Edwards Open House 2020

The Edwards family open house has been an ongoing event in Franklin, IL for quite some time. Originally the event occurred on July 4th, in companion with the village’s festivities. Last year the family changed the date to Labor day weekend because of conflict with other “tractor” events happening during Independence Day.

Photo by Cindy Ladage
Jim Edwards, the patriarch of the family, and main host. photo by Cindy Ladage
From left to right Doug, Jim, Jason and Corey. Our hosts for the day. Photo credit ?

The event is held at Jim’s house, located west of Franklin on IL Route 104. The tractor collection is quite extensive, including John Deere, Oliver, International Harvester, and rare prewar Chrysler powered tractors. The exact number in the family collection is still not assured. Tractors seem to come and go continually.

all the Olivers
Oliver seemed to be the featured tractor this year photo by Jessica Basford

Fellow writer / blogger Cindy Ladage was in attendance this year. Jessica Basford, which is an amazing photographer in her own right, was also attending. The ladies have graciously agreed to help with this article by allowing me to feature their photographs. Thank you ladies for your talented skills in sharing the sights of the day

Photo by Cindy Ladage

This 1934 Hart Parr and Oliver Superior drill was a popular photograph opportunity. I like the different perspective each of the ladies discovered

Photo by Jessica Basford
Photo by Jessica Basford
Two of the Chrysler tractors. Photo by Jessica Basford
Another perspective of the prewar Chrysler tractors. Photo by Cindy Ladage
Jim recently became a member of the Graham Bradley owner club. Photo by Jessica Basford
Turbo M. photo by Jessica Basford
Photo by Cindy Ladage
Front line along the road. Photo by Jessica Basford
John Deere line. Photo by Cindy Ladage

Some of the tractors didn’t make it out into the sunshine this year. They were either being troublesome or intentionally left so people would discover them hidden away. Ive been to other open house displays set like that and it left a impression of mischief and discovery. It was a sense of going “behind the scenes” Personally, I’m more use to the museum building being full.


Sunday, September 6, was overall a relaxing day. It was a great time to visit with friends of common interests. There wasn’t much interest in using the braker fan this year. A guest brought a AC WD-45 that Doug tested on the Dyno though

Jessica, Chris, Enola, and Don discuss tractors
discussions Cindy and “Cletus” must be sharing journalist ideas
Clinton “Cletus” Park and I visit. Photo by Corey Edwards

Pictures say many words, I want to thank my fellow artists for helping me share this story. Cindy, Jessica, and Corey helped make this article that much better.

Plowing with Friends

Some people like to go on tractor drives, others strive the challenge of moving a pulling sled. One of my favorite ways to demonstrate the abilities of antique tractors is by plowing.

Years ago, farmers would work together in this manner. I’d like to think plowing is a way modern collectors celebrate that neighborly attitude. I’ve attended several plow events, and have seen the rekindled spirit of days gone by.

Don Nowak

Don Nowak invited me to bring one of my rigs over to Glenarm, IL. I had other plans, but it’s funny how plans can be changed. The amateur reporter saw the opportunity to report a story while the old time farmer wanted to turn dirt.

Big Iron

Originally there were nine of us in the furrow. John Deere dominated the ground. There was an Allis Chalmers, my Farmall 300 and a sharp little D-2 Caterpillar. Tractors were dropping out with issues and that left three.

Lloyd Frasee on a D-2 Caterpillar
Making adjustments

There is just something about being in control of a tractor straining in a furrow. The sense of power the engine is delivering, ensuring the tires are gripping and not spinning, and watching the dirt roll over in front of the plow shears. Its romantic in some sense. There is sound, sight, and smell enhancing the experience.

Unfortunately my day was quickly cut short. A fluke mechanical issue caused an electrical wiring fire. I was lucky enough to learn some tips from a couple experienced gentlemen to limp my tractor on to the trailer for its ride home. I gladly report the damage is minor and my favorite plowing set up will be good as new. From that point, I became a spectator and not a participant.

