This morning was the culmination of many, many months of compromise in our family. Like most good stories a good background will help you understand. Change is inevitable and so it is with our family. We have grown and this growth brings many new required changes. Our three bedroom house no longer worked So two years ago my wife helped me realize that waiting till the oldest kids moved out was not a good compromise  in the house department. So we began the search for a suitable home. This was arduous at best. I hated what she liked and she hated what I liked. Mostly I hated anything that cost money and she wanted something bigger which basically cost more money. Finally our impasse ended in a nice little four bedroom house with a huge three car garage. When I say huge I mean HUGE. It had 14 foot ceilings and was 24 foot deep on one side and 30 foot deep on the other side.  The deepest I had ever seen. Lots of cupboards and this giant ten foot tall door that would fit anything we could possibly want to put inside. Our fleet of car’s could now be parked inside out of the weather. What a great compromise. Form over function had nothing on this house we had the best of both worlds. Soon however, my wife started hinting that now that the house growth problems were solved we needed to address the vehicle issues. I always thought that we could compromise my way on that one as well. I always told my wife that my idea of an eight passenger vehicle was four Porsche’s. I felt that two or three BMW’s was a good compromise. Like most of my compromise ideas this one also got pushed to the point of impracticability. Hence six months ago the quest for a new vehicle began. This quest was filled with family turmoil. Every time we had to go somewhere my wife would remind me that it would have been nice to only take one vehicle instead of the entire fleet. My determination to wait until the older kids went away to college was once again being pushed into a compromise scenario. Like the house this search was filled with chords of discontent. My wife wanted a mini van. A mini van was probably the one vehicle that was further away from the four Porsche’s idea that any other possible option.  I hated it. No, I loathed it. I resisted it at every turn. We were not going to succumb to the mini van driving stereotype. Anything but that. I tried to compromise. I looked at a full size 15 passenger van.  My wife wasn’t having it at all. I attempted to persuade her to look at a full size conversion van. Her interest was peaked. I started looking and realized the price was something my sensibilities could not swallow. Back to square one. She started dragging me around to look at Suburban’s. It just didn’t seem right. So Finally we settled on a Ford Excursion Diesel. We drove so many I lost track. Nevada, California, Florida, Idaho, Utah, Colorado we looked everywhere.  Out of the blue one day popped up with the perfect Excursion and it was only two miles from our house. We drove it and the compromise was over. We had found what we wanted. I asked the owner if I brought over cash the next day what was his bottom line price. He suspiciously changed his mind and said he wanted to wait until Jan to sell it. I think my wife actually cried. We waited. We didn’t even look for alternatives. That was the one we wanted. I didn’t let the owner know we stopped looking because it would take us out of a position to compromise. Finally on Jan 9th we gave them a check and picked it up. On the morning of the 10th my wife told me to clean out the garage so she could park it inside. On Jan 11th she gave up on me and did it herself. She moved tools and motorcycles and weight sets and more tools and boxes and Christmas tree decorations and more tools until it was amazingly clean. Yesterday afternoon I came home from work and the garage door was locked. I couldn’t get my motorcycle inside. Perplexed, I got off and walked around to the front of the house and then into the garage. It was amazing. I had so much room I could park six motorcycles if I wanted to. I opened the door and only then realized why the door had been locked. My wife instructed me that I needed to move my BMW from in front of the garage door so she could pull the Excursion inside. This was not the time to mention compromise. It was Friday night, I told her I would. I woke up this morning and the first thing I was told was that I needed to move my car so she could get the Excursion inside the garage. Compromise was over. Time for some action. I asked why she couldn’t pull it into the garage on the left side of my car. She responded that the Excursion was too big and she needed practice before she could back it into small areas like that. I went out and backed the Excursion into the garage for her and then that was when the compromise really ended. It didn’t fit yet. She had left 4 feet of plastic containers at the back of the garage. I had pulled the back bumper one inch away from the containers and the front bumper still stuck out front six inches. The house had won the compromise by being unmovable. I think my wife was actually tearing up when I left for work this morning. So, here is how we compromise in my family. Today I am going to leave work early and move the containers, and my car, and make room for my wife’s new Excursion. Tomorrow morning when we leave for church we will be able to walk into the garage and get into the Excursion and drive to church all together. Sometimes compromise means you give in. Sometimes it means you don’t get exactly what you want. Sometimes it means that your president is Republican and sometimes he is Democrat. And sometimes in order to get all the ice cream into the cup you just have to put another cup around the outside. That is how we compromise with Ice Cream.

