A Ford 8N Short Story

A sunny day, a return to Texas after one of several visits to Kansas, alas, post-passing of my wonderful mother, Fern Janell (Herrington) (Burkett) Morgan, and the organized last ending of a final “estate sale.”  Stopping by one seemingly final time at the house on Fairchild Street, Assaria, Kansas, I left the “home” place of over 40 years by going south on Fairchild, turning right onto Fourth Street to reach National Highway 81 (U.S. 81) some ½ mile to the west.

It caught my eye:  a 4-sale sign on an 8N tractor – one of the 1000’s made (1948-1953) by Ford Motor Company.  I jotted down the phone number for information and headed on to Texas.  So, began a, long story short, meaningful connection.

A series of disruptive events seemed to deny the possibility of receiving some kind of positive closure for that old 8N, but again long story short, I made a seemingly “meant to be” deal with the man and a few weeks later, the 8N was mine.

Reflecting back now, it seems so important and fitting that 8N is sitting on my 10 acres here in Texas.  First disruptions, closed deal, then not so fast, it can’t happen.  Then on again, off again and then on again with the tractor on my 2-axle trailer headed to Texas.

The sentimentality then set in:

  • a five-minute walk from my mama and papa’s front door on Fairchild Street, there set the 8N;
  • a neighbor man who restores old tractors, little more than a stone’s throw away from my dad’s large garage where he restored/repaired motorcycles.

A good sum of money, cash, going to a good man; money for his wife, children, grandchildren, or whomever else may need for in his ongoing life, the main point perhaps being 100’s of dollars (thousands??) spent locally in an economy that serves the nearest first – something for which I felt very good about.

And finally, and really for me, most importantly, a sort of last payback in hard currency that represented a close connection to an area where most recently my closet family (mom, dad, brothers & sisters) have lived for over 40 years.  A place I could call home if only for a few days and find enjoyment with the thoughts and feelings of shared love, care and concern from and with a close family who was always there in central Kansas, a beacon of hope in this troubled yet wonderful world.  And thanks again, especially mama and papa, for all you did to make a loving family.

PS – The 1950 Ford 8N may someday join the yard-art in the background of the picture, but for now, it’s still a good worker!

All the best – Ern

Spring on the Farm! 20 March 2017

A few pictures from Shannon’s Farms:

A small raised garden area  started for our personal needs, and a shallow-till area where Spring flower seed have been broadcast.

 

 

 

From 2016 – a collard plant that was left (others were pulled, processed and in our freezer as foodstuff) for “going to seed” – look closely and see the happy honey bee!

2016 – the year we reseeded Texas native wildflowers. We do this every few years to keep them strongly present. Here is our first early “full grown” bluebonnet!

Right on time:  flowers, dozens of a trumpet vine variety, planted here at Shannon’s Farms 16 years ago, growing to maturity soon to be food for the migrating early Spring hummingbirds.  Also look closely and see the big black & yellow bumble bee!

Dozens of wild plums in our strongly wooded 2-3 acres are blooming extra-well this year; hopefully, soon making fruit for the creatures!

Blooming blackberry white blooms soon to be fruit shared with hungry mockingbirds here at Shannon’s Farms.

Blooming bluebonnets spilling over from Shannon’s Farms onto the roadside on Terry Lane.

Pre-Spring 2017 Update

Quick pre-Spring check:

Pre-Spring pictures — a freshly planted Granny Smith apple tree, heavily mulched fig trees with lots of new young growth (hopefully no extreme hard killer freeze in our future) with a few “puppy dog feet” (bluebonnets) in the foreground, and our newly created wildflower bed adding to the continued enrichment of our wildlife management area, an ongoing process here at Shannon’s Farms.

