The Useful Duck!

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Monday, January 31, 2011

I read a book...

I don't read as much as I once did. I have a problem with reading. I have to finish the book once I start it. So, I tend to read short stories. But, my Father-in-Law sent me a whole bag full of spy novels, detective stories, and WWII thrillers and I couldn't resist.
Sunday I started reading the "Jackdaws," by Ken Follett. It is a WWII thriller about ladies who blow up a Nazi telephone exchange which saves lives on D-day. It certainly reflects 21st century ideals. One of the first pages notes that the Nazi's got along very well with France's "conservative mayors" in small towns. Talking down to us much?
Then there is the 21st century subplot of oppressed Gay people. Which allows Ken Follett to slip in some lesbian kissing and a cross dresser for extra spice. We also have a love scene where we get some special attention for the woman, not quite as detailed as "Key to Rebecca." At least we all know Ken Follett loves to please...
I wonder just what my FIL thought reading some of the love scenes tacked into these stories. Sometimes I feel somewhat embarrassed.
But, i digress.
I read the whole 485 pages in a day.
And I still helped my daughter put together (we didn't finish) her Lego set number 3182, City Airport, that we got at Goodwill. We thought it was $13 but it turned out to be $31 as someone was reading the box upside down. I picked up a Nerf Vulcan Machine gun for what I thought was $6 but turned out to be $9 and it doesn't work. We can take it back.
Goodwill prices are way too high. I would have put the airport back but I couldn't stand to see the sad face on my daughter and I felt like a dislexic maroon. I suppose the GoodWill people should understand. Just the same....
I find the current world situation very depressing after reading WWII literature. The worst and most undeserving people in the world have all the money and the political momentum.
I read this morning that the museums in Egypt are being looted. I wonder if they will blow up King Tut like they did Buddha?
Our leaders are just like the pre WWII leaders and there is no Churchill. Heck, there ain't even a Harry Truman. We wouldn't even get a Berlin Airlift today, unless they agreed to prevent farmers from saving their seeds and insured that teenagers didn't illegally download U-2.
Now I'm to go plant 12 acre fields 15 miles apart, in what is sure to be a swamp, with a 2wd tractor, cause I'm broke and have to do whatever brings in the cash... @#$%^&*(

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I love Macs and if you sell your computer on ebay-erase the Hard drive!

I bought an iBook for my Dad. sort of for his birthday as he shut his screen on a pair of scissors and busted the screen. This was a day after daughter and I looked up from playing poptropica on the office computer, we were stealing the shops new DSL, (but don't tell any of my relatives), to see my 92 year old father trimming his nose hairs with a pair of pinking shears. I guess they were just really big scissors. I said "don't run with those," and daughter almost lost it. Somehow, I guess after an intense personal hygiene session, they got shut in the lid of his iBook ruining the screen.
So I found a dead iBook for $50 on ebay.
Well, it turns out that it was only the power cord connection and after borrowing the battery out of my wife's iBook and then logging in to the terminal mode (which I've never done before) I was able to create a new administrator account and then with some more fooling around-I was able to look at all the personal information and photos of the previous owners. It is kind of boring but has kept me occupied for three hours longer than I ever meant to waste. I really don't want to take the screen out for my father at this point. This is fun and since my iBook has a broken hinge and a bad airport card and is only a little 12" one I am having a hard time turning this 14" fully loaded with other people's information G4 iBook loose. However, the power connector is loose on the mother board and I will probably ruin it when I try to resolder.
Sunday afternoon I'll just pull the screen and fix Dad's.
Oh well...
I spent the afternoon with a crappy PC tablet I use for GPS, which would not recognize the second serial to USB adapter and so the GPS didn't stop recording when I was not planting. Gained an extra five acres that way.
PC's are such utter crap I cannot believe the world is powered by them. I love the FarmerGPS program but I hate the platform. Perhaps he will write a version for the Android and I can have an iPad type GPS computer. Ooooh, write FarmerGPS for an iPad. Now that would be livin!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I plant and listen to the radio and think the world is in a mess

I just listened to NPR.
They are doing a lot of coverage on the events in Egypt. They are way to excited.
BO and Hillary are concerned.
They are making remarks about "democracy."
There is one thing I have learned in the last decade is that the USA does not care about human rights or "democracy" unless it can lead to the humiliation of a long standing US ally. I chance to bomb someone and get into a war without end, or radial Islam will profit.
I think it is funny for BO to speak out against being mean to demonstrators after the US's torture scandals. Or even after renewing the "patriot act"
So I figure these so called democracy movements will end badly somehow.
Women will be stoned for moral offenses in Egypt on a regular basis.
I was unable to get AM on my new Commie manufactured radio so I don't know what the talk shows were saying.
OPB was really concerned about a policeman that was shot on the coast. The OSP has SWAT teams running around and  everything. That has got to be a circus. OPB has got an angle here. Soon the other shoe will drop. Must be about gun control.
I like it better with no radio.
I'm just posting this so I'll have it written down to prove I'm right in six months.
I have a funny story about some kids in town riding around with a cheap stereo in a backpack. I also have boring planting information but I think I will go to bed and perhaps post tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I am rediscovered by (a) subscribers to The Daily Strumpet! Whoop! Whoop!

I tell you the Blue Goat is one hot topic in town. Even though my attention span is short enough that I don't really care so much anymore.... I think that many locals were watching the renovation and hoping desperately for something like the Sage Restaurant (Soup, Sandwiches, Salad, and really good) and now they are a little let down.  (I liked the Sage as it was located above the ladies underwear department in the 1889 building and you would have to walk by all the delicates to get to the stairs. A cute girl would usually offer to help me and I always wanted to say, "I'm looking for something for my....Aunt.... she is really tall. But I figured they would just scream and run away and not laugh at all!)
But, I digress!

Anyway, I woke up this morning after a fitful sleep, dreaming of expensive tractor parts and junky old international trucks, to find this comment in my email!
While I think they should have registered with Google and become a follower, and it could be just someone messing with my head, here it is! An old subscriber found me!

