Our hillside cellar was dug in the late 1880’s and is still in good shape today. An entry-way with double doors creates some dead air space between the cellar and the outside environment, making excellent insulation. It’s a big cellar, and several of our neighbors have used it for storing apples, potatoes, onions, etc. But one year some adventuresome wild bees decided to make their nest between the double doors, creating a major obstacle for anyone trying to go in or out.
After Khoke and I married, the life we wove with farming and gardening kept us as busy as one could imagine. The summer and fall harvest would leave our small house feeling quite small indeed. As winter wore on, our potatoes and apples would shrivel in the dry air and some of my canned goods would pop their seals from being stored at temperatures much too warm. So began the conversation about building a root cellar.
The illustrations on these pages come from an old J.I. Case catalog loaned to us by Judson Schrick of Decorah, Iowa. We reprint them here for you because, as in the past, there have been those of us who have been able to make good use of this information when we go to repair or restore one of these plows or whatever. For many of us, there is no other place to go for this kind of information but right here in the good old SFJ. Some of you already have this stuff in your shop library. Some of you don’t like this stuff and will never need it. Hope both of you will tolerate the rest of us as we go on preserving some great relic technologies. Remember, tractors may come and tractors may go but good horses are born, every day
A shrewder Dutchman than Coonrod Sprengel was not to be found throughout the length and breadth of Cherry Valley. In business he was as alert as a chipmunk, being seldom surprised far from his hole. He had been a successful farmer, and since his retirement to New Berlin and his election to the honorable office of justice of the peace he had continued to make money in loans, insurance and real estate.
While we visited the allotment, we all pitched in with a hoe or a trowel to remove some of the weeds, but we also took a little tour around the two-acre allotment site, sandwiched between a railway line and a sports field. I have always liked allotments; some people might see them as messy and untidy, with old pallets, wonky and fading sheds, plastic cups and food containers, wooden boxes, old CDs and other junk pressed into service to hold up netting, to shelter plants, collect water or scare the birds. But I like the variety and the fruitfulness, the ingenuity and attention, the money saving and the commitment, and I love the atmosphere of quiet and companionship as every allotment holder shapes their plot in the way they think fit.