Monday, January 12, 2009
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.