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Blue Goat":

Oh, buddy how we have missed your columns over the years. I still revel over past issues of The Daily Strumpet. It is good to see you back in print. After visiting the The Blue Goat myself I found your observations to be quite an accurate. I love the description of their "Scantily Clad Pizza". I had a quite different pizza when I ordered it. Mine had potatoes and 2 pieces of onion and not much else. Good flavor and all, but potatoes? That's where your friends mothers potatoes went. My friend thinks the phenomenon of the the Emperors New Clothes is going on in Amity right now. Every one is raving about something that is really not there, namely "food on a Friday night". Do those skinny restaurateurs not know that the folks in Amity food that they can recognize and larger portions. My salad that came on my plate consisted of 5 very small pieces of lettuce, 3 or which were radicchio. Yes, those are bitter leaves. So that left me with 2 leaves on my plate that were edible to my taste. I think they have great potential. But someone should tell the emperor that he has no clothes."


Well, I must say, you did tell the emperor he was a scantily clad as his pizza.
I will say that judging from the local comments I have heard, Amity is desperate for a NICE place where you can get a quick salad and sandwich or perhaps a bowl of soup. The menu could be eccentric but should have "safe" items. The portions don't need to be huge, but not gourmet sized (small). And they should make really good chocolate cake. (I just threw that in)
I think it needs to be upscale enough to kind of deter the rabble (such as I). Cause if the nice ladies in town really wanted to eat lunch with their husbands they would go to the Deli, and all the tables are full already.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

To buy or not to buy, to go or not to go, to --- or go blind, I am going deaf....

I am annoyed. I suppose it started last week but that is a long story which has partly been posted.
Yesterday I accomplished almost nothing despite working till almost 9 p.m. I am supposed to be making feed for my neighbor. That is not going so well.
I planned on taking my daughter and perhaps my father to the Northwest Agricultural show Wednesday as school is out at 1:30 on Wednesdays. Of course it turns out that my brother has an eye doctor appointment and my dad has a Dr. appointment at 1:30 and since we are reactive and not proactive the Ag Show is off. I can't go today, I can't take the kid out of school and the show ends early on Thursday.
365 days of the year and the one day I want to do something... Of course the Ag Show has been the last three days in January for 45 years. This is the first year in over a decade we don't have a booth.
In other news...
I'm sure there are some good money managers who look at the Lazy Farmer. Perhaps someone could tell me if this is the definition of throwing good money after bad?
I've found two engines for my International truck. The truck is in ok shape and has a good 24ft bed and a harsh hoist. The 479 cu inch gas engine blew up last spring. Second engine I've put in the truck in the two years I've owned it.
I found a 549 cu in that has not run in five years and the guy want's $1,200 for it removed. I found this truck with a 449 cu inch, a five and four, tandems, air brakes, pto, no hoist, and the truck is in really nice shape. I have the evil twin to the 449 cu inch truck with a bed and hoist and a 5 and 3, but it is very rusty and several stringers on the steel bed need to be rewelded. Both 449 cu inch trucks have a 206" wheelbase and I can't put the 24 foot bed on them. Evil twin 449 smokes a bit and has a bad radiator leak.
Options:
1. buy the 549 and install in 24ft international
2. buy the 449 international and install the 449 in 24ft International
3. buy the  449 and put the evil twin's bed and hoist on it and scrap the rest and rebuild evil twin 449 for later installation in 24ft international.

4. DO NOTHING
5. Borrow money and buy a good truck

The crisis is that at this point we don't actually have a truck. The only one that is safe to drive on the road is a 1967 Ford 650 with a 16ft bed.

 I think we will do nothing... I don't want more crap...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another rant about what is wrong with the modern world...

I am an unabashed capitalist but...
Big business theory really irritates me. I suppose it is only natural for companies to try and eliminate competition and since this nation has successfully eliminated any rational sort of moral compass I am seldom surprised, but I am often annoyed.
Just do it... Get big or get out... Bootstrap Capitalists who forget the luck that got them to the top or those who helped them as in, it is easy to steal candy from a friendly baby who offers you a bit. It is fine to take a bite but when you don't hand the candy back is where it gets bad. Um, I don't know where I was going with that...
I'm annoyed because I am trying to buy parts for my White. There are no more grimy old salvage yards owned by Zeke or Mike or Earl. Cigar chomping characters who make up prices on the spot. Instead they are owned by big companies who bought out all the little guys when scrap prices were high. All the tractors are on a computer and they are tied in with a national pricing system and all the prices are half of new. This would be ok I suppose if new prices were reasonable. A new hydraulic remote for my White 2-155 is over $800, the levers and linkage adds another $150. So, when I call the salvage yard I'm looking at $500 for one stinking valve that no one will ever buy and it will go for scrap. There may be White three-speeds sinking into the mud but I couldn't afford to buy one. I know the AC 7190 shares many parts and seems to be a much less desirable tractor but it doesn't matter. AGCO parts are still so outrageously high that you can't even afford to pay half price for used.
I don't want a new tractor. I like my old White. It is good enough. I do not want a computer controlled ten year old tractor and I can't afford new.
We just had a long time dairy go out of business. They were bottling their own milk and had a label and shelf space in local supermarkets. Lars even did a segment on the loss of the local business and how it affected the local community. Fifty employees lost their jobs. Some had been there 30 years. (I'm not going to say the name as I may have some details wrong and don't want it picked up in a google search.)
First off the state of Oregon got the blame due to laws and regulations. But, after listening to all the talk it became obvious what happened. They were a medium sized operation. The small organic type bottlers wanted them out because they were direct local competition. The sustainability type folks hated them because they were an old school somewhat messy dairy on wet ground and right near a highway so there were times when it looked and smelled bad. The organic and sustainabilty folks made an unholy alliance with the big bottlers (perhaps a conspiracy of common goals) and got regulations though limiting the size of a dairy that could bottle their own milk.
The targeted dairy of course had to cut their herd size and started losing money. Now they are gone.
There goes another source of competition. Another semi local hay market, another local grain market, another place for local smaller dairies to sell milk. Oh, wait... How many local 100-300 cow dairies are left. One or two out of how many from 20 years back? I suppose that is progress.
The big farmers have screwed local ag as well. They got in a rent bidding war and so what if a couple of them are going, or have gone broke. Rent prices are not going down!
Here's another one that really annoys me.
I've been growing sunflowers for years. I plant them in the outside row on the corn planter so I know when I'm off the row with the corn chopper. We strip till and sometimes the planter doesn't track so well in the strip-tiller rows. Does the nice fellow from seed company that has the word Universal in the name come by and offer me a contract for sunflowers? Why does U........ S.... assume that I will quit growing my recreational sunflower hobby so that my neighbor can make a lot of money off of an exclusive contract?
Why can't I grow canola? Does U........l S..ds pay me not to grow brassica's (sp? I'm in a hurry) so that they can get rich off of specialty seeds? Instead they lobby for a law preventing me from using an important tool for no-till rotations.
And while I'm on a rant let me explain how they do business. They find a farmer interested in trying some alternative crops. Then they suck up to him and tell him what a good farmer he will be and how he will make lots of money, if he does it right... (there is always the catch) I'm watching it happen to another neighbor right now. They told him they liked working with him because he has enough big equipment that when they need 30 acres planted he can do it in a day. This made him quite proud so he went out and bought another planter and a cultivator and a combine. Strangely enough he didn't make quite as much money as he expected. Of course no one asks the previous guy why he stopped growing specialty crops as of course every farmer knows that God has chosen him and given him special abilities that make him the very best farmer ever and it is his manifest destiny to farm 4,000 acres. Amen...
Of course when my neighbor's ground is contaminated with all sorts of strange radish seeds and he is no longer useful, the nice folks at Universal will move on to the next sucker, and there will always be another...
Anyway, I suppose I should be used to being a wage slave.
(rest of the post deleted because of offensive content)

