When I started this blog I vowed that I would not write about politics (neighborhood, city, state or national), family issues or work problems. I also promised myself that I would not write if I was angry, sad, tired or upset. No rants or “beer blogging” either.
This list just about covers anything I had to say in the last couple of weeks.
I finally snapped out of my funk yesterday, when a childhood dream was realized.
I rode in the tractor parade in the Indiana State Fair.
I was as amazing as I thought it would be.
I am a State Fair junkie.
I have a 4-H license plate, enter baking and antiques in the open show and considered not taking the Second Helpings job because I would not be able to attend the Fair every single day (like I might have for three years running). My only political aspiration is to be on the State Fair board of directors.
Dad found an old bike in one of his barns and he hauled it to my house and we rode down the Monon Trail to the Fair. It is exactly one mile from my back gate to the fairgrounds...and as Dad observed--six miles home.
We had a great day. My friend Scott joined us for part of it. We looked at goats, sheep, cows and horses. We ate from every food group (beef, pork and potato) and looked at all of the antiques in the “women’s building” including my third place guitar salt/pepper shaker. Dad and Scott told me how my snickerdoodles and toffee looked much better than the winning entries.
The first thrilling piece of Americana we saw was a giant cheese sculpture being carved. The theme of the sculpture is the Indy 500.
We spent the most time in Pioneer Village. The Purdue Extension program has run the living history exhibit since 1961, “almost 50 years ago” as the narrator was telling us. I had to pipe-up and correct him. 1961 was barely 46 years ago. I know of what I speak!
They set up and run a threshing ring, a lumber mill, blacksmith shop and butcher shop and mill. It’s all terribly dirty, loud and amazing.
Dad and I hung out in this area most of the day. I love Pioneer Village and visit it each year, but this was the most time I’ve spent in one chunk. We saw them move a log with horses, and send it though the giant saw powered by a steam engine tractor and pulleys.
The threshing ring was amazing. More steam, belts, gears and cogs than you can imagine -- and I can imagine what could go wrong.
My favorite part of the day was the big old tractors. Wendell Kelch brought 3 tractors from his and his wife Mary’s collection.
This is the first International tractor the Kelch’s owned. It is a 1908 “Friction Drive.” For all practical purposes it is a stationary “Famous” engine mounted on a steam engine running gear. [I’m telling you -- carry a reporters notebook, it comes in handy.] A large friction disk transfers the power from the engine to the drive wheels. It was primarily used as a power source for belt driven machines – grain separators, corn shredders and the like.
The 1915 McCormick Mogul 30-60 weighs 23,000 pounds, has a 2 cylinder motor – 10 inch bore and 12 inch stroke. They found in buried in a fence row in North Dakota. I asked Wendell about the green color, it is not typical of other tractors. Olive green was the color of the engines that McCormick produced at the time and they used the same paint on the tractors. Only 800 of them were built and only 5 remain. The original owners found the bill of sale and several photographs of the tractor, including one of the day it was delivered. I would love to see those.
The third tractor a 1917 Titan, is a sister tractor to the Mogul. Click here to read how Mary and Wendell came to own the tractor.
Last week I mentioned that I've wanted to ride in the tractor parade since I was a little kid. Dad arraigned for me to hitch ride on a wagon for the tractor parade that goes down the main drag of the fairgrounds every evening. I was as happy as a pig in poop – I stepped in some of that too.
The parade features lots of old tractors and, well…mostly old tractors. It was a blast. I got to sit in a wagon on a lawn chair and wave.