I lived on the edge of a small town when I was growing up. We didn't own a farm, but my dad had a small, crank-start Allis Chalmers tractor that he used to mow the acres of river bottom behind our house. We also convinced him to use it to mow down the horseweeds in the neighboring lot to make bike and snowmobile trails for us kids to use year-round, and to pull old metal bedsprings behind it to "drag" our homemade baseball diamond. He would often hook a wagon to the back and pull a load of sticks, rocks, firewood, grass clippings and -- later on -- a bunch of thrilled and giggling grandkids. He loved that orange tractor and put many miles on it.
Back in the 1920s and '30s, my childhood years in California, many women considered a sewing machine a luxury item. If they happened to own that utilitarian household item, it was no doubt one of their most cherished possessions. If they didn't have a sewing machine, all sewing and mending had to be done by hand, a most time-consuming task, especially when added to all the other household duties...