A rambling post in which I forget my point and wander off to the kitchen for more coffee

I had the biggest comment list ever with the discussion of the Blue Goat restaurant. I suppose it is an indication of the culture clash which has sparked some of the angst which drives the content of The Lazy Farmer.
The BG and the customer base if supports are the younger and more clever folks in town. (with a few fellow travelers in the geriatric group) I suppose I represent the old way of farming and culture, although it doesn't seem to be that long ago that I thought I was more clever than the old folks.
The BG is like a mission outreach from the young and clever. I kind of understand how the naked savages felt about the new mission down the street. They kind of enjoyed the music and thought the food was interesting but they also sort of wished they would just go away. Although, it is fun to screw with their heads. Especially with the cultural anthropologists. Perhaps that is a better analogy.
(I now feel differently about missions after we had a fellow who preached to gangs in Mexico speak in church Sunday. He preached in Spanish and our pastor interpreted. It was the best sermon I've heard in years. He gave out God's phone number, "Jer. 33:3" His passion was inspiring. We need more missionaries from Africa and Latin America to come to the USA. A good revival would be good for us. Although, the clever folks would laugh as they only focus on what they imagine to be negative and  not the positive change of heart produced, as in not telling lies, not stealing, not nailing your neighbor's wife, helping out poor people. They would spike it cause they think someone would be against gay marriage or breatfeeding in public or something.)
But, I digress.
Perhaps I should say, "How the natives felt when the Peace Corps moved in...."
I always thought it was really hilarious that the Samoans lied and told Margaret Mead that they had sex all the time (when it turned out they were really quite prudish) and that formed the whole rationalization for college sex in the 1960's. If the noble savages can get it on all the time then so should we! I suppose that Leaky and the, "we are descended from monkeys," idea explains skateboarding. If monkeys can spend the day in self abuse and flinging poop at the wall than so can we! Skateboarding is not a crime! Anarchy Now!
But I digress.
Oh man, I don't even know where I was going with that speech. I guess I'll just post it anyway... This should give people plenty to make fun of me about as I've just proved my stereotype! I wonder if it is my day to take the kids to school. I suppose someone will tell me if I forget... They say your mind is the first thing to go. But where? I have got to quite listening to all that banjo music on KBOO!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

For Ralph Goff, bicycle powered snowmobile

This is exactly what you need to travel south for the Lazy Farmer Imaginary 99W Low-Brow Diner Tour of 2012! (See previous post on the Blue Goat Not Revisited... (Click Here)
Here is a video on YouTube: (Click Here)
I wonder if they make a kit for my Schwinn Sting-Ray?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Blue Goat not revisited... I went to Camino Real instead...

Thanks to the wonders of Google and search engines one of the five loyal Blue Goat customers has written in anonymously to complain and I am going to devote a whole post to someone who won't even go to the trouble of making up a clever fake name.
Of course this will get more references to the Blue Goat in Google listings which I'm not sure is really the point the anonymous poster's criticism of my review.
Anyway, to put this all in perspective, last weekend a good friend of mine from high school came to visit and they wanted to go out to dinner. I suggested the Blue Goat as it is a nice, new, cozy little restaurant which has some problems which I hope will be solved and it will be successful, or go broke, or not. It is Amity.
I did reread my review and I really have to start doing some proofreading but that is a whole different story. This is The Lazy Farmer and I have 30 followers and I rant about odd stuff so I don't really expect to be taken seriously. Just the same, Google does put my keywords high in the search engines as I post nearly every day and so if you look for, The Blue Goat, Amity on Google you will find my blog.
Perhaps I was a bit harsh on them. I liked my pork bellies. The pear-cheese pizza was not bad. There were lots of interesting dishes. I don't think they should have run out of food. There are several people I have talked with who really didn't like it. I realize this one anonymous poster thought I was harsh but I as a customer I have every right to be a little upset and I'm really not. I'll go back again, in fact I almost went back this evening. I really don't care all that much.

