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Funny Homesteading Stories of Machines vs Humans

Author Photo
By Staff

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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.
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This is a Case 20-40 at Montpelier about 1961. A Minneapolis is at the right. Photo courtesy of Lewis H. Cline, Battle Creek, Michigan.

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”.

Published on Mar 1, 1967

Gas Engine Magazine

Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines