Mustang Sally

Ford 8 N Tractor Mustang Sally

Well, here is the updated picture I promised of the 8 N Ford tractor, fondly named Mustang Sally. The mustang horses have now accepted her as part of the family so she needs a name as well and how apropos?

I don’t know where I would be, or where this tractor would be, if it weren’t for our mechanic. That guy must have been born with a tool-kit strapped to his hip.

After replacing the electric coil, the battery, the radiator cap, the spark plug wire, the flex hose and soaking the air filter in k-1 kerosene overnight, we got Mustang Sally running as smooth as a baby’s butt, kinda. The right front tire has a leak (replacements cost $100 each the big back tires $400 each), luckily we have an electric air pump that we keep plugged in near the tractor, and the cutting attachment throws rocks, sticks, clumps of manure and chopped up rodents onto the back of the driver. Captain Jim said he would appreciate it if we could put something on to stop it from throwing debris before he ends up with another hole in his head.

He was takin’ her for a spin this past Sunday afternoon and she quit on him going up the hill in the south pasture behind the barn. Of course, Jim didn’t come to me for assistance; he went directly to our mechanic who was patiently waiting for a tow truck to arrive to pick up one of our volunteer’s car. Her fiancé was being a nice guy filling her car up at the gas station; only he used the wrong pump and put diesel in the tank. That poor car was probably wondering what it did wrong to have him try to poison it. They were barely able to drive it to the ranch to work. Luckily our mechanic could fix it. He can fix anything (see 8 N Ford Tractor above). The tow truck loaded the car and took it to his house for repair.

Anyway, we had to jump the tractor from the truck while we took a screwdriver and started fiddling with the carburetor and Old Sally kicked over, running smoothly again,sounding like we just drove her off the showroom floor. The grass is so long the truck couldn’t get traction, so a few of the boys had to put their collective fat arses on my tailgate so we could make it out of the pasture.

Now if it ever stops raining we just might finish bush hogging the 27 acres before the first frost.

They Just Don’t Make ‘Em Like Us Anymore

Ford 8 N Tractor IMG_20130716_112847_684

Ford Mower Attachment IMG_20130716_112914_521

This is a picture of our “new” tractor. It is an 8 N Ford and was manufactured between 1949-1952, not sure exactly, but it is in my age group and it runs. That’s why I like it. Like me, it is so old, they don’t make replacement parts for us anymore but the engine is so simple that I just might be able to F.O.R.D (an old acronym for the car, truck and tractor manufacturer, “fix or repair daily”) by myself after a few lessons from our mechanic,  who actually grew up driving a similar tractor. “Green Acres is the place for me.”A better picture will be coming forthwith.

So far I learned that there is a routine you have to follow to start and shut down this beast which I found out the hard way by burning out the ignition coil on my first test drive. You are supposed to put the tractor in neutral, turn on the gas line, pull out the ignition button and then press the starter. If the engine is cold, then you have to pull out the choke. When you are finished mowing, you have to turn off the gas line and let the gas in the line burn out. The engine will stop when all the gas is out of the line, naturally. Then you are to push in the ignition button, which I failed to do thus burning out the ignition coil. As I mentioned, “they don’t make replacement parts for us anymore”, and we proved it. We went to every auto parts and tractor parts place within 50 miles of Talking Rock and got the same answer in every place, “what’s this”? A week later we called Mason Tractor in Cumming Georgia and they said they might have that part and they asked, “Does the tractor have a 6 volt or 12 volt battery”? What? So, I called our mechanic who knew this information off the top of his head. I relayed it to Mason Tractor and they said they had it. I told them not to sell it to anyone else. He said, “You’re kidding me, right? This is for a 1949 Ford tractor. We’re lucky the rats haven’t eaten it.”

We replaced the old with the new and cranked it up and… nothing. We had to tinker around with the connecting wire before we got it to stay on. The next time it fired up like the old tractor it is.

A couple of us kicked back and enjoyed a beer as we watched Captain Jim bounce around the back pasture on our new tractor. After an hour and Lord only knows how many gallons of gas, Captain Jim yelled to us to come over. We thought he was going to beg for a beer, but no, the mower attachment wouldn’t lift up. There was something wrong with the hydraulics.

We looked around scratching our heads before a volunteer pointed at a bolt on the floor behind the gear shift and finally said, “I think this is where the hydraulic fluid goes.” Sure enough, he was right. After looking into the hole and observing the gears, it was obvious there was no fluid left.

So, we jumped in his old Jeep Wrangler (Captain Jim couldn’t go because the back seat was removed and there was  room for only one passenger) and headed for Advance Auto Parts to get some hydraulic fluid. I had no idea how expensive that stuff is ($70). I was told  it should last us the rest of the year or for the life of the tractor, whichever came first. While we were there, we decided it might be a good idea to put an air filter in the Wrangler so we wouldn’t have to worry about the motor shutting down before we made it back to the barn.

By the time we returned( with a 12 pack of Bud Lime Light or Bud Light Lime) Captain Jim had done a day’s work which included moving the round pen around allowing the horses to come out of the back pasture and eat some of the fresh sweet clover around the front of the barn.

We filled the reservoir with the hydraulic fluid and Captain Jim climbed into the saddle to finish his mowing while we resumed our consumption of beer. After a couple of passes, Captain Jim drove up to us and said the mower wasn’t lifting again. We put in a little more hydraulic fluid to ensure it was full. We were beginning to question  just how long this fluid we bought would last. If this tractor kept eating up hydraulics this quickly, we would have to “mortgage” the farm to finish bush hogging the 27 acres.

Captain Jim cranked up the engine again and the additional hydraulic fluid seemed to do the trick.

Ain’t she cherry? She actually looks worse in person.

Max Fly

Private Eye

Rooster Pot Pie

Last night I pulled my old iPod out of the wall socket and was listening to my tunes when I came across Rooster Pot Pie. Most of you never heard of this song but it’s worth doing the search to find it, if it can be found.

It was written and performed by a friend, Pam Jordan, who was once nominated for a Grammy Award for a song she wrote back when she didn’t have to dye her hair. Anyway, I had just returned from a vacation on St. John’s, VI, and I told Pam about this darn rooster that kept me awake every night for a week straight. We were renting this gorgeous villa, built into the side of a steep hill overlooking the main harbor on the island. The view we had out the back of the house was awe-inspiring. There was a pool with a waterfall all overlooking the harbor. On each side of the villa was jungle-like vegetation, thick and lush with no villa or human soul anywhere to be seen. It was secluded and very private. It was in this vegetation that this rooster was living, or by the middle of the week, hiding. I say hiding because we were unable to find him the whole week we were there. But every morning at 2:00 a.m. he would start crowing and he wouldn’t stop until after 6:00 a.m.

On the morning we left, we packed up our rented Jeep Wrangler and began to pull out of the driveway when we had to come to a stop as that damn rooster came strutting his stuff right in front of us; stopped and looked at us and scratched his foot on the ground and crowed before heading into the brush again. Oh, if could have gotten my hands on him we most definitely would have had Rooster Pot Pie!

Max Fly

Private Eye


Kill Me Deadly

When Charlie Nickels, a hard-boiled but clueless private dick, gets caught up in the Bengal Diamond Case in 1947 Hollywood, his client ends up in a wooden kimono, and he must navigate murder, mayhem, and the dame he’s falling for, until he comes face to face with the elusive killer. Written by  Bill Robens

This new movie is in the process of being made and I helped finance it. Well, I put up $5.00 when they went out asking for funds. Evidently many people donated a lot more than I did but at least I chipped in. I did this because I think Charlie Nichols, Private Dick, is a second cousin to Max Fly, Private I, and I am curious how he solves murders. Hopefully, he invites Max to help him in the sequel that I’m sure will follow.

Max Fly Candi Kane

Max Fly Private I Artwork canstock0790836

I woke up draped over Lorraine’s couch. I was beginning to get cold

Lorraine is Dr. Lorraine Lundgren, who I have been living with off and on for the past few months. She is also a leading Sex Therapist in the Milwaukee area and sometimes I think she is using me as one of her clinical patients, which I don’t mind.

Last night she told me that my own amorality and self-interest are the cause of most of my troubles.

God knows I’ve always had some sort of affinity for gamey babes, but she is beginning to be a little rough even for me.

But that isn’t the reason I woke up with a hangover. Last night the  Braves dropped the third game to the L.A. Dodgers in the National League playoffs blowing their chance of meeting the Chicago White Sox in the 1959 World Series. It would have been their third appearance in a row. My head was throbbing a bit from the pint of brandy I drank while cursing them as they went up in flames out on the west coast

I started the coffee and went to check if the paper had been delivered when the phone started to ring.  I looked at it for a few seconds and grabbed the sides of my head, as the phone continued to ring.

Aw hell, I might as well get it.


“Who is this?”

“Who in the hell do you think it is? You called me, remember?”

“No I didn’t, I called the good doctor.”

It was Homicide Detective Harry Marshall, my friend since the third grade when he hauled off and hit me in the stomach while standing in the lunch line at Auer Avenue Elementary School. I sized him up at the time and decided it would be best if I befriended the big goof as he was at least twice my size. Now he’s three times my size and growing.

“Sure you did. What do you want?”

“Are you busy?” he asked.

“No, I’m not busy. I was just sitting here wondering what you do with little leftover pieces of soap.”

“Do you want me to tell you?” Harry asked.

“No, I have an idea what you’d tell me.”

“If you want a change of scenery, come down to the morgue I got someone you might want to meet.”

“If I want a change of scenery, I’ll go stand in my closet.”

“Your choice, wise guy.” He hung up.


Lorraine lives about thirty miles west of Milwaukee in the city of Brookfield, so it took me about an hour get to the morgue. I saw Detective Marshall and his new partner, Paulie Menjou, hanging around the coffee machine.

Harry saw me walking in and threw his cup in the metal waste basket and motioned over his shoulder with his thumb telling Paulie to get lost. Paulie threw his half finished cup in the basket and left.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Come on, I’ll show you.” Harry replied walking into the not so sterile looking “examining” room.

There was a stiff laid out and covered with a white sheet and he already had been tagged.

“Who is it?”

“Happy Beltzer, ever hear of him?”

“Yeah, sure, he’s in the clothing business. A real rag man.”

“He’s not anymore. It looks like they used the rope trick on him. They twisted the rope around his neck and then two men pulled it tight from the sides.”

“I don’t suppose you know who did it.”

“Not yet.”

“Where’d you find him?”

“At the Pfister; the sixth floor, room 6233. The son of a bitch pissed on the carpet.”

“You know it’s rumored that the Pfister is haunted maybe he walked in on a couple of ghosts in flagrante delicto.”

“Could be, or maybe he could have walked in on you and that hot doctor you’ve been plugging,”,

“I couldn’t afford to stay in the lobby let alone a room there.”

He handed me a business card. “Yeah, well, we found this in his pants pocket, Do you know where he might have got it?”

I looked up at Harry. It was my business card.