Brute’s Bleat by Harold Brutlag- August 8, 2018

Ken Hennen and I took in the Lakers first Region 12c playoff game last week Wednesday at Howard Lake where the Lakers defeated Maple Plain 5-0 with Hunter Malachek going the distance. Normally this would have been a short-sleeve shirt evening, but Mother Nature had other ideas and send two minor rains that way during the 9 inning game. The smart fans brought along umbrellas and the rest of us toughed it out. Enroute to HL we stopped at the County 6 and 35 junction to let a covey of 5 pheasants scamper and fly across 35. Later we came upon a lone hen pheasant that stood her ground on the blacktop. Others are also seeing young pheasants which bodes well for the fall season in Wright County. * * * If you haven’t purchased a $2000.00 Cash Raffle ticket for $5.00 from any of the Legion Post 131 members for updating the kitchen there are some available from members or at the Legion. There were only 2,000 tickets printed which gives buyers a much better chance than winning the Power Ball, and it’s for a good purpose. And if you want to better your odds, buy a whole book of 10 for $50.00. Prizes are $1,000, $500, and two $250s. * * * A hot tip from on where to fish for sunnies paid off Thursday afternoon when a Laker fan suggested Sugar Lake after the game Wednesday evening. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing for me that afternoon. I was on the lake by 1 p.m. and off by 2:30 p.m. with a limit of 20 8 plus inchers and several going 9. It took little sorting and the action was great. I was using nightcrawlers left over from previous trips until I ran out and switched to power bait. Both varieties worked well. The access parking lot was about half full, so I suspect the word was out. I haven’t been out since, but hope to later this week. * * * The rains Friday night and Saturday morning moved two Region 12c games to Saturday and that pushed the Laker vs. Loretto game from a 4 p.m. starting time to about 6:30-7:00 p.m. I was impressed with the Howard Lake baseball field’s condition considering they had roughly 2 inches of rain to contend with according to Orphans manager Mike Gagnon. Mitch Wurm pitched the whole game winning 7-1. He would have had a shut-out except for an unearned run. Riley Decker came through with a line drive to right-center that added two runs to their 1-0 lead midway through the game. This was their second win in the region tournament and qualifies the Lakers for a spot in the state tournament. The Lakers play Hutchinson, a 8-6 winner over Delano and state qualifier, Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Howard Lake with the championship game Sunday at 1 p.m. in the double elimination tournament. The state tournament will be hosted by New Prague, Shakopee and Jordan this year. Start making your plans now to attend! * * * In my ongoing reminiscing about harvesting in the late 40s and 50s, two weeks ago we finished up telling about the small grain threshing. To continue that was followed by putting up a second crop of alfalfa if it already hadn’t been done. Then there was a brief lull which gave the farmers an opportunity for fall plowing before they started filling their silos with silage. They liked to do this right before a frost so they wouldn’t lose the corn leaves. This was before field choppers and the farmers used their corn binders to cut the corn they planned to put in a silo. The corn binder would cut off the stalks of corn and tie them into bundles and drop them into a basket which was emptied to form a row. That was the easy part of the process. My dad had a silo filler which was a machine stationed at the silo with tubes reaching to the top of the silo, anywhere from 18 to 30 feet. Some of the shorter silos were made of wood, but most were concrete. I didn’t help a whole lot with filling silos because it came the same time of year that school was in session. The metal tubes had to be hoisted by rope and pulley from the ground and sections were added until the proper height was attained. Some of the more modern silos had exterior ladders and a pulley was fastened at the top. My dad also had a two section wood extension ladder which was used when the silos didn’t have their own ladder. Climbing the wood ladder with a pulley and rope was a challenge for me if I was available. I don’t think OSHA would have approved! Anyway it was up the farmers to load the corn bundles on a hay rack which were either stood up leaning against the end of the rack or laying them down all facing with the stocks toward the side they would be unloaded from. The corn bundles were roughly five-six feet tall and heavy to lift with a three tined fork. I got a taste of it on Saturdays when school was not in session and found out just how strenuous the work could be. The silo filler chopped the corn and sent it up the tubes with the power from a Farmall H tractor. A goose neck type flexible tube at the tope of the silo was used by the farmers to spread the silage around rather than let it pile up on its own. If it wasn’t spread around the chopped ears of corn would tend to roll to the outside of the silo. My dad was stationed alongside of the conveyor that carried the corn from the rack into the silo filler. The machine had a stop and go clutch which he used to regulate the bundles which weren’t necessarily all the same size. This was also a safety factor in case those unloading bundles with a fork couldn’t free the fork and it was headed for the knives used to chop the corn. I can only remember Dad talking about that happening once and losing time to replace the cutting knives which were damaged in the process. Most of those involved used common sense when unloading, but once in a while the bundles would get thrown too far and that could cause a plugged tube, another period of down time in the busy fall season. The noon meals and afternoon lunches were great and I remember one time the farmer was a bachelor and he would take the crew to Henning for a meal at Bondy’s Restaurant which was a real treat for a county boy like myself. Not because the food was any better, it just a new experience. The restaurant also had several pinball machines, but I can’t remember taking the time to play them, at least until I was older! This pretty much winds up the harvesting that took a lot more hours to accomplish what farmers do today in much less time and with fewer people! It’s also more safe today than operating with what now seems like antique equipment.

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