The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, February 2, 2020

The never ending hemp processing

Art was wondering what happened to the lazy hemp farmer...
He suggested too much Bud for Budd! He could have been correct!

The process is never ending.
We finished stripping buds off all the hemp plants. I dried everything and put it in large bags. They are 36" by 36" by 46" high.
We still have our contract with the processor. Our CDB levels should be around 12%.
Labor costs were starting to really eliminate any spare cash. We hired a couple people who were connected with the farm where we are processing the hemp.
When we finished stripping the hemp we took a couple days off to reorganize and figure out what needed to be done next.
There are six bags of material that test 7% CDB. We need to sort stems out of this so that we can improve the ratio buds 13% CDB to leaves 2.6% CDB, (according to the calculations of my workstudy girl who helped during Christmas break and is a genius).
While we were shut down we got robbed.
The farmer got hit worse. He lost a generator and tools. I didn't think we lost any material as the person who is supposedly the thief weights 300lbs and could squeeze though the locked door.
(I have now installed a second lock on the door so you can't pry the door away from the post.) Word is that he got a few pounds from me also.
The end result is that I have no one to help sort hemp.
I am able to get college kids on the weekends.  I'm really hoping my Workstudy girl doesn't get stuck in Vietnam because of the virus. She went home for New Years and has to fly though Hong Kong to get back. I'm thinking I will try to recruit this coming week as there is a winter break at my college. Going to also have to call in the daughter. I have nephews but they are a little hard to find.

The worst problem I have now is that hemp absorbed moisture from the high humidity and I may have to re-dry and re-bag most of it. If I do that I will use plastic bag liners and use a vacuum pump to remove the air. Then I will put CO2 or Nitrogen gas in the bags.
I need to just finish this project up. The price is terrible but we do have a floor price in our contract. I'm tired of working on this every evening and recruiting my wife and various college kids and people without valid ID to help.
Sometimes I feel like the little red hen...

In other news, yes I am still a groundskeeper. I love blowing leaves in the pouring rain. I am happy all the day long!
This is an art installation on campus. This is what you can do with $42,000 when you study art...
I think the cleaning services guy was disappointed when he tried to change the roll of paper...

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

Christmas time arrived before I knew it. I've been sort of obsessed with the question of will we be stuck with 15 industrial sized bags of hemp buds.
That is a lot to smoke, make into weird tinctures, boil on the stove, give to people who will never actually do anything with it, or store for a year.
I bought everything online.
I did ok with my daughter but the wife presents were a complete bust. The first one I bought she then bought herself, the second present turned out to be the wrong size.
At the family Christmas on Christmas Eve, my wife's sister bought the same thing I had just wrapped and put under the tree.
The final indignity was when I got home and found the last present had arrived.
It was the wrong size.
My daughter and I went out and bought her a heated blanket. (as opposed to a heating pad)
Then I went and checked the hemp dryer. It is getting dry.
The hemp project has turned into a forever project. We improved our quality to the point where we have passed the minimum quality standard and could sell our product if the price ever comes back up.
We had a pretty small Christmas Day with just daughter and wife and I.
We listened to Christmas Records and it was really rather relaxed.

We are going to BBQ for supper and if I was not lazy I would go over and visit my Nephews and give them the Donald Trump fake lego sets I bought from a sketchy Chinese importer. Oh, the lovely Christmas Irony!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Hemp hophead fever

I am trying to drag myself off the couch to work on stripping hemp. It is an all consuming project. I haven't run the dryer for three days due to lack of production. I have to get a load in it today. Goal setting is important but task completion is key...

I would be happy to never smell skunkweed again..
or perhaps we should say the Wildwood Flower?

