The Useful Duck!

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Friday, December 31, 2010

Our back yard floods, water valve leaks, phone gets wet, father can't print-the end of the year!

For those of you calling to wish me happy nude new year who are frustrated by my refusal to answer my phone, there is a good reason. I dropped it into water up to my shoulder. I know this as I was attempting to find the water valve that shuts off the garden water line. It has been leaking just a small amount and it contributed to the flooding of my wife's raspberry patch. I discovered this problem on a kind of chilly day. I had to break ice to get to the valve. I made a valve opener/closer out of a piece of scrap metal. It will also make a good hot dog roaster this summer. It turned out to be a two person job. One person reaching down into the hole and the other turning the closer but we got it. My wife was very nice about the raspberry flood.
I am not sure the phone is dead. It is supposed to be water resistant. I took the battery out right away. It was not wet inside.
Now I am going to crawl under the house and tape up rips in the insulation and put out mouse bait.
I'm in Dad's office. I was going to pay some bills but dad is having problems with his computer and that takes priority.
He is also opening all the bills and putting them into his filemaker pro database. This is a complete waste of time and will result quite the search by me to find end of the year bills to pay. Soon he will loose another bill and there will be a huge crisis.
I am listening to the relatives installing their computer. They are worried about the internet. They are installing firewalls and anti-virus. They don't have their internet service yet but they don't want to hook up temporary to our wireless network. There is quite a bit of worry about passwords and security. And static vs dynamic IP addresses.
PC people are quite entertaining to us Mac folks at times. I am keeping to myself. I started to explain and then I realized they wanted to do it their way and that is fine with me.
Chronic boy is discussing his fake injury. I've finally figured it out. I thought he was faking as I've seen him carrying big chunks of steel on Sundays when he is building things out at the shop.  I now think he is totally convinced that he has a real injury and that the doctors can't really find. He is going through therapy and getting injections and everything. You would think it is real as why would someone go through all that but yet totally appear to be faking? I'm going to suggest he get a medical pot card. He has the perfect injury for that.
My life is sometimes like a TV comedy program. I kind of expect a shark to show up at the door with a candy-gram.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My father and his mental state.

My father is almost 93. He goes to work every morning at 7:30 am. He walks out to his office and fires up his iBook and goes to work selling moisture testers. (Hay, wood, soil and so on)
As my father ages, thinking processes become muddled. He gets terms confused so you end up arguing about something with him, and then you realize he simply is using the wrong word for what he wants to say. You don't want to put him down or get him upset because the problem gets much worse.
Of course he is quite stubborn.
I usually say what I want and then leave him to figure it out. This is one thing when dealing with Filemaker pro because then he sits there staring at the screen for a half hour and then asks me again. By this time he may be more ready to listen to me.
Currently my brother is gone. My brother is the details person here. He takes care of the insurance info for dad. Dad does not believe he is insured by the company he is insured by. Dad is frequently right about things he is trying to remember-but then is often wrong. There is a 75 percent chance he is just using the wrong term but actually knows what he is talking about. But, it is the 25% that really causes the problems.
Of course he will not listen to me, which is ok. I suggested he call either my brother or the insurance agent. He will not do either.
A good example is when he is staring at a dialogue box on the screen of the computer and he calls me and asks me what to do. I suggest he read the dialogue box and do what it says. Somehow this does not work with his thinking and he just can't do it.
Yesterday he called me quite upset. The printer would not print just one record out of his AppleWorks database. After an hour of work I discovered all his printer presets had been changed to, "print all records," even the preset labeled "print current record." I do not have a clue to fix it. It will not save my changes to the presets. I tried throwing the preferences away. I think I will actually have to reinstall AppleWorks! We have an airport network with a wireless printer. The printmonitor sends the file to the printer and it is stored in the printer memory. Deleting the file from the printer is a little difficult. I told him to just pull the plug...
Dad at the coffee table with his iBook from last year. (Note the bored granddaughter)

Last night at supper he told us the lemon juice we had in the refrigerator at his hour for him to drink tasted funny. I asked him if he was out of the orange juice I had made him. He said he was and that the lemonade we had for him tasted funny and he wasn't sure if he was supposed to drink it. I went over and checked his refrigerator. He was not quite out of orange juice but he had been drinking lemon juice concentrate. He decided he was out of orange juice with half a class left in the pitcher.
It is really kind of interesting to see which thought processes don't work. I wonder what circuit has shorted out in his brain? I've seen this with other older folks. It mostly sad, kind of frustrating, but also kind of fascinating. I'm just mostly thankful that he is in this good a shape for almost 93 years of age!
Here is a A photo from ten years ago
Dad and brother doing some figuring.

Note: Having your brain go foggy is pretty frustrating. He knows it is happening to him and that is part of what gets him so upset, and then he can't think at all.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our farm is underwater!

Here is the view of our farm. If you look closely you can see dry ground under the neighbor's linear. That of course is not our farm... We even had some snow! It didn't stick.

I just got a call from the uncle. Someone is at the shop who wants hay. I hate selling hay three bales at a time. I was just at the shop five minutes ago and came to the house for my checkbook. They show up for hay only when I have walked out the door or have gone to lunch or am otherwise busy.
While I am annoyed and hay customers are waiting for me, let me express myself further.
Dogs...
I would like a break from pets. Cats underfoot, or complaining about what ever stupid things cats complain about. They want out or the want in or they want to pee on something.
Dogs who bark at every Dodge Diesel that drives by, but yet we still lose gasoline from trucks near the road.  One smart dog is better than three stupid dogs any day of the week.
I suppose I should take care of my hay customer.
I like making hay, I just hate dealing with selling the hay.
If I wanted to be a salesman, I'd be a #$%^&*ing salesman...

The end of the year, grain drill prices, spending all my money.

I need to buy fertilizer.
I suppose it was a good thing I did not prebuy my fertilizer already as I just got a bill for about $800 worth of insurance payments. Ouch...
I think they told me Urea was $480 per ton. Pretty expensive to fertilize ground that you get 2.5 ton of hay off of and can't actually sell...
I found a brochure for a Great Plains 1510 HDF grain drill in my "office" and spent a few moments looking at it.
This is a 15ft three-point drill which has parallel bar style openers/row units like a corn planter but is a regular fluted feed grain drill. The row units have a flat face where you can bolt on a no-till opener. I have noticed that anywhere I go over the ground twice, like corners, or headlands, or any overlaps, the wheat comes up a lot faster. The happens even when I am not putting on fertilizer.
Some folks are disking the ground first but once or twice over the ground with a disk leaves it rough.
So... I was wondering if putting the 1510 with no-till coulters on the back of my CPH cart which has coulters on it would work the ground better. I could use a little wider no-till coulters in the back which would make a nicely worked little slot. (In my imagination)
So, I called the local dealer as I know they have one of these drills on their lot and it has been there for two years...
I now know why. 
Great Plains 1510HDF with 3" ribbed press wheels and no small seeds or fertilizer is around $33,000
The no-till counters are $247/row for a total of $6000
Small seeds would add $2500
The harrow, which is the secret to planting with a v-opener no-till drill (IMHO) adds $1400
You are paying over $40,000 for a three-point grain drill.
If my idea that working the seedbed just a little more would increase yield is true then the $40,000 would be worth it and I'd probably buy it as I need to do what ever I can to maintain my no-till planting business. Shoot, that is only 2000 acres or so worth of work.
However, I suspect there may be other factors involved and I can't really afford to experiment with $40,000+ dollars.
I think I will just rebuild my old drill instead. It only has 7,500 acres on it. I suppose it is time. (of course the counter was broken for a year...)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I was discussing the so-called food safety bill with a neighbor the other day. He thinks I have a bad attitude.
Check out this post from The Atlantic Wire. Then read the comments at the bottom of the page.
The debate about most new goverment programs can be summed up by the opposing comments of two posters,  Justsaynotorelegion and dreadnought.
I don't think you even need to read the details of new bills or new government programs as you know they will all contain three things, an increase in taxes, an increase in regulation, an increase in bureaucracy, and are designed to accomplish two other important goals, 1. a loss of your personal freedom, 2. a benefit to some large company-most likely a long-term means to eliminate competition.
We got into this argument at coffee time during the debate of the heathcare bill. My uncle was slightly offended by my cynical outlook.
Of course I was right.
I developed this outlook during the previous administrations both Democrat and Republican.
My second complaint of the day is about the "useful idiots," who support these new plans.
There has been some serious indoctrination of people under 45 years of age. Some serious changes in the face of education must have happened in the 1990's.  While the new "progressives" claim to have thought this up all on their own, they all have the same thoughts and ideas. For example, all religion is equally bad, the Palestinians are oppressed, the USA was always an evil nation, anything that a fake black president does is good, all conservatives are bad and we should be nice to people who swear they are going to kill us and be mean to people who want to be our friends.
I suppose a lot of this comes from the moral failures of our conservative leaders, but it also comes from the reinterpretation of our views of historical and current leaders. We must believe that everyone has a secret sin. If that sin is something considered an acceptable sin, then that person has depth of character, if the sin is currently unpopular then the person is a fraud.
I'm kind of going off on a rant here and people don't really like to read them. Plus there are a million other rants on the internet so you don't really need to hear mine.
It is not like there is anything you can do about it.

