July 10, 2005
(Names and other words that could not be transcribed are in italics. Unknown voices are referred to as “man” or “woman.” Comments, explanations, and additional names are in parentheses.)
John Foley: All right this will be - you know, it’s probably better - anything will be ok. Yes, that’s a good idea.
Ellie Sanford: I’ve got a scratchy voice.
John Foley: Oh, that’s ok. Ok, this is John Foley and this is July 10, 2005 and I’m at the homer of Tim and Ellie Sanford on Route 9, Airline Road in Alexander. Ok, I guess we’re ready to go and we’ll see if you can - if you - this is pretty sensitive - you can, you know, but - you want to start Tim, or how did you come to arrive in Alexander.
Tim Sanford: Well, my family had been in Connecticut for a number of years. Both my wife and I were born there and we had two children born there. I was - - -
Ellie Sanford: I was born up in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Tim Sanford: That’s right. You were - lived - - -
Ellie Sanford: Yes.
Tim Sanford: - - - lived in Connecticut for a long time. We were living a quite stable life. I was out of college. Had my master’s degree, was working in a lab for a tobacco company and subsequently went into science teaching and had a little house and everything was going along pretty well, but we felt that as we looked ahead and said what - what do we see ourselves doing in let’s say 20 years and neither of us liked the prospects. I had tenure at the school. Unless I came in drunk or molested somebody, I’d be able to be there right to the end of my days. Our children were lovely. Our home life was fine. The house was fine, but in - in each of us, we felt that the things that we liked to do - that stirred our heart the most were - were not things that we were doing. And, most of it had to do with a feeling of wanting to have more to do with what kept us alive. And so, we began to think about - well, at that time there was the back to the land movement - kind of moving along there. This was in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, the Nearings and others of that sort, the “Mother Earth News” and so forth were around and we started researching it and thinking about it. After a while we put out an ad for some things to - that we wanted to take with us. One was a - a wood cooking stove. Another was a wood heating stove. And various other things like that. And strangely enough, we got only a very few calls - not too many - might have been three, four, five calls. One of the calls was from a man named Joseph Kennedy. And, Joe Kennedy said, “Gee, do you have all this stuff?” And we said, “Have? No, no, we want.” “That’s not what the ad says. It says you’ve got all this stuff.” We looked at the paper and sure enough it said, “For Sale.” All right, so we called the paper back and said, “Would you please switch it around.” Anyhow, it turned - they flipped it around, anyhow. But, it turned out that Joe Kennedy, astonishingly enough, had land in Crawford, Maine, right next door to where we are - just an astonishingly small world. Anyway, we did gather the stuff that we wanted and also got a - a - an army truck with a plow on it - a four wheel drive big machine there, three quarter ton. And I - when we got ready to come up here, I drove that up with the plow in the back and various other things and so forth. Terrible ordeal. It had the stiffest, awfullest steering there ever was and no - it was a 1952 M-37 and (indistinct words).
John Foley: Not very good on gas, either.
Tim Sanford: It wasn’t good on gas and the brakes were - you really stand on it. Anyway, when we got it here, my shoulders were - were absolutely aching. Anyhow, we did it. And, what- what we did was basically, we looked for land in several places. I say we did it and we’re here, but that’s not how we got here. How we got here was actually a process of elimination of land places. So first we went to West Virginia to look for land because we knew that it was fairly cheap there and somewhat out of the way and somewhat undesirable. It wasn’t - there was no big population center in that area. It was a little - just a little to far from it to have invaded. So we went down there and found one or two pieces that were all right. One place in particular had absolutely magnificent walnut trees, so big you couldn’t get your arms around them - beautiful, gorgeous things, but anyway, what we found there was that we were Damn Yankees. And, the atmosphere left us just really cold and wanting to get out of there and when we finally decided, I remember we bought - we bought a half pint of ice cream from a grocery store - oh it was blistering hot, and we all four just ate it right out of the box in the car, there - cheaper than getting cones and that kind of stuff - and we decided that night or maybe the next we had had enough of West Virginia. And, when we had made that decision we all went “Ya-ay, let’s get out of here.” We’re Northeners. And, our next choice was Maine and the reason was that it was again far enough away to be, we thought, relatively unpopulated and the land fairly available. So, we came into Maine and went right to the - the Soil Conservation Service office - in Portland, I guess it was, and told them what we wanted, which was farm land reasonably adaptable to growing crops and not too far north, but we -we - we were variable there. We were fairly flexible. And, they said, “Oh, we’ve got just the man for you. His name is John Eisner” - no.
Ellie Sanford: Eisman.
Tim Sanford: “John Eisman who is in Cooper.” So, they showed us right where it was on the map and we called John up and John said “Well, gee, you caught me at a bad time. I’m going to - I’ve got to leave at ten o’clock in the morning.” We said, “We’ll see you at eight.” So, we drove up there as hard as we could and just barely caught him. We did, though, and he spared us a couple of hours early in the morning to run us around various places that he thought might be possible - places that would be for sale. Now, at that time, a great deal of land was looking very seedy, abandoned, either overtly for sale or obviously could be salable if you made an offer. Wasn’t being used - practically no signs of repairs on houses. Cars were - trucks were kind of seedy looking. The roads were in rough shape. It was - it was a depressed area, no doubt about it. And so, we looked around and looked around and came to the end of our time. We only had a few days to do it and came to the end of time and went back to see Tommy Long whose property we asked about down on Tommy Long Road, there. He made believe he wanted to sell. He didn’t - he didn’t really want to sell. Anyway we went back to him just to say good bye and he said “You looked at Joyce’s place? You didn’t like that?” We said “Huh?” He said “Joyce Frost. Joyce Frost, right up on the hill there. Didn’t you see that? Big sign out there. Bear. It says For Sale. You didn’t see that?” “No,” we said, “we didn’t see that.” So, we came up here and sure enough there in the driveway was a door set up on - - -
Ellie Sanford: Tommy Long drove us up here.
