Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A lineup . . . .

of Yesterday's iron on the farms. From the annual show at Cochranton, held every June.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Libraries, the heartbeat of Small-Town America

Both books in our Summers Run series have been donated to libraries in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana: The Missoula Public Library, the North Valley Library, and the Bitterroot Public Library in Hamilton.

Books have been donated to public libraries in Meadville, Titusville, Springboro, Cambridge Springs, Cochranton, Washington, Williamsport, and Lock Haven, all in Pennsylvania.  

It's been our pleasure to do this, in this day of limited resources and budgetary restraints. 

Patronize your local libraries: there's more going on there than just books. These are not the dull, stereotypically dry and dusty halls of yesterday. They are alive and lively institutions of learning, entertainment, and imaginative, worthwhile stimulation. . . . Jim Cotton

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This pastoral scene

is from a deer camp road as it appeared in October in Pennsylvania, 2012. Other scenes from autumn in P. A. follow.  We found the foliage at or near its peak and the weather mostly agreeable during the three-week journey through Crawford County, Clinton County and Lock Haven, and Indiana County.

Why this image?

Scroll down through these photographs from my corner of Pennsylvania to discover the connection.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Uncle Al's Ford 800 Tractor

Your Humble Blogger with his Uncle Al's Ford 800 tractor, which Ford called the NAA series, and a successor to the 1953 Golden Jubilee. The Golden Jubilee represented a departure from the familiar 8n, 9n, and 2n series of small utility tractors Ford was, and is, so noted for. Numerical designations during this period were 600, 800, and 900 depending on whether the tractor bore a wide or tricycle front end and other power and feature designations. Put a lot of hours on this great old-timer and it remains one reason I favor utility-type tractors to this day. Yes, it runs. Would love to restore it back to the condition I knew in the 1950s. The Ford shown earlier was an 860 model, probably produced in the mid-1950s.

Captured across My Corner of Pennsylvania this October, 2012.

Pinzgauers in P. A. talking things over

Scotch Highlander junior bull

Cupola and barn

Sunset over Lake Erie

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This Amish pony

was one of several enjoying the shade of a giant willow and a cooling breeze in the first real warm day of June. 

One Last Look

at Lamade Stadium, South Williamsport, "P. A.," home of Little League Baseball and the LLWS.

Japan took it all again this year, but we just have to admire the discipline and training. Goodlettsville, TN, became the US National champ narrowly beating Petaluma, CA, in a 24-16 slugfest. Narrowly, we say? Check the Little League website for the full account of this nail-biter.

Other highlights included a team from Uganda, making in its first-ever appearance. Who knows what impact Little League and baseball in general can exert on this nation's progress, self-respect, and acceptance in the world community?

As most of us followers have come to expect, most of the games were highly entertaining and viewers were richly rewarded by outstanding play, good coverage, and memories of a lifetime.

Monday, May 28, 2012

P. A.'s LL World Series

Dare we ever forget?

That a team assembled in Clinton County became the state's Little League champs in August, 2011, then went on to win the regional contest beating teams from New York state and New Jersey. These Keystone Kids came from villages most Pennsylvanians have never heard of: Beech Creek, Mill Hall, Castanea, Blanchard, Monument, Marsh Creek, and Loganton.

There's something very right about this. It tells us small-town America still counts. We're reminded the backroads of our country can still produce excellence. That the crossroads of rural P. A. can make history glow brightly on the national map.

I live in Montana but remain tethered to P. A. Last summer, Billings, you may remember, sent a team to South Williamsport, the first-ever from Montana. Had Clinton County and the Billings All-Stars met  under the lights of Lamade Stadium . . . well, I would have gone up in smoke.  My Perfect Season.

Not long ago, I wrote of the spell cast by baseball in a novel entitled Return to Summers Run. My character tells us:

"Make such a memory you’ll want to bottle it, set it on the mantle, and let your grandkids get a whiff, the aroma, the sights, sounds of the crowd, the magic of it all. Because, there is a magic in baseball that’s unique, all its own. . . .
"You have a bat named 'Wonderboy', or you drive out to a cornfield in Iowa where legends from the past walk down the rows to again play like they used to years ago. Fictional, fantasy, yes of course, but there’s something about this game that inspires these flights of fancy." 

When we visit the Summer of Dreams the Keystone boys shared with us, we wonder what their futures hold and wish them well. For their brand of baseball brought growth, friendship, and the bittersweet farewell to boyhoods that will never come again. We've all lived some of it.

Jim Cotton
Stevensville, Montana 

My thanks to photographers Christopher Weddle and Abby Drey of the Centre Daily Times for providing the visuals for this backward glance.

From Castanea, P. A.,

southpaw Brandon Miller, commanded first base and pitched. He drove out the team's only home run of the LLWS.

Celebrating with teammates,

Ethan Watkins played third base and also pitched. He's from Marsh Creek, P. A.

Under the tag

slides outfielder Mitchell Smith. He's from Loganton, P. A.

Sending one out

is Cole Reeder, pitcher and third baseman. Cole is from Mill Hall, P. A.

About to connect

is Trebor Nicodemus. Outfielder and pitcher, he's from Loganton, P. A.

Effective closer, Tyler McCloskey

pitched three innings at the LLWS posting an ERA of 0.00. He posted the second highest batting average there as well, .444. He's from Monument, P. A.


Wyatt Koch from Beech Creek. Wyatt tied for third highest batting average, .417.

Laying down a bunt,

Mike Keibler, outfielder from Blanchard, P. A.

From Mill Hall, P. A., pitcher

and second baseman, Alex Garbrick. Alex led the team at the LLWS with a .538 batting average.

From Beech Creek, P. A.,

shortstop Talon Falls. Talon tied for third highest batting average at Williamsport, . 417.

Outfielder and pitcher

Landon Breon bats and throws left. Hometown: Castanea, P. A.

Keystone's Final Lap

becomes the bittersweet last statement of the team's farewell to the crowd and for most of the players, the end of their Little League career. This group is led by Cole Reeder followed by Ethan Watkins, Talon Falls, and Tyler McCloskey. Reeder pitched an excellent game against the Great Lakes entry in the LL World Series and also recited the Little League pledge at the opening ceremonies in South Williamsport, PA.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

One of the Most Handsome

tractors of its era, the 1950s, bore the Oliver marque. Here it appears as a utility model "55". Oliver followed a numerical pattern for its tractors, 55 being one. The Oliver 77, big brother to the one pictured, was especially popular as a row crop and plowing tractor. This beautifully maintained or restored example is advertising this year's Nittany Antique Machinery Association show of Central Pennsylvania. Details below in our list. 

For yours truly, I'd rather be driving this than the latest whiz-bang from Detroit or across either ocean.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Another Outstanding Church . . .

can be found in the little village of Springboro. Surprising to some that such impressive houses of worship dot the countryside, but such the terrain of Pennsylvania. This Catholic church is near the historic site of Shadeland, a prominent and internationally known stock farm of a century ago.