First of all, the sale of Penny-the-cow went off without a hitch. As it turns out, I don't miss her as badly as I thought I would, and it's rather nice to know I don't have to milk twice a day. Stanley-the-pig no doubt misses his four gallons of milk a day, but he's getting all the corn he can eat; he's scheduled to be butchered in ten days. I know Penny went to a good, albeit inexperienced, home. I couldn't help but wonder how that man and his many children got along with milking a cow the first few times, but when Cliff suggested I call or email to check, I answered with a firm "no". Many years ago I purchased a horse from a local guy. At least every other day for a month, he would come out and check on the horse, as though I couldn't be trusted to take proper care of the animal after paying a pretty healthy price for him. I reminded Cliff of this and he immediately agreed that I should leave Penny's new owners alone.
Autumn has arrived, with a chance of frost predicted for tonight. All that's left of my garden is the row of strawberries I transplanted this summer and the two rows of tomato plants, which are still providing me lots of tomatoes. They are ugly tomatoes with split tops, but oh, so tasty. I actually force myself to eat three or four tomatoes a day, knowing that there won't be any more homegrown tomatoes until next July at the earliest. Cliff has tilled all the idle parts of the garden and would have planted grass seed on the part I won't be using next year if it weren't for the fact that we're in a drought, so the grass wouldn't sprout and grow if he planted it.
Each morning when I limp out of bed, I assess my aches and pains. First of all I thank God I can walk, and that I even HAVE legs and feet that can still carry me about my little domain, and I thank Him that I live in a time when pain relievers are available. Then I try to decide if I have enough pain to take something for it, and if so, what I should take. My back has decided to join my knees in reminding me that I'm alive. When I was milking, if my back was really bothering me in the morning I chose to take one or two acetaminophen, knowing that it wouldn't cause me trouble on an empty stomach. If I'm having a bad knee day here at home, I usually choose Ibuprofen, which must be taken with plenty of food or water so as not to upset my stomach, but works remarkably well unless I'm doing more walking than usual. Most days I get by without taking anything, not because I don't hurt somewhere, but because I can deal with some pain. I don't like taking pills. Besides, if I take pain relievers too many days in succession, I begin to get rebound headaches. That lets me know I'd better take a couple days off. Mayo Clinic says taking pain-killers for arthritis doesn't cause rebound headaches, so I guess I'm just crazy thinking they do. I have hydrocodone with me always, but usually only take it if we are visiting a place of interest where I'll be walking a lot (tractor shows, museums) or riding in the car for long periods. One prescription lasts me for months.
Cliff hasn't had a project for awhile, and has been in the house most of every day. It isn't that I mind him being in the house, but he was SO inactive that I worried for his well-being. He is in the same boat as I am regarding pain: He can no longer go for walks for exercise. I guess his knees got jealous of all the attention mine get and decided to join in. So, I started looking for a project, ANY project, to get him moving and interested in going to the shop. I placed an ad saying we were looking for a Minneapolis Moline "R" to restore, a tractor like the first one we owned. How much we would pay would depend on the condition of the tractor. In the process of perusing Craigslist, one of us mentioned a Farmall "M" for sale and for some reason, I emailed the seller Cliff's number. When the guy called, Cliff wasn't in the least interested. A Farmall "M" is at the bottom of his list of desirable tractors: They are plentiful and can be found on Craigslist by the dozen at any time. If you spend money restoring and painting one, you'll have at least four times as much invested as you could ever sell it for.
Cliff politely asked him some questions and was getting ready to bid him goodbye when the man mentioned that his dad, for whom he was selling the "M", also had a Farmall "C" with a sickle mower for sale.
At that, he had Cliff's attention.
To make a long story short, after a little dickering and getting the seller to agree to a two-for-one price, Cliff agreed to purchase both tractors. We'll get them tomorrow. My husband will have not just one winter project, but two, to work on at his leisure.
Both tractors have mostly decent tires (that adds about $1,000 to the worth of the two combined); the M may have power steering and the C turned out to be a newer and slightly more valuable Super C, which comes with a sickle mower; there are fenders for it (many of the old Farmalls lack fenders because they were an extra for which the farmer paid separately). Neither tractor has any noticeable dents, an unusual thing for any item of well-used farm equipment that first saw the light of day in 1949 or 1951.
It's fun tractor-shopping with Cliff. I only regret that we didn't get our Minneapolis Moline "R". Maybe next year.