Must have been hot in the car, the door is open.
That, or he got tired of opening and closing it every time he had to go back and help the guy get the knotter threaded back up when it broke the binder twine.
"We'll just finish the back 40, then put the road wheels on and go to town for a well-earned beer!"
Back in those care-free days (or were they?) I bet they didn't even bother switching wheels. Couldn't hurt the dirt roads!
I bet the milk can in the back seat is full of water.
Lance, I'll bet you're right! That's a good crop of oats and I'll bet two horses couldn't pull the binder in that for more than an hour without a rest, probably would have taken three horses or switching off two teams and then they would have slowed down on the hills. Everything on that Binder runs off the ground drive from the bull wheel and getting one of them going in tough grain (damp stems or heavy crop) would take everything a team could pull on level ground. Every time you went up a little hill they slowed down and if the grain got too heavy the bull wheel would slide and the whole thing would quit. I'll bet that power unit with steady power was like heaven and the guy was ready to sell every horse on the place and buy a Fordson. The worst thing about this setup is that it took two men to run it, a good team on the front will pull with nothing but reins back to the Binder operator and after they learned what they were supposed to do would pull on their own with the reins just tied off. A good team will keep the right distance from the last cut and will swing out at the end of the row and pull around back in to the next cut without a word or direction.
It might have taken a can of water and a can of gas along with some oil to keep that Ford going but it would work as many hours a day as the grain was good for cutting, cost less than a good team and when it died it could be fixed. Anybody that ever had a horse die in the harness was ready to mechanize first chance they got.
Hi Stan - It sounds like you've got first hand experience working with a team and a binder. Is that right? You write so well it seems like you just came in from the field.
A neighbor farmed with horses all the time I was growing up. We had a couple teams that we used for pulling bob sleds and did a little farming with them although we didn't really farm. We were ranchers and about all we did was put up hay. We mowed with horses until I was about 8 or 9, then went to tractor mowers. We still used a team to rake with until I was out of grade school and used to go help Frank fix his binder and we always went and watched him farm with horses. It was slow but he had no help since he was a bachelor and had no close neighbors but us. His team, Fannie and Freddie knew everything he did and he could get more done with just himself and that team than a lot of people would have with more help and a tractor. He never had a pickup until I was about 12. I don't think he ever went faster than 2nd gear. I think he had about 60 or 80 acres of farm land, it took him all year working every day to farm it but he had nothing else to do. He went to Mass once a month and once a month went to town to get groceries. He lived to be 103, was 95 when he moved off his little farm. He mostly lived on Barley soup and canned meat. Plus my mother and the other neighbor ladies fed him about one night a week and always sent something home with him.