Friday, August 28, 2009

trucks and knit hats

On the way home from work I took that old truck for a test drive. As it sputtered down the hillsides of Vermont, and the man sitting passenger side explained how he's teach me to replace the fan belt and I needed a temperature controlled garage...I realized this wasn't the right truck for me. The idea of taking old things and reusing them for practical purposes strikes a cord with me, as many of you know. So finding a cheap old antique truck I could teach new tricks on my farm seemed perfect. But driving it was tricky, the space too small, and being inside felt like sitting in a jet-propelled washing machine without seat belts. I need an old truck with a coffee cup holder, cd player, some level of safety, 4WD, and no fear of scratches or dents. So my short affair with the Covair is no more.

My eyes are still looking for a used truck. MIke and Kendra offered me a trailer (and I am amazed at that) but my subaru doesn't have a hitch or much pull. Unlike the Outbacks, the old foresters are station wagons pretending to look like small SUVs. Truth is it's a light engine and a car frame with a truck top. I don't think it would pull 30 bales of hay up the notch and I don't like the idea of putting livestock in a trailer non meant to pull animals. So a beat ol' truck it is. Stay tuned. One of these days you'll see a photo of my new/old monster and we'll all be glad I can finally vacuum the hay out of the back of my commuting vehicle.

Last night was something else: busy but wrapped up in a young autumn. I got home from work and tended to the dogs and farm animals, but knew I had to get the car ready to buy a few bales of hay. It was getting abnormally chilly outside so before I headed down the bumpy trail to Hebron to buy hay—I grabbed a knit hat and jacket for the road. This pleased me very much. I turned on the car stereo. Iron and WIne's newest album, Around the Well, sang to me as I drove west into New York. I sang too. Sometimes you just need that.

Till I got home to the farm, unloaded the bales, and got all the animals out for some pasture, water, and grain—it was nearly dark. The temperature was now down in the low 50's and I heard on VPR that the northeast Kingdom was slated for frost. To keep my small cabin warm a fire had to be lit, windows shut, and big socks laid next to the bed so my feet wouldn't feel the chill of the cold hardwood and cork in the dark of 5Am. Just in case I didn't take the hint, the neighbors homes all around me fussed with trails of wood smoke. I stepped over a few early yellow leaves as I made my way inside. This is how my season starts/

I fell asleep to the crackle of the fireplace with the knowledge I had test-driven an old truck, bought some hay, fed my sheep, and that tomorrow was Friday and the Washington County Ag Fair. I curled under the quilts, hugged Jazz, and fell asleep happy. Things aren't perfect, but when you're running on fumes and hope you tend to look up more than down.

photo of sandgate roads by sarah stell


Blogger Jeremy said...

Yes, fall is coming fast.

I spent the day doing a walkthrough for a water project in Franklin County, and it is getting cool. I had to put on a sweatshirt by the time I pulled the company truck back into the drive in Middlebury last night. I welcome the change, long as it does not frap the garden. I'm still harvesting beans.

As for the truck, get what feels comfortable to you, but growing up on a dairy, nothing we had was new. (Newest tractor 1971, 6 years before me) It is best to start understanding how to fix old equipment now, cause only hobby farmers or 2000 cow operations buy new anymore. I looked around my garage the other day, and I have a snowblower, 7 hp tiller, 18" chainsaw, 14" chainsaw, weed wacker, lawnmower, and a table saw, that I got for free because they were broken. The beauty is there is broken, and BROKEN, and as we now live in a disposable culture, not that many things are truly broken anymore. The great thing about vermont is, I can still walk into the same farm supply shop in Bridport I ran down to for parts as a kid, and get belts for my '72 troy built.

God I love that.

August 28, 2009 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Now I must go snap beans :)

August 28, 2009 at 6:03 AM  
Blogger tooznie said...

I'm really enjoying your blog, thanks for taking the time to write.

August 28, 2009 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi Jenna,
When I lived in VT I drove a 1995 Ford Ranger. It's not showy, but it was a good fit for this 5'2" gal. It's dependable and lives forever, or until your mechanic won't let it pass inspection due to lack of body (rusted out)
I hauled loads of furniture when I moved, yards of mulch, and even 3 trips with 1/4 ton of gravel each time. So it could handle a stacked load of hay, or a few wooly friends. I'm sure if you look around VT, you'll find many recent moldels at a fair price.
I know a great mechanic and used car dealer in northern VT, who probably has one right now.
Best wishes!

August 28, 2009 at 6:34 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

A ranger, silverado, tacoma, f150, anything is a welcome suggestion!

August 28, 2009 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God I wish I lived in Vermont.

August 28, 2009 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

I have the wood waiting but it will probably be another month and a half before I'll get to start a fire without fear of turning my living room into a sauna. One of the few good things about living in Louisiana is the growing season is longer, but fall is severely short here and that is a MAJOR drawback to this autumn lover.

August 28, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Anna M said...

