The Useful Duck!

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

I am planting wheat.
It is a bit early for wheat according to the old timers. Not that there are that many old timers left...
It is not really no-tilling as the field was a grass field which has been worked a couple times but there is enough sod left that a conventional drill wouldn't go though it.
It is so dusty I can't even see the drill behind me. If the wind changes I also can't see the marker track in front of me.


I told the farmer I could do 70 acres per day. You can't quite do 70 acres at 4 mph. We are also chopping silage so it makes it a little tough to do both.
Worked on adjusting chopper knives a couple hours yesterday morning. Didn't get my field planted.
Things got a little difficult after dark.
I have FarmerGPS on a tablet computer, but the program is only as good as the antenna. Everything was fine on flat ground. I following the little glowing arrows on the screen and it was all matching up with the marker row. Then I got to the hillside part of the field and it got dark. Sometimes the GPS was correct and sometimes not. Then I ended up in wrong field due to the fact that I was staring fixedly at a computer screen and couldn't see out the window.
So I went home.
This morning I will go and see what damage I did. I hope it is a straight row.
I thought about buying this truck. It was not very expensive.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Templeton's Booze and Broasted Chicken, Amity Gets a Bar!

We are all getting quite a laugh from the Broasted Chicken sign that has appeared in the window of the former Ashes Cafe in "down town" Amity.
Yesterday leather booths (not boots) appeared stacked inside the door.
The story is that "Neal" the owner of the building is opening a bar. This is amusing to those of us who have been patrons of the Amity Cafe though several incarnations because it harkens back to the days of drunken ownership, drunken partially naked waitresses in the evenings, and rats.
All of those were extremely entertaining.
I was there for the rat infestation but only saw the drunk topless waitress via a shaky cell phone photo and I couldn't really see if she was really topless or not. (Only looking for informational purposes only)
We are anxiously awaiting the opening of Templton's Bar and Grill as in the old days there was just a little bar a the back room. The word is that the new incarnation will be nirvana for the mid-day drinkers in Amity, the whole shebang will be devoted to booze, broasted chicken and Video Poker!
HiJinks will ensue!
Perhaps that will be the slogan painted on the door.
It also pretty funny that it is right next to the Blue Goat. I wonder just how the two crowds will mix.
Or what will happen when the rats return.
It will be really funny if a sign appears in the window, "Under Previous Management!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Landfill Park baloney continues

The neighborhood is attempting to stop the creation of a park in the buffer zone for an old unlined landfill.
The News Resistor is for the park as they have absolutely no connection to anything relevant to anything but "Wine Country" and the local farmer's market.
The Yamhill County Commissioners have already made the deal with the parks department to push through the park.
The general population of the county is not clamoring for a park. They want the roads fixed and methheads to go away.
The purpose of the hearings dealing with the park is to let local residents rant and rave and for the commissioners to feel smug about their "public duty."
They get to lecture us about the public good and civic responsibility when they reflect on a back-room deal made a few years ago and their wonderful legacy as park builders. "We care about Yamhill County."
So we can talk about the environment, they don't care unless a private individual has an oil spill on 99W.
We can talk about traffic, but in the end it will be our fault for driving wide equipment on narrow roads.
We can talk about crime, they just ignore the fact that all Yamhill County parks are famous for crime, drugs/booze, and vandalism. (Unless they want more money for the County Sheriff.)
We can just say we don't want it, but of course that is just a "Not in my Back Yard," complaint and not valid.
And that my folks is how our democracy works...
I think we need to get away from that quote about asking not what my country has done for me, but what I can do for my country.
What your country is doing is making your life more difficult. We need to be able to say "no, I don't want to spend that money, it is my money, I gave it to you, use it wisely."
People need to go into a skeptical mode, an obstructionist mode, a "no that's not a good idea mode."
And that is my .02 for the day...