So here is the comment:
"The pear pizza may be a little weird for some, myself included, but it's not like it doesn't change weekly. What do you have against Chorizo? It is made with locally farmed meat and it's actually made in house. Also, they do bake all their own bread, you obviously just didn't have any. And I love your comment about the local tomatoes they could have on the pizza...really it's winter! If it's not your style that's fine, it's pretty obvious by your mention of Busters BBQ and all the fixin's you can get there, your standards are not that high. And while it is true that the community is pretty blue collar, it is the hard work of all the local farms and ranches that are being used to create this food. Not getting good service is one thing, but calling the whole place and the whole menu a joke is unfair. They make almost everything from scratch right there. A far cry from the Ashes Cafe you are unabashedly loyal to."

Oh, boy! A white knight! Boy did the lazy farmer savage the The Blue Goat. That will certainly keep the short pants crowd away! There are already few bicycles leaning up against the front window.
It is really kind of funny that I am responding especially since the anonymous person will never check back and read this blog again.
Anyway, here is the deal...
I've been there before. The pear pizza was the special the last time I was there, several weeks ago. Chorizo, why does everyone like Chorizo? So what if I'm skeptical about Chroizo? So what if the Chroizo is made in house from locally "farmed" meat?
I had the Chroizo made by "Dirty Bob" at the Pine Tree Patio 15 years ago and it made me sick. I had the Chorizo at El Corizon de Mexico in McMinnville whenever it was in business and it was greasy and kind of nasty. So perhaps I prefer Italian sausage. Perhaps I think everyone should prefer Italian sausage, so that make me a lowbrow?
Which brings us to the "local" farms and ranches.
What local farms and ranches? Local agriculture is production agriculture. Grass seed, wheat, huge dairy farms, large vegetable farms and what, five hippies growing chard in their back yards?
Ok, I looked at the menu and there are more than five hippies growing local stuff bought by the Blue Goat. (I kind of like hippies so I meant that with affection) Good for the small farmers, I am glad they found a niche. I had better not make clever comments about them or they will figure out who I am and protest anonymously or worse yet, not buy my chicken feed!
But, I digress...
What is wrong with eating at Buster's? It is not as good at that little place in Dundee that I can't remember the name of. Now that is good BBQ! But, Buster's makes a decent dinner and they never run out of chicken and beef and sprite on the same evening.  I do like that clever zinger that really puts me in my place over eating at Buster's BBQ. Oh, and saying "fixin's" that was all too clever. Boy, I'm even more of a lowbrow.
I did not see the bread as they did not leave a basket at the table. Of course I did not expect them to give me toast like they do at Buster's as this is an upscale restaurant.  So, I was wrong about the bread. Sorry, perhaps they should put bread on the table, sometimes they do that at Ashes. Or did they run out?
Glad you liked my comment on the tomatoes. You see you make tomato sauce with the tomatoes and then you put the sauce on the pizza. This is the same sort of thing they did with the pears. This is the middle of winter and so pears are also not in season so obviously they were able figure that one out. Whole tomatoes in Chicago style pizza would be kind of odd anyway.
I didn't really mind the service. The waiter was a very nice fellow and I sure he still is. He really didn't mean to run out of sprite and I liked the pear spritzer.
And what is wrong with Ashes cafe? They make stuff there from scratch and they work hard. Lots of people work hard and I say good for them. I like to sit on my bottom, I say good for me!
So what if I think the Blue goat should make something else besides cheese and green olive pizza and pear pizza. I still think they should. I also think Ashes cafe should fix that noisy bearing in the ice cream machine before it blows up and they have to call the fire department.
And I think that people who post anonymously on my blog are morons. I use a fake name and so can you. I'm not going to hunt you down or anything.
And furthermore, more people should go to Camino Real.
Some friends from out of town came to visit we went there this evening. We almost went to the Blue Goat but decided it was just too high brow for us this evening.  I had the pork chops with red sauce and onions and it was very good. They did not run out of tortillas or water or sprite and she gave us a nice dessert with whipped cream and festive sprinkles on it. The Blue Goat does not give you festive sprinkles and I think they should.
So there.... Post again anonymously and give me something else to rant about.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My perpetual motion machine (almost)


I've been thinking of ways to generate power after stealing dad's most recent Farm Show Magazine. There are ideas for wood gas generators and steam power and how to build a logsplitter out of a huge flywheel and scrap iron and how to turn your combine into a ear corn picker or a front end loader. Farmers just use what they have and build something that is always interesting and often useless.
So I got to thinking about we have sitting around in the winter and I came up with a design which would capitalize on the things my employee loves most about the winter- chicken, beer, and porn. And sitting on his arse and the fact that his neighbors share their chronic...
Here is how it works...
I find an old teeter-totter at the Jimmy Carter store. On one side I mount beer kegs. There is an initial investment in cheap beer, chicken, and I'd have to get one of the medical grow cards but I think in the long run it would pay off. I may have to drop the porn idea as I'm to uptight to actually buy any. I figured the porn would get him to set down but I think a bucket of chicken would do the same thing.
But, I digress.
I fill the kegs with cheap beer. Someone brought me a whole keg of Bud Lite (for slug bait) and I'm sure it is still in the garage of one the houses I used to live at. While I didn't drink it I would never throw anything away so it should be still around.
He drinks the beer which transfers the weight to the other side of the balance beam. The beam depresses a old pump jack which turns a pulley which runs a generator which powers the TV which keeps him interested until he has to go to the bathroom. Since I figure he just goes to the bathroom and sits back down in it anyway... I have a hose connected to the beer keg sort of like reclaiming the water from a steam engine. This transfers weight back to the beer keg. It may water the beer down just a little, I really doubt he could tell the difference with the cheap stuff anyway.
Plus, when he runs out of beer he will light up a spliff which in turn will make him high as a kite, so the beam will rise, pulling up the pump jack and generating more electricity.
I will have to occasionally add more beer and chronic so I will have to be careful to add them at the right time.
Otherwise it should be pretty much self running.
Now I wonder if I could get some stimulus money to build this?

