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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Riots in Amity Averted by Strategic Street improvements

A mildy annoyed crowed of three people gathered Monday night outside the Blue Goat to make sarcastic remarks about Faux News and the Koch Brothers, but were distracted by a park bench and an antique store.
"I sure do love my life of white privilege," said a local activist who would only be identified by his moniker, Disgruntled Steve.
"What we need in this town is more Bike Racks," he exclaimed. "And the curbs don't stick out far enough into traffic," he added.
"But, what about Ferguson," exclaimed a lady wearing a large wool sweater and ill-fitting leggings.
"Yes! Lets burn THE patrol car," said a bearded fellow who was sipping a $25 micro brew and had been waiting two hours for his micro-pizza, fifteen minutes longer than the other three people inside the establishment.
"We should have more diversity in Amity," said members of the city council. "Oh yes, diversity would bring up property values!" said another member, rubbing her hands together and salivating slightly.
"Not if they riot," said a grumpy man walking by on his way to the liquor store.
"It is Bushes Fault! and the Koch Brother's," exclaimed a fellow who just pulled up with his VW diesel pulling a trailer.
Tensions were high and someone was about to make a sign when Assistant to the Assistant to the Sub Assistant, to the secondary Chief of Police, James Clark, pulled up in the Amity Police cruiser and encouraged the VW driver to pull his trailer past the pedestrian island that takes up half the street.
"You wouldn't want a bicyclist to get hit by one of those pesky farm trucks, now would you! People might not come to wine tastings anymore," said James diplomatically.
At the words wine and bicyclists everyone began to hug each other and had a great time sipping wine and eating artichoke and peach pizza at the Blue Goat.
Meanwhile, at the skateboard ramp in the Amity Park..... well, nothing happened, everyone things have gotten much more "mellow" in Amity in the last week. But, try and buy a bag of Doritos in Amity....

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Landfill Farms, Waste Management's clever plan to buy off the local organic crowd

It was just a few years back that some farmers in the neighborhood were shocked to find strange deformities on their animals. There were open lesions, chickens were dying, cows quit milking, calves died. No one could figure out what the problem was. Then one farmer started filling a water tank at our farm and using it to water his animals. Wonder of wonders, they didn't die, In face they did quite well.
There was talk of lawsuits against the owners of the local dump, which had just started a new site directly across the river from the old site, and was making a lot of money accepting out of county garbage.
(Back then, the trucks were red and white, not green, and they didn't talk much about recycling.)
Then, all of a sudden, no one would talk about it... It was sort of like nothing had ever gone wrong. (Aside from a few folks who didn't get the cash, and didn't sign the nondisclosure agreement.)
Shortly afterwards a couple farms sold and the nice fellow whose father had sold his farm to the local landfill with the agreement that as long as there was land owned by the landfill that was being farmed, his descendants would farm it, started farming on our side of the river.
Today, I just heard that my friend, the landfill farmer has been evicted, (but not from him) and that the farm is now going to be part of a partnership between Waste Management and the local organic crowd. The plan is to offer four acre plots to local organic farmers who don't have land.
I find this quite hilarious, people who are so terrified of Genetically Modified seed that they became farmers are now raising delicious crops on land that was once considered as a potential Superfund site. 
Here is a quote from the News Register which is a link to the Waste Management site.

It just goes to show you what a little public relations, nondisclosure agreements, a lot of money, and twenty five years can do for your image.
Just to keep this in perspective, the local dump is located on both sides of the Yamhill River, in a flood plain. The old dump may have leached into the local water supply but Western Oregon Waste bought up all the land surrounding the dump and part of the deal was nondisclosure agreements.
The person who started the local farmer's market used to be very opposed to Waste Management's expansion plans but has "seen the light."

