My Uncle Elmer Johnson and his brothers remind me a bit of my dad, Al Spencer and his brother, Bill. They all had a mischievous past. I don’t think any of them were true troublemakers, but rather I think it was the era they grew up in. Kids did different things in their mischievous antics. My dad and his brother liked to set of dynamite, but then they were farm kids who, at times had a need for dynamite, like clearing a field of a big rock or tree stump. Of course, they didn’t really need to sink the gate post by two feet in an experiment with dynamite. Nevertheless, they did that. Uncle Elmer and his brothers were not above the idea of scaring their dad with the tractor, while he was using the outhouse. They tried to make him think they were going to run over the outhouse. Their dad came running out with his pants down around his ankles, and he was not happy with his boys. Nevertheless, they lived, so I guess he forgave them for their joke. Uncle Elmer’s brother, Les was his main “partner in crime” for their crazy activities.
For most of his work career, Uncle Elmer was a truck driver. He drove for a number of places, including furniture delivery, working for Burke Moving and Storage and for United Van Lines, working for Tom Aurelius. The job took him many places, and sometimes he could take his eldest son, Elmer with him. Maybe that is why they both really loved driving trucks. I’m sure they had a great time seeing all the sights and talking about everything under the sun. Those summertime trips made Uncle Elmer and Cousin Elmer good friends.
It seems like some men have skills that others don’t. I don’t know if it was that era, or what, but both my dad and Uncle Elmer, and most likely their brothers too, could cook. Yes, they could grill too, but these guys could really cook. They could cook good old fashioned comfort food, and some fancy stuff too, but mostly they were good old American down-home cooks, and that is the best kind. There aren’t many things I remember about my Uncle Elmer, not like his kids do, but the uncle that I remember was always sweet and funny. He was fun to be around, and I know that my parents enjoyed spending time with Uncle Elmer and Aunt Dee too (my mom’s sister). When they were around, it always seemed that the fun accompanied them. I was 25 when Uncle Elmer went to Heaven, but I remember the feeling of loss, both for me and for his family. It was such a sad time, and that will never change. Today would have been Uncle Elmer’s 90th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Elmer. We love and miss you very much.
My grandnephew, Bowen Parmely is a very energetic little boy. He has two older sisters, Reagan and Hattie; and a younger sister, Maeve. I can’t say that Bowen always gets along with his sisters, but he would protect them with his life. That doesn’t mean he won’t pick on them, however. He thinks he is the only one who is allowed…typical of brothers. Bowen is an energetic boy with a smile that lights up his face. He always seems to have a secret joke that he keeps inside himself. Something that he finds very funny. That way, he always has something to laugh about.
Bowen pretty much loves anything his daddy, my nephew, Eric Parmely is doing, but Bowen especially loves tractors, and of course, his favorite tractor is Gloria, the family tractor. Living on a farm makes that a good thing. I’m sure that as he gets older, Bowen will be his dad’s right-hand man on the farm. Bowen already loves to help his dad with whatever he is doing, and he truly loves the animals. He is learning to ride horses from his mom, Ashley Parmely, and he is quite good at it. He would gladly spend all day on the back of a horse. In fact, he would even eat his meals or snacks there if his mom would let him. Sometimes he gets to have a popsicle on his horse, but I doubt if his mom would agree to dinner.
Bowen is a very helpful boy. He loves to help his mom with the cooking. Not every boy likes to cook, although lots of men cook. Boys usually don’t have the patience for cooking. There is usually too much prep work, and boys get bored, but Bowen enjoys it. I think Bowen just enjoys spending time with his parents. He likes doing the same things they do and learning from them. That is something they should really enjoy while they can, because those kid years go by so fast. Before you know it, they are all grown up and out on their own. Of course, that is still a little way off, but time really flies, so you should never waste it. Today is Bowen’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Since buying their family farm, my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley have had a number of daily duties that are different from people who dwell in the cities and towns. Of course, there are the normal duties that go with a farm…everything from feeding animals, helping with births, gathering eggs, taking care of the land, and repairing fences. This year has been a little unusual in that like many areas across the United States, Wyoming has received an extra-large amount of snow, meaning that the rural roads, which are not always plowed by the county or state, are left buried in 3 to 6 feet of snow. That means that nothing is moving, and those people who happen to have tractors, will likely have to go out and help with the “digging out” process. That was the position Eric and Ashley found themselves in. One storm found them waiting for 3 days to get out, and then it only happened because Eric got out and became a snowplow. Of course, the whole thing didn’t totally hurt Eric’s feelings, because he loves his tractor, and this was a new way to use it. Men and their toys…right? The main thing is that they were finally able to get out and get back to the business of life.
