The Useful Duck!

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Would someone please explain...

I woke up early. I was thinking about all the things I have to do.
I forgot to move dad's walker from the driveway, where he left it, to the porch where he can reach it to go to work. (remember age 93)
I came back home fixed myself ham and eggs and briefly reviewed my end of year finances and started to resort my brother's mail looking for bills I had missed while he has been vacationing in the midwest.
I fixed my self a pot of coffee, I've been reduced to drinking cheap store brand coffee as I am to Lazy to visit MuddyValley for a supply of his hand roasted or shall we say "hand crafted" gourmet coffee beans. I sort of object to his automatic roasting machine. I liked the image of him roasting coffee beans on a BBQ better.
It is almost 9 a.m. and I'm setting in my easy chair and listening to KMHD on the vintage Dynaco AF-6 or AF5 or whatever it is. The station keeps drifting due to either the FM balance of the 40 year old tuner or the fact that I made my own dipole antenna and it is leaning up against the wall behind my chair.
I have nearly given up hope of a 1.2 million dollar donation.
What should I do today?
1. Go back to bed?
2. Go visit my former landlord and take him some Christmas candy and talk about fishing and guns and give him some cash for the 49 Studebaker I have stored in his barn and talk to him about removing my wife's piano from the house we used to live in, and what will happen it I collapse the porch doing so.
3. Give money to JR Simplot for next year's fertilizer because if I pre-buy from Simplot and the price goes down I get more fertilizer and after I wrote my check to Wilco they said if the price goes down I'm screwed. Wish I knew someone on the board, I'd complain.
4. Put all my farm equipment on Craigslist and apply for janitorial/groundskeeping jobs at local colleges.
5. Help my friend clean out his mother's garage
6. Slog through the mud and ice to attempt to remove the stubborn plug out of the water-filled roller that it stranded down in the ryegrass field.
7. Make chicken feed
8. Play with the remote control helicopter my daughter got me for Christmas.  (I know my family loves me as my wife bought me a case of tape measures and my daughter bought me a remote control helicopter for Christmas-the two presents which show they actually understand and love me)
9. Attempt to reduce my taxable income by buying a really old, very high hour, but reasonable well maintained International 1480 combine with a 20 foot header and a grass pickup on borrowed money?
10. Buy a Massey 760 from Orin
11. Call the guy who sold us our White 8900's. Once again apologize for ruining them, and asking him if he as another one he will sell us and swearing repeatedly that we will actually take care of this one and not burn it up or take a vital part off of it and never put it back on and then leave it outside for another ten years...
12. Go poop...
13. Hold it in and go blind..

I am not good a decision making...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I watch TV

I have been watching Call the Midwife on PBS. I've read a number of reviews of the show and a bit of the background.
Here is what strikes me as interesting. The utter lack of irony.
Now, you have to realize that I read, "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" when I was 13. It was about this time that I listened to my brother's Kink's albums so perhaps it all warped my understanding of the welfare state and what a painful transition it was for ordinary people. The sort of people it was supposed to help.
All we really have to show of the old days are lead glass windows propped up for display in the Blue Goat with came from the old row houses that were torn down. You don't even hear Muswell Hillbilly on the oldies station.
So what is my point?
In "Call the Midwife," we see the poverty and the criticism of the "old ways." The horror of the workhouse and the wonders of socialized medicine.
I say that the modern welfare state has resulted in social disfunction and it is painful to see those in the USA who look to the welfare state as an ideal.
I say that the horror of the work house and drunken 20 somethings are both the results of social engineering and policy makers being way too clever for their own good.
I say the grand future envisioned by the clever folks in post war Britain turned out somewhat wrong just like the grand future envisioned by social reformers at the turn of the 19th century.
That is just my take on the subject.
I actually enjoy the show. Just what I was thinking this evening.

Edit: After thinking about this for a while I suppose I should issue a disclaimer. I do realize that just because I own a 1969 Triumph motorcycle, read James Herriot, Jeeves, A Once and Future King by T.H. White, and listen to the Kinks, it doesn't make me any sort of expert on British social issues...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I'm setting in my easy chair at 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. We went to my wife's family for a Christmas Celebration earlier in the day and then picked up Dad from my Uncle's house in the evening. 
I can't help but think to earlier Christmas Eve dinners at my Uncle's house. There were a lot more people around back then. Grandma and Grampa and the other uncle and aunt and my great aunt who was a jolly sort. Grandma and my Great Aunt had tea at 10 and 3 every day. 
I remember when my uncle got a pool table and invited everyone out to the back room to give it a try. My Grandma declined stating that she had never been in a pool hall in her life and was not about to start now.
I was sitting across the table from my 11 year old daughter and thinking the world seems to be quite a bit different today.
Although, perhaps not. Earlier I listened to my brother in law tell about the war he was in and confirmed what I had read but never heard anyone say, "I was there and I saw it," kind of depressing really.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Jim, That could be a beaker full of death"

We brought dad and his collection of Star Trek DVD's over after church. We are sitting around watching season 2 of the original Star Trek.
I find I am rooting for the villains as usual.
The best one so far is "Mudd's Women." While this may be the introduction of Harcourt Mudd into the Star Trek series have seen Mudd before. It would seem he has supplemented his career as a Star Ship swindler as a Nazi Officer during WWII. Perhaps instead of capturing him and sending him to England, Hogan actually transported him into the future where he escaped. Or did he hitch a ride back in time on the Tardis? Perhaps he is also a Cylon. The possibilities are endless.
It turns out the infamous Venus drug is actually a prototype of the Gummi bear. And that self esteem is more powerful than any drug.
Other very important observations.
The USS Enterprise breaks down a lot...
Kirk suffers from serious bouts of existentialism. To the point where it is chronic.
Much silliness ensues.
My Dad keeps accidentally calling himself at home. This gives him much confusion as he attempts to talk with the answering machine. He keeps saying hello in a really loud voice.
This is almost as amusing as watching Star Trek.
Hogan's Heroe's is funny because of its classic comedic timing, silly gags, universal humor. Star Trek is preachy and annoying. Having a hard time enjoying it as an adult.
Why do they repeatedly land on a new planet and never do any biohazard preparation? Especially after continually getting some strange disease or having a alien virus.
Not only that but the death toll is way higher in two seasons of Star Trek than in six years of Hogan's Hero's HH is a WWII show!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Proof that 16 year-old Interns Write all the News For MSN


Somehow this article struck me as being hilarious. In a creepy way...
Note my favorite quote: "So, next time you're riding a bus in Florida and feel something hard press against you, it's probably safest to assume no-one's pleased to see you and just try to avoid making eye contact."
I think that is a joke about sexual assault! I am almost positive that it is considered socially unacceptable to rub your "stiffy" against someone else on a bus. In fact I have heard that if this happens to you on a bus that the person doing this is really not being friendly or "pleased to see you," but that they are actually committing sexual assault and it has nothing to do with how you are dressed but everything to do with them being a horrible sexual predator. Unless you are a political person from Oregon and you are dressed like a furry tiger. Then you are merely being playful.
I suspect the fear of such unwelcome affection may in fact influence the increase in sales of pepper spray and may even make someone think of getting a concealed carry permit.
Go ahead say I have no sense of humor... But once, years ago, I suggested to the person writing headlines at a small newspaper, that a good lead for the story on the fellow who committed suicide on Easy Street would be, "Life on Easy Street was not so smooth for.... who was found hanging in his garage, Tuesday morning."
I never in my wildest dreams imagined he would use it...