I will add one other pet peeve. Those law abiding folks who say "if is for our own good." They get all law-and-order on you. And say things like, "if you follow the law you have nothing to worry about." A statement which is total BS when you consider what the laws have become. A statement which is pretty much UnAmerican when you look at history.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm thinking of taking up model rocketry as a hobby (again)

It is high time my nephews experienced the thrill of blowing things up. What sort of an uncle would I be if I did not supply them with M-80's or show them how to make bombs out of black powder and plastic pipe?
Well, perhaps times have changed a little and I suppose the authorities would frown on such actions...
You know the problem with this world is that the worst sorts of people are in charge of everything. All those folks that ratted you out in high school and who you used to make fun of-because they begged for it, they are in charge of the world.
Like that girl in band class that would tell on you for throwing stuff at the drum section when the band teacher wasn't looking. Who got mad at us for throwing the teacher's stapler over the wall into the weight room. (big crash from the next room.) The kid who would whine to the Ag teacher when someone stuck a hot welding rod through his water bucket and made it drain out on his pants leg. Those are the sorts of people who thrive in the modern political system.
They never did burnouts, drove 100 mph, E-brake turns in their brother's ford pinto, or taped rude signs on the backs of substitute teachers. So they are ones who label everything that is fun and challenging a public menace.
I really have no idea, I just know that you can't make fun explosives anymore and if you are unsuccessful at outrunning the cops they pull guns on you. Note: I have not eluded or attempted to elude a police officer in since 1982 but I sometimes listen to kids tell stories. Actually I have not driven over 45 mph in the last five years and my wife can back that statement up!
Just the same, I support those types of actions and think more kids should do wild and crazy things and less time setting around, taking drugs, screwing monkeys, and doing vandalism and theft.
But, I digress.
The family watched "October Skys." (A movie in which Jake Gyhellhalmiher does not Indian Love Wrestle any cowboys. Also when Jake makes moon-eyes at the handsome football player standing behind the cute girl one should not say in a girlish voice, "oh, Heath!" as ones more mature wife will be disgusted with you.)
It based on a true story about some kids who build Amateur rockets. (There is no mention that they got started with this project through the Boy Scouts as Hollywood does not like the Boy Scouts.) You can look the movie up by clicking here.
Some years ago I used to build and launch the Estes balsa wood and cardboard rockets. I did a search for the company and they still exist.
I think my launch pad is up in the attic of Dad's house and you can still buy rocket engines from hobby shops.
I see there is even a website for the old Jetex reusable rocket motors that powered airplanes. I always wanted one of those. A company in Eastern Europe makes the Javelin but you probably can't get that here.
It should be pretty fun to launch the model rockets and we have lots of room to do it. The question is, will I actually do it?
I also found a site that shows how to make your own engines using KNO3 and sugar so perhaps we could go a little larger scale. Hmmm...

A Funeral

The sky is gray. There was no real sunrise. Not that we could tell if there was one. There is a large hayshed that blocks our view of the mountains. It is made of recycled tin. That knowledge makes me feel so much better.  The gray just got lighter and then it was morning. I didn't want to get out of bed. I laid there and looked at the gray clouds through the venetian blinds. Finally, my back hurt bad enough I just got up.
I thought I'd wait for the daughter to get out of bed as wife has gone to the Dr. for a checkup. Daughter has not been feeling well so I thought I'd see how she was before wandering out of the house.
Last night she had trouble sleeping again. At 10 p.m. she got out of bed and came to me in tears. She wanted to know how to get a thought out of her head.
She had been thinking about genies and what would happen if she found one. The problem was that she said she didn't really want anything to be different and she was trying to get rid of the genie. She pointed at him and said she wanted him to go away but the genie deflected her wish onto the fellow standing behind him and he disappeared.
So...
I suggested that instead of trying to ignore the story-which was not working, she should change the story line so that instead of fighting with her mind and not sleeping, she would develop a story arc that would be interesting and put her to sleep.
We had a discussion about the rules genie's live by and how the story could be changed. I also pointed out that in my understanding of Christian theology accepting One True God trumps the Genie and so even if she found the Genie the whole wish thing might not work anyway. This is sort of why I don't play the lottery. I fear God would punish me for gambling by having me win enough to get my name in the papers, but not enough so that I wouldn't care. Or...since it is wrong to gamble, I would never win, I'd just loose all my money as punishment. Or, since I'm predestined to win or lose and I don't have the money yet, that means I've already lost and I shouldn't bother playing...
But, I digress. (I think one of those arguments is invalid anyway)
Then I went we said a prayer and I got in bed with her and lay there for a while till her breathing evened out and she appeared to be sleeping. She was not actually sleeping but said it was ok to leave and thanked me for helping her. I sometimes worry that my amateur psychology will in some way damage her psyche and she will have to spend a lot of money to get re-programed later in life. Which will fail as she will be too cynical to actually believe the psychologist.
But, that was not what this blog post is about...
This afternoon I have a funeral to attend. The fellow has not been in good shape for years. He could not really talk as a result of a stroke. He attended our church so I am taking my dad.
Funerals give me severe tension. Not because the people are dead. It is because of all the other people reminding me of what I am not.  That is a long story.
In other news....
I wish my father would not have lost the Chevron Bill. He has filed it somewhere but he does not know where. He puts all the bills into something in Filemaker Pro 2.0 but doesn't always spell things consistently so there is no way to find it again. I suspect the bill has been put into last years or last month's bill file. He is working hard on it right now and I hate to disturb him.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

In honor of our Christmas Program

CRADLE HYMN-
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay--
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me for ever and love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven, to live with Thee there.
-MARTIN LUTHER

This is supposed to be the real story of Santa Claus.... Click Here

Now read the whole Christmas Carol, "I heard the Bells."  I hate to print any Yankee propaganda but Longfellow was deeply saddened by Lincoln's war of aggression and I like the song.

When Longfellow this poem, America was still months away from Lee's surrender to the "blue coated devils," at Appomattox Court House on April 9th 1865; and, his poem reflected the prior years of the war's despair, while ending with a confident hope of triumphant peace.


Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
'There is no peace on earth,' I said;
'For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!'

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
'God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!'

About this poem click here.

Since no good music has been written since 1918 I suppose there will be no poetry regarding naked scanners or cupping screeners....Or exploding Islamics. Or fake terrorists. I guess that doesn't really lend itself to lyrical expression. Perhaps a banjo tune?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas found me...

We have had a nice Christmas. It was pretty low key. The daughter was unable to sleep and woke us up at something like six am. We opened our presents and then took Dad out for breakfast.  I got a book called, "Somewhere in Oregon," which is a collection of interesting short stories about small towns and interesting people and I got a small R/C helicopter which I promptly flew into the drapes and ruined it.
The daughter made a haul on Lego's, a crane and an aeroplane and a giant telescope.

We have been using it to attempt to spy on the neighbor as the sky is so cloudy. We found an interesting knot hole in the old walnut tree, but not squirrels.

Dad went back to work after breakfast. He is going through the local phone books and has made a list of everyone connected with the lumber and building businesses. He has a flyer of moisture testers for wood and is sending it to everyone. We got him to take a break for lunch. He decided to stick around and watch a movie.