Tim Sanford: Did he? Oh, that’s right.
Ellie Sanford: It was terrifying!
Tim Sanford: That’s right, he did, didn’t he.
Ellie Sanford: Absolutely terrified!
Tim Sanford: So, Tommy Long was, you know, eightyish and he - - -
John Foley: Oh, oh (indistinct words)
(All three people talking at the same time - can’t be transcribed.)
Tim Sanford: And so, there was sure enough a - a door that said For Sale on it.
Ellie Sanford: But, the door had fallen or somebody had grown up - - -
Tim Sanford: It was not - it was not obvious that it was for sale. But, we did not remark it in our heads. We had just passed it by.
Ellie Sanford: It was on the main road and we did not want a place on the main road.
Tim Sanford: Anyhow, so we took a look at it and then we came back and I took a further look around - around on the way back in there and so forth and there was this broken down house - dirty broken down house and some other broken down buildings on it, but it had the right stuff. So, it was up high. It had fields that had been used. Rocks had been taken off. And, we liked it. So we went to see Joyce and she said “Well, I’ve got an offer. It’s already into the lawyer.” And, so we said, “Oh, ok. Well we’ll call you when we get home.” We had to get out of there. I had commitments to make at home. And, so, we called her up pretty quickly after and she said, “Well, they backed out.”
John Foley: Oh, my gosh.
Tim Sanford: We said, “Oh, all right.” The next school vacation was some - some three day window we had there in September or October, it was. I said, “We’ll be up. Gas away!” So, I said, “All right, I know Francis Brown.” So, Francis Brown. So, we roared up one day, did the transaction the next day. Francis represented both sides - probably illegal. And, we roared back home on the third day.
Ellie Sanford: It was heir-ship property so she had to do a lot of - - -
Tim Sanford: It wasn’t clear. (indistinct words)
John Foley: It was clear if you got all the signatures.
Tim Sanford: Yes. You had to get them all.
Ellie Sanford: By the time we got there for the three days, she had done a lot of - - -
Tim Sanford: Routing out.
Ellie Sanford: - - - routing out.
Tim Sanford: Anyway, so that got all done and so we came up the next - the next summer and started work on the place clearing and so forth and started the cellar hole and then went back for the winter.
Ellie Sanford: For another year of teaching.
Tim Sanford: And, then - then came up the following spring permanently. So, that was what ‘73, I guess.
Ellie Sanford: Yes, ‘73.
Tim Sanford: And, that’s when I started keeping a journal and I still do keep a journal, so that’s a lot of years of keeping a journal and if they were all stacked in a pile, it would reach to the ceiling several times. And, - and - not several times, but at least once or - - -
Ellie Sanford: A couple of times.
John Foley: A couple of times.
Tim Sanford: A couple of times, yes. And, so what we did basically was subsistence type stuff for quite a number of years with odd jobs and various things of that sort. Built the house - kind of slowly of stone and eventually got it pretty well in hand and got into the house with a little - late - late in the ‘70s?
Ellie Sanford: No, it was ‘82 - was when we moved in.
Tim Sanford: Yes, that’s right. We started in -that’s right, we were - we were - we have a - (indistinct words) on it around ‘76.
Ellie Sanford: That was our first winter in - in this house.
Tim Sanford: So, we had one child born in the front house, the one that was falling down.
Ellie Sanford: David.
Tim Sanford: Just before it fell in, practically. It didn’t fall in, but it was rotting into the ground. And, our fourth child was born out here. That was Emily. And - which was interesting in itself, so just the idea of having a child at home - - -
Ellie Sanford: That’s the EMT speaking.
Tim Sanford: - - - was - was interesting. Yes, that’s right. I had gotten EMT training, certification. And, so El had already had two children and was pretty positive about it and the probabilities were very high that she would have further normal births. And so we studied it up and decided that it would - - -
Ellie Sanford: He studied it up.
Tim Sanford: - - - stay within the parameters for - for everything being on course, we would and if - if they got out - if the situation got out of - out of hand then we would go to the hospital. And so that’s exactly what we did and - and both our children popped out more as less as they should have. I didn’t do any work. I just caught them. And - but it was an amazing experience and there aren’t too many people in this town who have their - their name in the attending physician - - -
John Foley: Oh, yes. That’s right. I never thought of that.
Tim Sanford: - - - block on the birth certificate.
Ellie Sanford: Or even born in town. I guess, other than the older people.
John Foley: The older people seem to have been, yes.
Ellie Sanford: But, David and Em have both been born in Alexander.
Tim Sanford: So, the - the that we did was a lot of subsistence trying things out so we had - we have a fairly sizable garden, have had a number of sorts of livestock. We had a cow, a milk cow, a jersey that we got with the help of Ross Sadler, now deceased. He helped us pick one out and - and had her for, I don’t know, ten years. In the ballpark? And, that cow was a lovely cow - just a wonderful nature. She was pretty good all around - gave just about the right amount of milk so that we had enough for our needs and could sell a little dooryard milk which is allowed in Maine. As long as there are not complaints, they don’t bother you so you don’t have to have the licensing or - or stainless steel this and that, that you do if you take your milk out in containers and sell it in your containers. If they bring their container, they leave you alone unless there are complaints. And, the only time we had a visit from the state was a veterinarian was just checking every cow he could find - wanted a blood sample just to see what was in the area - said that there’s nothing - it could only help us if there was something going around, brucellosis or something like that. So that worked very well and we sold milk and basically came out around even. We - we felt dollar-wise - we had to feed grain, of course, but we sold milk for a dollar, a dollar and a half, something like that, for a gallon. And, that worked very well. And, I guess how we got into that was that Ross Sadler used to sell milk, so we bought his milk out of his dooryard, and that was slick. That seemed pretty nice and then he helped us get a cow and (indistinct words) And so, one day - so we had three - three calves out of - out of her. Unfortunately, the last one was a little bigger than her pelvis really liked and it sprung her hips in some way that she never was able to use her rear quarters as well as she should and - and one fall she was having a hard time getting up off the floor. And, we kind of scratched our head and looked at her. She was pretty old and we said “Boy, if she goes down in the middle of winter, it’s going to be hard to get her up or out or disposed of.” So while she was able to, we sold her and someone came and got her. We also had a bull at one time. We used artificial insemination a number of times and that worked ok. We also got a - had a chance to get a bull and the bull, called “Bully,” was - - -
Ellie Sanford: (Bull’s pedigree name, but indistinct.)
