Saturday, March 31, 2012

More scenes from the Busted Knuckle Garage

We had a weird thing happen with my granddad's Ford tractor. The end of the starter just broke off for no good reason and fell down into the belly of the tractor. We were afraid to just leave it in there roaming around, no telling what kind of damage it could do. There was no way to get it out other than break the tractor in two! Just like if you were putting a clutch in it. So away we go, took the loader off, and split it in about 3 hours. We fixed a couple other little things in there while we had it open like an oil leak and changed a bearing that was getting a little old. So hopefully we won't have to do this again.
The little piece next to the starter is what fell down into the tractor.

It seems this winter especially I have had a bunch of little nagging repairs I have had to do along with the bigger projects like this one and the Great Stieger Brake project. I thought about what all I have worked on the past several months, wrote it all down and how much time it would have taken in a Professional shop. I figured the hours at a conservative $65 per hour shop rate (some shops are $100 per hr. now) I also added up all the $ I have saved by shopping around and buying parts that are not from the original equipment manufacturer. Just like the Steiger brakes and an oil cooler on another tractor that was less than half price to OEM. Anyway adding it all up I figure I have saved somewhere in the neighborhood of $8000. Basically that is what I have "paid" myself the past 6 months or so. Besides that I can run older cheaper equipment too. (we won't get into the theory that a dollar saved is worth more than a dollar earned, that will be for another blog another day)

If we couldn't fix some of this old junk ourselves I would have two choices. Buy newer (hopefully) more reliable equipment. $$$ Or hire all these projects done in town. $$$ Right now with the drought and missing our second wheat crop in a row I am glad our equipment costs are very low. Makes me appreciate my old junk a little more when I don't have to make equipment payments. I think I will go vacuum out the cab on the tractor now, maybe clean the windows a little extra good........

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I love doughnuts......and I love my neighbors.

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. and you shall receive doughnuts" Gal. 5:14 (I'm sure Paul meant to put that in there and forgot)

It is easy when you have neighbors like mine! We have been meaning to go over to one of our closer neighbors and show off Fenton. So this afternoon I called and asked if we could pop in for a few minutes.

A.H. (Mennonite) Said: "Oh that would be great, I was just thinking of calling you. The kids are getting all ready to fry up doughnuts, you can stay and have some!"

Me. "Uhhhhh, (slobber) come. I mean...that sounds great, be over in a few."

Anyway we went over and they had a house full of grandkids and our kids immediately disappeared downstairs and started playing while we visited. They were just getting started on a batch of doughnuts from a recipe that was to make 12 dozen! And besides that they were mixing up another batch to make another 12 dozen! doooooouughnuts........... I don't know how many people were going to be over to share, or if they were taking some to a function, but it looked like Krispy Kreme.

We had to get back to the house before any were done unfortunately, but A.H. said "Oh I'll bring some up to the house afterwhile."

Of course Fenton was a little angel and never fussed, and never spit up, smiled and watched everybody the whole time we were there. Ain't life great?

( don't know why my text is highlighted????)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Who wants to go back to the good old days?

We have a small savings account with an online bank. (Ally) I started it because they pay about 3X as much interest as our local bank, and they have some nifty online services. For instance online check deposit. I tried it out this morning and it is pretty slick. You endorse the check then follow their online
walk-through and scan the check. Zap! The check is deposited. No trips to town during business hours, no need for deposit slips, it is done I guess. You keep the original and after 60 days you destroy it. The image will be sent back to the check owner's bank statement. I plan to use it a lot because it is a hassle remembering to take checks to the bank, and we live quite a ways out. I can deposit it in 5 minutes at the house and I am done. It is also easy to transfer that money to any of our other accounts too.

I have also been amazed at the ease of all things online. A year ago I started an IRA with Fidelity and they are all online. They don't really have store-fronts, like Edward Jones and others, but you don't really need it. If you need help you can get a hold of somebody really quick on the phone or online chat. I set up a new IRA in one afternoon sitting on the couch. No muss no fuss. I don't have to pay some broker to handle my paperwork, I can log in anytime and buy or sell shares, etc.

One last example. Our local bank has online bill pay and I can go online and pay bills, they send the checks, and I don't have to waste time writing checks and licking envelopes! Of course I pay a lot of bills like our phone bills through the business' websites and they just draft our account. Even my revolving charge account at the tractor place I can log in and do an ACH and pay that. No checks, stamps, or envelopes. Sorry Dad about not using you as much.......good thing you are retiring!

I am just constantly amazed at how fast things are a changin'. And some of the changes like in banking are for the better if you ask me. Everybody gets all up in arms about bank fees and the like, but look at what you are getting in return. Besides that if your bank is charging too much fees, there are locally owned banks like ours that have very few fees. Their online bill pay is free for now, hope it lasts. Don't like Bank of America? Find another one you do like.