We are attempting to process our hemp.
As you may recall from last week it has been a bit of a process.
Several things have gone wrong.
Overproduction was the obvious issue and we saw that problem going in. What we didn't imagine was a summer which did not have enough heat units to produce mature buds and that screwing around for a week and not getting the weed in the ground was going to cost us thousands of dollars.
The planting issue came about by me trying to get a job planting for a neighbor who then did and end run around me and borrowed the planter and kept it for two weeks. The problem was that we didn't own the planter and I let that slip... We had the tractor and the pot grower down the road had the planter and bedder and no tractor to pull it with.
But that has been the whole problem with hemp growing. There is so much imaginary money involved that people definitely take care of themselves first.
Not to say that people haven't been great. The farmer who owns the sheds we are using to process the hemp has gone above and beyond being "neighborly" to the point of loaning us helpers and even coming out and stripping hemp himself. My buddy who borrowed the planter has also been coming out and helping in the evenings and has offered his stripping machine. It is what it is.
Our basic problem is that we have less than 10% CBD when we take in anything but buds. Stripping only buds is really slow.
We have considered using the gravity table cleaner as we are processing our hemp at a seed cleaning plant. Air and vibration make the round buds, leaves, and steps separate. But, you can't stop everything and experiment when you have a real job to go back to on Monday...
Things stopped over Thanksgiving as I was trying to get the people buying our material to come out and look at it and we sent samples for more testing. Of course the hemp girl hit a curb and bent two rims on her way over on Wednesday and Thursday was Thanksgiving. Our tests came back and the hand sorted material was three points higher than the material straight out of the stripping machine.
I've been trying to load the dryer before work and then I work till 9:30 or 10 pm afterwork. My wife has been sorting during the day and my nephews also help between school and other duties.
I've tapped labor from previous Workstudy students and my daughter and random individuals I have met. I suspect we will never get done....

Below is a photo of our material. The first photo is hand sorted, the second is just buds. The pen is for scale.

My daughter came home from college and helped last weekend. She does not like to be photographed.

Several Workstudy students have helped me. Here is one of my best students. He even has a real job after graduating from a Liberal Arts College.

Have a happy day...

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Before you decide to plant hemp, give me a call....

We planted 2 acres of hemp.
Two weeks after skeptically committing to hemp I sold a load of pig feed from a fellow who raises pigs in the part of Oregon where the most beautiful hay is grown.
He was asking about hay as there is a shortage due to the fact that every hay farmer in the state has taken out their alfalfa fields and planted hemp for CDB oil.
Then I talked to a friend who had attended the Louisville Farm show and he was telling me how everyone was talking about hemp.
So, I've been a little skeptical...
Apparently there is enough hemp oil for every American to drink CBD juice for morning noon and night and also smoke a few buds when the urge takes them.
It has been a learning experience.

1. CBD is just an excuse to smoke pot. Not that I really object. I don't but I know a lot of people who do. Smoking a CBD bud gives users (according to a review of our brand of hemp) a pleasurable restful experience. Sort of like getting stoned with Cheech and Chong back in the day I suspect.
One of the helpers at the farm where we are drying our hemp took a bud home "to his Mom," to smoke and she reportedly got nicely stoned... Yup, its just for your "health."

2. Hemp takes a lot of water and fertilizer. Kind of like growing corn. Plus there is a ton of plastic and drip line to dispose of if you do it like we did. Not that environmentally friendly.

3. No one is doing anything with the leftover biomass. I want to grind it into chicken litter but I'm not sure I'll have the energy.

4. Over production, if something is too good to me true it probably is...

5. Hand stripping hemp is a pain in the butt. I'm tired of changing the dryer everyday before and after work...

This ain't no way to be a lazy farmer.

Let me know if you need to score some bud....

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Reflections on the upcoming anniversary of working off the farm

