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Sunday, February 21, 2010

The new season has started. I plant and listen to the radio! That is real excitement!

I actually worked yesterday. I got a start on my first spring planting job. I no-tilled wheat into some field corn stubble on the river bottom at Grand Island. Or perhaps it is Wheatland. I thought I was going to do it Friday. A farmer said he had a flatbelt for my hammermill and I should look at his field to plant while I was there.
The field was almost ready. A little wet but I could go. So it was decided that I would go after my drill and he would go after seed and we would met back at the field that afternoon. Of course, the best laid plans don't always work.
I stopped by my cousin's place to complain about farmers who are more successful than I and it so happened that he had an Izzy's coupon. So we went to the all you can eat buffet.
The tractor and drill have been hooked together and ready to go for a week or two. On the way out the driveway I stopped at the store for a Pepsi. I looked at the front tire and there was an 8 inch split in the rim. I said, "oh dear me!"
So, I called various salvage yards while my helper removed the wheel. No one has a rim from a White 2-155 front wheel assist with the ten holes. It is kind of a strange size which I can't remember. It was written on my hand but it washed off.
I took the wheel to AgWest and they pulled the tire off. It had sixty gallons of calcium for ballast. That must be 1000lbs. No wonder it doesn't spin in 4wd.
I took the rim home and welded it. I drilled a hole in each end of the crack to distributed the stress and stop the crack. I ground a bit of a v in the crack, then I welded it with the wirefeed welder. It turned out very nicely. I had good penetration and welded every bit of the crack. I welded it on both sides and ground it smooth. Then I cleaned and painted the rim. I met the folks at the tire shop at 8 a.m. They said it looked good enough to put the tire on. That took an hour and with the new tube cost $160. Nothing is free in this world.
I got the wheel installed with no problems but then I loaded some hay. I had to bag some feed. I didn't make it to the field until 1:20 pm. Then the farmer showed up and offered to give me a ride to my pickup. That took some time.
Then I had to set the drill. For some reason the drill openers don't want to track with the no-till counters. The ground is just wet enough in some places that the seed trench is not closing. Then I found the speed settings were wrong on the planter monitor, then a wire pulled out of the run'/hold switch on the fertilizer rate controller. When I got the planter monitor upgraded all the settings were lost and I forgot where I wrote them down. So when the seed rate reads 800,000 seeds per acre does that mean the it is really 1.1 million which would be 125lbs per acre of Alpoa spring wheat. But, I don't know the variety of wheat, or the bushel weight, or if the monitor is correct, and I forgot to bring my balance scale. So I guessed.
There were lots of beeping noises and flashing alarms and frustration.
At first all was well because it was Greatful Dead hour on KBOO and the Dead music always puts me in a happy place when farming. Years ago when I was in Florida I would listen to Deadair from some college station in the Florida panhandle. I was young, there was a beach, I was happy and optimistic, and life was good. Kind of a strange association as most people I know find hippie music annoying these days.
But, all good things must end and soon it was back to regular KBOO programming which is all about black folks feeling sorry for each other cause they been oppressed by Whitey. So I switched to iTunes and got some Hank Williams Sr. and the Bailes Brothers, and Dr. Feelgood, and Eddie and the Hotrods, and Flying Pig Banjo and Fiddle, and something about-The first time I felt lightning, I was standing in the drizzlin rain, with a bottle of gin, a something, something, (dominac hen?) and a rose of a different name. (Why would you be holding a chicken in the rain?) Edit: I listened to the song again and I go the verses mixed up. bottle of gin/a trembling hand/and a rose of a different name. Makes more sense then the whole chicken thing...
The best line is, "the devil made me do it the first time, the next time I did it on my own..." Anyway I figure this song is about gettin' some strange and i guess I will leave it alone.
Fortunately the next song was "Dust on the Bible," followed by "Come to the Savior," and then out of the blue it was Dr. Feelgood (british pub rock from 197?) doing "Route 66"
All of this was by working class white folk who feel kind of oppressed but didn't not really know what to do about it. You can't blame "whitey" if you are white. You can't blame all your problems on slavery if you were never officially a slave, so all you can do is sing country music and perhaps play the banjo... Then there was Bonnaparte crosses the Rhine from the Daily Strumpet birthday party album, it was pretty good till the hippie lady started banging on the cowbell halfway to the end. Pretty much overpowered the mike. I would like to thing that the awesome baseline was me with the washtub base but most likely it was not.
But I digress.
I planted till 7 or 8 or something. I did 30 acres out of 75. I hope I got the seed rate correct.
I went home and went to bed.
My family and wife's sis and niece went midnight bowling or something. I did not. I am depressed about a barn full of hay and a note which will come due. And the fact that nothing anyone is planting will be worth anything come harvest. We are all so totally screwed. Glad the banks got a good bale out. Wish they would extend our credit a bit.
Reminds me of a Bible story about a servant who owed his master. The master forgave the loan and then the servant went out and threw the guy who owed him money, in jail. In the Bible, the master has pretty hard on the first servant. In real life the Government will just give the first servant (the bank) more money and then complain about bonuses.  And I am not real comfortable with the master/servant relationship with the bank.
It was a little wet. You can see the mud building up on the press wheels. Also look at the mud smeared on the opener disk. It kept getting dryer so I kept going. This is a silty clay loam. This section of the field has a lot more clay and is wetter. The other half of the field has more of the silty loam and it dried very nicely.

5 comments:

  1. All that farming business sounds too complicated for a simple mind like mine. That's why I always liked splitting firewood; there's not a lot of intelligence required.

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  2. Interesting to read about spring planting already. We are at least two months away from putting a tractor in the field. All snow and ice and still feeding cattle for another two months before any grass shows up. With luck I might be putting on anhydrous the last week in April, weather and other things permitting. Good luck with your planting.

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  3. Gorges, it is just one foot in front of the other like anything else. I never have said I was good at it.
    Ralph, wish we would have gotten some snow. No freezing weather to speak of. We have mice (voles) everywhere, little slugs eating on everything and mud. Any crops that are worth anything up your way?

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  4. Depending on the individual situation there are some crops worth a little bit. Just sold last years flax for $8.50 per bushel which is about 50 cents less than I could have got at harvest time. Holding out for canola to hit $9 again. Couple of years ago we were getting almost double that for a short time . It was a wild ride and made some people rich and put some new paint in the machinery row.

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  5. Same here with $14 wheat. Some folks tried flax a few years back and it didn't really work out. The radish seed people have got it set up so we can't grow canola.
    People think corn and soybeans would work were. There is a market for non GMO feed but I don't know. No magic seed.

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