1961 Ford 4000 Industrial Tractor, how many times can it break.

The green and black beast. SDC15133

It has a heavy duty front end loader (FEL) on it. It came with a 6′ bush hog. I paid $2200 for it including delivery about 5 years ago. It had really good tires on it. I thought it had a live pto when I bought it. It was advertised as a 1964 Ford, which would have had the live pto. It was actually a 1961 which has a transmission pto. Live pto’s are much better. I guess that is what I get for looking at it at night and not knowing anything about a tractor when I went to look at it. But I could not get anybody else that knew about tractors to come along. That is why I only wanted to spend about $2000 on my first tractor. Because I did not know, what I did not know. My next tractor will be 4 wheel drive because my property is so hilly.

I added rear hydraulics. I bought a 3 Point Hay spear.I adjusted the brakes some. The right side works some. The left side still needs work. I use the FEL as my brake of last resort.

I used it to pull up wood posts when I pulled up the fence for Mr Workman a few years ago. I blew the head gasket. So it sat for about a year. Then I took off the top end of the engine and had it ground flat. Put a new gasket in it. I repainted the engine parts that I took off to make them look nice and not rust. I put a new exhaust system on it that goes under the tractor so I would not get as many engine fumes on me when I used it. I got it started up, but it did not have as much power as it should.  I tried to lash the valves, but it takes a feel that comes from experience. So I decided to hire it out. I finally got it running enough to get it on a trailer to take to Mr. Hostetlers. I could not find anybody to come out and work on it.

Last fall I got the valves lashed and had it tuned up. He also replaced the pin that keeps the 3 point arms in the position mode. I picked it up from him and was driving it home. Then the freeze plug corroded and it was leaking coolant. It was in a really bad place but I got that fixed. This winter I moved a lot of hay with it. The gas shutoff was leaking when I had it in the open position. Common to this model tractor. This spring I got tilling done with it. Then it caught on fire. A rodent had built a nest in it and the gas shut off was leaking. Got the fire out. Put a new gas shutoff in it. Broke the fuel filter bowl. Got a new one. Got it running. I have been bush hogging a bunch. Got Mr. Charles pasture (keep our horses there) bush hogged. Had to replace the non-live pto spinner thing because the old one kept coming off. Moved the cows off the neighbors top field to the his bottoms so I could finish bush hogging that field. Got the tractor out in the early afternoon to bush hog. Noticed the gear box on the bush hog seemed to have worked itself loose. While I was under there trying to get the stump jumper off so I could tighten the bolts, I noticed the stump jumper had a crack in it. So I had to weld that. Welded another broken weld on the bush hog. Never got the stump jumper off, but was able to get a socket on the bolts I needed, with Tommy’s help and got the gear box tightened down. My welding is not great, so I make thick welds, which on the stump jumper I ended up having to grind mostly away so the blade would spin freely. Anyways by the time I got that all done, it was almost dark. The power steering leaks, so I put fluid in it and added some ATP reseal (great stuff, hope it fixes the leak). So I got about one pass around the field before I needed to turn on the headlights. Got the third pass around the field and I got drenched with water all of a sudden. And the water kept coming. Thought I drove through a huge puddle at first. My rear tire rim had burst. It had a 6″ x 6″ hole in it. They used to use calcium chloride water to fill tractor tires to give them weight and lower the center of gravity. The calcium chloride would corrode the metal pretty fast though. Now I think they use antifreeze in the water. So now I have to find a rim to get my tractor fixed. Pretty soon I will have run out of stuff to fix on the tractor. I can dream at least.

I have had the sheet metal off of it since I did the top end on the engine. I am hoping to repaint the tractor to its original yellow and red color scheme. Someday.720LoaderBrochure

chicken processing

bought 51 chicks for $1 a piece at tractor supply good friday. We butchered 26 chickens. I lost 10 chickens in the last week because of the heat. The one day I lost 5 because they would not drink any water for some reason. It was a very costly week. All that organic feed down the drain.


Sister to the rescue 1985

Somewhere around 1985 we lived on Greentree in West Bend WI in a rental. I was in about 4th or 5th grade. Across the street was a big hill with a big open field at the top. My sister Melanie and I found some sheets of plywood laying up there and built a cool fort near a tree. We put all sorts of fallen branches and stuff around it to camo it from the neighborhood kids who were not very nice. One day we were up there working on it and Melanie was at the fort and I was out in the field looking for stuff to use. Some of the bullies that lived down the street that were probably about 8th grade found me and started beating me up. My sister Melanie who was two years older than me came and threw them off and would have beat them up if they had not run away. Later when we were at the street the kids yelled something about them beating me up and were making fun of me for getting saved by a girl. I yelled back, “yeah, but you got beat up by a girl!” They stopped taunting me after that.

