The original story included a misspelling, which has been corrected.
PONCA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – If he doesn’t have anything else to do, nothing else to work on, Ray Schieber shrinks into a miniature farm, a much smaller world, with miniature machinery, about 1/16 the size of his real equipment.
“I’ve been around it all my life,” he says with a smile. “We were driving tractors at age 8. I drove a combine at age 10.”
His long line of toy implements stretches back to when he was a kid.
Pointing to a small road grader, he says, “I built this when I was about 7.”
Ray’s dad taught him the benefits of building his own toys.
His were better and they worked better too.
Further down a display table, Schieber points out, “I built this chisel when I was about 18. All those shanks are bolted on.”
Ray still farms wheat with his son north of Ponca City.
His big diesel truck still needs attention as do all the rest of the machinery leading up to the harvest in June.
Bending over his pickup hood, Schieber grumbles, “We got’er on. I think she’ll fire up.”
He has grandkids now that really appreciate how the gates work on his miniature barn and how the oil rig lights up at night just like the real ones he can see from his window.
“I been around it all my life,” he says.
The drill spins.
A first time visitor admits he wouldn’t be surprised to see tiny jets of crude oil gushing from the well hole in his garage floor.
Such is the attention to detail he’s always brought to his working machinery, big and small.
Ray Schieber doesn’t have a lot of use for toy stores or parts stores.
As long as he can get a good look at something, he has room to play.
“Just whenever I get in the mood and they’re isn’t anyone hanging around,” he says with a laugh. “You have to sneak off to do this.”
Many of Ray’s toy creations go to his grandchildren, but some of his miniature machinery ends up in the hands of collectors.
A few of his pieces are even housed in the National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville, Iowa.
For more information on the toy museum, go to www.nationalfarmtoymuseum.com.