Monday, September 24, 2012

A picture I like

I wanted to buy this water color for my wife for our anniversary. But I didn't set the sniping program correctly. Actually, I also forgot when it was ending which is why I'm posting in the middle of the afternoon. Also because I just got a chance to eat my lunch. However, I'm not sure that just because I like the painting it really qualifies as an anniversary gift.
I wish she liked vintage hifi, legos, old tractors, or Studebaker cars.

Another lovely Monday Morning

It is 6 a.m. on a Monday morning. We are watching a show on OPB about worm farming...
I am trying to figure out a plan.
1. I have to plant wheat for my neighbor. It is a pretty big job.
2. We must get ready to chop silage
3. We have no truck for hauling silage
4. I need to bring the 2-135 home and hook to the silage chopper
5. I have a truck load of barley that needs to go to a warehouse 10 miles away.
6. I need to call my neighbor about buying a grain bin
7. I need to grind feed
8. I have bales to pick up.
9 We have buckwheat to combine
10. Speaking of buckwheat, there is still alfalfa to cut with the 2-135 before we start silage
11. I have a broken rim on the front of the 2-155 FWA.- I drilled a hole in each end of the crack but I think it is getting worse. The 2-155 is the planter tractor. The steering bushings also appear to be failing. The PTO slips.

There is something wrong with the hydraulic flow control that runs the hydraulic powered pump that applies the fertilizer on my grain drill. I think I have the wrong flow control. I bought it on ebay as a damaged freight return item. It started out as a 30 gpm max 3000lb flow control with a balanced pressure electric feedback control. The computer stuff failed right away and I replaced it with a surplus cartridge I also bought on ebay. So I assume there are some missmatched components. For several years I didn't even have the third return line hooked up. (the line that runs the bypass back to the hydraulic tank)  The problem is in the bypass I think.
When I go out of range with the pump. Meaning when I am going faster than the pump can supply the fertilizer, the pressure goes up to 2,500lbs and the safety valve shuts off the pump. I of course tried it without the pressure valve and it blew up the pump when I accidently ran the pump out of fertilizer and it went overspeed.
I have a Micro-trak Spraymate II which is an automatic rate controller. It has a flow meter and speed sensor and it varies the speed of the hydraulic pump to supply a set rate of fertilizer.
I was going to replace the Fluid Power motorized flow controller with a linear actuator and regular manual hydraulic flow controller but I was worried the manual flow controller would put too much of a load on the linear actuator.
Instead I bought an adjustable pressure relief valve and I thought I would set it to 2200lbs and put it between the motorized flow controller and the fertilizer pump. Then I would remove the return line from the flow control and put that line on the pressure relief valve.
However, the pressure relief valve has yet to arrive.

So, if anyone would care to contribute 1.2 million dollars I would be quite happy...

And for those wondering about the DCM Time Frame 350 speakers, I blew them up.  We were having a nice Sunday dinner and listening to My Favorite Chopin, by Van Cliburn on reel to reel when it started sound funny. I peeked though fabric covering the speaker and the foam surrounds on the left side driver were completely shredded.
I am sure listening to The Legendary Stardust cowboy had nothing to do with it.
Another winter project. Meanwhile, it is a beautiful wreck. They sound ok at a low volume.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tactical Errors in Judgement

There are those who are good managers. I know there are as I have read examples of such in the introductions to many self-help books that I never actually buy.
Here is the latest example.
We have a twenty acre fescue field to plant. Twenty acres is really nothing in comparison to the average size of the typical local fescue field. But it still must be planted.
Many things have happened which interrupted this project.
It needed to be planted before the magic date of September 18th.
This is September 22nd.
We also had one last 100 acres of straw to bale. Then the tyre on the stacker blew out on a bridge on Highway 99W during the Friday afternoon rush to the beach traffic jam.
And I have 200 acres to plant for a neighbor starting Monday.
And 80 acres of corn silage to make starting Wednesday.
And my brother got a week long truck driving job.
And there were various truck of seed to empty and straw to move and so on.
So I decided to send my helper to bale and stack whilst I stayed at the home farm and plowed and worked the 20 acres and dumped the grain trucks repaired the brakes on the truck and what ever it is that I do all day long.
But there was a problem.
The seat on the stacker has lost it's suspension and my helper weighs 350lbs. Actually, the issue of the broken springs in the seat really makes no difference as the springs never would support 350lbs.
Yesterday I had a plan.
We were done stacking and baling and so my helper would move stuff home and clean stuff up and help get ready for silage while I finished what needed to be done with a FWA tractor with duals and then got ready to plant.
So I get the text, "My back hurts today real bad, I'm going to stay down today."
"I'm getting better but still not good, gonna stay home the next couple days and get good again."
But, of course he will.
It is just that time of year.
I suppose I just need to get up earlier in the morning...
I should NEVER have let him run the stacker. (In fact I did not let him run the stacker all summer.)
I should NEVER have let him know I was going to be gone for three days.
But, one two errors in judgement gives an excuse for failure.
What is it like to work at a job other than farming?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Speakers, The Ledge, True Art, Life, Pretty Birds, and other random events.

