The Useful Duck!

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Life is so complicated.

Yesterday I took my father to get his pacemaker scanned. It was interesting. It was going to be the subject of today's post.
However, I was in a hurry and went to work early.
I gave up and came back in the house for more coffee.
I thought that by the time I got to this point in life I would learn to make quick and decisive decisions and learn to focus.
It seems to have gotten worse instead of better.
I would hesitate to reveal this information as I am sure all the local folks who read this blog see me as a pillar of the ag community- but I have heard many other farmers say the exact same thing.
I do not see the farmers whose influences came from people who grew up in the 1920's adapting well to the 21st century.
I am trying to buy a new GPS antenna. You can't really go to a show room and look at them. The salesmen often know less than you, and they are expensive.
I think I want the Novatel Smart AG V-1 with glide technology and built in tilt compensation. I doubt I will ever get RTK, unless I can steal a signal off of a local network. Hmmmm, an idea!
I am the only person I know of who is so cheap that they built their own GPS.... Well I used this software. (FarmerGPS)
-I need to buy bosch headlight relays which are an essential part of my GPS and foam marker and tractor lighting system.
-There are many different prices and types of Bosch headlight relays on eBay and I can't decide.
-I need to buy a woodstove
-I need to make feed, but this includes putting an ad on craigslist, calling Seattle Bag Company to find burlap bags, figuring out how to set up my LLC for selling feed with Quickbooks, Filling the new bins I bought, actually paying for the bins using my LLC, fixing the electric motor on the bin, fixing the auger on the other, going after an auger to fill the bin, and a couple other things I forgot.
So, I came back in the house to have more coffee.
Then I remembered that my brother told the fellow from the oil seed place that I was in charge of the farm and the guy is coming out to talk to me about growing flax.
And my some-times-a-great employee texted me that he is out of food and must go to the food bank so he will be in at 10 a.m.
I wonder if it would be possible to hire a retired farmer to just follow me around and tell me what to do?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy Day

I'm having a hard time facing the new season. It is all moving too fast.
I finished the FWA on the 2-155 but need to take apart the PTO.
It is also becoming more and more apparent I made a really expensive mistake which I don't want to talk about and it is making me grumpy and raises my sensitivity to the junk surrounding me.
Yesterday was not a good day. I got up on the wrong side of bed.
My sometimes a great employee decided to come to work yesterday. I suspect that he had finally run low on gas in his car. I am fairly sure this was the case as he ran out of gas on his way to work.
I did not go directly to take him gas.
I had already spent an hour on the phone by that time.
I found out I needed to load hay today, plant tomorrow, or Friday, find out I had sold my last lot of hay about three times, discovered our Buckwheat had radish in it. (Another reason I dislike specialty seed growers up river) Found out I had way less money than I thought, was reminded again of the amount of scrap metal we have, and then discovered that I was supposed to take my father to the Dr. at 11:30 in the morning the next day. ( today)
So I had to drive an hour to get parts as I am supposed to plant Friday. The dealership's phone system was not working. I went anyway. The most important parts were not in. So that trip was sort of a waste. I got enough parts to get going.
But, I was irritated and especially cynical and was a bit rude to my brother and employee. I should have apologized to my brother but I didn't. I told my employee that it all paid the same whether I was happy and cheerful or not and he didn't have to come to work if he did not want to put up with a grumpy boss.
After that he was quite cheerful and happy and washed my grain drill for me.
Now I shall go to work.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The death of the sturgeon general

The death of C. Evert Koop, the infamous Sturgeon General of the Reagan era, cuts another link to the days of the "real" America.
Koop was opposed to homosexuality as a lifestyle, believed that sex should wait until marriage and was opposed to abortion. However, he put the treatment and prevention of AIDs as a priority, and while he was not afraid to state his personal beliefs, he strove to be true to science, medicine, and the duties of his office.
To beat you on the head with my point, he had strong beliefs which may have been a bit old fashioned. But, those same beliefs also reflected a strength of character and principles which ended up transcending party lines. As in doing what he thought was the right thing regardless of political consequences.
And he had the dignity to put on a silly uniform and actually command respect. The undefinable quality of being "old school." We don't see that any more. Joe Biden- a joke, Mitt Romney - AmWay salesman, Obama - smug white man pretending to be black, McCain - punch drunk.
But, I digress...
He was always good for interesting quotes, such as suggesting to medical students that abortion violated the hippocratic oath. (I think he was out of office at that point.)
Koop is credited with starting the crusade against smokers, which in a typical American estrogen enhanced fashion, turned into a crusade that has made it illegal to smoke cigarettes anywhere but in a huddled group around the employee entrance of Wallmart. 
Fortunately we now have meth to give those of a certain economic and social status a quick pick-me-up in the middle of a boring workday, if they actually have a workday at this point in history.
I do miss his uniform, gold braid, campaign ribbons and all. 
After all he was the Sturgeon General!

In case you did not click on the link above here is another excellent quote, which seems to be coming true. Or at least seems to be a much of a possible reality than in was in 1979 when he first said it. Of course in the modern world, the clever folks probably never even thought of this until they heard it in a Koop speech!

