Branch 158 is a member of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor
Individual dues for principal members are $25.00 per year. Dues for auxiliary members are $17.00 each per year. Spouses and dependent children from 12 to 18 years old of principal members are considered auxiliary members. New members joining during each membership period will be considered members through the end of that period. Those with membership in a different EDGE & TA branch, may join Branch 158 with full membership privileges for $17.00 per year along with proof of membership (i.e., photocopy of card) in the other branch. Dues become due and payable on January 1st and are delinquent if not paid by April 15th.
Dues may be paid at the Annual Meeting or by mailing a check payable to EDGE&TA, Branch 158 along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Secretary-Treasurer Sue Westwood, 310 Cross St., Woodland, CA 95695.
The Baling Wire is the official newsletter of Branch 158. It provides members with reports of past events, calendar of coming events, letters, ads, club information, and tips for the restoration and preservation of vintage farm, mining, construction, and related machinery. There is no charge for ads in the Baling Wire. All ads must be related to antique engines/tractors. For sale ads will be accepted from anyone, regardless of EDGE & TA membership. Wanted ads will be accepted only from EDGE & TA members. Your input for the Baling Wire is most welcome. Send to John Boehm, Editor, 14151 County Road 98A, Woodland, CA 95695-9134; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Yolo Antique Power Association
Important Dues Information
A reminder that your dues are now due and payable. This will cover your membership for the period from April 1, 2024 to April 1, 2025. Dues may be paid at the Annual Meeting or sent to Secretary-Treasurer Sue Westwood (see above)
2023 BRANCH 158 DIRECTORS
AND CLUB OFFICERS
Wilbur Reil 530-756-1018 email@example.com
Kathy Boehm 530-383-7305 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Westwood 530-304-4735 email@example.com
John Boehm 530-867-5886 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Honer 530-681-2694 email@example.com
Pat Garrison 530-867-4210 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Morris 530-908-0353 email@example.com
Branch 158 Coming Events
Almond Blossom Tractor Drive
The Third Annual Almond Blossom Tractor Drive will be on February 24, 2024 at Sutter Union High School, 2665 Acacia Ave, Sutter, CA. It is a fundraiser for the Sutter Lions Club with an entry fee of $30 and all proceeds used to support community projects. Show up around 8 am with your pre 1970 tractor(s) and the sixteen mile drive in the Sutter Buttes area starts at 9 am. After the ride, your tractors will be on display to the public and there will be a hamburger and hot dog lunch prepared by the Lions.
Tractors should have a kill switch, fire extinguisher, rear facing safety triangle and be capable of moving at least 8 miles per hour. For more information and an entry form, contact Doug Ahlers at 530-635-0226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
California Ag Museum Gas Up
The California Agriculture Museum (Formerly Heidrick Museum) will be hosting Free Museum Days on March 2 and 3, 2024 at 1958 Hays Lane, Woodland CA (just off the Road 102 exit from I-5). We are invited to set up a tractor and engine display in the parking lot. This display will be similar to the displays that we have done there in the past. Set up starting at 9 am for the museum opening at 10 am. Items may be stored inside overnight. Brian Barnett is the show director for the event. Contact him at 530-908-4242 or email@example.com
Wheat Swap Meet
The WHEAT Swap Meet will be on Sunday March 10 rain or shine. You can set up on Saturday after 9 AM. The event will be at the Turlock Air Park at 519 E Greenway Ave. Turlock. It is off Hwy 99 Lander Ave Exit South. Dry camping is available. For more information, call Joe Miguel 209-968-4400
Yolo-Colusa Tractor Ride
Join us for the Branch 158 Yolo to Colusa Endurance Run, a 110 mile, two day tractor ride that will roughly follow the Sacramento River from the town of Yolo to Colusa and back (different routes each day). The dates will be May 4-5, 2024.
This year we will be staying again in downtown Colusa at the Colusa Riverside Inn. To reserve your room, please call the Colusa Riverside Inn at 530-458-5880. Let them know that you will be a part of the Tractor Ride group and you will receive the special rate for the night of May 4th. We have a block of 6 rooms reserved, so reserve early. Last year they filled up long before the date. All rooms are non-smoking, no pets, and there is a 72 hour cancellation policy on reserved rooms.
After we arrive at the motel, we will relax with a happy hour on their patio. We can discuss dinner options at that time. Be sure to bring a lunch for the Saturday ride. On Sunday, there will be a box lunch available for purchase.