Eric is a mechanic by trade and loves his work. That means that tinkering with anything mechanical is not really work. Getting on the farm equipment is that way exactly. When they bought the tractor, there were many evenings spent in the barn with his father-in-law, Albert Eighmy, son Bowen Parmely, and often Ashley and their daughters, Reagan, Hattie, and Maeve all watching as the work was done to this fantastic piece of equipment, so that it would be ready to be a regular piece of the menagerie of farm equipment necessary to run a farm. Bowen especially loves the tractor, because, being a boy, it seems to run in his blood. He is his daddy’s boy. The girls like to ride on it too, but they aren’t as interested in the mechanical side of things as Bowen is.
Eric has become a wonderful family man…a great husband and daddy. He and Ashley are doing the things necessary to raise responsible, decent, and well-rounded kids. Their kids are homeschooled, which is becoming more and more necessary these days, given the radical activities in the school system now. And the kids are happier too. Ashley teaches school, and Eric brings home the bacon…back to old fashioned values. Not every family is run this way, but it works very well for them. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandnephew, Bowen Parmely is the only boy among the four children of his parents, Ashley and Eric Parmely. Bowen was the third child, and when he was born, Ashley and Eric found out, in no uncertain terms, just how different little boys are from little girls. Bowen is full of energy and, well…zing!! He lights up a room with his smile and laughter, and he is a delight to his parents, but he isn’t above picking on his sisters, Reagan, Hattie, and little Maeve. Just give him a reason…or don’t!! He really doesn’t need a reason, he is a boy, after all.
Bowen likes everything his daddy and his grandpa like. Working on tractors, however, that is top notch for Bowen. Eric has a big tractor, and Bowen would like nothing more than to be on that tractor all day long. His Aunt Brenda Schulenberg even found him a quilt that has tractors all over it last year. Talk about a happy boy. He loved it. Bowen is a farm boy, with all the trimmings. His family raises horses, cows, goats, chickens, turkeys, pigs, cats, and dogs… and speaking of dogs, Bowen’s parents have let each of the kids get their own dog…when they turn 7 years old. That means that Bowen’s older sisters, Reagan and Hattie each have their own dog, that is also their responsibility, and Bowen can’t wait until he is old enough to have his own dog too. Unfortunately for Bowen, that day won’t come for two more years. Until then, he will have to settle for the family dogs.
Bowen really loves all the animals, but he loves the babies the best. On a farm, with a lot of animals, there are always babies coming, and that is ok with Bowen. It is something he shares with his mom. Ashley would have tons of babies too…human and animal. The mothering instinct is very strong in Ashley, and she loves to teach their kids about the animals, life, and how to grow both. The Parmely house is always filled with love, laughter, kids, and animals. When we go out there for family dinners, once a month, it is sure to be fun filled. The kids have a playroom/classroom off of the kitchen (Ashley homeschools the kids, but they did preschool in town which is where Bowen currently goes), so we can observe all the fun, as well as the occasional “turkey at the window” visits. All the kids are very entertaining, but watching Bowen, so full of energy, bouncing around the room on his bouncy horse is always super fun. Today is Bowen’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When you live on a farm, with multiple animals, the work never ends. My nephew, Eric Parmely married a girl named Ashley, who was raised on a farm, and they are on a life journey that is probably pretty unusual in this day and age. They bought a farm west of Casper, Wyoming, and they both work very hard raising horses, cows, goats, pigs, turkeys, and chickens, not to mention dogs and cats. The baby count grows every year, and of course, the animals supply the family with meat, eggs, milk, and of course, love…especially from the dogs and cats, but from the other animals too.
Eric’s workday doesn’t really end until his head the pillow. Eric is always working on something. Eric and Ashley host a family dinner for our families once a month, and after dinner, the work must usually go on. Sunday when we were out there, he and several of the men were out working on his tractor. You can’t run a farm without a tractor, and there is always something that needs done on it…either repairs or maintenance. Then he and Ashley have jobs like milking the cow and the goats, feeding all the animals, and stacking hay (when they buy bales).
Eric is a great daddy. He gives the best “daddy horse” rides and tickles…which we all know is very important…especially the tickles to his kids, Reagan, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve!! He is always helping Ashley with the household chores and is an expert at washing dishes and folding laundry. You might say he has dozens and dozens of babies, because he also loves to snuggle the kittens and puppies, and he helps pull calves. Eric really has a heart of gold and is filled with love for his kids, wife, and animals.
