The Mystery Item Is …


This is a manure spreader beater bar. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

UPDATE January 24, 2010: I just received a subscription notice for this post, so assume that all of the other subscribers of this blog did, as well. I have not opened the editor of this post since I published it, so the notice was sent in error by the blog service. Because this is the second time this has happened, I will check with WordPress Support to see if whatever glitch can be fixed so this doesn’t happen again. Again, I apologize for any confusion. Louise

In the previous post the “mystery item” is ….. a manure spreader beater bar. In their comments, Chris, Glenn, and a gentleman who emailed me knew exactly what the item is, and Patti and another woman were close knowing that it was used to break up something in the field.*

Below is a YouTube video about today’s ABI Classic Spreader. I have no idea if all of the information in the video is valid, but I do know that the segment from the 2:49 minute mark to the 3:56 mark illustrates the principle of the shredder (i.e. what we are calling the beater bar).

I asked my brother, Charles, what he remembers about the manure spreader that Daddy (Deane Gunderson) had/used. Charles said he remembers that it was red, and thinks it was a McCormick. Of course, we don’t know for sure that the beater bar shown here is from our red manure spreader, in which I rode to get to the school bus one day!** But for sentimental sake and since it was found either at Gunderland or where my dad was raised, I want to believe it is the same unless I find out differently. (If you know something about the shape/design of it that would mean it is from a different kind of spreader, by all means, please let me know.)

Charles said that our dad’s spreader was used for both hog manure and cattle manure. Charles said, “I never ran it.” Then, with a chuckle he said, “But I filled it up!” Sometimes with a pitch fork, but mostly with a shovel.

“Dad also had a cage put around the spreader so the corn sheller could blow the corn husks from corn shelling into the spreader. He’d also load corn cobs into the spreader to spread out in the field to get them out of the farmstead, and also for a little bit, but not much, of nutrient value.”

Charles said, “Dad stopped having hogs within a year or two after Grandpa died [in 1956], but then I had 4-H hogs through my sophomore year, which would have been until the summer of 1959.”

“At one time he also had cattle at Gunderland. I think he had cattle only for one year and that was after the barn was built. [Charles estimates the barn was built probably before 1948, and the wood crib was built in approximately 1951.] He bought 100 heifers and fed them to 750 pounds. Maybe that was the year Grandpa died. I don’t know for certain the exact year. Dad took the cattle to market in Sioux City and sold them at the stockyard there. At the time Dad thought he might want to feed cattle again. He soon found out that the cattle someone was trying to sell him were the ones he had just sold!”

* * * * * * * *

I learned a new vocabulary word last night. Tilth. Bill told me that spreading the cobs, etc. is good for the soil’s tilth. As the Rolfe notable science teacher Mr. Spaulding has told me several times, “A word a day keeps the idiot doctor away!”

*Thank you to all of you who passed along what you either knew what the item is or were guessing. It is fun for me to receive your comments, whether on this blog or in your private communication to me.

**The getting-to-the-school-bus story is told in the third paragraph of this post.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


5 Responses to “The Mystery Item Is …”

  1. Peg Says:

    Love it all! Especially love you and Charles connecting over his remembrances . . . and hearing them, too, via you. Heart! It’s fascinating to me, too, to think what age I was born (and was little) in all this context. Thank you, Louise!

  2. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    I made a change in the text of this post to reflect the following years: Originally I had said that Charles thought the barn was built in about 1951. But, actually, he thinks the barn was built probably before 1948, and he thinks the wood crib was built around 1951 … both of them built by John Tiernan.

  3. Says:

    Louise: I can’t believe that your dad ever had anything red on his farm. He was all Green! Glenn

  4. Glenn Markley Says:

    Louise: I can’t believe that your dad ever had anything red on his farm.
    He was all Green before it was a buzzword.

  5. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Hi Glenn! You are right that he was definitely Green (and like you said, before it became a buzzword). He did have a Farmall tractor, and I also have a photo of him (with Charles and Helen in it, too) of some sort of McCormick Deering (sp) elevator. I’ll have to dig photos of those out and post them sometime. If he were still alive, I’d love to ask him why he had those “red” implements.

    I wish I had “gotten into” all of this even just a couple of years earlier, because I have so many questions I would have had fun asking my dad. On the other hand, I’m so glad we have the photos/recordings/etc. that we do have. I’ll check with family to see if anyone knows why Daddy had some of the “red” around.

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