The Useful Duck!

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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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This fellow is really interesting

Mark Gallagher is his name. Click on Bob Gallagher's World War II Story.

A fool and his money... I finish refoaming speaker and I buy an amp-sort of accidently...

I finished the DCM Timeframe 350 speaker which I took apart the other day. See this blog post.
I ordered a kit off of ebay to refoam the speaker and I got the wrong one. They sent me one for the DCM TimeWindow speaker. I has an 8" driver. The TF 350 has a 6" driver.
I just ordered another kit thinking I made a mistake.
I got another TimeWindow kit. I pointed this out to the seller and he immediately shipped me a new kit for the correct size speaker.
The kit comes with a pot of glue, the foam surround, and a CD with a test tone to help align the voice coil. And instructions.
The Timeframe 350 rebuild is pretty simple.
You knock the top plate off the speaker. I is held in by two round metal dowels. Next you gently pull the grill cloth off the top of the speaker. There is a gauze sock and under that another foam impregnated gauze sock. The foam is rotten and make a huge mess. You roll those down from the top to uncover the woofer.
I removed the four screws holding the woofer. The terminals are color coded with a red dot painted on the speaker frame to match up with the positive wire.
Then you carefully pry up the cardboard trim ring around the edge of the speaker. The old foam surround is glue to the speaker frame under this trim ring. You have to scrape off the old foam from the metal frame.
Next you apply glue to the speaker cone and the new surround. You let this set up before you connect the two. It is a little touch to get the surround centered. I let this set up overnight.
The next day I plugged in the Test tone CD. It buzzes so that the voice coil moves in and out about a quarter inch. Glue is applied under the outside edge of the surround and you then press it down onto the speaker from. The buzzing automatically centers the surround. You can push down on it with a pencil eraser to get rid of air bubbles and help it stick. It can then set up for 10 minutes or so and you check it again. I pressed it down some more and then tried the test tone. All was fine.
The instructions say to run a bead of glue around the speaker cone where it joins with the surround. This is tricky. It is hard to run a bead. I cut too big a hole in the spout of the glue bottle and it wanted to come out too fast. I end up smearing it around with my finger so that it didn't puddle.
It looked bad at first but after setting overnight it looked fine.

The assembly went fine. I did that last night. I tried it out with some Townes Van Zandt and a little Ezra Brooks. It seemed properly depressing for an election night. I suppose I should have listened to Cat Stevens. Other than I really feel about Cat Stevens the way other people feel about The Ledge.
I have yet to hook the TimeFrames back into the good system.
I tried them on a Dynaco SCA-80 integrated amp which I snipped on ebay. The fellow spelled integrated wrong and something else so it didn't show up right on the search and no one bid on it. Plus there was the $25 shipping that I overlooked. Oops...

I bought this amp because is the only amp that will fit on the book shelf we are using as an entertainment center. I want to replace the 1 Watt (or whatever) RadioShack SA-155 as it doesn't have enough inputs. Plus, I have a Dynaco AM-FM tuner I acquired somewhere and I thought it would match.
This SCA-80 spent sometime in a "Man Cave," according to the auction. It looks like it actually was a cave as there is some oxidation on the chassis and the wiring and circuit boards have the look that comes from dust and damp.
I read some reviews that said the SCA-80 is a good value as the sound is good and it has a warmer tube-like sound. I found it a bit harsh sounding. However, I was feeding it from my MacBook off of iTunes and I'm not sure what quality I have it set at.
It is quiet for the most part. I had to treat a couple switches with DeOxit fader lube to get sound out of both channels. There is quite a pop when you turn it on or shut it down. Also, the two large resistors on the power supply get very hot. I am not sure it is a good choice for home entertainment system that seems to always get left on.
I wish I really understood electronics as I think you can bet much better sound by upgrading the capacitors and I pretty sure I have read of a way to decrease the power usage and not make it a fire starter somewhere on the internet.