In the little bit of down time he has, Eric likes to watch videos on YouTube on his phone and giggles to himself. He rather reminds me of his Uncle Bob in that way. It doesn’t matter if it’s on television or his phone, Bob gets a kick out of comedy, just like Eric. It’s fun to listen to their laughter from the other room, and ultimately, you can’t help but laugh along, even if you don’t know what is so funny. Just hearing their laughter is contagious, and you find yourself laughing along…or at the very least smiling. Ashley tells me that Eric is still a mama’s boy, and that is likely true. I think Eric would help his mom, Jennifer Parmely and her partner, Brian Cratty with anything they needed, and I think he would help his in-laws, Kari and Albert Eighmy with anything they needed too. That’s just the kind of guy Eric is. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand-nephew, Bowen Parmely loves tractors. That isn’t an unusual thing. Many little boys love toy farm equipment, cars, trains, and other forms of toy transportation items, but Bowen is different, because he loves real tractors. Bowen has lived on a farm all his life, and he loves every aspect of farm life, especially Gloria…his parents’ tractor. Bowen likes to ride in the tractor and help work on the tractor. As far as he is concerned, Gloria is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Of course, I’m sure that pat of the draw is doing mechanic work with his dad and grandpa, but also, tractors are cool in just what they can do. I’ve driven a tractor, so I can relate to it.
Bowen is such a sweet boy. I’m told that he is also very kind…and helpful. He likes to help cook, which isn’t always something little boys want to do. They are usually too busy playing to want to cook, but there are some that do and some that grow up to be amazing cooks. I guess for Bowen, time will tell. Whether he grows up to be a chef or not really makes no difference, everyone needs to know how to cook, because you just never know if you will someday live alone.
Bowen loves farm life. Riding horses, and playing with the farm animals, especially the babies is one of his greatest joys. These days, they have some goat kids, and some kittens, which are so cute. The kittens are just getting their eyes open, and they are so tine and cuddly. Bowen and his sisters, Reagan, Hattie, and Maeve love to show the farm animals to everyone who comes to their house. Bowen’s parents, Ashley and Eric Parmely, have grown their farm from just a few animals when they started, to the need to find a bigger place, which is the reason they moved to their current location. Having a bigger place give all the animals, their babies, and the Parmely children lots of room to roam around. That suits the children just fine, because they really don’t like to be fenced in. Bowen and his sisters love being farm kids, and his mommy wanted me to make sure I mentioned that “Bowen loves tractors!! So, did I mention he loves tractors? Today is Bowen’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Eric Parmely has changed so much over the years. I find myself amazed at the life he lives today. Eric is husband to Ashley, and daddy to Reagan, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. That’s his human family anyway. Eric and Ashley own a little ranch west of Casper, where they raise children, dogs, cats, goats, horses, turkeys, cows, ducks, pigs, and maybe others that I have not mentioned. There are always new babies on the ranch, and those animal babies are just as much a part of the family too. I can’t imagine all those babies in the family, but Eric and Ashley love each and every one of them. Of course, they and the children also understand that some animals are for food, and that is just how it has to be. The constants in the family of animal members, of course are the horses, cats, and dogs. They will never be food, as we all know. They are, and always will be pets.
Eric is a hard working man. He has a regular job, and then comes home and works hard on the ranch. He and Ashley bought a tractor that he is been fixing up. Once it is in good shape, it will be a big help to him on the ranch. There is much work to do on a ranch and a rancher needs the right tools. This tractor will put them closer to having all the tools they need. They live on a dirt road, so they need to be able to clear roads and so much more. Tractors and ranches just go together.
Eric has discovered audio books. To me that is vital. With our busy lives, finding time to read a book is almost impossible, but we can listen to our books while we work. Eric likes a variety of books, and just finished Harry Potter. I’m not into the Harry Potter stuff, but I love to listen to World War II books. To each his own, I guess. I find that audiobooks have broadened my horizons, and I have other types of books I have listened to since I started with Audible. Eric will most likely be the same.
Eric, being the dad of young kids, has had to keep up with all their activities. I saw a video recently of Eric trying to skateboard. He did pretty good, but I’m sure that the kids, especially Reagan can out-do him. It’s simply an age thing, so it would make sense for her to be better at it than her dad, but I could be wrong. I have been known to be wrong about such things, after all. Eric has recently discovered iced vanilla lattes and has switched to decaf coffee. Now, that part is odd to me, because he probably need more caffeine kick, not less to keep up with his busy lifestyle. More power to him if he can do it caffeine-free. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
What would the modern farm be without the tractor? People in the 19th century knew exactly what it would be, even if they had no idea what a tractor was. John Froelich was born on November 24, 1849, in Iowa. His life would end up changing much in the agricultural industry. As an adult, Froelich operated a grain elevator and mobile threshing service. His job was to bring a crew to local farms every year at harvest time. He hired a crew and dragged a heavy steam-powered thresher through Iowa and the Dakotas, threshing farmers’ crops for a fee. I suppose it was a good way to make a living, but his machine was bulky, hard to transport, and expensive to use. To top it off, it was also dangerous…one spark from the boiler on a windy day, and he could find the whole prairie ablaze.
