Other Things We Have Kept

>> Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In an earlier post I talked about my first plate that I (or my mother for part of the time) had kept for all of these years.  There were a few other items that had been kept by my mother and dad that I now have and am keeping.  One is related to my first plate,  and, that is my first cup.  It isn’t plastic as most children’s first cups are now-a-days.  It is a heavy “china” cup.  The manufacturer, W. S. George of East Palestine, Ohio, was a manufacturer of semi-porcelain chinaware from 1904-1960. 

Feb         24th 004Although I did a brief search on the internet I could not find a photo of a cup just like this but did find that in the late 40’s and early 50’s the W. S. George Pottery Company did offer a Hopalong Cassidy set that included a cup just like it but with a picture of Hoppy on the side. 

Another item that I found among my parent’s things was a pocket watch.  Darryl did an internet search a few years ago when we were discussing this watch and discovered that it was made in 1906.  I have been unable to “prove it” but I suspect that this watch was my granddad’s watch since he was married in 1906 and this watch was very likely a wedding present from his bride.

Feb          25th 003 If these items could only talk and tell us about themselves.  However, I intend to keep them and appreciate them.


Hey! I Mean Hay!

>> Monday, February 23, 2009

Growing up in central Illinois hay was usually alfalfa or red clover. My dad usually had a field of alfalfa that we cut and baled every summer. In later years he had mostly red clover. When we first got dairy goats we were living in California, in the L.A. area. The only hay available was alfalfa that was grown outside of the area and trucked in. Probably most of it was grown on irrigated ground and was never in danger of being spoiled by rain after it was cut.

When we moved back to Illinois and got our goats there we purchased hay, again alfalfa or occasionally red clover. It was somewhat of a surprise to find that most hay here in this area of Kentucky is grass hay. I bought hay several times from a fellow that raised hay to sell and it was orchard grass. For the last couple of years Darryl had been able to cut and bale (with a little help from me) enough hay to supply his needs and mine. His hay is also grass hay, a mixture of grasses.

My barn was almost empty of hay, only a partial bale left, so I took my little truck down the hill to Darryl’s barn and hauled up a dozen bales this morning.

Feb        23rd 001 Just a few bales left in the truck to unload.

Feb        23rd 002 The bales are moved from the truck to the barn using my garden cart.

Feb        23rd 004 The bales are lifted up to and through the loft doorway. I can get about 3 bales in before going up into the loft and stacking them back away from the doorway.

Feb        23rd 006 With a dozen bales of hay in the barn I’m all set for a few more weeks. Three goats don’t go through the hay the way a cow and calf do (Darryl is feeding about a bale a day).


Getting My Exercise

>> Sunday, February 22, 2009

With Darryl away this weekend I have been doing his chores “down the hill.”  The barn is at the bottom of the hill and near where Darryl is building his new house.  However, for the present he walks down the hill at least twice everyday to take care of his livestock, etc.  So, even though I go down fairly often it generally isn’t on a regular twice a day basis.  The following photos show the trip back up the hill. 

The first picture was taken near the bottom of the drive.  The second from near the top of what is seen in photo number one.  Likewise #3 from near the top of #2 and so on.  It is hard to show the amount of climb one makes but the turns in the drive are quite obvious.

Feb      20th 007 Feb      20th 008

Feb      20th 009

Feb      20th 010

Feb      20th 011 As one can see in the last two photos our house is at or near the top of the hill.  In the photo on the left you can see Danny’s doublewide at the top.  Darryl’s present home is to the left, out of the picture.  At the point where the photo was taken in #4 Connie generally feels the need to take a breather.

Darryl’s two youngest children were born after their move here to Cedar Ridge Farm and very shortly after each one began to walk they began climbing the hill.  If nothing else they are in good physical shape.


Anybody Wanna Buy a Digital TV Converter Box?

>> Thursday, February 19, 2009

We live in a rural area in South Central Kentucky.  There are no TV stations less than 45-55 miles away from us, however with the analog TV we could receive 3 stations.  Anticipating the switch to digital I purchased a converter box last Summer.  I set it up and could get only a “No Signal” display, not a single station would come in.  Thinking that the box was defective I took it back and exchanged it.  Still nothing but the “No Signal” display.  Thinking that perhaps when the final switch over came there would be a change  I contacted one of the stations by e-mail.  I was told that if I received analog I should be able to receive digital.  However, when I went to the AntennaWeb.org website and put in my address and location I received the message “There are no digital stations predicted to serve this location.” 

