red River Valley without sensing a
feeling of pioneering days; here was fertile soil, open country,
here was opportunity. I was having a lunch at Eldens cook-car and
by mere coincidence, I met Francis COOPER from Portland, N. D. who
strangely enough had composed a poem dedicated to the early
settlers. It is very fitting indeed and having his permission would
like to see it in print. Thanks, Francis.

Thanking the Eldens for their hospitality, we headed back to the
Badger state, stopping a short time at Swanville, to drop off
George.

Getting back to our farm, silo filling would now be the main
project. Got a phone call from Joe PANGERL of Pine City, Minn. –
was filling silo using his 28 hp Minneapolis. We couldn’t pass
that up, made the 40 mile trip in time for forenoon coffee. Got a
chance to fire the engine and take pictures. It matters little to
Emma Pangerl how many people are to be fed, but insists they eat on
time.

September : 22 & 23, the Dresser Show. It too, was a
success. About 85 operating gas engines, several steamers and
threshers together with numerous tractors and a Model Railroad
Locomotive displayed by Arvid ANDERSON from Frederic. Outstanding
too, was Alois BERCHENS 1898 steam Locomobile taking on passengers
for free. C. E. GILBERT again had his Birdsall portable belted to
the Case agitator thresher. We were fortunate to have Mr. and Mrs.
Lester ROOS from Geneseo, Illinois in our midst.

Filling our silo using the 50 Case on 14 inch Gehl ensilage
cutter kept a good crew busy having fun. Nyle KARTH and Harry
SCHACHTS were up from Eau Claire, Stanley PETERSON from Shell Lake,
Dennis ANDRES from dauluth, together with some neighbors help, We
did use my Waterloo Boy part time to keep ‘2 cylinder
Stanley’ happy and get more tape recordings and pictures.

Took in the Lakehead Threshing Bee, 15 miles west of Duluth.
Them boys got lots of enthusiasm and some very rare equipment
including a double cylinder Minneapolis steamer.

The reason that the Golden Wedding Anniversary is such a joyous
occasion is that most couples are out of debt by then.

Farm Collector Magazine
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