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Friday, May 31, 2013

Thanks Monsanto!

Japan shut down imports of Oregon grown soft white wheat yesterday after Genetically Modified Wheat was discovered.
The wheat was apparently discovered by a farmer who applied Glyphosate to a field and discovered a significant amount of wheat which did not die.
The farmer reported this to his local extension agent who sent samples on for testing.
Monsanto did test trials of Round-Up resistant wheat in 2000.
My neighbor reported that Portland had stopped accepting wheat yesterday and would not make contracts for this summer's crop.
Soft White Wheat is the type of wheat grown in the Willamette Valley of which I am a resident. This is somewhat of a niche market. The wheat goes almost exclusively for noodles and pastry. 
It is a big deal...
The questions which are unanswered by news organizations are as follows:
1. Liability-I don't care if GMO is good or bad, what the customer wants is what makes the sale.
2. How did it escape the test plots?  You first have to realize no one wants GMO wheat here. If Japan won't buy it we do not want to grow it. So it is most likely not a result of someone saving seed.
It could have come from seed left over from the test plots but I don't really see how. Most wheat is sold by variety. I could see contaminated seed if it was of the same variety as the test plots but the resistant wheat is supposed to have showed up in fallow ground which was supposed to have been killed out.
3. Does GMO really cross pollenate? 
4. What do we do about it?
It is pretty common knowledge that there is Round-up resistant bluegrass all over Eastern Oregon at this point. They escaped from test plots set up by Scotts company and spread and they keep on spreading.
We did some yield plots for Monsanto years ago when we were early adopters of Round-Up resistant Corn seed.
I had some one connected with the seed industry tell me once that the "plan" was to just get GMO into the grain handling system so that it would be impossible to prove anything is NOT GMO. I sort of laughed at this until I saw photos of Non GMO corn fields sprayed with Round-up and 10-20 percent of the corn still standing.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Post Memorial Day Post

I feel remiss in not celebrating one of our nation's sacred holidays.
Decoration day was originally a day to honor those who died in the war of Northern Aggression  or if you prefer, Lincoln's War.
I found a classic Hoyt Axton song for your enjoyment.
I have a fascination towards the unrepentant. I didn't fully appreciate the Southern "attitude" until I read the title story from Allan Stilltoe's, the Loneliness of the Long Distance runner. It was collection of short stories set in post WWII England. It had nothing to do with the Civil War but much to do with the "Clever Folks" destroying a country. But perhaps that was just my perspective, I could have gotten the whole message wrong, I was only 13 years of age.
But, when the runner stopped running it changed my life...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tank chase in San Diego

On May 18, 1995, Shawn Nelson was gunned, execution-style down by police officer, Richard Priner, after Nelson stole an M60 tank from the local National Guard Armory and took it joyriding on San Diego streets.
Previous to stealing the tank Nelson had become obsessed with digging holes in his backyard, to the point that he lost his plumbing business. And there was also something about meth.
(What do you think of my choice of words to make the cops look bad and Nelson look like a poor sucker)
The policeman says when they popped open the hatch and started yelling at the guy, he just looked up at them with a blank expression on his face and kept rocking the tank to get if off the median. So the cop shot him. It was for the best. The guy really shot himself because HE made the choice to escalate the level of threat. Plus, somewhere in San Diego there were children. Children probably in direct line with that tank, if it would have kept going straight for 5 miles. AND, a school bus, or a mini-van full of daycare kids could have been on the other freeway lane.
So, yes it was the best thing to shoot the guy. I'm very relieve that first they shouted obscenities at him first cause that ALWAYS makes people give up.
This is sort of off subject but since most cops are dedicated church people how do they deal with the whole shouting obscenity thing. Obviously people won't surrender if you ask them nicely and you have to yell "M.....-F.....!" but Christians are not supposed to say bad words. Do you yell "Drop the gun poopie butt?" Or "I command you in the name of Jesus to drop that gun?" I think that would be more scripturally sound.
And what about lying? After they tell the guy whatever it takes to get the confession do they have to apologize for lying?
I understand the killing. It was explained to me how the "perp"escalates the level of force needed to subdue the threat, so you really have to smack someone if they didn't take their insulin or how it is a good idea to shoot suicidal people, but I wonder about the swearing...

CLICK HERE for more info on the unemployed plumber. I wonder if, in context of the digging holes in his backyard, if he at any point in the rampage yelled out, "I am the underminer, I am beneath you and nothing is beneath me!" Probably not since that movie was not out in 1995....



