Sold: an Old Meadows 20″ Stone Grist Mill

mill 1

Old Meadows Mill in pieces


Main shaft showing belt pully and top outside of rotating mill stone


Face of rotating mill stone. Grooves appear are about 3/16″ deep. No visible cracks.


Stationary stone with grooves about 3/8″ deep. Stone and bedding cement are intact with no visible cracks.


Photo shows belt pulley, cast iron frame and shuttle mechanism. All cast iron parts seem to be solid and not cracked.

The Mill is sold: The Mill was purchased by a gentleman from my state, North Carolina, who intends to restore the mill to original condition.

I’ve added more pictures at the request of an interested party.  The pictures show close up photos of the stationary mill stone (grooves about 3/8″ in depth) and rotating stone (groves about 3/16″).  Neither stone appears to have any cracks.  I’ve also provided some additional pictures of the square cast iron frame, shaft and mechanism of the mill.

Original article.

It doesn’t look like much but it is an old Meadows 20″ Stone Grist Mill I hope to sell to someone for parts or restoration.  I am selling this old stone grist mill on Ebay. These mills were apparently sold through Sears and International Harvester or directly by the Meadows Company. From the Company Video, “Meadows Mills has manufactured stone burr mills since 1902. Meadows stone burr mills, also referred to as grist mills, are designed to grind all dry, free-flowing grains and corn into flour, meal, or grits.” These little wood encased belt driven grist mills seem to have been built from the early to mid 20th Century. Tractors or small “hit and miss” engines were used to power the little mills with a belt so that farmers could produce their own stone ground corn meal, grits or cracked corn for livestock.  Mills made today by Meadows Mills are powered by electric motors and made of stainless steel.  Yes the Meadows Mills company still makes mills right here in the USA in North Willkesboro, NC.  As a coincidence I was getting a haircut today and the barber was from North Wilkesboro and was very familiar with  Meadows Mills which is still in buisiness today. He even knew the owners name.  It is a small world.

Meadows Mill sold by Sears

A Meadows Mill sold by Sears

The Meadows mill I have is in pieces but may have value for the right buyer who needs parts or would like to restore one of these historic pieces back into working condition.  As mentioned earlier these little mills freed the family farmer from having to make a trip to a large mill like the picturesque Brock’s Mill in Trenton, NC. However, even these little farm mills went unused as large centralized industrial mills produced meals, flours and feeds that were inexpensive and readily available at the local grocery store.

As I was doing some research to learn about these mills I found some wonderful examples of restored mills.  Most of these mills are collectors items and displayed at fairs or tractor shows.  My favorite find is the Survival Schubert video.

Survival Schubert: old Meadows mill powered by a 15 hp hit and miss engine. This Meadows mill looks to be a match for the mill I am trying to sell.

Meadows Mills put together a nice YouTube video about their stone grist mills.  In the video they even make it a point to say that they restore their mills.

The old Meadows Mill I am selling is an interesting piece of Americana. I hope that a buyer gets it and restores it…that would be cool!


Hammocks Beach State Park

Going to Hammocks Beach State Park and Bear Island is the top thing to do fHammocks Beachor people vacationing in Swansboro (according to Trip Advisor reviews).  Our La Casita guests agree! This article provides a bit of information on how to get to the park and some history on how the park was established.

How to get to the park: Hammocks Beach State Park is about 3 miles from La Casita. The park is on the right near the end of Hammocks Beach Road at 1572 Hammocks Beach Road, Swansboro, NC 28584. At the park you’ll take the ferry over to Bear Island (a Southern Outer Banks barrier island).  Bear Island is undeveloped and can only be reached by boat.  We have had guests stay at La Casita for a week and they have gone to Hammocks Beach State Park every day. Guests routinely tell me that Bear Island is among the best beaches they have ever visited.

Then take the ferry to Bear Island: To get to Bear Island you will have to take the ferry or a private boat. The park ferry is a large passenger only pontoon boat. It is wheel chair accessible. The ferry makes runs to the island starting at 9:30 AM every day in the summer. There is more limited service in the Spring and Fall.  There is no ferry service in the winter.  Throughout the year Bear Island is always accessible by private boat.

