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Saturday, August 28, 2010

A brush with fame?

I had an interesting experience yesterday. The editor of No-Till farmer came to visit me. It was not really an out of the blue sort of thing. He is in Oregon to interview a couple farmers who are strip-tilling and no-tilling  and he wanted to talk to a fellow I am internet friends with.  This farmer is sort of a mechanical genius and has invented a really interesting one pass tillage system.
I did not really get ready for the visit, as in clean the shop and polish my drill, as I figured he was just going to stop by as a friend of Ed Winkle.
The idea of being in a national magazine made me a touch nervous and as I have a lot to do I kind of rationalized it all away. As in, if you ignore the problem it will just go away.
I'm just a touch on the insecure side anyway, especially this year as prices are down and our crops tend to be a little weedy and not exactly the yield record setters in the country.
Anyway, the editor was a very nice fellow and quite interesting in his own right. He had lived in Oregon and was familiar with the area and some of the people I know. But, I was a bit on edge when he pulled out his camera.
He did not pull out his little reporter's notepad so I'm thinking I'll be a side bar in a main story. A paragraph, a photo of me talking on the phone and perhaps a good pull quote.
But, I've been thinking about it all after the fact. We spent several hours together and I showed him several fields. Not the best examples... I should have mentioned more people who did more than I and I should have showed him other fields. Oh well...
But, I tend to ramble on and tell stories in much the same manner as you find here on the Lazy Farmer.
I am approaching no-till from a little different perspective. I realized this when we ran into a couple customers when I was showing him a field I may plant. They raved about their results from no-till but used the field I was just saying I could plant into, as an example of a field that would not work.
So here is what I do, and this is why it is different from most other no-till farmers.
A farmer calls me to plant for him. If I have the time I take a look at his field. I look for evidence of pests who will eat the small seedlings. I ask about the pH levels. I check if it is too wet or too dry. I then may try to talk the farmer out of planting-if I really think it won't work, and most of the time I am unsuccessful in that effort.
A lot of times the farmer will just direct me to a field and tell me they have a truck with fertilizer and seed on it and give me the seeding rate and the acres.
So basically, I'm given a field to no-till and I do my best to make it work. Only on our own farm do I plan rotations or make decisions on what crop to plant and where. I've become pretty good at making the best of really difficult planting situations. Our own farm is not even a good example as I often do the paying customers first.
I'm not sure how you would work that example into an article about no-till farming.
Looking back on the discussion I really think the best story would be a feature on how odd our farm is and an article for Farm Show about the Rube Goldberg additions I've made for my drill because I can't afford to buy off the shelf GPS or Fertilizer rate controllers, or foam markers or any other other stuff people pay to have installed on their planters. I have this whole elaborate hydraulic plumbing system so my markers go up and down with the drill, I've got my foam marker wired to a windshield wiper delay  so it makes big piles of foam instead of the usual dribble (it doesn't really work) and I wired up a device using multiple lighting solenoids to turn my GPS, fertilizer rate controller, and acre counter on and off when I raise the drill. And... what sort of strange fixation do I have with driving straight that I have three types of guidance on my drill? Not to mention that I lost my wiring diagram when i hooked all this stuff up and I totally forgot how it is wired. Even my fertilizer plumbing is odd. I have a 30 year old NOS Blumhardt spray boom instead of the universal t-jet boom. I ordered the stainless fertilizer tubes direct and special order from Blumhardt. It is not off-the-shelf stuff.
After the meeting I came in the house and washed up for lunch. (I should have tried to score lunch at the Amity Cafe but I did need to get my bales picked up). I looked in the mirror and realized I was wearing a filthy hat that didn't say Minneapolis-Moline on it. I t read Killingsworth Gear and I got it five years ago at the Tulare ag expo-and a t-shirt that said something about Rhode Island being a state that was not really an island. Somehow I don't think I'm going to make the cover of Successful Farming magazine.
As asked my wife if she had noticed how I was dressed. She said she had but thought I was making a joke or a statement or something. So I guess I've become unconsciously the punchline to my own jokes...
In other news, the transmission is failing on the stacker, the water pump failed on the combine, it may rain, I have four truckloads of straw in the field, the soybeans need water, the Teff is a weed patch and needs to be cut, the alfalfa is now in nearly full bloom and must be cut, but then that brings us back to the long range forecast of scattered showers, which is not hay weather, and I have written a really long sentence. I'm setting in Grandma's old rocking chair and hiding from the world. If you ignore it, it will go away...
Have a nice day...

Note: There are several kind of technical farming terms so if you want to know what I'm talking about read previous posts or just ask.

Also, There is now an 85% chance of movies on the barn, most likely tonight but I'm still not sure. I have a lot to do today. AND, who would check the OFFENSIVE box on the barn movie notice/post from last night? Is it your barn and you are offended because I have not invited you yet this year? Are you opposed to Woody Woodpecker? Do black and white movies frighten you? Curious minds need to know...


  1. I think that you'll end up being pleased with your portion of the magazine article. I suspect you'll get more than a sidebar.

    As far as the movies are concrned-I would find it interesting to watch a movie on the side of a barn. It is something I've never done. If your black and white film collection has some decent movies then it would be a good experience.

  2. I wouldn't worry about the cap, "modern" farmers have never heard of a Minneapolis Moline anyway, so you won't get shot for treason. The last power unit I used on the sawmill was an MM. Some tractor racer (Or was he a puller?) bought it to rebuild when I quit sawmilling.

  3. I am highly offended by caps or even the thought of caps. Caps infer some kind of cover up and that offends me greatly! What are you hiding under that cap? Are you hiding a bald spot? Who do you think you are mister high and mighty,to be ashamed of baldness? Wear your comb over with pride!

  4. MsladyD, it is anyone's guess with the article. I can't afford any really good films in 16mm as they have become collector's items. The kids really like Farmer Alfalfa and Woody Woodpecker so I mostly show short films. Sometimes I show old TV shows. I have a feature film called Revenge of the Pagans. It is a sword and sandal movie from the 1960's. Have not show it yet. Sometimes we watch my one episode of Surfside 6. The kids like to sing along with the theme song. If you ever get the chance to motor west I'll be glad to put on a show for you!
    Gorges, I hate to miss a chance to put the MM logo in a national magazine. I'd love to have your old sawmill engine. Have any photos of the sawmill? That would be interesting!
    Anonymous, Yes I'm loosing my hair and I wear a hat so my bald spot doesn't get sunburn. Ok! The secret is out!
    Actually, the hat provides shade for my eyes. I started wearing a hat in the days when I had hair. I got a bee caught in my hair and got a bee sting on the top of my head. I wonder if that is why my hair fell out. I have been blaming my wife. I think she pulls it out at night and sells it to a wig factory.

  5. I think I would like your wife--love her comment on your attire!


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