Our starting point will be from John and Kathy Boehms Rusty Acres Ranch at 14151 County Road 98A, Woodland. There will be plenty of room to park your pickups and trailers. Be ready to start by 7:30 am as we have a lot of miles to cover.
This event is sponsored by Branch 158. All drivers must have a valid drivers license and show proof of membership in any branch of EDGETA in order to participate. All tractors are subject to a safety inspection and must have a kill switch, working brakes, a slow moving vehicle safety triangle, a fire extinguisher, and a minimum speed of 10 miles per hour. NO riders unless they are in a seat designed for them and approved by the Branch 158 Safety Director.
Yolo County Fair
At this time, our exhibit area at the Yolo County Fair, which will be held August 14-18, 2024 in Woodland, CA, is very uncertain. We will have more information as it becomes available and will have that information in the next Baling Wire. For more information, contact Pat Garrison at 530-867-4210 or
Cruisin into the Next Chapter Car Show
The Friends of the Yolo Branch Library will hold their annual
car show on August 24, 2024. All proceeds from the show will go
to support community programs at the library. We have been invited
to have a gas engine and tractor display as part of the event.
We will have an off street area to set up in the parking lot of
the old community center at 14189 First St. in the town of Yolo.
The show is open to the public from 10 am to 3 pm. They would like to have us pretty much set up by 8 am as they need to register and arrange the cars from 8 am to 10 am. We can park our vehicles either in the back of the show area or out on the street just to the north of the community center. There may be a food truck on the street close to our display and a small part of the parking lot may have some tables set up for those purchasing food from the food vendors. There is an entry fee and judging for people showing cars or trucks. We will not have to pay an entry fee and will not be a part of the judging.
Around one hundred twenty cars and trucks will be on display, with several hundred spectators. Check out the new library, too! For more information, contact Kathy Boehm at 530-383-7305 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fun Day/ Open Shop and Potluck
We will most likely have a Branch 158 fun day/open barn and
shop on September 21 or 28. Details are being worked out and we
will have an announcement when the date and location is certain.
One thing I can say is that the member has about five acres of
old iron to look over, so it should be an exciting day! Starting
time will be 9 am and lunch is around noon. Hamburgers, condiments,
and bottled water will be supplied. Please bring a side dish and
any other liquid refreshment. It will be for EDGETA members only.
Yolo-Capay Tractor Ride
The tractor ride will be held mid-October 2024. The exact date
will be discussed and decided at the Annual meeting. There has
been a proposal to hold it on a Sunday instead of the usual Saturday
date. We will meet at John and Kathy Boehms place at 14151
County Road 98A, Woodland 95695 (about 1/2 mile east of the town
of Yolo). There is plenty of room to park your trucks and trailers.
Be there by 8 am to unload and attend the safety meeting before
we leave about 8:30 for the ride. We will have our lunch stop
at the Road Trip Bar and Grill in Capay. The total ride distance
will be around 28 miles.
This event is sponsored by Branch 158. All drivers must have a valid drivers license and show proof of membership in any branch of EDGETA in order to participate. All tractors are subject to a safety inspection and must have a kill switch, working brakes, a slow moving vehicle safety triangle, a fire extinguisher, and a minimum speed of 10 miles per hour. NO riders unless they are in a seat designed for them and approved by the Branch 158 Safety Director. For more information, contact John Boehm 530-867-5886 or email@example.com
By Wilbur Reil
Back in the 70s I had just picked up my first two engines (a 5HP Galloway from my grandfathers estate and an 8 hp Economy from my neighbor). A family of a wife and 4 kids in school and a fairly new job did not leave too much extra time or money for me. However, I liked to go deer hunting in the fall. One week my father in law and I were hunting on Table Mountain out of Oroville. On the way back to his place we went through East Biggs. We were talking about old engines and he asked where I might find them. As we passed a little farm I pointed and said in a place like that. I then pulled into the driveway. An older gentleman came out of the house and we got to talking about the old tractor he had hitched to a plow. I then asked him if he had any old flywheel engines. He said he did have but he had just sold it to his neighbor. Just my luck. Any way he said it was still there so we went over and looked at the 4 HP headless Witte. After looking it over and finding it complete except for the buzz coil I said Too bad its sold. Id would have given you $20 for it. His face lit up and he said Ill sell it to you for $20. We loaded it up and I became the proud owner of another engine.
Anyone collecting engines now would say I robbed the old gentleman but at that time old engines were considered junk by most farmers. Not worth much more than scrap and even sometimes less than scrap because you had to load and then haul to the scrap yard. My wage then was less than 10% of what is being paid today. The house we bought in Davis for $20,000 in 1970 now is 20 times that amount.