Infernal Combustion Engines

With all this peak oil and end of the world and the energy shortage and all that stuff... why doesn't anyone build Stirling external combustion engines?
They were once used for pumps and the like.
This fellow here rebuilt a Rider-Ericsson Engine. Looks like he got it to work.
There was a modern project to provide power in India. It went nowhere.
You can buy model kits. (Click Here)
There are websites... (Click Here)
I was reading about steam power and wood gas.
Yes, I just found the latest copy of "Farm Show Show Magazine," (I always like to see what I can build with our collection of White Combines.)
There is a fellow with a steam-powered generator that he will sell you for $35,000. www.steamgen.info
But steam is messy and dangerous.
A stirling engine could run off waste heat or could be part of a heating system as they require a heat differential to run. There seems to be little practical information on them. How much of a heat differential?
There are those really cool fans that sit on top of a wood stove. Why not on a larger scale?
If I won the lottery to the tune of 5 million dollars there are things I would do!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Confederate Heroes Day? Robert E. Lee Birthday?

I'm not sure how to celebrate.
I'm not working very hard today. Didn't sleep very well. Had these strange dreams of turning a White 4-150 into a high flotation sprayer. Don't really know where that came from except someone has one they want to sell me. That would be a plan, $3,500 for a tractor and $12,000 for tires for something that wouldn't quite work correctly-ever. Farmer thinking at it's best...
The MLK holiday sort of bugs me. Mostly because I find white guilt so annoying.
The War of Northern Aggression has come to symbolize the loss of state's rights and the consolidation of federal power. Grant and Sherman instituted a program of total war against their fellow countrymen, mostly lower working class sorts of both races in order to win a war that didn't need to be fought. Hmm, that sounds familiar today doesn't it?
So the day for some of us less about whether MLK was a great hero or a communist agitator and more about those who gave us the holiday and those who won the war.
I just like to annoy some friends and family who consider themselves progressive and who consider myself somewhat of a Philistine and so I celebrate it as Confederate Heroes day.
Or
On January 17, 1864 the Confederates won the battle of Danforth.
Confederate Heroes day is sometimes celebrated the same weekend as MLK jr. day but is being celebrated next weekend in Granbury
Texas.
Robert E. Lee was born Jan 19, 1807. He is the only fellow to make it through Westpoint with no demerits. (Or at least that is what I heard on NPR.)
So I guess I'll have a bowl of beans and ham and if my record player still works I'll listen to The Band sing "The Night They Drove old Dixie Down" and "Cripple Creek."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Blue Goat

I want to like The Blue Goat.
It looks cool. There is natural wood, and funky old stuff from the weird antique store next door, and there are exposed brick walls, and there this huge Adobe brick oven.
So when some friends wanted us to go to dinner with them at the infamous Blue Goat we decided to give it another try.
We went with a sense of humor.
You have to realize that most of us in Amity are not that far removed from working in the woods or farming or stealing hubcaps-and so this whole upscale wine thing is a bit of a stretch. It has given us the phenomenon of the nouvea -wine snob. (Easily recognized by his short pants baseball hat and funky sandals.) In comparison to the traditional local wine snob of the 1970's who had long hair, short pants, and funky sandals.
After all, the hot Amity wine tasting room is owned by a fellow with a vacuum truck business. I am sure he changes his shoes after sucking out a clogged sewer, and he is a really nice guy, but it is kind of funny.
But, I digress.
The last time tried the Blue Goat I was not that impressed, but it had not been open very long and I know the owners and nice and they try really hard and did a huge amount of work to the building. So, I did not mention the name in my little blog because I didn't want anyone to find it in a keyword search and because I didn't want to be negative.
But, someone is going to have to break the news to them.
As in telling them that you can't run out of food on a Friday night, or a least not every Friday night.
Or that while atmosphere is great... if you have the most awesome and amazing adobe oven-made by a guy named Kiko, you should make better use of it.
The idea that your pizza of the evening would have pear sauce, bleu cheese, and swiss chard and you would say this with a totally straight face must be backed up with something, like really good service and complete professionalism or well, I don't know... Banjo music?
We came in at 7 p.m. on a Friday night. We slunk past Ashes Cafe as we were kind of worried the owner would be offended by our disloyalty. Ashes was empty and the Blue Goat was full. We shared a table with some other folks who were well into a bottle of wine and were quite happy, and so were they.
I have discovered that I can't pick out voices well in a big noisy room and my good friend has discovered that he can't see very well. Fortunately, the daughter was there to help as she could see the menu and could hear what he wanted to read. I just smiled a lot and nodded my head. My wife and his mother kept up a cheerful banter on the other side of the table. His mom wanted potatoes and none of the entrees had potatoes. This started off the humor as there was some jokes at his mother's expense.
We questioned exactly what the cranberry beans were and the waiter didn't know either. But, he brought us a jar full to show what they were. They were in fact beans.
Drinks were ordered, I opted for the fresh Amity water as I figure there is enough flow in the Yamhill to replace the sewer flavor with the taste of mud and chlorine. The daughter asked for Sprite but they were out and so offered her a Pear flavored spritzer instead. She was not impressed.
They were out of the chicken entree and had only one beef medallion dinner left but they could expand the pork bellies and okra side to make it a dinner. I went for that and the daughter ordered the cheese noodles without the cheese. My wife ordered the clams, my friend ordered the beef, his mom opted for the pork but insisted they find her some potatoes. They did find her potatoes and they were good.
The pork bellies and okra were good. They would have been better with a big slab of BBQ beef at Busters, and perhaps some baked beans, coleslaw and potatoe salad, but we were not at Busters so I just smiled and figured we would go to Ashes for homemade pie afterward, if they were out of the chocolate cake. They were out of the chocolate cake...
When the server came back to tell us they were out of half the things we ordered I bet my daughter $5 they would forget and put the cheese on her noodles. I have eaten in Amity many times and in all the incarnations of the Amity Cafe and I knew what to expect. I won the $5.
The server also came back to say they were out of beef  but they did have a sirloin or something in the freezer and could have it thawed out in 10 minutes. We just smiled about that one. He decided to have the pear sauce pizza instead. Somewhat as a joke.
My wife's clams were wonderful, perhaps a little salty. They did have chorizo on them. I did not order them as I figured that chorizo sausage on clams would be pretty disgusting. I was wrong.
The pear pizza was not bad. It was more like a dessert in my opinion. It would have been good with coffee. More of a novelty dish than fine dining.
My expanded pork belly dinner had three extra chunks of pork loin. Yes, I counted them. It was good but it was kind of funny.
And that in short is the problem with the restaurant.
It is kind of a joke.
I don't go out for dinner to a semi nice restaurant all that often. When I do I am used to looking at the menu and seeing a whole list of things that sound wonderful and wondering which one I can afford.
It is funny to look at a menu and have to work hard to find one thing that sounds good.
I suppose that with enough glasses of over-priced wine anything is fine, but that is not how I like to enjoy food.
So.... Taking into consideration that the Blue Goat has as it's conceit, local and organic style ingredients...
What about a nice Chicago style pizza. It could, not have anything made from pears, (although local pears would make a wonderful dessert) instead perhaps some local farm grown sausage (Italian style and not Chorizo) and local cheese and local tomatoes. It could be simple and they have the oven to make it with.
They could make their own pita bread right there in the oven. The customer could watch the amazing bubble form in the dough and it could be stuffed it with local ingredients that did not include pears.
Early in the day they could make their own bread and that would add to any meal.
If I were picky I'd ask for some sound deadening acoustic tiles in the ceiling but that could even work to their advantage. They could find a long-haired band to play jazz in one corner. Or perhaps, if they would serve more pork bellies, the Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo folks would come by on a fall evening and they could have some hootin' and hollarin' on a Saturday night. I like to think I have a special inside track with those folks and I'd put in a word...
We did have a good time but I hate to pay $100 for an unintentional comedy show. After all, we could just drive down to our field on the edge of town and watch the moronic Amity police department chase down folks to tell them their license plate light is out-and then not give them a ticket.