"Foes noted that Koop traveled the country in 1979 and 1980 giving speeches that predicted a progression "from liberalized abortion to infanticide to passive euthanasia to active euthanasia, indeed to the very beginnings of the political climate that led to Auschwitz, Dachau and Belsen."

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2013/feb/25/koop-who-transformed-surgeon-general-post-dies/#ixzz2M1E95acL

My second favorite Sturgeon General was Dr. Joycelyn Elders. She was a virtual hilarious quote factory. 
She was forced to resign after JC Penney was reportedly unable to keep up the demand for catalogues, there was an epidemic of blindness amoung high school student blind, along with the strange side effect of developing hair on their palms.
Now that we have the internet no one really notices...
Also, I am I the only one that finds it ironic that Bill Clinton was the one to fire her? If only he would have followed her advice! Well, on things other than listening to Peter Tosh.

Friday, February 22, 2013

An evening of Therapy


When I came in the house this evening there was a package of records awaiting me.
I’ve been trying to cut down on my vintage stereo obsession due the consternation that has  overcome me after hearing the USDA has declared Global Warming to be a major threat to American Agriculture.
The pleasure of an old Buck Owens album cannot overcome the absolute sense of doom that overcomes me whenever I hear of California being flooded due to the polar ice caps melting.
But, I put aside my worries and tore into the package with gusto.
I bought  The Greg Allman Tour on Capricorn Records, Buck Owens, I’ve got a tiger by the tale, and an EP by the Waitresses. (I don’t know why I bought that one)
As bonuses Mr. Stein also sent me Buck Owens, “I don’t care, and Kitty Wells, “Lonesome Sad and Blue.”
The first album I played was Buck Owens, “I don’t care.” It was an album I didn’t see listed in his auctions and I prefer it to “Tiger by the Tale.”
I only bought “Tiger by the Tale,” for songs, “The Band Keeps Playin’ On,” and “Fallin’ For You.”
I find some of the more familiar classic songs a bit tiresome.
“Lonesome Sad and Blue” has the classic “I don’t care,” but also throws in some little heard classics, “This Ol’ Heart,” and an amusing rendition of “Stand by Your Man,” wth Doyle (Buckaroo) Holly.
Buck Owens cranked out a few albums in his time and is probably best experienced on a best of CD compilation but I like the cracks and pops of old vinyl. This music was meant to be heard on an AM radio for cryin’ out loud!

These were not perfect albums but then I did not buy them as such. If I were more depressed I would build a record cleaner instead of working on tractors and wandering around aimlessly and worrying about Global Warming. I need less focus in my life…
I moved on to the Gregg Allman tour album but it seems the old Dynaco is getting a bit weak. I can’t achieve much volume before I get severe distortion. However if I turn down the volume and turn on the Loudness control it does sound better. I have four speakers connected with a Dynaco QD-1 adapter. But the sound does not improve if I disconnect it. I suspect the output caps on the ST-180 amp.
I need to disconnect the Dynaco and go back to my trusty Kenwood KA-3500 that has served me since 1984.
Gregg Allman is fine but I miss Duane's guitar. I think this was the tour right after Duane’s death.
I’m listening to “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” and my wife appeared with a somewhat quizzical look and observed that I must have got a good lot of records this time.

She is long suffering and doesn’t hate the Allman Brothers or Buck Owens.
Perhaps I shall this opportunity to let the tubes cool and tuck in my daughter. I’m thinking the days of putting the kid to bed are getting close to an end. 
Since I can't afford the Chiropractor I no longer get the chance to check out GoodWill and the Garage Sale store at 9 a.m. in the winter.
I keep getting outbid on further purchases. I wanted albums by Dave Dudley, The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix,  Jerry Byrd, and the Ventures but I can't own them all.

An obscure reference to pot culture

I am somewhat disappointed my hidden reference to smoking pot was not discovered by an astute reader. It could be that while it seems quite obvious to me and in my head I had made a connection between believing passionately in Man-Made Global Warming and smoking a lot of Chronic, in the blog i failed to make that connection.
Then again, perhaps people are tired of seeing the same old view out the windscreen of my tractor and the same stupid joke about smoking pot at a certain time of day. I know I am.
So, while I had envisioned many clever comments about planting in the rain, global warming, and Peter Tosh, those comments only appeared in my own head.
As a non chronic user I really have no explanation for this confusion. Too many Cheech and Chong albums as a kid? Welding fumes? Diesel smoke? Lorsban?
I really don't know....
Have a nice day.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Planting annual rye grass in February

