The Useful Duck!

Contribute to my Vacation, please...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Intercostal waterway

We rented kayaks. The intercostal waterway is more like a big lake behind the kayak rental shop.
We paddled around a looked at people's backyards.
We met a fellow fishing who had lots of interesting info which I have forgotten.
His advice for fishing was to just use the pole in the closet of the hotel. Buy frozen shrimp at the store, rip off their heads and thread them on a small hook.
He also said the best seashells were past the end of the road at Ft DeSoto state park. I think he said to turn right.
We did not see dolphins but got within 10 feet of a stingray. That was cool.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Simple pleasures

If you freeze a Ho-Ho it is like ice cream. A lot better than keylime pie on a stick. (Cause it didn't cost $3)

Monday, December 28, 2015

We visit Tarpon Springs

I woke up early Sunday morning.
Well, it was more like 7:30 a.m.
I woke up to the crash of garbage bins and the neighbor using a tile saw on his roof. I moved into the living room to observes the sun shining on the inland waterway. There were faint wisps of clouds and  just the hint of rain. A cool breeze wafted through the screen.
I went back to sleep.
I was awakened by the sound of bells from the chicken church.
Our plan was as follows.
1. Get up early
2. Either go to Lake Magdalene Methodist Church which features beautiful stained glass windows, by MuddyValley, which I have see referred to as the 8th wonder of the world, or go to the Chicken Church.
We were leaning pretty hard towards the Chicken Church. However, the ringing of bells pretty much gave us a clue that we were out of time. The road to medocrity is paved with sort of good intentions.

So we went to Tarpon Springs.
My wife drove and daughter navigated. I also attempted to navigate. This was less than successful.
The goal was to find a Barnes and Noble as daughter had a gift card. Lulu likes bookstores.
The day after Christmas we walked down the beach to a grumpy local bookstore. They were way over priced. I found a Crazy Kat Book and a whole Collection of the "Motion Picture Boys."
Lulu found me the CS Lewis boxed set of Science Fiction.
Barnes and Noble now has records. People are paying $25 for vinyl albums. They had an odd collection. Madonna, Bruce Springsteen Born in The USA, and CCR Greenriver, Adele, and a bunch of rap music. Sort of an odd collection.
I didn't buy anything.
But I digress,
Tarpon Springs is an old Greek fishing community. Mostly Sponge diving.

There were too many people. It was a nice town. There were long lines for food.
We had Gyros at the Parthenon Restaurant. They really like to set their cheese on fire. Then everyone yells something. I must be "run! fire!" in Greek. We avoided the flaming cheese.
I also had a chocolate coated piece of Key Lime pie while waiting for a table. It was kind of nasty.
We did not go to the Sponge Diving museum.
Next we drove to New Port Richey. My wife keeps finding small bungalows for sale there which are quite cheap. We drove by several houses for sale. They were nice small houses. Prices are now going up. This would be a good time to contribute to my 1.2 million fund.
I didn't quite hear my wife and thought we were visiting Nude Port Richey. I was somewhat hesitant about visiting.  I really need to get my ear tubes cleaned.
More things happened but no one probably cares. This post is way too long. I'm going to the beach.
Have a nice day...

Note: we have lots of room and no real schedule so if any readers in Florida who are close to tampa want to hang out at the beach before it starts raining. We are going toward Sarasota Wednesday. Just when the rain will start.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A day at the beach

I wish I could have got a photo that include the irate lady in the unfortunate bikini yelling and making rude gestures at the sign. AND the Cubans laughing at her!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I interrupt my vacation to complain about Blogger and My Galaxy 5s

I have moved away from home computers. My MacBook is having issues and I just don't feel like wiping the hard drive and reinstalling a system that I don't really like anyway. I switched from an iPhone to a Galaxy 5s. It was not an improvement.
I'm typing this blog on my daughter's Acer chromebook and it is really pretty decent. Here is what I don't understand.
I use Blogger which is a Google owned product. I use the app for my smart phone. The app makes it really hard to follow other people's blogs or to moderate comments. The app for the Galaxy 5s puts a strange photo of rain on Facebook when I try to link it to my Facebook page. It also makes it hard to place photos. Basically, the Google app for Blogger is really pathetic. But yet... Google employees get paid a lot of money to do, well... what do they do? Make programs worse? Remove features? I don't really get it.
I spent the day at the beach.
I saw dolphins frollicking in the surf. I saw pale white chicks with horrible tattoos.
I walked to a bookstore with my daughter and almost bought a Crazy Kat cartoon book.
I may go see MuddyValley's stained glass window tomorrow. But the church is an hour a way. I have a feeling it won't happen.
I'm going to go back to work eventually.
I hate being old...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas in Florida