The nice lady who I mentioned in a previous post came out after oats for her horses. She bought her son and boyfriend who are a bit younger than I. I kind of think I may have gone to High School with her but perhaps not. I was a bit worried she would catch a chill as there was a light drizzle and the temperature as dropped a few points. No threat of snow, just your cold clammy Oregon winter.

We are watching "To catch a thief," with Grace Kelly. You know I may be just a bit slow but I am not sure they are really talking about diamonds. The innuendo is kind of jumping out at me. The fireworks at just the right time. Oh my!!!

It is a little better now that we have the action. A chase sequence on the roof! We are on the edge of our collective seats! My daughter has not seen the movie and so this is a great surprise.  Dad has forgotten that he has seen the movie and so it is also a great surprise.
I think the burglar is the cute one and they should run off to South America together but I guess I'm just contrary...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve will find me?

We are the way to the wife's family for Christmas. Dad is working in the office on his computer. He is not wearing his Stetson. I need to get it cleaned for his Christmas present. I wonder if that is possible?
Tomorrow we will spend the day at home (I hope).
A lady wants to come for hay. This is the lady who likes to display her huge breasts. I wonder if she thinks she gets a better deal that way? She may in fact get a better deal because I am kind of afraid there will be a wardrobe malfunction and I will be injured. I told her my 20 something helper wanted to ask her out and had a think for hottie's in their early thirties. She said she was closer to 40 and positively glowed. (heh...heh.. heh...) I gave her his phone number and told her he had a whole barn full of hay and would give her a good deal. We shall see what comes from this!
I actually like selling to her. She is happy and friendly and likes my hay. I just really wish she wasn't trying to work me. Or would wear more sturdy foundation garments.
Merry Christmas anyway!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eat, Pray, Live, is a horrible movie.

We are watching Eat, Pray, Live. We were going to relax and just watch a movie. My wife is sleeping on the couch. She is lucky. I watching...
It is a stupid and shallow movie. I say this after watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Lots of filler. They get a divorice cause the main character is way too self absorbed and feels unhappy and trapped. She takes up with a younger man and breaks up because she feels unhappy. Now she is in Italy eating and is currently happy. Lots of stupid and supposedly deep observations about how to enjoy life and that the pizza is really good and if you gain ten pounds it is ok.
Julia Roberts says to her much hotter friend who has gained ten pounds. When you take off your clothes in front of a man does he ever kick you out because he doesn't think you are hot enough? No, he thinks he has won the lottery because he has a naked woman in his room.
Right, he just won't call you back.
I see that she is now unhappy again.
You know I have seen My dinner with Andre' and I get the food metaphor. I also saw Eating Raoul which was pretty funny.
It is just one obvious cliche about relationships after another all strung together. Julia Roberts is kind of starting to look old.
It is just not working for me.
I'd rather watch a Jane Austin costume drama.
Just live your ^&*(^%ing life.

The main character leaves her husband because she can afford to. She says they have nothing in common but he says he is trying to make her happy, he loves her, he wants to make her happy. She has to follow her dreams.
People are not always happy. In fact I would bet you are unhappy more than you are happy. You just live your life and do the best you can, what more meaning is there in life?

Oh my goodness. She is in India at some temple and now she has met a sidekick type guy from Texas. This is truly pathetic. He calls her "groceries" since she eats a lot. "I think you have the capacity, some day, to love the whole world," he says. This is so preachy. If he was saying you "gotta love Jesus," put your sins under the blood and accept the forgiveness of God, people would laugh. Somehow this is better?

So she is on this journey of self discovery. Why does she need a man to guide her? At every stage of her emotional development she hooks up with a guy. It is stupid.

She just needs to get over herself. Good grief!

Life is too precious to waste continue watching this I'm going to bed!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Surrealism on the farm-Sometimes I just wonder what I am doing and why....

When you are an anonymous blogger or comment on NAT you can be anyone you want. I am sure many of you reading this assume I am a very successful farmer who just pretends to be modest, but really farms 5,000 acres. That is not the case.
The sun was out today. I felt pretty good. I sold some chicken feed yesterday. I started cleaning up some stuff, I made some more feed, and then I went to pay my grain bill. The fellow talked to me just like I was a real farmer. We discussed me renting a farm I have found. He told me he would pay me a decent price for oats. I left feeling optimistic but a little strange.
Our other subject was that my neighbor pointed out a few people (I was surprised as he never speaks ill of anyone) who needed the Lord. (I was also surprised as he never talks God stuff) It is one thing when I'm depressed but when Mr. Positive is depressed it starts to make me a little nervous. As I thought about that strange conversation my optimism started to fade a little.
Then I arrived at the farm.
The Uncle is buying a computer to run QuickBooks as the other Uncle is retiring as a book keeper. My dad forgot how get his iBook to print again. It turned out he had somehow clicked the wrong box and he really doesn't read the dialogue boxes that pop up telling him what to do. It was not so difficult.
Later, I was installing a switch on my antique engine powered fertilizer box that I bought to store feed. There was a lot of mud. Everything is old. If my brother was here he could set up my Uncle's books. I can't do math or accounting and I'm a terrible businessman. My brother is of course not here. He is in Indiana for Christmas.  I have completely forgotten all the accounting things he told me to do while he is gone.
My cousin's daughter was here and was talking about my employee (who is her cousin but not mine) and how he takes advantage of me. I pointed out that I was aware of that and I found it all kind of pathetic. Yet I did not have the heart to fire him because he is such a nice guy.
Then I broke the switch I was trying to install. It was a cheap POS (different from NOS) which was made-yes you guessed it- in China.

I looked around.... I thought about the farm I just left. I thought about our farm. I was not sure if I should cry or drink or beat my head against the grain tank. I couldn't just go have coffee break as it was after 3 p.m.

My other neighbor, who is a real farmer, had an employee quit. I think he would hire me. My wife says I am working here to "preserve a way of life."


This is my father hard at work!
By that point it was dark. I was talking to my other neighbor from whom I rent a whopping 4.5 acres and a not very good shed, which his uncle insists on filling up with junk cars. My friend (neighbor) was discussing the Studebaker car that he was going to work on for me four years ago and now is setting in pieces under his car port.Then dad decided it was supper time. He was coming to our house for supper. I heard the squeak of his walker tires as he speed-walked through the lake to my house. He likes to come to our house for supper and watch old movies.
After supper we watched, "Its a wonderful life." I liked Mr. Stewart's wife. She was so pretty and nice. Dad said he had never seen it before. He laughed at all the right points and said "oh my!" a couple times. He actually has seen the movie before when my brother spent a previous Christmas in Indiana and Dad came over and watched movies after supper. When you are 92 and forget things frequently it is not so bad. You can enjoy the same thing multiple times!
This is my father ten years ago when we had better corn. That is Buddy the 110lb German Shepherd standing there with him. Dad is not as short as the dog is big!

Anyway...
Merry Christmas!

Amimals in the house

We live in a small manufactured home. It is pretty airtight and well insulated. At one point it had wall to wall carpeting.
In this home we have two cats and a dog.
We can rationalize this all in several ways. For example the one cat goes out a lot and the dog is outside all day. The second cat is a kitten which was brought home because it was so cute.
The dog is a small old white german shepherd. The dog stares at my wife. That is pretty much her life. She stares at my wife when she is home and then when she is gone she stares at the point where her car used to be.
Sometimes she chases the pickup down the highway when I take the kids to school. Sometimes she just stands in the middle of the road and stares in the direction my wife was last seen driving.
Sometimes the neighbors bring her home. I have no idea what she was doing at their house. Probably staring at them and it made them nervous. People don't usually bring your dogs home. They yell at them, shoot them, yell at you, but they hardly ever pick them up in their vehicles and drive them home.
She is a nice dog and the kids like her. She follows them around and stares at them. Sometimes she plays fetch. She has very soft fur and she likes it when the kids pet her or hug her.  They think she is "watching," and not staring and interpret this as being protective.
If Stanley, the Great Dane/Austrailian Shepherd is not around she barks at anyone who comes to the house. She will bark at them continuously and will not make friends with them. Usually these are people who all the other dogs like. She will continue barking even after they have left.
Sometimes she has a seizure. That is kind of entertaining.
But, I digress.
My lovely wife is painting the bedroom.  So we are sleeping in the den/guest room/museum of my collections.
Last night I stayed up a little later and watched a movie. My wife was well asleep when I got to bed. She had been cold so I turned up the furnace. The bed is right next to with window. The huge old cat was curled up next to her.
The kitten followed me. I don't know why as when it sets on my head or attacks my foot under the covers I tend to kick it and make it fly thought the air.
At once point I woke with a tail in my ear and a furry cat butt in my face. Then there was a cat attacking my foot. Then the dog started licking himself. Then there was a cat on my head. Then the dog started making strange whining noises in his sleep.
Fortunately my wife woke up at 3 a.m. and started cleaning the kitchen. The animals followed her and I went to sleep.
I have my opinion about where animals belong. I find that I am disgusted by little piles of fur, animals licking their privates in the living room, and that faint pet oder that is the hallmark of a cat person/mixed with the smell of dog.
I think I would rather have another child...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I accomplised a couple things today

I started the G706 and moved it outside only to discover that the generator does not work...

