Dairyland Driftings

| September/October 1963

  • Dave Richie and his brother Willie
    Dave Richie and his brother Willie See Dairyland Driftings

  • Dave Richie and his brother Willie

My wife's visit to Norway last summer with a stop-over in New York City enhanced some of her remote relations from that 'big jerk' to visit Wisconsin, or more correctly calculated, put foot on a farm for a first time. I braced myself, with 4 metropolitan youngsters all with an objective to milk a cow. They concluded once you have the cow all you need is a milk stool and a bucket, seems they never comprehended a milking machine. Ranging in age from 3 to 14 they raised some very impromptu questions like 'Is this a daily farm?' (Elmer, now I've found a Brooklyn brogue). Being the only ones left in Alice's relation who strive for a living, bovinely speaking, I could rig my own answers. Certainly our set-up is a far cry from the modern milking parlors of today. Well none of our cows jumped over the moon, but noted I did fall a bit short on poundage of milk. So what: Climbing trees, picking toad stools and 4 leafed clovers were some more 'first timers' for them. With some persistance their vague apprehensions of rural-life were now to be answered in reality. Its always amusing to sort a delve into 'how the other half lives'. Here was a scrumptious trailer house owned by a New York building contractor parked on our 80 acre patch of ground. Well anyhow my conclusions to the whole thing, I think all girls are nice.

Planted some corn in late June to meet compliance on feed grain program and also 'cause Alice likes to drive the M-H, 4 WD pulling the planter, I think. Speaking of corn, I just finished shredding last years crop using 7 different power units namely Rock Island, John Deere D, John Deere G-P, McDeering 10-20, M-H 4 WD, Waterloo Boy and Case 50 steamer, what would my old tractors do without a shredder?

At this writing haying and corn cultivating are winding up. In our locality I note a large percentage of farmers who still use John Deere B's to do their cultivating. Being prompted to know why, came up with several answers, economy and simplicity, fly-wheel cranking poses no threat to broken arms, that uneven exhaust reduces fatigue, and the steering gear ratio eliminates excess effort in conforming to do good close work. Enough said?

Sometime ago DENNIS ANDRES from Duluth, prompted me to a trip to that city in search of stationary steam power, including some units that are booked for 'unemployment'. Such was the one in the DM and IR power house in Proctor. This twin cylinder horizontal INGERSOL-HAND with slide valves and chain drive governor has run an air compressor for nigh unto 60 years and still runs like new. Piped to the same boilers were two AMERICAN BALL engines, automatic slide valve cut-off, with 115 KW generators direct drive. EDWARD F. BENTZ is the engineer in charge and was very gracious, except to having his picture taken. Pictured by one of the American Ball engines is DAVE RITCHIE and his brother WILLIE who steered us to this power plant in-as-much as Bentz is an uncle of theirs.

At Central High School we met PETER A. HEGLE the engineer of its power plant. Here we saw a 100 HP Corliss Chuse pulling a generator. This unit was installed in 1905 and still doing the job; goes to prove the longlivety of simple steam power. Standing by is an automatic 240 HP RIDGEWAY with Ridgeway Dynamo. Hegle tells us this engine is not nearly as efficient, but since the exhaust is used for steam heating it still merits its maintenance. At Fitgers we found an 85 HP VILTER Engine with fly ball governor and slide valve, driving an ammonia pump for refrigeration. Stopping at Dennis' home place at 4384 LaVaque Rd. we enjoyed a nice lunch and looked in on his brothers 2' scale 65 Case about half completed, this model displays precision work indeed.

DAVE RITCHIE is a member of 'The Lake Head Threshing Bee' and has several collectors items including a rare 15 HP F-M Diesel, two flywheel engine in nice shape, and a 7 HP Fuller-Johnson. Their show for '63 promises to exceed their very good show of last year.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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