I enjoyed watching the video of the sheer damage and destruction done by the tank. Mostly because nothing I owned was in the way of the tank...
And the cops...
They had almost as many cop cars after that tank as the Blues Brothers. The video I saw had interviews with the cops which were pretty funny.
Now, I do understand it is pretty hard to stop a tank. But it become pretty apparent that the cops are only trained to stop force with greater force. It is also obvious that many emergency responders are in it for the rush and when that siren sounds they get to go crazy and do stuff that civilians would get arrested for.
I just keep thinking back to the time I saw the Amity Police officer pounding on the roof of his car to get his partner to go faster.
And the time they blew up their police car in front of our house and the guy they were chasing went back to help them. (he didn't know they were chasing him because they were letting the folks with burned out license plate lights get a long head start so they could drive the cop car faster-I am not kidding!)

Here is a video of a police department in action. I'm sure it is real because I've gotten many hours of entertainment from farming near our local speed trap. (Ok, I do realize it is obviously not real and it is from the same person that did the Smokey video)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Who says you can't fight City Hall.

This guy did it with a bulldozer.
(Click Here)
In solidarity with Marvin Heemeyer I am boycotting Mountain Park Concrete.
I find it amazing to watch police in action. They take themselves so seriously.
You can watch the news footage if you click here.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Where I am not...

A couple weekends ago I was here at this very dock.
We are not fishing.

Lulu is mapping the lake floor with her Gumball 3000 camera.
The Gumball 3000 is a poor man's GoPro. She had a waterproof housing for it. We found an old T-shirt and a Mountain Dew can.
Ralph Goff has a GoPro.
The GoPro is a little more upscale than the incredibly cheap Gumball 3000 which is actually a Movu or something. The Gumball 3000 is a promotion for the coast to coast auto rally but I've forgotten the whole story.
Speaking of Gumball rallies, I bought the movie on 16mm. Anyone want to come over and watch it on the side of the big white barn?
Well, not right now... After dark... When it is not raining...
So, hypothetically speaking... Anyone up for Gumball Rally?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I laugh at Ralph Goff and his puny feed operation!

I have completely out paced Ralph in the sheer dangerousness and noise of my feed operation. I feel quite proud of myself! Him and his puny Cockshutt! (oh but it sound so nice, just putt, putting along)
I have an 806 International WITH A TURBO! A huge old New Holland mixer/grinder, a Mercury-Pettibone Forklift of indeterminate age that is powered by a three-cylinder Detroit diesel and I think I have finally found something more dangerous than an open flatbelt.
I had the shop put a bin bottom with a door in the bottom of an old fertilizer bin. I set this on my home built scales. I then dump in my exclusive feed conglomeration, (only what the customer orders as I am not a feed company, just a custom grinding company) and then, I pick the bin up with the forklift and suspend it over the hammer mill.
I have a collection of old fertilizer spouts that I found along the roadside or stole from Wilco and once I open the door in the bottom of the bin, it all self feeds!
Now I just need to get a set of gauges on the IH, and fix the front main seal so it doesn't dump oil everywhere and fix the hydraulic oil leak, and the water leak, and the dent in the hood and rewire it and, and, and...
Look at that black smoke! Every day is Earth Day for farmers!
(Note to safety inspectors, I have NO employees and I'm exempt from inspection. Furthermore, Nothing is unshielded and I am not standing under the fertilizer box.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

No News is Good News?