Tim Sanford: Oh yes, he had a pedigree. Yes, a genuine pedigree. He was quite a good fellow for the most part except that his tolerance was very limited so for instance when you brought him water in a bucket, he - he could hear you come in, obviously, and you - you’d put - put a hand on his side and he would move over a little bit. You - you took one - one or two steps in, swung the bucket in, put it down right under his nose and backed out. No problem, but if you swung the bucket in, put it down and stayed there just for a moment - bam!
John Foley: Oh, my gosh! Really?
Tim Sanford: He would bam your hand right against the side of the stall.
John Foley: Gee! Holy Cow!
Ellie Sanford: (Indistinct words) Jersey.
Tim Sanford: He was - you had to watch out for him. And in the end, of course, we had to get rid of him eventually. Without any cattle around any more, and so we had Rodney come over.
Ellie Sanford: He went - he went first actually.
Tim Sanford: Yes, I guess he did. He was - - -
Ellie Sanford: He was wild.
Tim Sanford: Yes, he was getting more than we wanted to handle. Anyway, so we sold him to David James and we said “Good luck, David.” And so, what we did was to move the - and so we saw that it was going to be difficult to get the bull moved out of the stall, so we thought what we would do is we - we’d move him to a pen that we had out here that we used to have pigs in - quite a very substantial pen. And so - but we were worried about the transfer so what we did was, we - we - we first cut a hole in the front of the barn where he was - - -
Ellie Sanford: Right in front of him.
John Foley: - - - and put the chain from his nose ring - nose rings work very well on bulls. (indistinct words) They don’t like for you to twitch with that so they go wherever you lead - and - and then out to the back of the army truck which I mentioned before. On the back of the army truck we had Rodney with his 308 in case something happened and the bull got away or something. We didn’t want - - -
(All three people talking at the same time - can’t be transcribed.)
John Foley: Sounds as though it would be pretty interesting.
Tim Sanford: So, when we got everything all set, we used the chain saw to cut the rest of the wall out and - and the bull just walked along perfectly all the way right out to the gate. Now, the touchy part was to get him - so, I didn’t want the truck in the pen so I pulled the pen - the truck kind of sideways with the bars open on it and then it was a matter of kind of easing him into the pen - kind of a little prodding here and there and so forth but still having him attached and get him inside and the bars done and then detaching him which we did and everything was fine. Now, David James, came with his truck. He looked at the old bull there and said, “No problem. Don’t worry about it.” So he - he pulled his truck down in here, let down the ramp down and so forth, pulled the bars back and that bull just walked right up that ramp just as slick - - -
John Foley: It did? Oh, my gosh.
Tim Sanford: - - - as anything. He didn’t have the slightest trouble. Nothing to it. Never bumped anyone.
Terrified (indistinct words)
John Foley: Holy cow!
Tim Sanford: And, never pinned him - never did a thing. And so - anyhow, we said “Bravo, David James.” (indistinct words)
Ellie Sanford: We got a check for $800.
John Foley: Oh my gosh. Really?
Tim Sanford: This was a (indistinct word) bull.
Ellie Sanford: Well, it wasn’t because it was - it was a bull. It was - it was meat.
John Foley: Oh, the meat. Oh yes.
Ellie Sanford: And, I think we sent one of the kids to Greece for that - with that money.
Tim Sanford: Yes, we might have. Yes, that’s right.
Ellie Sanford: Yes.
John Foley: Well, that was profitable.
Tim Sanford: Well, that worked out ok, but other - other animals, though, we considered not so - not so good money-wise, so for instance we had pigs that we went halves on with people. We’d raise it and - and they’d give us half of it. This kind of thing. We had one of our own - and though interesting - so from our point of view, it was all very interesting. We enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed finding out, let’s say, from the Hats across from Carl’s restaurant - there’s only one building there now. There used to be three. The old people had one on the right. Then there was a little - a slightly smaller one, then the - the shack that’s kind of left with - I don’t know, the last of the kids. But, they used to scald their pigs - what have you got the time at?
John Foley: Oh, we’re doing ok. We’re doing fine.
Tim Sanford: Still ok. They used to scald their pigs in a huge cast iron kettle. This thing was about three and a half feet across and two, three - three feet deep. A genuine old time kettle. And, so they would scald it. The point there being that you loosen the hair follicles by - by scalding it, but not too much. I mean you don’t want to - you don’t want to cook it.
John Foley: Just scald it, huh?
Tim Sanford: Yes, yes, you don’t want to do that. But, so - they had it so - so I knew they were going to do that, so I said can I come down and watch and see how you get the hair off. These guys - these - had a bad reputations - the Hats, but it didn’t - didn’t bother me any, but they - they had some information - - -
John Foley: Well, they had some knowledge, too.
Tim Sanford: They had some knowledge so they were - they were pleased to have some outlander come in and see what they did. Anyhow - so I went down there and sure enough they did it slick as anything. So, they’d do it half at a time and as it popped out they sprinkled on what they called rosin which was some kind of resin - I don’t know what kind it was - some purified resin. It was cracked up and kind of fine and you just sprinkled this stuff on and when it hit the - the hot fur it slightly melted and kind of hooked itself - it was a kind of glue.
