Our House—About the Siding

>> Wednesday, December 31, 2008

When I did the post concerning our house I mentioned that I’d have more to say later about the siding.  So, let me tell you about our siding.

During the Summer of 2004 while we were working on the house I had heard about the “cull wood” or barn lumber (like what I used to build our goat barn) and was trying to find where I could buy it.  I called a company listed in the phone book as “Anderson Forest Products.”  I didn’t know just what they did, assuming that they might be a sawmill.  As it turned out they manufacture wooden pallets.  When I asked the receptionist about “cull wood” she told me that the only thing they had was what they referred to as “slabs.”  I asked her what they were charging for that, not knowing exactly what it was.  She told me they were getting $2.00 a bundle.  For that price I figured there must be some use I could make of these “slabs.”

When I went to buy some I discovered that the “slabs” were pieces that were rejected in their manufacturing of the pallets.  Some had a bad or rotten spot, others might be a bit thin or a bit thick.  Some were cut thicker on one end than the other.  Some were totally unusable but most could be used in some manner.  They were approximately 1/2 inch thick by about 3-4 inches wide and 36, 40 or 48 inches long.  A bundle consisted of all they could bind onto a wooden pallet.

The first project where I used some of these pieces was in the construction of a small shed to house a calf.  There were many thoughts as to possible usage.  I occurred to me that they might be used as siding.  I knew that cedar shingles have been used for siding for many years.  These pieces were mostly oak and poplar.  Anyway, I decided to try using them in that way.

I used a cut-off saw to cut pieces 18” long.  I bought a pneumatic stapler to use in attaching the “shingles”.  I overlapped the pieces leaving 8” showing.  So, I was putting a double thickness of the wood onto the house.

house 005 Here is a close view of the siding.  Some of these boards were a bit wider than the 3-4 inches.  Starting at the bottom and working up all of the staples are hidden.  I did not put any type of paint or treatment on the boards and over time they are weathering and turning grey, which is kind of what we wanted.  We feel that the look is fitting for the location and area in which we live.

house 008
Comparing this picture with the one posted earlier you can see that the siding is much darker than when first applied.  In the above picture the wood still has a fresh look to it.  It was applied onto the pantry and has not been exposed to the rain and sun for as long.

In addition to the siding I used these pallet “slabs” for a few other applications on the house.

back of house
Pallet piece were used for the balusters in the railing for the deck and the front porch.  I also used the material for the soffits all around the house.  Here is view of the soffit on the side of the house.

house 004
The pallet “slabs” have worked well and the cost has been very reasonable.  I sent about $30.00 on the pieces to completely side the house—of course I spent almost $100.00 on staples!  Darryl is planning to use this same siding technique on his house. 


Our House—Putting a Window in the Ceiling

>> Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In the last post I told about our adding a pantry onto the house.  Once we had it done it became obvious that moving the window 6’ farther out left the bathroom quite dark, unless a light or lights were turned on.  My son, Darryl, had installed a couple of skylights in their mobile home and I decided that might be a good idea to bring more light into our bathroom.

The skylight we purchased was designed to be installed on a roof with a bit more slope than ours and one with shingles, not a metal roof.  So, we had to be a bit creative in our installation.  It is not installed according to the instructions included with the skylight.  Thankfully we do not have building permits and building codes to deal with here.

As the pictures below will show, I mounted the skylight onto a piece of plywood quite a bit larger than the hole that had to be put into the roof.  Aluminum flashing was put all the way around and attached to the metal with short sheet metal screws.  Everything was caulked and all the edges were covered with roofing tar.

I spent yesterday and today getting it all installed.  These last two days have been the first nice warm and sunny days we have had since I got the skylight.   As can be seen I still have to do some sanding on the drywall and moulding and do the final painting.

skylight 003
A view of the roof before I began to cut a hole in it.skylight 004There is no turning back now—the hole is cut through the roof.      
skylight 006The plywood with the skylight attached is screwed down on top of the metal roof. 

skylight 013 All of the flashing has been installed and everything has been caulked and tarred.

skylight 017Now it is time to cut a hole in the ceiling of the bathroom. 
skylight 018We have a hole and it was right below the hole in the roof! 
skylight 021 Drywall has been installed from the ceiling to the roof creating a well for the light to come down through.
skylight 024Moulding has been put around the opening, screw holes have had drywall compound put onto them and cracks have been caulked.  Everything needs to dry and then be sanded and painted. 
skylight 025 Looking up through the well you can see limbs of the nearby tree.