I actually planted something...
Due to the effects of Man-Made Global Warming as known to the USDA to be the biggest threat to Agriculture and the world in general, well, that and raw milk and fresh produce, we had a long dry fall.
(I so do need to take a basic sentence construction course from the local community college!)
As a result of expecting rain and never getting it I didn't do as much fall ground work as I should have. This was of course the work of Man-Made Global Warming and not to be expected in Oregon, even though we know that once it starts raining in the fall, it doesn't stop till May...
But, I digress...
Oh, right...
I didn't get the annual ryegrass planted or the volunteer annual sprayed with Nortron to prevent the field coming up solid annual bluegrass. Actually I didn't plant any of the 150 acres of annual that is growing on our farm. The ground I worked up in preparation to plant looks really good. The ground I was going to no-till looks a little yellow. I need to spread fertilizer on it.
I have been watching the ground dry out for a month and other farmers who do not farm river bottom plowing and planting.
I have also been waiting for parts for the planting tractor and drill.
So it was with incredible relief that I was able to put together a planting setup on the very last day of non-rain.
Of course all didn't go as planned.
I ran out of seed.
The heater stuck on and I had to open the windows when I discovered the airconditioning didn't work.
I had no GPS or calc-an-acre or fertilizer or little flashing lights which I have forgotten what they do.
I did have my invaluable Loup Drill Monitor which has an acre counter and beeps at me when I run out of seed.
Then it started raining.
I also discovered that I had the planter in the wrong gear and it was planting at too low a rate. I could see the population monitor was reading low but it doesn't seem to read all that accurately with grass seed anyway.
I texted Orin to see what he thought, and he was quite polite and didn't tell me I was a moron for planting annual into annual blue grass in the middle of February. He said I should bump up my seed rate. So in attempt to go to 17lbs I went to 20 and then I miscalculated what was left in the drill and thought I would go up just a smidgen and suddenly I was out of seed.
Fortunately our neighbor has a whole warehouse full of it and I only needed another five bags. I got ten. Cause, you never really know. (I really hope the fellow who wants me to plant radish at a rate of 3lbs per acre does not read this blog.)
The drill wanted to plant too deep or too shallow.
It started pouring which mean my brother could not apply the Monsanto chemical that kills everything.
But I soldiered on!
I followed the timeless logic of when in doubt quit looking and bump it up a gear.
The field looks rototilled in places but I don't think I need to worry about the seed not being covered. Folks have seeded fields by dumping bags of annual ryegrass out the door of an airplane at this time of year.
It was interesting to drive without GPS. I have come to depend on it for laying out lands and getting the field square.
Here is the view out of my front window. If you look closely you can see the line of my marker heading off into the horizon. I am slightly off the mark in this photo.

Here is what I am planting into. I am no-tilling which I am doing solely to off set the effects of MAN-MADE global warming and because I worry that Monsanto will go broke if I don't support the use of Round-Up (their registered chemical name).

For all this effort I am ashamed to report the number of acres I planted.
I can plant 70 acres in a day.
I did not...

In other news: I actually am starting to feel silly about my posts on Gene's blog. I too am missing the point of the actual blog. I'm not sure why I have the compulsion to equate global warming believers with religious zealots. It just so funny to see them get riled up and start spouting facts that come from their own dogma. The creationist gets made fun of when quoting the Bible to support his argument but yet no one appreciates the irony. Of course it is not ironic, it is science and facts and I know it is so because I believe it.
Dadgummit, I've done it again!
Not that anyone will read this update as everyone that reads this blog is an early riser and already checked it this morning...
Now I am off to work in the rain. Oh boy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Galaxy revolves around the earth, specifically the part of the earth were the clever intellectuals live...

Ed Winkle has turned his blog over to a clever person. I actually like his posts and I'm sure he is a fine fellow but he does drink the kool-aid from time to time.
Got to Ed's blog and click on the links to the USDA study on climate change.
The USDA thinks MAN-MADE climate change is going to do more to kill agriculture in the USA than big Ag, Monsanto, or the recent bills passed by congress that makes it virtually impossible to legally sell produce that you grow yourself.
If it involved a traveling salesman it could come straight out of a Flannery O'Connor short story. (a pretentious plug to show I've read Absurdist literature)
The USDA's report on climate change supports Our Dear Leader's views (naturally) and probably has as much basis in reality as the wetlands project the NRCS did next door to us, which is working quite well I suppose, as it has flooded our farm which was probably the point.
Ok, so the climate goes through cycles. Perhaps we can predict those cycles. Great! But now we are going to have the government give us advice on how to solve this new crisis. Now there is a brilliant plan. Like bringing democracy to the mid-east, or all those failed conservation projects or peace through war or fighting a war on drugs while at the same time creating a huge market for drugs or bailing out banks or spending tax dollars to jump-start the economy.
But we do need a cause as money and influence are gained through change!
Perhaps we can pollute foreign countries with battery factories or kill bats with windmills or run the price of food through the roof by growing corn for fuel.
Heaven knows, the American farmer doesn't actually grow anything you eat. That all comes from Mexico and China...
It is all one big unfunny joke.
I suppose I just illustrated why I need to take Gene's advice and not worry about it...

Edit: Perhaps I should be perfectly clear.
1. I accept there are climate trends. I accept the earth may be entering or at the middle or at the end of a cooling or a warming period
2. I am undecided about how man affects these trends.
3. I am certain that whatever we do will be the wrong thing and much economic capital will be squandered.
4. I am certain that the group of people who are promoting the idea will make a lot of money.
5. I believe the concept of man made climate change has become part of the core belief system of many people.
6. If you give me 5 million dollars I research climate change in my own special way.
7. I like puppies - and grapes!
8. And pie, lots of pie. Pie, especially given to me, will stop climate change.

