Farm Collector

Dairyland Driftings

By Gil

It was quite a ‘rat-race’, getting lined up for the trip
– got plane reservations for June 8, getting the passports made
out, small pox shots, luggage, films and not to mention all the
phone calls and then too she took ‘all o-money’, but I
still got my steamer and stuff. Thus, after 25 years of marriage,
Alice left me to shift for myself, temporarily. I recall what
GEORGE LUNDIN was telling about some wild rabbits his daughter,
Lennea, had rescued from a hay field. Come late in the fall George
says, ‘We gotta let them out, we can’t keep them over the
winter, no barn to put them in and sure don’t want them in the
house’. Upon turning them loose, they gave a few big jumps
around and then wanted to get back in the cage.

Permit me to touch on an interesting era that occupied Louis
Johnson from 1902 – 1907 prior to his marriage. Having contact with
some relative, he landed in Duluth, June 1, 1902. At that time,
saw-milling was a major enterprise in Twin Ports, there being 23
mills, 5 of which were in Superior. This was probably the peak
years, as by 1910, only one of the smaller mills was left in
Duluth, that of Scott and Graft Logging Co. Louis, immediately
landed a job as lumber piler for Alger & Smith Logging Co.
located on Garfield Ave. starting at $1.50 and finally up to $2.50
per day. They employed some 45 men at the mill till in 1907 when
they shut down, turning out from 75M to 100M per 10 hour day,
mostly one inch lumber, pine, birch and tamarack that was shipped
out on boats, and lath was sawed out of the slabs. He does not
recall the engines used for power, but recalls the four big boilers
and the band saws. Lumber was piled 25 to 30 feet high in different
grades. Louis, with his partner, AUGUST HEMMING, a snuce chewing
Swede piled an average of 25M per day. Louis was 26 and August was
56 at the time the picture was taken. He recalls August chewed 2
boxes of snuff a day – bought snuce by the gallon jugs (cheaper
that way) and smoked a pipe morning and nite. Their bunk house
floor was covered with matches, the air inside, a tobacco blue.
They were given used leather belting inch thick and 24 inches wide
to make their own aprons. On rainy days, the lumber pilers (6
gangs) would not work and the mill would shut down. Louis had the
desire to go out West and work in the big mills but he had to stick
around Duluth to get his citizenship papers and by that time seems
he had met my mother-in law and ended up farming adjacent to her
home place 3 miles south west of Grantsburg.

‘Say, Ole, does your wife know you’re bringing me home
for dinner?’ ‘Does she know it, we’d argued about it
half an hour this morning.’

Am writing this as haying gets into full swing. The harvest is
indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. Still using my 42 year
old Indiana to cut hay. It’s a semi-mounted articulation mowing
machine, tricky thing to drive, but really gets around. Cut a patch
of hay and in so doing, a pair of meadowlarks sadly terminated
their hopeful efforts to hatch 5 eggs, and almost as sad to me to
think this ill deed could not be undone.

Was over to STANLEY PETERSON’S sawmill near Shell Lake, love
that place, the smell of fresh sawed lumber, the towering sawdust
pile, trilliams were in full bloom, birds continually singing and
now and then a cot-ten tail (not to mention a few mosquitoes).
Well, we ventured thru a few pages of history by hiking thru the
timber where once was a narrow gauge railroad that hauled the logs
to the big mill in Shell Lake at the turn of the century. On
returning to the mill site, we then oiled, watered and gassed up
his 18-36 Hart Parr and made some elegant tracks in his yard, then
back to the farm for lunch.

JERRY ERICKSON stopped in one week end to renew his Album and to
change his address. He is now employed at the Steel County Implt.
Co. at Owatanna, Minn. Guess what, he had a certain JUDY SPITZACK
with him and she was wearing a sparkler. Congratulations! Says
he’s gonna bring her over for a ride on the Case 50 come July
4th.

DONALD JOHNSON was in the Branstad Grocery and the proprietor
handed 5 year old Cynthia a candy bar to which she promptly
remarked, ‘I got two brothers at home.’

I don’t know if two can live as cheap as one, but certainly
a whole lot better.

  • Published on Sep 1, 1962
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