I was looking for a news story last night and I once again found that the only source of real-time, eye witness news is social media and the internet.
What I was looking for was a story about the annual "Reach the Beach" bicycle marathon which blocks traffic every March in my general area. It is a benefit for lung cancer research but it would be more beneficial to local residents who have to work on Saturdays if it were for stress related heart attacks instead.
Generally, this race provides me with an opportunity to rant against bicycles riding eight abreast on country roads, but I missed my annual anti-bicycle rant as were working at home and I didn't get to see all the bicyclist on the highway.
(I also have had to eat some crow as my wife has taken up bicycling and goes as far as to take a group from her school riding in the San Juan Islands. I told her that even though local people waved they still hated her and she accused me of being a weird old curmudgeon.)
I had completely forgotten about the ride until a neighbor from Ballston stopped by to tell me the amazing story of bicycles hitting the railroad tracks and crashing into each other while emergency responders yelled at them to stop. Time after time after time after time. I asked him why he didn't put a cell phone video on youtube as it was quite entertaining. It is a perfect example of the bicycle mentality. There some sort of tunnel vision that takes over a bicyclist's mind, especially if they are in a group. It is the road in front and the glory of bicycling and not so much the large trucks behind them or the stop signs or the emergency responders frantically waving them to stop.
Even if there is already a pile of bicyclists in front of them, on the pavement, bleeding.
I have to wonder about the race organizers.
Last year the whole race blew through the stop signs in Amity and the po-lice started giving them tickets, and they just kept coming... They did complain afterwards.
The railroad tracks at Ballston have been there for a couple years now, but always come as a great surprise to the riders.
But the point of my Blog headline differers from the above story.
I was searching the News Register (local paper) for info about local evens surrounding the ride when I discovered the News Register has once again won awards.
This is a huge joke.
Newspaper people get together every year and pat each other on the back.
The thing is... There is no competition, no one knows they are incompetent.
Click here to look at the online edition of the News Register.
Doesn't it look like a real newspaper?
What you don't realize is that if you ever talk to someone interviewed by Paul Dalequarteapoopiebutt they will say, "well, I didn't really say that." Or you know he never actually came out to talk to me or see what happened, he did it all over the phone."  Or, "No, that is not what happened."
And if you exclaim in amazement, "But you didn't complain?!!!"
The response is, "Yeah, right, like who reads the News Register?"
And so it goes.
I suppose this carries on to the national level.
I see it on the local news. The TV news is terrible. All they do for national is report the top five news stories that show up on my internet startup page in Safari, and they only give out half the info.
Last night a bridge collapsed on Washington State. There was more relevant information on NewAgTalk has more info on the bridge collapse than the local stations. The locals still haven't figured out a truck hit the bridge, they are reporting it like it just collapsed. The most important/relevant information is hidden at the end of the story.
I watched the BBC on NPR this morning and the BBC had it figured out, but not KOIN or KGW or whoever sponsors OregonLive.com.
But they did have this headline how bike tourism will save towns devastated by the "loss" of timber jobs. CLICK HERE. Yeah, right...  Dumbasses with bicycles will bring in the money to replace $20+ per hour manufacturing jobs.
What a joke...
Have a nice day, I'm going to work.
I swear I could start my own newspaper and do a better job just not hiring morons as reporters, oh but wait... where would I find reporters who are not been though our fine college system and who are not morons? Perhaps I could import them from Mexico, like you have to do to get any actual work done...
The modern reporter certainly has not sailed around the world on a tramp steamer or come up through the ranks as a copy boy or ever had to do been able an honest day's worth of hard labor in their hard-scrabble middle class existence.
We told the kids this bicycle in the drill was a result of bicyclists blowing the stop sign at the end of the lane. I think they are immune to these misinformational declarations at this point in time. It is really that I just hate to walk...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More corn planting commentary

Today it is raining again.
We have 20 acres of corn left to plant.
This is for the neighbor who has a dairy.
The field is a bit of a problem. It had been in grass for years. He does not have a huge amount of water for irrigation. The field needs to be smooth to go back into grass. He does not want to spend a lot of money.
We are trying to decide just what to do with it.
I think it would no-till, and we could probably do it today, but if it failed because of not getting the water on it soon enough, or at the right time, the dairy guy would be somewhat upset with us for planting it no-till.
We could strip-till it and plant it. That would be fast and would be fairly successful. We have glyphosate resistant corn so weed control would not be a problem.
I'd like to get the edges of the field smooth for a road to get the trucks in and out.
I've been thinking about just doing conventional tillage.
Disking it two directions with the cover-crop disk and plowing.
This would mean another three or four trips across the field but with this sort of cloudy weather I don't think we would loose the moisture.
I am thinking about no-till as Ed Winkle has been sending me an email discussion of his love of no-till and also because I applied for a job selling no-till attachments which required me to profess my love and devotion to no-till.
I think I will not get a call-back on the job. Mostly because my cover letter was, "look, I've been a farmer for 30 years, I can do anything you want with five minutes of study, I probably won't do it that well but I'll get it done..."
I don't think that will get you a job in a place where everything is clean and people wear short-pants to work.
But, I digress.
We no-tilled Saturday.
As I related in my last post, we have heavy clay river bottom soil. When it dries it cracks and it looses moisture really fast. There is low organic matter because any loose straw floats down river.
When I saw the weather forecast for a dry month of May I started working any bare ground as soon as it dried out. All it takes is a couple passes of light tillage to break up the surface of the bare dirt.
The dry weather was hard on the strips of annual ryegrass which had sprouted late in the fall. I the plants are not taller than the water they don't do well under water. Plus, this is a duck and goose hunting area and while the geese do provide slug control, they also mow off the annual like a lawn.
We applied glyphosate to the ryegrass and it is dead. It is about 4 to 8 inches in height and brown.
Most of the corn ground was worked this year. We disked it early and harrowed it to conserve the moisture. To plant it we spread on preplant fertilizer and worked it in. There was very little compaction and so we just planted it. Usually, we strip-till but this also make the field really rough.
When we got to the wetter ground and the dead annual ground I went after the strip-tiller.
But, we do have a Dickey-John compaction meter and we have been using it.
So, I tired the compaction meter.