My Farmall 300 is on the trailer in the background, it’s hard to see behind the giant chair

This gave me the chance to socialize. There were old friends, familiar faces and the opportunity to meet new people. Fellow blogger and professional writer Cindy Ladage was in attendance. I encourage everyone to follow her writing on her blog Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl

Lee Curby was taking pictures during the day. He had a drone in the air. With his permission, I’m going to feature his excellent photography

Thanks Lee Curby for letting me feature your photography.

A Whole Lotta Red

There are collections, and then there are collections. Some friends and I traveled to western Iowa to view one dedicated to red power.

Photography by Kevin Periman, I didn’t think of shooting outside pictures. Thanks Kevin!

Farmall Land USA is located in Avoca, IA. The location is easily located. Its coordinates are along I-80 at exit 39. There are motels nearby for weary travelers. There is a easily recognized land mark for the red power enthusiast. Just look for the H high in the sky.

Photography by Kevin Periman

The owners, Jerry and Joyce Mez, have this extensive red line up housed in a 26,500 square foot building. The museum is well lighted and climate controled, helping to preserve the tractors. The indoor environment is also very comfortable for viewing the fine red peices.

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Many visitors were in attendance, obvious observation of the current pandemic
Just look at all that “bling”!

IH pedal tractors and toys line the walls. Any available space is filled with Harvester paraphernalia. Hats, tools and even refrigerators and freezers. If International Harvester built it, the Mez family collected it.

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Jerry also collects Cub Cadet. He has every model from the Cub “original” to the red 82 series, which were the last models Harvester produced. There were model numbers I wasn’t aware built.

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Joyce has a nice comfortable alcove displaying her touches. There are quilts on the walls, art, and of course other feminine collectables such as dolls. Honestly, I would have stepped in to examine the area more in risk of loosing my “man card” ~sarcasm A little known fact about the author. I have a quilt collection in memory of my late mom

Lady’s area, I’m not sure guys are welcome?

Now the bad news. This is the farewell season for the museum. The owners are retiring in September. The collection will be auctioned off starting in November. Farmall Land USA will soon be gone.

I want to thank Katrina Periman for the technical assistance I needed to complete this article. 

Adapting to a New Normal

2020 has been a crazy time. Five months ago, I expressed thoughts before going into an imposed lock down. Here we are going into fall, and there still isn’t a end to the drama. Science has collided with a political agenda, all being sensationalized by the media.

The predicted “delay” to this year’s tractor season has turned out to be cancellations. Major shows, fairs, auctions and other events we enjoy were regulated to the point they could not safely be held. Hard decisions had to be made, plans being made for next year….Hoping there can be a next year! Budget and revenue being a major factor. Social distancing has required us to adapt.

When there is will, there is a way. One would think the tractor passion would see an all time low. Tractor collecting is thriving and surviving! Maybe it’s a defiance, or it’s just ingenuity. Maybe it’s both, because country folk don’t just hide. We work and play hard.

One way we have adapted is the use of modern technology. Online auctions are very popular. Maybe this reason is why collections holds worth value. I’ve confessed, to the fact, my tractors are viewed in an investment perspective.

Video technology has given opportunities to show and discuss. I’ve watched many live action broadcasts from several sources such as Aumann Vintage Power and our group Antique Iron Mafia has been doing them. Social media can be a wonderful tool. I have recently become involved with a video project for Classic Tractor Fever. YouTube is even more popular now. Technology has given opportunities to see and still be safe.

There is plenty of reading and pictures available. We can still recieve tractor news via magazines Internet technology brings our bloggers who write and share pictures to enjoy. We need to continue supporting this source.

Tractor drives have become popular. My friend Cindy Ladage remarked “This is the year 2020 answer to tractor shows.” We can enjoy our old iron and fellowship of other enthusiasts while still maintaining safe social distancing. Drives are also a great way to not only look our heritage over, but experience the sounds, the smell of fuel and smoke, and to see the unit move.

Very few shows are being held this year. I did get to display once and have read reviews and viewed pictures of other shows. This is an example country folk don’t just hunker down and hide.