I was looking back to 2015 in the blog history. I suspect my job sucked from day one. It was day two that I came up with the tuition, insurance, retirement mantra and that is how I have made it through.
Today I started a new job.
I am a temporary dump truck driver.
I have a commercial driver's license for something like 30 years. I've never really used it, but I've kept it up to date since the CDL was invented by the idiot gubment.
I can drive triples and tanker trucks. I've never done that before.
Today I declined the opportunity to drive a set of doubles. (another story...)
The steam line at my college is failing and so they hired a company to repair it. But first, they put off the repair for several years so their was continual steam venting from the earth. It was sort of neat in the winter....
But I digress.,
There is a company that has subcontracted the excavation work for the steam line. They seem to be having a great time. They climb their dirt piles with their electric UTV. The employees run from the excavator to the Bob Cat. The young kid does wheelies with the Bob Cat which causes the tight asses at my college to blow multiple fuzes.
Their supervisor has been friendly with me. I got to telling him stories of my truck driving failures whilst hauling silage. Like the time I had to shift the five and four in downtown rush hour traffic while hauling corn and I screwed up the ship and had to stop in the middle of traffic and start over. Or almost hitting a small car with a giant pumpkin in front of the train station in Salem. Or the time I was loading a truck with the really old but big Case excavator that my uncle used to own, and I dumped a giant load of mud in the bed of a small farm truck, which caused the truck driver and his passenger to hit their heads on the roof of the truck, and then it turned out to be the owner of the farm I was digging the ditch for.
Then he offered me a job driving dump truck.
I said, "But I'm just a farmer," and he said, "But, you have a CDL."
It turns out he was not joking and he is paying me twice what I make at my college job.
I promptly took a week off work.
Today was my first day.
I went to work at 7 am. We had a nice little chat. Young guy loaded me up. The supervisor showed me wear to dump. Everyone seemed happy. The supervisor came by a couple times and chatted with me while I was being loaded.
I screwed up shifting the 13 speed several times. The supervisor said he didn't know how to drive a dump truck and that he was just happy I was helping. I noted that I needed to make some calls as I also needed to haul hay today. The supervisor said that was fine and he assumed I was not going to do that while driving through the down town of our fair city.
At 11 am the supervisor and the kid said they were going home as they live out of state.
The kid showed me the controls on the excavator and how to switch from the normal controls to the weird controls that I am used to using. The said I should leave the keys under that floor mat and I could work as long as I liked.
I am so slow with the excavator. I tried the controls in the normal setting but kept hitting the truck bed. The next load I switched the valve to the Vintage Case setting. But then I was all kinds of mixed up. The bucket rotates and tilts which is really cool and fun.
I got better.
Then my neighbor said he would haul a load of straw for me so I went home to help him. He wanted me to drive the truck but I begged off claiming incompetence and I drove the RoadRunner.
We hauled my two tie wheat straw into the barn. Now I only have five truck loads of fescue straw in the field. It has suffered two inches of rain already, I suppose the anticipated additional inch will not ruin it further.
I'm pretty much screwed in the farming department. I expect the main farm to be ok if we actually get our hemp harvested, but my personal farm is screwed.
I did not realize how essential my daughter was to the operation. She would go out to work at 9 a.m. and would ask for a job. This would set things in motion. She would invariably get sent back to the house until 10 am but at ten there would be a raking or baling job for her.
This meant that my retired helper would be able to bale which meant that I would be able to stack till midnight when I got home.
Without Lulu, the helper would rake for two days and then bale for three days and I would come home and work on the baler until 9:30 pm and be so irritated I'd feel like I stacked until midnight but in reality NOTHING GOT DONE ALL SUMMER. And so when I took a day off and actually got something baled it was so late in the year that it was shite and there was no real incentive for the people who were guilted into buying the aforementioned shite to actually picking it up and then we got 2" of rain.
And then of course as a side note, I didn't bale my feedstore 2-tie hight quality straw as I was still working for the main farm and so it all got rained on and I lost my customer.
I think there is a basic failing in my business plan.
Four more years and my daughter will have her degree in Cognitive Neuroscience or Nursing and I can quit this idiot job where I am not trusted with keys to Toro lawnmowers, or the green house, and my supervisor thinks I am wasting time on my cell phone and the list goes on and on.
It was really great to be appreciated and respected for just one day. I would have driven truck for free, just for the appreciation and trust shown by my new supervisor. If they offer me a permanent job, I suspect my daughter my have to look for more scholarships....

