LOOK! THERE IN THE WEEDS!


| May/June 1974



McCormick Deering

Courtesy of Noel Nelson, Hawley, Minnesota 56549

Noel Nelson

5343 Tussic Rd., Westerville, Ohio 43081

Yea!, I looked and slammed on the brakes about jackknifin' the long load of sawmill slabs on our flatbed trailer. Out in the weeds behind the rundown barn and outbuildings there were wheels, dim outlines in rusted iron and what looked to be the remains of an old sawmill. We cranked around and pulled into the dry road which went to weeds beyond the first car length. My two boys began 'look for little iron wheels, Dad,' 'I need manure spreader wheels for my tractor Dad', 'there's a dump rake', ' are we goin' to buy some more engines', etc., etc. . .

We approached the front porch which was overhung with long unpruned Maples and vines - my sons now quiet and subdued by a -'Be cool' - from me. There on the glassed and screened front porch sat The Squire and his Lady shellin' peas. We said 'howdy' and got right down to business. I've found in my travels that a straight forward approach works best more often than not. We allowed as how we were lookin' for old iron manure spreader wheels to advance a project now underway of buildin' a model old timey gas tractor usin' a hit and miss engine. The squire's eyes twinkled and he grinned from ear to ear sayin' he had a pair of wheels he'd sell cheap and what's more we could step out back and survey these articles right now. Hurryin' to set down his lap full of peas, he led us out back into an engine man's paradise.

Now from the old gents remarks and sly looks at the outset I became aware early in the game that he'd been to town a time or two. As we approached the equipment in question I could see a gap in the off rear wheel where time had told its story in rust and ruin. Not withstanding this disadvantage he began to extol the virtues and promise of these corroded specimens. I allowed as how they just wouldn't do for our project and asked where'd he get all them telephone insulators I was standin' on there in the weeds? He said he'd got them years ago when the lines back of his place was pulled down.

1934 W-12 McCormick Deering owned by Earl Olson, Hawley, Minnesota 56549.

He came right on with 'I get fifteen dollars a hundred for them from an antique feller.' My heart sank wondering what else this 'antique feller' had absorbed into his clammy clutches while here. Sure enough he answered 'No, I give away my last gas engine years ago'. 'I've got an old steam engine governor around here somewhere or other I used to use on a model T engine that run the sawmill.' As we moved off in search of the governor was passed a shed where in resided two identical Avery tractors of the 1940 plus vintage with a yarn all their own about rebuilt engines and their apparent worth. They had both been purchased from a Junk yard and done lots of work there on the farm for him. The old and broken pieces of yesteryears' agricultural equipment and the old gent's eye glasses demonstrated his past and present mechanical ability. His spectacles were the ancient horn rim type with one bow missing and replaced with a piece of string which was one end tied to the frame and the other to his left ear. By doggies! It worked well enough that he could see to offer for sale nearly everything imaginable but the elusive steam governor. There was an old one horse sleigh tied to the rafters that he and his misses had went to get their license in sixty-four years ago on a day when the thermometer read below zero. He said they was young then and didn't know no better and just a lap robe with a lantern under it had  kept them warm and happy. There were good binder canvases and corn jobbers, maple syrup buckets and corn shellers, Model T tires and flat belts galore, and! there in the corner two small trucks with WHOOPEE!! iron wheels.