We are on vacation. I'm not much of a vacation taker. However, I said if we are taking grandpa we are going to Florida for Christmas and my wife bought tickets on sale.
It was more of a joke statement.
But, here we are.
We left Portland in the pouring rain. There was just a little problem with the am/pm thing. We thought we were leavng at 12 noon on Christmas Eve. The tickets were for 12:30 midnight on the Eve of Christmas Eve.
I was able to take off at 3 pm and we went to my wife's sisters house for clam chowder and they gave us a ride to the airport. It was a dark and stormy night.
There was a mixup on the flight. The airline changed planes and all the people who  had booked four months in advance got their seats all mixed up.
There were some unhappy folks. One large family of immigrants were quite upset. The father called customer service to complain even though their only change was that the family of six was divided into two groups of three. Since the rows were three on one side of the aisle and three on the other side this really made pretty good sense.
We got two seats in two consecutive rows and one seat a couple rows up. But they were window seats.
My wife asked politely and the stewardess talked to the very nice Korean family and they agreed to switch seats so my wife and daughter could sit together. 
I was watching to see if wife and daughter were getting settled and the 20-something kind of greasy guy that had the aisle seat slipped in and took my window seat.
I was a little upset at first but then I realized he really kind of smelled bad. 
Sitting by the aisle gave me at least the hope of escape.
My bad luck worked in my favor this trip as it soon became apparent the the foul smelling duck that has stalked me in the past had somehow followed me past the TSA outpost and was in fact on the flight with me. He was quite happy that I encouraged him to quack and soon I was enveloped by his familiar essence and reassured by his familiar quack. It improved my flight considerably. He put his headphones on and didn't even look at me throughout the flight. 
We arrived in Houston three and a half hours later. My brain attempted to escape through my left eye socket. It was rather painful. I took a decongestant but it really didn't help that much. We got slushy drinks at the Houston airport. My wife's sister made delicious ham sandwiches. I lost half my hearing and felt foggy and disorientated the rest of the way to Tampa. 
My wife got us set up with a rental car and took us to Madeira Beach where she had found us a condo on AirB and B. It was very nice. We overlook the inland waterway and have a pool.
The first order of business was to hit the beach. The water seemed just a little chilly. But then we thought of the ocean at Lincoln City and it seemed much warmer. The sand is incredibly white and soft.


We woke up Christmas morning to a beautiful day. It is hard to imagine Christmas and nice weather together. Christmas is the bright spot in the middle of a cold dreary winter. You can't have snowmen taped to the window when it is 80 degrees F. 
After three cups of coffee and a simple gift exchange the ladies took to the beach and I took a nap. 
Later we did a little exploring. We were going to take in a Christmas buffet but ended up at a Thai/Sushi restaurant. The chicken was a little dry and a bit bland. I over applied the hot sauce and that really upset the duck. 
Later in the evening Lulu and I took a walk on the beach. All was fine until the duck decided to speak up in front of a nice couple having a romantic stroll on the beach. Twice...
Apparently the sound of the ocean was not loud enough to cover the quack and the couple seemed somewhat nonplussed. Lulu was quite indignant and tried to push me into the ocean. I think my daughter does not really appreciate me the way she should. It was not me, I'm very polite, it was that rude duck.

We capped off the evening with a trip to Wafflehouse. They never close. There were locals. They were all very polite. There was a family out on a date. Mom had a new boyfriend. The daughter had a new baby. Mom also had a five year old daughter. The boyfriend was showing the girls his Harley. Lots of people ride Harleys here. No one wears a helmet.
Except for this guy (see above photo) who not only had a helmet but also had training wheels. Nice to see someone concerned about safety.

There was also a nice older lady with a Crystal pendant. It had amazing healing powers. She introduced herself to the family. Her son was from New Jersey, he said he had a computer IT degree and was a certified hacker. He wouldn't give the nice lady on the date (who had either a very good bra or new boobs) computer advice as he was on vacation but he did wish everyone Merry Christmas.
We had a good day. 
It is now midnight and we are thinking of going swimming in the heated pool. It is midnight and we are still on Oregon time. We may just stay on Oregon time and eat every night at Waffle House at 11 p.m.
Merry Christmas to you all!!!
Coffee, Grits, Raisin Toast... I love Waffle House!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Yesterday morning, update! I was exposed to poopwater!