Yeah, I could subscribe to “cable” through our local telephone company but for the very limited amount of TV we watched it isn’t worth it.

The first picture below was taken Monday evening, February 16th, before the switch to digital and the second was taken today after the switch.  I guess we will be spending even more time on the computer!

Feb  16th 003 Feb     19th 002 Note, this is the same channel.  As I asked in the title, anybody wanna buy a digital TV converter box?


Egyptian Walking Onions

>> Monday, February 16, 2009

I can remember well our patch of “winter onions” that we had on the farm where I grew up.  Dad had started them long before I could remember, probably before I was born.  We used them primarily for green onions early in the Spring.  They reseeded themselves and came up every Spring.  I hadn’t seen any of these onions in many years.  Talking with one of my cousins recently about these onions he said he, like me, hadn’t seen or heard of them until about a year ago.  He discovered that only a few seed companies had them and they were called Egyptian Walking Onions.  He had obtained some sets and planted them last year.  I started looking for some companies that carried the sets.  I found several but the price was very expensive at some and others only shipped sets in the fall.

I finally ordered some from a company in Colorado, Ronniger Potato Farm LLC, I ordered enough that Darryl and I can both plant some.

onion Hopefully by next Spring I can be harvesting green onions!


Skidding Logs Out of the Woods

>> Thursday, February 12, 2009

My son, Darryl, mentioned in a post on his Cedar Ridge Farm blog a few days ago that he had cut more cedars to be used for posts.  Today was a very nice day after a day of wind and rain and Darryl decided it would be a good day to skid those cedar logs out of the woods.  Of course I volunteered to help.  He was able to get his International 424 tractor to the bottom of the ridge the cedars were on.  All we had to do was bring them down the hill.  A few were quite a ways up and we had to use some long ropes as well as nylon straps and chains to bring them down.

Feb    12th 004 Here you can see one of the logs being pulled down the hill.  Since Darryl could only go a short distance with the tractor we had to stop several times so he could back up to the starting point and take up our slack and go again.  Once we got close to the bottom the ropes could be removed and replaced by one or more of the chains.

Feb    12th 015 One of the logs had to be brought down a small gully and then turned at a right angle.  We accomplished this with the use of a snatch block as shown above.  Once the log was down to the block we were able to hook onto it directly and pull it out.

Feb    12th 011 When we had the logs down to the level of the tractor they could be hooked onto the tractor and Darryl could drive out of the woods.

Feb    12th 019 Here he is maneuvering through the trees.

Feb    12th 023A few more will have to be cut and brought out of the woods but these are ready to be milled into 6” X 6” beams.  That will be the subject of a future post.


Neat Animal Picture

>> Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I found this photo through a link in one of my emails this morning.  I thought it was pretty neat so I’ll share.

004Optical_Illusion0011 How many horses did you find?


Can Spring Be But Right Around The Corner?

>> Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feb    10th 006 Surely Spring must be about here.  We have had very warm and comfortable temperatures for the last several days.  Friday was in the low 60’s, Saturday in the mid 60’s, Sunday and Monday both hit 70 and today was in the low 60’s again.  The daffodils and the irises are coming up.  I saw and heard the sandhill cranes heading back North while I was outside yesterday. 

Feb    10th 003 I know that there will probably be a few more cold days and nights but hopefully the worst of Winter is behind us.  I know that we are anxious to get into the garden.  It won’t be long before baby goats will be arriving.  We have been receiving seed catalogs for the last several weeks.  I recently received a catalog from one of the poultry farms that sells day old chicks.  Spring can’t be far off.

Feb    10th 004


Our House—Ceiling Fans

>> Monday, February 9, 2009

I have seen a few times, while visiting friends or relatives, a TV show where someone’s home is being re-done.  Perhaps you are more familiar with this show or shows than I am, but, what I saw happen more than once would have irritated me if it had been my home.  And, that was the removal of a ceiling fan and putting up in its place some sort of fancy light fixture.  This was always the idea of the professional decorator or whatever his title was.

