Last week I said I was going to start doing weekend recaps every Monday. I don't have anything else to blog about today, so I guess I'll tell you about my weekend. But in order for it to make any sense, I need to step back a bit and let you in on a few details of my personal life, and more specifically my husband's personal life.
My husband collects rusty metal. Don't ask me why, but he loves antique machinery and our house and yard is totally overrun with 100 year old engines and gadgets. He doesn't like small machines nearly as much as the really big ones, and tractors have always been his personal favorite piece of machinery, the older and rustier the better.
I never actually got it in writing or anything, but when we got married I made him agree that we couldn't buy any tractors until we had land to tract. This seems like a very reasonable request to me, and it's not like I said no when he wanted to buy that antique cement mixer, so he shouldn't have any reason to complain. But somehow, after six years of marriage I've been acclimated, or brainwashed, into appreciating the finer qualities of antique machinery. And so now, without any land to tract we own two tractors.
This weekend we went to visit one of our tractors, because it not yet living at our house and I sincerely hope it never actually gets here. The tale of how we came to own said tractor is far more interesting then the events of the past weekend, so I'll share it with you today.
Like all niche hobbies, there is a small and well connected network of people who collect antique machinery. My husband and I are friends with most of the northwest residents who appreciate the finer qualities of rusty metal. One of our rusty metal enthusiast friends is Phil. Phil is a total redneck, but once you get to know him he is impossible not to love. He lives on about 50 acres of timber property in the middle of nowhere. For decades Phil has been claiming that he was going to cut down some of the trees on his property and build himself a log cabin, and for decades he has continued to live in a mobile home.
Last year, Phil got more serious about the whole building a log cabin thing and I agreed to help him out. Since I'm an engineer, I agreed to do all the design calculations for his house and stamp his construction drawings. And because Phil is a friend and has a very limited income, I agreed to accept payment in the form of rusty metal selected by my dear husband.
I hoped we'd end up with something small and manageable. But Phil had a Nickles and Shepard steam tractor, and well my husband really really wanted that fine piece of antique farm equipment. I mean this isn't a Case or a Russle, this is a Nickles and Shepard. In the world of steam powered farm equipment, it's a real treasure. And even if you cut down all the trees yourself and get a friend to be your engineer, building a log cabin is still a pretty expensive endeavor and Phil needed the money.
So without owning any land to tract, I said yes. I didn't just say yes, I designed the guys house. And in exchange, my dear husband got to buy Phil's Nickles and Shepard steam powered tractor at a discount. Oy vey? How did I get to this place? What ever the reason, this weekend we went to visit Phil so I could check out his log cabin construction and my husband could tinker with his tractor. There is a living history museum that's a bit of a haven for rusty metal collectors half way between Phil's house and ours. They've agreed to let us display the Nickles there for the summer, and then this fall we'll have to figure out where our steam powered farm equipment is going to live next. It's I kind of cute tractor, but I still hope it doesn't end up in my front yard.