Who can predict the future? I have not considered my hobby as a financial investment. I am in it for the enjoyment as my primary goal. The hunt, the purchase, the restoration, the showing and, yes, even the swapping or selling has brought me much pleasure over the years.
Safety During Tractor Rides
We all enjoy our tractor rides. It is fun to get out and see the countryside at 8 miles an hour!
But there are dangers in driving our older equipment. Most tractors are designed and built for one driver only. Creative owners sometimes add another seat for a passenger, and often these seats are not safely installed. The safety requirements from our national organization are that any auxiliary seats MUST be permanently and rigidly installed to the tractor and a seat belt MUST be provided for the passenger.
Any tractors driven at our Branch 158 rides with an auxiliary seat will be inspected by the safety director prior to beginning the ride. If your tractor does not meet the national requirements, you will not be able to participate in the ride.
Additionally, all participants in Branch 158 tractor rides MUST be members of EDGETA, including passengers.
These requirements are meant to ensure the safety of all participants in our rides.
I hope all of you will have a happy and prosperous 2024. I
also hope Santa brought that special tractor or engine you have
been wishing for. Lets look forward to making 2024 a wonderful
The annual meeting is on Saturday morning February 17 at 9AM. It will be held in the Raleys Conference room in Woodland. Be sure to attend. Dues can be paid at the annual meeting. The national dues have gone up $3. We will decide at the meeting what our dues should be. Election of officers will also occur. Anyone that would like to run for the board or as an officer is welcome. You can either call me and I will place your name on the ballot or you can come to the meeting and place your name as a nominee. We need new people with new ideas to move our club forward.
The calendar for 2024 is printed in this newsletter. It lists our club sponsored events plus some events by other nearby clubs and organizations. Any member of a branch can participate in any of the events. You dont need to be a member of each branch. It also lists events such as California Ag Musem Gas-Up, Cruisin into the Next Chapter Car Show, and the Winters Lighted parade that some members participate in. By listing events the club insurance gives some protection to the participants.
The club insurance is liability insurance. It protects spectators and their property at the show. It does not cover going to or from the event. Your personal or vehicle insurance should cover this although you may want to check with your policy holder. It does not cover you as a member getting hurt. It does not cover damage to your tractor, equipment, vehicle, or trailer.
The insurance covers sanctioned club events. It also covers your liability at events such as parades, fairs, school events, or businesses that you may take an exhibit to as long as the event is discussed at a board of directors meeting and is mentioned in the minutes. It could also be approved by the club president or safety director if they are contacted before the event and have given their OK. I would expect this request would be in writing stating all pertinent information so that proper judgment could be made. It takes time to make arrangements so if you are wanting to participate in an event that is not listed, dont wait to the last minute. It costs nothing to get it listed.
For more detailed information you may go to the national EDGETA website and look at the Insurance FAQs question and answer section. It can answer most of your questions.
Safety requirements at shows and tractor drives are not optional. You CANT use the ones you like or agree with and ignore the rest. The safety requirements were put together by members of the organization with experience in operating tractors, engines and other equipment. These requirements are not difficult to follow. They were put into place to protect the membership. If you are not following them, you could be putting you or other members of the organization at risk. A club or organization is a group of people with the same goal or vision. They look out for each other. Please keep that in mind as you are showing off your antique farm machinery. Safety is the responsibility of each and every member. Our hobby can be safe for everyone but it requires continually thinking safety. Lets make 2024 both an enjoyable and a safe one.
Our board has planned gas ups, tractor drives, and events for this year. You may also participate in events that other Branches of EDGETA hold. All you need is the EDGETA badge with a 2025 sticker on it. The sticker is good until April 2025. I hope to see you at many EDGETA events this year. Lets make this year a very enjoyable one.
President Yolo Antique Power
Gerald Gus Gustafson
Gerald "Gus" Gustafson passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on March 5, 2023. He was born on November 22, 1947 in Woodland, moving to Grimes at a young age. Gus graduated from Pierce High School in 1965 and attended Yuba College. In his early school years, Gus would watch the big rigs drive by. His early fascination evolved into a lifelong love of big rigs.
Gus worked as a truck driver and eventually purchased his own truck. He enjoyed working on engines and restoring hot rods. This love continued as a pit crew member for Hard Top Car Racing at West Capital Speedway. Gus' greatest passion (other than all his girls), was his collection of vintage gas pumps, high boy oil pumps, porcelain and neon signs. Gus was very proud of his collection and enjoyed sharing the history with others. Gus displayed his collection at events, including many years at the Yolo County Fair, Colusa County Fair and the Poor Boys Midnight Mass. Gus called it Showtime!
