Monday, September 26, 2011

From the Combine to the Elevator

Last August 30th. I posted in my blog A Ride in a Combine of how amazed I was at how complex today’s farming equipment is and the chances the farmers have to take to stay in business.

While we were at Greg and Charlotte’s home, Greg had made the arrangements for us to ride in the Combine. What a great and educating time it was for Wilma and I.

A week or so ago, Nicole, Greg & Charlotte’s daughter, flew in from Texas to stay with them for a summer visit.

Today I noticed that Nicole made a wonderful post on her blog  27 and Counting, further explaining the process. Great job Nicole! I hope you don’t mind me using a picture from your blog Embarrassed smile 

The feed corn being unloaded from the trucks to the grain elevatorscorn-into-hopper-small









You must click on Nicole's Link to read about this wonderful time for the farmers. Her blog is one that you just have to follow. What an amazing writer.

No, Wilma and I have never had the opportunity of meeting Nicole, as of yet, but look forward to a day when we do meet.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Day at the Cider Mills

Wilma had a great idea this morning. After we had our morning coffee, she suggested that we find an Apple Cider Mill to go to. So I proceeded to get on the internet and see if I could find one near by that we haven’t been to in the past.

I came upon THIS WEBSITE listing all Cider Mills and Farms in Michigan.

We decided to try OBSTBAUM ORCHARDS first. It was a fairly small Cider Mill in our opinion but a treat to visit.












The orchard is located in the country side near the small town of Salem, Michigan. Located approximately 50 miles West of where we live. Seemed like a great Sunday afternoon ride, so off we went with our list of Cider Mills that I printed out from the internet.












The grounds were very well kept up, and pleasing to the eye. Kind of got you in the mood for Cider prior to walking into the building.












They even had a small Pumpkin Patch for those visitors who would like to pick the “perfect pumpkin” for their Halloween decorations.












Next to the pumpkin patch, was a number of picnic tables set up for those who wished to eat their fresh donuts and drink their fresh apple cider.














Just inside the entrance were two antique apple cider presses.

We also noticed that each area that was designated to producing a food for the public, was behind glass windows. I thought they did this for health reasons, but who knows? It did make for a very clean atmosphere.

Some of the pastries being made fresh while you watchedDSC_4238










Next was the automatic donut making machine. I’m already feeling the pounds jump on me!












This conveyor takes them to a tumbler where the sugar and cinnamon are added.DSC_4241










The apples arrive in large 20 bushel crates toward the rear of the building. There they are sorted by employees. The best of the apples are sold separately while the rest are processed into Apple Cider.












The modern apple press, also located in a separate room sealed off by windows.DSC_4243










From that area we entered the “store” area where you can purchase their products.











Wilma just had to have a bag of local grown apples. Of course we also bought a half gallon of cider and 6 donuts! Like I said, I can feel the pounds jumping on me.

We headed for the picnic tables, enjoying not only the cider and donuts, but the wonderful sunny day we were having.

We then left that Cider Mill and headed for our next destination.

We chose The Franklin Cider Mill located in Franklin, Michigan.












This Cider Mill is a much, much busier place than the previous one. With such a beautiful day, seemed like everyone in the area decided to visit the Cider Mill!

You parked in a large lot across the street from the Mill. Parking was crowded but manageable. As you walked across the street from the parking lot to the Mill, the first thing you notice is people sitting along the small river powering the Cider Mill presses.












Following the crowd, you cross over the river via a well made bridge.












Can you tell everyone is enjoying not only the river, but the wonderful Apple Cider?













As soon as you cross the bridge we had to stop and just take a look around, taking it all in.












A few vendors were set up outside selling their items. One fellow was playing a mandolin! Great for the atmosphere.





We found the prices a little elevated above the prices from the previous Cider Mill. But I guess as this is a much larger operation they might need to demand a little more for their products.




















Just outside the Mill is this large plaque telling a little of the history of this Mill.













Upon entering the Mill, you will notice this sign on the door made from license plates. What a great idea! Must have taken quite some time to acquire all the different license plates.












To the right of the entrance is the Apple Press. Not wanting anyone to get hurt in the close quarters, the press was in a fenced in area.












Had to take a picture of this history that was hanging on the wall. Hopefully you can make it large enough to read.












