Courtesy of Mr. Harold Smith, Ralston, Iowa 51459
Forest Grove Trailer Park Ontario, N. Y.14519
How good it is to have the days become longer, the sun higher in the sky, and to be able to increase outdoor activity. After the long winter months, especially this past winter when the weather was so unpredictable, we look forward to seeing our 'engine' friends. Some of the lucky ones have spent the winter in a warmer climate; some have been snowed in; some live so far away that we see them only in good weather; some have passed on to the land where the steam is just right, the gas engines are in perfect condition, and the house work is always done. These last ones we will think of with fond memories.
We will soon be getting ready for the local 'gas-up' and 'steam-up' held in our vicinity each spring. These are just preludes to the big annual reunions held in the summer. It gives the men a chance to compare notes on how this engine is running, how would you fix that one, and what is the name of that one there. The ladies get together and catch up on the gossip about this and that.
It is also the time of spring house-cleaning. With all the modern cleaners and equipment, it isn't near the job it was in the early 1900's. One of the jobs was to take up the strips of carpet which was tacked down, hang them on the line, and then recruit anyone handy to beat the dust out with the carpet beater. Guess it was good exercise but lots of hard work. Another job was to air the bedding and plump up the feather bed. I can remember how cozy they were to crawl into on a cold winter night in an unheated bedroom.
I have recently been reading about how soft soap was made. First an ash hopper was made. It was a V shaped box 3 or 4 feet high. Wood ashes were dumped into this box, and as water dripped through, it became lye. The lye ran down a small trough underneath this V shaped box into a container. Then the pioneer woman would combine it with any grease she had saved, dump it into the iron kettle and cook it until it became soap. This was used for washing the floor, clothes, and the dishes. Quite a difference from going to the nearest super market.
At our house, we have been busy with the advertising of our annual reunion. As you will note in a separate article, the location of the show has been changed this year. This will probably cause some confusion, but we think it is in a good place and that all will work out for the best. Paul has reached the conclusion that as our space is limited, he will no longer attempt to make any more model engines. Of course he will keep the six that he has. He is real interested in printing the PIONEER ENGINE BUGLE and doing the other printing for the club. It takes up most of his spare time and he really needs the space for more printing equipment. So out goes the lathe and in comes a folding machine. At least he had the fun and experience of making a few engines, and he will still enjoy showing them at the reunions.
If any of you are in the Western New York area the end of July, come to our show. Would like to meet you.
This is Verne Shields, Waverly, Iowa with his Russian Crawler Tractor in 1965. Backs 'Self Help, Inc.' Many South American farmers help themselves with better economic working conditions. Write Verne. Good man to know.