Later additions: I did an internet search for The Blue Goat, Amity and I found this review. I will say that it is a nice review. Many of the correct and meaningless terms that all food and wine reviewers have made up are put to good use. But, he did not have the Pear sauce pizza.
He also starts by noting that the Blue goat is located next to "an eclectic antique store on the main drag." That is pretty funny.
I would be tempted to say, "located between the two strange and crazy antique stores on Amity's recently revamped main street, as in right between the crazy guy who stands in front of his antique store and yells at people who park incorrectly with a megaphone and the crazy guy who sits out in front of his antique store in the rain and chain smokes while reading Strong Arm Westerns..."
As for the food he says he had the "house salad - refreshingly new mixture of large-leafed exotic mixed greens with just enough of a light, subtle dressing to accentuate the individual flavors and textures of each of the greens." Ok, now was that the Collards, Okra, and Spinach with pear sauce? Not that there is anything wrong with that. It would be good. I'm just saying....
Anyway, those of you who are local should try it. I know from my statistics that I've had 25 hits in two days from Onlinemac so there has got to be someone I know reading this blog. Or that Muddyvalley fellow has a heck of a nervous tic!

And a video on YouTube- of the oven.

And all the local hipsters think it is pretty hepcat or the bee's knees or whatever they say nowadays. (photos) oops, I'm wrong,  local bicyclists. Gosh, I love bicyclists. Probably were on their way past our house.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm worried about the old 2-155 White

I got the transmission out. I did not have it all set up to come right out last night. There is a short PTO shaft that goes through the three-speed into the main transmission. I thought it had come loose from the hub on the engine. It did not.
I had to slide the engine back onto the transmission and then remove the engine and transmission as one unit. It pretty much stretched the lifting capacity of the M670 and the old Swartz loader.


Then I got the three-speed apart. I am worried.
There is a planetary drive in the transmission. The planetary gears had worn 1/4" into the housing and had actually cracked the housing. It was ready to grenade.

What worries me is that there appears to be wear fore and aft. Like the center shaft was moving back and forth somehow. I don't know if that means there is a problem in the main transmission or if that is just from the planetary going out.
AGCO parts are so stinking expensive. You must understand this is not a $50 part you are looking at. More like $500 to $1000 or perhaps more.
I have another light duty three-speed and could get additional one for $200. I'm debating about putting the light duty in. The planetary drive is the same in both but the clutch pack is heavier. Or at least that is what it looks like just going by the part numbers.
I really wish I could afford a tractor with lower hours. I think this tractor has about 5,000 more hours than the tach reads.
Sometimes I suspect that I may have taken a wrong turn somewhere in my life...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I am not a mechanic

Perhaps I have mentioned this before...
I suppose I should ask for help on NewAgTalk but I'll just figure it out myself.
I'm pulling the engine on the 2-155 so we can work on the three-speed. There is a process for pulling the engine on a White tractor. The White has a short shaft which goes through the three-speed and connects to the transmission. The problem is that the shaft can stick in either the engine drive hub or in the transmission hub. There is a little plug that you remove and you screw this special tool which is supposed to lock the shaft so it disconnects from the engine hub. It doesn't work.
There is another problem. I don't have a chain host where I am working now so I am going to use a loader tractor or a hay squeeze to pull the engine.
After studying the situation I decided that there was enough room to slide the engine forward on the mounts and if the shaft sticks in the engine hub I will slide the engine back, reconnect the three speed and remove the whole thing as one unit.
So I blocked up the three speed, removed the bolts around the bell housing and the motor mount bolts and I slid the engine ahead with a strategically place pry bar. In the process I removed the fuel tank. I always forget how to get the fuel tank in and out. There is a special trick.
It actually worked. There was just enough room.

