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IH Tractors on Montana Farm

Old Binder Guy

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Don't mean to hi-jack the thread here, but I know there are two subjects on this thread that are "sacred". Steam and riverboats.

The wife and I decided on a different vacation this year----a little trip from St. Paul to St. Louis.


I got a feeling this is gonna be FUN!

I'm NOT taking a computer along, so I will have to file a report in a week or so.

(I just hope we get to see the engine room!!!!)


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Sacred subjects, "steam and steamboats." Leave that darn computer at home! But, do take your camera! Have a great time. I'm envious! Enjoy yourselves! Think of us, though!! And, I hope you get to see and photograph the boiler room and/or engine room.

We're working on Mike's shop, cleaning up and continue to make it more of a workshop every day. I did a couple of things today that left an impression on me. I'm starting to put some homestead stuff on the walls. Today, I put the oxen yoke and the smaller calf training oxen yoke on the wall above the entry door.

Roger will recognize all of his handy work that he did for Farmall Kid (Mike) when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. Roger got pictures from some of us steam nuts and put this lovely collage of photos on a banner material that seems like a plastic coated tarp. I don't know the name of it in his industry, but he printed and sent it to Mike. Mike hung it on the wall above and beside his bed and whenever he wasn't out on mission, he got to enjoy it and the stuff, with people back home. That was a wonderful thing you did for our son, Roger!


Another job I did when it was a little cooler this morning was put together new governor belts for both engines. The Reeves belt was one that I'd tagged for the "blower oscillator" on the McCormick-Deering 22" threshing machine. Except it was for the old 22" McCormick I had that I sold before moving to Helena. Mike also has a 22" McCormick-Deering threshing machine, but it doesn't have the "blower oscillator." The oscillator is a gearbox that moves the blower from left to right, right to left, and is supposed to make a more uniform straw stack. Since I kept all of the belts from that old one of mine, I had this new flat belting. Flat belting isn't the easiest commodity to come by these days. At least not out here in Montana. I put Alligator Clips on and it fits great.


The Case belt was narrower and it wasn't the ordeal the Reeves was, but still took a "shoe horn" to get it belted. I've had the governor off and did what Roger and I discussed on the phone about the spool on this Waters governor. With the new belt and the work done, I'm hoping this old governor works like new again. Gary ;)


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Harvesting spring wheat on the Camas Prairie in north Idaho. My son-in-law's outfit. They should have finished today.




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Amazing... I didn't have much to add last night and I still don't this morning! :rolleyes:

I scanned some of Farmall Kid's (Mike) engine partner and my nephew, Randy's photos. This is the two Reeves owners discussing the governor problems I fixed for them... before I fixed them. Randy on left, Farmall Kid on right.


Randy spent time on our farm on Beaver Creek as a boy. Here he's sitting on my dad's TD-40 TracTracTor with the Holt dozer. Dad liked this one, as he liked to doze and he liked that out of four TD-40s, this was the one that had the electric starter, due to the hydraulic pump being in front of the crankshaft.


Randy is also a pilot. He was the Montana Highway Patrol's "bear in the air" for 20 years, spent 37 years flying in the Montana National Guard and now is a (Super) Huey bucket chopper pilot for the Montana Department of State Lands fire fighting program. He went over 10,000 hours in the past two years, but I haven't asked him where he is right now. Fire is a whole different ballgame than any other type of flying, especially in the mountains of Montana. I thought this was a super neat telephoto photo of him flying fire mission. Gary ;)


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So with 59 years in the air, Randy must be pushing 80 years old now unless there has been overlap in his careers. Putting in so many bucket hours is pretty admirable for a man that age. Lucky guy.

I expect to be away for the rest of this week for some repair work and aftermarket parts. Unless I can use a laptop in there I will just be thinking about my Red Power family, instead of readin'.

Wishes for a good week to all.


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I neglected to remark how great those combining photos are you posted. That looks like pretty fair spring wheat they're combining. Thanks for thinking of us!