Ferry Fees

  • Adult roundtrip — $5
  • Senior Citizen (62 or older) roundtrip — $3
  • Children ages 6-12 roundtrip — $3
  • Annual Ferry Pass — $50
Aerial View of Hammocks Beach State Park

NC Coastal Federation photo

On Bear Island you will find a Beach Pavilion which has showers, bathrooms and a concession stand. There is a life guard at the beach.

For more information on Hammocks Beach State Park schedules and amenities visit the park website.

Hammocks Beach State Park has an interesting history: The park is much more than the beach at Bear Island. For more information about the park history and a recent land acquisition I recommend the reading the articles found at the links listed below:


Mark Simmerson’s History of Bear Island, 2004 which provides a wealth of information about Dr. Sharpe and John Hurst and how those names are entwined in the history of Hammocks Beach State Park and Bear Island

More about Huggins Island…another part of Hammocks Beach State Park and location of the only remaining intact Confederate earthworks fort. – Swansboro History Website

Jones Island (the island you see in the middle of the White Oak River north of the bridges) … yet another part of Hammocks Beach State Park – North Carolina Coastal Federation

$10 million sale adds 290 acres to Onslow County coastal park – Raleigh News and Observer

Deal Could Add Land to Hammocks Beach (pre land deal agreement but provides useful background information on the park) NC Coastal Federation

Visit Hammocks Beach State Park: Hammocks Beach State Park is a great destination that is enjoyed by many people who visit Swansboro.  You, your family and your friends will have a great time!


Complete Farmtrac 60 Documents

Below is a picture of my Farmtrac 60 tractor.  If you have a tractor like mine and need a manual please click below. If you just want a specific section of the repair manual let me know.  Price per section is $1.99. Click on the link to buy the manual you need.  I don’t share emails and you won’t get spam, spyware or viruses when purchasing my manuals online.

Farmtrac 60 Tractor FT1Repair Manual.  $29.99

Farmtrac 60 Operator’s Manual $19.99

Long 5320 Front End Loader Manual $4.99

I bought my Farmtrac 60 in 2003 because of it’s simplicity. It still runs great 14 years later.  The nearly 50 horsepower Farmtrac 60 is produced by Escorts in India which is somewhere behind Mahindra and TAFE in tractor sales in the Indian Subcontinent. The tractor is a clone of the Ford 3920 which was sold in Asia…and not here in North America as far as I can tell. Farmtrac went out of business so if you own a Farmtrac 60…it is an orphan tractor…at least here in the US.

I don’t know of any Farmtrac dealer selling tractors but Farmtrac parts are supposed to be available from Unifarm Machinery Corp. in Wilson, NC 252-291-399. You’ll have to google the phone numbers for Diamond R equipment in MO and InfoTech in New York. Try contacting those folks if you need parts. If you have any other additional sources for parts or repairs please post the information in the discussion forum on this page and I’ll make sure the information is available to all visitors to this website.

India appears to be the place to be if you are a Farmtrac 60 owner. Visit the Indian Farmtrac 60 Facebook page. The parts are out there, Lots of Farmtrac 60s were sold throughout the world…the only question is can you get the parts to where you live?


Latest Review on La Casita

Our most recent review.  We work hard to keep our 5-star rating.  We are always happy when guests enjoy all of the little things we do to make La Casita a special place to stay.

“In short this house, location and host were perfect. I don’t normally use that word for vacation locales the family has stayed at, but it applies, here. The house was clean with spacious rooms and comfortable beds, roomy bathrooms/showers, kitchen with plenty of pots/pans/utensils/plates/etc with Breyers ice cream in the freezer (amongst other “starter” food items to help transition after arrival), recreation room with big screen (with all major content providers) & pool table, 5 starnew & clean washer/dryer, and patio in back from which to watch/listen to birds, the goats, and handful of chickens. Oh, and free WiFi (no begging front desk for a one-day courtesy access!). Easy 10 minute drive to beach, or short drive/walk to multiple stores a few miles away. As for host, Jim was very friendly and informative, and provided us a plethora of ideas for activities in that beautiful part of North Carolina. I have no doubt if we vacation on the Carolina coast again, we’ll be staying at La Casita.”

To check availability for your trip please click here to visit the La Casita calendar.