You can find her name repeatedly in this "press" release. You can see the "rehabilitation" Waste Management from the green typeface to the change from "sanitary landfill" to recycling company. It is absolutely amazing. The dump is a nasty place which concentrates "regional" garbage in one location. A location in the "heart of wine country," just off of Highway 18 on the way to scenic Oregon Beaches, surrounded by filbert Hazelnut orchards, and now... Organic Farm to School programs. AND these are the folks that are opposed to Fluoride.
I also find it somewhat amusing to be reminded that selling one's soul to the devil often is not as good an idea as it seems at the time. Take this example, My friend lost a good chunk of farmland but can't do anything about it even though they violated the agreement with his father because, 1. He can't fight Waste Management because that have the resources of Mordor, 2. He gets enough money (I think have heard from a former family member) from Waste Management that he can't afford to do anything that may result in the loss of that income. He can't even tell what he knows about the contamination of the old dump due to confidentiality agreement issues. Pretty funny...

Note: The views expressed on this blog are solely for entertainment purposes are recollections on the part of the writer. They may or may not be as accurate as the News Register. But, you can't read the News Register because they have put it behind a pay wall which only makes it more irrelevant than it already was. Old articles in the News Resister can't be accessed through a Google search so for the casual researcher, the News Resister is truly a throwaway newspaper.

Oh Poop!

I It was a s.... Job!
And here's to mud on your eye! Yup, that
Is what happened next! And when I exclaimed, "oh shit!" Was i swearing?

Of course something went wrong!
I had a crappy day! Literally... See the puddle behind the tire? Not vanilla pudding!
I really did go up poop creek!

Please feel free to pun further...

Monday, November 17, 2014

The sun was out and it was a nice day

I needed to make skids for my remaining grain bin so that I can fill it with barley and not have it tip over. My brother suggested an old truck frame of which we have more than two.
It really seemed like a good idea. I roughly calculated that it would take at least $25 per foot to make skids out of 3/8" flat bar and have it formed.
It took me a good solid day to cut and trim two 11 foot chunks of truck frame. (Well, I did take an hour to load some hay and have a nice chat with Mr. MuddyValley.)

After dark I spent some time figuring out what I was owed and who owed me. I did twice as much stacking as last year but only planted a small fraction of the acres I usually plant, I got 25% less hay yield and I lost my main pig feed customer. It would be ok but I spent a lot of money on things like tractor tires and a better rake thinking I would do my usual 500 acres of no-till. I'm not going to starve but I'm feeling just a little annoyed about a number of things that there is no point in discussing.
I do think I would have been better off spending the $25 per foot and just buying the steel. I have real work to do.
Perhaps I'll post a photo...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lies that we want to believe and the useless internet which doesn't really give you answers

The latest paranoia that has going around FaceBook is the "revelations" by farmer Keith Lewis that farmers drench their fields with "Roundup" to make the wheat get ready faster and more evenly.

In my part of Oregon we grow soft white wheat which goes for pastry and to Japan for noodles and we are very sensitive about GMO or anything that would upset Japan and cause them to stop buying wheat.
I will state absolutely that I have NEVER heard of anyone in my area using glyphosate to make their wheat get ready sooner and more evenly. I did a search for this practice on Google and found some discussion on using Glyphosate for this purpose in areas where wheat is swathed instead of combining standing.
I really don't see the point in doing it as most places in the USA have a long enough growing season that there really is not a problem with wheat ripening evenly.

I quote,"It appears that standard, recommended wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as withered, dead wheat plants are less taxing on the farm equipment and allow for an earlier and easier harvest." This takes you to the Greenacres blog which has the story. It will also show up on your facebook page from the usually sources.

In another post I found an amusing comment from Mr. Lewis decrying the future use of "Roundup-Ready" wheat and, oh the horror's, more use of Roundup. This is funny because if the wheat was resistant to Round-up then the only reason to spray it on before harvest would just be to poison people. Which is exactly what us evil Monstanto-loving farmers like to do...

However, I could be wrong. Perhaps someone would comment?  In can see it as perhaps a regional practice, but I never thought it would be used on a regular basis in major wheat growing regions.

I will add that if it is a standard practice than by all means keep doing it! Then I will break down and buy those ten bags of Fife Wheat they my neighbor wants a lot of money for, and I'll start growing hard red wheat myself!