Gus is survived by his wife Vickie, daughters, Kelly (Daniel) Fahey, Kimmi (Jason) Meistrell and Michelle Scott, three grandchildren, Olivia Fahey, Alliyah Bautista and Cody Scott; sister Ardy (John) Miller and brother Mark (Glenda) Gustafson, as well as many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alvin and Dolores Gustafson,A Celebration of Life was held on March 28, 2023 at Heidrick's Ag Museum, Woodland.
Stan Gladney passed away on February
24, 2021 after several days in the hospital fighting a stubborn
MRSA infection. Stan was 90 years old. Though not so active in
the past few years, he was member of both Branch 158 and Branch
13 of EDGE&TA and was actively involved in their shows as
well as the antique machinery displays at the California State
Fair. He collected and restored hit and miss engines and was the
go to man for figuring out timing and magneto problems. He is
survived by his wife, Nancy, his daughter, and several grandchildren
and great grandchildren. Stan grew up on the family farm near
Guinda in the Capay Valley, served in the US Army during the Korean
War, and worked at Crystal Creamery during his working years.
He was a good friend who will be missed by all of us.
By Wilbur Reil
Tractor drives of antique tractors continue to bring enjoyment to collectors and riders in the Sacramento Valley. Many of the tractors now being driven on these rides were made in the 1940s to 1970s era. That makes the older tractors approaching the average life expectancy of the driver on them. Seventy or 8o years and they still continue to run. I have had my McCormick Deering OS 4 on most of the tractor drives we have had. On all the drives it has travelled more than 2000 miles or the same distance if it was driven from Sacramento, CA to St. Louis, MO.
We are blessed with many rural roads in Northern California. On the west side of the Sacramento Valley we have Hwy I-5 a freeway that replaced the old 99W. 99W remained as a frontage road and runs in most places along I-5 from Woodland to Red Bluff. With all the rural roads with very little traffic it is an ideal place for slow moving tractors on public roads. Other drivers are used to slow moving vehicles.
The initial Yolo to Red Bluff Endurance Run was the brainchild of Floyd Percival in 2005. He wanted to drive the distance in the spring to go to a Gas up in Red Bluff, a distance of 120 miles. The drive proved successful but the down side was that vehicles with trailers then needed to be driven there to haul people and tractors back. Willows or Colusa are towns about half way and both had motels. Colusa had a casino that gave us discounts and perks for a couple of years. There are also several different routes to return to Woodland so it became the overnight stop off. Since 2006 the endurance run has been from Yolo to Colusa and back.
There are three main routes to Colusa with some deviations of each route. Yolo, Dunnigan, Arbuckle, Williams to Colusa is one route. Another route is along the east side of the Sacramento River through Meridian, and Knights Landing. The third route is through Grimes on the west side of the Sacramento River.
The drive in the springtime is beautiful with all the wildflowers in bloom. The drive is through farmland and part of a wildlife refuge. Birds including lots of waterfowl are abundant. Farmland is being worked and planted. Rice fields are being flooded and planted by airplane. Sometimes you can wave to the crop dusters that are planting the rice and they will waggle their wings to say hi. Along the Sacramento River there are usually lots of boats with both fishermen and water skiers to wave and sometimes holler at.
Most of the drivers come from the Woodland, Sacramento and surrounding area. We have had people join us from Nevada, Southern CA, and the Bay Area. We cancelled the Yolo-Colusa Endurance run in both 2020 and 2021 due to Covid 19. Hopefully we can resume the drive next year.
We pull a portable outhouse with us which allows us to travel in very rural areas. Comfort stops along the route allows for stretching and socializing. On some of the routes we take our lunches.
Weather can sometimes throw us a curve in April. One year it was cold and misty. Occasionally the north wind blows hard and can be somewhat disagreeable. Usually the springtime weather in late April is perfect. It is a wonderful time to be outdoors with not a care in the world. Summertime drives can be a little warm . We usually plan a route that can be cut short if it is too hot.
Branch 158 has held several one day tractor drives too. These shorter rides usually are from 25 to 40 miles long. Past rides have been in three different areas of Yolo County and surrounding area. One route is from either Yolo or Zamora to Capay where we have lunch at a restaurant and then back by a different route. Another trip leaves from west of Davis to Winters and then back along Putah Creek. The third route was in the Clarksburg area in the Sacramento Delta.
