Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Tractor Gets Teeth!!

I know this post belongs in something like 'Mother Earth News' or 'Tractor & Machinery', and it's not motorcycle related, but hey, the tractor is green and so is my bike...

Owners of compact utility tractors often suffer from the same affliction as motorcycle owners, well I do anyways, and that's the constant desire to look at farkles. I found one for my tractor in the form of a Heavy Hitch brand, bolt-on tooth bar. What's a tooth bar you ask? A tooth bar is an accessory that attaches to the front of the bucket to make digging easier. The buckets on the front of equipment, whether it's a skid-steer, or a tractor with a front end loader, or a piece of large construction equipment, come 2 ways, either with a plain straight edge, or with teeth.

My tractor, a John Deere 1025R, came with a front end loader attachment and a plain, 53" wide bucket. The straight cutting edge is fine for moving snow, scraping stuff off of concrete slabs, and digging loose material out of piles. But for digging up compacted ground it would be like using a wide, flat snow shovel in dirt instead of a narrow, curved and pointed one.

Everyone likes pictures so here they are...

This is the bucket as it originally came. Note the straight edge...

You can see another farkle I added, the bolt on hooks on top of the bucket... See, more of the same affliction as motorcycle owners!

Here's the bucket with the tooth bar bolted on...

Next, I'll be digging up some more flower beds for Nancy... And looking at more farkles... I've got my eye on a carry all frame and either a box blade or a land plane to keep the driveway in shape... It never ends, just like with motorcycles.

Oh, and just to make this post even more 'Mother Earth News' worthy, we made 7 jars of chokecherry jelly the other day. The garden is doing well. The tomatillos are going crazy and have tons of fruit, the peas are done and I think we've picked all the zucchini and given a lot of it away. I put up a little "free" sign and a table at the end of the driveway and put zucchini and some green beans on it. Everything's been taken shortly after being put out there! A few people even left us thank you notes! That makes us happy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Nancy and I go Old School in the Kitchen.... Or...

Far out man... the colors...


I'm sorry, but there's no motorcycle related content in today's post, but I'm living an out west tour, vicariously at least, through my riding buddy's blog at Riding Retired Plus.


For the last couple of days Nancy and I have been enjoying a break from the heat and humidity, so we've spent a few hours yesterday and today taking walks along the roadsides. We've been searching for, and finding Blackberries and Chokecherries.


Tonight, we're in the middle of making a batch of Blackberry jelly. We've crushed and boiled the berries and are soon to turn the juice into jelly.... mmmmmm...

The first pictures are a couple of rags that Nancy and I decided to try our hand at tie-dying, something I haven't done since 1969. We had a little bit of juice left over, so... we got creative. I'm really trying hard to not let this blog turn into something out of Mother Earth News... LOL

Jelly pictures... Right out of the water bath canner.


MMMMMM!!!! good!




Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Ride and a Tractor Show...

Today I went for a motorcycle ride. I did a 190 mile loop down to Turtle Lake, over to Camron, then up US-53 to Trego, then home. Along the way I stopped at the 31st Annual Moon Lake Threshermen's Association Threshing Bee and Gathering of the Orange, Allis-Chalmers tractor show & swap meet. It was just a few miles south of Turtle Lake, WI.


It was a very warm day in northern Wisconsin, and I debated all morning whether or not I should go. I'm glad I did, even with the temp in the high 80's, I managed to have a good time. I arrived just a few minutes too late to see the tractor parade, and most of the days events were over. I missed the opportunity to see old tractors powering belt driven items such as a rock crusher, a corn shredder, a lath maker, various saws and lumber planing displays. I missed the steam powered thresher too!

But even having missed a lot of the displays, I still enjoyed walking around rows and rows of old Allis-Chalmers tractors. Some still in original, unrestored condition, and some fixed up and looking nice enough to display in my living room!


There was a display of old cars too. Including a really nice 1936 Plymouth convertible with a rumble seat, and a 1949 Rolls Royce.


This friendly farm cat was taking a break in the shade...


I spent time talking to a few a few people, but one in particular was pretty interesting. This guy had his 1937 A-C B at the show. The 1937 B's were powered by a 113 cubic inch Waukesha engine. The Waukesha B's are rare, only 96 of them were produced in 1937. In 1938 A-C switched to their own 116 cubic inch engines. They went on to produce over 127,000 model B tractors between 1937 and 1957. I don't know how many of the Waukesha B's still exist today, but it's not all 96.