70 year old technology and Rube Goldberg

My daughter asked me to help her build a "Rube Goldberg" invention for a school project. She didn't understand why I laughed.
Rube Goldberg is in fact, the patron saint of our farm.
So I dug into my supply of treasures bequeathed to me by MuddyValley and brought out the number 8 and 1/2 Erector Set.  (I think I have possibly four or five total but the rest are stashed away somewhere.)
We consulted and discussed designs. She was very excited, she had a plan.
I really hope it works and I hope her partner is not completely overwhelmed by my daughter's capacity for enthusiasm followed by frustration. (She comes by it naturally)

Now I must brave the elements and go to work. I saw my 93-year-old father struggling with the lock on the store at 7:50 a.m. By the time I slogged across the two inches of water covering my front lawn/machinery yard he had the door opened. He is hard at work already, sleeping at the computer with the "s" key held down.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I am annoyed

I am a bit of a soft touch. If you come over looking for hay or feed and tell me you can't afford to feed your animals, there is a good chance you will not leave empty handed.
I have done payment plans, given away hay, sold at cost, whatever it took to keep a customer going. However, I don't like to be taken advantage of. I like to get a thank you and it really peeves me when a person questions the quality of the reduced price item.
Do you really think I am going to give you my best hay for free? I may be sympathetic but I'm not that sympathetic.
So...
I have this long time customer who alternates between annoying me a lot and annoying me only a little. I often forget just how much he annoys me and I am nice to him. This is like throwing him a bone. I have to quit answering my phone as it just means he will call me on Sunday and want something stupid.
His cows are starving and he owes me money. Since he has annoyed everyone in a 15 mile radius, and since he always has to have some unique and clever plan to make anything he does just a little different, no one local will buy from him.
My problems started when I was nice to him. I had 12 ton of crappy fescue straw I wanted to get rid of. I let him think it was hay and that I was being a nice guy to let him have it at a reduced price. I forgot that I sold it to someone else. (Actually traded it for some hauling). I felt so bad about promising something I didn't have that I mentioned hay in a barn at Gopher Valley. The sun was shining and I needed to get the hay out of that barn anyway.
The guy keeps calling me about his hay. It is pouring down rain and sometimes snowing. I am not driving a loader tractor 15 miles in sleet to load hay for this moron!
Then I mentioned some screenings I had just purchased.
He can't just say thanks! No, he has to have the best of what I have. I was selling them to him at my cost and he questions the price.
I am so completely annoyed and he has no idea why.
Now he is calling me and offering to take me to the Blue Goat for lunch. I would much rather just apply the price of the lunch to his hay bill...
Why am I unable to be an arsehole? I must go back to being grumpy and never answering the phone.
If is an excellent defense mechanism.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I find a Dynaco QD-1 and now have a low budget surround sound home entertainment centre

Today we had a storm. High winds and rain. My wife and daughter went to see her father and I went my nephew's Christmas program.
I spent the afternoon hooking up my vintage surround sound system. Who knew that surround sound dated back to 1964?

I found a Dynaco QD-1 quadadapter for a good price and just got around to hooking it up. I have a bit of a problem with living room stereo system in that the left speaker is right near my easy chair. I thought the Dynaco SCA-80 would give me four speakers and let me balance the volume a little bit. However, the SCA-80 doesn't allow four speakers at once.
The QD-1 gives you surround sound rather than just 4 speakers. The front speakers are louder and have the voice. The rear have less volume and are mostly music. There is a provision for a center speaker but I didn't hook up that speaker.
I watched the movie "Hugo" to test the system. The ticking of the clocks came from the right rear speaker. Kind of strange.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing.
This whole current obsession with old music and HiFi seems a bit pointless.
However, this is probably the cheapest surround sound home theatre system you have ever seen!

We are of course, screwed again...

We lit candles in Church today. A very nice and sincere lady read a speech about recent events. It was quite heartwarming.
I wish people would not say, "killed by an assault rifle." That statement takes away from the gravity of the situation. They were killed by a person. A person who pointed the gun and pulled the trigger. A person who made a decision to end another person's life. In this case the lives of children.
If all the focus is one banning or not banning certain types of murder weapons then we don't really think about what has changed in society to the point that someone will kill school children.
When I was in school kids refinished gun stocks in wood shop class.
Went hunting after school.
There is obviously a problem and outlawing various murder weapons may make the act of murder a little harder to accomplish on a grand scale but the urge to murder is still there.
However, it is still a random and crazy event. I'm not sure you can ever effectively eliminate those random crazy events, even if you spend huge amounts of money and enact layer upon layer of regulation that robs everyone of freedom and dignity and self determination.
Which is of course the very action that government will take.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The life I live vs the life I imagine I live


I'm finding yesterdays train of thought somewhat relative today

I overheard some folks talking about concealed carry permits yesterday before I heard the news. My one thought was what a depressing concept to live at a point in time where you feel you need to carry a gun for the protection of your self or others. Rather than just carrying a gun because you like guns.
I had just had a discussion with a Korean war vet who was talking about the tragedy of war and the attitudes of people who had never been to war but yet thought it was a wonderful adventure.
His story was really very interesting. He was with a unit which recovered shot up vehicles and returned them for repair. I would say he saw some action. I wanted to ask questions but also be respectful and so I didn't say much.
But, I digress.
My wife said some kids from China spoke up in her classroom and said that there was no problem like this in their homeland as they didn't have guns.  (Click Here)
But as one old farmer put it, "The world is going to hell in a hand basket."
It appears that in this recent case, a person with severe mental problems got his parents guns and acted out his hate by using his brother's ID and killing his mother and the students she loved.
I have no solutions other than my ideas in yesterday's post.
Here is an article which gives the most useful background info.
mind control

Friday, December 14, 2012

99 Percent Say Storms and Famine Indicate The End Times!

If you click on this link to read the article you will discover that 63 percent of respondents polled are calling for repentance.
Without a frame work of religion we seem to be unable to turn devastating events into positive social change.
Any attempt to do so results in claims of hate speech.
A quick list of obvious problems in our society.
1. Sexual Exploitation, I think Muddy Valley made a comment about American Apparel advertising. Kim Kar.....n is famous because she got a shower in a sex tape.
2. Greed, the insane bank bailout, jobs going overseas, unions, local farmers.
blah, blah, blah....
I'm sure we could all add to the list.
I suppose the bottom line is in fact greed.
Where are any moral leaders? Everyone is corrupted in some way.
However, there can never be a national revival as someone might say something about 1. Abortion, 2. Gay Love....
I think you could address basic human failings as shown in scripture without every mentioning those two items. Of course there is the problem with adultery, oh, and greed, and dishonesty, loving one's neighbor, pride, and actually being willing to acknowledge one's own sin.
But, the message of repentance and forgiveness of sin is supposed to overcome all of that.
There is no doubt that we will get a new national religion to replace the old one. I am sure it will be more like the old pagan religions, someone or something dear will have to be sacrificed, there will be clergy, there will be rites and rituals, and there will be oppression.
Perhaps it will be Islam, perhaps some strain of the Humanist Manifesto as in the USSR or Marxism or it will be science.
But I could be wrong, there is a good chance things will just continue as they are. True Blood, Unicorns, Global warming, and rich people suck, will be the unifying force, as we are fleeced, morally, spiritually, and financially.
Have a nice day...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I am not a fan of Lincoln