John Foley: Ok, so it stuck to the fur.
Tim Sanford: It stuck to the fur, yes. And so then they’d do the other - and they’d take the skin off - all that - all that - so when it cooled even slightly, you could then either use a scraper in your hands - a dull scraper and they - they all would come out easily.
John Foley: Oh, my gosh.
Tim Sanford: It worked slick. They would come out. And then they would do the other half, so that’s where I learned to do that. And so then we - then when it came to the butchering part, we hung it from a tree out in the front there and it wasn’t messy at all. It was a - I don’t know, it was just a lovely economic clean, non-smelly insides. All the guts were where they ought to be and every one perfectly clean and pretty in their own way. And, so that was all very interesting to me. So, what we did was - we did not go for a lot of different cuts. We put most of the meat into hamburger and that worked very well. And, we tried out the fat and we had a huge amount of lard at one time - came out pretty and white just - just look it up in books - we had lots of how-to books and that kind of stuff. And, it was very pretty. But, when it came down to the money end, there was no doubt that if you - first of all, it forced you into eating a lot of pork, which -which was ok - not bad, but ok. (indistinct words) But, if you did not eat a whole lot of pork and you looked for sales and only what you wanted, you were way better off. And, no trouble at all. So, we - we enjoyed the experience but economically, it was - it was foolish. The same thing obtained with a - a lamb. So, we bought a lamb. We got a lamb and it followed the kids around and they all enjoyed the lamb, and so forth. But, the cost of the lamb in the first place was quite high. It was 15 or 20 dollars, and the amount of meat that we got off it might have been seven dollars.
Ellie Sanford: It was more than - - -
Tim Sanford: Maybe a little more but not much more.
John Foley: And, you had to feed it all that time.
Tim Sanford: And, we had to feed it and fiddle with it and all this kind of stuff. So, again there was on of those things that unless you had a combination all around sheep system of little ones, medium sized ones, - - -
John Foley: A herd, basically.
Tim Sanford: - - - and - and you’re shearing and so forth and so on, it definitely was not worth your while. I did - did some shearing on - for a few years and that was quite interesting work, too. And, it was fun to see other places and how they did it. And, until I - I think I stopped shearing when I did the - the place in Waite that was absolutely, totally infested with ticks.
John Foley: Oh, my gosh.
Tim Sanford: This was - - -
John Foley: That would discourage me, I think.
Tim Sanford: - - - just past the - the little store in Waite, there. Fortunately there is a certain time when the grease starts to come out - the lanolin starts to come out and get out of the skin and get up into - into the fur. And at that particular time when I was trying to shear, there was a huge batch of this lanolin for about three eighths of an inch on the hair and I could not get the shears through it. And, I said, “I’m glad I can’t shear this stuff because these ticks are all over these things and all over me.” And, I said to the lady, “I’m really sorry. I cannot get the shears through it. It’s just the wrong time.”
Ellie Sanford: I thought it was like they had let it go for a whole year so - - -
Tim Sanford: Well, these were bad.
John Foley: Long fur, anyway.
Tim Sanford: Yes, long and not - not a good quality and the difficulty is that if you - if you vary their feed and the feed is poor, that hair is - is weak there. So, it wasn’t a good quality. Anyhow, I took - I brushed off as much as I possibly could in the car. I took all of my clothes off in the yard and told El I had to - had to take my clothes off so don’t be alarmed here, and so I don’t know if - - -
Ellie Sanford: Sheep Dip.
John Foley: I was going to say (indistinct words) begin a fumigation process or something like that.
Tim Sanford: Well, I was certainly glad I didn’t get some disease or something. I didn’t get a single bite that I remember.
Ellie Sanford: (indistinct words) bring the ticks onto the place.
(Tim Sanford and John Foley talking at the same time - can’t be transcribed)
Tim Sanford: I think that was about the last time - - -
Ellie Sanford: We got out with our lives on that one.
John Foley: That was close.
Tim Sanford: So, a lot of the stuff we did to try it out, so our building in the same - was kind of the same thing, so I mentioned Nearing before, and he did a - a slip form type of stone construction in which he had a form inside-outside - foot thick - wires holding together - wooden spacers as long as you needed them - -
Ellie Sanford: About 18 inches.
Tim Sanford: About 18 inches high, and which is basically the way we did this house and that worked out pretty well. We used the - the truck to gather the stones - - -
Ellie Sanford: If you’re not in a hurry.
Tim Sanford: - - - across the way there, but this - this area does not have a lot of good stones so maybe one in twenty stones in a wall - - -
Ellie Sanford: You must have run up against this, too.
John Foley: I ran out of corner stones
(Tim Sanford and John Foley talking at the same time - can’t be transcribed)
John Foley: Yes, right. They were treasures.
Tim Sanford: It was tough to find those. (indistinct words) a bunch of rust coming down a wall.
John Foley: So we had enough land. We bought 110 acres. That is what we had gotten originally so I was able to get all the - almost all the timbers in this house off our land. The only ones I didn’t were the roof timbers which we got from Rodney Frost, right across the way, and got - - -
Ellie Sanford: They’re white cedars.
Tim Sanford: - - - and - they’re white cedar and so he has his little mark up there and each day horses, I won’t say (indistinct words)
John Foley: Oh, no. Is that right?
Tim Sanford: So up in the middle room up there is Rodney’s H. A. and
TAPE TURNED OVER - SOME CONVERSATION LOST
Tim Sanford: - - - being involved in building this place took a lot of years, and it’s still being built when you come right down to it. But we eventually got into it. We have a - a root cellar which is below the cellar floor and has a - a - a way of keeping its gravel floor wet by havinging the peripheral drain able to come through the wall at that level and keep it damp there so that room stays nice and moist so we put all our root crops down there - potatoes and - and carrots and that kind of stuff.
Ellie Sanford: We still pump our own water.
