Monday, August 1, 2011

Swamp Sisters

One of the neatest little places I've found this year!

While visiting my brother at his summer home in northern Minnesota, he suggested that we go to breakfast at a quaint little place near his home near Brookston, MN. About ten miles from his home, deep in the north woods, a group of sisters (I think there are about 5 of them) opened up a restaurant that is only open on the weekends.

Their family operates a farm carved out of the woods where they raise buffalos and process the meat. They serve the meat at the restaurant (as well as selling it individually to customers) and boy was it good! If you didn't know where this place was you would have a hard time finding it.

They don't do any advertising (as far as I know) and the customers hear about it by word of mouth.  As we arrived, you can see an old Minneapolis Moline tractor sitting in the front of the restuarant and being used as an attraction for the customers. I don't know for sure what model of MM tractor it is....but it don't really matter!  You can see a picture of it here above and to the right (The restaurant is in the background in the photo).

I must say, this was a real treat to an old tractor buff! I just had to share this with you all. The breakfast was delicious........especially the buffalo sausages that I had with my eggs. Northern Minnesota is beautiful any time of the year..... particularly in the summer. For those of you who have never been in this part of the country, the area is famous for its mining of iron ore and is very rocky terrain in most spots. The entire north shore of Lake Superior near this area which is close to Duluth is extremely beautiful to see.

The area is a world famous area to find and collect "Lake Superior Agates" which we have found ourselves obsessed with. If fact, my nephew who also lives in Duluth, is a professional photographer specializing in north country landscape and gemstone photos. If you want to see some of these beautiful specimens of agates and other gemstones, you can see them on his website here.

This area is an awesome area of our country to behold. I would suggest that if you ever want to visit a place that is as beautiful as any place in the U.S. then plan yourself a trip to this western end of Lake Superior. The area is full of history of the mining and shipping industries in America.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Preserving The Past!

Last fall a friend of mine traveled to Kansas for a short vacation to visit his wife's cousin whom they had not seen for a long time. As you probably know all too well, Kansas has a rich history in prairie farming. Aahhh.....those were the days! That's what a lot of the antique tractor collecting hobby is all about. Remembering the old days on the farm!

Soon after the turn of the 20th century, farmers were transitioning from horse drawn equipment into motorized power usage. There were many companies forming to manufacture replacement power for these pieces of equipment and one of the most prominent companies was the John Deere Plow Company. After developing the steel plow through many years of changes (and improvements to their plows) they began buying noncompeting farm equipment companies and started moving toward becoming a major player in farm equipment.

One of the companies that was purchased was the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company located in Waterloo, Iowa. They had introduced the "Waterloo Boy" tractor to farmers and out of this grew the development of a more powerful tractor with a lower center of gravity that was to become one of the most popular tractors available in the early part of the 20th century. That tractor was the John Deere Model "D".

This is where I get back to the story of my friend's trip to Kansas. Little did he know that his wife's cousin had restored one of these early John Deere D's! He sent me a picture of that old tractor that was taken at a fall festival that they all had attended on that trip. The tractor was mounted on full steel wheels. Here is the picture...........

You can see in the background a much newer John Deere four wheel drive tractor that is the result of the John Deere company's continued development of farm equipment. This old "D" restoration is very typical of what is taking place around the country in the last three or four decades within our hobby...... preserving some of these old beasts for the younger ones to see in the future!

I think this is a great photo of an extremely well restored piece of history and for all to see in generations to come......Don't you think?