One year on the Clarksburg drive we rode the cable ferry across the slough to Grand Island. We had about 20 tractors and had lined up in a row to get on the ferry. We did not realize there were two lines so cars lined up on the other side and alternated getting on the ferry. Going over we only had half the vehicles old tractors. We figured it out so on the return trip the ferry was filled with old tractors.
Do we have problems? Occasionally. I have been on almost all drives driving a 1945 McCormick Deering OS 4. I try to keep the engine and running gear up but it has never been painted thus its name The Rusty Bucket. The fan belt broke one time. Another time it started missing and then died. The magneto gave out. I had it rebuilt and it runs much better now than it ever did before. Both times I was towed in by another tractor on the drive.
Other problems faced over the years by other drivers have been a blowout of a rear tire, the front spindle crystallizing and the front tire and spindle rolling off. Surprising the Ford did not go down and gouge into the pavement and it could be driven OK and loaded on a trailer. A back tire hub worked loose and the whole wheel started moving out on the axle. A front axle bearing froze up on a Farmall near a Napa store. With all the driver mechanics, we had the bearing replaced in less than an hour. There were several times tractors wouldnt start and were either pull started or pulled in. A few times someone has run out of gas. We carry some extra. No one has ever been hurt on the drives.
Tractor drives have been enjoyable for me over many years. It is great to see the old tractors perform and keep on performing. Its great to show off the restoration done. Many of the old tractors were not built for comfort. There is no power steering. I keep saying the manufacturer built the engine and running gear to do a job. Then they said oh yea, we need to attach a seat for the driver. Sometimes its hard to get on or off them. It is amazing to me the amount of work farmers did with the old tractors. I love to see them continue to run.
Editors Note: Many of you now know the
area around San Jose, CA as the densely populated Silicon Valley,
but before World War II, it had a thriving agricultural economy
and was a verdant land of walnut, prune, apricot, and cherry orchards.
It was so beautiful that it was then known as The Valley
of the Hearts Delight. A good concise history of the
development of the Santa Clara area into Silicon Valley can be
found at https://interestingengineering.com/the-origin-story-of-silicon-valleyand-why-we-shouldnt-try-to-recreate-it
The account following was first printed about 30 years ago.
The Little Cletrac
By Locke Jorgenson
Reprinted from Branch 3 News
It took a circuitous route from the Cleveland Tractor Co. factory by rail around the Great Lakes to Winnipeg, then south across the plains to Topeka. At each railhead a few more of its identical siblings were unloaded. The train went west next through the Rockies, northwest to Portland and finally arrived in San Jose, California in the spring of 1927. The Chairman of Bean Spray Company had been at odds with Benjamin Holt and this year was selling Cletrac rather than Caterpillar crawlers. Bean Co. made a full line of sprayers and their own one cylinder engines, but had a display room of tractors as well.
John Ellsworth was in his eighties. The fruit trees on his sixty acres were mature and demanded more work now. He wished to turn the whole business over to his son Fred, but first a new tractor was needed. The old Titan of pre-World War I vintage was cumbersome, clumsy and a "man killer" to start. It had been used originally when the land was wheat, not orchard.
John and his son cranked up the Star and drove to San Jose and for several hours haggled with the salesman. Finally, the sale was completed. A Cletrac 20 with optional belt pulley was to be delivered free for $865.00 cash. The bulldog Mack with its chain drive and hard rubber tires took the good part of a day to carry the tractor to its new owners in Saratoga. The first job demanded of it was to pull the old Titan out of the shed to its final resting place under a one hundred year old oak.
The prune and apricot trees were on the slopes, the cherry and walnut trees on the twenty acres of level land close to the house. The orchards were disced twice a year and dragged smooth just before each harvest. The drag was simply a redwood plank weighted with rocks from the creek. Dragging made picking easier off the ground for prunes and walnuts and for a level surface for the ladder pickers on the cherries and apricots.
It was the walnuts which required the most work from the Cletrac. The walnut trees had to be irrigated. This was accomplished by pulling a heavy V-shaped plow down the center of a row making a two foot by one foot dike. Like contour lines on a map the dikes had to connect to hold the water. At each meeting point the driver had to dismount and winch up the plow, drive to the next starting point and lower the plow. When they were complete, the temporary holding ponds were ready for water. The tractor was backed up to the creek bank and a flat belt connected from the drive pulley behind the seat to the big centrifugal pump on the water's edge. A six inch pipe carried water from the deep hole in the creek, which doubled as a swimming hole, to the trees. Often trout would be sucked right through the plumbing into the small lakes around the trees and a little girl could be seen picking up fish to take home to her mother, Fred's sister, for a special dinner treat. For a full week the "20" ran at full throttle pumping water. A model T gas tank tied on the crawler track served as an auxiliary fuel tank to allow the engine to run at night without refueling.
