Dairyland Driftings

By Staff
1 / 2
Our 20 hp Sawyer balancing on teeter-tootter at our Bee.
2 / 2
Flash picture of a double M. Rumely doing her best to melt wax in a sewer.

Dairyland in winter ain’t just ‘jerkin jerseys.’ The
few hours available amid choring are spent largely in the woodlots.
Buzzing chain-saws leave their trails of jobs well done as well as
acres of just fallen trees (minus the choice logs), typical of
Americans is the waste untold. This has been another winter with
little or no snow, at least up to Feb. 14.

Must say, I too, enjoy the tasks of timber harvest, cutting
logs, splitting fence posts, gathering firewood and even cutting
the underbrush. The latter project being simplified by a tool that
seems to have originated by P.W.A. program and is stamped as such.
Have never found one in a Hardware, but were available as a surplus
commodity back in the early 40’s. Simply a tempered piece of
steel about 5’x9′, 3/16′ thick and sharpened on the two
edges. A wood handle attached to the mid-section at a 45 degree
angle does the trick. Wood for fuel, we find, is still the best for
us. It’s the cleanest, cheapest and safest. We like the smell
of wood burning, and ‘buzzing’ it up gives us a chance to
belt up various old tractors. Even shredding corn in sub-zero
temperatures is simplified by using live coals to heat the oil pan
in the of tractor. And last, but perhaps best, wood ashes add
potash to the soil. The fenceposts to keep our bovines in, and the
nabers out. Native lumber is used for building and gives me a
chance to put the ’50’ Case on the sawmill where again we
gain slab wood and sawdust as a supplement for bovine-bedding.

Nyle Kurth from EauClaire stopped one day -brought a couple
steam engine records along. (Tape recordings were taken of my Case
on the mill by Lonny Maugans of St. Croix Falls and thence put on
records.) Well, Nyle was my engineer and fireman, Geo. Christian
the off-bearer and were both interviewed as well as myself -we ran
the record several times and I hope to hear it again before

December 15 was indeed a day for my book. Two Frank Millers from
Indiana, La Crosse and Kewanna together with Sherald Bonnell, also
from Kewanna driving a Buick stopped before breakfast. Seems the
Kewanna Miller had ‘bagged’ an 80 Case at Little Falls,
Minnesota. Had a nice visit over a cup of coffee ere they left.
That very afternoon three steam-fans from North Dakota drove in.
Liston Grider from Rugby whom I’d hoped to meet, having had
correspondence with him back in ’48. With him were Lester
Grilley and his son, George, from Glenburn. They were just driving
thru but did buy my 6 ft. Deering grain binder, the one I obtained
from James Sylling of Spring Grove, Minn. That binder is getting
around, will have cut grain in three states, at least.

Liston Grider, a well driller and Dr. Ted Keller owned a Double
M Rumely which was pressed into service around the clock for 4 days
clearing out a ton of wax from 2 blocks of Rugby’s sewers which
had hardened and plugged the sewers. The wax was inadvertently
poured into the system when a creamery vat boiled over. Creamery
employees tried flushing hot water thru the mains and the
city’s small steamers used for clearing drains were
ineffective. Grider and Sam Tafte alternated to keep the engine hot
and with extra hose borrowed from Great Northern Railway fed enough
steam into the sewers to melt the wax. See flash photo of steamer
on nite-shift.

Tourist information would have you think fishing is a must in
‘Dairy-land.’ That fish are plentiful and all you have to
do is drop the line (oh yes, and buy a license). Well, methinks
maybe its all just a line. The weather was unseasonably mild the
ice 14 inches thick, minnows for free, acces s to a new ice drill –
3 women- Edith, Louise and Alice decided for ice fishing while
their 1960 licenses were still valid. Edith caught one crappie, the
next caught nothing, the latter came home with two – One Northern
(all dressed from someones freezer) and a humdinger of a cold.

Pearl and Thelma Aaby, formerly from Frederic, are teaching in
Minneapolis but own a farm in Bone Lake Twp. They usually visit the
area every week-end and driving out last Thursday found the
‘little house out in back’ missing – tracks revealed a
truck had driven up, loaded building and hauled away. The ladies
are of the opinion it may be used on some lake as a fishing shack.
What you think, Bill??

Sez one Eskimo to another, sez he, ‘I never saw such a
woman, she’s bound to have a cloth coat.’

Jerry Erickson dropped in one evening-said he hadn’t got his
Jan-Feb. issue of the ALBUM. ‘Now what?’ Isez, ‘Is your
subscription run out?’ ‘No,’ says Jerry, ‘that
can’t be, I’d go without shoes before that’d

‘Boy, oh boy! That was some blonde you were with last night
– where did you get her?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know, I just
opened my billfold.’

