[Question:] "Have you ever gotten a tractor stuck?"
     "Oh, yes."
     [Question:] "Even with 225 horses you get a tractor stuck?"
     "We got a 225 horse tractor, front wheel assist, dualed up (so six tires on the ground, all pulling). We had a wet fall this fall. It started wet, turned out dry. Good moisture through the year, so there wasn't a lot of room in the subsoil for the harvest rains to go. And we had chains. We'd gotten some rains. We said, 'Four days out, I think, from harvest [so] we can probably pick if we move over to that other farm.' So we were picking corn there one night. We're going to pick the end rows off so the next morning we get a good start at it. We fill the auger wagon up. Then on this swathe several times, [we were] running some loads back, and the auger wagon fell through the crust at the top. [We were] loaded, and there we are, stuck! Two hundred and twenty-five horse[power]! Six tires spinning! Everything was down to the frame. So, [we say] 'This isn't so bad. We'll bring in the other tractor with the other auger wagon, auger it off, and then we'll be able to drive out.' The auger wagon had sunk so far down that the auger would not reach over the top of the other auger wagon. So, 'What do we do?' But we go out, and we've got a gravity box wagon. Something from – I couldn't tell you the year. I would guess [it was built in] the late 60s, early 70s. A 210-bushel gravity wagon."
     [Question:] "As opposed to?"
     "As opposed to a 750-bushel auger wagon. So we unhooked the auger wagon, that 750 bushel, and we put this 210 bushel gravity wagon behind our other 200 horse tractor. We drive out there. And, if we parked just right, the auger would reach over this low-sided, old gravity wagon. So [it''s a] 40-year old wagon, you know! And three trips later we had enough weight out of that auger wagon that we got her rocked out."
     [Clyde Ehlers:] "I was riding my horse. And we used to thresh – We always threshed on another pile, like an existing pile from the year before because it wasn't all eaten up, like oat straw, you know, and that. And then in the meantime, during the year and the weather was [rainy] – There was a little valley formed, and I tried to get my horse to go through there. And he didn't want to go through there. And of course, I was determined that he was going to go through there. I finally got him to go through, and we got in the middle of that and he went clear to his belly. We sunk in! It was something that told him that it was all sod and or squashy, watery, manurery, or something (it wasn't manure, but it was just) – And my dad had to – I had to run get him and we had to put another horse and a rope around his belly to get him pulled out of there. So if that horse, from that day on, didn't want to do something he didn't have to do it. He knew more than I did! [Laughs.]"

Chris & Clyde – Tractors (& Horses) Bog Down


Excerpts from Chris Ziegler’s Interview:

Farming Over Generations
Women on the Farm
His Girls & Farming
Urban Sprawl, with Clyde Ehlers
Raising Kids for Export
Using Fertilizers
Planting Tech Changes
Tillage Changes