Our House—The Addition of a Pantry

>> Monday, December 29, 2008

When we were finishing out the house here on Cedar Ridge we didn’t consider the storage needs we were going to have.  We had not been doing much canning and food preservation while living in Bloomington, Illinois.  We had always grown a garden and froze and canned much of our food while living in the country but when we moved to Bloomington we no longer had a garden space.  Consequently we didn’t have available to us the fresh fruits and vegetables we once had.

Getting back to the country we got back to gardening, canning, freezing, etc.  Where to put all of the canned goods?  I had built a small pantry just off of the kitchen but that was very small and filled up in a hurry.  We considered various ideas to create storage space.  The idea that made the most sense was to add onto the house.  So, in July of 2007 I undertook the project of building a 6’ by 12’ room for a pantry, primarily for the storage of canned goods and other food related items.

Our bathroom is fairly large and was already used as a utility room with our washer and dryer and a small chest freezer in there.  It was decided to build onto the house directly out from the bathroom.  I could remove the window, open up the space to create a doorway, and relocate the window into the outside wall of the pantry.

July 27 pantry 002
The photo above was taken of me getting the walls set.

Aug 14 001The framing is done and the OSB sheathing is on.  The metal is also on the roof.

Aug 16 006This picture was taken of the hole created by removing the window and enlarging it to make a doorway.  The opening in the far wall will be the location of the window that was removed.

IMG_9234Here you see that the window has been hung and most of the siding has been put onto the outside of the room.

Sept 12_pantry 012The shelves that are shown here are to the left as you come through the doorway from the bathroom.  From the floor to the top shelf is a full 8’. 

IMG_0077This photo was taken recently after the canning activity of this past Summer.  Most of the vegetables were grown here on the farm.  The fruit was obtained locally.  We do eat well!


The Goats

>> Sunday, December 28, 2008

I mentioned in my previous post about the goat barn that we had obtained a couple of young goats shortly after our move to Kentucky.  They have long since been culled from our herd.  We now have 3 does, which I’ll introduce to you in this post.

We got Annie, Orphan Annie as she was named by her previous owner, on June 6th, 2005.  She came from the same lady we had obtained the other 2 goats from.  This lady was preparing to move and she didn’t have room for all of her animals and wanted good homes for them.  She just gave Annie to us.  We were told that Annie was about 6 years old at the time we got her.  She had never been milked on a regular basis, she just raised her kids.  From all appearances she gave a lot of milk.  When we got her she had weaned her kids and had been allowed to dry up, so we had a few months before we could begin milking her.

goats 013

Although it is hard to see, I was told that she is part Sannen.  If so, the white coloration wasn’t dominate.  We bred Annie that Fall to a purebred Nubian buck and on Jan. 24th, 2005 she presented us with 4 babies.  With some assistance from us and some milk replacer we were able to raise all 4.  We kept 2 of the little doelings to raise, although we later sold one.

We still have Brownie.  She has freshened twice, giving us a little buck kid each time.   goats 006AShe is due to freshen again in March.  She has been a good milker, very easy to milk and gives us very good milk.

Brownie’s half sister was born to Annie on March 3rd, 2007.  Annie had 3 babies that time but the little buck was dead.  We raised both of the doelings.  Zoe looked like the nicest of the two so we sold her sister this past Summer.  Zoe is also due to kid in March.

Actually Zoe is only a half-sister to Brownie as she has a different daddy.  Annie presented us with twin girls her last freshening, March 28th, 2008.  We sold both of them after weaning.  Since Annie has got to be close to 10 years old now we hope Zoe will be as good a milker as her mother has been.  Annie has maintained her health but the quantity of milk has decreased somewhat this past year.

goats 002 A


My Goat Barn

>> Saturday, December 27, 2008

Early in 2005 (as in January) I started another project. We had purchased a couple of young goats from a lady that Darryl had gotten to know and had them in with his goats. We desired to have a barn of our own to house them in, especially when they kidded.

