SOOT IN THE FLUES


| July/August 1994



Soot in the Flues

It's hard to believe we are already into the July-August issue time surely does fly, doesn't it? I'm always looking for good material for us all to ponder thus: To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To play your ideas and dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try at all is to risk failure BUT risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. One may avoid some suffering and sorrow, but one simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, and love. Chained by one's certitudes, one is a slave, one has forfeited freedom. Only one WHO RISKSIS TRULY FREE!! (Read it again I think this gives us many thoughts to ponder! Author unknown. I think it is good though, makes us do some deep thinking. And maybe it will inspire some more folks to write!)

I like the suggestions that come in this letter from PETE LA BELLE, 802 Shadybrook, Holland, Michigan 49424. He says it's his soap box speech for my column' Many readers, I'm sure, have been whining as to the shriveling size of the magazine. To my knowledge, this has always been a do-it-yourself kind of magazine, and some of the readers may not be aware of this. There's a lot of readers, young and not so young alike, that I'm sure have something to share regarding our unusual hobby. Stories from the prime years of steam, an old locomotive sitting in your town park, a factory where you work still using steam engines, marine steam vessels, a local museum, your latest restoration or creation, and the one I enjoy most, the technical side of owning, restoring and operating a steamer. There's lots of stuff to write about, and nobody expects the article quality to compete with the Top 10 Best Sellers, either. We're in need of content! So, grab a pencil and paper (or turn on your computer), shoot some pictures and get them in the mail. This slowly shrinking magazine is our fault and soon to be our loss if it ever should stop!' Thank you Pete maybe this will stir someone up. I do have a bit more this time so keep the letters rolling in, Folks!

GARNET R. FLACK, Edinburg, North Dakota 58227 sends this communication: 'I was interested in the article submitted by Lt. A. Lewis of Gray, Saskatchewan, which was in the September/October 1993 issue about shock loaders. I was surprised to learn that this use was so widespread in Canada.

'I grew up on a farm three miles south of Milton, North Dakota, and there were three threshing outfits in the Milton area that used shock loaders. The one I was most familiar with and used to see in operation was owned by one of our closest neighbors, Mr. John Wild, who had quite a large farming operation. Mr. Wild had a large Minneapolis threshing outfit, a 35 HP engine and a 40 x 64 separator. With the use of the shock loader, six bundle teams would keep this outfit going, but needless to say, the teams hauled a lot of loads in a day. Mr. Wild always had one man who followed the shock loader on foot and picked up any stray bundles that fell off. That man did a lot of walking.

'Mr. Lewis mentioned in his article how the bundle racks were built high on one side to prevent the bundles from falling over. This same method was used here, and for that reason the teams on one side of the feeder had to drive in facing the engine.

'This shock loader was wrecked in 1925, so from then on they used eight teams with two men on each rack, and a man to clean up under the feeder. I worked on this outfit when they were using this system part of the fall of 1928 and the fall of 1929 which was the last season this outfit was operated. I am sorry to say that the beautiful Minneapolis engine, in perfect working order, was sold to a scrap dealer in later years. Before that, it had been traded in to an implement dealer on a tractor.