Thanks Mel.

JJS 1993 screaming in pain

The kids love stories from when I was a kid. I was at the chiropractor today for an adjustment. My hip is really out of whack and so I have been in some pain. When I got adjusted today I screamed pretty loudly. It reminded me of this memory when I was younger.

The year is 1993, my parents had moved to Indonesia to do missionary work the summer before. My brother Jason, my older sister Melanie, and I were going to Indonesia to visit our parents and two younger sisters. We were supposed to go get some shots before we went so we would not get sick when we got there.

My sister Melanie hated getting shots, as in deathly afraid. So she was stressing out. We all three went to the doctor’s office together. Jason being the kind brother that he was, went first to ease Melanie’s nerves and show her how easy it was. Jason goes inside and the door closes. Suddenly Jason starts screaming in pain. The nurse opens the door holding the needle  and says “I have not even given him the shots yet.” Jason is in the background laughing.

I am sure Jason is very sorry Mel.

Have you figured out how to get more than 24 hours in a day yet?

Neither have I, but if someone knows, please share.

We have been very busy around here the last few days.

I had friends visit for a few hours on Friday afternoon.

My dog strangled itself to death on the run line on Friday evening.

On Saturday I was gone half the day in murray at a lamb showing class with charlotte and the young kids. Then we went to lowes to get supplies.

Then we started building bunkbeds and lofts for the boys room. We got it finished this evening. Well finished enough for now. We have sleeping spots for 4 boys. 1 computer desk area under Jimmy’s bed that Tommy will use for programming his robots. Jimmy has a drawing table up in his loft bed. Jack has a curtain to hide  behind in his bottom bunk. Benjamin wants some shelving in his bunk. And I have a lego building area yet to build. Need to find a storage spot for all the Mashoonga sticks. Tommy was a huge help.

My computer has been crashing on and off for quite some time. I think I finally figured it out. I sure hope so, I have a lot to do before I leave on Wednesday.

Thankfully we had two new baby calves born on Sunday evening, helped us forget about the dog. They were so soft, it would be hard to imagine without having touched them.

We have to milk our Jersey cow now some because the new calf does not drink enough to empty her. So that is twice a day.

Then I spent an hour this evening running around with one of my new south poll momma cows trying to squirt her engorged teat to get the milk out of it so that it would be small enough that the new calf would be able to nurse it. She tried to kick me every time I squeezed it. I finally got the milk clot milked out after about 5 miles of jogging(it seemed that long) with her avoiding her hoof. Then she finally stood still while I was doing it until she moved over slightly into the electric fence and we both got zapped. Then I had to get her to calm down again so I could finish. After it was back to a normal size I was resting and watching the new calf nurse and she nursed all 4 teats. So I knew I had fixed it. Otherwise she would have gotten mastitis in that quarter and probably never would have been able to produce in that quarter again in her life.  Then I looked at my shirt and realized I was full of manure. Charlotte watched the whole episode. I am sure she was thoroughly amused.

I got a hair cut tonight.

Now that I am cleaned up it is time to engineer. I will hopefully finish before 3am.

But I think I got my computer fixed. So far it seems like I may have a bad set of DIMMs. I will find out if it crashes anymore tonight if I have it solved.

Then wake up and put in a full day of engineering tomorrow.I also have to set up 8 days worth of mob grazing that is easy for someone else to move my cows while I am gone.

Wednesday we have an 8 hour drive to Naperville, IL for the ICHE homeschooling convention. Saturday night or Sunday we will drive back home the 8 hours. Then Monday we have to drive about 5.5 hours to knoxville, TN for Mia and Katie’s state livestock competition that they qualified for which is all day Tuesday.  Then Wednesday we drive back the 5.5 hours to home. Then I have to catch back up on the engineering and chores that I will now be behind on.

IL – I need some Calgon

Been having to travel a few times lately to IL for work. First trip I got to have Mia come with as my intern. She photographed while I took notes. She kept me company in the car for the long ride also. We had a good time together. We stayed at my friends house who was kind enough to host us. I hate hotels. You never know what kind of bed bugs are in a hotel.

Next week Molly and I went to a marriage retreat in Bone Gap, IL. It was only half way to Chicago, so it was doable. We stayed at an old Victorian Mansion. It was really neat. Molly thought someone was going to snatch her from behind the curtain that went down the narrow back staircase. Met some really nice people at the marriage retreat and reconnected with good old friends. The kids survived without us for two days. Boys at my parent’s house and girls by themselves at home with Roo.

