Carstens Farm Days

John Deere tractor

Baling straw with Wayne Siebels' small John Deere baler.

Lawrence and Jean Dittmer

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Compiled from information submitted by Harold V. Green, RR #1, Box 63, Avoca, Iowa 51521, and Lawrence and Jean Dittmer, Route #1, Box 26, Shelby, Iowa, 51570. Photos by Lawrence and Jean Dittmer.

The yearly showing off of the Carstens Farm, south of Shelby, Iowa, was again held this year on September 12-13, 1987. It was an absolutely beautiful weekend. There were a few clouds in the sky and a cool breeze from the north. Unlike many shows earlier this summer, it was cool. In July our area was at times : most uncomfortably hot.

Many friends and neighbors of the surrounding area participated in making the two-day show a success. As usual, this year a pin was given to all who entered the gate. This year's emblem was the 1949 D John Deere tractor. A very good showing of John Deere appeared at the farm to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of John Deere.

Such displays were present as Mr. Raleigh Woltmann's spoker D with his working tractor wheat binder. A favorite of all the John Deere equipment shown was Mr. Dale Schroder's wide tread G. P. with self-cleaning front wheels.

Not to demean the two beautiful John Deere Model B's shown by Mr. Wayne Siebels and Mr. Loren Schroder.

John Deere was not the only equipment shown. It is always a pleasure to see Dr. Edward J. Murphy and his 22-66 Advance Rumely made in 1919. 'Doc' just completed the restoration of this beautiful steam traction engine last year before show time.

One of the best restoration jobs on a small tractor was Mr. Glen Hipner's Silver King tractor. Such a beautiful little red and silver jewel!

Larry and Jason Ehlers had beautifully restored 3? and 7 HP Galloway engines there. The Page family had some handsome-looking Mogul engines. Lawrence and Jean Dittmer brought their 6 HP Associated to pull the corn sheller, and their 15 HP engine that originally ran a 36' grist mill in Missouri.  

Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Cox brought their Stanley Steamer four-door limo. This car was something to see with original interior in immaculate condition. The size of such a vehicle in the year of 1924!! Mr. Cox said tires were quite costly to replace at $150.00 each, white sidewall. The size was 33x5 and 8 ply.

The Saddle Club began the parade each day at two o'clock with the colors flying bright in the sunshine. Following Doc Murphy on his 1919 Advance Rumely was Howard Mickelson with his ?-size steam engine, which he made himself. Other entries included a large number of old tractors of the past.

Gary Gylling from Council Bluffs and Darold Miller from Cresco, Nebraska brought their collections of John Deere memorabilia and wrenches.

There are plenty of trees to set up gas engine displays under. Larry and Rex Lucke came from Omaha to display their father and son partnership antique engines. Several people came from Council Bluffs and Waverly, Nebraska, to assure a nice gathering of approximately fifty gas engines.

Out in the field is the usual threshing display. The farm owns a 20' yellow fellow threshing machine and 8-16 Avery tractor. The tractor is rather unique in that when it is put into gear the complete engine slides along the frame. The Good Neighbors (see accompanying article) restored this old tractor to fine running condition last year before the show. Cleaning and painting is yet to come when finances are obtained. However, the lack of paint really doesn't take away from the old girl that much. The fellows delight in belting her up to the Baker Fan.

All these things were brought in to help the show by friends. However, there is a world of nostalgia to be seen and appreciated that remains at the Carstens Farm, year after year.

Like most gas engine and tractor shows, there is plenty of entertainment for just about everybody. The house has been put into fine order. There were forty-six craftspeople present, showing things such as quilts, handiwork, etc., to entertain the ladies. Also present was the broom-maker from Living History Farms in Des Moines, Iowa, along with his wife, who demonstrated their craft. All one does to hear homespun music is walk around the house or one of the outbuildings; there one will find various groups of musicians playing and singing.

New to the show this year were a Thresherman's breakfast on Sunday morning, and the firing of an anvil in an open field by Harry Osborn, a blacksmith from Bellvue, Nebraska.

The local Boy and Girl Scouts had a flag raising ceremony each morning. Then the grounds all quieted down for a beautiful church service Sunday morning from the front porch of the old farmhouse. It was so good to hear that old pump organ giving forth the hymns across the countryside.

Of all the things the folks at the Carstens Farm Days have accomplished, still another project should be mentioned. This year, for the first time, a new two-level loading dock is present. My Heavens, how can they accomplish so much in such a short time! Surely it must show the ability of a group of people all getting together and working in harmony. In this day, one could say that alone is a monumental task.

In closing, I should like to say, I have undoubtedly left out mention of many names of good hard-working devoted friends and members of the Carstens Farm Days people. Please forgive me in my inability to bring note to everyone and every wonderful thing to see. I might only add, 'Come to the Carstens Farm Days next year.' For the small fee at the gate, one can enjoy two of the most entertaining days of summer, let alone the opportunity to meet and be with some of southwest Iowa's home folk.