The barn could be called a “pole barn” since I used cedar poles cut from the woods as the main posts, floor joists and ceiling joists. The siding, flooring, etc. is all rough sawn oak directly from an Amish sawmill. It is what is commonly referred to as “cull wood” or “barn lumber.” It is boards that are rejected from the graded material due to knots, bad spots, irregular thickness, etc. Overall it is good material but is sold by the bundle of 600-800 board feet. I paid $100.00 per bundle.

Chapter 130011 The barn is approximately 16’ by 16’ with a loft above. Having to build it on a hillside (we don’t have much flat land on the ridge) the floor is on 4 different levels. Later on I added a chicken house to the back side of the barn.


On the right side of the barn, as you are looking at the picture, there are 2 walk through doors. One is use mainly for clean out of the loafing area, the other enters into the milking area. There are also 2 doors on the left, one for the goats to use and the other to exit into the goat and chicken yard. My access to the loft for putting in hay is through the small door directly above the left window in the picture. I access the loft inside via a ladder, my short extension ladder. It creates a great place to store the ladder and can be removed to be used by simply lifting in out.

I used the metal siding that I removed from the house on the roof. The windows are all salvaged from other areas. Total investment was somewhere between $500.00 and $600.00.


I’m a Weight Watcher

No, I don’t belong to Weight Watchers International, Inc. And, I don’t mean that I don’t accept that piece of pie because “I have to watch my weight”. I step on the scales to obtain my weight once every week. Thursday is my weigh-in day. Once in a while I forget and then I weigh on Friday. I record my weight on a piece of paper. I now have 39 pieces of paper since I started this practice on March 8, 1990, almost 18 years ago. Why do I do it? I’m not sure. When I started I had gained some extra weight and decided to cut down on my eating and started jogging. Now, I guess, it is to just keep tabs on where I am. And, it has become a habit and everyone knows habits are hard to break.


Here’s Toby!

>> Friday, December 26, 2008

Toby came to live with us last May. He was born in South Texas to my sister-in-law’s dog, Snidge. He was the largest of the three puppies born March 1st. We had considered bringing home his sister but he rather chose us. He has been a good dog. His one bad habit is that of wanting to put his teeth onto us, not hard bites, buIMG_9698t none the less a bad habit. We keep working on him and hopefully he will learn to keep his teeth off of us.

At the left is a photo of Toby with his sister taken in May in Texas.

misc 002
This picture was taken shortly after coming to Kentucky.


Bible Reading Plan

>> Thursday, December 25, 2008

In 6 more days I will complete the reading of the Bible in one year. This year I read the Bible in Chronological order. In past years I've read through in the order in which we find the books in the King James and most other translations. It has been interesting to read it in chronological order.

There are numerous web sites that can provide you with a daily schedule, in conventional order, chronological order or a bit from the Old Testament and from the New Testament each day. You can even chose which translation you wish to use. Here is one site that will give you a schedule.

With a schedule it just seems to make it easier to accomplish the goal of getting the entire Bible read in one year. Profitable reading!


Dryocopus Pileatus

>> Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America. It's range includes the Eastern U. S., most of Canada and parts of the West coast of the U. S. But, until this week I had never seen one. Connie called for me to come into the living room. She was looking out into the back yard and pointed out to me a huge woodpecker. The photo, one of only 2 she was able to snap, was taken through the glass of the back door as well as the glass and screen of the storm door. So, it isn't real clear.

The Pileated Woodpecker is about the size of a crow, 16-19 inches in length, with a wingspan of 26-30 inches. The one we saw was a female. The male, illustrated below, has a red crown and forehead and red mustache stripe. She has no red mustache and the forehead is grey to yellow-brown in color.

We hope she returns and brings her mate with her. We keep suet cakes out for the woodpeckers so maybe that will attract them.


Window Regulator

>> Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In a post on his blog earlier today my son, Craig, mentioned that the window in their van had come off the track. However, it isn't quite that simple anymore. We encountered the same problem last June. The day before taking a trip to Illinois for a family reunion we discovered that the passenger side window was open. I knew that it had been up when we had parked the van in our parking area. I went out to put it up and discovered that it wouldn't go up. I called the fellow that does most of my "mechanic work" and he informed me that it was the window regulator.