Randy did have much overlap. He joined the Montana Army National Guard when he was 18, I believe. Soon thereafter he was able to work his way into the Montana Highway Patrol as their "bear in the air." A later Attorney General decided he should be "a MHP officer" if he was timing and okaying the issuing of tickets by his patrol car driving MHP counterparts on the ground. So he went through their training and became a Montana Highway Patrolman. He was in the right places at the right time and was able to move up through the chain of command until he became "colonel" or Chief. He retired from the MHP about 10 years ago, or almost that long ago. He retired from the MTARNG after I moved here, so about 3-1/2 years ago. He'd gone all the way to Major and commanded the air wing of the Montana Army National Guard (They have no jets with guns and rockets or unarmed helicopters like the Montana Air National Guard; but ARMED helicopters and unarmed fixed wing aircraft.) After his command, he reverted to Warrant Officer, so he could just be left alone and fly. At the time he retired from the MHP, he went to work for the Montana DNRC or Department of Natural Resources, as a bucket chopper pilot. He had Kalispell, MT for about four summers, while we were still there, so it was great to see him occasionally there. Now he does more office work, relief flying on weekends for those who've worked several days straight, ferries choppers around where the fires are most volatile, and does lots of spotting for fires in fixed wing, especially after electrical storms. He's not 80, Charlie. He was just 57 in August.

Delta Dirt,

You're correct about fire flying. It's an animal of a different species. A few similarities to spraying, MAYBE, but not much else. Combat pilots sometimes can't cut fire flying duty. It's the different species again. I called his ship in that picture, a "Super" Huey. The DNRC rebuilds their own helicopters, using Huey Cobra engines, transmissions, and rotors. It gives them about a 50% boost over what the ships were when US Government equipment.

This morning, I downloaded pictures I took at Silver Creek yesterday. Consequently, I left my knock around camera on the couch right next to the computer here. So all I had to take pictures with today was my phone. They aren't as good, but they'll suffice for tonight. I filled the water wagon, serviced the Model T Coupe, then spent time hanging stuff in the shop again today. I keep Mike's shop "busy" on the walls. I love homesteading era tools and equipment, so I'm hanging equipment now, as the tools were long months ago that I bored you guys with them. Roger will recognize the picture here with the grain cradle. He gave the photo to us.


More junk in this picture. A couple of barn augers, a wagon jack, a freighter's rough lock, seeders, shovel, etc.


This one has a couple of scythe's and a wooden pitchfork, plus you'll notice Randy's pictures at left. The big picture of the OH-58 helicopter was my late brother Bill, when he was in the MTARNG and commander of that unit ahead of Randy. Bill gave Mike this picture years ago, and he was also a Master Aviator and claimed he and Chuck Yeager were the only two Brigadier Generals to ever keep their flying status after achieving that rank.


I put up some "horsey" stuff I had here. A set of Deering binder eveners, a neck yoke, etc. Actually, that red evener piece is one that was in the Bourke Motor & Implement parts department upstairs, so I bought it! The piece to the right of it I believe has something to do with using a single tree on a buggy? Maybe one of you horse savvy harness drivers can help me with that ID? That'd sure be nice!!! Gary ;)


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My longtime steam friend, David Vanek Jr. of Billings had his boys at his dad's ranch this past weekend near Lewistown and they had his 30 hp Advance cross compound engine fired up so his boys could enjoy it. This engine is a "soul survivor" of this horsepower size and configuration. I always enjoy it when men train their sons (and other young people) in the operation of these steam engines. Gary ;)



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Advance tactors came from Battle Creek, MI? I live just south of BC.

Yes, BOBSIH856, they came from Battle Creek, Michigan, just like Nichols & Shepard AND Kellogg's Corn Flakes! Gary

I never knew the that BC had steam traction engine companies. I do know that Kelloggs and Post are based out of BC. Thanks for the information.

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Three pictures from another lifetime. My 1953 TD-18A hitched to a 620 John Deere chisel plow, a pair of IH #5 Rod Weeders and harrows. The Big Snowy Mountains are in the distance. I always enjoyed looking at them.


This was Dad and his brothers using Dad's TD-9, pulling their Advance-Rumely combine harvester. Dad's IH K-5 truck is under the unloading chute. No auger here! And these are both IH Tractors on a Montana Farm!


The WD-9 with MacDonald cab hitched to a 14' IH 10" 150 Shovel Drill. Gary ;)


PS: These were all fuzzy pictures and I'm trying the Adobe "sharpen" technique, which I'd never tried before. They are better pictures than my pictures are!

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Man those pics are great! I don't that much about IH track tractors, so don't be offended but.....what size Cat would the TD-18 be comparable to? D-7, D-8? How long has it been since they used track tractors up there, or do they use them?