And that is my life...
I'm working on what could be a 350 to 500 acre no-till job. It would be an excellent job which would pay for a new set of tires for the 2-155 but for the 200foot climb in elevation. The fact that I am planting wheat at 140lbs per acre and it is all in 50lb bags and that there is nothing to listen to on the radio. Lars drives me insane. NPR is getting annoying. There is only one playlist for 20 stations on the FM dial. I've spent much of my life driving in circles and it is getting tiresome. The field is wet and the drill plugs up every few rounds. The hill is so steep if I raise the drill at the end to turn I go sliding sideways.
I'm a whiner...

Looks like the 47 percent have spoken...

My hope is that the changes won't end up with me in a re-education camp, ratted out my progressive relatives who are concerned about my regressive ways.
Or that the flagship of the US Navy doesn't get repoed by Chinese businessmen, the next time it stops in Ghana.
Or in the short term-I really hope people don't get uptight and stop buying hay again.
The few people who have small businesses are really worried about regulation and the sell-outs to unions and when they tighten their belts, it hurts.

Update before I go to work...Yes I do work sometimes!
Some reading to let get you though the next four years of our glorious leader. Actually, I don't know which way to go in my paranoia...perhaps this way....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Feed inquiry

I've been getting a lot of spam emails.
Someone contacted me about getting feed for their livestock. If you are that person and are still reading this blog after 10 days would you please contact me again with some info proving you are real?
I don't actually have any feed right now as I am somewhat of a Lazy Farmer and have not made any in a week. But, I might...

I probably have offended a loyal reader and if so I will remove this post


I hope my loyal reader does not take offense me taking her response to my previous post and using it as the subject of a new topic.
What she said really helps illustrate my frustration with the two party system and explains how we elect people who we may agree with on one issue, but totally screw us on all the other issues.

“I, being a female, having daughters, granddaughters,nieces, female friends heck even female people I don't like could not and would not vote for someone who might appoint someone to Supreme Court and overturn Roe vs Wade. I just believe that women should have a voice in what happens to them. We aren't just talking about abortion but birth control and all the rest. Romney complains about 47% takers of the system....who does he suppose will take care of these additional children who come into the world. There is enough abuse and starving children in America now...Romney doesn't see past the end of his bank book unfortunately...I know how I voted! I was a 19 year old who after 1 (one) encounter found herself pregnant, I saved everything I could, sold my car, moved to Portland from a small town, and stayed 5 months until she was born and adopted. Oh yes, the father......well you see he had other plans, he wanted to continue with college, he wanted a real life, he wasn't willing to even give up 9 months to help me.. in fact once when I asked him for help, he did show up in Portland with a small handgun and threatened me. But please note Mr Romney....that I went the distance and have lived 45 years with the heart ache but it was
MY CHOICE!!!!”

First of all the above commentary story shows a great strength of character and should be held up as an example of doing your best to do the right thing in the face of adversity. 
It should be an endorsement of Gary Johnson…
But to be blunt, What you are reacting to is basically BS put out by the Democrats to scare you into voting for their candidate.
Because, if you are really realistic about it all, the only argument about abortion is the legality of third trimester abortions. Roe v. Wade will never be overturned.
One justice on the supreme court will no longer be the deciding vote on an appeal to Roe v. Wade.
Why am I so sure of myself?
Well, I listen to conservative talk shows which give me the opposite propaganda and tell me that Democrats are baby killers and godless and want to force teenagers to have abortions without telling their parents.
Neither argument is true…
In fact much of what you hear is not correct.
Obama is most likely not a Marxist. Rather, he is pretty middle of the road (keeping in mind that MOR has shifted to the left in the past 40 years) and he has a lot of influences from the radicals of the 1960’s but he certainly has not upset the greedy capitalist establishment-or at least those who got him elected.
Likewise Romney is not really completely a horrible soulless capitalist who will put seniors and pregnant women out on the streets.
He won’t even have the guts to reform the welfare system. He will just shift a little money here and there and sure there will be an outcry but we will still go broke.
The 47 percent will still hate him and imagine that he is causing them to suffer out of personal animosity but he won’t cut them off.
Likewise Obama will not really end any wars or make it legal to kill a baby once it cries or cut off funding to the greedy capitalists who endorsed him. No, he will appoint a bunch of smarmy liberals to key posts and they will regulate every aspect of your life, but they won't take away your abortion rights because that is the holy sacrament of the Left in America.
I think they will both still keep printing money till we go broke…
I personally believe that Obama will restrict more personal liberties and constitutional freedoms than Romney. I hope that as a greedy capitalist Romney will stop spending money somewhere, but I doubt it.
I think it was morally wrong to force Catholic institutions to pay for abortions and birth control if there beliefs oppose that.
I also think it is wrong to torture people, kill people with drones and the push of a button,  and I think you should not be held indefinitely without charges being brought. I also think it is wrong to talk mentally handicapped people to blow up buildings so you can arrest them. And it is wrong to arrest a moron for making an offensive film or to restrict free speech rights.
I have a whole long list of things I don’t like and I applied them to the two candidates. It was pretty frustrating.
I favor Romney over Obama. I could go on about why that is but it is only two days till the election and I doubt it matters any longer.
In the long run we will all be screwed...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The other reason I don't want to vote for either