I imagine many peices, of collections, are getting tweaked and tuned. All the parts dealers, I’ve visited with, tell me business has been booming. Everyone is using their free time to catch up projects that were put off. There may be new equipment on display in 2021 that hasn’t been shown simply for the fact the restoration has finally been completed.

My friend Doug Edwards has many projects in his shop at Edwards Tractor Restoration. Business is good!

My tractors get “played with” on a regular basis. Thankfully the farmstead, where I keep them, has chores for them to perform. The plow shears were shined in the big garden. Weeds and grass get mowed. I have a blade for road maintenance. My tractors don’t sit idly by waiting for another year. It gets lonely playing alone though.

However you choose to stay safe needs to be respected. Social distancing seems extreme, to me, but I can respect no invasion of personal space. The future outlook shows we will need to continue to adapt. Sadly, I have my doubts, our lives will return to how we once lived. Stay safe! I hope to see everyone when the crisis finally calms down.

Heritage Awareness

2020 has unfolded to be a scary year. American people have been bombarded with so much propaganda that our history needs to be erased. Statues are being destroyed, paintings removed, all in the name of someone being offended. I’ve actually had a conversation with a friend, raised with similar values as mine, that surprised me. He thought erasing our heritage needed to happen. There are those that feel notables, of our past, do not deserve any honor.

I can’t understand why modern people are holding our forefathers accountable for happenings from long ago. Why do we, as a society, suddenly feel entitled, that we can judge and determine what history is “allowed” remembrance.

Simply we can’t forget! Our past is not rosy and perfect! Heritage is what makes us who we are. The treacherous traitors we are told were horrible people should be studied to discover their motivations. Our past is full of the honorable that stood by their convictions. Only ignorant judge without understanding.

Did anyone stop and think our past notable heroes would look at us with disgust. We are destroying and undoing everything they fought so hard to make better for us. If anything we should feel ashamed of actions. There are many that fought and died, so ignorant people have the freedom to believe and act in a stupid insolent manner of their choosing.

I’m sure there are those of like mind with me. They look at what’s happening, in our country, with regret and sad heart. Sadly that’s all we do. We sit idly by and let the travesty continue. We aren’t raising our voices in opposition and the events keep happening. When do we stand and fight to right what’s wrong?

For those that want to hide from our history and forget it. I have a profound thought.


This has happened before and its happening now. We can not bury our history and forget, we need to honor it.

Road Tractors

I went to a show celebrating a different kind of tractor on Saturday. There are big trucks and then there are flashy big trucks. This was a definite event to show pride in your ride.

Looking down one of several show lines

This particular show was held in Rantoul, IL. Chanute Air Field is a huge location to hold such an event. I’m sure many are familiar with this site since it’s used for the Century of Progress farm show. This was the actual first time I have been on the retired air base. The old buildings are quiet and forlorn, but with imagination, one can visualize the hustle of military activity that once was happening.

There were new trucks, old trucks, trucks with every kind of imaginable trailer. There aren’t many cab over engine trucks seen the highway anymore, but they are still prevalent at truck shows

The group I attended with consisted of my long time friend Kevin Periman. Kevin’s son Travis, Chris Mohl, & Dan Nagle were acting as our advance party. The three younger men had gone over separately from Kevin and me. They had discovered everything “worthy” of our needing to see closely. In all fairness, everything was worth seeing. There was much exercise to see it all though.

Chris and I had fallen back a little from the group at one point. He quietly confessed that big desiel trucks were all new to him. I found that pretty cool. He was viewing the trucks with new eyes while a lot of what I was seeing brought back memories.

The Walters of New Berlin are known for their custom design. They had one of their creative works on display. I remember the truck when a Pleasant Plains company owned it. The truck was nice then, Its EVEN sharper now!

Walters truck
This truck is much longer now
Interior- notice the hardwood floor

I’m going to see if I can get a interview and more pictures of then and now for this old beautiful Kenworth.