I know how you feel about old trucks. I adore old Willy Jeeps. If I could have one with the very hard to find pickup back I'd probably be in heaven.

No frost this morning in the NEK but very, very cold paws on the Corgyn when they returned from their morning walk.

August 28, 2009 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

How wonderful that your autumn is coming on! I live in Florida and it is still muggy and warm,but I sense we will be getting our cooler weather soon. I wanted to send you a couple of links from another couple of blogs I read. If you could find some land I found that home depot (yes, home depot) sells cabins! Here is the link to that info:
Also: look up cusato cottages......two great ways to have a farm house/cabin for very litte money on your own land. Go Girl!!!

August 28, 2009 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Patsy from Illinois said...

Sounds like you need an old Ford pickup, maybe an F150. Not pretty but plenty of power for what you need. I will say a prayer and one will show up for you. Keep watch for it!

August 28, 2009 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

"I can finally vacuum the hay out of the back of my commuting vehicle."

Hehehe - let me know how that works out for you. We have a truck and two trailers and my Corolla is still full of straw, dog hair, goat poop and piles of loose feed in the trunk.

You have inspired me, in fact, to pay homage to my truck, which I should have done long ago.

August 28, 2009 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Abi said...

Oh well. It makes a huge difference when you drive it and it doesn't feel right. You'll find the right truck for you. I love the old Rancheros.

We're feeling fall here in Bennington too. I am a knitter as well and am working on socks for the family and hats right now.

August 28, 2009 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger pleintexasgirl said...

I have 2 trucks, a 2007 hoss, and an old 1979 F250. The backbumper you saw with your book photographed on. I loaned the 2007 to my strapped with 3 kids son-in-law to drive (his car engine went out) and I kept my old Bessie for myself. It is a love affair that few understand. Sadly we are still in 100 degree heat down here so I am still donning the ballcap to catch my hair instead of knit cap. No ac in the old girl, but her heater works fine come winter. My friends have their own sets of keys to my trucks so they can haul hay, horses, or make a run to the lumber store. Keep looking Jenna. I know of a 1978 F150 4x4 in PA coming up for sale if you are interested.

August 28, 2009 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Spring Lake Farm said...

You are making us Southerners jealous with your photos and talk of cooler days. Here in Georgia we probably have another month before things start even remotely feeling like fall. I do love living a early autumn vicariously through your blog though.

I had a 1984 3/4 ton Dodge truck for 10 years that I called "Ole Yeller". I'm sure you can imagine why.... I have yet to replace her since she finally bit the dust but there is nothing like the feeling of owning that 1st old work truck. I know you'll find something perfect.

I certainly wish I didn't live so far away or I would be chomping at the bit to come this October. Maybe with enough planning next year!

August 28, 2009 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Conny said...

Autumn in the far-off distance here - we'll get another heat spell in mid-October.

I love that my neighbor's house is heated by a wood stove (their heater went out years ago) as it's the only woodsmoke I can get. I'm looking forward to it.

I would LOVE to be vacuuming hay someday from my Hyundai Sante Fe. My soon-to-be 6 yr old sidekick leaves lots of playground sand, Cheerios, and trail mix - I'm always finding something odd there.

August 28, 2009 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

I'd like to put in my vote for an old 4 x 4, 5-speed Toyota Truck. The 1984 model has a solid front axle which makes it ride like a buckboard---and that's what my Ex named ours. I still have it, it still runs, and will pull a small - medium trailer with no difficulty.
No cup-holder though...and no A/C.

August 28, 2009 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger laurie richardson said...


I just finished your book and imagine my surprise, when I realized, upon reading your blog, that you live a stone's throw from my own backyard in Salem. That frost you mentioned - yes, so early and yet the fog comes both in the early evening and settles into our valley in the beautiful twilight before sunrise, so I've been feeling it coming for a week or two.

FYI - I'd be most happy to attend your chicken dulcimer mtg at Merck Forest, if it's still going to happen. While I don't have much going in the truck dept, I could definitely do a barter - say lots of rhubarb-strawberry and peach jam for a hay bale or two. We're about to adopt two saanen kids from some friends who live on West Sandgate. As for the barter, name your game.... You'll enjoy the fair. I must say, I ate a little too much maple sugar cotton candy, but loved the bbq chicken at the Argyle Fireman's Spot. Hope you enjoy it! My kids and I ended up spending 7 hours, just doing the rides. Thank goodness it's only once a year!

Before I sign off, what a wonderful and affirmative book. It reminds me of Farewell my Subaru, but you've probably heard of that one. How about A Nation of Farmers, by Sharon Astyk. That's one to sink your teeth into. Feel free to respond back. Looking forward to chatting with you online.

August 28, 2009 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger hlbrack said...

Jenna, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog - it is truely your own little masterpiece of the life you live at Cold Antler. I always look forward to 'checking in' with you throughout the week and hearing about the latest and greatest. Your continued passion for the homestead way of life has inspired both my husband and myself to someday do the same! And for that, we thank you.

