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