The history buffs of the family want to see the movie.
I'd like to see it but I think I would find it frustrating.
I think it is especially dangerous to glorify the man ultimately responsible for the rape of the south and the idea that the rights of Federal Government are supreme over that of the states and the individual.
It is my opinion that the way in which the civil war was prosecuted, meaning the suspension of individual rights in the North, forced conscription in the North, imprisonment of dissenters in the North, the continuation of Slavery in the North, disproved any moral high ground that was held by the Federals at the beginning of the war.
Furthermore, the distinction of being the man to institute the concept of total war-and against one's own people, should rank him up there in the historical rogues gallery of brutal leaders.
And finally, it has annoyed me for years that Christians glorify the man who absolutely used their sentimentality to kill thousands of their brothers. A man who attempted to communicate to dead spirits in the White House? Sort of up there with the blasphemy of GWB who prayed in a Mosque on 9/12. (an event that has gone down the memory hole)
Here is a link to a review of the film. (Click here)
I found this review by doing a search for the term, "Lincoln Movie Propaganda." So you see, I'm certainly not biased....
Read the comments, I especially like the comments by Robert M. Shivers.
Of course the bottom line in the whole discussion of the Civil War is that civilized countries dealt with slavery without a war. The British simply bought off the big plantation owners in some of their possessions. The advent of the machine age was going to eliminate the market for slaves.
What the war did was foster a hatred for black people and Yankees that has defined the border between the North and South ever since. (perhaps a bit of an over statement)
I also really enjoy the irony of Christians who are convinced by their leaders and clergy to kill each other. Our ability to completely ignore most of the New Testament and go whole heartedly into "Just War Theory" is amazing.
Of course the timing of this movie is spot on. We have the new succession movement. There is the continual war on the Constitution. A movie about Lincoln should have particular interest in today's world.
And now, I have to go to work.
Kind of pointless as the price of farmland goes up daily and the point at which the government takes everything you own drops next year.
I will make an interesting observation, when I did a search for, "constitutional rights lost mother jones," the top links said nothing about the last four years or the famous act that protects up from terror.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas tree

We have set up the lego train around the Christmas tree.
There is a harbor for the ships sailing with supplies from my daughter's room to the living room.
There are a couple stations and a siding.
There has been drama.
The train has been chased by secret agents.
The lego cheer leader was doing a cheer routine on the train tracks and was hit by the train.
Explosives were being transported on the train which went well until the forklift operator was unloading the train and then... many were killed....
The ambulance parked on the train tracks.
So did the tow truck driver.
The train missed the stop track and tragedy followed.
The lego girl went skiing.
There was a concert with the lego rock and roller.
Here is a photo of the train.
It is an old train. We can't afford one of those fancy new ones.
We are having fun.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Avoiding actual work

I spent yesterday attempting to facilitate my large hay sale.
I do not own a semi-truck and I only own half of a very very old hay squeeze. It is based on a huge old Hyster or Tow-motor or something like that. It is sort of streamlined but has a Perkins diesel engine so I'm betting it is mid 1960s. My half is of course, not the half that leaks a steady stream of hydraulic oil and is not the half with the mast that is so loose you can't tell if you are tilted or level. My half is the good half, the half that never uses diesel or oil or has a flat tire. That is always the best half to own.
I sold six semi-loads of hay at $180 per ton delivered to the press. This is around 150 tons. Small scale when compared to my neighbors, but a major amount for me.
For reference, my hay yield from The MuddyValley Beaver Plantation was around 180 ton. (Since the fellow doing my trucking never weighed a load or gave me a bill for the hauling I don't know exactly.)
Now here is the point that drives me insane...
I sold a load of what I thought was very nice Timothy-Alfalfa on Friday. So, 25 tons at 180 per ton would be $4500. However, when they got it to their barn they were not happy with the quality. It is a friend so it is not an adversarial sort of situation. I suggested they pay me $120 per ton and they counter offered with $140 per ton. The difference per load of hay is $1000 to $1500!
My deal was, I sent 150 tons for export to Japan. That is $27,000! At this point I have probably $18,000 into the hay without the hauling. Will they pay me? I'm just a small guy, I can't fight with them. I need the money. I have to buy fertilizer and baler twine for next year.
Plus, I'm going to owe around $3,000 in hauling charges.
So I do nonsensical things to avoid thinking about it and to avoid actual work...
But, I digress...
Saturday my little helper showed up. On Friday I made him run the squeeze to move 20 blocks of hay to get to the 10 blocks in the back of the barn that were sold. Saturday, I just had some equipment to move. However, my uncle had a magnetic-base drill borrowed to drill holes some steel plate.
The mag-drill is really cool. It is a very heavy hand drill, (a two-hand drill) with a cast base that makes it into a kind of mini drill press. The base has a powerful electro magnet which allows you to attach it to any flat steel surface. I was going to try to use it to demagnetize the tape heads on my Sony reel to reel but it was too heavy to hold the drill and push the power button at the same time so I gave that idea up.
But, I digress...
I suggested that my little helper use that drill to put holes in the forklift forks so we could put a clevis or a trailer ball on the forks to move stuff around. He was looking for a job.
He said he really didn't know how to do that and it was beyond his skill level...
He went home...
Now, you understand I have a lot to do.
Since I am a Lazy Farmer I don't really get a lot accomplished.
My list of important projects this winter
1. Finish the shop, (unfinished for 10 years)
2. MMG1355 in pieces.
3. G706 throwout bearing which scooterboy ruined by not over centering the hand clutch
4. 2-135 throwout bearing and injector pump
5. 2-155 FWA bearings, new tires
6. Great Plains drill, new bearings in presswheels, new fertilizer tubes
7. Sprayer is dead
8. Hydraulic lift on the Ford Louisville tandem
9. 1085 stacker rebuild
Instead I chose job number 23, drill holes in forklift forks.
And so I did it...
Had to start with a 3/8's bit, went to 1/2, 9/16, 3/4, and then 1 inch. Took me all afternoon. But, I just raised the forks part way and I had a nice seat while I drilled it.
Several folks have seen my work. They look at me with a somewhat pained expression and say, "why didn't you just use a torch?"
An artist is never appreciated in their own time!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I was not meant to be a farmer, my calling was to be a "tinkerer"

My daughter gave me grief when she caught me looking at vintage guitars on Craigslist instead of studying for my devotional reading at Church.
Here words were something to the effect of me not even being able to play guitar and why was I looking at them.
I did not point out that I could probably preach a complete sermon by stringing together all the Christian Codewords I have in my brain cell storage unit. I've actually one that before in times of crisis but I do have to be careful not to get the lyrics of old country-western songs mixed in with the Christian Terminology.
But, I digress...
MuddyValley got me thinking about building musical instruments with his banjo post and I've seen collieguy's workshop and what I wonder is... Could a non musician actually build musical instruments that anyone would buy? Probably not, besides that is collieguy's niche!
Anyway, I found this link- (Click Here) I like the blog name, "Crawls backward when alarmed."
And then I found this link to what I would really like to do in life-build toys... (Click Here)
And now, I shall return to building a lego train around the Christmas Tree and listening to sqeeky Jazz Music on KMHD. I'd change the channel but it took so much effort to tune it in with my home built antenna that I don't want to mess with it.
Perhaps if I did not have a 50 year old stereo...
Have a nice evening.