August 28, 2009 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Sparkless said...

Wouldn't a newer truck be better both for gas consumption and the environment. There is something to be said for newer vehicles.

August 28, 2009 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Rois said...

We vote for a Toyota Truck.T is for Tough and Toyota.They last forever.Ours had almost 300 thousand miles when we sold to my brother.
Chance (my man) says good choice on not buying the Corvair,the parts are hard to find.Oh and they spontaneously combust. Add the Hay and Sheep poop and you'd have a nice bomb.
Good luck.

August 28, 2009 at 5:24 PM  
Blogger nancmcp said...

"Finally vacuum the hay". I laughed,too. My first travel nsg assignment allowed me to live on my friends horse farm for 3 months, and off and on for 4 yrs. I pulled up w/ a brand new '96 black gold Saturn SL (4 dr sedan) and w/in a month I was using it to pick up hay and loading it on the back to transport on the farm when the ATV was down.

The first week I was there the group in the paddock where I was sleeping broke out and I woke up to horses looking at me through the window (after they had scrambled across the hood of my car in the dark and left a permanent dent).

The amazing thing is I never minded!

It's 107 today in SoCal and smoky. I envy your touch of fall this week.

F150s are great workhorses.

I read your post in the wee hours of the morning at work when only Jeremy had posted. Love waking up and seeing all the other comments. I learn so much from you and this community!

August 28, 2009 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Conny said...

@ Rois - you cracked me up with 'Add the Hay and Sheep poop and you'd have a nice bomb.'

I must say Jenna, I really enjoy your blog AND your commenters are just so cool. It's just a joy to "visit" and pipe in when I can.

August 28, 2009 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Rene said...

It never hurts to test drive stuff. I can't recall how many cars I test drove before I settled on my current commuter car. I don't know what your budget is like, but there seem to be a lot of trucks on Craigslist for under $1000.

August 28, 2009 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

I saw an 87 F 150 4X4, and looked like it was driven by an old man since 1987, for $2,600 in our grocery store parking lot. You might want to look for something like that. My little brother's a mechanic with over 30 years turning wrenches and he firmly believes,"...the Universe will bring you the right truck/car if you wait..." Looking forwaqrd to the CAF truck with the Nordic rune symbols painted on the tail gate, sheep in the back and the sheep dog riding shotgun. :)


Has anyone picked up the new Urban Farm magazine yet? At first glance it looks like a winner.

August 28, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger Louis said...

OK, I don't want to rain on your parade, and of course I don't know the particulars of your finances, but...if you really want to buy a farm, the more cash you have the better your chances. Yes, it would be great to have a truck, but I would save as much money as possible until you get that farm. The only way to justify it would be if you sold the Subaru and used the proceeds to buy a truck of equal or lesser value. Sorry to put a damper on things, but I want you to get the farm! the truck can wait...

August 28, 2009 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

Isn't the Corvair what they called 'Nader's Nightmare'? Didn't they write a book about it called "Unsafe at any Speed" or am I thinking about sommin' else?

Sounds like you dodged a bullet, Jenna.

August 29, 2009 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

hey laurie!

the people with the two kids are my neighbors! less than a mile from my place. You should stop by and say hi. Email me at

and spark, you're right about a newer truck. I wish I could afford one of those new hybrid pickups, but my budgest is about 98% less.

August 29, 2009 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger ClarissaA said...

I've been reading your blog for a while but this is the first time I've posted. I don't know about Antlerstock but we're planning on our first chickens next spring so I think my daughter and I would be interested in the Strum & Cluck. I was thrilled when I realized you are only a few hours away from us.
You have been such and inspiration and the community you've built up is wonderful - I always read the comments just as regularly as your posts.

August 29, 2009 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

clarissa! that's great. if i can get 5 people i'll do it. I'll post about it soon

August 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger bookjunky said...

Old trucks are tricky. I've driven a few in my times and never liked it much. The last one my husband bought didn't steer straight and was a stick shift with extra gears of some kind. Driving that was a bad trip. Now we have one that at least isn't terrifying to drive the 25 windy mile road into town but still not fun.

My only advice would be to look for one that's not too big. They can be very tiring to drive. Also I think AC is a must since I always seem to need to drive the thing to haul stuff in summer.

August 30, 2009 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

If you are on the near step of getting a mortgage. Suggest you DO NOT get another loan of any type. Vehicle, furniture, anything. Get the mortgage first then a loan for other. If you were close in qualifying and just before the closing a new loan shows on your CR it might push you over the line.


August 31, 2009 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

if i get a truck it'll be paid for in cash and used as hell. nothing new in loans.

August 31, 2009 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Before you run out and buy a trailer hitch, you will need to sit down and think carefully about what you will be towing and take into consideration the type of truck you own. Doing your homework is the first thing you must do.

boom trucks

March 19, 2010 at 11:42 AM  

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