Issues of huge importance are ignored.
Click here
There are issues in North and South America that are of huge importance.
But yet we spend all our time, resources, lives, and political good will annoying the religion of peace. We are doing all we can to spread radical Islam by proving that the fellow that the say bombed the WTC was correct, but yet...
There is a violent drug war in Mexico, South America is probably going to be part of China in 10 years and we call the refugees streaming across the border illegal aliens and refuse to do anything at all.
Get the heck out of the mideast and take care of those who should be our friends and allies.
Of course you know they would screw it up.
Sell guns to druglords or something... oh wait, already did that...

I just changed my mind on the election

I would like to see the 47 percent riot!
Click here to see the 47 percent, just about the only thing I agree whole heartedly with Romney on.
I think I will now vote Romney!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The impossible choice

Came into the house to check my email to see if the fellow that might buy ALL our hay likes the samples he took.
Found The Classic Liberal's take on the Obamney Election of 2012.
I got into an argument the other day about the election. I know I am supposed to vote for Romney. I actually registered to vote for the first time in years so I could NOT vote for Obama.
The more I learn about Romney the less I like him. The more I hear him talk about foreign policy the more I disagree.
I think I may vote for Gary Johnson.
I don't have much hope with the argument that voting for an alternative candidate will change either of the major parties. It will just make them more intrenched.

An Early Christmas, My JiCO stylus arrives-Registered Mail!