Today is usually the day we celebrate that fateful day in September of 1973  when Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in battle-of-sexes tennis match proving just who was the better man, but today I was feeling a bit philosophical.
There are things that bring meaning to life. Things that are unrelated to your survival. Ideas like art and literature and why does that funny cloud look like a duck. You know, the deeper things of life.
Sometimes I fancy myself as an audiophile. Not really a high caliber audiophile but a bottom feeding amateur stereo scrounger who wishes to hear that one perfect note on a set a garage sale speakers.
Today MuddyValley brought me a set of DCM Time Frame 350 Speakers. I abandoned my project of bleeding the brakes on the 1967 Ford Truck and we hauled them into the house and hooked them up.
My test record was one I grabbed randomly off the shelf. A slightly worn Venture's album.
They did sound better than my old Baby Advents but the Advents were never top of the line.
I waited with increasing anticipation for 12 noon when I could escape to the house and really see what these speakers would sound like.
As I remember the DCM Time Frame speaker had a devoted following in the 1980's. It is a tall but shallow speaker which has a small footprint but has a reputation for excellent sound. I remember hearing them in the listening room of small audio store in Salem when I was in college. Of course they were way out of my price range at that time.
Apparently MuddyValley found a pair on craigslist for a really reasonable price and found an occasion to pass them on to a somewhat undeserving recipient.
So it was with considerable excitement that I warmed up the Dynaco PAS2 and searched for an album which would provide a true audiophile experience.
I started with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Symphonion Dream. 
This album has always been a good sounding album and has a lot of the midrange guitar sound which I enjoy hearing reproduced on a good sounding speaker. I was amazed at the stereo imaging and sensation of actually being able to hear what they mean when they refer to a "sound stage."
But today was not really the day for hippie/country/rock even if I was in fact wearing a purple and pink tie-dye t-shirt my daughter had made for me.
Today was more a day for "The Ledge."
The Legendary Stardust Cowboy's 1980's release Rock-it To Stardom features a wide range of his vocal abilities, from the psychotic warbling on "Paralyzed," to his spoken word poetry on "I take a ride on the Space Shuttle," and his interpretation of the Sinatra (I believe) standard, "Fly Me to the Moon."
I was really quite impressed, actually amazed. The Ledge usually has a pretty tight backup band which provides an interesting contrast with the dissonance of his singing and poetry.
I was impressed by the excellent reproduction of the jazz inspired bass tracks on "I took a Trip on the Space Shuttle," which launches right into a twangy  country guitar on "Cast-Iron Apron."
Carl Odam half singing sort of speaking, "When I roast wieners on my old patio my baby tracks me down like radar," had a crispness and quality had not heard before, and it was kind of cool to hear him singing from slightly ahead of and to the right of my stack of 16mm movies that I need to rewind, and hear the guitar to the left of and a little behind the crane I have been building with a vintage erector set.
I was listening to "Who's Knocking on my Door," when the phone rang. It was my Uncle wondering if I was home as a neighboring farmer was actually knocking on my door with information that was sure to put a stop to "Landfill Park."
So I turned down the Ledge and opened the door.
I was going to ask him into the stereo room and ask his opinion of the stereo imaging and tonal quality of my new speakers but I remembered the advice given to my by my daughter when she pointed out that many people do not actually care about things like old tube amplifiers, Marx toy cowboys, old steamshovels, battles of the Crimean war or Studebakers, and no one wants to hear the Legendary Stardust cowboy. (Speaking of which, on this day in 1854 the British and French defeated Russians at Alma, in Crimea and on September 20th 1859 George Simpson patented the electric range)
But, I digress...
About then the Ledge started hollering about Dynamite and the farmer got a funny look in his eye and asked me if he was interrupting my lunch.
I quickly shut off the stereo and was going to blame the noise on reruns of Angry Beavers but thought I would just let that one go.
We had quite the interesting discussion. He likened the political process to having a government official hand you a bar of soap to take a shower and then once you get in turning on the gas. Only not quite.
I was a bit shocked at first but now that I've have a few hours to think about it I think he has pretty good point.
You do realize that the history he is referring to is not the popular idea of extremists suddenly stripping away everyone's personal freedoms. Rather it is the loss of personal freedom and the democratic process by very orderly and law abiding people who trusted those in authority to do what was best for them. But, of course the popular interpretation of history misses what should be the most truly frightening aspect of that whole series of events.
So if you were wondering just what it is I do all day, yes-I eat beans, wear tie-dyed t-shirts, and I sit around listening to the Legendary Stardust Cowboy formulating dissent. Pull my finger?