I agree with him

Go to the Contrary Farmer.
I wholeheartedly agree with his post today.
Scroll down and watch people get shrill in the comment section. Watch me ramble about and get off subject!
Try to tell me science is not a religion! The only difference between me and a believer in science is that I have doubts! And I believe in the Green Man and Wee Folk and assign meaning to random events, oh wait, now I'm getting into the realm of science, just because I don't know how to model it in my computer doesn't mean I don't want it to be true!
Now I'm going to go plant annual ryegrass in a tractor with no GPS working and only one of my four monitors actually connected!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If I could afford to be a collector

I would love to have this movie.
I suppose it would disturb the adults. But....
The movie is called "Freaks."
There is intrigue and murder and horribly deformed people and it was filmed back in the glorious days of film. Back when people seemed to be genuinely disturbed and wrote from the heart instead of just trying to top each other on shock value and counts.
Link to the IMD description of the film.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Another rambling blog post with multiple fonts and run on sentences and trite opinions-


You have to understand these folks hate you. You may try to appease them.  Do a little wine-tasting, say you are against bullying, but yet they still hate you. Of course if you meet them and they will say you are the exception somehow you are enlightened, but when it comes down to the re-education camps... well I think that farmer I knew had a gun and I'm pretty sure he may have spoken severely to his child...

Here is a link to a story on a blog I like to read.

First note the tone of the post in which he links to the article. CLICK HERE.


"Josephine County goes vigilante






I really like that, "Tea Party Meets Syria."  
Yeah, that is the most recent clever modern intellectual conceit. Rural, gun owner, possible Christian, blue collar/working class, equals crazy Islamist because all religions are fairy tales and the educated and clever folks don't have any mythology. (Of course it is not mythology and a fairy tale if you believe it, especially if it is based in science cause no scientist ever believed the world was flat.)
And in the same blog you have stories of Portland Police brutality and so we are pretty skeptical about the police but an armed militia of local people who have a vested interest in their community are just plain scary!!! And there is no irony in the concept at all. Sort of like not having your cake and not eating it as well.
Should have gone to church today. My brother went. We are watching, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." I so want that guy to just die. I feel sorry for the guy that was leading the hunt. Stuck with a bunch on self-absorbed arseholes. I hope the girl runs off with the witch doctor dude and starts a jazz band in Paris. 
They sure like to kill them animals. Strange I don't think any of them are conservative tea party types. Nothing like a movie about the America pretentious class of the previous century. Oh, life is real and death is so honest, lets have another cigarette and a glass of booze, and kill something- cause we are alive and that is the only truth. Please pay attention to my stupid sentiments!
Oh I'm drunk and I love you so much, but we are doomed doomed! Darling you are so honest! Lets sing or drink or go back to Paris alone and drive myself crazy while I wait for you and the ram emotion is so real I feel alive and I will drink another bottle of booze. Oh my the irony of conflicting emotions!
I wonder if I can talk the family into a trip to the beach...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Felix doesn't worry bout lightning


Why J.D. is a folk hero

I was forced to watch Fox News the other evening while waiting for my daughter at guitar practice. They were talking about the infamous cop killer.
As they went on and on about the brave cops and the brutal killer I started to see the cops as the villains and the killer as the hero. Just because I could see they were lying.
They always lie.
Because I resented the whole claim that the cops were protecting the public when it was being made clear that the killer was not targeting the general public and the that LE didn't really care about anything but the Cop Killer killing cops.
Then the report expressed shock and amazement that he was becoming a "Folk Hero."
They show his big smiling photo and then they cut to cops in flak jackets and machine guns. Are they stupid? Are they trying to create a mythology around the man? Or are they stupid?
Then we saw the big lie about not purposely starting the fire that killed him.
Well of course they used devices in a way as to start the fire. That is why they had the news helicopters pull back. That all explains Waco. It happened exactly the same way.
But I still said to myself, this guy is crazy and it probably didn't happen that way. I'm just a crazy conspiracy theory guy.
Then I discovered someone had been listening to the police radio and had heard plan to burn him out. Actually was broadcasted on some news channels.
And there were the details of how he did not shoot his "hostages."
I wonder if the guy had not been such a really bad driver if he would not still be out there.
But yet he did kill the cops daughter.
But then again, who trained him?
But why do the so-called conservatives hate him so much?
So I found his manifesto and read it.
Very interesting reading, especially in light of how everything ended up.

CLICK HERE for the link

Read specifically paragraphs

54
96
98

And think about some recent news stories and ask your self if there is not a grain of truth here?
You do know that if the cops get your house instead of the obvious methhead next door they will bust your door down and shoot your dog and somehow blame you for resisting arrest and then in the end offer you perhaps a pittance. After all, it was for the public good...

And... Read paragraph 142.

I've heard this combination of conservatism and liberalism before from young people. Lots of people share his views. I think he was a nut, but he will go down as a hero. The California law enforcement community made sure of that. Adrenalin based police work in action and we saw the bullet holes to prove it.
But, back to my point.
The so-called conservatives hate him because he calls them out on the game they don't have the balls to follow though on.
Liberals should dislike him as well because he calls them out on their dislike of Bush.
But the conservatives claim to be doing "God's" work and don't want to be exposed as merely an obstructionist party, lining their own pockets.
Look how they all closed ranks on the cop killer. Especially when they are ranting about second amendment rights which they claim they will use to overthrow a tyrant. They don't have the guts to lead a revolution, all they can do is put up the most moronic candidates and fight over abortion rights and tax raises.
(I'm not bitter in the least)

Update: Link to an article where a Police Chief says this is not the guy I knew.

