Archive for June, 2009


Howdy friends and neighbors.  Wheat harvest ‘09 is in the bin!  We finished about mid week last week as did a lot of other folks in this part of the world.  Yields were off this year but at least there was some yield.


This year we at the Tucker farm continued on with a tradition that started back when my Granddad and Great Granddad Tucker were involved in a harvest crew that used a stationary thrashing machine.  It was the kind of machine that was powered by steam tractors, and then later gas or diesel tractors, that were connected by the long, flat belt.  The wheat was bundled in the field and then pitched into a wagon that hauled it from the field to the thrashing machine.  There the bundled wheat was pitched into the throat of the trashing machine where the grain was separated from the straw and chaff.  The grain was either sacked in 100 pound burlap sacks, lifted onto another wagon and hauled out or ran onto a wagon with short sides and hauled out.  They would either take the grain to town to sell it or back to the barn to store it for seed or to sell at a later time.  Either way it had to be scooped or lifted off the wagons into the barn.  From the stories I heard it was hot, dirty and long work.  A far cry from pressurized, air-conditioned cabs with finger tip controls, belly dumps, power lifts, and powered augers.  Yet the job was the same as it is today.  You still have to get the wheat from the field to town as quickly as you can. (more…)


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 Howdy friends and neighbors.  Missed ya last week.  Bill Gates and I had little disagreement but it seems he was right and I now realize that I’m a PC…. and it crashed.  Oh well, with the help of a local computer whiz, I’m up and running again, for now.


It’s going to be a short one this week as well.  We are smack dab in the middle of wheat harvest and I have to get my wheat cut before the idiots in the US congress decide that wheat dust is causing climate change and I’m forced to buy a hybrid combine.  I can see it now, a 4-foot header, a 40-foot solar panel and no air conditioner.  Duct tape, 900 amp batteries, and jumper cables will be outlawed as well due to the fact they might have been used by a terrorist who had planned to wipeout a major city.


Well I’m glad I’m not in DC trying to win arguments with idiots.  Instead I’m just trying to convert God given natural resources (soil, water, sun and wheat plants) into consumable products (flour, bread, pasta, etc.) while using natural resources that my neighbors produce (oil, fuel, and grease) using machines that other neighbors built (combines, pick-ups, trucks, augers, and bins) so they can buy my consumable goods.  And all this couldn’t be done without duct tape, high-temp grease, a nine-sixteenth wrench, brake fluid, and a water jug.   The difference between what I do and what Congress does is that at the end of the day, I can wash all the dirt and grime off.


I’m Monte Tucker, and that is what’s under my hat covered with wheat dust and high-temp grease.

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 Howdy friends and neighbors.  I ended my last written mess with a comment about explaining windmill leathers, and I did so jokingly.  But, I have received more response from folks all around that want me to continue my explanation of how windmills work.  One thing that keeps me here at the keyboard is the response I get from all of you out there that take the time to read this mess. Thanks.


I love to hear all your stories and how something that I wrote made you remember those past memories.  I have heard and read some funny windmill stories this past week and I’m going to try to include a few of them this week.  Well, I could write about another subject that goes in circles, squeaks constantly, has their heads stuck up in air, are extremely high maintenance, and really need a good whack or two from a shovel, but congress has just bored me to tears lately….


Windmill leathers: yep, there actually are little round disc like seals that are made from leather that make a windmill pump water.  Leathers make a watertight seal in-between the check valve that moves up and down and the working barrel that remains stationary inside the water well.  Another set of leathers seal the bottom check valve to the bottom of the working barrel.  If you have ever been around someone that is headed to “pull a windmill,” chances are that they are in route to a windmill in a remote location to physically and manually pull the sucker-rod along with the top check out of the well to replace these fifty cent leathers.  The ones in route usually are not in a humorous mood and you should avoid them unless you wish to volunteer your back to help pull the rod.  My advice is not to walk away, but run.  As one of my readers told my the other day, he loves looking at windmills, he loves listening to windmills, he just loves windmills, but he absolutely hates to work on them.


One of my favorite stories about a windmill, other than fixing one with a shovel, is the one about an old cowboy that had a windmill down.  (Down means broke, tore-up, leathers out, or just plain not pumping water.)  Anyway he thought he would climb the tower and have a look see as to what the problem could be.  He had seen others do it that had less cowboying skills than he, so what could be so hard about it? As he made his way almost to the top of the twenty-foot or so tall tower he quit looking down and looked up through the fan of the non-functioning mill.  It was a pretty day, a few clouds in the sky and a nice light breeze.  As his eyes began to focus on the fan, it started to turn.  The clouds were moving as well and the novice windmill man was convinced that the tower wasn’t going to support his weight like the buckskin gelding that he rode up on.  With the fan turning just right and with the illusion of the clouds passing overhead, he was truly convinced he and the windmill were toppling over.  The cowboy grit his teeth, rode it halfway to the ground and jumped off.  After he came too and caught his breath, the windmill was still perpendicular to the earth but he wasn’t.  Even the buckskin had a confused look on his face as the cowboy looked around to make sure no one else saw what he had done.


I’ll leave this week with a poem that a good friend wrote several years back and sent to me. 


If you had an old windmill,
Just outside your windowsill,
A breezy summer night,
A racket it would make,
You would toss and turn from the noise,
Keeping you awake.

Now you are older,
And thinking of that windmill,
And the steady rhythm it would keep,
Wishing you had one right outside,
Lulling you to sleep.

Burton Harmon


I’m Monte Tucker, and that is what’s under my, yyaaawwwnnnnnn, hat.

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 Howdy friends and neighbors.  On to the lighter side of things, the other day I was talking about the need to pour oil into some windmill heads and the guys with me gave me a blank stare like they had no clue what I was talking about.  Then it me like a 20 pound pipe dog, there are lots of folks out there that have no experience or knowledge of how windmills work.  (more…)

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