Friday, September 14, 2012

A warm September

This continuing trend of hot weather makes me nervous.
Nervous for a couple reasons.
First of all, there is the average weather. It seems if you have a high, you have a low. This spring it rained up till the day it quit. It has not rained since. I suspect it will be dry up to the day it starts to rain and then it will rain though December.
Second, everyone is working ground. I will get few no-till jobs if everyone has time to get all their wheat planted before it rains.
An early rain which provides a good sprout and makes everyone nervous is good for my business.
Otherwise, I just don't like 90 degree weather this time of year. All the old air conditioners in the tractors start to fail this time of year. Which makes me so thankful that R-12 is no longer available. I'm sure we are all more sustainable because of those earth saving regulations.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What my wife dug out of the trash at school and gave me for my early birthday present

What do I do with an oscilloscope? Specifically a 20MHz Dual Trace, Speco Model FS-4820 with no leads?
It does look pretty cool...
She assumes I know how to use it as sometimes she deludes herself with an inflated estimate of my grasp of the arcane.


On another subject.
Should I buy the correct hydraulic flow control to run the fertilizer pump on my grain drill for $900 from micro-trak.
Or should I build one using a electric linear actuator and a $50 manual flow control valve, some scrap aluminum, and some helm joints/ball rod ends that I am sure MuddyValley has in his box of spare airplane parts?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Almost done and then not at all plus an update in the aphid vs ladybug barley fiasco

Just when I thought the end of baling was in site I am reminded of another hundred acres I promised to do but forgot about.
I also have to drive 10 miles with possibly the last White 8700 Combine running West of the Rockies or (most hopefully my brother will do it) to combine a ten acre utter failure of a barley field.
Apparently having one ladybug per square foot is not enough when you have 1.2 million aphids per square foot. I would bet cash that the person who advised us not to spend the money on chemical did not actually set foot on the field. Actually, i did bet money on that one. Lost it too!
Plus it frosted last night. Have not seen if it got the corn.
So I came in the house to sort of eat lunch and see if I got a good deal on my latest batch of records from GoodWill.
I've been leaning towards highbrow music of the 50's and 60's.
I bought a Pete Fountain album, "Mood Indigo." I hate backup singers. Don't mind the Clarinet but the backup singers just are annoying.
Thought I was buying a Dave Brubeck album but it is sampler with Paul Desmond, Bobby Correll, and Frank Blake, who ever the %^&*( they are.
Got a Mel Tillis album which is "ok."
Bought Chet Atkins', "Teensville," for the cover which is pretty funny.
So I fired up the Dynaco and drank some cold coffee and took a break from repeating the same four swear words over and over again in my head.
Perhaps one of the more Christian bloggers who link to me will put in a good word for me...
Perhaps there is a incredibly wealthy blogger who will give me 1.2 million dollars on the agreement that I will never post the Legendary Stardust Cowboy again... or that I will post him everyday, don't care-just want the 1.2 million dollars.
Or perhaps Bob Newhart can be my therapist...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Random thoughts to keep my blog active...