I have never leaned on the compaction meter and had it bottom out before. Either I've gained weight or we have no compaction. I dug down a little ways to see if I was measuring the compaction of mud. It was a little damp but you could not make a ball of dirt with your fist. It still crumbled so I parked the strip-tiller and my brother no-tilled the rest of the field.
We shall see.
I went off and planted Teff.
Two rows of Teff and one row of fescue. Now that could be a spectacular failure...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Planting corn

Farming on a small scale without vast reserve funding is a triage operation. You focus on what has the most value and most chance of survival.
We have been planting corn.
It has been a dry spring. We have had no really useful rain for a month. The plan was to strip-till, (working ground only in the row and planting into the strip) and avoid major tillage practices not deemed "conservation farming," by those employed by the gubment.
Some years ago we embraced conservation farming in a big way. We used to have a subscription to "The New Farm," a magazine put out by the Rodale Institute which were pioneers in what we new call "sustainable" agriculture.
The New Farm featured stories of regular farmers who switched to organic farming and had all sorts of really interesting ideas on crop rotations and tillage practices.
My dad was always a tinkerer and so it was not terribly difficult to get him to try new farming techniques.
So we bought a strip tiller.
It made the ground really rough. It was too much for the White plant-aire 5400.
And then we bought the White 5100 corn planter. We had been looking for a no-till planter since we had used a Case no-till in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
There were some spectacular misadventures. Like the time we no-tilled corn into a fescue field thinking the fescue roots would have eliminated compaction but not realize that those little tiny slugs also live in the summer time and that one bite will kill a baby corn plant.  OR just how rough a seven year old fescue field is when you are driving over it with a silage chopper.
However, it does not matter what we do, we can't top 25 ton corn.
We've applied lime, we've strip-tilled twice, we've disked, applied extra fertilizer, did tissue samples, hired consultants, bought special micro-nutrient fertilizer, it doesn't make any difference. Oh, there have been almost total failures but never anything above 30 ton.
The last time we had 35 ton corn we were farming with small tractors, using a Vermeer irrigator, and using a chisel plow, and glyphosate was expensive.

In fact, I would say, the last year we had 35 ton corn was the first year we used Round-up Ready (TM) corn.
This year was a strange year. It rained until it stopped, I mean that literally.
I watched the ground dry out and decided it was time to stop no-tilling. We worked every spot of bare ground we could get on, as soon as it dried out. All it takes is a couple passes with a heavy harrow and roller or the heavy disk and a harrow and roller and the surface structure of the soil is broken and sealed.
It actually worked.
The first field of corn had 2.5 ton of lime applied and worked in. I was going to get the strip-tiller which we had loaned to the neighbor. I decided to try the soil compaction meter.
No-compaction. So we went after the corn planter instead.
This is the first year we have ever planted corn with a cab tractor. It is not ours.
And now I must go to work. Besides, no one reads if I write too much... Perhaps more about planting corn tomorrow.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spring Farming and Road Construction

I suspect that the days of building roads and farms along the river bank are nearing an end. I've tried to interest her in fishing, but since I never catch any fish, she has not taken up that interest.

Later, a kid who looked like Carrot Top showed up asking if I had seen his dad. I thought at first he was being ironic as I had already discovered his Bob Marley decorated "altoid" tin.
He was down to the seeds and stems. I mean that literately.
I asked him, who's your daddy?  "Who is your father?"
And before he answered, I realized that his daddy was the weird stoner guy whose family used to own the farm next door.
So here it is... I'm playing trucks and building roads along the river, this kid is "doin' a bowl" with his dad.
What an interesting world we now live in...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

It should not be illegal to make small explosions-explosions are fun and educational

I see that internet pressure has resulted charges being dropped against the "science experiment" girl.
(Click Here)
That is all very nice and fine but it is stupid to criminalize what used to be normal kid behavior.
Because she was a girl...
They termed it science experiment.
It might very well have been a "science experiment," but if it would have been a boy it would have been a bomb.
The authorities refuse to acknowledge the difference between a plastic water bottle and a car bomb. It is the stupid type of argument always used by those who want authority.
"If your friend jumped off a cliff would you do it to?"
"No... I'm not stupid and if he was dumb enough to do it why does it matter that I dared him to do it?"
You should then be set to be with no pie and not charged with assault.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday and drizzle, another day in paradise...

