Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Monday, 25 November 2013

So here's "The Thing" Guest post #3 By Ron Horricks

In the picture of the Haymobile there is also a picture of a 1937 Ford 2 ton truck with a large 12 inch auger suspended by a cable from gin poles and a winch.It was powered by a Ford Flathead V8 mounted on the deck of the truck
This is the same auger used by the Namao light and power co-op and the telephone co-op that dad was president of. My nephew Ross Horricks and his son Chad have decided to restore both the Haymobile and the Ford truck with Auger.
Now to “The Thing”, but first I must tell you about cutting hay with horse-drawn mowers and raking a with horse drawn dump rakes. My first experience with the dump rake was when I was very young, probably for five years old, Bill was raking hay in the field just south of our house and I took a drink and lunch out for Bill.
Bill is 3 1/2 years older than me and Uncle Charlie had put blocks on the dump rake so Bill could dump the rake.
I sat down on the front of the rake frame to have lunch with Bill which was fun. What was not fun was what happened next; one of the horses reached forward to get a mouthful of alfalfa blossoms and pinched my bum between the double tree and the rake frame! To this day I have not forgotten that pain.
Bill also had an exciting time cutting hay around the reserve at Ministik Lake, we had the only Private land inside of the Ministik game sanctuary, anyway the mower plugged up on a molehill at the same time as the horses stepped on the ground hornets’ nest and all hell broke loose! Also a couple of years later Bill and I were cutting hay on what we called what we called the South meadow at Ministik, they were natural meadows with trees sometimes growing the middle.
Bill was on the horse-drawn mower and I was driving a model M tractor with mower mounted on the back. As there were lots of molehills that tended to plug up the cutting bar I was looking back as I cut around the corner by the trees, I did not see Bill stop soon enough to stop completely and the grill of the tractor hit the back of the mower seat, and threw Bill between the horses and the pole.
Luckily the horses were well taught or just tired and other than a severe scolding from my brother everything turned out okay. In talking to Bill he has never forgotten the incident with the hornets both Bill and the horses were badly stung and it could have  been an even more serious wreck. My older brother Bud was badly hurt a few years before when the pole of the dump rate broke throwing  Bud  off the seat of the rake into the team then he was  caught in the dump rake teeth.
We also would ride Roman style on the backs of the teams coming back to the yard from the Meadows.

In the early 1950’s our farming was changing to tractors and power Mowers, side rakes as well. We had a 24’ foot dump rake mounted on the draw bar of a John Deere model B tractor with tricycle front wheels.
This made raking hay much faster than using a team of horses with a 9” or even a 12” dump break.
In the mid-1950s we also made a power mower mounted on a 1927 Chev car. We first removed the body then mounted a truck transmission behind the car transmission.

This allowed us to change the speeds for working in the fields at slower speeds and also a power takeoff mounted on the side of the truck transmission allowed us to power the cutting bar we mounted on the side.
As we had to travel several miles from home to the Namao military airport which where we cut hay around the runways we were able to carry extra parts, fuel, oil, etc., as well as several workers. We had three or four other mowers mounted on tractors. There was a song in the 50s called The Thing and so that is what we called that 1927 car mower.
One drawback to unit had was the water pump on the motor which had a grease cup that used  water  pump grease, the pump would sometimes leak a small amount of water on hot days. More  so on  hot  days  it  would spray  a fine  mist  back  at the  driver

Bill drove “The Thing” most of the time and would sometimes have a sunburned face and nose from the moisture blown back by the fan blades.

P.S. we donated "The Thing" and the Ford 2 ½ ton truck to the Fort Edmonton Park. They have restored them to take visitors around the park.
We also allowed the Light Rail Street Car society to store a 1919 Toronto streetcar. They have restored several streetcars and you can take rides around Fort Edmonton and across the high-level bridge built around 1910.

The Fordson tractor was the first one built by Ford on an assembly line and also the first one in Edmonton Dominion motors made a  deal with grandpa Horricks, the deal was dad had to drive the tractor around the old market Square for two days to show it off to the public.

I  have  found  these  walks  down memory  lane  quite  enjoyable  and have  decided  to  continue  to put more of the family of history in words for our own family and  others  to share  and  enjoy.


 Thanks  again dad  for  these  great posts ! I received  an  email  from  a gentleman  who  has  become a friend  to  mom and  dad,  and  also  become  a  reader/follower of  my  blog. He  was unable  to post his  comment  so I agreed to post his message here ;
Dear Sherry,
About an hour or so ago I was speaking to your father Ron and also Patricia at Laurier House, courtesy of my wife Colette, who is currently there visiting her Mum. Ron told me, through the crackles, freezes and groans that went with our Skype connection that he had written an article on your Blogsite, the start on many I believe, about the Horricks family.
As you know, I was in Edmonton in August this year; it was then that I first met Ron and Patricia at Laurier House – they both kept me quite spellbound and fascinated by the stories they had to tell of the Horricks family; related to me over their lunch or dinner at Laurier House.
I am sure that Ron will find a great deal to write about, he had many interesting stories to tell me; I will follow up with interest.
Your Poetry works still make great reading for me; I have read and continue to re-read both books. As I mentioned before, you are a great Poetry writer; not only that, but you live the life of a Canadian Rancher, as pictured in the minds of many, including mine and your horses are just beautiful.
Thank you  Mr  Lunn, I so  appreciate  your kind  words  and support.
So  there you  have it,  not sure  where  dad  will go  next  with  his  guest posts,  but I am pleased to know he  will continue.
Meanwhile my  friends  stay  safe and  warm! 


Ami said...

Fascinating glimpses into the past, with the personal touches that families love. :)

My great grandfather wrote his memoirs when he was 88. Written in longhand and taken to a book binder in Cedaredge, Colorado.

It's about 400 pages of my great grandfather's memories, from the days of horse and buggy to man on the moon. I treasure it.

Thanks for sharing your dad's memories here with the rest of us. :)

aurora said...

It's wonderful that the Thing was restored & it's history is being shared with so many!

Shirley said...

Sounds like it would be safer Roman riding those horses than driving them! Some pretty scary wrecks.
In inventive family, yours. Do you have a photo of the Thing? (Loved the song)

kden said...

Great stories! And what a great deal to donate them so others can enjoy your history.

GoLightly said...

Thank you again, Mr. Horricks. Your knowledge, innovative thinking and experiences are endlessly interesting.

Sure wish there was a picture of "The Thing" because its' name conjures up some pretty scary images :)
I had a nightmare last night about it!

Thank you again!

Buttons Thoughts said...

First off I am excited to know your Dad is going to continue to share his stories, I would love to sit down with your Dad and hear all the stories there is nothing better in this world to listen to someone who has fascinating stories to tell and knows exactly how to deliver them.
I love the thing what another wonderful invention Mr. Horrick you had me with every sentence and mishap.
Oh I do love reading these posts and look forward to many more. Thank you for sharing what life used to be like ranching so we can look back and see how very far we have come. Thank you. Hug B