And, who is Keith Lewis, is he really a farmer? Who seeds these stories and how do you make money off them...

I've got my own, I know a certain farmer who pooped in a truck load of pumkins. Keep that in mind when you have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!  Oh well, at least it wasn't Round-up...

UPDATE: Ralph pointed me to NewAgTalk and sure enough, it has been discussed there. Yes the clever farmers are using Round-up on their wheat so they don't have to swath it to get it to dry down for harvest. It is not an issue of if Glyposate is bad for you are not, it is an issue of whether people think it is. However, it does open up business opportunities...

Friday, November 14, 2014

A duck for lunch

This year has been a good year for duck hunting in our area. Our landlord has shot more than he can eat and so is passing sharing the wealth.
He cleans them and cuts them up for you as well. I could not turn down a couple duck breasts and decided to try my hand at cooking them for lunch.
I've never really developed a taste for duck, although I do admit to a certain occasional longing for the sometimes elusive Tubetopped Bar Duck, lightly pickled in Coors Lite, or Perhaps the occasional Red-headed Double-Breasted Bed Thrasher served with a hint of shame and the aroma of Arandas for a little spice.
But, I digress...
My lovely and gracious wife is not a fan of Duck citing a long ago Thanksgiving celebration as an bad memory, but she found me some bacon and the cast iron skillet and kept me focused as I do tend to drift from time to time.

I cooked up a couple strips of bacon for a little grease and to make sure the skillet was heating evenly. When the grease was hot enough to think about smoking I dropped the duck breasts into the hot skillet and turned it to a medium heat.
The plan was to sear them on both sides as you can overcook wild duck easily and it may turn tough on you.  I seasoned them with Everglades Heat, a spice we bought at the Pigglywiggley in Bloutstown, Florida last year and sprinkle on a little garlic because you can never go wrong with garlic.

They appeared to be browning too fast on the outside and not getting hot enough on the inside so my wife "butterflied" them by slicing the breast open and turning them over so the inside would cook faster. This was an excellent idea.

I used a meat thermometer to make sure the center reached 165 degrees.

I found some homemade potatoe salad in the refrigerator and also one of these very excellent dill pickles.

My wife made me up a cup of coffee. It was a good lunch. The duck taste was not overpowering. Wild duck is much better than tame duck. Plus, a little bacon improves just about everything.

Patching a leaking fuel filter

Baling wire is somewhat of a legend. However, baling wire is but a metaphor for "whatever is at hand."
It reminds me of the time the rotor came apart in my brother's Ford Ranger going past Mt. Shasta at night and we fixed it with chewing gum and the aluminum wrapper the gum came in.
A couple days ago I had several sales for pig feed. 
As soon as I discovered my customer was on his way things started to go wrong.
First of all the forklift would not start, secondly I got a call that a truck was on the way to collect 780 bales of straw, and it all sort of continued from there.
I started with fixing the forklift.
It would seem there is a second fuel filter that has never been changed. It was somewhat covered in oil and it was leaking. 
Diesel fuel is horrible nowadays. Has water and alcohol and whatever other crap the clever folks put in fuel to make our vehicles run badly.
We did not have the filter.
It had a rather large leak which caused it to spray diesel on the fan belt.

Fortunately someone has been drinking a lot of Coors Original Banquet in the neighborhood and I found a can nearby. Equally fortuitous was that it was empty, otherwise there would also have been the job of pouring it back into the horse... 
I'm imagining that the can probably came out of the back of the my neighbor's pickup. He picks up cans alongside the road.

A little work with my pocket knife and an extra big hose clamp out of the scrap barrel and I was back in business. 
Which is not to say, that things improved all that much.
After dumping boxes of wheat screenings, peas, flaxseed, and a random half a ton of buckwheat, into a powerbin which I have semi – permanently borrowed from Wilco, I discovered it would not feed out the auger.
So, my customer ran the auger while I poked the mixture through the intake with a long piece of PVC pipe. I discovered he is quite a safety conscious guy.
He moved really fast when I fell into the bin.
It was ok, there was a screen over the auger... AND I had eye protection!
have a nice day!