Froelich knew that this was no way to do business. He decided that he had to try something new. In 1890, instead of that cumbersome, hazardous steam engine, Froelich came up with the idea of a gas powered engine. The size comparison alone made it a far superior choice. So, he and his blacksmith mounted a one-cylinder gasoline engine on his steam engine’s running gear and set off for a nearby field to see if it worked. To their excitement, it did. The tractor Traveled at a speed of three miles per hour. Of course, that was going to take them a long time to go from one location to another. The real test came when they took their new machine on the road for the annual threshing season. The good news is that the machine was a success there too. The crew threshed more than a thousand bushes of grain every day, 72,000 bushels in all, and they used only 26 gallons of gasoline. Of even greater importance, was that they did the whole thing without one fire.
It was time to take the project to the next level. Froelich found eight investors, and they formed the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company. They built four prototype tractors and sold two. Unfortunately, both were soon returned. Rather than lose the company, and to make money, the company branched out into stationary engines. That was somewhat more successful and its first engine powered a printing press at the Waterloo Courier newspaper. Froelich was happy with the success, but that was really not where his interests were. He was into farming equipment and wanted to make an engine that worked for that. So he left the company in 1895. Froelich might have jumped the gun a little bit, because Waterloo kept working on its tractor designs. The designs still weren’t wildly successful, and between 1896 and 1914, Waterloo sold just 20 tractors in all. Success finally came when in 1914, the company introduced its first Waterloo Boy Model “R” single-speed tractor, which sold very well…118 in 1914 alone. The next year, its two-speed Model “N” was even more successful. In 1918, the John Deere plow-manufacturing company bought Waterloo for $2,350,000.
Sometimes we see a picture that looks so far-fetched that we assume that we are looking at a picture that has been photoshopped, and sometimes we are. Nevertheless, some pictures, unbelievable as they may seem, are the real deal. A while back, I stumbled upon an unbelievable photo of a plane crash, or rather the moment before the plane crashed. I was instantly intrigued. Could this be real? Or was it just a big ruse?
At the end of World War II, the English Electric Aviation Company received a contract to develop a jet bomber. The resulting bomber was the English Electric Lightning F1. The ER103 design study was sufficiently impressive for English Electric to be awarded the contract for two prototypes and a structural-test airframe. The early prototypes evolved into the Lightning, an airplane which was to span the time from when the Spitfire was our primary front-line fighter to the end of the Cold War. The Lightning was the only British designed and built fighter capable of speeds in excess of Mach 2 to serve with the Royal Air Force. The aircraft in the photograph was XG332. It was built in 1959, one of 20 pre-production Lightnings. Alan Sinfield took a photograph of XG332 in 1960 at Farnborough. However, it was the very last photograph taken of XG332, in 1962, that became the famous one, and deservedly so. How does someone manage to take a photograph like this? Jim Meads is the man who took the picture, but this was not the picture he expected to take that day. He was a professional photographer who lived near the airfield. In fact, he lived next door to de Havilland test pilot Bob Sowray.
Meads says that Bob Sowray mentioned that he was going to fly the Lightning that day. An excited Meads took his kids for a walk, taking his camera along, hoping to get a shot of the plane, and give his kids something amazing to remember. Well, that part of the walk went according to plan. It was a walk his kids would not soon forget. He had planned to take a photograph of the children with the airfield in the background, just as the Lightning came in to land. They found a good view of the final approach path and waited for the Lightning to return. As it turned out, Bob Sowray didn’t fly the Lightning that day. The pilot was George Aird, another test pilot working for De Havilland. George Aird was involved in the Red Top Air-to-Air Missile program. He was a well-respected test pilot.
The flight was to take place on September 19, 1962. The day did not go as planned in any way. George Aird was in the Lightning doing a demonstration flight off of the south coast. As he approached Hatfield from the north east, he realized that he had trouble. During the flight there was a fire in the aircraft’s reheat zone. “Un-burnt fuel in the rear fuselage had been ignited by a small crack in the jet pipe and had weakened the tailplane actuator anchorage. This weakened the tailplane control system which failed with the aircraft at 100 feet on final approach.” The plane suddenly pitched up, quite violently…just as Aird was coming in to land. Aird lost control of the aircraft and ejected. Had the nose of the plane not pitched up suddenly, Aird would not have had enough time to eject.