Rocky RoadRocky Road Double Cup

Patience, Patience

My six year old Trevor seems to be the biggest source of material for this blog that I could ever want. Every day he says something that makes me say, “What The…..” For example, for Christmas Trevor and Hunter got a couple of mini RC Cars. Not the cheap Walmart kind,  (Mostly because I just hate going to Walmart.) but the fully upgradeable, 4 wheel drive, modable, fixable, you nameitable RC cars with 2.4Ghz radios. Of course anyone that has ever had a car like this knows that you can’t own them without having to make repairs. Why you ask. Because the motor turns at 30,000. RPM and that makes the car go from 0 to 30 MPH in about 2 seconds. I am not kidding about the 30 MPH thing and you take something like that and crash it into anything and your gonna break something. Couple that with the fact that neither of these kids have a drivers license and all you get when one of the cars rams the other is a whole lot of giggles and “Wow Dad did you see that.”  Of course the funniest part (and yes I have a little sadistic streak cause this was way funny) is when they do crash and burn and you have a wheel hanging at an odd angle the only thing you hear then is uncontrollable sobbing.  Trevor came into the house 10 minutes after his first driving lesson with his car in his hand crying like the world had come to an end. He had rammed his car into a brick wall and the car lost. So this is when Dad steps in and uses the entire thing as a teaching opportunity. The first Opportunistic lesson was about being careful cause things can break. Then next lesson was about obeying the rules of driving. The third lesson was about Patience. After I explained that the car could be fixed he stopped crying but each and every day, every morning and every night for the next week he would ask me if the car was fixed yet.  Each and every time he was given the three lessons. It took time for the parts to arrive in the mail and I was hammering each and every lesson as much as possible. This past Friday the 4th of Jan we went to a neighborhood party. Brian the next door neighbor had seen us get up early in the morning to drive the RC cars. Brian and his wife have always been extra nice to the boys and often engage them in conversations on the sidewalk. As we were leaving the party Brian asked Trevor if he could come and drive the RC cars with him. Trevor with a stern upper lip responded with a simple “NO”. Then after a moments pause, almost as an afterthought, and with his forefinger raised Trevor said to Brian, “Patience, Patience.” Who says that kids don’t listen to us.

What does this have to do Ice Cream? Nothing except I hope you will all show a little patience until you can have one of these. Snickers made with Twist Ice Cream.

Twist Snickers

Stoelting OverRun Repair

This Morning at the breakfast table the discussion turned to what we would do for the evenings entertainment. This conversation migrated, out of necessity, to the question of, to have a baby sitter, or not to have a baby sitter. Our three six year old’s have become accustomed to this conversation and have learned to listen for it, and also they have learned to put in their two cents worth in regards to whom shall be the babysitter. This morning was different because I learned two things. First, I learned just how early boys start thinking about girls, and secondly I learned just how different a parents view is from a child’s.  Trevor, the largest in stature of the two boys, quickly piped in that he wanted Teegan, a redheaded teenager that lives around the corner,  to be the designated baby sitter. Of course I wanted to know why? Did she give them more freedom than babysitters? Was it that she brought sweets? Maybe she was extra attentive? Or maybe she allowed them to stay up? So from my usually sneaky inquisitive way I asked him, “Why do you want Teegan Trevor?” With a gleem in his eye and his dimples in full array he responded, “Because she’s too Cute.” Really? Did I mention he was a six year old?

Now I don’t know why he thinks she is too cute but from a business perspective it definitely requires me to take notice. We all have a unique perspective on what we do or do not like from  our Ice Cream. But there are some constants that we want to count on. Thickness, Temperature, Viscosity, Overrun. Now we don’t all sit down to a bowl of ice cream and say, Darn it, they messed up the Overrun on this Ice Cream. We just say we either do, or don’t like the Ice Cream. When I asked Trevor why he liked Teegan he couldn’t tell me other than she was too cute. So, what makes Overrun Cute? Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Overrun2

In this Picture the Ice Cream on the left is not Cute. This particular Ice Cream is from a Stoelting U-431 machine. They have a bellows system that pumps air into the mix prior to it freezing. In taking the machine apart I found that it needed what Stoelting calls an Air Compressor Kit. Stoelting Part number 1177436. The following is the play by play in replacing this kit. For those of you that don’t care about the technical side of making cute ice cream you can stop reading now.

