Monday, November 30, 2015

What a Gray Nasty Day

It's pretty much done nothing but rain or drizzle since Thanksgiving day here. Wasn't so bad on turkey day when it was kinda warm but it turned cold Friday and has been cold ever since. Cold and windy is bad enough but cold, windy, wet and muddy. Well that's just depressing.....

And messy.

Standing water everywhere. Mud everywhere. Not even the animals are happy about it. The only ones around here stupid enough to not come in out of the rain are the chickens. For some reason they seem unphased by this turn in the weather.

The verdict is pretty much in on the 861 diesel. Complete and total overhaul including a new Camshaft. The metal shavings clogged up the oil pump and ate the teeth off the flywheel. No cylinder or block damage however thankfully.

The metal shavings were all over the oil pan and had eaten into the camshaft so bad I doubt over sized ring bearings are going to work. My bet is we are looking at 3 grand no matter which way we go.

With the price of new parts for these tractors if I don't get a line on used ones it's going to run over 2 grand just for the overhaul kit, shaft and oil pump and I am going to go ahead and replace the clutch while we are in there.

I must admit converting it to a gas engine is looking kinda good right now as I can pick up a totally rebuilt one ready to bolt on for around $1200.00.

I am going to swing by and pick up the front hood and maybe the wheel panels and start looking at repainting them while I have this going on. This whole operation could turn into a several thousands of dollars if I am not careful and show some restraint though.

In other bad news I am missing a Rhode Island  Red hen this evening. She didn't come back to the barn with all the rest and I am afraid I may have had my first predator attack since the stupid dog doesn't count. She might show up by morning but I know those chickens are beginning to get quite brave with their foraging now. If it didn't happen today I bet it's only a matter of time before something out there picks one off.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Reading - The Newest Small-Hold Tractor and Implements

I picked up two "new" (used) old implements this weekend and another tractor. I couldn't resist. Actually it wasn't only me as it was a guys weekend out kinda thing and between my brother and my dad they went sorta crazy bidding on this old 1958 Ford 851 tractor.

Personally I wasn't all that impressed with her. As I said the serial number pegged her as a 1958 851 gas model. I am getting to know these 01 series tractors a bit better since I decided they were the model number I was planning on using for the farm and I have determined that the 58 and 59 years used a simple "801" sticker on the front and in 1960 they started putting the middle number in. Makes it a bit confusing without checking the serial number.

She started right up I will give her that but the exhaust manifold is cracked bad and the pipe under her belly is half gone.

She had a bit of a knock I didn't like but my Dad swore it was just because of the cracked manifold. The hydraulics seemed pretty weak but as I ran her a bit and worked them they seemed to strengthen up so the final conclusion (mostly my Dad's) was that they were just cold.

I am not sure what's going on with the battery. Originally the gas models were 6 volt and she has been converted to a 12 volt but I am not sure they changed her over to negative ground. I didn't think that was possible but we tried to use her to jump another tractor at the site and the ground was wrong. They also had to bungy cord the new 12 volt battery in place rather precariously as it was much larger than the old 6 volt space and they ethnically engineered a ground wire rather than replacing the original battery cable.

The 851 does not have a live PTO nor external hydraulics like my 861 diesel but she does have about the same horse power. Basically this 851 is just a slightly larger Jubilee.

On the plus side though she can handle the weight and flywheel from my baler and steers better than the 8N.

I made my decision and it was that I would go up to $1,250.00 for this tractor and nothing more. I went to the twelve fifty and stopped having been out bid up to thirteen hundred. I was going to let her go and then my Dad jumps in and buys her for fourteen hundred. I was like WTF? He then explained he would make up the difference and I owed him $1,250.00

A little explanation is in order I guess. My Dad Loves old Ford tractors as much as I do but he dislikes Diesel anything and has been trying to talk me into converting the 861 to gas which I won't do. I think his alternative motive here is to have a gas engine that can go on the diesel if it proves too costly to fix or failing in that get me to use a gas 01 series in place of the diesel. Not happening either but let the old guy dream :)

So I now have yet another tractor. My Brother comes to find out was a party to this as he convinced Dad is was better to have the larger tractor as back up in case the diesel ever quit or something in the middle of hay season. I couldn't argue that point.

I then turned around and bought a middle buster plow for some ditch projects I have on the projects list and a two bottom plow that was sadly missing one of the coulter wheels.

