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' ----
Had my oats stacked and finally got my threshing done last November 16. Had hoped to thresh on a Saturday to permit interested parties to attend the steam-job, but the weather was contrary - we get sompin' Texas don't -'brisk winter weather' - oats and straw were dry and in nice shape. Many a farmer in this locality resorted to combining and got little or nothing. Also had couple loads of soybeans to thresh but it got too dark and late to finish up, so the next day Geo. and I belted my Rock Island 12-25 tractor to my 4 roll McDearing shredder and run the beans thru the shredder. George said some beans went over, but I was satisfied getting 35 bushels (by weight) from less than two acres. I resolved shredding soybeans goes better than threshing corn.
Frank Miller of Lacrosse, Indiana, and his 'chauffeur', Herman Nunnally, of Lebanon, Indiana, came thru here on his 5,000 mile trip hunting tractors - evidently nothing ventured, nothing gained. Seems he made deals on Bates steel mule, 3 wheel Case, Gray, and located others pending, though he now has more than 100 tractors. I can see another tractor would be 'more power to you, Frank'. We always enjoy visitors here and come again - he tried out my latest acquisition, a Model T Ford 'Knickerbocker Form a tractor'.
One final thought, I overheard Ray Lock man ask 'What's worse than growing old?' -- Not growing old!