Monday, January 31, 2011

Linton Cruisers

One of the colorful aspects of life in Linton was all the colorful trucks and cars. Here's a few.

Big Red loaded with a buckboard of sorts with automobile tires. These are often seen in small town parades being pulled by horses or mules.

A nice 60s model Ford Econoline pick-up, mid-restoration.

Another grand ride pulls into Linton. Bud's truck in the background.

An old pickup nestles into some high grass back in the hollow.

Bud's truck set up with sideboards. Handy for hauling goats.

Whidler's 'modified' El Camino.

My own 'rig' was a 94 Nissan with a low camper made of walnut.

Another old gem sits back in the hollow waiting for someone to give it a second chance.

An old WWII Army truck converted into a flatbed. The 'giant pinwheel' in the foreground was the beginning of an idea to harness the wind to draw water up from the creek. It was never implemented.

This old school bus was gutted, and all that was inside was a couple of bunks for anyone who needed to spend the night. Sorta like the Linton Motel, except, lodging was free.

Bud's fishing camper. Note the stove pipe. There is a small wood stove inside. Not only could this 4-wheel drive rig wander down to the river to go fishing, he could cook his catch up in the back of the truck.

Bud takes me into the overgrown pasture behind his shack to show me his very first car.

He reflects about taking his first girlfriend on their first date in his first car.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Hideout in the Woods

When I first started hanging out with the Linton boys at the sawmill, I was living some 10 miles away. And once I realized there was the potential there for doing a lot of creative work with wood, I decided to figure out how to live close-at-hand.

Location, location, location.

To get back into the hollow where the sawmill was, you had to drive across (i.e., through) Brush Creek. And there, at the mouth of the hollow was a nice bluff owned by the neighboring farmer. I went to talk to him and told him my idea. My idea was that I would like to rent that hilltop from him, and build a shack there, so I could get down to the sawmill and work on wood projects. I told him that, whenever, I left, he could have the shack. It might make a nice place to lodge deer hunters, now and then. He was pretty sure I was crazy, and so was I. He rented me the land for 25 dollars a month. There was no road up to the top, but I found my old truck could just manage the meadowy hill that sloped up to it. Eventually I wore the route into little ruts I called 'my driveway'. Months later, when the rainy weather came, I discovered my driveway ran over a wet weather spring that turned to complete impassible muck. So, later, my driveway had a big curve that went around the spring. Live, and learn!

Constructing my abode.

For the first few weeks I slept on the bed of my pick-up, while getting the foundation established, and laying a floor. From then on, I slept on the new floor while building the walls and roof. It cost me very little to build this. I worked with throw away wood from Bud's sawmill, or from the bone pile of a commercial sawmill a few miles away. The shack had a tin roof of old rusty barn tin someone gave me. The windows were salvaged from a burned out building. The front window was especially nice, with a view out, over and down to Brush Creek, about 20' below. I took a couple of trips into the city and gathered up a lot of leaf -filled trash bags people had set out by the curb. I stuffed these under the crawl space beneath the shack to serve as an insulating barrier from the cold ground.

The side of the shack.

All those boards that look like they are falling off, was my fanciful notion of being 'decorative'! (Eat your heart out, Martha Stuart)

The Water barrel.

The nearest potable water was from a spring about three miles away. So, I would take 5 gallon buckets in the back of the truck, bring them back full, and dump them into this 40 gallon barrel. By placing the barrel up the hill, I was able to run a flexible pipe to the shack, and be so modern as to have running water! The small lean-to on the back of the shack is where I would keep my firewood.

The multi-purpose sink in the corner.

It was gravity fed by the water barrel up the hill. Cold water. Very cold water! But, I could fill a pan and heat it with the stove. ( A real task, since my stove did not have a level place to sit a pan on. I would have to suspend the pan with coat hanger wire over the stove-top.) The sink was my place to scrub up, as well. It was a 'whore's bath', as the saying goes. the sink drained to the sloping ground and trickled away. I felt ok about that, since it was a relatively harmless grey water. It was an area for improvement, though. (The insulation I put on the interior ceiling was one of the few things I spent money on.)

My wood stove.

Actually it was designed as a coal burner, but it did well with wood also. I lucked into this at a junk yard not too far away. In the middle of winter the tasks of securing wood, keeping it dry, and keeping the stove going, take a lot of time each day. And, if you get behind, you'll be sorry!

My future bathroom.

It would have been a primitive affair at best. But anything beats taking a shovel and a roll of toilet paper on a walk through the winter woods. (Which is what I did all winter long! Talk about freezing your a-- off!)