According to an article I read on the internet, there are two basic types: the manual and the electric. The manual is activated by the use of a hand crank which engages the various worm gears, spur gears, linkages, plates and bars. The electric regulator uses a small electric motor to accomplish the same thing. Another article states that the cable mechanism used in most vehicles from the big 3 as well as most Asian imports are light weight, extremely adaptable and inexpensive to manufacture, which makes them the system of choice. The next statement is quite telling. It says, and I quote, "Unfortunately, high reliability isn't on the top of this list."

After talking to my mechanic I pulled the door panel loose and was able to push the window up. I then put a prop under it, blocking it up so it would stay. The only thing I did after we started on our trip was to duct tape around the top and front edge of the window because of wind noise--the window just wasn't closed as tight as needed.

A couple of weeks later I got my mechanic to replace the regulator. Even though the regulator may be inexpensive to manufacture it didn't seem that way when I went to buy the new one. I found that they generally cost $85.00 to $100.00. And, I still had to pay the labor charge.

I hate to be the one to inform my son of what he is facing.



>> Monday, December 22, 2008

During my senior year in high school I finally did something I had contemplated for some time. I had read advertisements for several years that appeared in many different magazines concerning a correspondence course to learn taxidermy. I sent my money, which I believe was a whole $10.00, and began receiving my lessons. I had to invest in some equipment and supplies, which the school, J. W. Elwood’s Northwestern School of Taxidermy, also had available. I still have some of the items from the little tool kit I purchased, a pair of scissors and a scalpel. Some of the supplies I purchased were glass eyes of various sizes, potters clay, wire, paper-mache, and "wood wool" (which is also known as excelsior, which is very fine wood shavings used for packing, stuffing upholstery, etc.).

J. W. Elwood, who founded the school in 1903, was apparently trained as a taxidermist as a boy and taught his knowledge to many of his friends. He was encouraged to open a school. He believed he could teach the subject by mail just as effectively as he had done with his friends. Over the years hundreds of thousands learned the basics of taxidermy through his correspondence lessons. Although there are numerous advancements in many of the methods and procedures it remains the means by which many taxidermists got their start. As far as I can determine the school is no longer in existence.

The first exercise in the lessons was skinning birds, then it moved on to actually mounting a bird. One of my early attempts was a pigeon, which I kept for over 40 years. It was finally discarded before our move to Kentucky since it had become very dirty and the legs had been badly eaten by some kind of bugs. After working with birds the lessons moved on to small animals. I remember mounting a squirrel, a small ground hog, a mole and the head of a rabbit. Before moving on to bigger animals and other bigger projects I left home for college and never finished the course.

I haven't attempted any projects since, other than mounting the antlers from my deer on a cedar panel. Maybe not quite professional quality but I like them.

The photo above is of
the pigeon I mounted.

Below is pictured the deer antlers.


Our House

>> Saturday, December 20, 2008

This post will be a brief photo essay of the transformation of our house from the time we first saw it until the completion. The above photo was taken in May of 2003 when I helped Darryl make his move here to Cedar Ridge farm. The house, called a cabin by the previous owner, was totally unfinished on the inside. The electricity was in, thankfully.

This picture was taken shortly after our move here in March 2004. Some of the vertical siding had been removed, OSB sheathing had been put up, house wrap put on and new windows had been hung (just on this front side).

A few weeks later we were having concrete block piers put under the house, replacing rotting wooden posts. The piers to the right in the picture were to be used for the 12' by 30' addition.

The additon has been framed in, the roof put on and windows hung. We did not get the interior finished until the Summer and Fall of 2005.

I added an 8' by 30' porch across the front of the house late in the Fall of 2004.

In the Spring of 2005, before beginning to finish the interior of the addition, I added an 8' by 20' deck onto the back of the house.

This shot is of the side of the house as siding was being installed. I'll have more to say about the siding in future posts.

This is a view of the front of the house after completion.

This was taken from the side of the house after the siding was finished.

And here is the back of the house with the deck completed and the siding in place. Stay tuned for further posts about our home. If there is anything anyone would like to see or hear about in particular please let me know.