The Middle Buster is just a King Kutter model they run about $179.00 brand new and I picked this one up for $45.00.Nothing special but a useful little implement to have as I mentioned for doing some trench and ditch work or even light plowing before using the tiller.

I am pretty sure the two bottom plow is an old Ferguson. As I said it's missing one of the coulter wheels and assembly but the other one moves and adjusts well and so does the back furrow wheel. I ended up paying a hundred bucks for this old rust bucket and considering what plows have been bringing around here lately I feel blessed. There was a Dearborn two bottom that sold right before this one that went for $250.00 if that tells you anything.

The price of old used plows is just ridiculous around here these days. I think it's because so many people buy em for yard ornaments or something.

So I am two steps closer to the having all the implements I want for the Small-Hold. I still need a 5 or 6 foot disc and 3 point spreader yet and I admit I am kicking around the idea of a two row planter as well. That may lead to pull type combine but that's down the road a bit.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Defending the Booneslick Country, Part III The Attackers

The Missouri settlements were mostly attacked by five tribes that lived along the frontier. The Sac and Fox tribes who principally lived in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin. The Ioway who resided mostly in present day Iowa and Northern Missouri, this group also contained a few remnants of the  Missouria Indians and the Otoe tribes. The Winnebego Indians from Wisconsin. The Potawtomi from Illinois and a group of Miami who had been moved into the Booneslick area after the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

The Osage tribes which resided South of the Missouri river were generally considered allies although the official stance of the US government during the war of 1812 was that all Indians were to be kept as neutral whenever possible. In several cases the Osage and other tribes were convinced by one US agent or settler to attack one or another of the warring tribes only to have the action blocked by the Territorial government.

Generally speaking these Eastern Plains tribes were armed pretty much as their Eastern woodland cousins were during the American Revolution. There were of course some later models of smoothbore muskets and rifles available but mostly little had changed in the 30 years since the Revolution period. Horses were utilized more by Indian raiding parties and were prime looting targets but I am not aware of any of these tribes fighting from horseback during this period.

The Ioway were the major attackers along the Booneslick road and settlements, with the other tribes usually striking further to the East towards the St. Louis area.

Estimates of the time period show that all told the entire loose federation of tribes could barely field a total of 3000 warriors of all ages and had a combined population of maybe 6 to 7000 people spread over most of the Midwest and the Eastern part of the Central Plains states. An area that covers about six and a half states by today's division. For those who want to comment about this area being the Indian's home like someone did on the last post, all I can say is it would take one hell of an amount of arrogance to claim a backyard of that size to house 7000 people but believe what you want.

So as you can see the Settlers were not in such dire straights as it first appears. The Indians had the advantage in that they could mass their attacks outnumbering the defenders by 20 to 1 in some cases BUT if they did not catch the defenders in the open and unprepared their chances of success were much reduced. Once the settlers made it into the makeshift forts the odds of  survival increased greatly.

In one skirmish the defenders of the Fort near present day Jefferson City, mostly Women as it turned out, ran out of water to quench the fires the attackers set and were forced to use what was in their chamber pots. When one block house burned and a stash of powder exploded killing 18 of the attackers the Indians were forced to retire.

In another case were the Sac, Fox and Ioway warriors attacked the principal Booneslick settlement and actually overran two of the forts, one warrior dug a hole through the wall of Cooper's fort and managed to shoot Col.Cooper and killing him.

While mass and numbers favored the attackers, time and logistics did not. The attackers were forced to consume what they brought with them or could hunt or loot on the raid which severely lessened their numbers to do so. The defenders once "Forted" up had whatever supplies they had on hand which was usually far more than the attackers had. The settlers on the other hand were constantly hampered by losing able bodied people to sentinel duty though it must be said.

After the cessation of hostilities between the US and England the supply of war materials to these tribes dried up and they sued for peace. Thus ending the frontier skirmishes. The tactics of defense used is a good study in how to defend an open community against armed raids as long as large weapons are not used anyway. It takes very few defenders v. attackers to hold a hardened structure but is also important to note that all the settlers defended themselves. Something today's ultimate doomers like to discount.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Defending the Boones Lick Country Part II

In yesterday's post I mentioned how the settlers of the Boone's Lick region refused to flee despite the constant pressure of raids by several frontier Indian tribes. Now here is an example of how they situated and set up their mutual defenses in and around the main settlement of Arrow Rock.

