Thursday

Most Expensive Storage Place Ever

Mothballing Combines, Part 2

This [previous] article on how to store combines brought out some interesting results. I was informed that one old combine that was left naked in the farmer's yard wasn't that farmer's idea of proper storage. It happened to have been a trade-in. Due to its advanced age, the machine company figured it would make their display look like a graveyard for old harvesters, so they left it out at the ranch.

Lucille McCaffery called me up and said her late husband, Eddy, had what she believed to be the most expensive storage place ever used for combines. The storage facilities and landscaping cost 13 million dollars!

Luckily, it was built by the government, who seems to do things in a big way. The Defense Department wanted a chamber huge enough to point a missile at Russia, so McCaffery's farm was chosen. When the government figured they had a better way to scare the Russians, they sold their storage place at a much reduced price to the McCafferys.

Since it was too spacious a place just for storing Eddy's self-propel, he let his neighbors place their combines in this huge underground silo. A total of four harvesters were found hibernating in this elaborate and protective winter home.

Talking to Lucille got me thinking. By golly, her husband Eddy had farmers beat by a mile when it came to bedding down machinery between working seasons. To protect the paint on his combine, waxing and polishing was as necessary as replacing a broken sprocket. To Eddy, his machinery had to look like it had lots of love and tender care. Except for using a different brand of wax, his son Tom is following in his footsteps.

Speaking about the trouble some farmers go to when it comes to making a storage place for their combines, a retired at the Ritzville Fair Saturday, told me how he rimmed out a place for their barn where the horses used to stand during feeding time. The height between horses and cAombines was considerable. So rather than try the herculean attempt to raise the barn off the foundation, he dug a trench at the entrance deep enough to bob the combine into this shelter. It was done without knocking off elevators and other essential things.

Since combines are used only about 20 days out of a year, it makes them the most expensive piece of machinery to store. Maybe someday it will be more practical to have a self inflated plastic bubble wobbling over combines.

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