Tomorrow I will get a loader and pull the engine.
I like tinkering, wiring up switches, doing interesting things, building stuff on my drill, fooling with baler knotters, I don't like doing real mechanical work... Or getting dirty.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Screw you Bill Clinton and the rest of you hypocrites blaming the Arizona Shooting on Commentators

Bill Clinton blames the Arizona shooting on Political Rhetoric and so do a whole bunch of other hypocritical idiots. Click Here
After like 30 years of Reagan is an evil monster, and it is Bushes fault cause he is the devil and bumper stickers that read, "Bush, the only dope you should shoot," and finally someone shoots a politician. So now it is Sarah Palin's fault?
I'm sure plenty of morons will buy that one.
As far as the shooting goes. Yeah it is a shame.
The real story is the 75 year old guy that knocked the shooter down. The guy is a senior citizen! Then the local sheriff goes on TV and blames politics. Yeah, the local sheriff was sure on the ball.
Of course, real horrific violence occurs around the world daily, (Click here to go to "My Brown Eyed View")
The chances of being shot in at a political rally are less than being struck by lightning. Kind of like being struck by a chunk of an exploding space shuttle.
But, we do need gun control and not idiot control.
The main thing we can learn from this shooting is that 1. Just cause he is a senior citizen doesn't mean he can't knock you down... 2. Smoking a lot of dope and looking at internet conspiracy sites makes you really paranoid and weird and is probably more dangerous than listening to Sarah Palin.
(Great, now Obama will ban Jeff Rense)
And... Why are they quoting that guy that says he would have shot the shooter-if he had the chance?
Well yes, I would be a medal of honor winner myself-if I would have had the chance... I just didn't want to scare the other soldiers with my awesome kung-fu fighting skills!!!
Or, Yes! I would have stopped the shooter by dropping a large ACME anvil on his head, if I would have had the chance... Wonder if they will put me on TV now... I'm kind of a hero-or I would have been if I would have had the chance!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Can cows walk down stairs?

I was watching Sesame Street this morning and Super Grover was called to rescue a cow which had walked up the steps into the beauty parlor. After getting her hair done, she discovered she could not walk down the stairs.
Hi-Jinks ensued...In which we discovered the cow could not dance down the stairs, she was a heifer not a hoofer.
After several failed attempts Super Grover came up with a ramp! (a flat surface that goes from low to high or high to low)
The cow was able to exit the beauty parlor and all was right in the world.
The question is, Is it true that cows can't walk down stairs?
I did an internet search and my results were inconclusive.
Curious minds need to know!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Will someone buy my hay? Please?

I've got nothing to say but I have to keep the blog updated. Here is what is sort of bugging me...
I have seven semi-loads of hay to sell. Seven truckloads would be 8 blocks of hay per truckload with 56 bales per block and 110lbs per bale or 80 bales per block on the small bales and 80lbs per bale. That is one big pile of hay... I will take paypal and will ship UPS...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

20 mph school zones are idiotic

I went to the FSA office today and took a wrong turn. I was texting which is illegal in Oregon. That is why I like to do it. Sometimes I don't wear my seatbelt and I text at the same time. I am an outlaw...
I turned one street too soon or too late or something and went by an elementary school. There is a six-foot tall chain link fence keeping the little kiddies off the street or perhaps the dangerous folks in the residential area away from the kids. There is a 20 mph speed zone around all schools in Oregon. 20 mph is stupid. As I parent I tell my child to 1. stay out of the street, 2. use the crosswalk, 3. IF you run in front of a car you are going to get hit, it will hurt, you may die...
Why can't people understand the basic problem of staying out of the street?
We can used depleted uranium bullets which most likely have resulted in the deaths, or sickness of a lot of children but yet I have to drive 20 mph in a school zone. I could handle 25, I drive that speed all the time anyway...
I know those two statements have nothing to do with each other but if idiots can wander out in front of cars and the cars have to stop (another idiotic Oregon rule) than I can make irrational statements.
Oops, just did another one.
I guess I'll go to work.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gasoline Alley uses quaint and outdate terms which a good search leads me to strangeness

School was canceled for my daughter today. We were almost out the door. Half the class is sick. The other half is still on the other side of the country. She was all to happy to stay home. Today is "ugly dress day." Some of her uniforms must be designed to build a sense of humility. I wonder if anyone checked out this site before deciding on uniforms? Perhaps they watched this video first which could explain "ugly dress day."
So, we played a couple games of SuperMario on the Wii.
She is engaged in a science experiment at the moment. She is lining the kitty cave/box with different fabrics and timing how long the kitty stays in the box. So far Kitty prefers the pink leopard print...
But, I digress.
The term "Little Lord Fauntleroy," was used in the Gasoline Alley comic strip recently and I've been trying to thing where I have heard the term. I did a search while waiting for Daughter to exit the bathroom. (It is a nasty cold wet rainy day and we didn't get snow and I don't want to go outside and work on a crappy old building)
Click here for a description. Then go to the homepage of that site. Yup, that ought to warp your kid. There are the pree-verts and then there are just folks who are genuinely odd... I think there is some cross-over in that department.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things that make me happy