Reckon most of us read the article on ‘Redskins’ by Red
Pitts in Jan. ’60 issue of Steam Engines? Al Johnson and his
wife, Arlene from Leonard, Minn, were here on a visit and begory he
tells one about fumigating Indians that really takes the cake.
Perhaps someday he’ll send in the episode in his own words, I
hope. Well, our local veterinary used to test cattle for Uncle Sam
out in Montana – up around Browning Reservation – believe you me
you wore the customary hat and boots – you did what the Brownies do
or else. He said it was so tough if you saw a cat with a tail it
was a ‘foreigner.’ Lots of Indians in Wisconsin but to my
knowledge cause no undue disturbances. Have witnessed their
Pow-Wows on July 4th Celebrations many times. This colorful affair
creates quite an attraction.

Speaking of write-ups and Hobby Magazines, have come across many
compliments on Mary Lou’s efforts with ‘Engineers and
Engines’ – atta girl, Mary – you’re jest the girl vot can
do it! S’funny thing, my subscription to that publication runs
out with December issue – for several years I’ve hinted to the
spouse to just renew it for my Christmas present ‘sted of a
shirt or sompin – but, she takes a different approach to the
matter. ‘You’ll send in the renewal allrite but I’m not
so sure you’d buy a new shirt.’ So now, I get both, after
all, Santa foots the bills.

I received some slides from Art Clarke of England; also several
issues of ‘Steaming’ magazine published by National
Traction Engine Club. Sure makes good reading and hard to put down.
An article on ‘Portables’ by H. Bennett says they were made
from the 1840’s and still being made for Messrs. Robey &
Co. of Lincoln, even in this age of oil and internal combustion
engines. The writer goes on – notes a Clayton & Shuttleworth of
1860 vintage – for over 60 years (till scrapped in ’22)
threshed most of the corn from the 2000 acres of Barkston in
Lincolnshire. Wherever she went, bearded Geo. Watson, part owner
and driver always went with her – when the engine was wore out so
was he.

Further quotes from the issue – in reference to the Weston Park
Rally, the longest journey to the Rally was made by a Sentinal
Wagon owned by Jim Hutchins of Ferndown, Dorset. He drove the 135
miles to Weston with Mrs. Hutchins acting as fireman.

The Woodburn Rally – 4 Fowler engines gave demonstrations of
ploughing and moledraining on the Sunday as well as taking part in
events on the Monday.

From the County of Salop, at the time of writing the two large
Fowler ploughing engines belonging to R.M. Woolley of Bucknell are
engaged on a dredging job near Ludlow.

Steam Rollers are still in use – several makes of traction
engines were 3-speed jobs – some engines have stood derelict for
many years in need of new smoke-box and chimney. For Sale a 4′
6′ Marshall threshing Drum No. 14281.

An article on ‘Efficiency of Traction Engines’ by John
F. Clay – in short, the overall commercial efficiency takes into
account capital cost and the price of fuel and maintenance. This
explains why the steam engine has been able to withstand the
onslaught of theoretically more efficient power units for longer
than the protagonists of the latter ever thought possible. Had it
not been for certain powerful tested and political interests, steam
might with advantage have lasted longer still, especially in road
haulage. The wiser historians of transport now agreed that had
steam been allowed to serve the road as well as rail- to days
transportation problem would have been settled long ago – instead
of bankrupt railways and dangerously over-crowded roads, we might
have had fewer but better railways and an adequate road system. So
much for ‘Steaming’.

Have had minus 25 degree weather but we feed birds every winter
– suet for the Hairy, Downey and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers – seeds
for the Chickadees, Nuthatches, Tree-Sparrows, Cardinals and
Evening Grosbeaks.

Art Meisner was telling about working in logging c amps up north
– they would grind their axes after supper, was so cold one time
they hurried with a teakettle to the grindstone and the kettle
froze solid so fast the ice was still warm. – GIL JOHNSON


The Thresher in the picture sent in by F. L. Williams, Box 42,
Cordova, III., shown on page 23 of your March-April 1961 issue of
the Album is a Gill Peerless Thresher manufactured by the Trenton
Agricultural Works of Trenton, New Jersey. At one time this concern
employed approximately 125 men building threshers, feed mills,
etc., including Butterworth’s, who later designed their own
thresher and started the New Jersey Agricultural Works. Quite a few
years ago we bought out the Trenton Agricultural Works and
continued to build the thresher. Complete repair parts are still
available for the Gill Peerless Rye Thresher. If you know of anyone
who would like to purchase a new Gill Peerless Thresher, we have
one in stock for immediate delivery.

W. G. RUNKLES’ MACHINERY CO., R. G. Runkles, President, 185
Oakland Street, Trenton 8, New Jersey


I take your Album. It is worth every penny and more than we pay
for it. I live in the east part of Tenn. It’s not a big
threshing place but steam was used to thresh and sawmill. It is
pretty hilly in this section and it sure was some show to see the
big steamers pulling steep grades and threshing. Most of the
machines were small. About 22×36. I have a 16 hp Frick now. I use
it for parades. I go to Kingsport, Tenn. every 4th of July, also
parade in Greenville, Tenn.

We don’t have any Thresherman Reunions in this state that I
know of. I sure would like to see one started. I know of a few
steamers and we could put on a small show. I believe I could get
about 6 engines together. I was in Brookville, Ohio to a steam show
this year (1959). It sure was fine. I intend to see more.

CLAY PHILLIPS, Fall Branch, Tenn.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment