IMG_3351Benja just turned 7! He is our only summer birthday and he celebrated the way he likes best. With the table strewn with Legos and his brothers all around to build with him. He received a few different sets for gifts and was in Lego heaven all day. He did take a break when Daddy said he would take him down the river in his new kayak that also was a gift. All the kids except G got to go. They returned home hours later, wet, scraped up by the “rapids”, tired and happy. I’d say it was a fabulous day for a fabulous boy.IMG_3349


It’s been really quiet around here on the blog lately. I’ve just been feeling like there is nothing new to say. My life is like a merry-go-round. If you page through the archives as I did the other night, “July” has looked the same for the last couple of years. It can be summed up in a couple words. Canning. Tomatoes. Making Jam. I find comfort in the mundane repetitiveness of my life, don’t you?IMG_3218

Shy little princess

IMG_3208We took Ruthie to town in the hopes of seeing her favorite princess ever, Sofia the first. The streets were crawling with super heroes, villians and princess of all sorts. We caught a glimpse of a magical pumpkin carriage.IMG_3212 But, alas, no Sofia to be found. Ruthie doesn’t know who these other pretty ladies are, so she wasn’t really thrilled with them. She had a better time coloring than shooting selfies. IMG_3231Hot sun, big crowds, and long lines aren’t really our thing. It would’ve been worth it for a glimpse of Sofia, but as it was, merely a mildly amusing day in town.IMG_3203

IMG_3285We have been needing a new roof for a couple years now. After any storm our yard is strewn with shingles that have blown loose. And after the girls’ room started leaking, Jeremie decided it was time.IMG_3297 Roofing in the summer is hot. Roofing in the summer in Tn is even hotter.IMG_3327 We had some friends come help us. Without them I think Jeremie might have quit halfway through. IMG_3323The kids took some fun pictures of “jumping” off the roof. Sailing through the air like Mary Poppins. We only got the back half of the house done, so all this fun will have to be repeated again soon.IMG_3307 IMG_3292

Summer happenings

Whew people! Summer is passing by in a whirlwind. Such a fun time of year. Busy days in the garden. Relaxing evenings with friends. Late night games of kick the can. Rummage sales! Steamy kitchens from canning. Pond swimming. Fencing. Parks. Pools. Lamb shows. Our days have been full.IMG_2934 Our air conditioning went out so we sweated it out for a few weeks. It was pleasantly cool on most of the days, relatively speaking. We’ve had so much summer rain. And when a storm blew in and the breeze picked up, well, we thought we were in heaven. The last week of no air the temps were in the high 90s with a heat index of 110-115. So people were getting a little cranky. But not much. I don’t think I heard one word of complaint from the kids except they told me it was hard to sleep. We have a tiny window unit where the baby sleeps, so she was comfortable. And we have a small unit in the boys room. There are 4 of them in the room, so it wasn’t keeping up. But on the hottest afternoons, all the kids would crowd in there and watch a movie or read to pass the time.IMG_3129 We had visitors from Florida. Jeremie’s brother and his family came for a couple days over the 4th of July. It was so fun to see them and catch up. They were such good sports about our hot house. We also had a fun night of visiting with friends from Alabama. Ultimate Frisbee, rollerblading, talking, climbing, chasing. It was such a fun, refreshing time. IMG_3130 I’ve been busy canning pickles, relishes, spaghetti sauce, jam. Most of the girls help and it is a fun process, to all be busy working in the kitchen. I need two islands in here, though! Maybe someday. IMG_3139Gloria has started eating food. She loves to chew on cucumbers, but we are careful not to let her get any chunks in her mouth. She tried some watermelon, but wasn’t thrilled. I love that we can feed her fresh fruit and veggies that have not been sprayed by anything. That have been harvested minutes before eating. Gloria also had her first dip in the pond. IMG_3125No, mama is not comfortable with that. But I have to admit she loved it. And I swooped her into the bathtub as soon as she got out 😉 The kids go swimming most days. Or boating in the new kayak. Every day sees people sewing, crafting and creating. Getting crafts ready for the fair. Some of the kids have made spreadsheets on excel, mapping out their crafting strategy. It’s serious business here. These days are just how I like them. Long. Hot. Tiring. Free. Creative. Building memories. Happy summer to you!

