For many years growing up on the Horricks dairy farm I was exposed to 2 amazing people, namely my father George, and his younger brother Charlie.Many stories were told of the years growing up on the family farm which was started by their father William in 1899. George lost his right hand of the age of 14 in a farming accident but was still able to take on near impossible projects, including driving a 12 horse team! Charlie, lost his left arm above the elbow in a trucking accident at the age of 21.
Both men were known for their great strength. George, at age 16 could lift 1650 pounds, and pick up the rear wheel of the tractor!
I can remember at the age of 56,Dad(George) was at a John Deere dealership and asked by the owner if he would show the the staff how he could pick up the rear wheel on a tractor,I was with him and he said he would try.Dad then backed up to the rear axle of the tractor and picked up the wheel off the ground! My uncle likewise was a very powerful man, as well as regular farm work he also was known around the district for his blacksmith work, done with special handmade tools he could use with his hook. Both men were known for their innovations, I grew up with some of their inventions dad George was also involved in setting up the first rural electric program in Alberta as president of the Namao Light and power Coop Also the Rural telephone cooperators He was also president of the Natural Milk Producers Association, later served on many agricultural organizations, including the Federation of Agriculture,Edmonton Milk Foundation,Dairy Farmers of Canada, director and president of the Northern Alberta Dairy Pool, and Alberta Dairy farmers. He received an award from the province of Alberta for excellence in the field of agriculture More recently the Horricks family received recognition by the city of Edmonton and the province of Alberta by presentation of a large rock with a bronze plaque showing the history of the family in Alberta. Sherry's motto of, "if it is possible I will do it.If it is impossible it will take me some time" goes back many years, no one ever considered George or Charlie to be handicapped. In the early 50s were was going around about some of the things we had built, a farm paper came out to the farm to take pictures of some of the equipment to be shown as "new ideas" they included a loading chute on wheels first put together in the 1920s by dad and my uncle which we still use today. An all steel cattle squeeze, a truck mounted manure spreader that was first mounted on a modelA 2 1/2 ton truck, later mounted on newer trucks and finally converted to a side discharge for feeding silage.And of course, the Hay Mobile, within very short order of this article most items were in production by large manufacturers. We converted a 1919 Fordson tractor to rubber tires including putting on a live power takeoff.
At around age 14 was the first engine overhaul that my brother Bill was involved in.Mine was age 13, I overhauled the engine in 1937 Ford car which I drove to school picking up other children along the way. The Alberta government brought out a drive safely license plate for the front bumper and I had one on the front and the rear. One day when I got to the Turnip Lake school the RCMP were there for another matter,when one of the members saw me arriving and all the kids getting out, he came over to look at the car,and saw the license plates he then called the other member over just as my friend Jimmy came in with more kids in his 1920 Essex car. That was too much and both officers broke out in laughter we were then told to drive safely as it said on the plates. Now what would happen today?
Getting back to the reason I started to write this,the hay mobile , but first I must mention the stook loader which was first made to be pulled by horses. My older brothers Albert and Bud did most of the work to change it over to rubber tires and self-propelled, the engine was out of and old Hupmobile car, looking back we should have kept the car, but oh well hindsight is always 20/20. The last time it was used with our wooden threshing machine was in 1957 and CFRN TV came out and took pictures for the news I wonder if they still have them. This stook loader picked up the stooks, divided them up and dropped them into a large rack about 10 feet wide 12 feet long and 12 feet high, it had a false front which with chains tied to the wheel of the tractor, open the rear doors and pulled the load out neatly beside the extended feeder on the threshing machine. It saved having having several bundle crews and wagons loaded by hand.
The next installment I will try to tell how the Hay Mobile evolved from overshot stackers, Jayhawk stackers and finally our Hay Mobile.
to be continued ...
Ps. I saved the Hupmobile name plate and it hangs above the bar in my basement
Thanks Dad, for writing this, and I hope you will continue to share your stories of our family's proud heritage.
and to my fellow bloggers and readers, as always friends, stay safe