The week after that I had to go Chicago again. Right downtown. Had to go by myself. I do not care for driving, especially by myself. When I can, I always take somebody with me. Usually the kids volunteer because they know they will probably get a treat, or maybe they just love spending time with me because I sing so well. Just ask susie. I also play a mean air guitar according to Charlotte. At least I got to stay at a different friends house so we could talk about life.

It has been odd to be so busy with work lately. It has been a while since the engineering has been this busy. But I guess being in a car for a few days each week makes it hard to stay on top of the engineering and gets you behind. Not to mention all the homesteading stuff that falls behind. Thankfully Molly does a great job of picking up the slack.

Katie is working on an engineering project of her own. The deadline is finally coming, so we shall see how she handles the stress. She has been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with it so far. The information to actually design to has been slow in coming in, which makes the job take way longer than it really needs to. But she has to fit her cad time in when I am not using my computer, so she does a little here and a little there.

Calgon, take me away (from IL that is).

Driving the speed limit in Chicago is near suicide, but I survived. You just have to drive watching behind you so you can avoid the people going 100mph who are going to run into you.


Lettuce entertain you.

For lunch today we had some taco stuff. I love lettuce. So my wife asked if I could get some lettuce for the tacos. She said go on the front deck and pick however much I wanted. Lo and behold on the front deck is the most beautiful organic lettuce you can find. Simply amazing taste, right on my front deck. Best part is that you can cut it and it will grow back.

Proverbs 31:10-15 (KJV)

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

Truly far above rubies. I am truly blessed.

Did I mention I love lettuce.

When we go out I get salads quite often. Sometimes I am accused of doing it because I am cheap. (that I am cheap, is true). But I really do love a good salad. Lettuce, hard boiled eggs, bacon, cheese, more lettuce, Caesar dressing, spinach, lettuce, croutons, lettuce, etc.



Aquaponics in English, units that is.

It seems all the instructions are always in those hated metric units. As my one structural professor said once, they are not natural. A foot is a foot, at least if yours is twelve inches long. But who really can measure something in mm’s? I eat m&m’s.

Anyhow, here is the website for the instructions I used to build mine.


They have instructional videos of how to do it. While they speak English, they do not use English units. So this post will convert them for you. (last time I wrote it on a piece of paper and since have lost the paper, hence the reason for this post)


  • Pump, (minimum 265 gph is what the video calls for. From my research they say you need to cycle your complete water system every 2hrs. So if you have a 250 gallon tank you would only need a pump that can handle 125gph at the height of lift that you have. A pump should come with a chart that will tell you the gph at different head heights of pressure)
  • 5ft flexible pipe, (diameter based on the outlet of your pump.)
  • barbed threaded elbow
  • threaded 1″ T piece
  • (4) 1″ elbows
  • 15 ft of 1″ pipe
  • 8″ of 1.5″ pipe
  • 1 1/2″(40mm per picture) (the instructions say 32mm, which is 1 1/4″) to 1″ reducing coupling
  • 2″ valve socket
  • 12″ piece of 3.5″ storm pipe with many 1/4″ holes drilled in it.
  • 7 cu ft (53 gallons) of media

6mm ~ 1/4″

For a pipe diameter conversion chart we can thank this link.

Diameter Nominal
Nominal Pipe Size
6 1/8
8 1/4
10 3/8
15 1/2
20 3/4
25 1
32 1 1/4
40 1 1/2
50 2
65 2 1/2
80 3
100 4
150 6
200 8
250 10
300 12
350 14
400 16
450 18
500 20
550 22
600 24
650 26
700 28
750 30
800 32
900 36
1000 40
1050 42
1100 44
1200 48
1300 52
1400 56
1500 60
1600 64
1700 68
1800 72
1900 76
2000 80
2200 88


Father Son Camp 2014

We had a good time again. This time Benjamin came with Tommy, Jimmy, and I.We stay at Kyle Phillips property in our tent. This year on Thursday, Kyle and his kids stayed in the tent with us.

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We had Jojo Capp with us also on Friday and Saturday.

We spent a bunch of time making sure we had a bunch of Paintball guns. We invited two other friends families to play paintball with us. When we all got to the woods to play. I opened the trunk to get the paintball gear out and realized no paintball masks. I was  beyond upset. So I gave the boys, about 10 of them 700 paintballs to shoot at me. I put on some glasses and my carhartt jacket. I ran around trying not to get shot.

We had a good time canoeing.


We had a marvelous party at a tent one night where an executive chef who is a homeschooling dad made huge shrimp and steak pieces. Yum.

DSCN1057  FatherSonCamp2014 (5)  FatherSonCamp2014 (9)

On our trip home we stopped and saw the world’s largest wind chime.

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