Sometimes I have nothing to say...
Went to the fabulous beach estate of Collieguy and girl. Had a very nice time. I understand why he gave me that to-go coffee cup.
I do not understand the problem with the dog licking the floor. Seems like an excellent idea for keeping the floor clean. Perhaps training to improve the pattern would be an advantage. Wonder if the floor tasted like bacon, or dead nutria, or perhaps gopher. Perhaps the flooring was actually gopherwood. Who knows? If only we could talk to dogs.
Am almost done baling straw.
Was attempting to pay neighbor for screenings but at some point spilled coffee on my sales book so I have to go back and look at the scale tickets for the fifth time. I never claimed to be a businessman. 
Have to make the transition from baling to working ground and making silage and no-tilling for half the neighborhood (hopefully!)
I would like to dedicate the following song to all those lonely female high school teachers out there but with this one caution, make the kid sign a confidentiality agreement first!

Friday, September 7, 2012

How to rent ground and something completely different: A link that has kept me occupied for two days

Click here for this site. http://www.topsecretwriters.com

If you ever get away from that site here is an update on the rent and straw issues I've been embroiled in.
I discovered how everyone's little friend is able to rent/buy ground and so totally anger the previous renter that he will never bother the former landlord again.

Our little friend makes an offer which is 20 to 50% more than current land rents. Current rent is pretty low because most people are farming using conservation ideas and do not make as much money as if you were farming intensively with maximum tillage and fertilizer use.

Our little friend develops a relationship with the potential landlord. This includes phone calls, and multiple visits where he builds up empathy and projects an image as a struggling young farmer that is oppressed because of his success. He also puts forth the idea that landlords are being taken advantage of by their tenants.
This leads up to the pitch for purchase or rental. However, because he is oppressed he does require a confidentiality agreement. If this is violated then the whole rent up front and really good deal is over with.
But here is the rub.
He moves in the day the previous tenant is done with his harvest. This appears to be a calculated attempt to provoke confrontation.
It usually works.
He uses the confrontation as an excuse absolve himself of guilt or responsibility to work with the old tenant.
A rather clever plan and it is working because none of the farmers will stick together.
Everyone talks a lot but no one will actually band together to confront him or former landlords or locals who supply him.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Yesterday's post will return once I move my straw stack...

Had an interesting discussion with one of the principles in the aforementioned post. He is a sensitive boy. People just judge him without ever introducing themselves or giving him any sort of benefit of the doubt. He says he is true to his word. He says he has feelings.
It is completely amazing to deal with a modern kid. They come out of the public school system with the knowledge that no one can touch them. There are not rules which apply because all you have to do is say what it takes turn the other person into the aggressor and then you get a lawyer. Absolutely amazing.
I am angry with myself for not recognizing the type and being friendly and shaking his hand and turning the situation to the point where I was the innocent bystander caught in the middle and don't we all just want to get along...
The problem is that I have 10 blocks of bales in the middle of a field that is going to be farmed. I told my friend to get a lawyer.
Keys to renting ground in the 21st century.

1. Smile and be friendly and get a lawyer.
2. Written agreements
3. Kiss your landlord's arse on a regular basis. (speaking of which, Muddy valley roasts the best coffee I have ever tasted and he is a fine fellow. Quite handsome also says the cute neighbor girl. Plus, he is an incredible conversationalist and just a downright nice human being)
4. Just borrow the money and do it right.
5. Form an LLC

And now I am going to stack for a fellow who has extorted $450 an acre rent out of this very same guy. Now that would be the best revenge.