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The Cotton Trailer Saga

This is our first blog post since the new site was launched, so if this is your first time visiting, we hope you enjoy it. Instead of landing on the "blog" page, we now have a static landing page with a little info about the farm and links to all of the various pages. The business went through a little growth spurt over the past few months and not only have we been hard-pressed for time to write blog posts, but we also felt that updating the site to focus on aspects other than the blog was appropriate. Hope you like it!

And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging. The Cotton Trailer Saga. 

Last weekend I had the opportunity to get a cotton trailer, which is something I've been wanting for quite some time. Cotton trailers vary in size, but the most common is about 30' long and completely enclosed by a metal cage. They make a perfect portable chicken coop and goat shelter combo at a highly affordable price. With our herd growing from just a few goats last year to 20+ this year and 40+ next year, we need to think about scaling up our shelter situation. We also want to raise more laying hens, so cotton trailers really fit the bill.


The problem is that cotton trailers were used a very long time ago and are almost certainly in complete disrepair. Therefore, if it wasn't within 50-75 miles driving distance I wasn't going to bother with it. I didn't want the responsibility of hauling a cotton trailer on a major highway. 

So when one became available in our area I jumped on it. An acquaintance of ours had four of them sitting on his property and for the past year had refused to sell me one. Then one day he capitulated.

Upon arriving at his farm we saw the cotton trailer and the expected rough shape it was in. The dual axles on the back hosted only two tires instead of the four that it should have had. Not only that, but they were on different axles! None of the tires matched and there was an old fridge laying in the middle of the floor.  

We all agreed that it would "probably" make the ride down Rt 231 without a problem. Once it was on the farm we wouldn't have to worry about it. It just needed to make it home. 

And, of course, about 15 miles from home... "boom"!... a flat. Not just a flat, but a completely dented and destroyed rim. Luckily the trailer kept on rolling and didn't flip or do anything crazy. I pulled it over slowly into a neighborhood and pulled off to the side of the road. Upon inspecting the rim I realized it took six lug nuts instead of the typical five and that the spare tire on the truck wouldn't fit. At 6pm on Sunday there's not much I could do... nothing is open on Sundays around here.

So I called our friend and trusty neighbor who is on speed-dial at all times. He picked up the phone, heard out my story and went around to check all his equipment for tires with six lug nuts. Hoorah! His goose-neck trailer had six and he pulled one off and drove it my way. We jacked up the old cotton trailer and went to fit the spare tire.

No luck. Even though it took six nuts they weren't fitted the same and we'd have to try something else. The issue was that the cotton trailer took "implement" wheels and not normal, road-use wheels. I'd have to hunt one down on Monday... 

But what to do with the cotton trailer in the meantime? Here I am in suburbia, BMW's and fancy SUVs parked up and down the block and I've got a broken down cotton trailer parked on the side of the road. Not only that, but everyone that drove by for the past hour just turned their head, aghast at such a sight.  

Just when I lost faith, however, a nice fellow pulled up and asked if we needed help. We told him we just needed a place to put the thing until the next day. He pointed out which houses were most likely to sacrifice their beautiful lawns to potential cotton trailer destruction and we went about ringing door-bells. Luckily, the first house we approached said yes and was very understanding. So there it sat.

In the morning I called around everywhere and no one had anything in inventory. The Farmer's Co-op said they might be able to match it, but not guaranteed. We took the wheel over and they rolled it back to match it up. The Co-op employee came back a few minutes later and said they didn't have anything for us. Damn. 

As we headed back to the truck another guy came out from the back and said he found something that might work. Excellent! Sure enough it would fit and we put a tire on the new wheel and we were off to the races. 

Now that big ole cotton trailer is sitting in our front yard waiting for me to fix it up. Eileen can't wait. I guess we're pretty much rednecks at this point...

- James




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