There are no more great men being made and now there is one less in this world

There once was a time when there were people who inspired you with their character and knowledge.
I am somewhat a fan of the BBC and grumpy non-politically correct old people in general so I was saddened to see that Sir Patrick Moore has been "put down" by British health care.
CLICK here to read the story
Pay attention to this quote:

The statement read: 'After a short spell in hospital last week, it was determined that no further treatment would benefit him, and it was his wish to spend his last days in his own home, Farthings, where he today passed on, in the company of close friends and carers and his cat Ptolemy.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2245405/Sir-Patrick-Moore-dies-89-Broadcaster-passed-away-peacefully-home-close-friends-cat-Ptolemy.html#ixzz2EZegDJXy
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


Does it mean that because he was 89 years of age it was not cost effective to keep him alive or rather that it is against New World Order policy to spend money on old folks or does it mean that there was in fact nothing that could be done that would not involve him being kept as a vegetable on life support until his organs all failed.
Who do you trust?
Anyway... that is just a side note, the point is he was an amazing man who led an amazing life.
Unlike myself, he could in fact make decisions...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A short post

I have been reflecting over my inability to get essential work done and other yearly issues that there is no point in discussing.
My collection of old records and Dynaco stereo Hi-Fi equipment is pretty much a metaphor for the grand scale of things.
It is out of date and of somewhat inferior sound quality and why in the world would anyone amass a collection of vinyl records?
There is an extra hum in the integrated SCA-80 amp. The Dynaco connected to the record player is not sounding right and in reality my old Kenwood amp is better than any of this stuff.
I tired out my 860 IH with the loader and hay grapple and it is really kind of junk.
If only I could build banjos like Collieguy...
But I can't.
I did get an important donation from a fellow named Ernest. He has the distinction of donating the most amount of money at one time through the PayPal donation button. Apparently he has found this website quite entertaining.
However, I am still a wee bit shy of my 1.2 million dollar mark...
Just the same it has improved my outlook enough that I attempted to make a pun in one of the previous paragraphs.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I get more records, whoop! whoop!

I broke one of my rules of collecting. I will buy no new records until I get rid of the four boxes of early 1970's Nashville country which I was given by a friend.
I did donate one box to a local thrift store and I am listening to the Christmas music so perhaps I can make an exception.
What I did was to bid on a couple albums on ebay. I wanted some Jimmy Hendricks as that sort of guitar playing sounds really good (IMHO) on my old Dynaco system. I also bought a Dynaco QD-1 quad adapter which I will discuss at a later point.
Well, I will explain the Quad adapter.
I have two large DCM timeframe speakers in the living room. They are attached to the Dynaco integrated amplifier. My easy chair is located right next to once speaker. My plan is to put rear speakers on the other end of the room so that someone sitting on the couch can hear Hogans Heroes and I can hear something else other than Sergeant Schultz exclaiming, "I know NOTHING!" Hearing that so often is starting to effect my life view...
Thus, I can have four speakers. However, I forgot that I have to string speaker wire so we shall see.
But, I digress...
I bought the Dynaco and the records from the same seller. He was going to combine shipping on the records but I paid him too soon. So, he gave me more records.
I found it somewhat amusing as when my cousin asked me about a couple vinyl records so his daughter could try out the console stereo she has salvaged from my Uncle, I snuck in an Anne Murray as well.
However, this fellow did not do such a dastardly deed.
He sent along an Allman Brothers album, "Eat a Peach," as well as a few more that I would have to drag my bottom out of my chair to look and see what they are.
Last night after all had gone to bed, I retreated to the den and listened to the Allman Brothers.
Very nice.
I overslept this morning.
I have not even listened to the albums I actually bought.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Have been otherwise occupied

My daughter has decided that her cousins will never do anything but play their Wii. So she took apart the lego city they had all built in her room and invited her father to play legos with her instead. That has occupied the past three days. I feel somewhat honored but also there is the realization I am second string. I told her she should invite the cousins over, or go over there and that they probably had no idea she was over here wanting them to play with her.
However, she pointed out that she had gone over there and she had invited them over here and she was NOT going to beg-and i ran out of arguments after that. She reminds me of my mother and her family. I did not realize that the attitudes found south of the Mason-Dixon line were also genetic.
Besides it has been pouring down rain and it is a pain in the butt to walk across the flooded machinery lot in front of the house.
So, Sunday afternoon we built lego boats and sailed across the living room to establish a new colony on a remote island located under the card table. It was a perilous voyage.
We arrived with a scouting ship and then went back for the freighters. Everything on the colony has to be loaded on the freighters in her room and sailed down the hall into the living room and unloaded. The passage is fraught with large waves and occasional pirates.
Several rescues have been made. There were also several alien abductions, an airplane crash and an attack by a lego skeleton. However, it was discovered that really he was just lonely and misunderstood and after finding anther skeleton friend he was not longer so grumpy.
This evening we set up the Christmas tree while listening to Slim Whitman and Perry Como sing Christmas songs. Not to mention the original version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. I dug out my record changing turntable so I could stack the albums and didn't have to flip sides every 20 minutes.