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The occasional update

My daughter is in college...
I should be very happy.
She is going to a private Christian college, living on campus, and she will have almost no debt, (if she is smart...)
I am rather apprehensive about it all.
When I attended this college in 1987, I was very disappointed with my education. I could not afford all four years so I got an Associate degree from a local community college (for free) and then transferred in as a Junior. I got a better education at the community college...
Aside from the mediocre scholarship, I just really didn't bond with anyone. I don't hang out with friends from college.
The only person who I just go see for no particular reason is MuddyValley. I pretend it is because I want honey but really it is because his wife is really nice, also I like his dog. I think I've visited him three times in the past five years, other than baling his hay fields.
But, I digress...
I helped "Lulu" move in Friday. We went to all the meetings and speeches. She thought it was funny that I insisted on attending with her as she knows I skipped all that stuff when I went to college.
I asked her if she wanted to end up weird and old like her father... I got a somewhat bitter laugh.
The problem is that she takes after me in so many unfortunate ways.
She got a scholarship from the college I work for that pays her tuition to this University. There is a program called TheTuitionExchange which facilitates this between something like 400 small colleges and Universities.
When you go to work for the college they make it sound like the Tuition Exchange is easy to get. It is not. Lulu applied for tuition at Azusa Pacific University in the shite-hole of LA, George Fox University near where we live, and I signed her up for Pepperdine which has its own surf club.
GFU really wanted her. My wife and I both attended, our pastor attended, one of the dorms is named after my wife's family, and I called frequently and made the tuition exchange lady laugh.
Plus, my daughter wrote one heck of an essay talking about mission work and the call of God for her to be a nurse.
She has decided on pre-med at this point but I don't want to talk about it.
I also have strong opinions about the clever idea of small colleges to have Nursing programs to bring in students. The key (which is where my college is failing) is to then get them into another program when they drop out of nursing. Retention is key.
GFU has studied such things in the years since I was there and it was facing failure. I recognize the tactics as my college has been doing some serious self examination.
Starting with the first hint of attending GFU the student has constant email contact with "advisors." They are given a GFU email address. They have a personal contact, they get invitations and overnight stays.
GFU identified their target market and they work it hard.
I was amazed at the number of pickup trucks with bulk fuel tanks in the back and Oregon and Washington plates are in the parking lots. Working class people are sending their kids to GFU instead of my college. (I did not notice a lot of Idaho plates which I take to mean there are fewer Quakers.)
On move in day there is a team of students who descend on their cars and move everything in in mass, there is a chapel for parents. There is talk of Jesus and faith and prayer. I did notice they left themselves wiggle room. Your Student's faith my not be exactly like you expect. You want them to think on their own but you expect them to end up like you. They must make their faith their own.
Meaning, if your daughter comes home with a butch haircut, nose ring, and a girlfriend, and lectures you on Liberation Theology at Christmas Break, don't yell at us...
Says Cynical Me...
We shall see how this all works out. I suspect working two jobs and not spending time doing my own indoctrination with my daughter has had an impact which I don't like.
In other news...
Farming is frustrating. This is a new thing to read on Lazy Farmer I know but I swear, farmers are such arseholes nowadays.
My high school buddy who is determined to be the hemp expert of Yamhill County rented ground away from another friend of mine for at least double what he was paying. This screws us all as it means another major jump in rent prices. Plus, it was such a dick move. I would have rented him 20 acres in a HEART BEAT for that kind of money. Or he could have subleased the ground from the other guy as he just needs it as a rotation. Then they could have kept the increase in rent on the down-low and it wouldn't have screwed the rest of us.
As for me, I'm so far behind in baling I doubt I will ever catch up.
The guy who buys my straw put me off a week at a time and I didn't pay close enough attention because of my frustrating job and other issues and suddenly it is the end of August and I have three semi-loads of wheat straw which the mice have moved into and ruined the strings and three semi-loads of three-tie annual ryegrass from last year which I couldn't get to because of the wheat straw. Plus, the guy I was paying to load the annual ryegrass stole my customer so I'm not sure what to do with it and the incoming loads of straw from this year.
I baled four truckloads of fescue straw and the fellow buying that straw rejected it because of rain damage. I should never have agreed to bale that straw in the first place as I had a friend who wanted to bale it. I knew I didn't have time to get to it in a timely manner.
And the two-tie baler is busted. The original plunger bearings lasted for five years. The name brand bearings we replaced them with failed in one and a half years. Cheap China Shite has infiltrated every aspect of our infrastructure. Even if the bearing says it is made in USA it most likely has some sort of Chinese crap in it. CCS should be a brand name...

Today I am going to meet my daughter at the Newberg Dairy Queen and drop off a textbook. GFU says you shouldn't see your student for a couple months to get them acclimated but she hasn't lived at home for four months anyway so I don't think it matters.
I was going to take her to Church but she is supposed to go to Chapel by herself.
Ten bucks says she slept in and missed it.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Golfcart fuel truck

Four gallons at a time goes pretty slow.
My daughter is a good driver

I thought the river was going to flood the field where I left my tractor. I ran it so low on fuel it wouldn't start when I went after it when it was pouring down rain. My daughter helped me. She drove the golf cart which was what the farmer uses to get to the field.
I think I'm going to have to find a new pickup truck.
And by new I don't really mean "new," I mean something 20 years old that I didn't own before...

I've spent the day icing my back. I would try the hot tub but I get bored.
I was looking for photos of my daughter as she has turned 18.
Today she went to her senior prom.
I can't believe how fast time has gone by.

Here are some random photos:
 An enthusiastic farm girl
 Both these tractors are really old
My daughter raking hay

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