Maybe next year I’ll have an entry for this type of show….only time will tell. Regardless, I highly recommend anyone to take an opportunity to attend.

Horsing Around

Kylie Periman and Candy

I became one of Kylie Periman’s fan following after watching her compete in a horse speed show. I’ve known the young lady her whole life anyway. Her family and I have been friends for quite a long time.

Kylie has a special way with animals. I watched her admirably as she went about her activities. She has a very close bond with her horse Candy and its shows.

The two are a formidable competitor team. Kylie told me it hasn’t always been that way. It took time and patience to develop how well they work together. She laughed and confided that Candy can do all the work now, she just hangs on for the ride!

Photography by Katrina Periman

I doubt it’s that simple but Kylie does make it look easy. Candy is a specially good horse. These two where destined to be together.

Photography by Katrina Periman

I haven’t watched the team compete in the flag competition yet, but, her father, Kevin told me they dominate. Candy is a short little horse and Kylie rides tall in the saddle, She has good reach for flag placement. It also helps that Candy can control her stride to counter balance and keep her leaning rider safely on the saddle. I’d say that’s a winning combination.

Kylie patiently answered my questions about horses. She demonstrated her knowledge and the sharp young sixteen year old actually taught me a few things. She recently purchased another young horse. Kylie has plans to slowly retire Candy as her new horse matures and can take more of the competition burden. I doubt Candy will totally go “out to pasture”

Kylie shows Delcetto in a halter show, her next rising star Photography by Katrina Periman

Candy is a 11 year old paint that stands 14.1 hands tall, Kylie explained she could technically be considered a pony. 14.2 and over are horse height. Candy makes up for being height challenged.

Kylie waiting for her turn to shine in the arena

The two had a great night competing when I was along. Their first pole run earned high ranking. They had their best run on the barrels and then followed up to top that. Candy was awarded her favorite treat, several Starburst. Kylie also shared her strawberry sundae with Candy.

Kylie had a follow up remark as Candy was being prepared for the homeward trip. We were debriefed on how the night went and she closed by thanking her sponsors. Mostly her mom, Katrina, for buying a new truck to pull her horse trailer.

Wheels of Time Show 2020 @ Indian Creek Farmstead

I have always been a small size show supporter even before the COVID-19 crisis. Larger shows are great, but can be overwhelming to take in and see everything. Smaller shows have a more intimate appeal.

The venue is also a consideration when choosing to participate. There are two shows in Menard County, IL. I like to participate in simply based on location. Indian Creek Farmstead has definitely become a a go to choice.


If family fun is a factor. This venue should become a high priority. John, the owner, has created a site for everything country. There is a playground,

hayrides, flowers, food, live entertainment, I don’t do it justice in description. Simply it’s a pleasant experience!

John caters to a diverse clientele and still feels he can expand. I briefly spoke with the busy man and he informed me he would like to build a tractor pulling track and host that type of event.

I became familiar with this venue a couple of years ago, when the farmstead hosted their first Wheels of Time show. The show is three in one, motorcycles, cars, and of course tractors.

I’ve observed that car shows and tractor shows are two separate controlled events. Every car show I’ve been to seems that it’s about getting a trophy. Once they’re handed out BOOM! all the cars are gone. I walked past a information area and the lady working asked me if I’d voted on best of show. I looked at her and shrugged. She remarked “Oh you must be one of those tractor people” I had to smile when she further stated ” I don’t get why you’re not competing!” I tried to explain that tractor people aren’t like that, but I don’t think she understood.

Show line~ photography by Jessica Basford

Every combination show the tractor people are just laid back hanging out like it’s a reunion, well mainly because it is. We just brought the tractors along.

This year there were new faces among old friends. We are just a big happy family, for the most part.

We don’t compete on who has the best looking machine. Sure theres hassle on what brand is better, but that’s good natured normal. I like looking at the cars, but like all my tractor friends, we don’t necessarily feel one is better than an other. If we did it would probably be good natured brand bashing like we do with our tractors.

I will be featuring a car owned by Antique Iron Member Larry Richie on my new YouTube channel soon.

