Miniature farm display

Content Tools

4155 Lancaster, Dr. N.D. Space #72, Salem, Oregon

This little farm display is all handmade by Percy and Margaret Dezotell, Salem, Oregon. It is built on the scale of 3/4 in. per foot. Takes a 256 sq.ft. table on which to display it.

I, Percy, was born and raised on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, a province where the main crop is wheat. I farmed with my father there as a kid-driving horsedrawn outfits, and at the age of 14 was doing a man's job, such as seeding, plowing and pitching bundles. By the time I was 19, I could run the entire threshing outfit, having performed all operations.

This miniature farm is set up, telling the story of the way wheat farming was done in the 1920s. We had horse outfits first, then small gas tractors. The display shows spring seeding, summer fallow and harvest operations, all at one time-to give the overall picture of a year's farming activities, also the different types of machinery used to produce a wheat crop.

The horses are whittled out of 2 x 6 balsa wood, then painted and harnessed. The bundles and shocks are made of binder twine. Machinery is made of metal and wood where each was supposed to be. Most of the machinery is workable, like the real machinery was.

In 1920 my father purchased an I.H.C. 2 cylinder Titan 10-20 tractor. That was the first tractor I learned to drive in the field. In 1926 he traded the Titan for a 16-30 Eagle 2 cyl. tractor; and in 1928 traded the Eagle for an 18-36 2 cyl. Hart-Parr. Father first had an Aultman-Taylor separator pulled by the Titan, then a Waterloo separator new in 1921. In 1928 he purchased a Bell City separator.

In the fall we usually got in 35 to 40 days, doing custom threshing, as threshing long after freeze up.

In 1928 father bought a 10 ft. McCormick-Deering power binder. We pulled it with the Hart-Parr. It was a one man job, and I have cut many an acre of wheat with this binder.

The Depression hit in 1929. Then after that the drought, grasshoppers and gophers came, with practically no crop for three years. My fathermanaged to keep his land, but lost some of the machinery. I left with my family and went to California in 1933. Wages were very low there, but I always had a job. I couldn't get ahead enough to get back to Saskatchewan until after World War II. In 1946 we made a trip back, but it had all changed, practically no horse farming, and the little farms had been bought up and consolidated into much larger ones, with tractors doing it all. A lot of the familiar farm homes had either been torn down or moved into town, and the barns made into machinery sheds and grain bins. Even the school house had been moved away.

It sort of hurt to see the changes from when I left in 1933, so when I got back to California and in later years, I decided to build my memories all in miniature, as it had been in the period from 1920 to 1930. So here is the story in replica, and I believe I have the only set up of its kind, showing the history of the early day wheat farmer.

This display has been shown every year for the last seven years at Antique Powerland Threshing Show and Farm Fair at Brooks, Oregon. Also has been displayed six times in the last 12 years at Western Development Museum Pionera Show, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.