Rural Life in the UP of Michigan Some stories about life on 160 rural acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

July 11, 2015

My Friend Ed

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 4:33 pm

trailer1Like so many people I know that were raised here in the UP, once it gets into your blood, you never really feel at home anywhere else. Ed was a talented guy whose smarts and ability took him across the country. In his later years, he lived in the Denver, Colorado area. He built a beautiful home here on the original homestead where his Dad and brother farmed as he grew up. Much of his vacation time was spent travelling from Denver to Elo to spend some precious days smelling the Copper Country air, and running around on his tractors.

I was fortunate to become acquainted with him on one of these visits, and to bump into him often and swap stories with him. His favorite stories involved farming in the old days.

trailer2Some years back, I’d bought the frame of an old farm trailer from some neighbors towards town. It had no bed, but I used it as a log hauler for some years anyway. On one of Ed’s visits, I mentioned that I was finally going to put a wooden deck on the old trailer, to make it more useful.

“How are you going to treat the wood on your deck?” he asked me.

I had to admit I hadn’t given it much thought.

“My Dad had us boys coat all our farm trailers with used motor oil. He’d choose the hottest day of summer, and sometimes even heat up the old motor oil on the stove before we painted it on. We didn’t like the job, but I have to admit our trailer beds did last.”

So before Ed died, I got the trailer bed bolted down. I gave each 2″ spruce plank a double bath on all 6 sides before I attached it to the frame. It has been a few years since this job was done. I remember showing him the job, and him nodding approvingly at it, apparently lost in thought.

Today I was out cutting and splitting firewood for next year’s maple syrup, and noticed the trailer was looking a little faint. It was over 80 degrees outside, and for some reason, I had a vision of little Ed and his brother out in the barnyard with coveralls on painting the decks of the farm trailers. I’d just plugged in the dozer for a project, which meant I had about an hour to wait while the engine warmed up. So I got out the pail I keep the used motor oil in, a 4″ brush, and spent some enjoyable preserving my trailer bed and thinking about my friend Ed.


  1. So resourceful by preserving wood and precious resources at the same time. Beautiful job.

    Comment by Chris Moore — July 12, 2015 @ 4:20 pm

  2. Thanks Chris. I guess I’m a little weird when it comes to tools. I can remember where most of them came from and think about the connections between the people while I’m using the tool.

    Comment by Ted — July 12, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

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