Monday, January 12, 2009

Family Hobbies

I was looking through some old files for pictures to share. Pictures that weren't lost when my hard drive gave me the "blue screen of death", but that's a story that doesn't bear telling. Backup-Backup-Backup!

My husband had a keen interest in many different things. As a 6'4" big guy he wasn't interested in watching football or basketball but he enjoyed a little golf and skiing. He was known to say "If it doesn't have wheels it isn't a sport". Most of these hobbies eventually involved the whole family. Pictured here is a steam traction engine that he, his brother and the kids restored. They took it to thresher and tractor shows to exhibit and put on demonstrations. He and his brother acquired it several years ago, but the operation and restoration were his specialty. Incidentally, he was the antique boiler inspector for the entire state.

Our son was initially the one who got him interested. As a little boy, he liked to go to the Thresher Show and was too young to go without an adult. So Dad started to go also, taking the camper and little sister and spending the whole week. Marcy was small enough they had her crawl inside the boiler to help check the thickness of the steel. Boiler rat was the affectionate name she acquired.

Marcy, a few years later just looking cute! I think she may have been in college then. Now, she is the mother of 2 of the cute kids you see on this blog.

This was the part I couldn't bear to watch. The tractor is loaded on a trailer behind a semi-truck with a cable and an electric winch. Because of the steel wheels and ramps, there can be a lot of slipping. For traction, planks have to be laid on the trailer and to support the floor from the weight of the 20,0000 pound engine. The iron wheels also drive over the top of the rubber tires before reaching the resting place for the ride. People just love to watch this, but I was always afraid there would be an accident. The worst that ever happened was spectators standing too close and getting sprayed with soot and water!

The engine burns coal to heat the water to create steam, but wood will work. Coal just burns hotter.

My brother-in-law still takes the engine to one area Thresher Show, and my kids still help with the maintenance and operation. It's a time when all the whole family gets together.


Anonymous said...

What an interesting post and a great way for the family to spend time together. I love all the photos you included.

Traci said...

This just so happens to be my favorite weekend of the year! It may be HOTT, but I don't enjoy anything else as much as I do the Thresher Show. I hope that my kids will grow up and enjoy it as much as I do!

Nancy said...

I enjoyed this post. My dad and his brothers had a threshing business, but sadly, we have no pictures of them or the thresher.

tipper said...

A very neat family hobby!

Aunt Dinah said...

The photos and your post remind me of the days back in the 1950s and '60s when I used to attend the "old thresher's show" with my dad (who--for those who don't know--was the grandfather of your husband). While I miss my dad and spending time with him, I don't miss all those HOT, windy, dusty, dirty, summer days when the "old thresher's show" took place. And the hay fever and asthma that went with them for me as a child. While I'm glad so many members of the family are still carrying on this tradition because I know how happy it would make my dad, I'm all too happy to stay at home in air conditioned comfort and participate vicariously via electronic images on my computer.

Vonita said...

My dad Jack, (your husbands uncle) and my brother John still make for sure one of Grandpa's old tractors makes it to the thresher show in Bird City. Grandpa John's interest in old tractors has followed through to a lot of the family. John and Dad have a Townsend. Not many were made and even fewer are still available.
Such wonderful memories of Mike. Thanks.

Kathleen from Yesteryear Embroideries and Eggs In My Pocket said...

Hi Mary, found your comment on my blog and came to visit. Just loved reading your posts! blessings, Kathleen