Friday's Featured Farmer~Scrounger in Nebraska
Of Tractors and Cows...
Awhile back my wife and I Finally were able to buy our farm. We both grew up in the country - her in Northwest Missouri, myself in Southeast Nebraska. We spent the first 3 years of our marriage living in a rented farm house in Northeast Kansas, near Paxico. After that, it would be nearly 10 years before we "got back" to the farm.
We had been searching, but God didn't send the right place to us until events happened to change things so HE would. We were led to 101 acres in Nebraska that happened to be part of the farm I grew up on.
The place had changed over the years, and upkeep had been a problem, but we were glad to have it. The Red Cedars had infested the place something fierce - there were places on the farm that my Dad had baled hay in the early 1970's, that a rabbit couldn't get through without a chainsaw. Fences had been neglected, and erosion had started to take its toll in a few places.
Flaws and all, though, we were happy to have it.
Deb and I probably differed in opinion as to what to do first but, MY first priority was getting a tractor. This was even before we did anything to the farm, or even had a building up.
"You've GOT to have a tractor to do ANYTHING", was my best argument. Luckily, it worked - we had a 1959 Farmall 460 in our driveway in Polk, Nebraska, before we had a driveway at the farm.
Deb's first priority was to have an outhouse built. There I was, building it in our driveway in town, with dozens of "looky-loos" driving by REAL slow. Only a few actually stopped to ask what it was, some even KNEW. A week later, we hauled the sections down, and reassembled them over a hole we had dug.
Much to my brother's chagrin, he found himself explaining to folks far and wide, what that small building in his (former) pasture was. Of course, it didn't help matters that it was covered in bright PINK Owens-Corning house wrap.... In any event, he did his darndest to get me to put a TV antennae, or chimney on it to make it look like ANYTHING other than what it was. It stayed pink for about 3 years, until I found time to cover it in vinyl siding.
We weren't too hopeful of moving onto the place for a long while, because we couldn't afford to build a house. God answered our prayers once again by providing a FREE house 10 miles away to be moved. The house was free, but we had to pay to move it.
It was a fast and furious makeover, but we had the house moved, remodeled, and our stuff moved in after about 11 months.
Now, it was time for ANIMALS (and more tractors).
Deb's dad gave us two bred nanny goats one spring, and they have turned in - and over- into a small herd of the little pests. They come up with ways to test my patience, but are wonderful to have around.
Since Deb grew up around the little beasts, she was happy to get them, too - as long as they stayed out of her flower beds. I know now, why they call the goat babies "kids" - because they get to their "terrible twos" - and never leave.
Me, I ended up buying a 1949 Ford 8N at an auction (ok, my SISTER bought it, and we paid her). It's a handy little machine that does a LOT of work around here. I could live without it, but it would not be fun. Oddly enough, my Dad worked for International-Harvester for a lot of years, and my favorite tractor is a FORD. Then again, he was a Chevrolet guy, too, and I drive Fords....
At any rate, everything came close to being full circle this past year. I FINALLY convinced my lovely wife that we needed a cow - and I got an antique tractor to play with. The tractor was free - the cow was not.
Mabel cost us $375 and a 8 hour round trip, but she has been wonderful to have around. She doesn't give much milk, but it was enough to keep us in butter and cheese for several months. This is when something odd happened.
Deb, the "goat person" who distrusted cows, came to me one day and said she wanted another cow FOR HER BIRTHDAY. I felt like Redd Foxx (of Sanford and Son fame....), clutching his chest and wailing about "the big one". Heart attack or not, this led us to Daisy, a bred Jersey from Missouri.
So, there we were, our milk herd just doubled, we already had a blind Angus for the freezer, a Hereford/Charlais cross heifer, goats all over the place, and Daisy was pregnant - with a due date anywhere from Memorial Day to Labor Day. We lucked out and it turned out to be July 13th, 2010.
Our first calf.
We named him "Stew" because that's what he's gonna be in a couple years....
As for the tractor - I had told a buddy of mine that I "needed" an old IH F Series tractor to work on. This was late last year - in November. One day, I get an e-mail, telling me he found an F-20 for me. It was just a rolling chassis, but he'd give me all the parts from his stock pile so I'd have a complete tractor.
All I can say is that Deb was less than impressed when she saw it - no motor, no hood, no radiator, not much of anything but the frame and a steering wheel (which happened to be non-original...). She feels a little better, now that I've picked up most of the other parts. I just hope I can get everything together before I'm too old to drive it.
The odd part is - Deb wants ANOTHER cow! Even stranger - SHE WANTS ANOTHER TRACTOR! She saw a photo of a 1920's McCormick-Deering machine, and thinks we should have one (because they're "cute"). I'm inclined to agree with her, so I have a friend keeping watch for one to work on.
Now, Dear, about that Harley-Davidson......
Thank you so much, Galen, for your guest blog post! I always enjoy reading your stories!
You can read more about Scrounger at Scroungeman~Can't buy it? Scrounge it!
And Scroungeman's wife Deb also has a delightful blog Doxie Designs Doxie Archives.
Photo Courtesy of Scroungeman blog spot.