The offending Part is the silver pipe you see in the picture below. This is actually a one way valve that prevents anything from getting pushed back up the hose, including ice cream and air and then entering into the black part that we will call the valve head. This is only part of a larger assembly that we will call the Main Pump. Each Stoelting U-431 machine has two of these Main Pumps, one for each freezing chamber.

Stoelting 12The freezing chamber can be accessed from the back and side of the machine by removing three stainless steel panels. This picture is prior to the panels being removed there are four bolts for each panel.

Back of Stoeling with Panels installed

This is a picture of two of the three panels removed.

Back of Stoelting Panels removedNext you will  need to remove three bolts from the main pump. These two are from the left side.

Left Side of Main Pump

The picture below shows the location of the third bold.

Main Pump installedThe entire main pump along with the motor will need to be removed from the backing plate. (As a note you could just remove the valve head from the top of the main pump however because of the cramps space it does not, in my experience, save any time. In addition the removal of the entire main pump along with the motor will give you the opportunity to check the belt for wear. Doing it the way I am recommending will require that you have a wire tie ready to clean up the wires afterwards. There are four wires you will need to disconnect two from the solenoid and two from the motor. They will be wire tied together with a group of blue wires however the blue wires are tied to them only for wire management reasons. (to keep things clean and uncluttered.)

You will also need to remove the two hoses from inside the mix cabinet. One hose will be connected to the air line and the other hose will be the peristaltic pump hose that is inserted into the peristaltic pump.

Once the hoses are removed from inside the cabinet you will need to remove the four bolts that hold the peristaltic pump housing onto the inside of the back wall of the mix cabinet. These bolts are designed to be removed with your thumbs and fingers. Do not use a wrench or pliers to tighten them.

Once the inside of the mix cabinet has been prepped and you have removed the four wires,  you can take off the three bolts holding the Main Pump to the back of the mix cabinet. this is what you will see once  you have done this. I have cleaned this panel and you can see into the inside of the mix cabinet.

Backing Plate Cleaned with Main Pump removedNow that the Main Pump has been removed it is time to disassemble it, clean it and install the new parts.

Main Pump removed from machineThis is a picture of the U3 service kit parts that I removed during this service.

U3 Service Kit



Make Hay While the Sun Shines

My Dad has this funny little country saying. Whenever we would try to put off a job till later, he would say, “You have to make hay while the sun shines.” It meant do the work now, don’t put it off. Dairy Farmers usually grow their own feed in the form of Alfalfa, or Hay. Alfalfa is cut when it is still green and holds all the nutrients in the leaves and stalks. However, you can’t just bale it up like that because the moisture will cause it to mold and mildew. So you have to allow it to dry on the ground. At times you may have to turn the furrows of Hay so the suns rays will help it dry properly. Once it has dried you then bale it up and haul it off the field and put it in stacks to be fed later. If the hay is rained on at any time during this process it will ruin it. And if  you can’t get it off the ground then it will ruin the next crop as well. In some areas of the country two to three crops a year is all you get. This is the feed that will provide the cows with food throughout the winter. So, the entire winters feed for the dairy farmer could be ruined by one rainstorm in July. Because of this farmers are very careful about when they cut their Hay. They watch the weather like we watch money. There has to be enough warm days with no rain just after the cutting in order to guarantee a crop for winter. Those periods of sunshine can either make or break a farmer. So oftentimes if you live in area’s of the country where you pass a farm or two. You may look out your window at 3:00 in the morning and see him in his field on the Tractor. He or she is probably baling hay or some such thing. You see, even though it is dark outside he is making hay while the sun shines.  The Dairy Farmer is the guy behind all that cream that makes Ice Cream. That and there is the cow of course. But I appreciate all those farmers that make hay while the sun shines. Without them there would be not cream and hence  no Ice Cream.