Earlier in the day a fellow who is on the NAT forum came by to visit. We had a nice time discussing farming in Montana. I don't think he has seen the sunshine yet in Oregon. He is the only person I have seen who can actually get his iPad to do what he wants it to do. He almost convinced me that they work. I am not quite persuaded.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another dyslexic moment for me results in a good laugh for someone in the Midwest

My brother and I were playing a joke on his wife's niece who has been visiting. She left her phone unattended and she was receiving text messages from her aunt.
Our plan was to send the above photo to the aunt from the niece's cell phone as a photo of the nice man she had met in Oregon. Long time readers may recognize my longtime helper. (Note the cute little doggie he is holding.)
It would have been pretty funny but in sending the photo to her phone I transposed the 6 and 9 and sent it to some other Midwesterner. Some time later I got a text response, "I think you have the wrong number."
Perhaps I should not have added, "Luv U"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I am not as smart as I thought I once was

So I got this old telephone given to me. Somewhere I've got another one or two. I suppose the kids left them in the lawn as I let them play with them at some point.
But I am pretty sure I could hook them together to form my own telephone network.
Hand crank phone generators are fairly cheap on eBay. I've seen them from time to time at yard sales. Plus, you can do very entertaining shocking pranks on people.
Anyway, I found this book. (Click Here)
I just can't seem to concentrate on the schematics.
Perhaps I am old.
Today dad feel asleep while entering something in his computer database. He filled the entire memory up with the letter "e," sort of locked everything up and I had to restart for him. Now if only he would have been pushing the letter "z."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

I tried out the hot tub

It is a clear and brisk night here in Western Oregon. I have found it hard to sleep after a 15 cup of coffee day.
So I thought I would give the hot tub a try. It has been somewhat of a long road to a working hot tub.
One day it showed up on a pallet in the back yard.
Much humor has been had at my expense over this endeavor.
The neighborhood Democrat brought it by on a trailer behind his Jetta. The one that used to have an Obama sticker on it. He also promised to install it.
Several farmers has questioned his motives and my sexual orientation has been called into question.
But, after much suffering the hot tub is up and running.
Today my back was killing me.
So I tried the Hot Tub.
It was nice and toasty warm. I could hear the coyotes howling and the geese honking, no doubt missing Ralph's wheat fields up North.
It was nice.
For about five minutes.
Then I got bored.
My historic experiences with hot tubs usually involved the risk of the real owners showing up and pondering the question of did I like the person I was in the hot tub with enough to help her back over the fence. So I never had the chance to be bored.
I do like long hot baths but I usually have reading material or if I am lucky my daughter has left a Lego boat in the bath. Sometimes I just fall asleep.
I tried the different jet settings. That was kind of cool.
If I had a telescope I could look though my brothers windows but I think the kids were just playing the Wii so not that exciting.
So I got out.
My back feels better.
Perhaps i need to read up on this...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cooking pork chops with the Lazy Farmer

My wife left me Saturday evening. She went to see her college friends in the big city and left me alone. This generally means that I take a really long bath, listen The Legendary Stardust Cowboy at higher than average levels, and blog, sometimes all at the same time.
Once in a while I invite some of my friends to visit.
Sometimes I even let the dog in the house.
Living life on the edge is what I do...
This Saturday I determined to make pork chops.
It all started with bacon. She sent me out to the freezer to get bacon for my baked potatoe and I spied the pork chops.
We get pork from the Democrat in the neighborhood. I think the pigs thrive on his nitrogen rich environment. They certainly seem happy. Happy as a pig in...
He is getting back to sustainable and has found some "heritage" breeds. Tamworths and Black and Whites.
The Black and Whites are pretty fat. He feeds them my pig feed mix. Barley, Wheat, Oats, 10 percent organic soy curls, 10 percent camolina meal, 20 percent ground whole alfalfa hay, five percent clover screenings, and a touch of molasses to keep the dust down. Then he supplements with apples when they are in season. The problem is not with the vitamins and minerals as the pigs are on pasture, rather it is probably the lysine ratios. I looked at a study that showed the older breeds make fat instead of muscle at a higher rate when lysine ratios are not correct and you are feeding wheat, oats, and barley.
This is certainly a fat hog.
Oh, but so good. I never understood that fat can actually taste good!
But, i digress...
I dug out the old cast iron skillet and found some olive oil. I thought I would be healthy. However, I decided to fry up the bacon for the baked potatoe first. I just hated to waste all that wonderful bacon grease so I decided to be Southern and fry the pork chops in bacon grease. We have been saving it as it seems such a shame to throw it away. So I spooned in a couple more tablespoons, about a quarter cup and let it melt while I took care of the pork chops.
I found a walla-walla sweet onion in the pantry and cut it up and set it aside.
I spread out a half cup of flour and some coarse sea salt on a paper plate. I was looking for garlic powder and paprika but found several different types of meat seasoning. I just dumped them in randomly till I got a nice red color in the flour.
I washed and dried the pork chops and then rolled them in the flour. By this time the bacon grease was nice and hot and about a quarter inch deep across the cast iron skillet, medium heat.
When I poped the pork chops into the bacon fat they popped and sputtered enthusiastically. I also tossed in the onions. You can't go wrong with onions.
I set the timer for six minutes. I decided to go with six minutes per side. They were quite thick.
Then I started thinking about gravy. Those baked potatoes seemed kind of bare...
The chops took longer to cook than I thought. After 12 minutes they were still pink in the middle. I've been using an extra stainless steel soil thermometer as a meat thermometer but I couldn't find it in any of the flower pots or in the freezer so I just had to guess.
I put the lid back on and turned the heat down and set the timer for another six minutes.
Then I started thinking about gravy.... Mmmm gravy.... How did Grandma used to do it?
I found some flour and some milk.

After the chops were done I set them aside to drain a bit of the grease off.
I was amazed to find there was little of anything stuck to the bottom of the skillet. So I dumped in some flour and started stirring with a fork. This is the touchy part.

I wanted the flour to get sticky and lumpy and then I'd brown it a bit, but I started with too much grease which took too much flour. I should have drained off some grease or stopped when it was not quite as thick. I browed the flour mixture and then added milk. It took a lot more milk to get it to correct thickness than I wanted to use. I left it pretty thick which was a little too much flour for my taste.

Was it good? Oh my! It was incredible... I could actually feel my arteries hardening as I ate.
If I would only have had some fresh lettuce, I'd have poured a little hot bacon grease on that and had "Wilted Lettuce" and I'd of felt I was in my Grandma's kitchen .

It was really too much for me. The gravy was so rich I couldn't eat it all. I gave the rest of it to Stanley (the dog) and he can't even move today...

Removing a stuck bolt



I am not accomplishing much. Have suffered a loss of energy. I tend to go off on irrelevant projects. Like removing this stuck bolt when I can't figure out how to hook up the hydraulics on the loader so it it will work on my 806 International. That is partly because the loader is an utter piece of crap and the tractor is also an utter piece of crap and I can't believe I actually thought I could get it to work.
I do not understand how someone could utterly butcher something like this loader and actually use it. Or why I thought I could get it to work...
So I removed a stuck bolt...
I tried PB blaster, ATF and Acetone (50/50 mix), and I gave up. There was just a nub sticking through the casting and each time I gripped it with the Visegrip it would make that nub smaller.
Speaking of Visegrip pliers. They have been bought by Irwin and production has been moved to China. They are now slightly clunkier and of much cheaper construction. I never really thought of a Vise-Grip as a precision instrument but they certainly have become less so. I am planning on stocking up at garage sales. How could they ruin the Vise-Grip!  (another reason Romney lost-everybody hates corporate America!)
But, I digress...
I found an old square head nut that was slightly larger than the bolt. I centered it over the stub sticking out of the casting and then fired up the welder.
Welded the inside of the nut to the bolt and then waited till it cooled down.
I sprayed liberal amounts of acetone/ATF mixture on the offending bolt.
After it was cool, I clamped my Vice-Grip onto the head of the bolt and it came out easily.
The welder puts the heat directly onto the bolt plus it seems to shrink the bolt as well. It just turned right out.