I suspect D was in need of mental help.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I attempt to put the s-155 FWA back together

I have one side of the FWA on the White installed.
The seal is a problem.
The seal cost $350.
It is rather complicated to explain how it works but there are two surfaces that need to pressed in. There is an outer seal and an inner seal. They are connected with a rubber cover. It is very difficult to drive the seal in.

My brother made a seal driver.
I think I damaged the seal. I could not get it to drive in straight. Then I don't think I got the second sealing surface to mate up. I may have cut the outside boot. I won't know until the FWA leaks oil on a hillside. I am not taking the seal on the other side out if I don't have too.
Replacing the upper and lower kingpin bushings is not as difficult as I thought. If you don't take everything else apart as well.
My cousin pointed out that our local deal is advertising for a mechanic in the High Plains Journal. I'm thinking my extensive history of damaging White and Minneapolis-Moline tractors will not really help on my resume.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Why people hate farmers part 7

I almost called the sheriff yesterday...
Then I thought about all the times I told by daughter not to rat out her classmates and I decided I was setting a bad example.
So I did not. Plus it would have been way to difficult to explain that my actually objection was not that they were blocking the road now, but that they have been blocking the road every year for the past decade..
Here is the deal...
I do custom planting and I do hay and straw and I end up moving wide equipment all over a 20 mile radius of our farm. I try not to abuse the good will of people who I have to annoy when I take up half the road.
So when I see farmers who just don't care it bugs me.
The ground has been drying out and the big farmers are out in force. I am probably just in a grumpy mood because our sprayer doesn't run and I can't work on it because the shop is full of projects that are waiting on parts and I'm getting really frustrated.
But, I digress...
Now in our area I would estimate that the percentage of people in the general population is about 85 percent. I'd say farmers used to be more like 50 percent but in the last couple years I'd say that has gone up to the 98 percent range. I would qualify those farming over 1500 acres as being in the 99.6 asshole percentage range. Those over 4000 acres 110 percent asshole range.
So yesterday when I went to work on my tractor I was happy to see that the BTO who has ground on Fairview Road was once again using the road as his loading area.
I would happily report the name of the farm but I suppose it is not fair as I don't use my real name although it is not that hard to figure out who I am. Let's just call them "Golden Showers Farms." It is more fitting than their real name.

Now I don't really object to people blocking the road from time to time. I've done it at Muddy Valley and I've had to load my drill on the road before. But I don't know of many farmers who do this as a farming practice. (Other than Golden Showers and the Dickhead that sprays for Wilco and the former Western Farm Service.) And do it in same paved road at the same spot for ten years. Especially when they have a 1,000 acre field next to the road. If you have 1,000 acres you can take out a few feet, put rock down, and not block the road. Or perhaps use the driveway of the fellow who you are giving the $250 an acre rent to.

I watched a service truck from a local truck shop try to dodge a fertilizer spreader and a telephone pole. I missed the dumbass employee standing in the middle of the road by inches with my mirror. I should have taken a photo of his, "I'm all alone in the world expression," when he turned around to question my presence on the road. I suppose I should have stopped and expressed myself but the are only drone employees.

Three hours later they were still there. I watched the school bus go around them.

Golden Showers Farms is of course a pillar of the community. People like them on facebook.  They work to end world hunger.  They are the face of modern agriculture. Click here. You all helped to promote their conservation practices, which include farming the ground to a powder and packing it to concrete and then erosion control.
But when it gets right down to it. They take what they want.

So you see all this, Thank a farmer BS and you hear the passion of the American Farmer feeding the world and how we all do it for the most selfless reasons.
It is all a load of crap. Farmers farm because that is what they do. A good percentage of them just want to make a buck. They all pretend to be the countries last great hope. But really, all they want is another 100 acres. They pretend to care but that usually only extends as far as the fencerow. (Perhaps that is the problem, there are no more fencerows...)
There are but a few of them who are social misfits who cannot hold down a job anywhere else. That is the kind I prefer.

"I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years."

I knew it was BS when I memorized it as an officer, I knew it was BS when I got my state farmer degree. For a while, when I was an accepted up and coming member of the ag community I actually started to drink the koolaid, (Perhaps I should do another Daily Strumpet issue to apologize for being an idiot in 1998) but in recent years I've come to understand it is BS again. (Not that I ever say this to the 3 (three) young farmers who have asked me for advice.)
We are all a bunch of Megalomaniac arseholes and that is how it has always been...

In other related news, some wiseacre wrote me in as a candidate for the soil and water board. Perhaps more than one. I suspect a conspiracy as I personally wrote in the one farmer I knew who would annoy all the other farmers on the board, so I'm saying if I did it to someone else (actually several over the years-and I always lie on surveys) someone would certainly do it to me.
I have been asked to be an "alternate," I think I shall politely decline. After all, I hate everybody...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another random post because I have nothing to say and don't want to work anymore.