Meet Connie

>> Friday, December 19, 2008

I've mentioned Connie numerous times but I'd like you to meet her. She was born in Indiana but grew up on the other side of the state line in Ohio. I met her when she came to college my second year. By the time I was a Junior I knew she was the one for me (and I think she thought maybe I was the one for her). A few weeks after I graduated with my BA she got her MRS and the following year her MOM. We have been married 44 years and 5 months today, are the parents of 4 children and grandparents to 10. She is Mammaw to those 10 beautiful children. Connie is a wonderful person, and she would have to be to have put up with me for as long as she has. You'll be hearing more about her as time goes on.


Photo Magic

Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see! I posted the above picture earlier which was taken during the Thanksgiving weekend. Pictured are my son, Darryl, my daughter, Anna and my oldest son, Mark. My youngest son, Craig, who lives in Oregon was not able to be here. However, using some photo magic it looks as if he were.

As I said, only believe half of what you see!


Chainsaws continued

>> Thursday, December 18, 2008

I mentioned in my last blog that I had a Craftsman chainsaw that I purchased in the 70's. Well, let me tell you about it.

When I moved with my family from California to Illinois in 1973 I brought along an old Homelite saw that I had purchased used and which I had used only to build a corral from power poles. After a year or two of cutting firewood it began giving me some problems. I had a shop work on it but they didn't get the problem cured so I bought the new Craftsman 3.7A saw. I used it every year up until 1983 when we moved to a house were there was no provision for burning wood.

The saw had a 17" cutting bar. I've not seen or heard of a 17" bar since. In the 10+ years I sharpened saw chains I never received one to sharpen. After all of that usage the bar needed replacing and I hated to spend money on a saw I was no longer using, at least much. I obtained a little electric saw with a 12" bar and chain that was no longer working, I believe for about a dollar. Doing a bit of modification I was able to fit that little bar and chain onto the Craftsman saw and was able to use it to do some minor tree trimming.

Prior to making his move here to Kentucky Darryl set up to burn wood in his home in Bloomington, Illinois. He needed a chainsaw to use so I outfitted it with a new 16" bar and chain and let him use it. The recoil starter messed up on it and was still in that condition when we moved here.

I thought about getting that saw running rather than buying the new Husqvarna but Sears said that all parts for that 30+ year old saw were no longer available. (Imagine that!) I tried repairing it without success. Even after I bought the new saw I kind of wanted to get that old Craftsman running again. I started watching listings on Ebay. When something showed up it was generally a saw that was a "basket case" and was being sold just for parts. But, the shipping on an entire saw was more than I cared to spend for the starter and shipping.

Finally, earlier this year a listing showed up for just the recoil starter. I was successful in buying it for $10.00 plus a few dollars shipping. It bolted right on and the old saw runs like a champ. It uses a much richer oil/gas mixture than my new saw and seems to leave more fumes on my clothes. This bothers Connie and my granddaughter, Jessica. So, it probably won't get used much but it is there if I really need it.



>> Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Heating with wood, as we do, one must be able to also cut his own wood. To do so requires good tools, primarily a gas powered chainsaw. I had a Craftsman saw when we moved here that I had purchased in the mid-70's. The recoil starter was "messed up" and rather than fight it I bought a new Poulan Wild Thing at Wal-Mart the first Summer we were here. I got along fine with it for about two years and the main shaft that the clutch is mounted on sheared off. Doing some investigation I found that this saw is recommended for only very light use. My use isn't necessarily heavy but it apparently was more than what this saw was designed for.

From my years in the sharpening business and sharpening hundreds of saw chains I knew that Stihl and Husqvarna were two very good saws. And, I based that on the personal recommendations of numerous of my customers. I did some looking and comparing and finally, primarily due to pricing, I purchased a Husqvarna Model 345 with an 18"cutting bar.

Everything seemed fine with this saw. But, after about a year it began giving me some trouble. To begin with it was only when I was cutting a large log and then it got worse. It would just lug down to the point the chain wouldn't even move. I thought maybe it was the clutch but that didn't seem to check out. I cleaned the fuel filter and the air filter and nothing seemed to help. I even replaced a bearing on the shaft behind the clutch to no avail.

