Around 1943 haying was accomplished with a monkey tractor and a buck rake on our little farm in Collins, New York.
The so-called monkey tractor was a homemade affair consisting of a 1918 shortened-up Federal truck with a Studebaker engine.
To make the contraption work my Uncle Ham rigged up a wire stretcher with ropes and four pulleys that, when tightened, would lift the buck rake. The buck rake was made of mostly angle iron with pointed teeth on the ends and was attached to the front of the monkey tractor. It would gather the sweet smelling dry hay that had been deposited in huge piles by an old dump rake.
Hanging on for dear life, just for the thrill of hitting bumps in the hayfield, I would ride on the back of the monkey tractor.
The exhaust fumes would be so bad from riding there that I would get off occasionally to get a cold drink and some fresh air in my lungs.
My parents sold that first farm of my childhood a few years later, but I will never forget the sweet memories of haying time.
Teresa M. Fehlman
Gowanda, New York
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.