Tim Sanford: So we also - - -
Ellie Sanford: (Indistinct words) a cistern.
Tim Sanford: - - - the pump - we hand pump our water. The water pump, we got from Dyer Crosby. His family used it for a lot of years. It’s got a four foot handle on it - has a throw one side or the other of about four feet, something like that. It’s got a three inch - - -
Ellie Sanford: It pumps both ways.
Tim Sanford: - - - a dual acting pump so it takes us about 300 of those back and forths to fill a 70 gallon glass lined cistern that we have on the upper floor so that gives us water pressure of - well, four tenths of a pound per hydraulic head foot there, so you can see that if it’s a few feet above your shower, you’ve only got a couple pounds of pressure so all of our piping is three quarter inch and all the fittings are bored - all the valves are bored out which is straight through and anything like a shower head, I very carefully bored it out to have the least restriction in flow and so forth. So, anyway, that all works perfectly well with a low - low volume and it means that when there’s no electricity there’s not a problem.
John Foley: Not a problem. The water’s still flowing.
Tim Sanford: Yes, that’s right, which is very important. So, the same - the same idea with - with our - our stove, so we have - we brought up a wood end heating stove. We still have a heating stove in use and when we bought it down in Connecticut, we didn’t buy - we didn’t take it away the night we bought it. So, we came back a week later - whenever we were able to get there and - and to take it away and he had already bought a new - a new one - - -
Ellie Sanford: Ashley.
Tim Sanford: - - - a new Ashley, and he said, “I wish I had the old one.”
John Foley: Really? Oh-h.
Tim Sanford: So, we (indistinct words) So this has worked for us very, very well all these years. It’s not super modern or anything, but - it hasn’t got any afterburner or anything but it’s worked very well for us and we’re very pleased with it. It’s a - it’s a - quite a large - (indistinct words)
John Foley: Is it a home made stove or - - -
Tim Sanford: No, it’s a Right Way
Ellie Sanford: It’s a Right Way
Tim Sanford: Right Way
Ellie Sanford: Air tight stove
Tim Sanford: (Indistinct word) This has a regular clean-out. It has a cupboard here. If you use coal, you can. It’s got coal - coal grates which are super heavy triangular things that you can shake down and they don’t melt. Anyway, that’s worked very well. Then the first stove we had out front was a - a Glenwood C. Most of the plates in it were from early 1900s. Each - each piece on a Glenwood has a - most other things - has - has its - not only its number but its date of - of manufacture so you might have parts ten years apart all in one - one thing. And, that was ok, but then one time I was over at - at DeWolfe’s - DeWolfe’s and - hardware store, no longer there and for some reason I was out in - in their storage barn which was just across the driveway that went in between - cut their store in half.
Ellie Sanford: You were there for something else.
Tim Sanford: Yes, there for something else and there was this - this wood cook stove and I said “What’s - what’s that doing here? It looks used.” And he said, “Well, somebody bought a new one and we took this in trade.” And I said “You want to sell it?” Well, he hadn’t really thought about it. “What are you offering?” I said, “How about $45.00?” He said, “I’ll go check.” Walked in, walked out and said, “That’s fine.”
John Foley: $45.00!
Tim Sanford: So, - - -
(John Foley and Tim Sanford talking at the same time. Can’t be transcribed.)
John Foley: - - - Holy cow, that was a steal! (Indistinct words)
Ellie Sanford: It was bigger and it was a little more modern.
Tim Sanford: A little more modern and bigger and had a water closet in it and it was - it’s made in Canada actually and - - -
Ellie Sanford: Renfrew.
Tim Sanford: Renfrew - Renfrew, Ontario, which indeed may still be op - I don’t know whether (indistinct words)
John Foley: I think I’ve heard the name.
Tim Sanford: Anyhow, we’ve had that ever since and - and very pleased with it. So, having them back to back gives us both heat and - oh, then we have hot water. In between the two is the hot water tank, there and we originally - - -
Ellie Sanford: If we don’t have a fire, we don’t have hot water.
Tim Sanford: Yes, no fire, no water, so - but it takes about an hour or so to have enough for a shower, but that’s fine. Just get up at 5:00 if you want a shower at 6:00. No big deal. And, we did have to replace the tank once. The first one we got was a Monel metal tank that we got down at Harry Smith’s junk yard. But, strangely enough, Monel is supposed to be basically a stainless steel and it sprung a leak after a lot of years. And we had to - we bought this one which is a modern galvanized one and by golly this thing was probably 25 percent more expensive than a modern glass lined electric water heater.
Ellie Sanford: Water heater.
Tim Sanford: Can you imagine that? There’s so little call for them.
John Foley: Yes, that’s the problem
Tim Sanford: Anyway, so there is it. It’s working - it’s worked fine for us just by thermal siphon. And so, when it’s - so we use about six to seven cords a year for - for the combination of heating and cooking. We do have a two burner little - little propane stove that we use there occasionally and probably use - oh, 60 pounds of propane a year and that - three 20 pound tanks a year. Isn’t that right? Something like that. So, just in the summer if you want a little something or just kind of quick, just (indistinct words) And, at first we logged our own stuff off for the wood, down below here and I brought it out with a tractor. We have a 1948 International narrow front tractor - a very nice machine - lovely machine. And - but then in recent years since the stuff that standing nearby has been getting pretty well used up, we have it brought in long length and cut it up and split it from there. So that’s worked out very well for us. So that really basically leaves only refrigeration. So, that’s the - that’s the sticking point. Along the way we built - had - had put in a trailer for El’s parents who came here when they were in their older years and both of them died here. And so, over there - lost my train of thought (indistinct words)
John Foley: Refrigeration.
