you have ever spent a long hot day on the end of a No. 10 grain scoop, scooping
wheat out of or into a truck or barn, this column should trigger a few memories.
the Dust Bowl ended, ample rain fell, leaving few farmers prepared to cope with
abundant crops. Most farmers were too poor to purchase new equipment, so harvesting
and grain hauling machinery were stretched to their limits. Almost everything
that was done required a lot of hand labor. Our first grain truck was a well-used
former school bus chassis brought home by Dad along with enough materials to build
a wooden grain bed. Though still young, I remember helping Dad as the grain bed
Since this was before rural electrification, each board was
cut to length with a handsaw and every hole was drilled with a brace and bit.
Each piece of metal was cut with a hacksaw and holes drilled with a wall-mounted,
hand-cranked drill press while applying a lot of “squirt-can oil.” Rods and odd
length bolts were threaded with a tap and die while clamped in a vise.
we clamped the 8-inch runners to the truck frame with hand-made clamps. Next we
spaced and bolted 4-inch square beams across the runners. Flat iron loops were
bolted to the ends of the beams to hold the bed stakes upright. Oak stakes were
cut to length, trimmed to fit the stake loops with a drawing knife and hammered
into the loops.
The flooring of 2-inch-by-6-inch tongue-and-groove boards
were then fitted to the edges and nailed down to the beams. Sideboards were built
of tongue-and-groove car siding and all held together with long wagon rods. A
hinged door in the rear end gate was installed for grain removal. We didn’t worry
about a grain tarp, as the truck wouldn’t run fast enough to blow the grain. The
new bed held about 125 bushels of wheat. This is only a drop in the bucket when
compared to the monster grain hauling trucks of today, but to a little boy, the
first truck bed looked enormous.
Our two drag-type John Deere combines’
grain bins were located high enough to empty into the trucks by gravity. Once
the truck load of grain arrived in town at the elevator, a giant sling lifted
the front of the trucks high enough to slide the grain out the rear door.
the grain elevators filled up, we filled our own storage bins at home and piled
the rest on the ground in long ricks. My favorite piece of grain equipment was
a Mayrath grain auger with a pig-tail auger on the lower end that cleaned the
grain from the ground and loaded it on the trucks.
Scooping grain in the
hot summer sun is probably my least favorite memory of the “ good ol’ days,” but
after suffering through the Dust Bowl years without crops, no one complained.
© Delbert Trew
6 , 2011 column
"It's All Trew"
Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164,
by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by email at email@example.com.
For books see delberttrew.com. His column appears weekly.
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