I ground a couple ton of chicken feed. And sold 5 barrels of it. Actually I traded five barrels of chicken feed for 10 empty barrels which i am going to fill and sell on craigslist. I am a bit disappointed with this batch as it ground up too fine. I actually bought what I thought were broken wheat kernels but the bin was half full of oats and oak leaves and I had to run it all through the hammer mill.
I mixed some camolina seed and molasses with it. camolina is supposed to be high in Omega 3 and so the eggs should be good for you. However the mix is 1/3 wheat 1/3 oats and the other 1/3 is peas, clover screenings, camolina seed, sweepings of corn cobs left over from last year, sprouted camolina and weed seed, and whole oats. In other words, what ever I find. My goal is 16 percent protein.

Here you can see my really high quality feed grinding set up.

For some strange reason the few customers I have absolutely swear by the feed. They are doing free range chickens and they say that my feed makes the birds gain faster, produce more eggs, and there is almost no waste. I don't see how this could be with a combo of whole oats and really finely ground up material. However, I am not complaining.
The second thing I have noticed is that Hispanic customers pay cash, seem very happy, and are more friendly. However, I can't tell what they are saying to me so who knows. I think if I spoke Spanish I could make a lot more money selling hay and feed.

In an unrelated subject. I watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High tonight. I had never seen it before. This is the only movie I have ever seen where Sean Penn was a believable actor. I was surprised that the characters had some actual depth to them. I liked Mr. Hand. He was not treated as a total villain or a one sided hardliner jerk. Rather he seemed to actually care about the students. The sort of teacher you respect, perhaps fear a little, get mad at often, but forces you to learn something-often against your will, but you do know that the teacher cares.
I thought it would be a pretty stupid movie but I was pleasantly surprised. I would not let my daughter see it for another 15 years.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas program at school

My daughter was a shepherd. They had a kind of modern little interpretation of the Christmas story. The shepherds talked about the smelly sheep and then made a pilgrimage to see baby Jesus and did a lot of singing along the way. It was really quite good.
I asked why there were no dancing penguins or super heroes like the other school programs I had seen and my comments were met with looks of strong disapproval from the "gang of four" and I didn't pursue the matter any further. They don't always appreciate my humor.
Here are some photos of the crew in the Christmas program. My brother's three sons and my daughter.


Now that is a sheep eating grin if I ever saw one!

The entire cast lined up behind the sheep. The sheep were cool. I like traditional Christmas programs the best. I was somewhat saddened that we did not get paper bags full of candy peanuts and an orange at the end of the program. I will surely get scurvy without that orange.
Merry Christmas...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We try the new restaurant in town and are amused

I like to see people follow their dreams and so I am reluctant to say the name of the restaurant as I don't want the owners to find it in an internet search and get discouraged. Of course if they did they would probably write me off as just a provincial philistine and be right.
Anyway...
There is a new restaurant in town.
It is kind of funny as Amity is really trying to be upscale. They have renovated part of downtown and they really, really, do have a plan for parking. Of course it won't really work right at the city council members are clueless and have no idea, but they do try.
But I digress.
Click here for a link to new restaurant which has the words "Blue" and "Goat" and "The" in the name.
The website touts their traditional wood-fired cooking and local wines and really the place is pretty neat. They have a bar counter which is made from slabs of tree trunks and bar stools made from the seats of old school desks. They have old oak doors and the booths are made from recycled counters.
The centerpiece is the huge clay oven which is made from (I think) local clay and my donated wheat straw. Donated, because I didn't feel like loading the pickup and I felt a little guilty about baiting the long hair fellow who came after the straw. He turned out to be a really nice guy and gave me a book on making the ovens, but I just had him figured out the moment he drove into the yard. (I was nice to him, but got a bit of a laugh at his expense to begin with)
But, again, I digress.
My wife and I have wanted to try the place out for a long time. The problem is that they never seem to be open and we are afraid that the folks from the Amity Cafe will be mad at us for being unfaithful to them.
Tonight we decided to try it out. Our daughter wanted to stay home by herself and watch "Despicable Me," to prove she was all grown up, and so we called some friends to meet us there. They were a bit skeptical as they had been there the week before and paid $11 for a glass of wine, but they agreed to meet us for dinner.
I said we had to have pizza as the oven was the centerpiece and the gourmet pizza had to be the best that they had. We skipped the daily special because it had Bleu Cheese and that sounds disgusting. Instead three of us had a sausage and cheese 10" pizza's for $9 and my friend's wife (who is also our friend) opted for the pork chop with grits. That was actually quite good.
The pizza was a little different. I like the thin crispy crust. It has green olives which provided salt and were better than anchovies. They were $9.
You can look up the menu on their website. They try to use fresh local items and are all about the whole modern BS of sustainabiltiy and wine and recycling and natural fiber clothing and that is all great for atmosphere-I guess.
But, a restaurant should really be more about the food.
The pizza was kind of bland for the buck. It was kind of a rectangle and looked somewhat hand-tossed or rather rolled. Good crust and not too much tomato sauce but gourmet pizza is pretentious. It should have been a little bigger and a little better selection of toppings. I know they could have done it better.
The waiter was nice but pretty inexperienced for a Saturday evening shift. Not as quick and as good as he should have been.
They claimed to have the widest selection of beer in town but that meant nothing. There is a Mexican restaurant that sells Dos Equis and Bud Lite and Dad's Market sells beer by the case but I don't think that counts.
Of the six beers on the menu, the were out of two, one had something wrong with it at the keg, and they had Bud Lite and Bud. If I am going to risk my church-going reputation on a pint of bitter's then it sure is not going Bud Lite.
I had a stout that was properly thick and coffee-like and my friend had something Scottish that appeared to be tasty. It was $3.50 a pint which was actually not that bad a deal.
For desert my wife and I split something with caramel and chocolate cake that sort of tasted like a rice crispy treat around the edges. It was not that great.
Here's the deal.
The owners are so sincere and they worked so hard on the place and I don't want them to fail. But come on guys, this is Amity. This is not Portland or Lake Oswego  or Eugene.
Give us a good meal with competent help and not to bad a pricing and I think we would come back. I just don't know. I was not that impressed. Especially since we have waited since summer to actually try the place.

Someone is overcompensating....

Ok, I should never have watched Brokeback Mountain. But, I do think it was an absolutely hilarious movie and I can never look at Jake Gyllenhaal or Heath Ledger without laughing again.
I found this link to Jake and Taylor Swift on the fox shooting farmer page and got a good laugh. The romance is pretty funny as it is such a publicity setup as is Jake's new movie with him as a Viagra salesman with his wife from Brokeback Mountain as a co-star? I thought I was homophobic!
He should just rent billboards proclaiming, "It was just a movie, Stop laughing at me!"
My question is which one of the gay cowboys "embarrassed" themselves while filming the movie? The one who "overdosed" or the one who is "over-compensating?"
When you talk about civil rights and tolerance Hollywood is always the most offensive but not always the most open minded. Films were not integrated, ever hear the term "blacksploitation?" did audiences demand that? Who wrote the racist cartoons I enjoy so much? Not the audiences!
So they come out with a film that is supposed to make us all open-minded but is a string of gay stereotypes? Right... It was a joke!
Good luck there Jake. we are all sure you are totally straight! (not that it matters...)