I am sitting in the kitchen eating my sandwich and watching it not really rain.
One of those days...
This morning I delivered chicken feed bright and early. I don't really do deliveries and I don't know why I deliver to this person, other than her son used to work for me.
She lives on a steep hillside.
I generally park uphill, open the tailgate, and let the barrels roll downhill till they hit her chicken house. I knew it would one day happen and it did.
A lid popped off... 250lbs of chicken feed is a big pile.
I came home and discussed corn fertilizer, bourbon, the new alcohol limit in Oregon (the wine state) which will get you a DUI for being within ten foot of a bottle of booze, and credit card points that will get you a free trip to Hawaii with the duck hunter landlord.
I had to take my daughter her baseball shoes.
I got in the pickup and wondered how we could go to Crescent Lake and back on half a tank of gas but now it was empty in the driveway.
I backed into the trash can.
Not all the trash was in bags.
I got a scoop shovel and my pickup.
I left with the shoes.
My helper had to call me to discuss what fertilizer to get and how to get it and how many pounds and if the liquid tank would fit on the truck with two dry boxes.
I was driving and my calculator is in my phone.
He accused me of being grumpy.
I went to my cousins house to get a regulator valve for the corn planter that I do not have time to install. Then he said he had a part for my disk and we spent an hour taking it apart. Then I found the quick hitch that I forgot at his house this winter.
I should have taken him up on his offer of a spicy dog with no bun and watched Hawaii Five-O which is on a noon. But the offer of a spicy dog with no bun was sort of disturbing after thinking about the Doctor in a Dress Kilt and I declined.
I arrived home to see the liquid tank had been removed from the truck so I assume a decision had been made without me.
I attempted to make coffee for lunch and dumped the coffee filter all over the floor.
The truck arrived home. It has two big boxes with no room for the liquid tank.
It is raining and we can't spread fertilizer anyway.
Perhaps I will go back to work...
I think my helper is setting at the coffee table waiting for me.
Yesterday MuddyValley came over and helped me wire a plug to convert a round Radar plug to a micro-trak connector. This saved me $90 although Sensor 1 really needs the money I'm sure.
This morning I stopped at TJ's market to get a burrito and saw that Travel Oregon will be filming in Willamina.  This is funny. It is not a bad town, in fact it has a kind of cool old downtown. But why would you go there? There is Coyote Joe's, and Galloping Gertie (an old trolly) and the Dr. (who thinks he is Scottish and wears a dress kilt. I can't go there anymore after thinking of the joke with the punchline, "I don't know where ye been me lad, but I see ye one first prize," during a visit and having to claim I was instantly healed so I would not start laughing.)
But, I digress. I'm sure it will be a great show. Perhaps they can talk about all the really good paying tourism jobs that have replaced those nasty timber jobs of days gone by, which is also why Willamina is a town of days gone by...
In other news someone has found me and linked on Facebook. This got me a whopping nine (9) hits yesterday. So I'm well on the way to celebrity status!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blah, blah, blah, opinions, rambling superficial thoughts

I am not a philosopher but sometimes I pretend to be one.
I went to college many years ago.
What I found interesting was the study of what makes people do what they do. There is not a lot of original thought in the world. People follow trends. This happens locally, nationally, and on a global scale.
I think we are heading out of an age of individual liberty and self determination and into an age of where personal freedom and self determination are an illusion and mass groups of people are manipulated by a central government or perhaps an organization.
I don't have this all down to a collection of buzzwords and catch phrases. Rather it is, from self-control to outside control, from the age of the Magna-carta to the age of The Patriot Act.
I should never have read Orwell.
What brought this all up?
I witnessed a couple guys get arrested for driving buzzed on an empty lake.
I came how and saw that Monsanto won in the lawsuit with Martin Bowman.
I've listened to my neighbor who is a Democrat lecture me about the supreme court decisions during the Bush administration. I've witnessed the Supreme court decisions with the new appointments of the Obama administration.
They are nearly always consistent.
The decisions may differ, but they will always limit individual rights.
The Bowman vs Monsanto lawsuit can be understood better if you look at it in terms of individual rights. It was essentially a test on two levels.
First was the technical question of patent law. Does the patent extend past the first sale and the original patent agreement?
Second was the ability of an individual with limited finances to take on a mega-corporation.
The Supreme Court seems to be reinforcing the trend to limit personal property rights. There have always been limits to patents. The patent process was designed to allow inventors to make money off their inventions and pay for research, it was not to insure a monopoly. Of course if you have a great money making patent then you want a monopoly and you do what ever you can to ensure that monopoly. This is natural and reasonable and since you are supposed to have the impartial witness of the court system to provide a balance, it works well.
But the times are changing.
One the ideas of individualism are replaced by things like collective good and contract enforcement then the process changes.
What Bowman was doing was in a gray area. If I were doing it I would feel that I was breaking the technology agreement, if I had signed one.
However, it is not really a threat to the company. If I were planting soybeans I would not get generic beans for animal feed and then bust my planting rate by 20 percent and spray it. There is no control over what you are doing and the amount of money involved in the planting process would scare me. Bowman was double cropping and could take a gamble. It is not really a slippery slope argument.
Neither is giving guys a serious lecture for drinking on an empty lake and pointing out that in the peak season it would be a quick trip to jail.
While we are on this sort of subject...
I do not understand the questions of cell phone and email privacy.
Cell phones are the same as a landline and email is the same as written letters sent in the mail. There is no difference between using a listening device or requiring internet service providers to give up information than steaming open a letter sent in the mail. However, if you are working for a company and using their computer system and their email system and they have the backup and you are doing it on their time, then that is different, unless you log in to your private email account.
And anything that is password protected has an intent of privacy. It should require a warrant.
A person's home is his castle.
This talk about the differences in the digital age is just an attempt to roll the clock back past several centuries of common law. Back to the day of serfs and kings. Do you really think King John wanted to sign the Magna Carta?