At harvest time the walnuts had to be
shaken from the trees. The tractor was backed up to a tree, and
the flat pulley was replaced with an eccentric one. A like pulley
was attached to the tree trunk with a chain wrapped in leather
and the belt pulled tight. At half engine speed, the tree would
give up every nut. Each tree was shaken and picked in turn so
as not to run over any of the bounty.
The Cletrac worked for nearly thirty years, through the depression years, and the second World War. There was an endless list of chores for it. If it wasn't pulling out stumps from dead trees, it was pulling the sprayer through the orchards to rid the fruit of insects or fungi. It pulled the neighbors' 1935 Ford out of the creek one winter when the driver picked a poor crossing spot. If a fellow orchardist needed help it was there to assist. One spring the discing was delayed a week. The family cat "Lady Claire" had her kittens in the tractor tool box. Work resumed as soon a more suitable nursery was found.
At first light on a spring morning in 1953 the putt-putta-putta&SHY;putt could be heard as the Cletrac pulled the six foot offset disc down the rows of trees near the house. A small boy was soon out to watch and see the machine which was making the noise. The four cylinders labored at each turn at the end of a row, the brakes squeaked as they assisted the turn, then the sound faded until the turn was made at the far end of the row. Then back again in a few minutes it came, the driver always conscious of the boy.
One day the boy heard a pounding coming from the tractor shed. Upon his arrival there he found his great uncle Fred trying to loosen a large bolt on the tractor axle. No amount of leverage seemed to loosen the stubborn bolt. The boy asked if he could help. He took the wrench, flipped it over and quickly unscrewed the bolt. "It's left-handed thread" said the boy to his uncle. His great uncle replied, "I am too old for this anymore."
It was 1956. The profits were low on the fruit and walnuts due to competition from growers in the San Joaquin Valley and property taxes in Santa Clara County were higher each year. The land was sold for the Merrivale Subdivision for what seemed then a lot of money. The trees were bulldozed one by one into piles and burned. A few veterans were saved to die a slow death in the overwatered front yard of a new house or to be filled full of nails for a kid's tree house in the back yard.
Only three acres and the home were saved from the developer. The tractor was stolen, taken right out of the shed without anyone hearing a sound! Perhaps it was stolen by one of the men surveying the land, or by a construction worker or a thief who know the value of the machine. It was never seen again.
Author's Note: This tale, originally written for an English assignment, is a compilation of several people and events. The little girl, however, was really my mother, and I was the boy standing at the end of the row who got a wave and a wink from the man on the little Cletrac.
Finding That Special Engine
By Wilbur Reil
I got a call in March from a friend who told me about a farmer
in the Lincoln area that was selling everything and moving to
a retirement home. I called him up and went to see him. He had
4 engines left. All were apart with parts somewhat scattered.
There was the base to a Fairbanks Morse 1.5 HP T. Many parts were missing. Asking him about the parts he said they could be around someplace so we started looking. He had several sheds and after going through 6 or 7 without luck he unlocked another shed and there in the corner was the head, block, piston, and rod. There was also a bucket of other parts. I made a deal with him on the 4 engines.
We then started loading the engines on my trailer. He had a fork lift so it was easy. After we got the engines loaded he drove over to a tall thick plank that had a walking beam on it and started loading it too along with a gear and another bucket of parts. He said I could have them as he got them when he got the engines several years before. I wasnt sure how or if they went together but figured I could make something out of the gear and beam.
I got the engines home and started putting parts to the correct engines. After working on 2 of the horizontal engines I started assembly on the FM T. Except for the muffler and intake cover it was all there. I mounted it on an iron wheeled trailer.
I then started researching it in Wendels - American Gas Engines since 1872. The small engines were named Jack of all Trades. One sentence said it was available in a geared pumping engine. I then looked it up in Wendels - Fairbanks Morse 100 years of Engine Technology. Bingo. Page 57 had a picture of the FM Jack of all Trades engine geared up to the walking beam. All of the parts from the gear and walking beam that I had wondered about fit. It took some minor juggling to orient it on the trailer before I could hook it to a well pump.