I spent $6,000 on diesel yesterday. It has put in in a bit of a funk...It was not so much the $6,000 outlay, but just how little fuel the $6,000 bought.
I have had certain goals.
1. Working Sprayer
2. Working Fertilizer spreader
3. Working truck with a hoist. Preferably a IH or L8000 Ford with a diesel engine that is not a Detroit.
4. 100hp White tractor with an engine more fuel appreciative than a Hercules
5. A five year old 2-tie baler, failing in that area, a Freeman 270 in really good shape.
6. A really good White 8900 combine with a 20 ft header

I have achieved none of those goals, nor will I.
Although I do have several tractors apart and found a really crappy spray boom and a set of larger tires for our dead sprayer.

So perhaps I will just express my frustration with Downton Abbey.
We like costume dramas at our house. My wife and daughter have watched Sense and Sensibility 50,000 times.
Downton Abbey has interesting old stuff on display. Neat old cars and costumes and the art deco period should be quite interesting.
The whole main plot is somewhat irrelevant. I understand you do have to have a main storyline to hang the interesting subplots on but I generally dislike rich people and I really don't care if the third earl has to dig potatoes or Mary has to move to America and sell tupperware.
"Free Bates," was our slogan for quite some time and we were waiting for that mean Thomas to get his comeuppance.
So, I must say I am most disappointed with the direction the show has reportedly taken. My wife declared during the last episode, "He dies!" Which then bought up a chorus of "DON'T GET IN THAT CAR," when ever it appeared there would be a driving scene.
But here is the problem.
Thomas, being gay, must be somehow redeemed in the end. Thomas is a conniving jerk. They built him up to a grand climatic scene which was pretty hilarious, I mean does anyone ever fall for the line, "Look dude you know she wants it, just whip it out!" A line perpetuated time and time again on undergraduates with the hope that some idiot will actually fall for it and the mean humor can be shared with your insensitive compatriots.
But then there were second thoughts. I'm sure this will be a learning experience for us all. Bates is going to be nice to him which will bring pathos or something to the show. Blah, blah, blah... Hi-Jinks ensue.
We have the promise of an interesting view of the coming revolution in farming. I was hoping for a episode featuring one of those strange setups with a winch at opposing ends of the field which pulls the plow back and forth. Or a Fordson climbing the bullgears leading to death and destruction.
But, I think with the loss of a main character well will just go back to sex and arguments with no real adventures of any substance.
If only they would all just burst out in song every once in a while. That would be a nice change. A good dance number always breaks up the story line!
I keep hoping for a good television serial in the tone of "All Creatures Great and Small," but I don't see it coming. No writer actually has had any real adventures and so we will see nothing but arguments.
Modern TV plot development,
Introduction, a Hot actress, a graphic depiction of some sort, a misunderstanding, bizarre random events which save the writing staff who have written themselves into a corner, main characters sing or put on a show, supporting characters have an interesting subplot, main plot is resolved and misunderstanding cleared up. Hugs all around. Clever subplot with supporting characters set up for next episode, credits roll.
Frankly I miss, "Are you being served?" and, "The Black Adder," I prefer watching stupid shows which don't pretend to be anything else.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A rambling narrative covering the last couple of days

Yesterday... or was it the day before?
It started out good. My wife brought me a package from the post office the evening before. It was my latest purchase of albums off of ebay.
The problem with this is that I bid or place snipes on a whole list of albums I want to buy. I always get outbid on the ones I really want. I missed two Jimi Hendrix albums and a string blues album Monday.
I have been buying albums from wstein55 who seems to have an endless supply of somewhat interesting and in fairly good condition albums which sell for the $2-$4 range.
This is a deceptive problem for me. You see I swore off cheap interesting albums from garage sales a year ago. I don't need any more medium quality albums that I'm only going to listen to once. I need a few more really good albums in different genre's. Preferably string blues. These are more collectable and worth more money. I do not need to buy a Flying Burrito Brother's album that doesn't have Gram Parsons on it. Even though it was a good album. I really should not have bought a Hank Locklin album with one side that sounded unplayed and the other side that the owner must have left on the record player for five years. (nothing against the fellow I bought it from!)
And now I can't buy anymore because I used up all my paypal money on records, 16mm cartoons and lego train parts.
(Feel free to buy me anything that looks interesting off of wstein55's current list of albums.)

To continue my rambling commentary....
I was standing in the driveway staring at the mess of mud and wondering if I continued staring at the bin full of barley if I would turn itself into pig feed, when I heard the sound of a diesel motor moving slowly down the road.
I turned my gaze towards the road and saw a grain bin suspended from the upraised forks of a hay squeeze trying to fit under the tree in front of our house. I think it was taller than 14 ft.
I quickly realized it was coming to my house...

My neighbor thought I needed it. (I will actually have to pay for it at some point in time.) I shouldn't refer to it in singular as he came back with another one...

I suspect I provide a lot of amusement for the neighbors. I hope they are laughing with me and not at me.

I spent the rest of the daylight hours trying to free up the augers in the bottom of the bins and not being entirely successful.
In the evening I set out to complete my task of welding a ball hitch assembly up for the rake.
I discovered the tubing I had decided to use let off some sort of toxic fumes when heated and I think I gassed myself.
Then to add insult to injury I welded it wrong.