Tim Sanford: Oh, refrigeration - so for them, we put in a - a switch - an electrical switch in there that can take you off line and put you on a generator, which we had the electrician do and we bought a generator and so if we absolutely needed to, we could just pick up that generator and bring it over here - run in a drop cord to our refrigeration units if we wanted to. What I’d like to do is to put another switch unit on - on this house as well, which would make it easier. Just, you know, put the generator right outside and run everything on it - the lights and everything. So, we liked that idea of - of not being dependent on the outside world if there happens to be an emergency, so we have by our own wishes and also pushed somewhat by our church which is The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, the Mormon Church, as it is commonly known. They’re very strong on being self sufficient and we entirely agree. They like people to have a year or more of everything - money, candles, toilet paper, water, - - -
John Foley: That’s not a bad idea.
Tim Sanford: Not a bad idea, no. So, our well out here is a dug - just a backhoe dug one, but across the way in the driveway there is a drilled one. We have used that once in an emergency. And, I rigged the power at our place so we could fill our tank from over there if we absolutely have to. So that means that we have downstairs a lot of food storage. We have grain. We have a grinding mill and so right on hand, now, for instance upstairs in an - in an old horizontal freezer unit we have probably seven - seven or 800 pounds of various kinds of grain, rolled oats, mostly. And, various other places in the house we have sugar, and beans and canned goods and pasta and all - all kinds of stuff. And so, most of the - most of the baked goods that we have, have at least some of our - our wheat that we grind - wheat that we get from a co-op. We did - at one time we raised our own grain. We used to own the - the field that the school across the way is on and raised both hay and grain there at one time., but we found in order to do that we had some interesting adventures with the equipment so - so we - we - I have no idea, now. I’d have to look back in the journals how we located, but we located a place where someone who still had a grain binder. Now, a binder is a device that cuts - cuts the grain. The grain - the grain is laid nice and flat on - on a conveyor. It comes up the conveyor and is bound into bundles about as much as you could put your two hands around with a light twine - not as heavy as baling twine - a light twine, and flips it off onto the ground. Well, low and behold, somebody over in Harvey or DeWolf - up close to one of those two - - -
Ellie Sanford: Bailey.
Tim Sanford: Was it Bailey?
Ellie Sanford: Bailey.
Tim Sanford: Not Harvey, Bailey or DeWolf - right in that area there up towards Frederickton had one of these things. So, we brought it over on a - on a - that and - - -
Ellie Sanford: The thresher.
Tim Sanford: - - - right near - nearby a fellow had a - a thresher, a wooden stationary thresher. So, we brought those over. We came to customs. They kind of scratched their head.
John Foley: They probably didn’t have that in their book.
Tim Sanford: No, I don’t think - they probably had it in - but the trouble was it had a little of this - leaves and stuff and of course this was when marijuana was - was big in the news and stopping any of the wheat and so they kind of looked at it and looked at us and at that time I had a full beard - that didn’t help and so they kind of looked around, stuck their head inside the thresher and looked at it and said “Go ahead.” So we had - so we went out and we had - had our grain planted over there. I guess we put in around five acres - four or five acres. And, I remember perfectly the time - the first time it worked. So, I got the string and everything and the thing’s going ching-ching-ching and the tractors going ching-ching-ching and out popped one of these things perfectly bound. I hopped off and I just threw that thing up in the air and let out a -a (indistinct word) whoop. It was just such a miraculous thing that this ancient machine - - -
John Foley: It just worked perfectly.
Tim Sanford: - - - worked perfectly just as it ever did. And so, then we had - then we scooped it up in little stacks in the field and a couple across the top there for rain cover and da-da-da-da. Next they brought it in and put it in a huge stack in the front yard out there near the well and covered that up. And, then got the threshing machine all rigged up and - and I made a belt.
Ellie Sanford: We got two - got two tractors.
Tim Sanford: So, we had two tractors. One we had a bailer - one tractor on a bailer. Did we own a bailer then?
Ellie Sanford: Unh-unh
Tim Sanford: I think we did.
Ellie Sanford: Maybe.
Tim Sanford: I think we did. We owned a bailer. But we had to borrow a tractor, a second tractor. And, was it Rodney?
Ellie Sanford: I think it was Rodney.
Tim Sanford: Yes. And so, we had one tractor with a huge long belt - a flat belt driving a thresher and that was a hummer.
(Ellie Sanford talking and John Foley laughing at the same time - can’t be transcribed.)
Tim Sanford: It went roa-oa-oar-r-r - a big roar coming out of this great huge machine with a - with a big drum in there with fingers on it. Oh man, if you ever got stuck in that thing, you’d be in bad shape. And so that - that threshed the stuff and out the back came the chaff. The chaff we ran right into a bailer and so it was a double operation. Worked slick as anything. And, so we had a bunch of people come and help us with that and that was - that was fun. It worked just absolutely slick It was the most amazing thing. We only did it one year. We just did that one year with the stationary bailer. Then we got a - a regular bailer and - - - .
Ellie Sanford: Ward Layton down on Layton Point in Pembroke - - -
Tim Sanford: Then - then we went
Ellie Sanford: - - - had a - - -
Tim Sanford: - - - a combine. Somehow we found out about a combine.
Ellie Sanford: We got it for a dollar.
John Foley: Oh, my gosh!
Tim Sanford: So this - this combine - so Mr. Layton had this - - -
Ellie Sanford: He had a combine.
Tim Sanford: - - - had a little farm down on Layton Point.
Ellie Sanford: He was an undertaker in Lubec.
Tim Sanford: Still there, but the farm - - -
Ellie Sanford: He’s not still there.
Tim Sanford: No. He - he was at that time.
Ellie Sanford: Yes, he was still there, then.
Tim Sanford: But the farm burned - the house burned and they - but they pulled out this practically unused combine from the barn and so it was just sitting there. No cover or anything - been there for a number of years, and somebody told us about it and so we poked around and poked around and found out who he was.
Ellie Sanford: We went down.
Tim Sanford: He had a - a - just a little house. (indistinct words)
Ellie Sanford: It was in Lubec.