In 1812 they built five forts. Cooper's Fort, Kencaid's Fort, Fort Hempstead, Fort Head and Fort Cole. These forts ringed around the settlement with Cole's Fort actually being located on the opposite side of the Missouri River from the other four. Each fort would contain the household of the principal occupant and family while some contained multiple families. Usually the house doubled as the block house and formed one or more corners of the fort.

Inside the ring of forts the settlement's farm land would be located and cultivated in common, with each fort defending from one or more vantage points and entrance ways. Sentinels would be placed in the outlying areas armed and hidden with horns. They would keep watch while the families went about their business and tended the fields. When a raid or incursion was detected the alarm would be sounded and the people of the settlement would enter the forts and prepare to defend them.

This is not some cluster of closely huddled houses. This is an example of how a farming community although small by today's standards, could be spread out enough for production farming and still be able to defend itself against forces 20 or more times it's own size. The defenders were no better armed than the attackers but had the advantage of defending a somewhat prepared position. Which made all of the difference.

There is a lesson to be learned from these early settlers. Many lessons to be frank. The one that sticks out most to me however is how much easier it is to defend than attack and how much an individual or family can increase their chances of survival in hostile territory by working with their neighbors. Another important factor in this example is that even if a fort were to fall to raiders the victors would be in no position to enjoy their spoils for long as it would be in easy harassment range of one of the other forts. There would be no time for the raiders to rest, regroup or pick through their loot before suffering a counter attack of some kind.

Just a little food for thought about homestead and community defense.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Defending the Boone's Lick Country 1812 - 1815

During the last decade of the 1700's and the years just before the War of 1812 the furthest Westward settlements of the United States were in an area known then as the Boone's Lick country. Daniel Boone had pushed West along the Missouri River and discovered a salt spring near present day New Franklin, Missouri and established a salt mining operation. By about 1810 some 200-odd families had settled in the area mostly coming up out of Kentucky. One must remember the "settlement" spanned several present day counties in Mid Missouri along what was known then as the Boone's Lick trail which wound it's way North of the Missouri river where the Northern Plains meet the Ozark Highland geological features.

Why is this important enough for me to mention it on a homesteading/sustaining blog you might ask? Well because of the circumstances that those early settlers had to face especially during the War of 1812 situated on the furthest Western frontier as they were. The situation was grim and desperate to say the least. The governor of the territory at the time suggested the settlers of the area abandon their homesteads and retreat to the relative safety of St. Louis. To which the earliest military commander of the area at the time, Col. Cooper replied.

“We have made our homes here and all we have is here and it would ruin us to leave now. We be all good Americans, not a Tory or one of his Pups among us, and we have 2 hundred Man and Boys that will fight to the last and have 100 Women and Girls that will take their places with. Makes a good force So we can defend the settlement. With God’s Help we will do.”

What were these early settlers facing? Well the British were stirring up as many of the Indian tribes as possible to attack the frontier. Also Tecumseh and his brother Tenskawatawa were uniting the various tribes from the Great Lakes down into the Texas area into a confederation to attack all along the frontier area and it was a good bet the Boone's Lick settlements would be top on their target list.
Basically these early settlers were spaced few and far between, likely to be attacked by raiders and no hope of any official military help. In fact several hundred of their own had already been taken into Federal service and formed into a couple of Ranger companies and were being used in the North in present day Wisconsin.
How did these early settlers adapt and defend their homes? Well they built small forts literally everywhere. From single family strongholds to multiple family forts. There are many old maps that show the locations of these small family frontier forts dotting the countryside. If you go there today in most cases nothing remains but some few will still show tooled stones strewn around.

Samuel McMahan from Arrow Rock reminisced about the family forts of the era.
“The forts were simply strong log houses, with a projecting upper story, and with loop holes for musketry.” Some of these family forts had stockades while others did not. The larger forts, such as Coopers Fort and Fort Hempstead probably fit the vision we normally have of forts stockade pickets and a blockhouse at one or more corners of the fort. 

As it turned out the massed Indian raids did in fact come to the area only a bit later than feared which gave the US government and the local settlers a bit of a false feeling of security. Yet when the attacks did come these small forts proved invaluable to defending the area.
I have the honor of being a direct descendant of one of these early families which originally settled on a piece of land not but about five miles from the Small-Hold today. All that remains of the old settlement, which still bears my surname, is a one room school house that was restored as it is now on national park land and a small creek that empties out into Cedar creek which was later to become the Western boundary between the Boone's Lick and St. Charles counties. The settlement was excavated at some point and the foundations of the old family fort and houses within were marked but that's about it.
Still these simple fortifications did their job. Many families around here today can attest to that as the names are still here. The provision rolls of that time period mentioned "Bear Bacon and Coon sausage" as staples after the period of the great raids because all the stock had been killed and the fields burned but a few simple fortifications and the will to defend your own won out.
Something to keep in mind as Thanksgiving day comes to a close.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chicken Adventures - A New Problem Arises

It just figures when I get one problem kinda sorted out another has to pop it's head up. We got two more blue eggs today so we know both Easter Egg hens must be blue egg layers and both must be over whatever it was that shut them down.