See the purple dots?
They illustrate where the hitch should have been welded.
Did I tack it and test fit it? No! I welded that sucker solid.
I think I am going to cut off the top three inches and weld it onto the bottom.
Yesterday I spent loading a semi load of hay. 784 bales loaded in 10 blocks. My fingers were so cold from running the levers on the ancient towmotor squeeze that they were numb for two hours.
I don't really remember what I did the rest of the day.
Running around getting parts, delivering chicken feed, and something else. Oh, I went to an electric motor shop and where the fellow had a set of Dynaco A-25 speakers hanging on the wall. Kind of funny to see. They were not in real good shape.
And now....
Off to work I go!
Have a nice day...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A CO2 rocket and more work avoidance

Whilst the real farmers spread fertilizer and hauled straw and repaired stuff I shirked responsibility yesterday.
I spent the morning trying to figure out how to form an LLC to sell feed. After lunch I helped my uncle dig a grave. Just a small grave. One to fit an urn.
It was a sunny day and the fields are drying out. I should be planting but the drill and tractor are both apart.
Next i went to work on my tractor but stopped by the bank on my way. I have discovered that the government has done its best to make it difficult to start a business. Especially if you are intimidated by paperwork and regulations.
Once in the bank I ran into a neighbor who sold me some large grain tanks. I had to back out of the deal when I realized there is so much worthless crap setting around our farm that there is nowhere to put grain tanks.
In a happy and cheerful mood I drove to my cousin's shop where I have my drill and tractor. He was having difficulties working on his new used truck transmission and so I helped him.
After a while some neighbors showed up and I went home.
My wife had made coffee.
After a cup I headed back to the shop to make a hitch for the Allen twin rake. This is one of the 15 projects I have started and will never finish.
True to form I was distracted.
It all started with an airgun CO2 cylinder that has been in the way in my toolbox for two years. I was looking for a center punch and I found the cylinder. I got to wondering if you dropped the CO2 cylinder down a pipe onto a center punch, would it shoot out like a mortar?
I assembled parts.
A broken five foot sprinkler riser. A cat II to cat I three point top link adapter which just fit over the CO2 cylinder, and various pipe fittings.


The problem was to get the CO2 cylinder to hit the end of the center punch straight on.

In the end I used pipe reducers to center the CO2 cylinder and the center punch.

I clamped the whole thing in the vice and aimed it skyward.

Since the CO2 cylinder was too light to drop down the barrel I struck the punch with a hammer. The cylinder let out a whoosh as all was quiet. The thought occurred to me that this would have been much better in daylight.
I started counting.
Once I hit ten I went back in the shop. Just as I turned away a heard the cylinder hit the bushes across the fence from the shop.
I'm thinking it went fairly high.
Perhaps I will find another cylinder today.
See how well your 1.2 million dollar investment would be used?

Monday, February 4, 2013

We go to the zoo, have dim sum, ride the zooliner, see caged animals pacing in circles and going insane from boredom...

Sunday we did not go to church.
Instead we went to the big city and had dim sum at House of Louie and then we went to the zoo.
I will digress a bit on the House of Louie subject. It is my nearly favorite Chinese restaurant. If you click on the link above and read the review you will find a terrible review.
I linked to that review as it is an example of the "bad tourist." Or people who do not take into account the context of their surroundings or something like that.
On the contrary I say! House of Louie is a given. The food is never bad. There have been incredible Chinese places that have come and gone but House of Louie has always been a safe bet. I've never had bad food there. It is one of those institutions that make Portland interesting. (If you really want interesting as opposed to quality, try the Republic Cafe.)
Over the past few decades I have patronized the House of Louie, the state of repair and general cleanliness has varied, but the food has remained pretty decent. No, it has not always been in perfect condition. It is an old restaurant. The old vinyl booths sometimes have tape on them. (Mine did Sunday.) But it has good basic Chinese food and it serves dim sum. On Sunday mornings after 11 a.m. they wheel a little cart around and offer you things you can't remember the names of. AND every once in a while they come out with chicken feet. I thought that was just the Mad Magazine version of Chinese food. But, no! You can get it at House of Louie.
AND so what if all the waitresses don't speak English very well. I always wonder if one day the one who has been there forever will just rattle off some phrase in perfect Oxford English but I suppose she won't.
The House of Louie is one of the remaining institutions of the old Portland. The Portland that was weird because it was a buffer between the city and the country and hippies and bums and immigrants and working class and smarmy intellectuals and slackers and damaged war vets and every once in a while a few just plan ordinary people. The self-consiciously weird Portland of the Sam Adams era makes me on edge.
Plus it is right next to the flaming gay bar which inspired our first discussion with our daughter about "alternative" life styles. "Mom! That is not really a girl! Is it?????"
"Honey, some people are confused, especially in the city..."
But, now I have digressed...
We had dim sum and I had too much pepper in the hot oil and soy sauce mixture that I stirred up to dip the funny puffy things that were stuffed with shrimp. I never remember what anything is called.
We left quite stuffed.
It always seems like the carts come by really fast and you just keep pointing at things that look good and then you eat too fast because you want to try what is next. I must learn to not do that.
ANyway!
On the way to the zoo we stopped to pay homage to the birthplace of MuddyValley and to show our daughter the bridge where star crossed lovers in Portland have traditionally leaped to their deaths.