Farmer shoots at Fox and Hits Burglars and gets arrested and his shotgun taken away

How many years before we are here?
Farmer shots at Fox and Hits Burglars
At first I thought it was a joke.
Look how the authorities are so self-congratulating. Also, note who got arrested.
If it was a sane world and I would almost agree that he have his shotguns taken away but I am afraid he is the only sane one left in that world!
This is the real reason people immigrated to Canada, USA, Australia, and so on. Of course there is no where to move anymore. Perhaps be a colonist on Mars?
(not a lot to say as my internet time has been limited by a long running Monopoly game with my daughter)

Friday, December 17, 2010

I start the G706 and contribute to global cooling or warming or smog or something

It smokes just a little...
I split the tractor and repaired the clutch and put it back together in something like two days but yet it took me a week to hook all the little hoses and stuff back together and get it started. Why?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I drive my daughter insane

This morning we were talking about how to deal with mental blockage and frustration. When I say "we" I mean that "we" started talking about it together and then she got frustrated and then I lectured.
This is not the best way of dealing with it. But, it does illustrate the problem with our mental personality types in this family.
The daughter has many of my strange quirks. She gets frustrated and "locks up."
I was telling her that first you recognize the problem, then you see if there is a yes or no answer, then you visualize a third way. You can't just say "I have a problem," and freak out. Instead you come up with a plan for dealing with your frustration problem. I suggested, stopping, taking some deep breathes, thinking calm thoughts, and then either doing something else for a while, or looking the problem from a distance or another perspective, or taking one small easy part of the problem and solving that.
She got angry and said "I can't."
I said, "There is always another way, You can fix almost anything."
I told her that if you can see you have a problem you need first say, "ok, something is wrong, where do I go from here," not "something is wrong, I can't deal with this," cause that is a dead end, but the former statement is a starting place.
Then she got mad and told me she didn't want to talk about it anymore. And I said that illustrated my point very well. And then she got more angry and I made her stop what she was doing and listen and I said not to focus on what was wrong, and how angry she was, but to focus on a way out of her frustration or another subject it. There is always another way, another solution, a different way of looking at the problem.
I have no idea what I am saying, but the time to start to deal with anger management and frustration management is probably when you are nine and not when you are standing on the side of the Burnside Bridge.
Then we went and played Monopoly....
She does not hold a grudge but she has told me that she thinks I am weird. Sometimes she tries out my advice and often it doesn't work. But, she says she appreciates my efforts.
I've told her that she doesn't want to end up like her father who once threw his $200 GPS (Windows, I hate Windows, it is a stupid OS, people who rant about how good Windows is and how Bad other systems are-Like the Mac OS or the Commodore 64, are idiots. The Commodore 64 OS worked better Windows 2000) computer out the door of his tractor. I point out that I have to work on my attitude and my frustrations every day and I am only telling her what works for me.
This helps her attitude quite a bit. We pray for each other at our house...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The sun is out and I choose to be happy. This is what makes me happy!

I love pie...
Specifically peach pie...
I like rhubarb pie if it does not have strawberries in it. That ruins both the rhubarb and the strawberries. My grandmother used to make gooseberry pie. As a child I tried a gooseberry off the bush. It did not taste like gooseberry pie...
No one grows gooseberries anymore.

Why so many ordinary people are irritated...Why people don't like the TSA and don't want to be scanned

See The Frank James Post by clicking here....

Members of congress on both sides of the aisle are owners in the company that makes the offensive and dangerous x-ray machines!


Also, if you forget and take your Leatherman tool through the airport they steal it from you and sell it on ebay. Read this link...

They could give you a flatrate box and give you the option of mailing it home. Because we are not guilty of using the knife to hijack the plane because we HAVEN'T DONE IT. No, the poor sap just left it in his pocket.
I looked at quite a few photos of stolen pocket knives and personal items and didn't see any real weapons. They take away people's blenders and dildos! What are you going to do with a personal massager? Embarrass the stewardess to death? (couldn't find the link I wanted but this one is funny and doesn't make you mad.)
Morons, morons, morons.... And we put up with it. Of course what can you do? You can't vote them out?
Then there are the folks that say, "just move along you are holding up the line..."
And then there are the folks that try to take out the gunman with a handbag!!!

Interesting quotes from Lenin (click here)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monty Python sings Jerusalem

Where I first heard the song Jerusalem which is a poem by William Blake regarding the story that Jesus was once in England. (And planted a thorn tree-which some moron cut down)

What would Will James Do?

Some years ago (I was just out of college) I read an interview where a Canadian western singer talked about getting a job at a ranch and realizing he knew much less than he thought he did. He faked it by remembering Will James stories and when he got into a pinch he would think, "What would Will James do?"

 (I lifted this photo from this University of Nevada website but it is in the flyleaf of my 80 year-old-book so I doubt it is still copyrighted)
I found the book "Lone Cowboy" in a shabby old used book store in Columbus, Ohio and read it cover to cover a couple times. I took Will James for somewhat of a hero myself. Somewhat of a tragic and flowed hero so I don't really recommend it. I suppose that when most of your adventures occur in your head as you are driving a tractor in circles it doesn't really count as life experiences though...


Books by Will James 

I enjoyed "Home Ranch" and "Drifting Cowboy," but of course "Smoky" and "Lone Cowboy" are probably the best known.
Will James was quite the tortured soul. He had a huge battle with depression and alcohol. Sort of the Hank Williams of Western writing. I don't know how much to reveal about him as he is part myth himself. Just read the books and remember the old ways.


If anyone wants to buy Will James books please put the title into my Amazon search box at the top of the page. If you put the book in your shopping cart from there and buy it then I will get a kick-back! On my way to 1.2 million bucks!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Narnia and The tree that Jesus planted is cut down by vandals

Yes the tree that Jesus planted as a lad in England has been cut down by someone other than Oliver Cromwell.  Click here
They say it was vandalism but I say the local atheist club was probably upset because someone used the term, "there are no atheist in Foxholes." (That should get the keywords atheist search engines a humming")

Here is a link sent by a loyal follower that should also upset the atheists and the clever folks.
Just the very word Narnia gets their knickers in a knot it would seem from viewing various interenet comments.

We are living at the end of an era and I doubt very much the New World Order is really going to be all that great...

And now we sing Jerusalem:

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.



(A little William Blake for you this evening)

I went to the dentist and discussed post modernism and C.S. Lewis

I have an interesting dentist but she gets me talking too much.
I've been in a discussion at the IMDB film discussion boards about Narnia and I'm surprised at how shallow popular thought can be. (See yesterdays commentary on the movie.
Most of the posts are as follows: It sucked! No it didn't you suck! Narnia Rocks! I am an atheist and I'm more clever than you... And so on.
No one ever says, "You are Eustace's Parents!" Which would be a good comeback.
There has been a good discussion about the film on a couple posts. No one will answer my posts because I just registered but I've made my feelings known.
The Chronicles of Narnia also illustrates the conflict between the old ways and the new. That is most evident in the discussion posts. Lewis appreciates hierarchy and order and respect. The world is based upon the world before, traditions and beliefs and solid ideas of right and wrong and good and evil.
Our modern post-modern world thinks in terms of relativity and we see that conflict in the, "The Last Battle," with the ape and the donkey. The ape uses this philosophy to talk the donkey into wearing the lion skin. We see it with the dwarves who cannot accept that they are eating a wonderful meal and consider it all to be hog food. The are judging their meal from their perspective, though their world experience and so it is real to them.
We cannot help but absorb this understanding of the world. The idea of multiple absolutes or no absolutes or what we believe to be real is real because of our understanding and perspective and it becomes a crutch to avoid the responsibility that comes from believing in the unchanging. The past can be reinterpreted to mean what we want it to and the present can be re-imagined so what was considered "wrong" is no "correct" and what was "right" is now abhorrent.
But I digress.
What kind of bugs me is the old discussion of if Aslan is Jesus and if he is, so what?
I don't think Aslan is Jesus. Although Aslan represents "God" in a way, but so does "the force" in Star Wars. Aslan is the creator and the force behind Narnia so he is god-like. But in the Last Battle we see different ways leading to "GOD." So perhaps it would be better to say Aslan represents the Truth that we call "God" in our world and there are many ways to the truth which Lewis shows to be the force of goodness, honor, respect, and virtue. Truth and Goodness is a universal force that transcends the Universe. Aslan represents that in Narnia and God represents that on Earth.
People read too much into a child's series.
It is mean to teach honor, virtue, respect for good authority figures, respect for the "Old Ways", a belief in mysticism, and an appreciation for a higher power.
I'm not a student of CS Lewis and I have not done any research on this, I'm just talking off the top of my head so if you disagree that is fine with me.
Anyway, in the end I got the idea that how you came to the "Truth" was your own business.
I think Lewis is writing on a little higher intellectual plain than your modern kind of  Christian and your modern smug atheist.
The modern church-going christian seems more concerned about either abortion and singing the same verse of a praise him over and over until they find rapture, or on the other side how evil the Jews are oppressing the Islamics. The first side would see Narnia as an adventure and Aslan as Jesus but is unable to process a deeper meaning, and the other side have more in common with Eustace-pre dragon.
The atheist side just hates anything Christian so they can't get anything out of the movie either.
It is all probably due to the fact that kids are somehow all taught the wrong things to begin with...