Being quite crowded in the Mill and the “store front area” we decided to just take a photo and leave.












We really enjoyed our short stay in the Franklin, Michigan area. Someday we will probably stop by again when we have more time.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vent Fan arm Fixed

First I would like to welcome another follower of my ramblings. Welcome Judy and Emma. She has a great blog to follow, "Travels with Emma".

Today was the day to fix the vent fan in the bathroom area of the Motorhome. It seems that the guide pin on the arm that raises and lowers the  cover had failed. I knew the first time I looked at it where the problem was. A piece of plastic on the pin had become brittle with age and broke.

Taken from the roof looking down. 100_1232










The white circular piece was much larger in diameter originally. But now it’s small enough to fall out of the groove in the guide arm fastened to the cover. This not only stopped us from opening and closing the cover, it actually would raise open while driving.

After removing the mechanical arm from the vent fan frame, I proceeded into the garage to look for a substitute bolt and nut that would work. Knowing this would be a long shot, and probably a lost cause, I pulled out the first of a dozen small drawers that I have filled with an assortment of nuts and bolts.

Amazingly though within a half hour I found one that might work.

Sorry for the blurred picture. This bolt only had threads part way up the shaft.100_1240










It looked to be about a half inch in length, with threads only part of the way on the shaft. Perfect I thought, after checking to make sure the head of the bolt would go through the large opening on the guide of the cover, which it did. So now back to my drawers of assorted nuts to find one that would fit this tiny bolt. Another half hour of looking and presto, I found one! Smile

The “Before” picture showing the worn out guide pin.100_1239










After the installation of the new bolt.100_1242










I realize that it’s not perfect, but I believe it will work for many, many years. That’s much better than ordering a new roof hatch from the Winnebago parts company.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Colors in Our Tree

Grey overcast skies, no sun today, rain off and on all day. What a dismal day!
In 4 days it’s officially Fall. Today I got a glimpse of the fall colors from our Maple tree in the yard.

You have to look pretty hard, but their there.


The leaves just starting to turn.

I like the Fall in Michigan. The 20th. of October we are going to head North for the last camping trip of the year. I really hope that there still will be Fall colors to see. It’s one of the prettiest times of the year.
Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pumpkin Pie? Nope!

After cutting the grass this morning, I was just sitting down on the deck for a breather when a familiar face drove up. It was a fellow co-worker from General Dynamics, Bob K. I invited him up to have a sit on the deck. He said he was just passing through on his way to his daughters home a couple blocks away.

About 2 hours later he decided he better get to his daughters home as he told his wife he would be home by 12:30PM. It was now 12:45PM. Looks like your late Bob! During the conversations he did mention that he was retiring at the end of the month. Congrats Bob! Your going to really enjoy your new life. We bid farewell and he said he would return in a month and we would go visit a couple other co-workers. Sounds like fun and a plan!Thumbs up

Afterward I decided I would go to the store to buy a few items while Wilma did some housework. Looking at the kitchen counter at the Butternut Squash, and the recipe beside them for a Butternut Squash Pie, I decided I would purchase the ingredients and see if I could make this pie. Charlotte made one when we were at their home in Kentucky last month. Was it ever good! It kind of looked like a pumpkin pie, tasted like a pumpkin pie, but it wasn’t a pumpkin pie. Sarcastic smileIt was just plain good!

When I returned home I started getting the ingredients together.


Doesn’t look like much, I should be able to do this I thought. So I started with the large Butternut Squash in the picture. I actually had enough with just that one Squash to make 2 pies, so that’s what I ended up doing.





The pies just before going into the oven for 50 minutes.





Here is the result.



Yep it kind of looks like a Pumpkin Pie. Smells like a Pumpkin Pie, taste’s like Pumpkin Pie. But No. It’s not Pumpkin Pie…it’s Butternut Squash Pie.

Here is the link to the recipe and reviews.

Remember that commercial on TV of the two little brothers. One not knowing if he would like something so he would give it to his kid brother and say, “Try it Mikey, you’ll like it!”  Well, this is one of those times. I think you will like it.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

The Porch then the Carpet

Today we welcome Bob and Vicky of Cedarcreekin  Welcome Bob and Vicky, and I hope you enjoy my ramblings.