On a side note: I am getting too much spam so there will be either comment approval or one of those anti-spambot things that I hate.
It is kind of strange, they focus on one post and then when I delete the post they move to another one. I don't quite get the methodology but they are quite persistent.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Someone always has it worse than you do...

I got a phone call yesterday from a rather depressed young man. He is a former employee who has moved on to work for himself and more successful farmers but he is also a friend and we help each other out from time to time.
His best friend died in a helicopter crash in NY. I think he said it was the first day on the job.
Click here for a not very good news article about it
Somehow I think that my statement about the fragility of human life was not very helpful.
"You know you could walk out in the street and get hit by a bus, when its time to go its time to go..."
I've been trying to come up with comforting words.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our first big storm of the season and I do my favorite thing


There is nothing like working in the rain. Especially with the threat of a flood, and especially with the knowledge that you had three months to move this crap before it started raining.
Our river floods if there is a huge amount of rain in the Coast Range and sometimes floods if there is a huge amount of rain locally.
If we get both it will absolutely flood.
We got both Sunday night.
I checked the river page at the US Weather Service and they were predicting 35 feet yesterday. When it gets above 35 feet we have to worry.
So I got the 2-135 out and started moving stuff. I found a MM U, disk, a plow, the harrow and roller I borrowed from the neighbor on the condition that I stored it over the winter and DIDN'T let it go under water, three rolls of plastic tile line, and the old IH tandem that I didn't move last year and people keep reminding me about. I completely forgot about the water truck that was being used for spraying and so when my brother got home we also moved that.
It was a nice afternoon.

An update to just make everybody happy- Went with a friend to check on some tires. Need a front tire for the stacker plus a rim. The rim is at least $350.
Tires for my 1983 White 2-155 FWA with 7,600 hours (at least)
18.4-38" rears in 10 ply long bar short bar radial (better for the highway) special deal for $1,600 each.
16.9"-26" front tires non radial Goodyears will give me a special deal for $1250 each.
It is going to be $6,000 to install the tires and move the inside duals to the outside.
So what is a White 2-155 FWA worth???
Should I put a down payment on a 2-185 with better tires?
Try to go another year with bald tires?
Buy these tires?
Quit farming and get a real job?
Drink heavily and sit in the hot tub?
Become a meth addict?
Run away and join a circus?
I just seem to have trouble making decisions these days...
It is only 250 acres of no-tilling..

And Furthermore (12:30 noon update)
Looks like I missed a rake when I was moving stuff. Hey it was raining really hard!
Took this photo this morning...

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Life of Reilly?

I have decided to embark on a new life. One full of optimism and forward thinking.
Or
....on the other hand perhaps one of sloth and indolence... After all I do have a hot tub...and this is called the Lazy Farmer Blog
I have never been real good at life decisions.
Here am I on a Sunday afternoon...In a windstorm...
Leading, "The Life of Riley."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dynaco stereo in the living room, a forklift, and a bale fork, and mud, plus I get an old George Jones album

It is a lazy Sunday afternoon. We were going to meet some friends for an Olive oil tasting. I really have no idea what this would involve. I certainly hope that Popeye or Bluto was not involved. I'm thinking it is sort of an educated thing to do. Perhaps one step above a wine tasting. Probably a lot of short pants and keen sandals, but with more bread. I like bread so it seemed like a good idea. Plus, I like the people we were going to meet there and my daughter says normal people go to visit friends and are not grumpy and never hide when people come to visit them. (not that I ever do that...)
So we shipped the daughter off to church with my brother and family. Alas, the Olive oil tasting did not happen and we are in the midst of a bit of a storm.
The storm started yesterday. I took advantage of acclimate weather Saturday and drove the forklift over to the neighboring dairy to get the hay fork to go with the loader and tractor I acquired a while back. I did this all to pick up a stack that fell over in MuddyValley's barn. So I acquired a crappy loader, a crappy IH 806, and a device to pick up 10 bales which has been setting in a weed pile for the past decade. This will be a highly successful venture I am sure. Nothing like bottom feeding at its finest.
AND why the %^&*( did i decide to do this in the rain? Should have taken a nap.
My brother and I went to a garage sale where there were boxes of record albums. I found a George Jones album. I followed a record collector who got all the prize albums. The albums were in excellent shape but I'm really not a Deep Purple fan. No Jimmy Hendrix, the Beach Boys were played to death, found a Cheech and Chong album but it was really bad. Bought a Freddy Fender album just to annoy my family.
Today I got the great idea of installing the Dynaco SCA-80 in the living room. I bought it mostly so it would match the Dynaco AF-6 tuner and would fit on the bookshelf.
The amp is somewhat noisy. There seems to be a lot of hum, especially in the phono section. I read somewhere that using coaxial cable would reduce the noise. Instead I used aluminum foil tape on the low power input leads and grounded it to the frame. It seemed to work.

I also decided to try out the DCM Timeframe 350 speakers. I think I am going to have to redo the second speaker.
I compared them with my Optimus 7 pro (bigger than the regular Optimus 7's with a bass port in the back). Frankly, the Optimus 7's sounded better. They were brighter and had better sounding bass at normal listening levels. The TimeFrames sounded better at high volume but took a much different bass and treble setting to sound good to my wife and I. Sure we are Philistines, but we like what we like. The TimeFrames sounded muffled at low volumes. The Optimus 7's lacked the deep base but overall were easier to listen to. Not sure what it means. Might be that we are spoiled by listening to MP-3 players.

I would like to find the article that told how to convert the Dynco low level input to an extra regular input. You would use this input to amplify a tape head or as a second phono input. It sounds like the "special" input on this SCA-80 is an extra phono as it sounds RIAA balanced. It'd like to set it up as an input for a mp3 player or as an input for a ceramic cartridge so I could listen to my 78 rpm records but I can't find an article on doing this on anything but the PAT-4 preamp.
So the wife and I are setting around listening to the radio on a Sunday afternoon. Actually, we gave up on the tuner as we have no radio reception and switched to the little Sansa MP-3 player. I discovered I can pick up KMHD by either holding the Tuner antenna and standing in the middle of the room or by setting the Sansa MP-3 player on the arm of my chair. The Sansa is a little less awkward.

Anyway, we finally got our "free" hot tub hooked up so I think I will go kick Stanley off the lid and startle the neighbors and set in the hot tub in the rain storm.
Looks like tomorrow I will be moving farm equipment off the river bottom in anticipation of the coming floods.
In other news it looks like we will lose the farm in the end so I doubt anything I do really makes any difference.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It is still hard for me to adjust to the rain. We had some 100 plus days of sun and now it is mud. There was no transition. One day it was dust, the next it was mud.
So I am setting in my easy chair for a quick lunch of non-explosive bean soup. Yup, I banished the duck!
I am attempting to listen to KBOO on the old Dynaco AF-6 and waiting for my hay customer to return. I need to work on my antenna a bit more.
My hay customer is making his wife unload the truck, I think. He has made two trips so far today. Each time he squeezes a few more bales on. I should have taken a photo. 28 bales this last trip. The truck was swaying from side to side in the wind.
As long as he makes it out the driveway, then he is on his own.
I have a lot to do and want to take a nap.
Wonder if anyone would notice...