It appeared to me that this individual was more concerned with the look he was attempting to achieve than in the benefit that was being gained from the fan.  Thankfully, my wife and I were our own decorators.  Maybe it isn’t the thing to do according to the professionals but we put a ceiling fan in every room in our home.  Actually there are two in the kitchen/dining room.  And, we even put one in the bathroom.

They are used.  The one in the kitchen is very near the wood burning cook stove and we leave it on the low setting 24 hours a day during the winter.  It helps to circulate the warm air.  We rarely run our air conditioner.  Instead we use our ceiling fans.  We very much appreciate the one that is in our bedroom, right above our bed.  On warm summer nights it is quite comfortable having a ceiling fan blowing air on us.

Below are pictured the ceiling fans in the kitchen and dining area.
 Jan     29th=30th 004
Jan     29th=30th 003


Greenhouse Repair

>> Sunday, February 8, 2009

In an earlier post I discussed my small greenhouse that I built last Spring.  One thing I have learned from my few months of having and using a greenhouse—buy plastic that is designed for a greenhouse.  I have been using 6 mil. clear plastic obtained from the local building supply store.  I haven’t had a great deal of success with it lasting any length of time at all.

I built the greenhouse in mid-April 2008.  By early August the plastic on the top began to rip and after a windy night it was completely destroyed.  I replaced it later in the month.  That lasted until early October and it began to rip.  Having some plastic left I put another layer over the top of that one.

Guess what I discovered yesterday morning?  Yeah, you guessed it, the plastic on top had ripped and the wind had completely decimated it once again.

Feb   8th 001 As you can see in the photo above it didn’t look very pretty at all.  Darryl had some new plastic and gave me a piece big enough to cover the top once again.

Feb   8th 005 I have the new plastic over the top and have started stapling it down.

Feb   8th 007 Once again the greenhouse has the top covered.  Hopefully this will last for awhile, at least until I can get some greenhouse plastic and have on hand.  Thankfully our temperatures have been nice and warm and the greens that are growing  inside were not injured in any way.  I have had to have a small electric heater running inside on a few of the colder days and nights.  That has worked great, even on the one night we dropped to below zero.


Old Farmer’s Advice

>> Friday, February 6, 2009

I received this in an e-mail and thought I would share.  Kinda liked it.

An Old Farmer's Advice

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.  
* Keep skunks, bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life
. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you
from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin'  the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply.  

Love generously.  
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.  
Leave the rest to God


Cleaning Out The Goat Barn

>> Thursday, February 5, 2009

A lot of people have the impression that goats will eat anything and everything, including tin cans. Wrong! Goats are actually quite finicky in their eating habits. You can feed them the best hay available and they will not eat all of it. Some stems are too big, the taste isn’t quite right, or maybe it just doesn’t look right—I don’t know. But, I do know that there is always remnants left in the hay feeder, sometimes more than others. That gets thrown onto the floor for bedding. I never have to buy straw or other material for that purpose.

It had been several months since I last cleaned out my goat barn. It was getting rather deep in there. It wasn’t quite as bad as a barn I saw many years ago. I don’t know if it had ever been cleaned out since they had begun keeping goats. I don’t exaggerate a bit when I tell you that the goats had to be careful not to bump their heads on the ceiling joists.

Feb 5th 002 I know that it is difficult to tell in this photo but the build-up was well over a foot deep. I had already removed several wheel barrow loads from the area nearest the camera. I didn’t attempt to count the loads I wheeled out to be dumped and allowed to begin to compost. It takes a few months but will break down to dark rich soil and will be put onto the garden.

Feb 5th 005 Here is another wheel barrow load ready to go. I put off cleaning the barn until a day when it wasn’t too cold but when the ground was frozen so that I didn’t have to push the loads across soft and muddy ground. It is hard enough when things are solid.

Feb 5th 011 As you can see from this photo there was a lot of material that had to be moved. Of course, over the next several weeks and after several rains this will compress down and look much smaller.

After putting fresh bedding down (hay stems and hay that was refused for whatever reason) the goats were let back into the barn. They seemed happy to get back to the hay feeder.

Feb 5th 008 If you missed it you might want to read my post on the goat barn.