UPDATE: I am wrong. I asked google the question, "is Aslan Jesus," and I guess CS Lewis actually said that he imagined that Jesus would look like Aslan if he were in Narnia. Somehow this kind of lets me down a little. 

says Peter Glover's Wires From The Bunker: (don't know Peter but he showed up first on the search)

"But let us allow Lewis to speak for himself. In the letter, written in 1961, he writes:

"The whole Narnian story is about Christ. Supposing there really was a world like Narnia . . . and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it (as He did ours) what might have happened?” he wrote. “The stories are my answer. Since Narnia is a world of talking beasts, I thought he would become a talking beast there as he became a man here. I pictured him becoming a lion there because a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; b) Christ is called ‘the lion of Judah’ in the Bible.""

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I take daughter to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader and it is not terrible

I just got back from viewing "Voyage of the Dawn Treader." I came home and looked up the reviews at IMD. There were a lot of people (when I first looked) that hated it!
I am more convinced than ever that I live in an opposite universe. I think every movie I have watched based on good reviews I have disliked, and many movies I have watched which had bad reviews I enjoyed.
There were some things in the movie adaptation of Voyage of the Dawn Treader I was not expecting. I was amazed to see that the character of Eustace was right on. He was a modern kid. (Perhaps the term is "post modern.")
The Chronicles of Narnia have a lot of conflict between the 20th century science and pragmatism and the old ideals of God, honor, and country. They teach a belief in mysticism and a belief in God as a more philosophic construct than a scientific one. Alsan teaches one to "do the right thing." Time after time the crisis is solved by one person making a sacrifice for another, or standing up for what is right in the face of impossible odds.
Perhaps one reason I did not dislike the movie is that I did not understand how Voyage of the Dawn Treader could be made into a movie. Perhaps I gave it more leeway. In the book there is no real villain, there is no car chase, and there is not so much of a neat ending. There is major character development on the part of Eustace. They missed out on the pain of his "rebirth" in the movie, which I thought was important. Lucy and Edmond grow but don't essentially change, Prince Caspian also has a personal struggle in the book and we learn more about Aslan and Narnia but there is not the evil witch or the battle to the death, which makes up the formula for a movie.
The book is more of a series of adventures all of which have a greater meaning but are not deep philosophy. In the book Prince Caspian is on a quest to find the seven missing lords. On the way Edmund, Lucy and Eustace shows up. They get captured by very Arab like slave traders and escape through a grand bluff.
They visit a second island where Eustace gets himself turned into a dragon though greed and laziness. He gets out of the dragon skin through character development and pain and they move on.
Next they find an island with a pool that turns everything it touches into gold and there is a conflict over greed but everyone does the right thing and another lord is found.
Then there is Duffer's island where Lucy reads from the book of spells and where Lucy succumbs to a temptation to know what her friend is saying about her. And there Lucy  encounters Alsan (character development ensues)
There is the island where dreams come true. And where they find find Lord Rhoop who is seriously freaked out. They were not good dreams.
Then they go to the island of the star and it is Caspian's turn for a personal crisis.
Finally they reach the end of the world and discover Narnia is the inside of a sphere and Edmund, Eustace, and Lucy find a lamb, who transforms into Aslan and he tells them that Edmund and Lucy will not return to Narnia and that they should learn to know him by another name in their own world. Then they go home.
The movie differs in the flow of the story and in that the director was pretty desperate to find a solid plot line and so the story was changed have the dark island of dreams as the villain and the seven swords of the missing lords as some sort of magic key.
Most of the Christian elements were kept but if you were not brought up with a Christian framework you might not understand them. The seemed to jump out at me more in the movie than in the book.
I rambled a bit here but in short. The movie was not terrible. Don't believe the bad reviews. No it was not "Lord of the Rings" (which I didn't see) but then the book was about two inches thinner than Lord of the Rings and was written for younger children.
Perhaps I am just relieved they didn't completely ruin the story, but I liked the movie, it didn't offend me and afterwards we got an ice cream cone and I stopped by a record store and ordered a stylus for my turntable. Record store people are very entertaining.
I will complain about the price of popcorn and soda. $5.75 for a small tub of buttery popcorn and $4.50 for a small sodapop is insane. My wife filled our pockets with candy which we ate in defiance of the signs forbidding it. Also, the pretty but vapid girl at the ticket counter gave us tickets to the wrong movie. I ignored the ticket and went to the movie I intended to see. My daughter so such an innocent. She felt guilty about going into the wrong movie and sneaking in M&M's. I was going to suggest sneaking into another movie since we were already skipping Sunday evening services and going to a Movie on Sunday and so were destined for hell anyway. We could have gotten away with it so easily. But, I thought perhaps that was not a good influence  and so I resisted.

I wrote the first part of this out in a hurry as we are doing some Christmas stuff here at home. I will add that one of the reviewers made a crack about this movie being aimed at Christians and families and not the art crowd and that would bring in the bucks.
I thought about Eustace and his parents and it brought me a little laugh. If only there were a few less of the smug folks and a few more of the old style Godly and fair minded types of folks I remember from my youth. It is very sad that those types of people are being written out of our history. Their hidden sins are sought out and exploited because the clever people say that it gives the character more depth. The idea that it might me a good idea to keep our secret failings secret and to do our best to present a "stiff upper lip" and to maintain our honor and that most Christian folks are pretty good people, that idea is just not appreciated by the clever folks. Also, the concept that there were people with a solid moral compass who really spent their lives being kind and good and supportive and had no secret perversions is a concept that the modern intellectual cannot accept. To be blunt, not all priests abused little boys and not all nuns beat kids with rulers, and not all preachers were in it for the money. AND there may have once been a time when all the politicians were not crooks. That is probably just mythology.
But, I am not a clever fellow. I'm just a farmer and that is just fine with me...

The Flood Watch continues



I can look outside and all see lots of water. Perhaps it is just surface water. Here are the US weather service graphs from this morning. They say perhaps not a big flood. Usually we get more rain in the hills than here in the flat-lands. This past week it has been raining everywhere. All the fields are flooded and all the tiles are running full. (not that we have any tiles) So, while the Yamhill river may not be out of its banks it is running full and all our fields are covered with an inch of water.
Not enough to get out the canoe and paddle around...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It is so going to flood!

