Top left: Donald and Nancy, (circa 1933).
Top right and bottom left: Marjory. [All short term horses.]
Bottom right: Marjory and Donald.
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"We didn't have much luck getting foals from our horses, but somebody started shipping in carloads of unbroken colts and horses from the west (Montana) and we bought quite a few of them. We had around 20 on hand most of the time for several years, raising and breaking them and selling them. I guess I broke every one to ride and used up some of my energy that way during my 'squirrelly years.'" [27.173-1]
"I arrived early one night at Little Lake and the ice was plenty thick, but no one had driven on it yet. I decided to drive out there from the south, off Carl Peterson's driveway. The lake was low, so there was quite a long mud flat between the shore and the ice. About halfway to the ice the [1927 Chevrolet coupe's] back axle dropped into the mud, either into a muskrat run or where the grass had kept the frost out.
"Sivert Peterson always kept a team up in Emma Melby's barn. One of his horses had died in the fall, and he had Dexter, one of our big, black horses there, to use for the winter, so it looked like I wasn't in much trouble.
"Someone went along and we harnessed our horse in the dark (with Sivert's harness) and I had a chain in the car. We led Dexter down there about 10 p.m. I figured he would be able to pull it out 'like nothing' and nobody would know the difference.
"Sivert's harness wasn't like our harnesses, though, and it flew in every direction when Dexter tightened up. So I had to walk home and 'report' -- real meek and humble-like -- and I didn't sleep all night. I was sure the wheels would be frozen in solid and we would have to chisel it out or leave it there.
"Pa and Ma didn't say anything. I guess they thought I was suffering enough. The next day we went to town for a load of hay and Pa took another chain along. We hooked that team on the back and the Chevrolet came out of the mud, just like nothing.
"Then I had to go and explain everything to Sivert and take his harness to August Stucke, the local harness maker, and get it rebuilt. Sivert didn't say anything, either; he just laughed and chuckled in his special way." [31.185-2]
"Poor Dexter didn't make it back to the farm in the spring. He used to get a colic spell once in a while. It ran in the family -- it was his mother that got colic and died just as we were moving to the farm in 1922. Pa told Sivert to give him a quart of linseed oil if he got colic and he would get right over it, as he had done so many times." [27.185-3]
"Well, Dexter got colic and Minnie, who lived in the other half of the big, brick house with her mother, Hannah, had a state veterinarian visiting with her that weekend. Of course with a special horse doctor like that right there in the same house, he took charge. Sivert forgot about the linseed oil and the vet treated Dexter with more official medicine. Poor Dexter passed away before Pa heard about it, so all Pa got back was his hide, which was worth about $2.50. And I had to skin him, too." [27.186-1]