Dad and I usually go out to dinner on Thursday evenings. I decided to take my laptop with me so he could watch the video that I took last week of riding in a combine.

After our return from the restaurant, I put the laptop on his kitchen table so he could watch the video. Needless to say, he really enjoyed it! I think it brought back memories of when he was a kid and used to help his older brother and Uncle with work on the farm. Some of the stories were told to me later that evening.

Dad enjoying the video100_1222. (The date is wrong in the photo).

One of the stories was how his Uncle used to drive a team of horses pulling a 2 row combine. He was in awe watching the video of me sitting in an 8 row modern combine. How times have changed, from one generation to another!


We also talked about his front porch. It actually looks like a slab of concrete, 4’x10’x8in high. In years past it settles away from the house. He had many years ago used a floor jack and jacked up the front of the porch to add dirt under it to level it. Now it has settled again and was leaning away from the house. I mentioned that I would come back tomorrow and with his guidance, get the porch back level again.

Friday morning around 9 I arrived with my floor jack and shovel ready to jack up the porch. I had the camera on the front seat of the car to take pictures of my progress. BUT…in my concentration to do the job, I completely forgot the camera! Confused smile Dang it! That would have made for a much better blog post if I only would have taken pictures. 

It was much easier than I first had thought. Dad said the porch is actually hollow so it won’t be too hard to jack it up. A little digging in the front of the porch, just enough to get the jack under the front lip, and I started to jack up the porch. So easy, the porch rose with each pump of the jack. I got it lifted enough to get some 2X6 lumber under each corner for the porch to rest on. Lowered the jack and the porch sat in the perfect position that Dad wanted.

After returning home a couple hours later, I started on cleaning the carpet in our family and living rooms. Starting with the family room, the furniture is moved into the kitchen. When the carpet is dry, I move the furniture back into the family room and move the furniture from the living room into the kitchen. This gives me a much needed break while waiting for the carpet to dry.

Some of the living room furniture in the kitchen100_1223

As I wanted to get both rooms done, I didn’t end up finishing the job until around 7pm! Of course there was at least a couple hours between rooms while waiting for the carpet to dry, and this is when I had my supper.


Today is starting to look like a perfect day to do some yard work. So I’ll be heading outside after I move the furniture out of the kitchen and place it back in the front room.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shipshewana Double Rainbow

We noticed another new follower has joined us.

Everyone, please join with me in welcoming NICOLE by clicking on her blog site 27 & Counting. What a fascinating young lady to follow, and I really like her Mom and Dad!Laughing out loudThumbs up

Today will be our last day in Shipshewana, Indiana.

As I’m going to post more pictures, they will be smaller. Just click on them to enlarge them.

We planned today to relax, take a drive through the country side, and maybe even stop for a lunch/dinner.

Once you hear the “Clip-Clop” of these horses, you will never forget the soothing sound.DSC_3996


There are many people who just don’t understand the difference between the Amish and the Mennonites. They seem to be almost the same but this link explains it best. After clicking on that link, you now know if an Amish family lives in any particular home or farm in our pictures.

No electrical wires, an Amish family lives there. DSC_3998


As Shipshewana is surrounded by farming, they have a huge processing plant for grain in the middle of town.

We walked up one side, and down the other, looking into the different buildings.



The only thing we did find was some fresh made jelly. No preservatives, just “the real thing” in these jelly’s.











We did find some “great deals” in these two large establishments.DSC_3983


We were working up a hunger so we decided to take in a lunch at our favorite restaurant here in Shipshewana.

This is a “Must Go To” place for anyone visiting this area. Great food, reasonable prices!DSC_4001


After having a great lunch/dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, beans, etc., we were too full for the fresh baked pie. So we just had to ask for the pie “to go”.

As the day ended, while watching the local weather reports on the TV, I noticed that Ft. Wayne was getting some rain. They were to the south east of us, but the weather pattern was going in reverse of the norm. Wilma looked outside and said “I need the camera, a double rainbow”.

The sky was beautiful!



A Double Rainbow!



As the sun began to set, the sky turned from the rainbow to this:



Another “Sky by night, Sailors delight”. So we should have another nice day tomorrow for our travel home.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.