Funny Homesteading Stories of Machines vs Humans

Lewis H. Cline shares funny homesteading stories and tales of machines vs humans.

Bronsons' Oil Pull

Bronsons' Oil Pull, Advance Rumely 25-45, vintage about 1927 or 1928 at Galesburg, Michigan, Steam Rodeo several years ago. I think it was about 1956. Photo courtesy of Lewis H. Cline, Battle Creek, Michigan.

PHOTO: LEWIS H. CLINE

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Enjoy these funny homesteading stories from Lewis H. Cline. 

A few funny homesteading stories for Gas Engine Magazine readers.

Back in the late thirties we kept a flock of geese on the farm.

We had a couple of ganders which were very ugly. If you were not very alert they would grab hold of you and really bite hard. Late one afternoon while I was milking (using engine power of course) a fellow drove in the yard, came to the barn and asked for some water for his radiator. I said yes in the milk-house there's a five gallon pail, help yourself, sorry I don't have a funnel handy. I was too busy with the milking to be of any help, but could see him through the barn window and didn't think about the geese which were nowhere in sight at the time. He got the water, raised the hood of his car, was very carefully pouring it in, with the motor idling to distribute it. While he was doing this one of the ganders appeared from nowhere and sneaking up on him from behind grabbed him in the most likely spot. Taken entirely by surprise, he must have been real nervous anyway, he must have jumped a couple of feet high, dumping the water all over his motor stalling it.

Years ago at the foot of the hill at the south end of the old home town there was a concrete tank for people to water their horses. A farmer and his wife were coming into the other end of town one Saturday afternoon to do their weekly trading. They had a horse and buggy, and in the front of the buggy were a couple of shot-gun cans full of cream, while on her lap his wife held a large basket full of eggs. Their horse became frightened as they approached the village limits and became uncontrollable, starting to run away. They went through town full speed and on down the town hill. While the horse could not be slowed down nor stopped, he could still be steered to some extent, so the farmer headed him toward the water tank, thinking that would stop him. However when the horse got there, instead of stopping, he jumped clean over the tank, breaking the thrills loose from the buggy, continuing on down the road dragging them after him. The buggy on hitting the tank ended up, dumping the farmer and his wife in the water along with about ten gallons of cream and a lot of broken eggs, making a sorry looking sight of them. Luckily they were not injured.

Back in the early 20's a distant cousin of mine operated a garage in the old home town. He also repaired side curtains for the owners of touring cars and roadsters which outnumbered all other types at that time. One day a man bought a quantity of scrap celluloid. It seems that he had an old heating stove, a hard coal burner of the type that had the combustion chamber entirely surrounded by mica, so one could see the fire (base burner I believe they were called) This isinglass was in bad shape and he replaced it with the celluloid, doing a beautiful looking job. He patted himself on the back, thinking he was all set for the winter now, not knowing what a shock was in store for him. The first cool evening that came along when he fired it up the celluloid literally exploded, going up in a blinding flash Of course he learned something and never tried that again.

One Sunday afternoon some time previous to the 1920's a neighbor decided to go for a ride, taking his aged father and mother in law along with him. So he cranked up the old model T and started out. The old fellow was fast approaching dotage and would believe anything one told him. They drove for quite a number of miles and all of a sudden ran out of gas. The neighbor took off for the nearest farmhouse in search of some. They had some all right, but the only container available was a pail. Now in those days all gasoline was white (or clear) and looked just like water. When he got back to the Ford, he said to his father in law "They didn't have any gas, so I got some water, you know when a car gets warmed up it will run ok on water". The old fellow believed it and a few days later while talking to his teenage grandson told him about the incident saying "You only need to buy enough gas to warm up your car, then it will run on water" His grandson gave him a funny look and said "Aw grandpa somebody has been kidding you".