Letter to Dave 21
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Dear Dave,

Each letter I’ve sent to you has been saved in my computer. I recently counted them and they number to about twenty. If nothing else ever came from writing this column, I guess I would be happy that it’s made me write you more often. You could even say I would be thankful for the fact. Which totally sets me up for a smooth segue into Thanksgiving and wishing you a happy holiday.


We both like old farm equipment (at least in theory, if not in use) so I thought I’d tell you about something I saw this week. I had stopped out to Mike Paquin’s place near Oklee, Minnesota to buy a set of running gear for a hay trailer. The first thing I noticed when I drove into his yard was an old baler. I didn’t pay much attention but Mike knew I was a "gadget guy" and wanted to show me a neat idea. I’ll call what I saw a "rotary wood splitter" which goes to prove I’m better at naming gadgets than creating them. The wood splitter was a New Holland 77 hay baler modified to split wood. I’m sure OSHA would pale at this creation but it worked great. Mike had placed a splitting wedge in the bale chamber and each time the plunger came around it would split a chunk of wood. The plunger revolved very slowly and was easy to use. He powered a massive flywheel with a small gas engine via a v belt. The flywheel was large enough that I believe you could have powered the whole contraption by hand. I like resourceful people who make old equipment work and this was a good example.

I must thank you (being thankful-in the spirit of the season) for the visit at your home in Carrington, North Dakota last month. I’m still singing show tunes from the musical we saw with you and Mary at Jamestown College. I am writing this letter in the middle of the week and tomorrow we are scheduled to vaccinate the cows and calves. The first time we ever "worked" the cattle at my home it was a mess. I had used round bales and old gates to make a corral. Counting on this mess to hold cattle was like using a net to capture water. I swore to myself one day I would have the kind of corral that takes the stress out of cattle work. I think this year’s corral is the best ever but the truth is that the level of stress will be decided by bovine and not by man. Things should go well but if not I will once again swear to build a corral that takes the stress out of "working" cattle.

By the way, did that fellow ever show up with the hay trolley I purchased on Ebay? Very important as I have a small open spot on the floor of the garage that isn’t in use.

Thankful your my brother