Pecan tree update:  60+ trees are now growing at Shannon’s Farms and less than ten of those are volunteers leaving a good balance of more than 50 pecan trees of varying age and size that we have been successful planting here at Shannon’s Farms.  (The squirrels can hardly wait! 🙂 )

2016 Shannon’s Farms T-Shirt Coming Soon!

We are excited to start offering our 2016 Shannon’s Farms™ t-shirts with our tagline – Give Earth a Chance®.  We will be selling these for just $10 each.  The profit of the sales of this shirt will help us start the long process of raising money to buy additional acreage across the road from us which would then be donated to the City of Heath to be used as a wildlife and natural area for all the citizens of Heath and Rockwall County to enjoy!  Please support us today!

A Winter’s Solstice Message

With the Winter Solstice here and gone for 2015, a message from Shannon’s Farms seems in order!

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A 15 December 2015 picture taken of the late standing Maximillian sunflower, usually one of the very last here at the farm to show its wildflower colors.

Shared also are pictures of the processing of food scraps (very little is wasted here at the farm) for another composting heap.  This processing attempts to keep us “ahead of the curve”, ensuring an adequate supply of organic enrichment materials (natural fertilizers, if you prefer) for our ongoing challenge of making for the better our gardening spots.

And finally, Merry Christmas to everyone!  May the New Year bring you health, happiness, and much love.

Ernie, Becky, Shannon and Benjamin

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A Post for Summer in July

Just a note along with a few pictures to celebrate some of the beauty of wildflowers and nature’s way during that warm month of July!

A few very late blooming blackberries!

A few very late blooming blackberries!

Late blooming Black-Eyed Susans

Late blooming Black-Eyed Susans

Lots of these blooming in July!

Lots of these blooming in July!

Other nameless beautiful blooming wildflowers in July

Other nameless beautiful blooming wildflowers in July

Lantanas joined together with those prolific purple wildflowers!

Lantanas joined together with those prolific purple wildflowers!

Our son picking wild mustang grapes - a banner year!

Our son picking wild mustang grapes – a banner year!

The old man picking a few grapes - his son's shadow taking the picture.

The old man picking a few grapes – his son’s shadow taking the picture.

Texas native sunflowers, the tall ones in the back growing on a compost heap. That's okay! Plenty of energy in that heap.

Texas native sunflowers, the tall ones in the back growing on a compost heap. That’s okay! Plenty of energy in that heap.

 

Blackberries Are Growing Big!

Last year, we had a handful of sweet blackberries – this year, this picture shows just our first harvest of about a gallon, with many red, ripening ones to come here at Shannon’s Farms™!

Hopefully, next year the harvest will be times 10, at least, and in the years to come, all that you see behind me will be blackberries; many growing over the fence (on public property) and free for the picking and taking!

Give Earth a chance and go green from Shannon’s Farms™!

– Ern

Long Time No See!

Well, it’s been a long time since we’ve posted on here (as well as on our Facebook page), but it’s not that we’ve been slacking off on the work around the farm!  So often, it seems that we get so busy in our non-farm lives that we have little time left for reflection and blogging about what goes on around here.

So here are some updates:

We had a wonderful winter with beautiful snow followed by a really wet spring that has filled our lakes to capacity and beyond!  Just a few short months ago, we were in a terrible, serious drought that had our lakes at 60% capacity at best —  many out west were even much worse, and now, we are all full and there is flooding down stream.  Our prayers go out to those families and communities inundated with water.

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Becky has been keeping very busy with work with the Rockwall County Open Space Alliance as they work with the Verdunity/WRT team on development of an Open Space Master Plan which is gathering input from the county’s cities, citizens, and state and federal governmental agencies to derive a plan of action for preserving open space in all of its different forms as our little county (12 miles square) grows by leaps and bounds.  Check out our work on the RCOSA website here.

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Ernie has been keeping very busy with chores around the farm, including planting new Afghan pine trees that came in from the West Texas A&M Forest Service nursery as well as more pecan trees for our pecan orchard in our back acreage.

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We have added to our flock of chickens and enlarged the hen house and coop area.  We now have seven hens with four of them producing eggs now!  We are hopeful that we will be able to have enough to sell at our Rockwall Farmers Market this summer!

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We thank you for visiting our site, and look forward to a wonderful 2015!

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