Drinking Water-Part Two

>> Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The state of Kentucky has been in the news for the past week due to the worst ice storm in the state’s history.  Thousands are still without electricity and many are without drinking water.  We don’t often think of the vulnerability of our water supply but due to a loss of electricity many communities are without water because their water pumps won’t work. 

Do many of us have some sort of means or plan to cope with such an emergency?  I discussed in Part One a bit about water distillers and a great deal about a reverse osmosis system.  Both are great if we have power and/or water in the pipes.  Distillers take power to heat the water to produce steam which is turned back into pure water.  Reverse osmosis systems require a flow of water.  What do we do if neither is available?

There is a system that has been around for over 150 years, has been used in over 140 countries by missionaries, the Red Cross, the Peace Corp and others.  It requires no power or does not have to be attached to the water pipes.  It uses good old gravity and ceramic filters. 

Although the British Berkefeld brand is known worldwide their best known unit it what most have probably heard of, the Big Berkey.  We purchased one this past summer and although it can be used on a regular basis we will continue to use our reverse osmosis system for most of our drinking water, unless we have an emergency.  Since the only well on the property has a high sulfur content we are concerned about the possible loss of our public water.  We capture rain water from the roof but it has various contaminants in it which we would prefer to filter out.  The Big Berkey does a beautiful job.  But it does require manual filling and draining.  The RO system is more convenient as long as the public water is flowing.

Berkey The photo to the left is one taken from an advertisement.  As you can see the unit is compact.  It holds a bit over 2 gallons of water at a time.  Our unit has two black filters, although for processing more water an additional two could be added.  The filters can be cleaned and reused for many, many gallons of water.

Jan      25th-26th 002In the picture on the right you can see the two black filters.  There is but a bit of water in the tank.  The Big Berkey is able to not only remove most contaminates it can filter water from the most polluted rivers and lakes if necessary.  When Henry Doulton first developed ceramic filters for removing bacteria from drinking water it was used to remove the contaminants from the water of the Thames River in London, which was contaminated with raw sewage.  At that time cholera and typhoid epidemics were rampant because people were drinking the contaminated water.

If we should lose our public water supply we are prepared to filter rain water, sulfur well water or creek water with our Big Berkey.  What will you do if you should lose your water supply?



>> Monday, February 2, 2009

026 Perhaps, just perhaps, Wisconsin has real live elephants among its wildlife but I don’t believe we have any here in Kentucky.  I have liked elephants for many years.  I don’t know exactly when this liking elephants first began.  Perhaps it may have gotten a start when I had a print put into the office I occupied over 35 years ago.

Misc0009 Just a few years ago I found out a bit more about that print I had so much enjoyed.  This picture was entitled “Wise Old Elephant” and was painted in 1962 by David Shepherd.  According to many internet sites over 250,000 copies were sold.

wiseoldelephant#2 To the left is a better picture of this painting, taken from the internet.

Sometime in the 70’s or 80’s I began collecting small figurines and other items with elephants.  Of course as time went on I had help with this collection.  Right now I don’t have room to display most of them and they are boxed and in storage.  Below is a photo of a few that I have here in the house.

Feb 1st 001


My Tractor

>> Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jan     31st 011 A few weeks ago I did a post on “Grandpa’s Tractor,” which was about my son, Darryl, tracking down and buying my dad’s old John Deere MT that he had bought new in 1950. More recently Darryl posted a piece on his blog about the tractor and included a short video.

Jan     31st 010 In this post I’d like to tell you about my tractor. I also have a John Deere MT. I purchased it a few years ago. I went directly to Moline, Illinois to the headquarters of the John Deere company to get it. I don’t know how long it had been sitting there but it was still brand new. And, I think I got a pretty good deal on it.

Jan     31st 003 Perhaps by this time you get the idea. My tractor is a 1/16th scale model of the John Deere MT. The MT was equipped with three different front ends: two wheels set close together for wide-row crops, a single front-wheel for narrow-row farming, or wide-spaced front wheels that could straddle two rows. My scale model had the two wheels set close together just as my dad’s (and now Darryl’s) was set up.

Jan     31st 002

It isn’t quite like having the real thing but I like it, and I got it before Darryl was able to bring my dad’s little MT back into the family.


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