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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunny day, I'm Planting and grinding feed and running scrappers off the road

There is a scrapper fellow who hauls crap past our farm nearly every day. He has a mid seventies ford 4wd and an old trailer and he loads it with cars and all sorts of crap. He tends to drive a little fast but I always supposed he was in a hurry. He never lost anything in front of our house. I think he lost a small block chevy engine in front of the neighbor's but I never heard comment on it.
Yesterday I got a planting job. The neighbor called up and asked me when I could plant for him. I said, "in an hour?" then I asked how many acres... It was only 20 but I need the work and 20 is better than 0.
I got my diesel and ate lunch and took off. Now I do have flashers, and bright headlights and I was heading up hill and I could see him around the corner and over the black berry bushes so I'm assuming he could see me. The road is pretty narrow in front of Uncle Buck's house and I do hate to meet traffic there. Buck has the distinction of brewing black berry wine in plastic buckets. I have never had any but have see the evidence and I think it packs a whallop!
But, I digress.
I kept edging off the road and scrap boy kept on a commin'. Finally, when he was near my front tire he applied the brakes. While it was amusing to see his load shift and push his truck, that amusement was somewhat tempered by the understanding that his front bumper was even with my rear duals and there was a $48,000 drill behind my tractor. He seemed kind of irritated with me.
I do put up with his cherry-bomb equipped big-block ford hell-bent-for election roaring past my house. I understand he makes a living cutting up cars and I have never made jokes about a possible meth habit as I have no proof of that. However, I would like him better if he would wave. I think he also has sparked a regular sheriff's patrol and I'm not sure if that is good or bad.
I got, over just a touch more. As I pulled away I realized I had uprooted just a little bit of the briar patch. (Don't throw me in Mr. Fox, no, no, no!)
I continued on down the road to my job. At the railroad tracks I met the local rabid democrat who has two real French poodles and buys pig feed from me. Actually we are doing a little trade. I was going to say swap but I need to be more aware of my terminology. I think sometimes I drop codewords that I don't understand...
He was coming after the pig feed I made him the day before. Wheat, oats, and a little canola and molasses to taste, and I run it all through the vintage Minneapolis-Moline hammer mill.
I was on a mission and so he agreed to return later.
When I arrived at the neighbors he was loading some oats for a fellow I know who lives twenty miles away. The neighbor has a seed cleaning plant as well as a farm. The wind was blowing so strong the oats were blowing out of the powerbin as they came off the conveyer. We had to hold up a tarp to shield the oats from the wind.
When I got to the field it was still green. He had sprayed just a day ago and the fescue had not quite died. This will probably cause problems with germination but then again it may start raining Monday. So, we set the seed rate at 110lbs with 10gallons of 32 solution and away I went. It was hard to get the seed covered so I set the depth down quite a bit. Some places were a little wet but mostly the soil crumbled over the seed trench. But, I could not see where I was going.
My markers did not cut through the green fescue rows, there was a bit of a hill and the GPS was off, and when I hit the briar patch I busted the emitter thing on the foam marker. The t-fitting where the water and the air feed in together snapped. I have the foamer thing attached with bungie cords so it won't break the plastic but it did anyway. I don't know if it was an even trade. A broken foamer for me and soil underpants for the scrapper.
I found a roll of duct tape in the tractor and taped it back together. That was not completely successful but with a tiny bit of foam and the GPS I could get buy. Later when the angle of the sun changed I could see.

It really felt good to be working again. Of course there were the usual problems. It was only 20 acres but I loaned out my scale for checking the seed rate. It was a kind of oats I had never planted before. I think they were called "dorado." It started to get cold and damp and the seed rate changed. I had to keep opening up the drill to maintain a 850,000 seed rate. Finally I had to go up to third gear on the drill. Then I almost ran out of seed. I had to shift it back down to finish the last pass on the headland.
I drove home and it was almost dark. One of my flashers burnt out but I only met one car. On a corner. I pulled over so my headlight would not blind him.
It was not a bad day.
This is my incredible dangerous feed grinding operation. You can't see the powerbin I mix the feed in. The other day I sold some chicken feed to a hispanic fellow who had a pretty hard time with MapQuest. Plus, I was grumpy and got tired of answering the repeated phone calls. I figured he would just ask someone at Dad's Market how to get here. I was right.
He had a couple garbage cans and so he parked the pickup under the spout of the bin. The engine kept quitting, plus it was leaking a stream of gasoline onto the bed of the truck and I was spraying starting fluid into the gaping vent hole in the carb. Of course the ignition switch was broken so I had to twist the wires together to make contact and it kept sparking. Suddenly it would start and a bucket of dusty feed would dump out of the auger. He had to hold the spout in the trash cans as he didn't want to get his nice clean truck that close to my rusty hunk. When he left he was white, and his truck was white. He was happy. I knocked $10 off the price...
Unsafe at any speed. The following photo could be used to scare safety inspectors.

I did show a photo of this to a safety consultant. He pointed out that it was so dangerous that it was not as much of a threat as one would think. I can't remember his exact words but I will tell you that when I start this up the dogs will not go anywhere near it.  I swear I am not standing under the loader bucket!


  1. Always interesting to read your adventures Budde. Moving machinery on busy roads is sometimes scary. Not so bad here in rural Sask. but I could see a little of that last week while transporting the JD deep tillage along the trans canada and through the city. A few angry waves but overall pretty uneventful.

  2. We've got some bad drivers in my neck of the woods here about five miles from town, but they happen to be city-slickers. Mom sold 60 acres across the road from me a few years ago and the buyer put in a housing developement. Now it's full of folks who always drive in the middle of the road, winter and summer.

    Your farming equipment sounds about like our old sawmill, so dangerous it scared you safe. OSHA would have shut us down in a heartbeat, except they had no jurisdiction, since we had no employees.

  3. So far I have only bruised the Chevy backing up to the drill and mashed the tailgate on the Dakota. There are so many unemployed here, travel has been happily uneventful! Our county is 20% unemployed and Highland is right behind, top two in the state. Really took the junkers off the road!


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