Friday, November 16, 2012

I make bean soup

My wife asked me if I would make bean soup this morning. She was on the way to school. It was 7:30 a.m.
So I agreed.
I set about boiling two cups of beans. (white)
I cut up an onion and two cloves of garlic. (A nice big Walla-Walla sweet onion)
I found a nice chunk of ham in the refrigerator.
I could not find cilantro, which is kind of the secret ingredient in tasty bean soup.
I did boil the beans and pour off the nutrients with the water. I am fairly sure it is those very nutrients which will bring back that pesky duck which tends to stalk me and quack at inopportune times.
Plus, I hate crunchy beans in bean soup.
I started to add bacon but I have no self control and a limited attention span and when the bacon started to sizzle I thought of eggs and I had a late breakfast of bacon and eggs. No grits. Not a true Son of the South.
Anyway, I added the ham, onion, garlic, a little salt, a little pepper, the beans which I boiled for 10 minutes and then rinsed, into the crock pot and turned it on high.
When I came in for lunch the soup smelled quite delicious. It does lack something.
Cilantro, I think.
There is a bucket of really nice 3rd cutting alfalfa leaves for the Chinchillas...Alfalfa is green, Cilantro is green...
I wonder....
Hmmmmm.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The fiscal cliff?


So we are headed for the Fiscal Cliff.
The smart folks on the TV talk about that a lot.
The Prez gave a little speech on it. He has a plan. He is going to tax the rich. He has a mandate by the voters to do this.
Ok...that is the plan. We are going to solve the budget crisis measured in Trillions by making a Billion by raising taxes on people we thinks have got it too easy? Totally and completely amazing. That is the plan, no word on not spending as much money, yup thats his plan.
Good thing the important things are covered, Gay Folks should get married and women can get abortions. Stuff relevant to all of us in our every day life.
Republicans are on it though, they is gonna cut back on "entitlements." Yup, they will solve the budget crisis-not by spending less, but by this clever scheme... Read carefully now, the goal is to cap what the rich folks can write off on their taxes, so they have to choose what things they gonna write off. Yup that will fixit.
Genius, pure genius!
Think I will stick with Jimmy Cliff...

Killing, or at least really annoying ants...

I have nothing against aunts but we are being infested with ants. Well, actually, we saw four, which then led to a little trail of cute little sugar ants crawling up the wall.
We bought some borax. Couldn't find the 20 mule team, so we settled for the Happy Sun Joy 15.5 mule team version. The particles are metric sized and it is made in China.
Probably due to Mitt Romney selling the company to the Chinese...
Being the obsessive type, and not really wanting to go to work today, I made three different mixes.
1. 1/2 Borax, 1/2 sugar dry mix
2. 1/2 Borax, 1/2 sugar mixed with hot water to get it into a super-saturated solution. Then I soaked cotton balls in the mix and put them on a saucer on the windowsill.
3. The above mix with an extra teaspoon of borax and a dollop of pancake syrup. In a small bowl.

My experiment is because I put the dry mix on the floor under the hole and in line with the ant trail and I put the other two mixes on the windowsill above the hole.
At noon the ants were in the dry mix but had not discovered the other two.

We shall see what we shall see....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I work on my Dynaco SCA-80

If you will look back to the post, "A Fool and His Money," which is not a commentary on the election, but rather a discussion of a my vintage stereo obsession, you will note that I purchased a Dynaco SCA-80 integrated amp off eBay.
I bought it mostly because it is one of the few pieces of home stereo that will fit on a standard bookcase. Well, and because I have a matching Dynaco FM-5 tuner. And I think the aluminum faceplate is kind of cool. And because I am an obsessive maroon who can't be content with just one of something, no I have to have the whole stinking product line. So much for financial independence for me. Going to the poorhouse $2 at a time. Some people have the casino to blame, I have GoodWill, ebay, and the GarageSale store to blame. Certainly not my own lack of self-discipline!
So, I have been waiting anxiously for the chance to try out this latest example of my need for modern behavioral medication.
I plugged it in Sunday night and was impressed by just how bad it sounded. It had a distinctly "dead" sound as if all the high frequencies had been cut off. There was a decent bass response but it also sounded somewhat muffled. One speaker kept cutting out.
I tried the high and low filter switches and they did change the sound. I liked the high filter. It was good for hiss and for filtering the white noise that comes from a tuner that is not quite tuned in.
I cleaned the switches with contact cleaner and then applied DeOxit Fader lube to the scratchy volume and balance controls and to the speaker selector switch. This helped, although I made a bit of a mess. I do not have a delicate touch.
This fixed the speaker problem but then the input selector switch started making noise when switching between sources. Not only that, but the sources would bleed between the settings.
I was testing it with my old iPod and a tuner. I could hear the iPod in the Phono setting and the tuner would not give any sound.
I got frustrated and put it away.
Last night I tried it again.
I cleaned all the contacts and treated them with deOxit. Carefully... I hooked up several inputs and some decent speakers.
I found that by holding the selector knob just right I could get sound from the Tuner setting.
I started really looking at the selector switch. Things just didn't match up. I took the knob off. The pointer on the aluminum knob was pointing down and the set screw was up. So I just gave it an extra twist. All the way around. (It was turned off at the time)

I turned it back on and suddenly everything was better. The sound improved, there was very little bleed back though the switch. Only on certain combinations which I don't remember this morning.
Upon further research I have found that not everyone like the Dynaco SCA-80. The word is that it is a dull sounding amp. The worst of the "sand amps," I have seen it described. ("sand" referring to silicon, silicon as in sand as opposed to silicone which refers to Pamela Anderson)
I do not have it in the living room. I've been leaving it plugged in with my Kill-a-Watt, to see how much power it consumes and how much heat it products in the process.
In conclusion-as I have to go to work eventually. (Although my daughter is home sick from school again and has not woken up yet and I can't actually leave the house yet.)
It is not bad. My Kenwood KA-3500 still sounds about the best of anything.
I had hoped I could use the "special" setting on the input selector to make the digital TV sound the same volume as everything else. However, the special setting is a very low level like the phono input. Somewhere there is a kit to upgrade this. I will probably never get it done...

Some Dynaco links, A rebuild by someone who also bought the amp because if fit on his bookshelf.

1. A link to a page with useful links: Click Here

2. Really good info on upgrading the Dynaco solid state PAT-4 preamp: Click Here
(I should have noted earlier that the SCA-80 is a combination of the PAT-4 preamp and the ST-80 solid state amp into an integrated amplifier. The SCA-80 doesn't have the bad rep of the Stereo 120 but is not considered really top of the line. I have an ST-120 hooked to a PAS-2 preamp and non critical ears. It sounds ok and doesn't run hot. But, I generally listen at low volume.)