My brother the bad driver

Since Autumn said she liked hearing stories about her dad when he was a kid, it brought this one to mind.

Uncle Jason (as my kids refer to him) was supposed to be going to a school dance. He was going to be driving the fancy family car. It was either an old blue caprice classic, or a faded green dodge polara, both 4 doors and super long, and big old bumpers.

Either one like this caprice classic


(This is what uncle Jason thought he looked like in grandpa’s


caprice classic!!!)

Or like this beast of a dodge polara (which was actually on loan from his wife’s grandpa since we needed a car)


So you can see how that bumper in the front wraps around the corner. It seemed like it went past further on the side then it looks in that picture, but my memory might not be totally correct. Anyways, Uncle Jason had the car in the garage. The garage had a single car door opening with a man door next to it. Similar to this, but I think the man door was closer to the garage door.Before Garage Front

The garage was in the backyard behind the house on midland ave in westbend wi. actual photos below to help you visualizemidlandave2midlandave

So you had to curve a little as you backed out of the garage so that you did not hit the house corner. So as he is looking backwards to make sure he misses the house, the front bumper that sticks out catches on the wall between the garage door and the man door and yanks it right out. Thankfully for Uncle Jason, the header over the garage door continued over the man door and so the whole building did not fall down, just that little bit of wall.

I think grandpa Schultz still let him go to the dance.

Autumn, you can also ask him about the hit and run and how it felt to have to sit in the back of the squad car out front of that midland house.

Or the time he crashed into something in the pick n save with the citation.

Or the time he totalled a different citation.

or the time the boy on the bike crashed into his windshield.

there were more, but it is hard to remember them all.

I am sure the picture below is how Uncle Jason remembers his accidents in his mind. :)


I guess I better be careful or he might start telling stories about me. All of which would be untrue for sure. :)

Random happpenings

Gloria asleep with her thumb. IMG_3057Charlotte jumping Bailey at horse lessons. IMG_20160707_115207703Ruthie being sprayed off after playing in the pig mud.IMG_3091 Girls at an indigo dyeing class at the quilt museum. IMG_20160708_092320742Tommy DIYing our trampoline springs.IMG_3063 Jimmy cut all those pool noodles and there was a joint effort to put them on.IMG_3059When I pulled out the rubbermaids to go through the off-season clothes, the kids were delighted to see boxes of books that they hadn’t seen in years. It was so fun to watch them sit there for hours pouring over pages and forgotten titles like they had rediscovered an old friend.

Of course I can

IMG_3119I love canning season! All those beautiful jars of jam, relishes, fruit and pickles. I tried a couple new recipes this year. One is for pickles, from Jeremie’s aunt. This was an old school recipe, not at all approved by the USDA, so hopefully we won’t all die of botulism. Her dill pickles were world-renown, and we hope mine live up to that reputation. Seedless blackberry jam. Hooray for gleaning from friend’s patches! Hooray for steam canners. This was practically effortless. IMG_3123We picked berries from a friend’s patch on a cool overcast day. After steaming the berries, the clear juice boiled into a beautiful, smooth jelly. Water-bath canned for 5 minutes and whew! Out of the kitchen. All this canning went down on a week when our air was out. So I fired up the propane stove and did the canning outside. But the inside kitchen was still steamy with jar lids simmering, jam boiling, steam canner steaming, oven-sterilizing the jars, dishwasher going. But the fruit and berries come ripe when they will, not according to my schedule. Next week the new air conditioning unit will be here, Lord willing, right in time for the bulk of the tomatoes!IMG_3120

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