One more picture from today... A nicely restored B, of similar vintage, but much nicer condition than mine (maybe mine will look like this someday)...





Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Some More Fresh-from-the-Garden Cooking...

Work continues in the garage and I'm almost done.

For a snack tonight I made some Salsa Verde using a half pound of home grown tomatillos and a home grown jalapeno...



I love food, and I'm especially fond of Mexican! A while back I found a great Mexican cookbook in Nancy's collection...


The cookbook had an interesting recipe for Salsa Verde(green sauce), we tried it and liked it. Over time we've made small changes to the recipe, adjusting it to our tastes.

This batch was made with 8 oz. of husked, washed, cored, and quartered tomatillos. I put them in a small pot with barely a 1/4" of water in the bottom. I brought them to a boil, then covered them and turned the heat down and simmered them until they were an olive green color and tender, about 10 minutes. While the tomatillos were cooking, I roasted 2 smaller Anaheim peppers and a jalapeno in the oven under the broiler. I turned them often and get a nice char all over them, then put them in a small zip-lock bag and let them cool. While the peppers were cooling, I diced up a couple thin slices of yellow onion, about 2 good tablespoons. When the peppers were cool enough to handle, I slipped off the charred skins, and rinsed out the seeds.

I put the cooked tomatillos with the water, the onions, a little chopped cilantro, the Anaheim peppers, a tiny bit of the jalapeno, and a pinch of salt in the blender and liquefied it! I added the rest of the jalapeno after Nancy took what she wanted. She's not a fan of heat and I say, bring it on!

Serve the salsa with some warmed tortilla chips and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Motorcycle Ride, a Discovery in the Woods...

...and my riding buddy, John, starts blogging!

I've been busy the last couple of days with trying to clean and organize my garage. Today I needed a break, so I checked the air in the tires, shot some lube on the chain, geared up and took off on the Wr250x. I was thinking I'd go up to Mason, then cut over west on CR-E to Delta. I'd ride the wonderfully twisty Delta-Drummond road down to Drummond, then head home. At least that was the plan...

As I got close to Mason, the low fuel light came on. I had no choice but to continue to Ashland for gas. I was going right past the tractor dealer, so I thought I'd stop in and ask about the cost of a couple of implements I could use to keep my gravel driveway looking nice, a box blade or a grading scraper.... $$$ YIKES! I'll be shopping Craigslist for used...

After getting gas in Ashland, I took off west on US-2, then north on WI-13 to Washburn. In Washburn, I turned left on CR-C towards Cornucopia. About half way to "Cornie" I turned on to a U.S. Forest Service road, fs-236.


FS-236 is a hidden but beautifully paved gem in the middle of the Chequamegon National Forest. It's 20 miles of solitude with dozens of gravel forest service roads to explore someday! A short distance after turning onto 236, I noticed a large rock off to the side of the road. It looked like there was some kind of plaque attached to it.

The plaque commemorates the local Bayfield County American Legion's planting of the George Washington Bi-centennial Memorial Forest. It's dated June 19, 1932. Marking the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birthday, 2-22-1732.

I had no idea that was there, I just caught it out of the corner of my eye as I passed it. I'm glad I did a U-turn and checked it out.

I also noticed the odometer too.

FS-236 end at US-2 in the tiny town of Ino (pronounced like "I know") A few miles of following CR-E and H, and I was in Delta. I stopped in front of the Delta Diner for a picture.

I rode the Delta-Drummond road down to US-63, then went home. A nice 120 mile loop.


In other news... My long time riding buddy, John, has started a blog on BlogSpot.com. I met John 16 years ago, back in 1999. It was my first ever long distance motorcycle trip, and I was headed to the Sturgis Rally with my then supervisor from work, Lyle. John is Lyle's brother-in-law. I've been out to Sturgis with Lyle and John every year since 1999. I didn't go last year or this year... Sometimes life gets in the way of plans. Anyways, John and I have taken countless road trips together... Arizona, Montana, Utah, more trips to South Dakota than I can remember... FJR rallies in South Dakota and Arkansas... We've been everywhere together. John has been attending the Sturgis Rally every year since 1977! He owns a H-D Electra-Glide Classic, an FJR and a XT-250. He just retired this summer and is still adjusting to not going to work.