Red power dominated the show line

This year there was around 18 tractors. Carl Davis brought some nice vintage lawn and garden for viewing. That was a nice addition. Carl is another interview I will be featuring soon on YouTube.

All in all, we had a great relaxing day. Carl Davis, as usual, was the most relaxed of the crew.

Independence Day From the Tractor Seat

I’m honored to present a guest writer on the blog. Cindy has given me opportunity to guest write on her blog “Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl”. Now she has graced my blog with another take on July 4th, in Franklin ~ Rick

By Cindy Ladage

There is something very American about celebrating the 4th of July from a tractor seat, and that is how a group of antique tractor collectors celebrated this past Independence day during the Franklin Tractor Drive. Doug Edwards and Josh Adkins families had planned the event with assistance from Rick Shaw and others.

Leaving from Josh Adkins place and heading to the Franklin square, a group of tractor drivers headed out to celebrate the day. Franklin is famous for it’s burgoo. In fact, the Lions club building , on the square proclaims that fact boldly on the front of the building that Franklin is “Burgoo Capital of the World”!

Every year, except this one because of COVID-19, burgoo is served during the 4th of July. From what I could find, burgoo has American origins and is thought to have been developed in Kentucky

Celebrating the 4th on a tractor is a very American idea because tractors are a very US invention as well! In fact, the first tractor was developed in the village of Froelich, Iowa by John Froelich who invented the first gasoline powered traction engine. The Froelich tractor company later became part of the Waterloo Engine Company that went on to become John Deere.

The word tractor was first used in the US as well! Although there may be some argument, most agree that the word was first coined by W H Williams around the turn of the century while working for the Hart Parr Co in Charles City when writing copy to describe a gasoline traction engine. He shortened the word to tractor and a new word was coined

So on the 4th of July, a truly American Holiday, around 70 tractors of all makes and models completed a 30 mile trek through Morgan County, Illinois countryside on a tractor drive. Many tractors had American flags flying adding to the patriotic spirit. Perhaps the most patriotic tractor of the day was the Case Spirit of 76. Also known as the model 1570. An article in Heritage Iron states that approximately 200 of these were built although no exact number has been determined.

The hot July sun, tractor collectors, and the love of old iron on the 4th said it all. An Independence Day celebration for the record books

Thank you Cindy! Your historical accounting for the day was VERY educational. Cindy has written many articles for various specialty magazines and papers. I’m very grateful that she patiently answers questions from me, and discusses ideas to make my writing better. I’d like to consider her a mentor for all she’s done to help me. I enjoyed our time working together doing “press coverage” this past holiday. ~ Rick

Pay it Forward

My 47 H almost sat out this year’s tractor drive. I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to promote the drive through video and still photography from the seat of an antique tractor. I’ve already lost a smart phone attempting to take pictures and drive at the same time. My equipment is expensive and I’m kind of a klutz.

My friend Wayne Ladage was attending the event, with his two brothers Keith and Kim. Wayne’s sister-in-law Cindy was also along but she was doing “press coverage” Cindy was my special guest in the “press coverage truck” I admit to being a nosy reporter and simple math didn’t add up. 3 gentlemen and 2 tractors. I soon found out my calculations were off by one more driver. Keith had hauled so another fellow could drive, but that’s another story reported by a professional that I admire.

Wayne had hauled a John Deere B for Kim. I asked Wayne what he intended to do while everyone was off having fun. In typical gentle Wayne fashion he just shrugged. At this point, I informed him my H didn’t have a driver and I’d be highly honored if he’d take the journey and give the old girl some exercise.

After a couple of unlikely excuses and prodding from his brothers, Wayne decided he would just as well do that. Keith told me a little later it was good to get Wayne to go. Even though he has been collecting tractors for a long time, this was the first drive he’d actually drove a tractor in.

Wayne Ladage drives through Franklin

That made having Wayne drive my H that much better! Paid forward with a excellent return. I hope everyone had a great time on July 4th, 2020. This has been a strange year and we need more fond memories.