I have not been able to find a serial number or read the scratches on the head. The brass plate on it only lists patent dates. The last patent date is 1901. It also says other patents are pending. Other features show it as an early model so I am guessing it is either a 1902 or 1903 model 1 ½ HP FM Jack of all Trades. It is a little hard to start but once running runs well. I plan on leaving it unpainted.
Once in a while a project works out well. What a pleasant surprise I have had buying a very nice engine and then discovering that I also have the walking beam for it too.
2020 a year of COVID, lockdowns, masks, fires and treasures to find!
By Pat Garrison
After several lock downs and a few shelter in place orders,
I decided it would be a good opportunity (under the radar) to
search for engines to add to my extensive collection. Especially
after two planned trips to Hawaii and our anniversary trip to
Australia/New Zealand were cancelled due to COVID.
To add insult to injury, a very disappointing August due to the Yolo County Fair cancellation. It is my favorite engine show to showcase my collection, and chat with friends I dont see often. I have been participating in the fair for more than 20 years. This only heightened my quest to find that new engine to add to my collection. After much negotiation I acquired a complete 3 H.P. Samson engine. I plan to do a complete overhaul and add a cart to the engine. Looking forward to 2021 Yolo County Fair to catch up with old friends with loud booms for all to hear!
This whole COVID situation
By Sue Westwood
This whole COVID situation this year not only cancelled our events, but it has also put a lot of stress on our local restaurants. The restaurant scene in Woodland has improved so much over the past few years, it seems a shame to see it go back to what it once was. I decided to do my part to help promote local restaurant take-out and take advantage of the empty streets by driving my Farmall Super A to local restaurants for takeout dinners and livestreaming the effort on Facebook. People seemed to enjoy my drives through scenic Woodland and complained when I swapped the tractor for a motorcycle when it got too hot and the streets too busy. The motorcycle? A brand new 2020 BMW F750GS that I have put 4,000 miles on in about two months as of this writing.
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Branch 158 is on Facebook with a group page devoted to the club. When you are on Facebook, just type Yolo Antique Power Association into the search bar and you will find our group page. Please join the group so you can post about our events and share your photos of them with us. In other words, Like us on Facebook!
Plow Day 2015
Branch 158 Fall Plow Day 2015
Our Ninth Annual Plow Day was successfully
held on November 7, 2015 at the Beeman Ranch on Road 95 west of
Woodland. We had some rain about a week before, but the heavy
clay ground was still a bit too dry for ideal plowing. At least
this year, we were on safflower stubble, so we did not have any
plugging problems. We plowed a lot more ground than last year
and there was enough good ground to satisfy all who showed up.
In addition to plowing, we also did some disking and dragging.
We would like to thank Greg Rieff, who is currently farming this land, for allowing us to dig up the soil a little bit. He appreciated that we opened up a bit of ground for him to seed for his haying operation. Greg also loaned us his forklift. Thanks also to Wilbur Reil for providing the signage as the field was a good distance from the road. Thanks to Mike Cristler for arranging the use of the land. See you out here again next year as this is a well received hands on event that is quite different from the rest of our show schedule.
Below: Plow Day 2015 Photos by Howard Hatshek
Plow Day 2014
Plow Day 2013
Branch 158 Plow Day November 2012
Branch 158 Plow Day 2010
Branch 158 hosted a very successful Plow Day on Nov 13, 2010. Three perfects! - The location at Silmer Scheidels ranch in Pleasant Grove, the weather, cool and sunny, and the soil, with just the right amount of moisture. No count, but there were 30 to 40 tractors present and about 60 acres were plowed and disked. Photos courtesy of Wilbur Reil
Joseph Lorenzo Freitas, Jr. was born
July 13, 1933 in St. Helena, CA. He died December 17, 2018. He
was born to Joseph Lorenzo, Sr and wife Lela. His brother William
preceeded him in death.
Joe graduated from Armijo High School in Fairfield, CA. He worked at a gas station in high school where he also started doing car repairs. He developed and used his outstanding mechanical abilities throughout his life. Joe worked for tractor and farm equipment dealerships in Fairfield, Petaluma, Red Bluff, and Woodland, CA. For many years, he was the service manager for Woodland Tractor in Woodland. He finished his career in the Service department of Elm Ford in Woodland.
Joe met his wife, Donna, at church. They married in 1953 in Petaluma. They raised three children, Richard, Melody, and Susan in Woodland. He was active in church as a Sunday school teacher and deacon. He also volunteered for many projects, such as maintaining the buses. Joe and Donna helped to start a church related camp in 1964 in the high Sierras, Pilot Lake Camp. Joe served on the Board of Directors. Joe volunteered for Woodland Christian School projects, including digging trenches for construction with a backhoe.