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Man those pics are great! I don't that much about IH track tractors, so don't be offended but.....what size Cat would the TD-18 be comparable to? D-7, D-8? How long has it been since they used track tractors up there, or do they use them?


There were lots of us using TracTracTors or Cats in this part of the world back in the 1960s, but they tapered off and I don't know of any who use steel track crawlers for farming anymore. I'm putting my avatar picture on, uncropped, which shows a 1933 or 34 (one of the first) TD-40s (at left the right one was a 1936.) in central Montana and Dad and his brothers bought used and started plowing with it in 1939, when it was too wet to plow with the big old steam engines. It plowed so much, the last time I ran it in the 1960s, the tracks were all stretched from an uneven pull or draft on the plows.


Walter Mehmke had a used TD-35 TracTracTor he bought that had been on fire. The first NEW Cat he bought to plow with is this D-8 and it has my late buddy Carl Mehmke on it, pulling the original disk plows they farmed with behind this D-8. They quit Cats back in the 1980s, as I remember?


The Tyler's at Moore(Eddies Corner) also plowed with iron tracks at least through 1991, as the day this picture was taken of me and Earl Tyler pulling their 42' chisel plow, we'd unhooked it from a D-6 SA (Special Application) Cat. I know shortly afterward they went to a rubber track Cat, then went to John Deere articulated 4X4s. Gary ;)


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Professor----looks like you and Earl wuz "hittin the bull in the a$$ with a big axe" with the big steamer!!!!!

Crawlers were popular across the Delta up into the early 60s--------heavy drawbar pull along with good flotation.

Entrance of the higher HP rubber tired tractors gradually retired most of the crawlers from the ag-field work.


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Man those pics are great! I don't that much about IH track tractors, so don't be offended but.....what size Cat would the TD-18 be comparable to? D-7, D-8? How long has it been since they used track tractors up there, or do they use them?


I'm not sure about the comparison of the TD-18 to a Caterpillar? I think it's bigger than an equal age D-6 and perhaps smaller than equal age D-7?

This is a picture of the TD-18A after I built a cab for it, but before I painted it.


I put up some gold mining stuff I had on Mike's wall today in the shop.


This is a couple of encore photos, the first of the parade at a steam show near Columbia Falls, MT years ago. I'm in the Model TT truck, Mike's on the Case steam engine, and Annie with water wagon brings up the tail in our parade entries.


This is the picture of me on my TD-40 TracTracTor pulling Austin Monk's 6-bottom John Deere plow with my late friend, Austin, at the levers. Gary ;)


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We had TWO downpours at Silver Creek today. About three, this first one came. There was water running everywhere and it only lasted about 12-15 minutes but had lots of small hail in the last half of the event. It was about .65 hundredths of an inch. It ran off, soaked in and left some mess. About an hour, it all happened again, lasting about as long, but not as much hail this time. I didn't check the rain gauge. We need moisture, but if it could spread it out over an hour even, it would be better. But we have enough "farm boy" in us, we'll take moisture any way we can get it after such dry, dry, hot, hot weather. Helena hasn't had a tenth of the immediate local fires it had last year, but we were getting where you didn't dare spit warm spit, for fear it might strike a rock and make a spark.



Okay, after bragging about being an old farm boy, I have two "farm" questions I need you guy's input for, since I can't answer the questions. I don't think I posted this first picture, but forgive me if I did, as I'm trying to find out the answer to something. Below the rake handle at upper left is a pair of Deering eveners. Below those is a brand new red IHC one. To the right...... upper is a neck yoke. What is the name of that bottom stick with the leather and a hole in the leather? I'm going to assume (yes I know what that word means!) it is for pulling with a single tree setup, where only one horse is pulling a light buggy? I don't know. Hopefully one of you will be able to straighten me out?? I just missed the "horse and harness" era by days. I was four years old when Dad got rid of the work horses. I remember riding on a bobsled pulled with work horses, hauling hay in the winter. But sadly, I never ever got to harness a horse. Please, someone help me with that "stick", which is what it is, until it can be identified!


Now the other question: I could probably go to the internet, but you guys need to see that I'm falible and real, so here goes. Here are three wooden baskets, upside down and stacked. I KNOW the lower basket is a "bushel basket." The middle one is likely a "half-bushel basket?" But I don't know. I know either the middle one, OR the small one are called a "peck basket." Which is the peck?? The little one or the middle one?? Thanks for your consideration. I don't have any prizes to offer. But thanks in advance. Gary ;)


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