Wednesday, June 10, 2009


LaRoy Mom & Dad

LaRoy Midge & Mom

In the late '20's and early '30's tractors were replacing the work horse. Especially when the rubber tires came out. All of our tractors were steel wheeled except we had a crawler tractor. It was an IHC 10. In the late '30's dad bought a used IHC F 20 that had rubber tires. It had had steel wheels that had been replaced with rubber. When rubber tires came out for tractors some farmers said they would never put rubber on their tractor. Like any thing new, some are for it and some are not. I remember there would be two farmers challenge each other and they would hook the rubber and steel tractors together back to back to see how good they could pull.

We had two teams of work horses that we used for light work such as raking hay cultivating, mowing, and feeding cattle. In our neighborhood we were about the last ones to use horses. So we kids were about last ones to know how to harness a team of work horses. Dad had two four wheel rubber tired trailers They were made so you could pull them with a car, tractor or horses. I don't know where he got his idea. The front axle was made like a fifth wheel and it had a short tongue so you could turn short or you could put a gin pole in it so you could pull it with a team of horses.

We had a silo 1/2 mile from home and each day in the winter we would go pitch a load 0f silage to feed the cattle. It was work pitching it on then pitching it off. In 1941 my dad had a major operation on his stomach. They took 2/3 of his stomach out so he could not work for a long time. So it was up to Donna and I to do the chores. We would go get the silage after school so we could feed the cattle in the morning. That meant we would have to harness the team two times a day. One day we were going after silage and we were about halfway there when something spooked the team and we had a run away which was very exciting. We were lucky that we weren't hurt but we were both scared

We farmed another place 2 miles west of home and had sargo feed that we would bind in bundles then put them in shocks to protect the feed from the weather. We would wait until winter to go get the bundles so it was always cold. We would take the team and trailer there. We would start the trip in the trailer but before long we would start complaining how cold we were. Dad would say 'get out and walk with the horses, that will warm you up'. So we would walk on the south side because the wind was always blowing from the north, and the trailer kept the wind off of us. Some times it was so cold we would walk backwards so our face would have the sun shine on it. My brother LaRoy always like to hunt, so especially when it snowed he would take a rifle along to shoot rabbits. We had jack rabbits as well as cotton tails, and they would have a nest on the south side of a tree. They liked hedge trees because the limbs were lower to the ground, that made it a little harder to spot them.

My sister Donna probably worked horses more than us boys. La Roy was smaller than me and younger so he didn't get to work with them much. Dad had Donna rake prairie hay and alfalfa with an old dump rake that would put the hay in rows. She also cultivated feed. One day we were stacking hay and Donna was cultivating with a John Deer gp tractor and as she was turning around at the end of a row she killed the tractor. We noticed she couldn't get it started. She tried for along time so we walked over to help her start it. It didn't have a crank, it had a large wheel on the side of the tractor to start it with. We asked her if she had the two pitcocks open and she said yes. So I told let me try so I went and gave it a spin and it took of running. She said 'I forgot it turn that direction'. She was turning it backwards! We laughed about it many times because she had started it many times before.

We had a saddle horse that we would ride for pleasure or use her to work cattle. One time we three kids were riding her to school. It had rained and there were ruts in the road with water in them. It was cold weather and the water was frozen. All three of us kids were riding her. LaRoy was in front Donna was in the middle and I was in the back. Her back foot slipped on the ice and we all landed on the ground. I was on the bottom of the pile. She was a gentle horse but she had a bad habit. If a bird or rabbit would jump out in front of her she would flinch and if you weren't seated pretty tight you would lose your seat. She was a good cutting horse and she was the one dad would use to go coyote hunting with. In the '30's dad would go work for the township using his team to do dirt work. That way you didn't have to pay road tax.

One day the folks went shopping. I decided to ride the stud horse that we kept in the barn most of the time because he would cause all kinds of trouble when we would let him loose, especially if there was a mare in heat. I thought I would ride him down to the corner about 1/4 mile from the barn. I made it in good shape until on the way back. When he saw the barn he started bucking and off I went and woke up a couple hours later, I was out cold. I just let him stay in the barn after that.

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1 comment:

Steve&Megan said...

I love these stories gpa!