Cause ya know apparently some types of female critters can in fact shut down their reproductive system when under stress or something. Too bad so many voters thought that claim was outlandish during the last election :)


The new problem is we got a hen who is laying her egg from the roost at night or laying it on the floor of the coop/stall and some other chickens are destroying the egg. One of the two. All we know for certain is that for the last three mornings when we go to let them out there is a broken egg on the floor of the coop.

Otherwise the girls seem to be conforming to the system now as we got nine eggs today.  We still have plenty of room for some more hens so we are actually thinking about expanding out a bit too.

My trip into Kansas today was uneventful. I wasn't far enough out from KC to make any real observations I am interested in and the Highway patrol was out so thick there was little speeding. I did see a speed trap near Columbia by the Boone county Sheriff department where they had some guy on an over pass with a hand held radar gun hiding behind the cement railing. There were about half a dozen cars behind the overpass going and catching the speeders he tagged. They had about three cars stopped when I went by.

Other than that I managed to make it in and back before the real traffic started.

Suppose to be a wet Thanksgiving here and turn colder after today. They are forecasting three or more inches of rain now. I may get a chance to get those post holes dug before real Winter sets in the way things are going now.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!!

Tractor Time - Double Trouble

I am off to Kansas today. Ought to be fun with all the early holiday traffic I imagine. Yesterday's daily post never updated to any other blogs roster at all that I could find. One of the most annoying aspects of using Blogger in my opinion is the inconsistent updating it seems to do. Some days a new post is listed in a minute, some days it never updates. Just no rhyme or reason to it that I can discover.

Oh well it doesn't seem to bother the tractor operators around here. Maybe they will get some work done while I am gone for a change?

As usual click for a larger image.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Chicken Adventures - More Blue Egg Mystery

For the second day in a row now I have found a blue egg. After I mentioned still not finding one in a post yesterday I went out and found one that afternoon and then found another one this morning. Not sure which of the two Easter Egger hens is laying em or maybe it's both. Maybe they were molting and I couldn't tell or maybe they had a secret laying spot I never found and now moved to a place I can. I don't know. What I do know is I got two over a month ago and then nothing until yesterday.

The other thing I can tell you is that a few of these chickens are getting down right bold now. A small group of them made up of two of the Rhode Island Reds, one Barred Rock and occasionally one of the Black Sexlinks will go on huge walk abouts around the pasture and hay field with Rocky leading the way. They don't flinch at the Redtail flying over head anymore and don't even bother staying in tall weeds like they used to. They just walk around exploring everything from the big round bales of hay to the loafing shed and up to the horse trailer. At their furthest point they are at least 200 yards away from the barn in the wide open middle of the hay field.

Yesterday I noticed our Winter visitor was once again back in the skies only this time he or she brought along a friend.

I first noticed the pair of them down the road a bit munching on some road kill but soon they had taken wing and flew right over the barn lot and sent chickens running for the barn as fast as their little legs and wings could carry them.

Rocky was very edgy for the rest of the day too I might add.

I hope this pair of eagles weren't taking notes for future fast food runs or anything. I have yet to have a problem with the Winter Eagle visitors but two neighbors lost a lamb and baby goat to them last Spring or so they said. If they snatch a hen I may just live with it but if they come after a lamb well there are going to be issues. National Bird or not be damned.

As I was checking out the barn lot this evening Boris decided he was feeling his oats and wanted some attention. I scratched his neck a bit and then went about my business but he decided he wasn't done with me yet and headbutted me from behind once again.

Well Boris quickly remembered this position from earlier this year. I know he isn't trying to be mean and with his temperament I doubt he would ever get mean but he can't be going around head butting me whenever he wants his ears scratched either. Boris got up and looked at me all hurt-like but didn't try and head butt me again.

Always a circus around here with all these animals.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

edit - I posted this at 5:30 central time and as of 9:15 central time it STILL hasn't shown up on other blogs. I find these frequent not updating times on blogger to be really annoying.