GOSSIP FROM THE BACK SHOP

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Route 1, Box 1015, Yucaipa, California

Every now and then a comical incident stirs up around the old
threshing rig. Such a group of fellows well into the season become
like a crew on a ship at sea or a force around a large machine shop
or foundry. Someone always manages to emerge as the clown or
entertainer of the family, or to be made the butt of jokes and
tricks by various of the others who seek a bit of relief and
excitement now and then. Sometimes a practical joke backfires,
while at others an amusing, if provoking, incident occurs which
finally puts much laughter in everyone.

I shall always remember this little happening at Len
Whittaker’s farm one warm August afternoon a long time ago.
About two o’clock in the afternoon, when operations were in
full swing and six bundle wagons were lined up waiting on the two
alongside the feeder, Lon Arnold’s Star blew a flue and it
looked like the end of activity for the day.

But Sam Wortman , the separator ”conductor’ of the
crew, happened to be swivel-seated atop his favorite lofty position
on the old Yellow Fellow and spied Johnny Munson’s 30-60 Oil
pull doing a bit of early fall plowing over in the next section. Of
course he knew that half the crew would quit if they faced tractor
threshing for the remainder of the season, but since it mean only a
half day to get a spare flue into the old steamer he prevailed upon
the gang to put up with hiring the kerosene burner for the
fill-in.

So, a half hour later, the steamer was shunted into a clearance
for repair and the straw began forming a nice plume again from the
wind stacker. Two more racks had just unloaded and Lars Larson was
just commencing to pitch his bundles on to the conveyor when
suddenly he began waving his three-tiner frantically into the air
and yelling for a quick shut-down right now. The 30-60 was
immediately brought to a quiet idling under its clutch
disengagement and all was silent within seconds as Sam, who had
been oiling around from the ground, ducked under the drive belt and
asked Lars if he had lost a fork in the feeder or pitched in a
bunch of rattlers that were infesting one corner of the field next
to a prairie dog town.

‘No, No,’ exclaimed Lars excitedly in his heavy Swedish
brogue, ‘but soombody forgoot to cross the drive belt!’ Sam
gasped a few moments as though wondering whether he had been made a
goat. Then his temper began mounting and he started to climb the
corner of Lars’ rack. ‘Why you -‘ he began in language
which cannot stand printing. But fortunately he was restrained by a
couple teamsters at hand who finally succeeded in convincing him
after much pleading that Lars actually was unawares that the big
Oil Pull enjoyed the questionable distinction of being one of a
very few tractors the engine of which was designed to ‘run
under’ because of an extra countershaft in its transmission
system.

Poor Lars! He must have thought that all the grain was going out
the blower and the sackers were getting the straw. Then again,
maybe Art Linkletter was born forty years too late.

Very Sincerely, Frank J. Burris

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