I bought a JICO stylus for my Shure VN15 type II cartridge.
I mean I really did it!
Yes my dear readers I spent actually money on a piece of new stereo equipment!
I am setting in my old Lazy Boy recliner listening to The Nitty Gritty Dirt band, Symphonion album. I am amazed at how good it sounds.
For those of you who have followed my misadventures as an "audiophile," you may have picked up on my skepticism. I just don't have a "good ear."
Then there is the issue of buying records for $1 at thrift stores. I do have a few gems but frankly my "HiFi" system is a hodgepodge of components which I have scrounged and not quite properly restored. I realize that myself and so I am reluctant to spend real money on anything.
While there was a time I would not have been caught dead listening to the Nitty Gritty Dirt band I am now old and I can listen to what ever the $%^&* I want. Like I could possibly embarrass my daughter anymore than I already do.
I must say that there are very few things I have added to my "HiFi" which have made audible improvements for the better I am amazed at the sound of this stylus and cartridge.
The Shure VN15 came with the Dual 1019 I purchased from a lady in Portland. She had it advertised on Craigslist and had been packed up in the factory packaging and stored for years. If you recall I reworked the mechanism with an 8" crescent and a big screw driver. However, the stylus was broken and I installed a Stanton D71EE which I already had.
I was never all that happy with the Stanton. I like the elliptical stylus especially for the scratchy records I listen to. It always sounded a bit dull to me.
My main cartridge over the years was an Audiotechnica AT155LC until I lost it in a move. It was a bit overkill for what I used to listen to but it was really a sweet sounding cartridge. After getting back into vinyl a few years ago I found I really missed the bright and accurate sound of that cartridge.
Well, today I got a notice that I had a package at the post office. Finding a parking place in Amity is a bit of a challenge-I just parked on the wrong side of the street, those idiots have totally ruined parking, it is just hard to comprehend what a bunch idiots run the city.
Anyway, I had to sign for the package as it came from Japan. I was a bit worried it would be radioactive but I can't find batteries for my geiger counter so I was unable to check it.
I anxiously waited for evening so I could instal the stylus and give it a try.
I put the family to bed and in about five minutes had it all installed. Perhaps tomorrow I will read the included instructions.
I was amazed at the sound quality. It is clear. Not too bright, not to dense, just right. Somewhat warm as one would expect from the vintage shure type II cartridge. I am perhaps not good at describing the sound as I don't really have the proper audiophile vocabulary.
The first album I listened to was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, "Symphonion." I chose it because it opens with the sound of rippling water and it has a wow on the first track which always causes tracking problems.
I was impressed. There is little background noise and it picked up the delicate sound of the water. It is well defined sound, not fuzzy on the quiet edges of the sounds.
I also tried out my Commander Cody album which I bought because of the cover and that it has the most heart breaking trucker song ever, "Mama Hated Diesels."
The album has so many clicks and pops and it so worn that I couldn't tell anything.
I also gave the Allman brothers a try. I like their version of Statesboro Blues and I have yet to find a Blind Willie McTell album at the McMinnville GoodWill store. Perhaps I should try "Treasure Attic in Amity..."
I couldn't tell a big difference on Statesboro blues, it always seems a bit muddy sounding, (no offense to MuddyValley nor do I mean it sounds like a trombone). However on the next track "Stormy Monday," I was quite impressed. I like the warm sound it gives the lead guitar and the contrast between the loud and quiet passages.
I am currently listening to my old Baby Advent speakers at low volume. They are not the best speakers in the world but I can't hear the rattle that one discerning ear picked up on first listen. The Dynaco speakers would be better but I use the Advents more at low listening volumes-meaning late at night.
My only regret is I should have doubled my money and bought the SAS stylus. JICO puts a little more effort into that stylus and it really is a long term sort of purchase so I should have just bought the best.
An important consideration for Dual 1019 owners is the contacts in the headshell. I first clean them with a pencil eraser but you have to be very careful as they are little spring brass connectors and the mounting points are VERY fragile. Note that everything is now 40-some years old.
I applied DeOxit Gold to the contacts before installing the headshell on the tonearm.
Should this post attract anyone who is seeking info on the Dual 1019, you have to be careful installing and/or removing this headshell. Dual used a funky cam and lever setup that is not exactly intuitive. There is a metal lever on the side of the headshell. Since I am avoiding work and posting from out in the shop (a couple days after first post) I can remember if you push it forward or pull it back. Just don't force it! AND put something soft under the cartridge as the headshell could slip from your fingers and land on the needle. It can just drop off the tonearm/top headshell mount.
To put it back on you look for the notches in the top of the headshell mount back close to the tonearm. Make sure the brass springs don't get out of alignment as those are your contacts. There is no need to force it as when everything is aligned properly it goes right in.

For those who care...
The whole system is as follows: Dynaco PAS-2 preamp, Dynaco ST120 solid state amp, Dual 1019 with Sure V-15 type II, JICO stylus, Dynaco A-25 speakers, Baby Advent secondary speakers.
Have been using a Rek-o-kut K33H with a Fairchild 282 tonearm and a Shure hi-trak cartridge.
Alternate system has a Kenwood KA3500 amp.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nature vs Nurture?

So the Neo-Nazi's son shot his Dad in the head with a .357 because. The kid says it was because his dad was a bad father and hit him, and that he saw the same thing on a TV show and the kid didn't go to jail.
He may have also thought his dad would not actually die, but would recover and his parents would not divorce and unicorns would frolic on the lawn.
I like to read the comments below stories. Mostly to laugh at the total idiots who voice their stupid and ill-informed opinions on the internet. (ironic comment there)
Here is the initial story...
Here is the recent follow up story.
Of course the comments are along the lines of crazy kid from crazy family raised on guns and racist beliefs.
What I wonder is, does the sort of father who so enthusiastically embraced the Nazi belief system and liked to get into street fights have a genetic disposition for solving problems with violence? Would this be passed on to a child?
I see myself as a child in my child in the way she reacts to issues and in the way she thinks. How much is genetic I wonder...
On the other hand if you talk about killing people and violence and using guns to kill people in front 10-year-old constantly I would expect a really bad outcome.