Still wind and rain. The US Weather service says it may flood. I think it might!
Click here for their opinion

Thanks to a faithful follower I now have the clutch out of the G706. Found a NOS pilot bearing, (restocked in December of 1992) and the friction pad that slows the transmission gears down when the clutch is disengaged. (restocked in 1957) so it must also fit a MM model G.
I think I'll just use a die grinder on the clutch shifting fork and put it all back together. I will be ok for another five years. In five years who knows? I'll probably be at the Happy Hills Sanitarium or a Group Home somewhere...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Photos that AGCO would never let on their former Saving the Family Farm page which has been discontinued. (of course)

Tonight I split the Minneapolis-Moline G706 which is as old as myself. This is the culmination of several evenings of work to install the MM loader off of the Jet Star onto the 1965 M670. It worked quite well. I have no idea how I am going to get the tractor back together. The little brass collar that shifts the clutch in and out has worn out. The second time time in the past three years. Something is not right, something is quite wrong.
I'm thinking this is not the image of loyal customers that AGCO wants to promote. Perhaps they are tired of bottom feeders like myself!
I actually did this by myself. My employee of course had something important that he needed to do today as he did work yesterday and two days in a row in the winter is a bit of a stretch. I called a younger fellow who used to work for me and he came out to help. But we did not split the tractor.
Instead we moved left over farm equipment out of the river bottom. It has been raining for three days straight and the water looks like it will come over the banks. The weather service says not till Sunday but I don't believe them.
In the above photo we are moving the irrigator which is hooked to a little International tractor. I thought it had been moved to high ground but really it had just run out of diesel. We just towed the whole shebang to high ground.
I should not be running the 2-155 but the water was a foot deep and it has 4wd. We also moved the truck with the spray tank out of the worked field. This would have worked better before the 8 inches of rain. There are now ruts. The old Toroflow diesel took about a quarter mile tow before it started but we got it moved out. Then there were two more dead trucks parked in a foot of water. The 2-155 didn't seem to really mind. Never even spun the tires.
Not sure why the trucks were still there but then I'm not sure why my set of double rakes were still setting in the timothy field. It would seem nothing gets done while I am off planting and my brother is driving truck. Looks like the employee will spend tomorrow pressure washing tractors in the pouring rain if he comes back to work tomorrow. I do not hold a grudge. There was plenty of time to do it BEFORE it started raining.
It is not so much the pouring rain as it is the intense sense of foolishness for not getting this stuff done three months ago...

Wikileaks will be a major excuse for internet regulation...

It is all a bunch of BS and it is working. Wikileaks is a tool. It brings out people who want to reveal secret information so that they can be prosecuted and it will bring about strict regulation of the internet.
Sure they hacked Sarah Palin's website... That accomplishes what? Oh, yeah, it gets us out here in the sticks all fired up with patriotism cause they went after Sarah.
In defense of my statement I ask you, what actually dangerous information has been leaked? The leaked cables seem to me to be a way to tell some people off and to show how tough the US is. Sure there has to be some real intelligence given away so that it sound credible but I doubt you will get the code to the bomb button or anything like that. Everybody know we killed civilians and sniped people out of helicopters. So what?
Just a cog in a wheel...

Note: I see the Classic Liberal has also posted about this issue.

Eye of Polyphemus: Sorry, But I Could Not Care Less About John Lennon

Eye of Polyphemus: Sorry, But I Could Not Care Less About John Lennon

John Lennon was very much over-rated!
It is not like he invented a guitar, or a style of music, or had black guys in his band...
He just gave us stupid glasses, stupid boots, stupid hair cuts and YOKO the harpie!

Long Live the Family Farm? AGCO discontinued the website...big surprise!I!

AGCO amuses me. They seem to have taken all the worse corporate aspects of White (excluding the brief period when they were White/New Idea) and applied them to becoming the biggest brand in agricultural history. Sort of the American Motors of the ag-world. That is not a compliment...
So, while parts prices climb and old brands are killed off, AGCO continues to acquire and then neglect or murder long standing brands. Sure it has happened everywhere else, lawn mowers, power tools, toys, whatever... But it is sad to see it happen.
There was a AGCO heritage push a while back. I see that I wrote about it February 10th of 2009. (Click here) and Ed Winkle was very excited about it on February 7th-I got there from his post. (Click here)
If you try to go to the AGCO website which was formerly, www.longlivethefamlyfarm.com you just end up at a site for some modern tractor that is a bastardization of several brands.
I have been drooling over Cat Challengers and if the economy would just improve a little I'd seriously look at one to pull my drill and replace the old 2-155. Used of course... Still, I'm angry over parts prices and the fact that they killed Hesston, ruined Wilmar, Farmhand, and all the other brands. So perhaps not... If they bought CIH it would be a real shame.
I might actually buy a John Deere.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I attempt to get my daughter to sleep by inducing intense boredom

Someone found an ancient tome of poetry by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tucked between the pages is a photo of a girl and a guy holding my epic cartoon work. Every toon I had ever drawn. The girl was wonderful but she had incredibly bad timing. Twice...

My daughter was having trouble sleeping and I was setting in the old Lazy-boy which has been banned to the "den." Which is really the master bedroom which has been devoted to my collection of books I never read, tin barns I never play with, hundreds of albums I never listen to, a broken Hi-Fi, and Johnny West. So, I was setting surrounded by evidence of my obsessions and getting ready to write a post for The Lazy Farmer. (don't look it up in the Urban Dictionary like someone else did-It is talking about the #$%^&*ing cartoon)

My daughter was a bit upset and I spied the crumbling volume of verse. I started with "Claribel." That one was about a dead girl in the grave yard... "Lilian" was better but a little freaky. We tried Kind Arthur but then Mom told us to go to bed.
Then she kept thinking about Claribel.

So, I gave up and lay in bed with her to help her sleep. We discussed was of thinking which would help you deal with boredom or help you sleep. I told her how I would build things in my mind or make up stories. She told me she visions her life as a circle. She is in the center and different things are around her. Bad things, scary things, good things, things she wants to remember and things she wants to forget. Her problem is they all get together in the center and it freaks her out.

I suggested she imagines moving each one to the out side of the circle.
Afterwards I realized I was attempting to pass on my ability to completely tune out the outside world and live in my own little imaginary shell. Not such I good idea?

Here is some Tennyson for you. We only got about half way through this one...

The Mermaid

By Alfred Lord Tennyson

I.

Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Singing alone,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?
II.

I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb'd I would sing and say,
"Who is it loves me? who loves not me?"
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound,
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.
III.

But at night I would wander away, away,
I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks,
And lightly vault from the throne and play
With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,
On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call, and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap
From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells;
For I would not be kiss'd by all who would list,
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea;
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;
But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea;
Then all the dry pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,
All looking down for the love of me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Random observations

I have a neighbor who wants me to plant. I think that the wheat will set in the cold ground till February and mold. It would be better to plant in February and then the ground would start to warm up.
I need to sell some 200 tons of hay and no one really wants to buy it. I will say that selling 200 tons, 5 bales at a time on Craigslist is a hard way to make a buck.
Our neighbor was going to clean some Meadow Foxtail seed for us but has now discovered he can't clean it. Instead of getting it moved out of his shed to the place that can clean it and wants to do it, he seems to be helping his girlfriend's brother cut up scrap metal to make money. So he has two semi-trucks and a sprayer, and a seed cleaner, (with seed to clean) and he is doing scrap metal? Many farmers are doing custom trucking and I there is a need for custom spraying as the clever folks at the local co-op have been contracting with a famous land stealer for spraying. Who parked in the Amity Mormon church parking lot on Sunday to spray our field and I felt compelled to apologize and now they will want me to cut their back lot for hay.
Pop culture, I was wondering how I got so many hits yesterday and was looking at what searches brought up The Lazy Farmer. Somehow I wandered across a much younger relative who is a more successful writer than I. Now, I do not want to hurt the feelings of any of my relatives but...
So you got to diss your small town upbringing which got you where you are today! The Oregon Metro area is not a small town. I've been to small towns in the middle of the Midwest and that is small town. Our area is a bedroom community of Portland. Most of the jobs in our county are government jobs. So, the place is full of those artsy high school kids that want to be black and live in New York. And the earnest young teachers who would love to have diversity in their classroom but haven't the balls for Harlem.
2. I'm sure you realize you don't have to believe everything you are taught but by just buying a line of political BS some moronic college professor tells you does not make you a free thinker. That college professor has been spouting the same line since 1968 and may never have had a real job in his life. Just cause it is different than what you heard at church doesn't make it anymore true than the teachings you rejected. He or she, is not talking the truth, rather the Professor is trying to gain self importance/worth by bringing you over to their team. It is how the gain prestige and self worth. Others of us work and support the leach with our tax dollars.
3. Going off on how rich white men rule the world is a good way to make it with the hipster journalism crowd but do you think you would have got the job if you were not female and skinny? What if you were fat? Do rich white men rule the world?
4. You are not black. It is funny to see a white chick write about rap music and love rap music but the whole black rap experience is not supposed to translate to white suburbia. Of course there are no old school rappers left, they are all dead. So I guess my point is lost. Popular rap music is written for white suburban kids by black suburban kids who are pretending to have lived on the streets. So, I guess I will just leave that one alone but it is pretty amusing. I didn't know Kayne West moved serious thinkers to anything but laughter. Kayne singing about suffering? Talking about George Bush? The Taylor Swift thing? Is he white?  He is shrill and kind of feminine and I think Biggie Smalls would have kicked his girlish bottom.
5. I think it is great that you are writing and making a living from it. I guess I have to say that in today's market what ever angle you can use to sell copy is probably a good idea.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I go to a birthday party and ramble on about obscure music that no one cares about anymore!

