Dairyland Driftings


| March/April 1960



Russell Steam Engine

Steam Engine Joe Rynda, Montgomery, Minnesota, with his latest addition to his steam engine family. A 20 hp 6 10 x 10 Russell compound Std., boiler No. 10695. It was shipped to Portland, Oregon, in 1901. How it got into Minnesota is a mystery. Joe bought

So .- - - - NOW I'M A COLUMnist??

Well, I'm not so sure - - - - am rather short on credentials: never tried a typewriter, - - - - shorthand ?? far from it - - - -no secretary (yet), but I do have a brief case, will travel! How it all came about, I don't know - puts me in mind of a cartoon I saw years ago - seems a colored man was ambling down a road dragging a long rope; a policeman thought it looked suspicious and asked Rastus 'Where you-all going with that cow?' Rastus, looking back, innocently replied, 'I sho doan no how dat cow done got attached.' Maybe it's more like the one Geo. Christian (he's my buddy with a background) was telling - seems at length Amos now owned a watch. Andy asked him 'You got the time, Amos?' 'Sho has, dar she am.' - Andy 'She sho am.'

When I first bought a steam engine in 1946, I got to wondering 'what will my neighbors think?' Well, I weathered that tolerance - now, there's thousands of readers that were happy with the ALBUM.

Stopped in at A. E. Maugans (St. Croix Palls, Wisconsin) first of November. He's a mail driver but interested in steam and gas engines, has several. That afternoon I saw for the first time a cider-mill and press. He was doing up some apples for a neighbor, and thus on a small scale he was in business and I got a taste of sweet cider. Now that's one form of processing that was unheard of in Northern Wisconsin, at least to me. I got home and took a second look at my Sept.-Oct. 1959 'The Furrow' - that cover photo now took on a new meaning to me; it's among my valuable 'keep-papers' now.

My curiosity aroused, I got to talking with Geo. Christian for some first hand information on cider making. He lived 3 miles southeast of Bunker Hill, Illinois, at the turn of the century. Said most every town had a cider mill. Abraham Meisner was doing custom cider making using a 10 hp Gaar Scott (hand steered) for power from 1890 up into 1906 or thereabouts. Most every farm had a 1 or 2 acre orchard. Lancaster Bros. (Frank and Joe) had close to 40 acres since a firm from St. Louis leased orchards for their cider trade. Work started mid-August and up into November depending on variety of apples; the early processed ones made into vinegar, with warmer weather favoring fermenting.

The rush season was mid-September or mid-October and Meisner's press could turn out a barrel a minute. Wagonloads of apples (average 26 lbs.) came steady - often 40 to 50 wagons waiting to shovel off apples. 12 bushels of apples made 1 barrel (50 gal.) cider, whereas 6 bushels of pears would make 1 barrel. Sweet cider is simply apple or pear juice, but after fermenting it's called hard cider, ya! Taking the cider home in wood barrels, then laying down barrel with bung up and enough water added to float out the 'scum' - when cider got to right stage 10 worth of Annis seed was added to maintain its desired taste, and sealed, then later consumed. Well, that's not 'how I got me a mother-in-law, a sipping' cider thru a straw' ----