I was a little late to work this morning. As I am every morning. This morning the reason was that I was playing Super Mario cart on the Wii with my daughter.
My daughter is home because of the 8 people in her school, three of them are Indiana, and the rest have influenza. So, out of solidarity with her plight I decided to play Wii with her before she has to empty the cat box.
My dad was at work at 7 a.m.
He has been putting everything in his office into a database that no one can search because everything is just random spellings. He spends a lot of time doing this.
I get here and all my receipts from checks I've written, bills I needed to ask my brother about, my car insurance cards, are all missing. I don't want to ask him because that would involve his unsearchable database and then he would want to print something.
He has boxes of files scattered all around his office. Who knows which one they are in.
Perhaps now I will go out and discuss how much air I'm using out in the shop, even though it is turned off in two places and I have my own air compressor.
Or I'll help dad look for the Staples office supply catalogue...
Or work on the building that is falling down and is piled full of things like, used sickle guards. You know we might sharpen them! It has only  been 20 years...
Any day I will install those Freeman baler parts I got a good deal on... 20 years ago...
Oh boy! Another broken wiring harness!  And what is this?! ledger plates for a binder? Just slightly used? Well, I will get the grinder out!
Or how about this M&W turbo kit for a 30-20 that has been setting in a box full of water since 1987? Well, that goes back on the self!!! Slightly used gears for a Moline grain drill! I can use them! And here is a whole tub full of broken springs. With just a little heat they can be made new again! It is all money in the bank!!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

This song is stuck in my head and I'm going insane

My wife and daughter bought me an rather obscure (in 2011) CD for Christmas. It is the reissue of The Byrds, "Sweetheart of the Rodeo," from 1968. I remember one brother having an 8-track tape of it and I remember listening to it/seeing it while riding in his white 1968 GTO which he didn't have very long at all.
I've been listening to it on my Sansa Fuze (not an iPod) out in the shop. (I've got powered speakers.)
I got the song, "I love the Christian Life," stuck in my head. Not all of the song, just fragments of verses.
It is keeping me awake...
There are several directions I could go with this but perhaps just a short post will let me go to sleep.
It is a good album. Poetic lyrics, tight good sounding playing, Gram Parsons was perhaps a little to intense. I understand he didn't burn very well...
I think it is funny I like it 40 years later, but wouldn't listen to it as a kid.
I Love the Christian Life was written by the Louvin Brothers and covered by the Byrds.
(I see the copyright Nazi's have limited the musical selections on YouTube. Of course this only makes it harder to find music you WANT TO BUY! Which cuts revenue-smart!)
I suppose that now I don't really give a rip if people like the music I'm playing as I listen to it to enjoy it not to promote some sort of image.
I'm surprised at what followers we all are. I had a young person tell me the attributes of the singer Kesha while kind of attempting to dress like her. I really like the aforementioned girl but don't know her well enough to tell her a story about how stupid I looked pretending to be Johnny Rotten. Not that she would have actually listened...
At a certain age we are putting our beliefs and thoughts together and we seem to borrow heavily from other sources. Those who claim to be different are the most conformist. But that is the way it goes.
I have several embarrassing memories that I would like to spare my child from having.
I am amazed at the influence the entertainment industry has on young lives. We had a discussion about Lady GaGa's pathetic cry for attention and how it worked. She now is rich. A freak who I hope laughs all the way to the bank.
I think music should be experienced and not watched. (Unfortunately I have no talent.) Kind of like food should be grown and not shipped in a container from China to your grocery store. Or processed beyond recognition. Or grown in a 1,000 acre lettuce patch by hired labor.
Live should be lived. You should make it happen and not let it happen to you.
And that is my speech for the evening.
(which will be posted in the morning)

I Like The Christian Life

My buddies tell me that I should have waited

They say I'm missing a whole world of fun

But I am happy and I sing with pride

I like the christian life


I won't lose a friends by heeding God's call

For what is a friend who'd want me to fall

Otheres find pleasure in things I despise

I like the christian life


My buddies shun me since I turned to Jesus

But I am happy though it burdens my soul

And I'll try to lead them to walk in the night

I like the christian life

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Day

I am not so sure about the new year.
Last night we went to visit some friends. They jump off their chairs to welcome the new year. We didn't. Later, I thought perhaps that was rude. We should have joined in. Plus it would have brought us good luck.
We had a very good desert. I forgot the name of it. It is a little round ball like a doughnut hole and you up jelly and white sugar on it.
Today I forgot to eat my lunch. I wanted to put my drill at the shed down the road and discovered two low tires and several dry bearings and one thing led to another and it was 2 p.m. My wife and daughter went to make new year's cookies with her family. Little did I know they would not bring me any...
I had planned to take dad into town for lunch but he had already had something by the time I remembered I was hungry.
I was going to get a burrito at the deli (they make their own) but the deli was closed. So I went to the Mexican cafe. I can never remember the name. I think it is Camino something or other.

The special was pork chops with a mild red sauce and rice and beans. I try to never spend more than $6 for lunch but I did splurge of the $10 special and  a $1.50 cup of coffee. It is good coffee.
I was the only one there at 2 p.m. Her family was there and the kids were playing and laughing.
The pork chops were sliced very thin and tasted more like a ham steak than your usual pork chop. The red sauce was full of onion slices and more tangy than hot.
I ordered the corn tortillas which came covered with a nice embroidered cloth covering them.
It was really quite good. The red sauce didn't taste so much like it came in the 55 gallon drum from the ACME Restaurant Supply Company and I liked that. The owner has taken to putting a little greenery on the plate. Usually diced cucumbers and tomatoes or green peppers. It is a nice touch, especially with her salsa which is amazing. She makes it herself and it doesn't always taste the same, but it is always good. Sometimes it will make my bald head sweat a little but that is ok.
For dessert she brings out a small flat pastry (which I can never remember the name of and I'm too lazy to google it) with whipped cream on it. Today it had Christmas colored red and green sprinkles on it. It goes good with the coffee. She always brings me a cup of cream to go with the coffee and I almost never use it.
She was pretty happy today. Of course she usually is happy. I gave her a good tip.
Then I went home and sold some chicken feed.

After that I took care of the recycling.

It is kind of fun to shoot the old starting fluid cans with the .22 when the fire is blazing recycling process is going on behind them. I am doing my best to bring on a heatwave through Global Warming but this year I think I'm falling a bit behind.
I should have taken my daughter. It is a parent's responsibility to encourage anti-social behavior recycling at a young age.
Save the Planet Jr! Or is that something else?