Finally I took it into the fellow in town that works on gasoline engines--chainsaws, lawnmowers, etc. I explained the problem and he took the saw and started it up. He turned to me and asked if the way it was running then was what I was experiencing, which it was. He said he knew what the problem was. He pulled the top cover off and loosened some screws on top of the muffler. He then pulled out a little screen that had almost every hole filled with black carbon deposits. He told me that this was a common problem. The screen is only on some saws and not on others, and is required in some states such as California. It is referred to as a "spark arrestor" and is to supposedly prevent forest fires.

He slipped the screen back into place and looked at me and said, "I can't do this but you can! Pull that screen out and throw it into that trashcan." I did as he directed. He put the cover back on and started the saw back up. It ran like brand new with all kinds of power.

I was thrilled. I had been afraid that it might have been something quite major and expensive to repair. I asked what the charges were. In my mind I was thinking that almost any shop would charge $20.00 to $40.00 at least to just look at the saw, let alone repair it. He looked at me and said, "Oh, $3.00 should cover it." What a blessing!


Tim Stivers

>> Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In the late 70's or early 80's a friend came across some recordings of a comedian from Kentucky by the name of Tim Stivers. The story as given on the album cover was that he was a podiatrist from Louisville, Kentucky. He was often introduced as ( and it eventually it became his trademark) "this ole boy, Dr. Tim Stivers." His humor was "country humor," or as some might term it, "pure corn." However, I really enjoyed it and obtained taped copies of his material. I listened to them often enough that I learned most of his jokes and enjoyed sharing them with others.

I hadn't thought much about Dr. Stivers for several years but after moving here to Kentucky I decided to do an internet search and discovered that he is now retired from his practice and is fulltime as a humorist and speaker.

His brand of humor is "clean." I've told many that any of his stories could be told in church. On his website there is a short story about two fellows talking and the one asks the other which is the most important, the sun or the moon. The second fellow responds that the moon is the most important, because it gives you light when you need it most.

Doing an internet search once again I came across a newspaper article that referred to one of his yarns I remember him telling. He mentioned that we have all seen the sign boards out in front of the churches that tells who the preacher is and what the sermon is going to be about. He said one caught his attention. It said, "If you are through with sin, come on in." He thought that was kind of cute but when he got closer he saw that someone "had taken a lipstick and writ on the glass, 'If not call Shirley at 888-2323.'"

If you ever have a chance to listen to one of his recordings or hear him in person I think you will enjoy it.


Dandy Lions, er, uh, that's Dandelions

Give dandelions an inch and they will take a yard! Gardeners the world over have dug, cut, and sprayed to get rid of dandelions. If it weren't for dandelions and other "weeds" I probably wouldn't have much of a lawn.
To children dandelions are a delight. I can remember as a kid holding a dandelion blossom under the chin of another child to see if "they liked butter." Supposedly the yellow reflection cast onto their chin from the blossom indicated that. The hollow stems could be bent around and inserted into the other end making a ring. Several could be made into a chain. My granddaughter likes to take the wishing flower and blow the seeds off. I don't think she is alone in that endeavor.
Last Spring Anne and Connie spent time gathering or foraging various wild greens for salads, including dandelion leaves of course. To see some of the various plants that we enjoyed visit Connie's photo essay on Tabblo.



>> Monday, December 15, 2008

I've liked chili all my life. As I was growing up we always called it "chili soup." That most likely was because the way my mother made it was with a lot of tomatoe juice in it. As a youngster I didn't eat at restaurants much but I remember a trip to Chicago that the Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter from our high school took. We ate our supper (that is the evening meal where I come from) in a little diner. I ordered chili and was quite surprised to hear the waitress call out my order to the kitchen, "Bowl of red!"

We always put saltine crackers in our chili but a few years ago some friends were having a gathering at their home and asked everyone to bring chili and cornbread. I rather thought that was a bit strange, but, you know what? We have been eating ours that way for some few months now and it is really good.

Chili varies greatly from one maker to another. My wife's chili is quite good but not overly "hot," most of the time. There was one time a number of years ago that she made HOT chili. Earlier she and my daughter had made some hot sauce from some hot peppers we had been given along with tomatoes from our garden. After cooking for quite some time it had not thickened as they wanted so they dipped out quite a bit of the liquid, which Connie canned to be used later. However, she wasn't thinking about how hot that liquid was and put a full quart into a pot of chili. WOW!

