Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Midway Memories :1956-1960’s

I think he got his love of trains from the early carnival days.

Gene 1957

1957  Far Guy standing on a junction box.  Note the name on the side of the train is Ogden. That is more than likely a ride boy talking to a gal in the ticket box.

Window wash Jan

Far Guy’s sister Janice washing windows in 1956.

Far Guy writes:

Set up day!  In the above photo my sister is washing the glass on the diggers. The glass was always washed with windex and old newspaper on set up day then they didn’t get washed again unless they were really dirty or some kid smeared his cotton candy all over it.  The prizes inside the digger laid on corn kernels.  The prizes and corn had all been removed prior to moving to the next spot so on set up day we put all the corn back in, cleaned the prizes and wiped down all the wood cabinets with Old English Red Oil.  The reason for the corn was simple it was a filler.  Remember these machines were first filled with candy.  The corn just brought the prizes up to the level where the shovel could close on them.  Some operators used rocks, but Dad liked corn he said it was lighter and easier on the tires.  A few years after this photo Dad developed a way to cover the corn and hold it in place while moving.  He had three bolts under the corn so on the last night instead of removing the corn you had to dig down, find the bolts, place a fiberboard plate over them and tighten them down with a wing nut.  It might have been easier than removing all that corn but you still had to dodge that darn 100 watt light bulb above the cab in the machine.  I usually burned my arm four or five times in the process.  Finally in the 1960’s, I convinced Dad that foam would work just as well and would be easier on the tires.  From then on the prizes stayed in the machines while moving, we covered them with plastic tucked in under the foam.  When we got to the next spot and had our location the digger trailer was leveled and then the plastic was removed and all the prizes put into place, the windows washed and everything wiped down with red oil.

Far Side Writes:

There are two kinds of joints.  Center joints (like the diggers) that can have customers on all sides and line joints that only have customers on the front side.   When you get to a new town your location would be marked with chalk on the street or a fairgrounds had a wooden stake.  You found your location and lined up your joint properly, leveled the joint and set up for business.  The Boss ( Carnival Owner) always did the locations…everyone would wait around for him to head out with his tape measure and bucket with chalk/stakes to lay out “the lot”…sometimes it seemed to take forever…and then there were good locations and bad locations…the bad ones were called Donikers.  A Doniker is carnie slang for toilet.

The damn Red Oil.  I hated that stuff…it smelled.  It collected dust…in later years only the dice and knives were oiled the rest of the prizes were cleaned with Windex.  Fairgrounds are very dusty places…and if there are races in the grandstand dust billowed over the fences.

Light Bulb burns.  It was hard not to swear it hurt so bad when your arm touched a light bulb.  You had to put your hand in the machine all the time to replace prizes.  Far Guy’s Mom had scars all up and down her arm.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Golden Fields

We have several CRP ( Conservation Reserve Program) fields in our area where the wildflowers take over.

Field of Goldenrod

This field is full of Goldenrod…many different Goldenrods…Solidago is it’s real name and there are at least fifteen different varieties in Minnesota.

Small Grain Field 

This is a Corporate Farm field.  It wasn’t exactly amber waves of grain this year.   The grain harvest is over.  The grain was full of smut or rust or something that caused the whole field to look black before it was harvested.  Too much rain for grain fields this year…plus they irrigated when it wasn’t raining…you could see the black go out from the little potholes in the fields.  The dryland farmers had much better grain fields than the corporate farmer.  Yeah for the small farmer!

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Late Summer Observations

On our nightly drive we have a tree that we watch.

Eagle Tree

We call it the Eagle Tree.  One night there were two Baldies up there.

We noticed this near our driveway.

Unknown Plant with red clump of berries

It looks like a small shrub like Oak Tree with a bunch of berries or some kind of gall?  I am not certain and I cannot find an answer.  

Whilst carving on the Christmas Ornaments we noticed that we were missing something.  A sound that we usually hear this time of year.  Acorns dropping off trees onto the steel roof on the woodshed…most summers we have plenty to drop and this year there a few to none in our yard.  What ever will the squirrels eat?

We are making progress on the Christmas ornaments.  We have 45 completely done and more parts are on my desk because Far Guy carved like a maniac all weekend.  The goal is 80 so we are over half way!!  Someone asked why do you do them in the summer?  We can make a mess with the woodchips and sawdust outside.  Most days it is nice to sit outside and work in the afternoon, a nice breeze makes it even better.   Far Guy power carves some of the parts and that raises some dust (He wears a mask and sometimes uses a fan to blow the dust away).

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Sunday, August 21, 2016


It rained again.  We worked on Christmas ornaments in the woodshop/greenhouse.  It was dry in there and pleasantly cool.  I only assisted for a short time…laundry, dishes and playing 52 pick up and put away happened for me first.  What?  You don’t play 52 pick up and put away?  52 items have to go back to their proper spots…with no cheating. Sometimes I can get 20 just from my desk!

Clouds Aug 20

Late in the afternoon we left for Detroit Lakes or DL as it is called.  I made a quick stop at their Ben Frankin…to check out supplies for making Christmas Cards.  Then we met a very old friend for supper, Nellie used to live next door to us in 1970 – 1972…the college years.  We had a good visit!

My other baby brother’s gallbladder surgery went just fine and he was released from the hospital last night.   He will have to be reminded to take it easy for the next two weeks…I suggested he go on a vacation! 

Clouds on the way to DL Aug 20

We watched the dramatic clouds all the way over to DL and drove through a few rain showers along the way.  The high yesterday was 65 F.  Chilly enough for a sweater and cool enough so that Chance could go for the ride with us.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Pass the …

Potatoes, baton…gallbladder?

I was convinced my other baby brother had no gallbladder. My parents, my baby brother,  my sister, my two daughters, my niece and I all had surgery to remove our gallbladders.  For years my other baby brother has been the oldest with a gallbladder…now he passes the gallbladder to his son Josh the next in line. 

My other baby brother got real sick on Thursday night and will have gallbladder removal surgery this morning.  The surgeons were all too busy to do his surgery on Friday so he awaits his turn in the hospital…feeling very little pain with a bit of a sleepy look in his eyes…the pain meds are working nicely to keep the edge off the pain.

Years ago in 1926 before my father was born my grandmother had a severe gallbladder attack while she was pregnant with him.  She had surgery to remove her gallbladder, they didn’t know at the time if the baby (my Dad) would survive…well he did and he must have passed on the “sick” gallbladder part. 

I had my surgery back in 1995 or 1996, I could eat plain toast and drink 7-up that was it….anything else would bring on an attack.  I was so happy to finally be diagnosed, I had to have a HIDA Scan to make a definitive diagnosis. My surgeon advised me to go out and eat pizza as soon as I could to find out if the surgery worked!  The only problem I have noticed over the years is that you never want to over eat.

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My other baby brother and “she who sees robins first.” 

She had surgery on her hand on Wednesday and my brother was supposed to be “the nurse”…the best laid plans sometimes don’t work out.  We sent over some chili for them on Thursday and I thought for a bit that it might have been my cooking that pushed his gallbladder over the edge but luckily he got too sick to eat it.

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