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By Staff | Jan 6, 2012

We had the family gathering of my wife’s relatives 200 miles from here in west central Minnesota over the New Year’s weekend. Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are now done for another 11 months.

The Bible refers to making a “joyful noise” several times and when my wife’s family gets together that is what anyone within hearing distance will notice. Visiting is something this family excels at doing.

During the afternoon my father-in-law’s twin brother and his wife dropped in to see everyone. As he is my wife’s uncle, that would make Glen my uncle, too.

Glen is one of my favorite people for a good visit. He is a retired farmer and he and his wife recently moved off the farm into town.

I heard a family story about Glen several years ago that remains a favorite memory.

Glen had an International Harvester model 303 self-propelled combine that he was having problems with it plugging while he was harvesting and after several times of it plugging where he had to stop and clean out the back end of the combine he decided he had to do something about it.

Glen is like me and he likes to find solutions that do not cost anything. Glen used a lid off a self-feeder, a car horn, and a push button electrical switch to solve his problem.

Glen hung the lid from the self-feeder in the back of the combine where the plugs were occurring.

Behind it he mounted the push button electrical switch and used the switch to activate the car horn.

Not only was this idea resourceful, it worked.

When the combine was starting to plug, the excessive material would put pressure against the self-feeder lid, which would swing against the push button electrical switch and set off the car horn.

When Glen heard the car horn he knew a plug was imminent and he could slow down or stop before the combine back end was completely plugged.

I always thought that Uncle Glen deserved credit for inventing the first combine monitor, when nobody knew what a combine monitor was.

Glen and I had a good visit last Sunday afternoon.

We talked about what was happening on our farm from my house- moving project to how yields were last year and of course, the weather.

In return, I learned a little about what makes a good yield when raising sugar beets and problems with sugar beet roots plugging a tile line in a dry year.

We also covered what land was renting for and old barn foundations.

It was getting to be late afternoon and Glen and I were not anywhere close to done in catching up on everything we thought was important.

He wanted to get back home before dark as driving at night was not something he wanted to do.

He said he and I could visit a lot longer if the time allowed it and I said we could visit all night and then he could drive home in the daylight, but Glen decided it was time to go.

I think his wife was afraid that Glen and I were capable of an all night visit and she did not want to sit around that long listening to us.

One of my missions in life is to make sure that everyone knows who invented the first combine monitor using a lid off a self-feeder, a push button electrical switch and a car horn.

Here is to you Uncle Glen, until we meet again.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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