Usually one has to plan ahead when they wish to enjoy a good bowl of chili. Ground meat has to be available freshly ground or one must remove some from the freezer to thaw for some time before it can be cooked and the rest of the ingredients added. The whole pot then needs to cook for a period of time. Connie has been able to speed up the process. She makes a huge pot of chili, puts it into quart jars and pressure cans it. We can decide on the spur of the moment to have chili. It is then only a matter of opening a jar and heating the contents for a few minutes. We did this one day last week when we returned from doing some shopping and wanted something to eat that didn't take a lot of time. In a matter of minutes we were eating our bowls of chili.


"Grandpa's Tractor"

>> Sunday, December 14, 2008

On September 27, 1950 (I would have been 8 years old) my dad bought a brand new tractor, a John Deere MT. The MT was a tricycle version of the Model M and was produced from 1949-1952. There were a total of 30,472 units built. Along with the tractor he bought a 2 bottom plow and the following Spring a 2 row cultivator. He used this tractor on our small farm up until he sold the farm in 1987. The man who purchased the farm also bought the tractor and implements.

I'm not sure which came first, but Darryl began to plan his move to the country to homestead and wanted to track down "Grandpa's Tractor." Sometime in the latter part of 2000 he got on the trail of that tractor. He first contacted the man who had bought it and my dad's farm.

Due to some mis-figuring of his income tax by H and R Block, or another similar firm, this man had been required to come up with some money quickly and had sold the tractor and implements. The buyer, who I think was in some way related to him, was an Amish man without a telephone. Darryl had some difficulty in contacting him and getting information. But, eventually he discovered that he also had sold the tractor. The man did still have the plow and cultivator. After some time Darryl was able to get the name of the person who had purchased the tractor. I do not recall just how he got it although I do know that he posted a note on a John Deere tractor discussion board in early February 2001 asking for assistance in locating this person.

But, discovering the identity of this person, who lived at Pana, Illinois, didn’t resolve the situation. He had also sold the tractor. He did not have a record of the man’s name who had bought it but just remembered that he lived at Centralia, Illinois. He seemed to think that the man was a school teacher (which was later found to not be the case at all). Darryl was not willing to give up the search. He sent a letter to the schools in Centralia outlining what he was searching for. Thankfully, someone there did get back to Darryl after asking a number of the teachers if they knew of such a tractor or anyone having purchased one. No one seemed to know of anyone but this man did have a suggestion for Darryl. He suggested that he contact the John Deere dealer in Centalia, which he did. After explaining what he was searching for the fellow at the dealership gave Darryl the name of an individual that had been buying parts to restore an older John Deere. Perhaps, he thought, this might be the man.

Darryl called and again explained who he was and what he was looking for. After listening to Darryl’s story he told Darryl that he was the man. He had bought the MT to restore and had planned to buy one each of the entire M series and restore. However, due to job changes and other circumstances the MT was the only tractor he had purchased and he had not even had time to totally get it restored. He said he would consider selling it but would have to discuss it with his wife. He asked Darryl to call back a few days later.

When Darryl got back with him he said that after discussing it with his wife he would sell it to Darryl and he would sell it at as reasonable price as he could because it was going back to family. He actually took a bit of a loss as he had spent quite a bit on new tires, new wiring harness and other items. The price he quoted Darryl was almost exactly the amount Darryl had saved to buy the tractor if he could track it down. On September 9th, 2001 Darryl and I made the trip to Centralia with a rented trailer to bring the John Deere MT that my dad bought new in 1950 back home.

Darryl followed up with the Amish fellow and bought the plow and cultivator as well. I told Darryl that the tractor had wheel weights with it when Dad owned it but they weren’t with the tractor when Darryl got it. The Amish fellow had a set, but not the ones that went with the tractor, that he would sell. Before doing that Darryl decided to call the fellow at Pana, Illinois and discovered that the wheel weights were there and he told Darryl he could have them, just come and get them. So, after 14 years being out of the family the little John Deere was back. I think my dad would have been pleased.

When Darryl made the move here to Cedar Ridge Farm the little John Deere came along. It is still being used as the top photo shows. This was taken last Summer while Darryl was mowing hay. The picture below was taken in Centralia, Illinois the day we hauled the MT back "home."


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