[Written by Charles E. Page 2002]
The Old Ram
This is a picture of the old Ram, which once Mr. Baltusnik owned and used to pump water up the hill to his farmstead. This pump was located below a spring a long way from his house and worked without any power source except for the water itself. For more about the old pump and my connection with it see my story "A Tale of Stockbridge and Munnsville" on Mike's "A Bit of the Past."
"Madison County Gothic?"
You never know what you will come across in the hills and on the back roads of Madison County, New York. This old couple seems ready to get in the hay the old fashioned way.
I wondered if they raked their hay with the old wooden-toothed, hand-held hay rakes, but apparently they owned one "modern" piece of equipment, the dump rake, shown below.
"The Old Rake Still Stored in the Weeds"
"Shows How We Use it Now [Alberta on the tractor]"
Speaking of "old things", the tractor is now  fifty-five years old. We acquired this old rake probably in the 1970's and it had been standing out in the weeds for many years. Probably it was made in the 1920's or maybe much before that. Since we have had it, we also have let it sit outside winter and summer for all these years. Today, in 2002, it works just as well as it ever did. Its frame and wheels are sturdy and strong and we use it about once a year to rake enough hay for the garden compost.
It was originally made to be pulled by one or two horses, but I cut off the pole and put on a hitch suitable for the tractor. I also devised a method of tripping the dump mechanism with a rope running to the tractor seat. Normally one would ride on the rake seat while driving the horses and dump and reset the teeth using foot pedals. The pictures show where we park it when not in use and how we pull it with the tractor. Due to the width of darn thing it was always difficult for farmers to get it through a shed or barn door for inside storage. By the 1930's most farmers had given up the dump rakes in favor of the more efficient "side-delivery" rakes.
Not my Grandfather, in the Town of Madison, though. He used one just like this one of ours right up until he died in 1946. [ See my story "Minnie Lloyd Jones" ].
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