My not-so-king-sized bed.

It was comfy enough, and beat sleeping in the back of the pick-up by a long shot! The floor of the shack was 1" thick maple planks. At this point, I had laid out a tar -paper sheathing over it, in anticipation of a finished floor later. (Never got around to it.)

Dirt road to the back of the hollow.

Each morning, rather than rebuild a fire in the stove, it was easier to hike down the bluff and head to the very back of the hollow where Bud's shack would already be warm, and there was always hot coffee waiting.


I made it here on the bluff until about mid-February when we were hit with extreme winter cold, snow, and ice. It got very difficult to keep wood dry, and to keep warm. So, I bailed. I rented an efficiency in town. By mid spring I was off to work on a project in southern New Mexico.

As it turns out, by the time I returned, the shack was gone. Evidently some people squatted in it, used it as a meth lab, and ultimately blew the place up. Nothing remained, except for charred wood on the ground. Oh, well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More about The Linton Casket Company, and the 'Lintonites'.

Well, if you are going to be your own town, you need to have a sign that says so. So, I designed one. Whidler puts it all together. We were just everyday people doing our thing. (Sure, click on a photo to enlarge.)

Then, you have to hang the sign out by the road so to let people know, you are no longer in the middle of nowhere. You are a place. A place where interesting things happen. We are now, if nothing else, a road side attraction. And, this place of our own invention, starts becoming its own melting pot.

We figured, every town has a 'poster child', and Felicia, daughter of one of the workers, was hanging around that day, so, we bribed her with cola and a tootsie pop.

She finally consented, and enjoyed every minute of attention.

Bud and Whidler pause to think about it all. "Ok," Bud says. "So now we are our own town, What's the burning issue at city hall?" Whidler says, "I reckon we need to do some shows." Bud says, 'Damn straight." I step in and say, "Let's call it Raising the Hammer." Stay tuned for glimpses of the Raising the Hammer shows, and a lot of rustic wood and stone work.

Whidler decides that if we are doing a show, he will not be Whidler. He will be 'Mask Man'. So, he sets out to make masks.

A few of the boys pause to model a few masks.

So, who was this Mask Man?

Whidler, of course. Stay tuned for more about Linton, and the shows, and the work produced.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pickin' and not so Grinnin'.

Whether you were in Linton, or back in the hollow, you were never far away from music. Back in Brush Creek Hollow where the sawmill is, Bud plunks out a few lonely tunes in his shack to a small audience. That would be me. Maybe he was singing, 'The Locket'. "I've got your little locket in my pocket. I've got the lock of hair you gave me in my hand. Sittin' here reading old love letters. Why you ever left me, I'll never understand...." It was nice to sit around there, back in the woods. There are lots more stars in the sky, when you don't have the curse of city lights hanging over you. Bud died some years back, as have some others.

Bud and Al take a break from the Linton workaday, and croon a few tunes. Wild in my Soul, perhaps? A song about needing to wander to where the four winds blow. Or, maybe it was Honky Tonk Haze, about a guy drinking off the fact his woman left him.

Sometimes, the Dollar girls would come up from Alabama, and croon some tunes for us. Those were really sweet times

These gals could harmonize in a Southern sort of way that would make any heart melt!

Mark O' Conner, noted fiddle player, shows up to pick up a little table Monroe built for him.

Brother Floyd pulls in from Arkansas, and plays a few with Brother Al. Big Red, our flatbed truck, became the stage. They were singing one of Floyd's tunes. "Lover, With No One To Love'. And, no. It is not available on ITunes. Or, anywhere. A lost song. "All alone in the night, with memories she dreams of, she's a lover with no one to love...."

Sam picks one back in the woods by the sawmill. A sad song he wrote about a guy named Jim. Jim was a guy living in a tree house on the edge of Linton. As the story goes, he broke his neck while trying to climb into his tree house one night. And, he died. "Jim had a way of getting too high. Getting too high, brought him down. He fell like a leaf to the ground. I wish that Jim was still around...."

A couple of traveling minstrels who stopped in to entertain us for a few days. We built a camper on the back of their truck while they were there. Then, they headed off for parts unknown.

Sam J. picks one in the workshop and keeps everyone happily at work.

"T-Bone" croons one for Kathy, an amazing photographer, who hopefully will send me some of her shots of this period of time, so I can add them to this site. Aside from her and I, I don't think there are any documents of this time and place. So, it comes down to how history is remembered. Or, whether it is remembered at all.

Kath plunks out a little tune while artist, Tony G, lends an ear.