Me on the right, John next to me...1999

John at Wyatt's Hideaway Campground... Napping with the campground owners dog in his lap...

John in Hill City, SD 2009?

He called me on Monday morning and asked..."how to add a picture to my blog?" I'd been telling him to start one for a while now. I guess he got tired of me asking when he was going to do it.

Here's a link to his blog called Riding Retired Plus

Stop by and encourage him to keep it up!



Oh, I forgot.. a couple of these..

Became this too!!!! mmmmmm!











Tuesday, July 28, 2015

First Meal from the Garden.

Just a warning to my vegan friends... The following contains pictures of perfectly good pea pods cooked in a most non vegan friendly way!

Today we picked a nice basket of peas and then set about looking for a recipe for them. In the past, my peas ended up in stir fry, but I wanted to try something different. Google to the rescue!

I'm not usually a huge pea pod fan. I mean I like them in my stir fry, I'll eat them fresh straight out of the garden, but that's about it... Or it was until I tried them cooked this way. Here's the Rachael Ray recipe for Sugar Snap Peas with Onions and Bacon  from the Food Network web site. They were so good I had to go back for seconds!

The flavor of the pea, bacon and onion combination kind of reminds me of pea soup. I make mine from dried green and yellow peas with ham and vegetables.

We had the peas with garlic/honey chicken cooked on the grill and a baked potato.


LOL, I just realized that the cooked pea pods match my Kawasaki! (required motorcycle content)

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Garden Report.

OK, so I haven't been taking any long distance motorcycle trips this summer. I did do a 4 day trip to Road America this spring, but I've only taken the bikes out for local day trips since then.

This is our first year with a garden in Wisconsin and I've spent a lot of time in it! I am very happy with the results so far. I posted about tilling and hauling in compost for the garden back in May. The typical date of last frost is usually right around the fist of June and I planted about that time.

The rhubarb, tomatoes, tomatillos, green and jalapeno peppers are from small starter plants from the garden store. The sugar snap peas, zucchini, bush beans, and green onions I planted as seeds.

I'm proud to show the first edible produce from the garden.... sugar snap peas.

The last couple of weeks have been quite warm and the effect on the garden has been great. It seems like most of the weather up until the last few weeks has been cool and the plants just hadn't taken off like they have in the last week or so. We are just now starting to run the air conditioner.. that's how cool it's been.

Here is what the garden looked like 2 weeks ago.......

And today.....

The tomatillos have tons of blossoms and have started to set fruit. The tomato plants have lots of fruit. The zucchini has lots of blossoms, same as the beans. The dill is tall and fragrant, and the rhubarb is doing nicely.

Zucchini flower...

Tomatillos a plenty...

Bush style green beans...

I made my tomato cages from a 50' roll of 5' wide, 6" x 6" square, welded wire concrete reinforcing mesh. I cut off 5' long pieces and cut the bottom wire off to make feet, secured the ends...

Nancy and I have a lot more flowers and plants on the back patio and around the outside of the house.

We continue to be visited by all sorts of wildlife.

More as the plants produce!


Richard asked me about fencing to keep the abundant deer out of the garden.... Well, to answer that, I did a lot of research and watched a lot of videos on youtube, before I finally decided on what to use. I originally thought about making a 7' high fence with electrical conduit and light weight mesh. But I was intrigued by the monofilament fences I saw. Several people have reported good luck keeping deer out of their gardens using not much more that fishing line.

Here's what I did. I started with 4 steel fence posts, one at each corner. Then I ran a row of 2' high poultry fence AKA chicken wire, around the garden, in the same line as the steel corner posts. I used some wood lath to keep the chicken wire fence upright. It stands about 1.5 feet high, as I put about 6" of it on the ground to discourage small critters from going under it.



Once the low fence was in place, I used a roll of clear 20# test monofilament fishing line and circled the garden with 6 strands.


The theory is that the deer brush against the fishing line and because they can't see it, the back away from it, and because they're unsure of what's there, they won't try to jump it... in theory.

So far, it has kept everything out... We'll see.