Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Oh, the things you see & hear at a vintage farm show September 6, 2013

WHENEVER I ATTEND the Rice County Steam and Gas Engines Show in rural Dundas, I never quite know what I will discover, or hear.  Look and listen.

Displayed at the Friends of Minnesota Barns booth.

Displayed at the Friends of Minnesota Barns booth.

I noted the above sign at the Friends of Minnesota Barns booth. Then the guy manning the display shared a story from the Le Sueur County Pioneer Power Show a week earlier. A man and his wife read the sign. The husband asked, “Will you take my wife in trade?”

She shot back, “You’re the INSERT SLANG WORD FOR MULE in the family.”

The Friends of Minnesota Barns guy and I laughed, oh, how we laughed.

Speaking of INSERT SLANG WORD FOR MULE HERE, EXCEPT IN PLURAL, look at this lawn art by opinionated Bob Michniewicz of Madelia. You never quite know what Bob is going to say or create.

"Quality Lawn Ornaments" from Michniewicz Sales.

“Quality Lawn Ornaments” from Michniewicz Sales.

I did a double take on this potty humor:

Brand loyalty and barn humor.

Brand loyalty and potty humor. Seriously, I could not believe I was seeing this. I grew up with John Deere farm equipment.

Let me show you something sweet and endearing:

Family time at the playground.

Family time at the playground on vintage playground equipment.

And patriotic:

Flags abound at the show.

Flags abound at the show.

This reminds me of my growing up years on the farm and the Farmalls my dad owned and I drove (a B Farmall to be exact):

Vintage Farmalls.

Vintage Farmalls.

Loren Fossum's corn picker. That is not Loren driving, though.

Loren Fossum’s corn picker. That is not Loren driving, though.

I was just plain giddy when I saw this vintage 1960s corn picker, similar to one my Dad used but not a Ford. Loren Fossum of Northfield recently purchased the combo tractor and corn picker for a bargain price, which I won’t reveal because maybe Loren doesn’t want that publicized.  He told a little story about overhearing a conversation among several young men trying to figure out what type of equipment they were viewing. They finally concluded that the blue monstrosity was designed to take down trees. Wrong. That would be corn, boys.

Another reminder of life on the farm, spotted at the flea market:

Oh, how I loved to twirl the handle on my dad's vise grip until I tightened something, maybe a block of wood, in place.

Oh, how I loved to twirl the handle on my dad’s vise grip until I tightened something, maybe a block of wood, in place.

And just because I found this Cropgard Farm Dryer interesting:

I spent many a childhood day playing in farm wagons, covered wagons in my western-themed eyes.

Apparently not just an ordinary vintage farm wagon.

This quartet was so engrossed in viewing photos of the homemade John Deere tractor that they didn’t even notice me. Sweet. I love capturing moments like this that tell a story:

Immersed in tractor talk.

Immersed in tractor talk.

Tractors everywhere:

Rows and rows and rows of vintage tractors define this show. For me the interest lies in the artsy aspect of these machines.

Rows and rows and rows of vintage tractors define this show. For me the interest lies in the artsy aspect of these machines. Just look at the front of this Massey Ferguson–the font, the grill…

More cool vintage:

Anything rustic and vintage has visual appeal.

Anything rustic and vintage appeals to me visually.

My parting shot, taken through the fence on the back of bleachers, says it all: Passing a love of tractors along to the next generation.

Passing a love of tractors on to the next generation.

To future generations of John Deere tractor lovers…

AFTER VIEWING THESE IMAGES, let’s hear from you. Do any of these photos spark memories or thoughts? Please share.

Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “Oh, the things you see & hear at a vintage farm show”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    Sigh…………I so love spending time quietly meandering in and out of such memories. They are each vying for attention to tell their story. The bench vise grip is a bit larger than the one my (city) dad had on his work bench but, like you, twirling the handle to tighten was “my job”. Lovely memories!!!!!

  2. Caryl Says:

    I loved horses as a kid and since my Dad would never get me one (Didn’t bring in any income) I LOVED those horse shaped swings. Haven’t seen one forever.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Your dad’s words echo my dad’s thoughts on horses, except he also worried about horses kicking his kids in the head. Apparently that happened to some boy in the area and that imprinted upon his memory. We had to settle for stick horses and barrels as horses and cousins riding over to our farm with their horses.

      Aren’t those horse swings great? Not safe anymore, apparently, as I suppose these horses could kick kids in the head.

  3. Jackie Says:

    Love that last Photo Audrey, it is so frame worthy! The corn picker brought back memories of just a few years ago when I accompanied a friend while he picked in his 8 row picking combine, being a “farm girl wanna-be” that was definitely on my bucket list 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a combine. Glad you crossed that one off your bucket list.

  4. Going down memory road with your beautiful photos! Northfield and Dundas was my 2nd home growing up in Southern MN. Thanks so much for sharing – love to be back on the farm again – oh the simple life:) Happy Weekend

  5. Mike Says:

    I was rather worked up when seeing what they have Calvin doing to the John Deere Logo. It borders on blasphemy from where I come from ; ) However the memories of the horse swings at the park quickly cooled me off. Another great post. Thank you!

  6. ryanware Says:

    What day were you there? I went on Sunday. I did keep an eye out for you, but I had to leave just before the parade.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Well, we just missed one another, Ryan, as Randy and I arrived when the parade was in progress. No, I did not ride in the parade this year.

  7. Nancy Fossum Says:

    Audrey i just run across your page thank you for posting the picture of the corn picker and the story that Loren told you. We would love to invite you to see all of other tractors and accessories that was collected over the years let us know. Nancy Fossum

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Sounds like an invite I’ll have to accept. I bet my husband, Randy, the automotive machinist at NAPA in Northfield, would love to accompany me on that tour.

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