Our New 1955 Chevy

by on April 30, 2010
in Farm Equipment

"Winky" the 1955 Chevy

Well, we’ve done it now. We bought the coolest truck EVER from George Gisler last night down in Stayton, Oregon. We were introduced to George by Orval Silbernager of Stayton, Oregon from whom we bought a fantastic old manure spreader. Orval raises beautiful sheep (which he does sell, so if anyone out there is looking for high-quality lamb drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with him!) up on the edge of the Cascades. I think he has the most beautiful farm spot I have ever seen in my entire life. William told him “This place is so beautiful I’m afraid I wouldn’t get any farming done, I’d just stand around looking at the scenery all day!” I know that I enthuse about a lot of things, and so my appreciation might seem watered down, but really, I mean REALLY, this place was phenomenal. His farm runs right up to the edge of a huge bluff and then drops down a hillside that he uses goats to mow (it’s like looking down the edge of the Alps, I had to keep hollering at my own kids “Don’t fall, you won’t quit rolling till you reach the river!”) The valley he looks out on is dotted with small farms and towns, and since it was just a little rainy while we were there the clouds were dripping down over the edge of the mountains, tangling themselves up with the tree-tops in gorgeous swirls. Amazing.

But back to George. Orval called up George when he heard we were looking for an easier way to move feed around than our little trailer. It’s important to point out right here that talking with a farmer is one of the most delightful events. They actually listen to what you are saying because they are not in a big hurry to move on to the next sale, or the next job, or the next whatever. We just visited about this, that and the other until finally he told William “Well, I have a neighbor up here who is selling an old truck that might work for what you need. Let me go call him and if he’s home we can go see his truck.” The next few minutes were the perfect example of why agriculture is at the heart of a good society. Here ‘s what he did: Orval dialed up George and for the first few minutes of the phone call he didn’t say anything about his truck, he asked him how he was feeling, he asked how things were going on the farm, he asked about his family, he asked if there was anything he could do to help him out. He was a good neighbor, how many of those are left? He really cared about his neighbor’s welfare and was willing to take some of his own time (which believe me is a precious commodity when you are a farmer) to help him out if he needed it. I love farmers.

A true farm truck...see the baling wire holding it together?

Apparently George was doing well so Orval told him he had someone here who needed a way to move feed and other supplies, and asked if we could come see the truck he’d been thinking of selling. He agreed and we followed Orval down some more beautiful back roads out to George’s place. This is another thing I love; Orval didn’t just give us directions and send us on our way, he stopped what he was doing, and really helped, how many people do that anymore? It’s probably a really good thing he did too, or we might have gotten lost. So we pulled up to this lovely farm that looked out over the Willamette Valley and there, parked in one of the farm sheds was a 1955 Chevrolet truck. “Beastie” is the best descriptor I can think of, the thing was humongous! George and his brother had bought it used way back in 1959 from a woman who hauled hay with it. His brother wanted to haul lime (for fertilizing) in it so they took off the original bed and added a hydraulic system and the wooden bed of an old Garbage Truck that came out of Portland in the 1950’s. They had driven all over the Willamette Valley with it. He got in and showed William the knobs and how they worked. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen in a vehicle, it had controls like a tractor and only two wires in the whole block, and I’m not even sure what they went to! And the best part? It actually runs! He started it up with a roar, then it quieted down to a nice rumble. We’re going to bring it home on Monday. We’ve got an 80 year old manure spreader now, and a 1955 Chevy. Man, life is just so sweet.

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