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Vacation For Mother's Day

We spent the weekend at a resort!

Well, it was not an exactly new resort. There was not a sauna nor were there tennis courts.
An old hippie dude did play his guitar in the morning.
We saw not-very-drunk boaters get arrested.
We rode bicycles.

Rented a boat.

I had never driven a boat before in my life.
We had a nice time.
We went to Crescent Lake Resort it is one of the oldest resorts in Oregon, or at least I think so after reading a sign at the adjacent national park.
It is an interesting place to visit.
The resort seems to attract an interesting demographic. Mostly repeat customers who come for the fishing or snowmobiling in the winter. The people we met were  mostly blue collar folks and foreigners. There were several families with limited English who were from either Germany or Central Europe. I wanted to ask how they heard of the resort but they were not especially eager to interact. I naturally assumed they were Russian Mobsters.
The resort has been purchased by a much larger resort. The people who run the Hoodoo ski resort.
They have been "restoring it." People at the lodge said the resort was getting pretty run down under previous ownership.
I would like to have seen it in the "run-down" condition.
I wonder if they gave discounts if you were there during last year's "hostage situation." Bet that was a circus.
We went to the resort because my wife found a "Groupon" for the resort. Several other people did the same thing. They reminded us to take advantage of our free boat rental.
The boat rental thing kind of confused the combination waitress, hostess, concierge, receptionist, boat rental person, bartender, and who knows what else person. I think she was a bit over worked.
The Groupon was not for the best cabins.
The staff were quite overworked and somewhat jaded by tourists but friendly and nice once it was established that we were not going to annoy them.
We waited an hour and a half for our prime rib dinner even though we had reservations.
But we did not care. We were on vacation. We sat outside and watched the lake. The wife and daughter played a card game. I swatted mosquitos.
We drank lots of coffee, they didn't charge us for the coffee because of the wait.
Sunday we took a boat ride across the lake. Once I figured out how to run a boat it got a bit boring as it was a very small boat motor. There are a lot of trees around the lake. After a while they all look pretty much the same.
I had previously discovered that my fishing license was expired and since the ratio of Sheriff officers to boaters on Saturday was one officer to five boaters I decided to forego the fishing.
On the way back we discovered the Sportsman's Cafe in Oakridge was closed. I think this was not a recent event. The Sportsman's Cafe was straight out of the 1950's and had decent food the last time I was there. Twenty years ago...

We went to the A&W instead.
We had a good trip. Now I have to go back to work.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A white White tractor



The price of lime is to the point where you sort of think you should brush off the tractor with a broom and work the sweepings back in the ground.

The weather changed from wet to dry in a day. We decided to work the ground instead of no-tilling as our soil tends to dry if you don't break up the surface. It doesn't take much unless you have weeds coming.
We also got to the point where we had to apply lime to the corn ground. So that had to be worked in. We were going to radish but one of the neighbors already had radish, his seed company rep came over with a consolation prize. Spinach! Of course it didn't turn out to be all that simple and we went back to corn.
Today I am going to stop planting and working for myself and pick up hay for my neighbors. This year is the last payment on the stacker and the temptation to become less accommodating becomes much stronger in relation to the stacker being paid off.
I am supposed to pick up bales for three farmers. Around 120 acres in 10-30 acre fields.
Each of these farmers talked to me about making hay. I told them I was planting, chopping silage, and working ground all at the same time, two other people were cutting hay and that I was taking off this weekend.
Of course they all cut.
I didn't cut hay because I knew they would act like they cared, but they would do exactly what they wanted to do.
Some years ago, before I recognized the true nature of the farmer, I would have stayed up all night stacking for them.
It is kind of funny that these people sold their stackers because 1. They had to own the most expensive stackers made, 2. They got tired of stacking for other people, 3. They know large scale production of small bales is on the way out.
I called about a better stacker that was for sale locally. The guy laughed at me and said, "yeah, they are too cheap to buy their own so they want you to do the pain in the arse work for them."
I will feel so much better once I get started because everyone will tell me how they want to give me work so I can make money. It is for my own good.

Monday, May 6, 2013

I get a surprise in the mail!

We have a post office box in town. It is usually my wife's task to check it as she drives through town on her way to work. However she has been quite busy with her school's fundraising auction and so I have been checking the mail.
I'm looking for a couple checks from my no-till business.
I got quite a surprise when I checked the mail last time.
It was not the checks.
I did get one payment, it was from the oldest person with the smallest field. He always pays promptly.
But, for as much as one may wish it, you can't turn $800 into $12,000. Plus, I'm sure he would have noticed.
I had notice for a package. I could not think what I had ordered. I've stopped buying records after I realized I was not finding any real treasures for $2 a pop. (Everyone on eBay has a record collector guide and anything worth bringing home on vinyl goes for $20 and up.)
I got the package.

