We are able to present Mrs. Harold Thomas, of Dwight, as our Hobby Lady. Elmer brought this information home to me from the Pontiac Reunion last Fall where he met and conversed with Mrs. Thomas. Elmer is a flower lover and of course was quite enthusiastic about the material for this page. AUNT LENE.
MRS. THOMAS RAISES over 250 varieties of African Violets for pleasure and profit. She has this to say about their culture
'African Violets require expert care and constant attention. New plants are produced from old ones, and must be potted, carefully watered, and exposed to just the right kind and amount of light if they are to make healthy plants with large abundant blooms. In one of the pictures you will see Mrs. Thomas explaining to a visitor how the plants are exposed to light from fluorescent tubes 14 hours per day, in order to speed their growth. Displayed under fluorescent lights, African Violet blossoms show their true colors.'
In the other picture you will see Mrs. Thomas allowing her plants to stand in warm, soft water for three hours per week. Mr. Thomas made these clever trays from an old wind mill. By tilting the trays with a handle attached to the end, the water is easily emptied into a bucket.
Congratulations, Mrs. Thomas, and we hope to meet you sometime I too am enthusiastic about African Violets.
When I am sending in my renewal, i thought I would also write a little about my experiences. I have run steam engines and gas tractors and threshed for many years, my first steam engine experience being with my lather's engine an 18hp. Minnesota Giant.
It was an old chain drive and was some engine. The flywheel was as big as the drive wheel and how the foot brake would slap if I forgot to release it when I'd throw in the clutch. It had to have a clutch so you could reverse the engine. You had to get the engine in a little speed before you could reverse it as it had a trip on me crankshaft that would release the eccentric and it would stop and slip around in the other notch. You could not reverse it standing still unless you got up on top and turned the flywheel by hand while the fireman held the trips out by hand. We fired with straw and it steamed nicely. The smoke-stack was about eight feet long with a hinge in the middle or a little lower. It had a Clark water pump which was a dandy and I still have the picture. At this time we lived at Herman, Minnesota, and later traded it for a 25hp. Minneapolis which was also a line engine.
I ran this and it had the latest of everything even a reverse lever, double cylinder water pump, oil pump and big drive wheels. I was also very proud of this engine which was also fired with straw. It had a brick arch in the firebox to run the flame back into the straw as the fireman poked it into the straw chute on the door. Straw firing made a lot of clinkers so it had to be cleaned often. We had a fire hose at each end of the engine and we used it every time we pulled out ashes and clinkers. Later my father sold it and we moved to New Kirk, Oklahoma, where I bought a second hand Robinson engine and separator. I later had a Case 15 and then an Avery 22hp. undermounted engine and 32-60 Avery separator, a dandy outfit. I still have a 28x47 Case separator, a big 6 cylinder engine, but don't use it anymore. The engine is mounted on a truck and separator on rubber.
I will now shut off the steam and enjoy reading your ALBUM. Hope to see you at Wichita.
CLAYTON MEON, Leon, Kansas
Sent in by GERARD WODARZ, Wyndmere, North Dakota
So you like this country, stranger? Well, I wish you could have
In the nineties when the land was new and we were raising wheat;
When the Valley of the Red was one great sea of fife and bluestem,
Raising grain enough to furnish bread for all the world to eat.
It was nothing like this modern sort of farming with its turkeys,
And its sheep and hogs, and cows and hens, and beets and spuds, and hay.
It was something big and splendid like the swing and sweep of seasons,
Seems as if the Lord intended men to farm that grander way.
Those were the days of genuine thrashing--Yes, I used to own a 'steamer'
Nothing like those modern tractors with their sharp, staccato bark.
Oh, to hear an engine chugging, and a blower's hollow moaning,
And at dusk and dawn the whistles as they talked across the dark!
We'd start thrashing in September, when the lazy winds were sleeping
And the air was still and balmy, and a purple haze was spread
Over all the distant landscape. Evenings stillness brought the eerie
Minor chant of far off blowers as the sun sank round and red.
Always liked to watch the bundle racks roll in beside the feeder,
And the ease with which the 'spikes' would toss the heavy bundles in
Where the band cutters could seize them-that was poetry of motion,
Then the growling concaves crunched them and away the chaff would spin.
Thrashed a quarter section daily; but in fields where straw was heavy,
Or was damp, and we had failed to clear off all the shocks by night,
We would fire near-by straw pile; as the flames lit earth and heaven
We would finish with a flourish in a blaze of ruddy light.
Gone forever, those great straw fires, gone the blowers' somber chanting
And the giant drive-belt's humming and the rich, warm smell of grain.
It's the price we pay for progress, Wheat no longer rules the Valley
With its passing went a splendor we shall never see again.
Eva K. Angles burg