I just got home from attending a birthday party for a long time friend on mine. I can't believe I have known him for 20 some years. I can't believe 20 odd years have gone by so fast.
We became friends through the course of an interview. I was dispatched by the newspaper to interview him about his high school drag race team as they were a thorn in the side of the sports department.
I made an appointment to interview him one evening. When I arrived he told me his friend had just been killed when the asphalt tank we was working on exploded and he really didn't feel like talking about car racing but he would appreciate it if I stayed and had a couple Henry's with him. Somewhere I wrote down the interesting stories he told me that evening that did not have anything to do with the high school drag race team. I don't know where that little notebook went.
It was different back then. I thought that life kind of opened up ahead of you and you followed what came next. With that strange sort of beatnik idea in my head I quit my job and went to Costa Rica with him the next year, but did NOT take the internship offered me by Hot Rod Magazine but rather decided to help out of the farm for a summer.
It was interesting to sit around with those people from 20 some years ago and look where they went and where I am.
I met my friend's girl friend who is quite nice and her daughter who is a year younger than mine. She can wiggle her nose very nicely and she hid a piece of peanut butter cake for her dog. I did not tell on her.
I had a nice chat with my friend's daughter (who is also my friend) and who I have not seen for quite a few years.
I also discovered that I can no longer pick individual voices out of a crowded room and so I suppose I'm going to go deaf sooner than later. I smiled and nodded a lot.
I was going to spend the night if invited, and had an overnight bag packed but decided to go home. The whole thing kind of set me back a bit.
My brother loaned me a flash drive full of music. I listened to it on the hour and a half drive to the coast. It had what I think is a recent release from Maria McKee of Lone Justice.
There probably won't be links in this post as I'm having some internet problems and I'm just going to sign on and post and attempt to do any searches and I may get some details wrong.
Anyway, Maria McKee was critically acclaimed in 1984? with her one big album and the sort of hit "Ways to be Wicked" and "Don't toss us Away." Ways to be Wicked," was written for her by Tom Petty. She was an aspiring singer song writer at age 19 and was supposed to be the next best thing.
I have a big of a weakness for sweet and sad country songs sung by waif-like girls and I remember saving my money to but the album. Actually waiting for it to come out. I can't remember if I bought it from Discus records in McMinnville or if I couldn't afford the $7.50 and I borrowed someone else's copy and later ordered the album from Roundup Records.
I was quite captivated by her photo on the album cover, that toss of her hair when she belted out a lyric and the MTV video of her on a skateboard, a gingham dress, and a letterman jacket. Somehow I figured she would ditch that loser who was mean to her and find me. But, she never did and I never really grasped the concept that you need to be somewhat indifferent and perhaps just a touch cruel to the girls you want and that Way's to Be Wicked was song from the point of view of the manipulated one and might actually have some good advice. I mean, she was coming back for more.
But, I digress...
Lone Justice, Rank and File, and Steve Earle put me onto the Alternative Country genre and really got me listening to Country Music. From there I found Dwight Yoakam and George Jones and on to traditional country music. Little did I know that Lefty wrote "Life's Like Poetry," and "Waltz of the Angels" as well as the play-to-death "Long Back Veil." Or that Merle had other songs than "The Fightin' Side of Me."
I have a warm and a little bit fuzzy memory of snuggling on the couch in my apartment during college and watching an MTV video of Lone Justice singing what I thought was Don't Toss Us Away and standing next to a fire. The problem with this memory is that my wife swears it was not her with me at the time.
I also remember another cold evening and watching the rain listening to "You Are the Light" but i can't go into that one either as my wife also noted that it was not her. Since we got together and apart a few times over the course of a decade I thought it best to not mention any more memories involving Lone Justice music.
I saw a People Magazine with Taylor Swift and her record company appointed boyfriend who starred in "Brokeback Mountian." The memory of Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger making out and gay wrestling makes me laugh whenever I see Jake with a girl. Heath OD'd due to the embarrassment in starring in such a really bad movie and Jake seems to be over compensating for his gayness. Reminds me of the joke in which the punchline is, "....and just one goat" it is about a guy in a bar who wants to be remembered for building a street but isn't.
But I digress,
So in America, you have Maria McKee who is a very talented singer song writer, with a good vocal range and powerful voice and she was for years a one-hit wonder. I saw a video of her belting out "Fortunate Son," and it was kind of amazing! Talk about giving it your all. I wish I would have seen her live in a small club. I bet the energy would have been amazing.
Then you have Taylor Swift who is a total packaged act and she goes up the charts. Maria McKee's biggest successes came in Europe! But of course, the European's like actual country music and Americans like Billy Ray Cyrus.
Lone Justice had the misfortune of opening for U2 which probably doomed the band. There is one really bad song on the Maria McKee CD and it was her rendition of "Sweet Jane," and Bono sings and make reference to himself. What a pretentious ass. It should have been U2 opening for Lone Justice as that band could actually play their instruments.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What I Want for Christmas, (Other than an new iBook)

Just as I wrote this post the screen fell over flat on my iBook. I shut the cord in the hinge a while back and busted it. I am so really tired of being broke.
We didn't go to church this morning which probably means that my daughter will grow up to be a drug addict and an atheist or even worse, a unitarian, or worse than that, she will attend a megachurch where the guys all wear short pants and high five each other a lot, and hug, and send praise messages to each other on facebook and the youth group members blow each other smoke chronic cuss in the church bathrooms...
But, I digress...
I want one of these for Christmas- Specifically a Thorens 145 or 165 with a dust cover and a decent cartridge. Like this... Then I can record my Maria McKee album to MP3 and perhaps my daughter will be come a not-quite-famous singer and song writer and be incredibly attractive at age 19 and suddenly become very large at age 45 causing her old fans to freak out when they see her on YouTube and remember that they loved her for him mind and not her looks all those years ago.
I probably won't get this for Christmas as I really just need socks and underwear...
And a new iBook.
And 1.2 million dollars
Or a pat on the head and a kind word...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Slugs and baiting and mud and what to you say to people who are almost dead

Today I spread slug bait. The Pacific Northwest has been invaded by a multitude of the slimy little creatures from all over the world. Many of them have moved to our farm.
I have been waiting for the rain to let up so I can spread slug bait for a month now. I usually apply it when I plant so that the slugs eat the bait before the plant sprouts. However, we worked a lot of ground instead of no-tilling and I was hoping to avoid the slug problem. A lot of the wheat I spread slug bait on today has almost big enough to out grow the slug pressures. The annual doesn't look like it has a bag slug problem but I thought I'd just throw away $500 so I spread bait on everything that was short and I could find slugs.
Ironically our other major pest seems to be doing a very good job at eating the slugs. Geese are flocking to the fields where the worst slug problems were. However, they also eat the wheat and sometimes the annual ryegrass.

I have two photos. The first is of the slug baiting machine parked in a wheat field that is totally overrun with annual ryegrass. The annual ryegrass fields that I planted are not this thick. It has been scheduled for spraying for a while and they claim they can control the annual. I doubt it.

The next photo is of wheat that I no-tilled into a sweet corn field. It is pretty much bare dirt. I planted it at an angle and if you look the right direction you can see rows. I spread slugbait as there were slugs but there were also many goose turds so it is probably a lost cause.

Then I managed to hit a mud puddle at a high rate of speed which drenched me with very cold water so I went home for lunch. After lunch I needed two more $95 bags of slug bait and to get the kids from school so I also went to see an older gentleman who just had a relapse of cancer. Two weeks ago he was walking around fine and today he is in a hospital bed in his home waiting to die. Very depressing. He invented a really cool hay tedder that lifts and gently fluffs the hay instead of throwing it around. His family is all gathering. I never know what to say.
I think I'd rather get hit by a bus and get it all over with at once.