I was quite excited! A whole case of girl-scout cookies and my wife and daughter are not at home!
I was hoping there were some of those peppermint ones in there as I ripped open the packaging.
But alas, it was a corn planter monitor...

I bought it on eBay.
I didn't think the e-check had time to clear yet. This means I better deposit that check I received!
It is a SM-3000 so that means we will have population and spacing without reading the LED and matching the number to the population chart.
Now all I need are five more rebuilt row units, new parallel bar linkage, those Martin row cleaners, spiked closing wheels...and...
Have a nice day, I'm going to go drive and circles and pretend my phone doesn't work so I have one more day before I have to go pick up bales for all the neighbors who are happy to see me now but will most likely be annoyed when everyone starts baling at the same time and I am not ready.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Give me one reason I should leave the house...

My wife and child left me this morning.
They took off early to visit wife's sister and attend the church where wife attended as a child. I said to be nice to anyone who had the name "Orin" on his belt and went back to sleep.
They won't be back for a couple days and I have work to do.
I planned on waiting a respectable amount of time past noon and then finish planting barley or at least attempt to start the hay stacker but then I got on the internet and discovered George Jones had died.
The president didn't even attend his funeral!
Heck, a basketball player switches to Soccer and the president calls him to congratulate him and that makes the news.
So I've been holding a tribute to George Jones all by myself, and if only the lawnmower would start... I do need to head into town....

Started with George Jones, "Walk through the World With Me," got distracted by Johnny Cash and then on to Commander Cody, before coming back to George and Tammy, "Walk though this world With Me."
Strangely enough I discovered that George sounds amazingly like Tammy when you somehow get the speed selector set on 45 rpm and Fats Domino on 16 rpm.
I also never realized Commander Cody did Rose of San Antonio Rose. Wonder if it was Bobby Black on the pedal steel.
Somewhat interesting that George and Tammy were no longer together when they recorded "Hold On," and the rest of "Walk though the World with Me."
I suppose at some point I will have to emerge from the house. I have been given instructions to BBQ steaks which I am to eat for lunch the rest of the week.
Perhaps i should take more vitamin d.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

More opinions about education

I have been actually working. Driving around in circles in a tractor.
My wife has been getting ready for her school's fundraising auction which is today.
I've been thinking about the local school board election.
I compared the facebook pages of the two candidates that are actually running against each other. It is quite interesting. It pretty much shows the cultural divide in this country.
One candidate has friends who go hunting, ride ATV's, are firefighters, or they build things or they are farmers, or a similar industry.
The other candidate has friends that are mostly in the education industry.
It is also interesting where the campaign signs are placed.
This is not to say that Trish S. is not a nice person or an effective school board member, however, I distrust the teacher's union. I am suspicious of any change in the school system. Change never seems to improve anything.
I have observed that the school board is the only thing keeping the school district from spending lots of money.
I have observed that teaching is a bit of a racket.
They all congratulate themselves on doing it all "for the children," but it can be a pretty easy job. Once you develop your lesson plans you could pretty much go on auto-pilot for the next decade or so.
You get a full years salary for part of a year's worth of work. Sure you have to work on improving education skills and go to seminars and stuff-or at least my wife does, but it is more annoying than difficult. Sometimes it is actually fun.
My wife doesn't get paid very well and her insurance and retirement is pretty much a joke, but she teaches at a private school. The people I know who teach in the public schools get paid a little better.
If you are a good teacher and you work at providing fresh and interesting material for your students then you do work hard. But, you do this by choice.
School administrators are always overpaid and promoted past their level of competence.
The bottom line with the public school is that there is no connection between the money you pay in taxes and what happens in your kid's education.
You have to pay twice to exercise your rights as a consumer and put your kid in a private school.
I have more opinions but I'm going to work.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Trish Stephens for Amity School Board! Whoop! Whoop!

