When we were young...


| April 2002



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35-70 Minneapolis tractor

John Hiniker remembers his old farm days fondly. 'I milked cows by hand, and did quite a bit of work with horses before I got old enough to drive a tractor,' he recalled.

Planting in spring, and cutting, bundling, stacking and threshing grain at harvest time filled his days.

'We were used to doing that kind of work all the time, so we were toughened,' he said. 'We didn't think it was hard work. It didn't seem hard then, but it would now.'

As a teen-ager, John went on the road with his father, Joe. They cut railroad ties into firewood for income, using a converted 1910 Buick as a saw rig.

'Those cars had an open, flat flywheel,' John said, 'so Dad put the belt on the flywheel and around the corner on the saw, and provided the cutting power. The engine had a governor on it.'

The car frame was lengthened with a mandrel, and the saw blade was mounted on the rear. A fold-up elevator piled up the cut ties.