If I have time I’m going to try to make some bayberry wax for candle making and soap making. Takes about 4 pounds of berries to make 1 pound of wax.
If I have time I’m going to try to make some bayberry wax for candle making and soap making. Takes about 4 pounds of berries to make 1 pound of wax.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
A male Carolina Anole on the back porch at Redbay Cottage.
Info on the Carolina Anole from Galveston Texas Master Gardners
“When male anoles are feeling particularly aggressive, they threaten by opening and closing their large, red dewlap at will. This colorful display is typically reserved for defending territory against other male anoles or trying to entice females. Although anoles attempt to stay hidden most of the time, both from their prey and their predators, the males certainly take a lot of chances.
This gesture, by male anoles, is often accompanied by the lizards antics of bobbing up and down sort of like doing push-ups. The lizard is only trying to look tough its harmless and actually can be quite fun to watch, especially when you know how beneficial it is, dining on a variety of insects from your garden.”
Kids that stay at La Casita love to catch these guys.
Our place Redbay Farm is not in Red Bay, Alabama. It’s not in California. It’s not in Ireland. We don’t own horses. Our place is in Swansboro, North Carolina. So why the name Redbay?
Our forest is called Redbay Farm is named after the Redbay tree, Persea borbonia. We have a nice specimen in the back yard of La Casita that is currently flowering…the Redbay is an important honey tree. The tree is also an important food source for deer and turkeys.
According to Wikpedia the Redbay is slowly dying out…” due to an invasion of redbay ambrosia beetle in the Southern United States the tree is slowly dying out. The beetle was discovered in 2002 near Savannah, Georgia and it carries a laurel wilt fungal disease that is responsible for killing Redbays. However, foresters agree the species will likely not go extinct in the southeastern U.S. since it appears to rejuvenate to some degree on its own. Additionally, there appears to be an invitro programs that have been successful in one study area in Georgia”
I picked the name Redbay for my tree farm because I love the smell of the leaves and wood. Mostly I chose the name because the die out is emblematic of the similar fate of small forest and farms. Small forests like mine comprise about half of privately owned forests. These forests are slowly being fragmented, developed and are repeatedly cut over. In fact La Casita is built part of the 78 acre forest that was for sale back in the 1980’s. At that time we were only able to afford to buy 28 acres of the forest. Subsequently we were fortunate to be able to purchase an adjoining 10 acres in 1990 and then another separate 7 acre parcel in the mid 90’s.
La Casita was originally going to be our temporary home while we built ‘the home of our dreams’ on Redbay Farm or on Lone Cypress (our little 7 acre creek front lot currently for sale since we have no intention of ever building on it…contact our realtor Mary Rawls if interested). However, suburban convenience and our purchase of next door Redbay Cottage in late 2012 scuttled those plans. We became somewhat accidental vacation home owners and now I am a vacation home manager.
Since we purchased the forest in 1987 my goal has been to preserve our forest and demonstrate that such forests can be economically sustainable. We cut the forest in 1994. Today our forest is over 20 years old and we have no intention of cutting it again in the near future. Why? That question leads to La Casita.
La Casita has become the mechanism I was looking for to provide regular income that is needed to sustain private forest land. Redbay Farm and La Casita are in a symbiotic relationship. Redbay Farm absorbs about 270 tons of CO₂ per year offsetting all of our and our guests carbon footprints. Even if we sell the 7 acre Lone Cypress parcel we’ll still be able to offer our guests a carbon neutral trip. We are fortunate that La Casita provides the revenue to pay the taxes, insurance and maintenance costs for itself as well as the overhead for all of of the parcels of property that comprise Redbay Farm. As long as La Casita is making a profit the roar of the chipping mill, chainsaws and logging equipment won’t be disturbing our neighbors. Although I understand the economics, It is so sad to see a forest be clear cut so that wood pellets can be sent to the stoves and ovens of Europe.
So, on a very circuitous route we have established La Casita which is the only vacation home I am aware of in Swansboro where you can spend a carbon neutral vacation thanks to a little tree farm that is named after the Redbay tree. When you stay with us you are demonstrating your devotion to the value of privately owned forests and a commitment to maintaining environmental quality. Those perks are on top of just getting to stay in a unique little ‘near sea’ vacation house where you can watch wildlife, feed our goats see the fat hens waddling about the pasture and fall asleep as you listen to the frogs sing you a lullaby…all after a day at the beach or on the water which is only minutes from the house.
We hope to see you soon at La Castita…part of Redbay Farm (a humble little tree farm named after a humble little tree).
By the way. If you are interested in purchasing dried leaves of the Persea Borbonia (Redbay Tree) for culinary purposes please let me know. Its a cinch to dry a batch in my dehydrator. The price is $4.00 an ounce plus shipping and handling. The leaves will be personally selected by me on my tree farm…Redbay Farm.
Earlier this year I lost my last three hens to owls and a raccoon. Only Willy the One Eyed Rooster remains from my original flock. Now I have 12 new hens. Two are pictured in the previous post. The others are 5 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Barred Rocks and a little Black Cochin Banty. They all have a house out in back of La Casita which they share with Willy and our 4 goats. Today I heard the hen making that distinctive, I just layed an egg, sound. Sure enough I found a nice little brown egg in the run this afternoon when I closed up the coop for the night.