The tractor in the photograph was a Fordson Super Major. Upon close inspection of the grill, one can see that it reads D H Goblin, which is the name of another de Havilland jet engine…the Goblin. The tractor driver was 15-year-old Mick Sutterby, who spent that summer working on the airfield. He would play an amazing, but unexpected part in the amazing picture. He wasn’t posing for the camera, but rather, was telling the photographer, Jim Mead, to move on, because he shouldn’t be there. Mead saw the plane coming in and the nose pitch up. Then Aird ejected and Mead says he had just enough time to line up the shot as the Lightning came down nose first.
Sutterby recalls, “I followed my father into work at de Havilland, Hatfield in 1954 when I was 15. My father was the foreman in charge of the aerodrome and gardens. My job in the summer was gang-mowing the airfield and at the time of the crash in 1962 the grass had stopped growing and we were trimming round the ‘overshoot’ of the runway with a ‘side-mower’. I stopped to talk to a chap with a camera who was walking up a ditch to the overshoot. I stopped to tell him that he shouldn’t be here, I heard a roar and turned round and he took the picture! He turned out to be a friend of the pilot and had walked up the ditch to photograph his friend in the Lightning. I saw some bits fly off the plane before it crashed, but it was the photographer who told me he had ejected. There was not a big explosion when it crashed, just a loud ‘whhooooof’.”
“I was about 200 yards from the crash scene. I saw men running out of the greenhouses and checking the scene of the crash. The works fire brigade were on the scene within a minute. Somewhere at home I have a picture of it burning. Although the picture shows it nose diving to the ground, in fact it was slowly turning over and it hit the ground upside down nose first. I was later told that if the pilot had ejected a split second later he would have ejected himself into the ground. I was very lucky. If I had known he was coming into land, I would have been positioned near the ILS (Instrument Landing System) aerial which was only 20 yards or so from the crash site! I believe the photographer had his photo restricted by the Air Ministry for – I think – about 3 months because the plane was secret,” Sutterby said, almost as if in thought.
“He then took it to the Daily Mail who said it was a fake. The photo was eventually published by the Daily Mirror. From there it went round the world, and I remember seeing a copy in the RAF museum at Hendon. I recollect the photographer usually photographed hunting scenes for magazines like The Field. I recollect that the pilot broke his legs but really was very lucky. I hope this is interesting. All from memory,” finished Sutterby.
George Aird didn’t have an easy landing, and in fact, landed on a greenhouse and fell through the roof. The fall broke both of his legs, and he landed on the ground, unconscious. The water from the sprinkler system for the tomatoes woke him up and he reportedly said that his first thought was that he must be in heaven. In the end no one was killed, but the resulting picture by Jim Meads is nothing short of spectacular!!
My little grand-nephew, Bowen Parmely is a happy little boy who is turning 2 years old today. Bowen’s first two years have been quite eventful. He is the younger brother to two sisters, Reagan and Hattie, and so there was always someone to play with. Being the only boy in the family, might have affected the kinds of games he played, but not in any big way, because Bowen is all boy. I have no doubt that in the future, he will tease his sisters quite a bit. A guy’s gotta make up for lost time, because while he is the littlest, the girls are well able to “boss” him around. Unfortunately for Bowen, I don’t know if he will ever find himself the boss when it comes to his sisters. Nevertheless, Reagan and Hattie love their little brother very much, and they have taught him lots of things in these first two years…and I’m sure he has taught them a few things too.
Bowen and his sisters love to ride their bicycles, and Bowen is quickly learning the ropes of a strider. When I was a kid, nobody ever thought of taking the peddles off of the bicycle or tricycle, and just letting the kid sit on the seat and walk it out, but it is really a great way to put the little ones on a bicycle early on, and Bowen doesn’t like to be left out of the fun, so it’s a vital tool toward getting him into the action. Of course, there isn’t much that his sisters are doing that Bowen doesn’t do too, with the exception of school. Bowen and his sisters help out on the farm, and they get to play with the babies, as well as watching their birth. That is all part of a good farm education, and a part that city dwellers don’t get.
While Bowen’s sisters love all the little farm babies, and Bowen does too, but for him, they come second, because he has something he is far more interested in…tractors. Typical boy thing, and something that he gets from his dad, and probably a grandpa or two. Bowen comes from a long line of farm and ranch people, and from what I have seen, he is totally ok with that. Today is Bowen’s 2nd birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!