Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Letting Off Steam

A gorgeous late-summer Saturday.  Brilliant sunshine, cool breezes and no humidity in my little corner of Mid-Atlantic Maryland.  What to do on such a stunning day?  Well, why not pay a visit to the Mason-Dixon Historical Society’s annual steam show, a round-up of every historic steam and gas-powered machine imaginable, from corn huskers and shingle millers to steam-powered carousel horses and gigantic saw blades, including, of course, the requisite trucks, tractors and other equipment that propel the livelihoods of American farmers.
Sawdust flew as this antique saw mill
made short work of a tree trunk 
Baltimore County is home to its fair share of corn and soy fields.  But on this beautiful Saturday I ventured about 15 miles west to neighboring Carroll County, Maryland, where the 51st annual Steam and Gas Show was in full swing.  Walking the bucolic grounds of the Carroll County Farm Museum and Agricultural Center, I was lulled into the gentle rhythm of historic farm life.  It is easy to picture how one’s day once was measured by the slow, hissing “shtck, shtck, shtck, shtck” of an antique, steam-powered hay baler or grain thresher.  The steady knock of hundreds of these hardworking relics combined Saturday to form a serenade of steady drum beats, the metronome of a bygone era.

The York-Adams 2-Cylinder Club
raffles off a John Deere tractor
every year  to benefit
breast cancer victims
I dressed for country comfort on this splendid September day by pulling on my oh-so-broken-in vintage jeans by Stockton of Dallas, jeans I’ve owned since I was a teenager in the 1970s. I topped the denim with a ribbed navy tank by Faded Glory, and covered that with a gossamer sleeveless blouse by A New Approach (A.N.A.) from JCPenney.  Low-slung, silver-buckled Willie boots from Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) guaranteed that I could walk for miles with happy feet. I paid homage to the coming autumn with a necklace and earrings cast from real leaves in the finest silver filigree from Fire & Ice Jewelers of Baltimore, and finished my look with a Pandora bracelet filled with silver charms given to me over the years by my dear friend, Trina, owner of the nearby stable where I keep my horse, Chubby, and her mother, Mary.

Nevin Tasto has been
 serving as master of
ceremonies at the Steam
Show for many years
Pit beef barbecue sandwiches, hand-cut French fries, frosty snow cones and sweet tea were purveyed by Volunteer fire departments from across the region as I viewed the many tractors and historic vehicles on display at the Mason-Dixon Steam Show.  The air was scented with oil and sawdust.  Broad hay-wagons pulled by tractors shuttled visitors from the parking lot to the acres and acres of antique machinery.  I departed the steam show waxing nostalgic for the slow, deliberate pace that farm-life compels. 

It was good to induce a bit of country in this decidedly suburban girl.

"When tillage begins, other arts follow.  The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization."
~ Daniel Webster 

1 comment:

  1. Hah! I am going to the Somerset Steam & Gas "Pasture Party" on Saturday! I love these things! http://www.somersetsteamandgas.org/