Joe and Donna shared a love for animals. He loved cars, riding motorcycles, fishing, hunting waterfowl, rebuilding and restoring old tractors, and meeting up with his buddies at Starbucks. He was a longtime member of Branch 158 Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association.
Joes loving wife of 60 years, Donna, preceded him in death. He is survived by his three children and five grandchildren.
Joes hard work ethic, friendly and kind manner, generosity, and grateful spirit will be greatly missed.
Floyd Percival passed away February 13, 2010. He was born in Meeker, Oklahoma on December 22, 1926 and grew up on a farm near Shawnee, Oklahoma. Floyd's parents grew corn, grain, hogs, and cattle. With all the chores that needed to be done, Floyd certainly was not spoiled. By the time he was ten years old, he was out in the field with a pair of bib overalls and a team of mules. Floyd still had the overalls to the end, though I suspect they were a few sizes larger by then. The Dust Bowl hit Oklahoma hard, so in 1938, Floyd and his father left the farm and moved to Capay, California. He married his first wife, then in the mid 1940's, his sons, Wayne and Jerry were born. He found work on a pipeline, then at a copper mine in Arizona. But a big, hot hole in the ground and no trees was a bit too much and he soon found his way back to California. He worked at various ranches in the Madison area for the next fifteen years. For a time, he also had a gas station in Esparto. In 1958, Floyd was remarried to Augie and they had five daughters. In 1959, he started work as a mechanic for the City of Woodland. He retired in the mid 1980's as the foreman of the vehicle maintenance shop.
Floyd never forgot his roots in farming. He was introduced to collecting antique engines and tractors by Cliff Hardy. Floyd joined Branch 13 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association shortly after it was formed in the mid 1970's. Over the years, he served as Vice President for three years, President for three years, and many more years on the board of directors. More recently, he was instrumental in founding of Branch 158 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association. He had been on its board of directors since 2004. He was also a volunteer at the Heidrick Ag History Center.
I first met Floyd when I joined Branch 13 in 1979. Then when we moved to Woodland in 1992, I really got to know him better. I started going in to the morning coffee group at Denny's once in a while. Floyd was always there and welcomed and encouraged me to come. Today I am still not much of a mechanic, but was really a greenhorn back then. Floyd always had the time to willingly and patiently show me how to do the various jobs involved in bringing an old machine back to life. Floyd really became a mentor to me. More recently, I got a grain binder and a threshing machine for our shows. Once again, Floyd was the man with the needed knowledge to set up and operate them. He took his time to instruct me, but I think he had fun getting the old machines going, too. I know that we will all miss his vast store of knowledge, his tales of how things were done in the past, and his helpful encouragement.
Floyd was a quiet leader who could and did get things done. For many years he ran the antique machinery display at the California State Fair Farm, coordinating the display, supervising all the helpers, and putting on a good show for the spectators. He was not content to keep doing the same old shows over and over again. Not one to sit around, he challenged us often by pushing us to start new events and expand older ones. For instance, six years ago, he told us that he was going to go on a two day 120 mile tractor drive, whether or not we joined him. We thought he was crazy when he first proposed it, but he persisted, and this drive has now evolved into the Branch 158 Colusa Endurance Run. Those of us who have participated now realize how doable it really was and that it was not beyond our capabilities. We have repeated this ride every year since then.
Floyd did start to slow down some in the past few years as health problems started to take more of a toll on his body. But he was active and alert to the end, just the way he would have wanted it. Even though he could no longer drive due to failing eyesight, he was usually eager to ride along when I went to deliver or pick up another old tractor. He enjoyed seeing the countryside and sharing in the discovery of some new old iron. Two weeks before his death, we found another tractor that he was interested in buying. We were making plans to take a look at it, when we found out it already had just been sold, so that was one that got away. He still had projects he planned to complete, ideas for the shows, and words of advice and encouragement.
Floyd was one of my best friends. And one could not have asked for a better friend. He was always helpful. I have never seen him get mad at anyone. Upset, maybe, but not mad. Floyd may not have been rich in monetary terms, but he was rich in the knowledge that he had of people and things. He understood how people thought and knew when they were not being honest with him, but usually did not let on that he did. He had a wealth of knowledge about old time farming methods and tractor and equipment repair. This knowledge he was willing to share and we have all learned much from him over the years. Floyd was a great father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and a true friend who will be greatly missed.