Redbay Farm Chicken Update

Willy and his hens at dragonfly pond

The Redbay Farm Chickens at Dragonfly Pond

I took this photo earlier today of Willy the One Eyed Rooster and his hens at Dragonfly Pond.  All of the Buff Orpingtons (the blonde chickens) are beginning to lay.  The little Barred Rocks are a couple of months younger.  Nice photo of our chicken flock with the reflection on the pond.

Shoaling of Swansboro’s West Channel


Once the Longleaf forests lost their economic value as a source for Naval Stores they were clear cut.  Very little of the virgin Longleaf forests remains.  The Longleaf ecosystem of trees neatly spaced on a grass savanna stretched from Virginia all the way to Texas. There an old picture in one of Jack Dudley’s books that shows Dr. Sharpes house on the Hammock.  There is one tree in the photo, an old live oak, everything else is fields…the sandy soils in the Swansboro area erode rapidly.   An indicator of the impact of deforestation and subsequent silting in of waterways can be found in  The Annual Reports of the War Department…1897

“A steamboat to draw 8 feet is being built at t e Swansboro Lumber Company’s mill for carrying the product of the mill to Northern markets. There are two routes from Swansboro to the inlet. One, the western or old ship channel, has now 5 feet at high water and is not much used at present. It is claimed that over twenty years ago vessels drawing 10 and 12 feet used it freely. The other, the eastern channel, carries 5.8 feet at high water and is used by the lighters generally and by the steamboats and sharpies going up Bogne Sound. The cause 0f the deterioration of the western channel is a shoal which has made out from the southWest point of Dudleys Island marsh and now extends across the channel. The depth of water in sloughs over it varies from 2 feet at times to 7 feet. There was 5 feet at time of examination. The object of the Swansboro Lumber Company in applying for an examination was the removal of this shoal, which at time of a publication was thought to be the only one having less than 8 feet at high water from the ocean to Swansboro.”

Swansboro Lumber Company around 1900

The photo above shows the view looking from the top of the hill down on the Swansboro Lumber Company near where Spring Street is today…it was a corn field in around 1900.  Navigation was already difficult in Eastern North Carolina but deforestation subsequent cultivation of sandy hills and resulting erosion made ports like Swansboro impassible except for sailing sharpies and other very shallow draft vessels.

The Longleaf Pine and Swansboro

I recently found a very old Longleaf pine beam in an old house I am tearing down on Redbay Farm. The piece is from a beam used as a sill. Based on notches in the beam the beam had been used before in some other structure prior to its use on the building being demolished.

Catfaced Longleaf Pine beam

Example of catfacing on Longleaf Pine beam. This historical piece is on display at La Casita.

This piece of Longleaf pine is likely to be at least 100 years old. The cat facing could have been done much earlier. The Naval Stores industry was gone by World War I and the post civil war lumber boom was over at about the same time. The diagonal marks (grooves) on the wood were made a tool called a round shave.  The work was likely done by an African American. The grooves allowed the pine resin to run into a box cut into the tree, a clay pot or a tin collection can. The black marking is the result of fire burning the residual resin on the catfacing (Longleaf pines are fire resistant). The resin was collected during the winter and spring. This piece of wood is a touchstone of sorts for Swansboro’s past Antebellum plantation culture (Naval Stores were a major product of local plantations) and the subsequent post Civil War lumber boom which clear cut the virgin Longleaf Pine forests of coastal North Carolina.

The Naval Stores industry was an important source of income from the Colonial days until the early 1900’s. The picture below is from the North Carolina Museum of Natural History website on the Antebellum North Carolina Page. The picture shows men catfacing Longleaf Pines and collecting resin for distilling into turpentine. The port of Swansboro was a major collection point for and exporter of Naval Stores (turpentine, pitch and tar). From Swansboro through the West Channel, schooners would tranport the naval stores out to major ports like Wlimington

Catfacing Longleaf Pine for Naval Stores

Title: “Raleigh, North Carolina.” North Carolina’s Turpentine Industry. From The New South, a supplement to Harper’s Weekly. Published on April 9, 1887. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.

for transport throughout the world.

Naval stores were used to maintain wooden sailing ships and were a very important resource for the British Royal Navy and other navies around the world. If you are interested reading one of the best accounts of the North Carolina Naval Stores industry and learning the origin of names like Richlands, Paradise Point, Montford Point etc I recommend reading The Old Plantation: How We Lived in Great House and Cabin Before the War, James Battle Avirret, 1901. I would assume that the Naval Stores industry in and around Swansboro mirrored that industry as described in Avirret’s book.