 3. The Dynaco Doctor

4. Greg Dunn- All things Dynaco: Click Here

5. A good place to get parts is Update My Dynaco- specifically upgrades to the power supply on ST-120 which can be problematic-(as in smoke).
 I've bought from Update My Dynaco, and was happy. They do rebuilds and have auctions on eBay.  Click Here For link to their website

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall planting season photos

Mayor Bloomberg and I blame global warming. Floods and droughts and famine and pestilence. All due to global warming. The abomination of the infernal combustion engine and the fires of Mordor.
I kind of figured that after 100 plus days of no rain, it would rain. It just won't stop.
I am on a 150 acre no-tilling job. It is on a former Christmas Tree farm. Meaning hills that are really too steep for most of the local farmers. But I always find the clever ones who have a plan that no one else has yet to figure out.
And so I am no-tilling hard red wheat into a heavy red clay soil on steep rolling hills. No-tilling into bent grass, moss, and wild carrot sod.
Here is a photo...


I must say I am fairly impressed with the Great Plains 1500 no-till grain drill. I seem to be able to plant into just about anything. The sheer volume of mud has gotten to be a bit of a problem. It does tend to plug up the press wheels every hour or so.
This is a photo of the presswheels when thy are still turning. They are not even plugged up yet.
Above is a view out my windshield on Friday afternoon. The sun came out and the field was almost dry enough to actually plant without plugging up. Then there was a cloudburst. The hood is actually white from the sleet.
Below is a screen view of my GPS. I use FarmerGPS which is a program which runs on a tablet PC. Gives me a low cost alternative to the $2,000 Raven system everyone else uses. Plus, the customer service is pretty excellent.
When I dropped my Tablet at the beginning of the week when I slipped on the step and fell out of the tractor cab, I emailed FarmerGPS for a new unlock code for my backup computer. I not only got the code but when I discovered my backup computer wouldn't run the newest version because the graphics card couldn't handle 3-D, they emailed me a previous version of the program that would work. It arrived overnight in my email. It was very helpful.
Below is a screen view of what I have been doing this week. The different colors are the different days I worked. It has been pretty slow going.

But, tomorrow is the start of a new week and I am sure all will be grand...

A typical rambling post about farming and politics and planting which doesn't really bring up anything new and has no pictures


I have been stuck in a tractor cab for three days. Perhaps I should qualify that a little. This three day misadventure has been broken up by rain, digging a nasty combination of clay and dead bent grass out of 24 press wheels, digging same combination from between the v-opener disks, loading 80 50lb bags of wheat in the drill every hour and a half, well in theory, but in reality more like three times a day.  Or has it been four days?
Whatever it has been I have been listening to talk radio and NPR, punctuated by the beeping of the monitor telling me row 24, row 14, or row 11 have plugged, and the occasional foray into the horrible repeating carts is modern FM radio.

What I have learned from NPR election commentary…
1.     The Republican leadership, especially those running the campaign of Mitt Romney, should be made to walk the plank.
2.     They still don’t know what went wrong…
3.     I learned from NPR that Romney was the man for the job due to his expertise in rescuing and/or looting failing companies and that without him we are doomed to economic collapse, or just plain mediocrity.
4.     When it comes right down to it people will not elect a Mormon for president. And that people will lie about this.
5.     The worldview of a modern young person has no understanding of  cause and effect. or profit vs loss, or that the world is full of pain and suffering and that saying “But I really tried,” does not fix failure.

What I have learned from the Mexican kid who was dispatched to bring me pallets of seed and sometimes helped me load the drill.
1.     Mexico is full of drugs and crime and people who will kidnap you. And/or kill your relatives.
2.     Most Hispanics who come here do not want those above mentioned criminals allowed to follow them here.
3.     If you insult Mexicans in general they will all sick together.
4.     This is news to the idiots who run the Republican party.                  

What I learned yesterday from NPR…
1.     Obama has one plan for the economy. Raise taxes on the rich…
2.     The Republicans have two plans for the economy, Oppose Obama and mess with “entitlements.” Whatever that it means.

What I think.
1.     I’d like to see the financial cliff. Shut the government down I say. No changes will happen until the money runs out…
2.     If more people spent their Saturdays digging sticky mud out of the presswheels on a grain drill and loading grain 50lbs at a time the world would be different.
3.     Oregon is a beautiful place. Even though it was cold and wet and there was rain and sleet I was on top of a 500ft hill and I could look across a landscape of rolling hills to the rows of mountains in the background. Those were defined by deepening shades of gray and fog.
4.      Sliding a 160hp FWA tractor sideways down a hill where the bottom is a ravine full of trees, brush and mud, will wake you up more than a thermos full of coffee…
5.      I need new tires on my tractor, so if anyone wants to donate $6,000 to my paypal account I will say, “thanks!”

What I have learned from writing in Microsoft word and pasting into blogger:

1. The formatting doesn't really come through.
2. I should not wait till the last minute to do my devotion for Church...

            I lied, here is a photo of a trip downhill in the rain following my GPS. There is a reason for the camera shake! Note the white knuckles on the steering wheel.

Friday, November 9, 2012

America goes into the darkness | Melanie Phillips

I have been listening to the radio in the tractor. I was amazed at Rush Limbaugh's take on the election. He sounded like the Rush of 20 years ago, before the golfing with Carl Rove and the 15 wives and the pain-killer addiction. Rush was advocating a return to core values and putting up candidates who believe in something and not just picking the guy the Republican party brass thinks will win. Sounded good.
Lars came on and I switches to NPR. It was also interesting. They were reporting Obama failings, a couple days too late.
But I really miss Michael Savage. I miss his crazy rants which sometimes made sense. I liked it when he just started playing weird Cuban music or launched into a story about NYC and his youth. Or being young in the 1960's or Fiji or anything but politics.
I don't miss his advertising but of course, talk radio attracts the crazies.
So this morning I went to his blog and I found this.
It is interesting  i think.

America goes into the darkness | Melanie Phillips

And I lifted this link from an advertisement for her book.

"In what we tell ourselves is an age of reason, we are behaving increasingly irrationally. A loss of religious belief has led the West to replace reason and truth with ideology and prejudice. The result has been a kind of mass derangement, as truth and lies, right and wrong, victim and aggressor are all turned upside down." - Melanie Phillips.

This is exactly what I think but have been unable to articulate. There are important rules of human nature.
We (humans) must have religion. If we don't have it will invent it. It doesn't have to involve a deity. If there is no deity it is called ideology. If we are really self important we call it science. Real scientists may or may not object, generally they just like the increased funding.
I think that it is important to note that the loss of your cultural religion/belief system leaves the culture with no restraints and no conscience. Witness the revolutions in China and Russia. It is especially troubling to lose our Christian faith as has been interpreted more and more to promote individual self-determination and human rights.
My democrat neighbor just gave me a lecture on how I was full of crap and that Christianity perpetuated the worst crimes in history. I noted that non-Christian killed each other wantonly as well and that all he had proved was that mankind is capable of horrific brutality.
Anyway, that is my opinion after the election. I imagine the worst but expect merely a continuing slide into Orwell's "1984" - lite version...
Have a nice day.