And then we went to the zoo. (It was on the way...)
Where we saw animals...
Sort of a rear view here...
We saw a cougar eating a calf. Which seemed somewhat ironic to me. They have the cougars and wolves next to the farmhouse exhibit. If that is not intentional then it is somewhat humorous. The keeper explained the calf was a donation. We could hear the bones crunching.
We also saw lions.
And found an empty cage full of rat traps. I'm sure there is a story behind that. Is the zoo infested with rats and if so why not just put the hungry looking bobcat in the cage? Pretty funny...

AND Then we rode the Zooliner! I like the Zooliner. I think it is powered by a Detroit Diesel of some sort. It sounded like a detroit when it was idling. Probably not, probably some highly ecologically refined diesel engine with zero emissions and radiating rainbow stickers and carbon credits.
The train ride went up to the famous rose test gardens. Not so much to see in the way of roses in February. Nice ride all the same.

And my daughter took lots of pictures...


So a good time was had by all.

Now that I have killed an hour of work I shall go to work. Have a nice day...

Update at 10:45 a.m.
Hot oil- We like to mix the hot chile oil that is in the little glass pot on the table with soy sauce and dip the various morsels in it. It also makes pork fried rice much more edible. Should you get a little carried away with the Hot Oil you may find some distress the next morning. I do not recommend loading hay first thing in the morning on the day after. I think I shall sit a spell and look at fertilizer spreaders or Craigslist or pursue the ever elusive good deal on a Ford LN8000 with 671 detroit.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I hide from my neighbors and I start building a plinth.

I'm a little bleary this morning. I started reading a book about a WWII fellow. (The book "Crossing the Line," mentioned yesterday, see my Amazon wish list) When I get started on a good book I tend to not stop. I had to quit at 11:45 when for some reason the type became blurry and the dog started barking. I suppose there is no connection.
I did not feel like getting up this morning.
Spending money, or rather, thinking about spending money always makes me tense. This whole time of year when I suddenly realize nothing is even close to being ready from spring, and it is February gives me that sense of impending doom that really makes farming so enjoyable.
So I picked up a sheet of hardwood plywood on my way home from ordering parts. I am thinking of building a new plinth for the Dual 1019.
The Dual 1019 seems to benefit from a dense base. It is an idler drive turntable with a spring suspension. I have a United Audio base and a plexiglass cover which does not fit correctly. The point of a new plinth is so that I can actually put the cover on the turntable without knocking the tonearm out of adjustment. Oh, and it should not make it sound worse.
I needed a type of hardwood plywood like baltic birch, which is made up of layers of hardwood rather than having soft wood on the inside and plywood on the outside.
I found a sheet of 3/8" Maple which had a very thick top layer. For some reason I imagined it had the Maple on both sides but I was wrong.
I should just go to a woodworking shop but I trend towards the off-the-beaten-path discount building supply places. The owners are much more interesting.
After a frustrating day of attempting to get a wheel made, looking at good deals on big trucks which I was not smart enough to take advantage of, discussing ways not to make money in farming, not being able to find a loader to load the hay I was supposed to haul, not getting chicken feed made, and not helping my wife finish the fake hardwood floor we are installing, I decided I needed a break.
I was going to install the fuel tank my brother found on ebay for our 1967 M670 super, but I suspected a leak. It was kind of funny, the package came UPS and reeked of gasoline. I kept imagining all those pictures in the Post Office of thinks you can't ship. I suppose tractor gas tanks are on that list?

But we were out of air and I couldn't turn on the air compressor as I have lost my keys.


So, I decided to go to work on the plinth.
Here is a previous version made with a chainsaw. I plan to layer plywood to make a solid base. This was sort of a test version which allowed me to get at the workings of the turntable.


But, no skillsaw. To get the skillsaw or use the table saw I would have to annoy my wife. It would not be right to use the saw for a project other than fixing the floor.

(Excuse me but Jose is riding around the house on the 4-wheeler he thinks my brother should buy. He must want something. I don't claim to be a hard-working farmer. I think people should not annoy me before 8 a.m. I have to go shut the blinds...)

I return...
So, I figured if George Washington can cut down a cherry tree with an axe and go on to become president, I can cut out a turntable plinth with a chainsaw and go on to become... well, I don't know... Something else... a Lazy Farmer.)

The key in fine chainsaw carpentry is to 1. Get the saw straight, 2. Not chip the wood.  For precision work I clamp a 2x4 alongside the saw. I didn't have a 2x4 but I found a non warped 1x6. One must adapt.  The chain must be sharp. I don't recommend the skip tooth chain I was using to cut oak.

Oh Crap, the neighbors are in front of my house. Jose is revving up the four wheeler and his boss is also there. They have come to help me haul hay. I have got to buy my own squeeze. If I wanted to be a successful farmer I would get up at 4 a.m. and go to work. What part of lazy do they not understand!!!!!!????
I have retreated into the bathroom and turned on the fan. Hopefully they will just go looking for my brother who I am sure has returned from a week of driving truck eager to go to work!!!

They are still circling the house, I gotta go to work... More on this later.

UPDATE: Well it turns out that their cows were out. So now I am a shirker as well as being lazy. It is considered bad form to hide in the bathroom when someones cows are out. Perhaps he does not read this blog. I may have to delete this whole post.