Each man is furnished with a tool called a roundshave, which is of finely tempered steel, in the shape of a small knife, round and bent like your forefingers curved from the second joint, about an inch and a half in width, with a shank about seven inches in length to fit in a wooden handle. With this sharp instrument he scores horizontally just above the box or pocket and thus keeps the pores open and the sap running freely into the box. If the winter is an open or warm one the insertion of the box will have set the pine to bleeding so freely as to fill the box by the tenth of April. If so, another set of hands come with their dippers and buckets,dip out the boxes and fill their buckets, which they empty into barrels dropped at convenient places here and there by negro boys with their mule carts.(Avirret, pp 67-68)

Please realize that this book, The Old Plantation: How We Lived in Great House and Cabin Before the War, is a description of the Antebellum South focused on the culture and specifically written about The Rich Lands, the plantation which is the namesake of the current town of Richlands, NC. It is a book written from the perspective of a family member of an Antebellum plantation and slave owner…make your own assessments of its value. I am interested in the book accounting of forestry, local history and agriculture.

Here in the Swansboro area we had our own major and minor plantations. Palo Alto (house still standing and occupied on the Belgrade/Swansboro road near Maysville) was the largest and there were other minor plantations like Mount Pleasant nearer to Swansboro. Read more about Palo Alto and the David Ward Sanders and Family on the Swansboro Historical Society page. On that page you’ll find an accounting of turpentine produced at the plantation.

When you stay at La Casita you’ll see a historical piece of Longleaf Pine timber which is catfaced by a roundshave. The work was likely done by an African American man free or slave. As you touch the hard smooth wood of this very heavy piece of Long Leaf timber imagine all of the people who have also touched this piece of wood as it grew as a tree, was catfaced for Naval Stores, was cut down, was transported by oxen or rail, was sawn into lumber, used as part of a structure and then used again.

New Yard Features coming to La Casita

Around the 4th of July I will be adding two new features to the back yard of La Casita.  I’ll be adding a water well and a outdoor solar shower.

Solar Shower to be installed at La Casita

Solar Shower that I’ll be installing at La Casita

I just recently completed a water well project for the gardens at Redbay Cottage.  The well is a double well with a total of about 8 ft of well screen on 1 1/4 inch galvanized pipe.  The wells are about 18 ft deep.  The draw on the well is superb.  You can pump water from that well using one finger.  The well in the back yard or as some say the back garden will be used to provide water for the flowers and trees as well as to provide a supply of fresh water for a small dragon fly pond.  If you want learn about ‘washing’ down a well I recommend visiting the Drill Your Own Well website. I constructed a drill head and drill pipe using the directions found on the website.  The device works great in my clay/sand soil.  The La Casita well will be dug using many of the techniques discussed on the Drill Your Own Well Website.

New Water well

Our new well at Redbay Cottage

For the solar shower I was set on making the solar shower myself but after I priced out materials I decided to order this solar shower off of Ebay.  The solar shower will allow for guests to take a warm shower in a private shower area after they return from the beach.

Children will love pumping water if I can get the same ease of pumping I achieved on my well next door.  In the summer they will be astonished at how cold the water is.  In the winter they will be astonished at how warm the water is.  A simple water well provides a great lesson in the value of geothermal energy.  The temperature of well water averages just over 60 degrees F here in Eastern North Carolina.  The attached video is focused on promoting geothermal heating and cooling…maybe one day we’ll install such a system at La Casita.

Great Guests at La Casita

LaCasitaVistorsWe’ve hosted people from far and wide at La Casita.  We’re lucky to be hosting another great family from the Midwest of the United States. They’re  having a great time at La Casita and enjoying the local area and all of the amenities that come with a stay at our little 5-star destination.  About a fifth of our visitors come from the Midwest of the United States.  The chart shows where all of our visitors come from.  While we thought we would host some folks from around the country we never

Eastern North Carolina

La Casita is located in Swansboro which is in Onslow County, NC.

expected to host European visitors.  I don’t know why we didn’t…anyway, now, for example, I know the difference between a tea pot and a tea kettle.  I learn something new with every guest.  It has just been a real pleasure being a host and introducing our guests to all of the natural beauty and history to be found here in Eastern North Carolina.