Tim Sanford: In Lubec near the bridge - near the bridge there. And, in back of the house he had a pig and the pig was penned in a pretty small building. I would say the building was twelve by twelve. It had a lot of - he kept throwing planer shavings so the pig was on about three feet of planer shavings, which was fine, because it was - but the floor - it was pretty clean - pretty clean actually. And anyway we talked with him all afternoon and finally - so we stated our - our purpose right at the front and then we didn’t touch it again. We just talked back and forth about this, that and the other thing. Then finally at the end, he said, “I’ll sell it to you.” So, he just had to look us over.
John Foley: You showed you weren’t in a hurry.
Tim Sanford: Yes, that’s right.
John Foley: You weren’t trying to get something away - - -
Tim Sanford: Yes, that’s right.
(Both men talking at the same time - can’t be transcribed.)
Tim Sanford: And, so we got it for a dollar which made it a good deal and so forth and so we brought that thing home. This thing was eleven feet wide - absolute - folded up as small as it could be - eleven feet wide.
John Foley: How did you get it home? I mean - - -
Tim Sanford: Ah, well! We built us a little - a special little thing out the side of a - of a vehicle so that it was in the middle - anyhow as - as - as centered behind the car as possible and brought that thing along, but boy was that ever scary. Eleven feet is way more than you want to have and we had a sign on the front and the lights flashing and so forth and finally got it home and that combine - it took me a while to get it to work again because places had rusted through. Most of it was galvanized but some wasn’t. I think it was made in the war time and so not all of it was galvanized. And had to get a - - -
Ellie Sanford: It ended up costing us - - -
Tim Sanford: - - - had to get the drapers for it - - -
Ellie Sanford: - - - $300.00 (indistinct words).
Tim Sanford: - - - because the canvas conveyor type thing and so forth and so on - did a lot of running around.
Ellie Sanford: Which they still made.
John Foley: They did?
Tim Sanford: Oh, absolu - oh, sure. Oh, sure. No problem, there. I got those through Bangor. And finally got the thing going and then had - I got the manual - told how to operate it and they told how to adjust it so you had to adjust it - several things for the particular type of grain. So, for instance, if you were doing - if you are doing wheat, you don’t have to bang it up very hard because it has no hull to take off. All you have to do is just get it out of the - out of the head. So you - you don’t need a very high drum speed and you don’t need to damage it particularly. So that’s easy, but when it comes to oats which have a -a hull, there you’ve really got to crank it up really high because it - it won’t hit it - - -
Ellie Sanford: You’ve got to mash them up.
Tim Sanford: Yes, it won’t hit it hard enough to knock the - the hull off. So we got a - we got a contract with - down in Meddybemps with - - -
Ellie Sanford: Gillespie.
Tim Sanford: - - - Gillespie who had a hundred and ten acres of oats one year. They weren’t - they weren’t doing potatoes any more so they planted the whole thing to oats.
Ellie Sanford: We have a film of this.
Tim Sanford: And so, we decided on - he’d pay us $100 a day. He’d supply the tractor and the gas and the bags and we’d supply the combine and somebody to - to bag it on the combine. So I brought the two older children down,
Ellie Sanford: Jeff and Jennie.
Tim Sanford: Jeff and Jennie did it. So, I - so I took it down over the Cooper Road there and the scary part - there was only one scary part. When you go from the Cooper Road onto the road that goes through Meddybemps and take a left there - - -
John Foley: Route 191.
Ellie Sanford: 191.
Tim Sanford: - - - right - right near there is a little bridge. You can see it. When - when I was going over - you can’t see around that corner very easily. They can’t see you. You can’t see them. So as this eleven foot wide thing was coming to that bridge, a dump truck went ripping the other way. We missed each other by inches. O-o-o-h-h my! Wow was that scary. No way either one of us could have done a thing. Anyhow we got through there. And it took us, I think, around ten days - something like that - eight or ten days to do it. Seven - seven to ten days - I’ve forgotten. And we bagged a lot oats and it was fun. Pretty - pretty nice money. And we got the machine back. So, the difficulty with - with growing it here turned out to be weeds. Unless we - so you had a very few weeds, particularly mustard -= very few weeds the first year. Second - even though I went out and rode the mustard - all I could find - just walked down the fields and pulled and pulled and pulled those yellow tops - pulled some more - pulled some more - a few got left that you didn’t see and every mustard plant produced at least one thousand little seeds. Oh man, they’re terrible. And so by the third year, it was just too many weeds. And, we still have, I think, three - three hundred pounds of - of that wheat. We can still use it and I made a (indistinct word)
Ellie Sanford: It was fine. It tasted lovely.
Tim Sanford: A little - a slight bitter - a slight bitterness to it, but (indistinct words) so I made a little separator out of a - out of a - - -
Ellie Sanford: Everything involved all these steps.
John Foley: Oh, yes.
Tim Sanford: An air separator - so this air separator was made from a - - -
Ellie Sanford: Five gallon pail? No?
Tim Sanford: No, no, it had a Pringles - was it a Pringles box?
John Foley: Chip thing?
Tim Sanford: Yes, a Pringles chip thing. Something like that. So I had air coming up from a vacuum cleaner blower - portion of a vacuum cleaner - going up - a funnel in the top and a - and then out ports up near the - the middle of this thing so stuff could get out - so that air would be flowing upwards. You put the seed in the top down this funnel and the - the light stuff would blow out the top and the heavy stuff would go in the bottom and it would be in - in your big bucket of wheat. And it worked quite well except a few things got through - a little piece of stick and so forth, but (indistinct words) anyhow. So, after it got to be too weedy, we just - we never did it any more because we couldn’t get it clean enough. About that time, I think, we were getting into the coop and you could get it for $20.00 a hundred. And, the work - the work involved, the gas involved, all this kind of stuff - - -
Tim Sanford: - - - economically, it didn’t make any sense.
