This one was in Freeport, and this year was to feature "horse power." I rode out with quickcasey
and it was good. Last time we went together to this one was three years ago, I think. That year it was held in August and fell on a spectacularly hot and dry weekend, with temperatures in the high 90s and heat index over 100F. Today there were rolling clouds, mixed sun and shade, occasional rain spritzes, and temperatures in the low 70s.
The horse and mule power was great. They had a horse-powered thresher built in 1880 that has been well-maintained and still operates smoothly. We saw it running twice, once powered by six span of mules, and later by three spans plus three horse teams. The teams are hitched to the bars of a rotating turnstile like gearbox that passes their circular motion through a thirty foot drive shaft on the ground to the thresher itself. The thresher separates grain from straw and chaff.
Then we saw a horse-powered baler in operation, making the straw into bales. This was very inefficient in our estimation, but it did work. They also had a horse-powered reciprocating sawmill, which was driven by two span of mules, and a corn grinder that was operated by a single horse. The single horse who provided power to the baler and the corn grinder was a young one, just being trained, but he seemed quite eager to work and walked willingly in circles to run the machines. It actually took some urging to get him to stop when necessary. I was reminded of seeing a young filly driving an ice cream freezer several years ago at Tudor Oaks. She too was very eager and you'd have thought she was going to get some of the ice cream as a reward (actually she got apples and oats I think.) She did not require urging to push the lever around and around, but instead had to be reminded to slow down so as not to turn the cream into butter before it could freeze.
There were steam tractors again, though not as many as at Sycamore, and a large display of gasoline and diesel tractors of various ages. The parade was followed by a demonstration of team driving, with two horse drawn wagons (six horses each) and a six mule team. The mule driver demonstrated docking (just as with a semi, backing the wagon up to a loading dock.) A difference with a large team like that is the need to swing the team to one side after the wagon is positioned, so that they don't block the road or alley. The mules executed this rather tricky maneuver perfectly. Later he showed that he could turn in such a tight circle that one rear wheel would just stand perfectly still while the wagon and team revolved around it.
The most interesting demonstration, though, was something I have never seen before. A team of five men drove a Model T Ford up to the reviewing stand and parked it. They then dismantled it into a pile of parts, and reassembled it, finishing by restarting the engine and driving it off. This entire operation took less than four minutes, with one minute and 38 seconds for the reassembly. Apparently this same stunt has been performed with the reassembly taking less than a minute on some occasions. The vehicle is pretty much stripped down, having only a wooden bench seat, no fenders or sidewalls, and no lights or other non-mechanical parts. It does have fully functioning brakes, steering, and drive train, however. They don't break down the engine in that time of course, but it is removed and laid on the ground, and must be reinstalled.
Returned home where we loaded a reed organ into quickcasey
's truck for later delivery to Ohio, and then went out for a quick supper in Marengo before he went on his way. A fun day, even though it didn't get any of my pressing fiber work done.