I was in the post office today. I was wondering if I stared hard enough at the empty mailbox that suddenly a couple checks from my no-till planting customers would suddenly appear when I spied a full color flyer advising me to vote Trish Stephens in for Amity School board.
It was on the floor and I picked it up to throw it in the trash as I'm just that sort of ecologically responsible type of guy.
I was a bit amazed at the full color and the fact that it was written in Spanish. Especially since native Spanish speakers are such a major part of our demographic in Amity...(sarcasm)
Since my grasp of Spanish is centered around words I learned while watching Dora the Explorer and Jose teaching me Spanish words that question a person's sexual orientation and infer what is surely an unhealthy relationship with goats the flyer really did not mean so much to me.
Being ever so clever, I turned the flyer over to see it was also printed in English! Lucky for me!
But there were lots of campaign keywords and catchphrases about the importance of education and doing things for our children and of course, our woefully underfunded schools. Not one word about goats!
Since my attention span is pretty short if the subject doesn't involve no-till planting, tube audio, or weird old music that would annoy my daughter, I didn't actually read that much of it and turned it back over to scan for the worlds "chivas," and "Swiper! No swiping!" This was much more interesting than the front side and occupied almost 4 seconds of my otherwise quite busy day.
Then I spied the garbage can full of similar flyers and wondered who in their right minds would be spending real dollars to win a spot on the Amity School board by plastering the post office with flyers for a school board race in which only 35 people actually take the time to vote.
Well, it is Trish Stephens and she has a lot of backing with good media access.
You may click here to find a facebook page which pretty much details why I am now going to vote in the Amity School board election, and why I am voting for my neighbor.
Trish Stephens appears to be a favorite of all the annoying people in Amity. There are photos of her canvassing the neighborhoods, working with school staff, claiming she will "improve" the school district.
Exactly the sort of person which gives us things like an improved downtown in Amity that looks good until you find out you can't actually park anywhere or turn into the bank parking lot when the police car is parked at city hall.
I am sure she has all sorts of things that need to be improved at the school.
I found another candidate who probably doesn't want to be quoted on this blog and asked him why he decided to run for such a thankless job.
His reply was that he was worried someone was going to get on the school board who would spend money and screw things up. That is the best campaign speech I have ever heard and I suggest a large sign on the outskirts of Amity.
I never let people put campaign sign up in our field. This is the one exception.
Now in all fairness I will reveal that the daughter attends private school.
I would like to say that the reason she attends private school is people who appear to be shrill and annoying but in reality there is nothing really wrong with Amity Schools.
In fact, I think Amity Schools are really pretty good. I'd say that the elementary is one of the better local schools. The daughter went to Amity for most of grade school and still has friends there. She also played basketball at Amity this year.
She goes to private school because my wife teaches at the private school and we get a good deal on tuition. AND, when people are paying for their education or the kid's education there is a whole different attitude.
When you are paying tuition and school administrator knows you can not send your kid there, you get a whole different level of customer service.
Plus, you don't get the whole idiotic fear of knives and guns and the push to get enthusiastic but misdirected boys on drugs because your teachers and administrators can't handle them. Or that whole over reaching fear of bullying.
Or the utterly stupid non-christmas winter holiday festival with the meaningless skit with santa and penguins...
So yeah, after looking at the facebook page I'd say that Trish Stephens, while probably a very nice person who means well and probably cares, stands for pretty much everything I hate about the public schools And, since I figure that most of the 20 hits a day that come from OnlineNorthwest come from people in Amity- Here is my endorsement.
Vote For Trish, keep my wife employed!!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Working ground

I've had a no-till drill for something like eight years.
I sometimes forget the amount of time and effort it takes to work ground.
I am working on a 35 acre field.
First I disked it.
It took me six hours with a 13ft heavy cover-crop disk and the 2-155 tractor which is around 155-160hp. I used 52 gallons of diesel. There was a total of 160 acres on the counter which includes the ten acre field I did because it was close by and the five trips I made though the garden.
I was accused of working the tractor a little hard. I would have to agree. I usually drop down a gear to conserve fuel.
When your 2-155 is using 9 gallons an hour it has been my experience that you are, "working the snot out of it."
My brother said he used 5 gallons to disk with the new 2-155 but he was running in 2-wd because of the CV joint problems.
I have switched to harrow and roller and see the fuel gauge is not dropping as quickly. It is 12ft harrow but I running it with the front loaded up pretty heavily with dirt.
I only want to harrow once but I'm leaving some ridges so I think I will have to go twice.
Today I need to plant another hillside for my neighbor so I'm going to let the sod dry out here at home.
We are at the point where I am worried about conserving moisture.
The heavy clay river bottom soil will dry out badly if you don't break up the surface this time of year. The water wicks out though the cracks in the soil. It doesn't take a lot of tillage to seal it up. But, it was too wet to control weeds on the field and so there was too much material to just work the ground with a spring-tooth and roller.
I have no-tilled river-bottom ground in these weather conditions and had failures.
I was going to plant for a kid who has been scrounging for ground and so is farming land no-one else will farm. (See Ed Winkle's post from yesterday)
I have been "on the way" to look at his field for two months. I finally made it yesterday. I was going to plant it yesterday but it was at the end of a long lane in the hills and I didn't know if the drill would fit.
The field was red clay with a thick mat of Bentgrass, moss, deer droppings, and mouse holes.
He was pretty determined to plant spring wheat.
I told him he had too disk it.
And that he should plant oats and not wheat.
Wheat is too expensive to grow and have a failure.
I try and avoid giving advice. I felt bad about not looking at the field earlier. I thought he had "real" farmers giving him advice. I think he would be better off to disk the field and summer fallow it then to spend money on fertilizer and chemical and have a crop failure.
Bentgrass and moss is always a sign of low pH. I doubt he can afford $65 per applied ton of lime.