Ellie Sanford: Then we dried - we had to dry it over the stove in these racks - he had to make racks because you put it in the - in the grinder and it’s a stone - two stones and it would just go solid because it was - of the moisture content.
John Foley: It was too damp.
Tim Sanford: It was really too damp.
Ellie Sanford: So, ok - another thing to build - another thing to build - - -
Tim Sanford: But, anyway it was - - -
Ellie Sanford: It was certainly an experience.
Tim Sanford: - - - was all interesting - all interesting and we - we don’t regret any of that.
Ellie Sanford: It was all documented in the (indistinct word)
Tim Sanford: It was all documented. Anyhow - - -
John Foley: Well, you had community assistance with some of these things, I mean like - - -
Tim Sanford: Oh, sure.
John Foley: - - - advice and also - also help. But, I kind of wonder about when you think of your place in the community and how the community is compared to other places you’ve been and so on.
Tim Sanford: Well, compared with other communities - - -
Ellie Sanford: It’s up front and personal.
Tim Sanford: - - - we’re much more involved here by far so we’ve - we’ve done a number of civic type things - school board - I was on the school board for a number of years.
Ellie Sanford: Parent-Teacher groups.
Tim Sanford: I was - El did a lot of stuff with - - -
Ellie Sanford: Extension.
Tim Sanford: - - - extension and with parent teacher stuff and I’m on the planning board now. We consider the town meetings as really very sweet, romantic kind of democracy as well as occasionally as good theater.
John Foley: It can be entertaining.
Tim Sanford: It’s a very friendly community so we’ve - we’ve - we eventually, I think maybe three years ago, I did make it so we could lock our house, but we never have. I just did put stuff on so that we - so slide bolts on most of them. Then there’s one door that we can lock. But, we never had the feeling that we needed to although in the early - there was one time, I’ll have to say, in the very early years, there were some bad cats around here and I don’t mean four footed ones. There was a time when you kind of scratched your head about people coming around, but they - they’ve kind of gone their way or died or gone to jail or whatever it was and - and in recent years - oh, 20 years, we haven’t - haven’t thought a thing about it. And, so from my point of view, this is a very nice community and the - the thing that I say to visitors all the time - so that when you go downtown, I might say, and you go into a store you know most of the people in the store and they know you, and so if you go to Donahue’s they don’t charge you a core charge when you take something out because they know you’ll bring it back and so forth. It’s - it’s just very sweet. Very comforting. Very nice to have those roots and that connectedness. And, I know that - that our children, I betcha, when they go away, they miss that. Even though they make friends in other places, it’s not that very deep rooted connectedness. So when our older two go down to Machias Savings, Cindy asks them about their children. She knows them from years ago and that’s just very nice. Very, very nice. When we - so we’ve just come back now from - we just had seven - seven of our grandchildren - we have 12, 13 - vast numbers of grandchildren.
Ellie Sanford: Thirteen.
John Foley: I can’t keep up with them.
Tim Sanford: We had seven eight - eight and older could come for - for three weeks here and we just had them which is why stuff is still stacked around. We’re still dismantling things and did a lot of driving to get them - - -
Ellie Sanford: Back to Boston.
Tim Sanford: From Boston and back to Boston to get the plane and so forth. When - when we get over into Maine - over the Piscataqua Bridge there and over into Maine, you know, we - just inside we go “Hallejulah!”
John Foley: Well, I’m the same way. You know, we’re the same way. We think this - this is - certain people fit here and we understand that this is for us, you know, and our own kids are down around the suburbs of Boston now, you know, and I can’t imagine how they can deal with it. It’s a different world. It really is.
Tim Sanford: They are different. That’s all there is to it. So, computers, I - I detest computers. I don’t want anything to do with them. I have as little to do with them as I possibly, possibly can. I recognize their - their tremendous power. I understand that. But as something to have in one’s life, I think they’re - they have an awful lot of negatives and tremendously destructive to - to young people. Obviously pornography, but if - if you - even if you go to less destructive, more benign stuff like just plain information - - -
John Foley: Or games or things to do.
Tim Sanford: Or games - it’s just ridiculous. We’ve had kids that I’ve asked- when I substitute in school down here, I’ve asked them how much time do you spend on the computer a week and they all just kind of look at the table and you know it’s a huge, huge amount. How - how much time do you spend on a Saturday, let’s say, or on a - on a vacation day. Every day - a whole day.
John Foley: Their whole life is on these things. I know. It’s terrible. Pitiful.
Tim Sanford: And, we were just - we were just at a host - at a household the other day down near Logan and the - the daughter who is about 18 - - -
Ellie Sanford: I’d say maybe early 20s.
Tim Sanford: Ok, in that - so she had her third floor place there and the pantry down stairs - lovely pantry - so this daughter was descended upon by our - our herd of seven grandchildren and was being kind of put out because we demanded that they go to bed at nine fifteen or something like that and that the TV be disconnected - not disconnected but put off and so she - this girl was -was frantically phoning friends to - to talk to them because it was only nine fifteen and she - she had nothing to do. She was absolutely devastated.
John Foley: She couldn’t be alone or quiet with the family or something like that.
Tim Sanford: Or herself.
John Foley: Or herself. Yes.
Tim Sanford: She had no resources except music and theater. So, one of the kids was going to be in the office - on the office floor, so the computer had to be off and the TV was off in her own little place there so she was absolutely destitute.
Ellie Sanford: Bereft.
Tim Sanford: So, now it turned out that the one who was in - in the computer room was removed from there and put downstairs - didn’t want to be alone so they did put the computer back on so she was happy. But, that was just a little example of the devastation that electronics - I think that electronics have caused in kids. They just do not know what their own internal resources are and - and the longer they put it off the less they have, I would say. Anyway, that’s it. Anyway.
John Foley: Well, you
know, people - - -
END OF TAPE