Update: blogger for android is actually worse than for iPhone. This blog has reverted to rough draft stage. Yes my punctuation and Grammer can get worse!

But I digress. We were just informed that the water in the storage building was tainted with poopwater. 

I spent an hour in it. Went over my boots. I did wear rubber gloves. Did not take them off with my teeth.

The college will pay for new boots and hepatitis shots...

Back to the post...

Yesterday it poured. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say a deluge.

Groundskeeping was dispatched to clean drains.
It was not my lack of leaf blowing that plugged the drains. Water from the city was flowing back through the drains and flooding the streets.
When I took the following picture I thought there was quite a flood. The poor deer are caught on the wrong side creek. And that leaning oak tree will probably go down.


I wandered around in the rain and worked on drains.
I discovered that I bought the wrong raingear. I was soaked.
I noticed a stream of water crossing the road and flowing into the storage building. In minutes it was flooded.

The above photo was taken from the same location as the first picture. It flooded quickly!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What happened at our house the day after Thanksgiving.

My father-in-law passed away the day after Thanksgiving.
He was 92 years of age.
Thanksgiving was a good day for him. Grandchildren came to visit him. He actually sat at the table and ate. He had somewhat of a conversation with his handicapped granddaughter, who sat with him for much of the afternoon. He watched football, he talked a little bit.
The next day he was worn out. He passed away around 4:30 in the afternoon. My wife and one of her sisters were setting with him when it happened.
Hospice was really good. They even called the mortuary.
My father-in-law was an unassuming man. He did not want a funeral service. The plan is to spread his ashes at his favorite swimming hole this spring.
Sometimes funerals are for the living. There are family members who need closure. Funerals give us a chance to acknowledge our shared history and are an important social ritual.
I don't like funerals or weddings and try to avoid them.
But I digress,
My father-in-law was a veteran.
He served in WWII as a medic. He was a Conscientious Objector and refused to carry a gun. He was selected for doctor training but would have had to carry a sidearm for self defense.
He worked as an x-ray technician and was in the Battle of the Bulge.
He told us a story about riding across France in the back of an Army truck.
He threw his duffle bag in the back but the truck was really crowded. A friend called him to ride in a different less crowded truck so he didn't get in the truck with his bag.
The truck with his bag slid off of an ice covered bridge into a river. A number of soldiers drowned. His bag was found down river and it was assumed he also drowned.
When he walked into the mess hall that evening it caused quite a shock.

I have two uncles who are in their 90's. I hope they wait a little while. Once I get over my severe cold I think I'll do some visiting...

We are going to Florida for Christmas this year. I got personal leave time from work. My supervisor says he thinks he might be able to get it counted as bereavement time and I may even get paid.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A really bad movie

It is so painful to watch a movie that could have been good. Especially when it has a star who is kind a movie icon and a director who should do better.
We watched Ricki and the Flash.
It was kind of horrible.
Moments of my life I will never recover.
I actually quit and took my shower but had to come back. It was like a train wreck. You shouldn't look but yet you do.
The music was good enough. Supposedly Meryl Streep learned how to play guitar for the movie. She did a decent job singing.
She should have skipped the guitar lessons and interviewed aging female rock stars.
Meryl's performance as Ricki, the old, broke, wannabe rockstar is just strange. I didn't quite follow the storyline. I think she abandoned her family but then was asked to come back when her daughter had some sort of crisis and her son of course was gay and someone was getting married and of course her band played at the wedding.
I think there was supposed to be a contrast between Ricki when she is not on stage and the amazing change that occurs when she starts singing.
I didn't really get it.
I'm not sure if Ricki is supposed be acting like a 17 year old with a bad attitude and attention issues but it just doesn't work.
Most musicians I have met or have seen interviewed or watched perform are not ditzy idiots. In order to play well and sing well and to keep at it for 30 years, you have to have a certain level of dedication. I suspect the idiots mostly die or quit or self destruct.
When you hear Joan Jett or Debby Harry interviewed you see hard working and dedicated people.
Perhaps Meryl modeled her character on Courtney Love.
I had been looking forward to playing the Suzi Quatro album I accidentally bought on eBay but after watching Meryl Streep's interpretation of a female rock and roll singer I just can't quite bring myself to play it.
It is the first album. Should be good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The lazy farmer at Thanksgiving

Thanks to collie guy I have a collection of lazy farmer cartoons. AND I've had chocolate cake with bacon in it...
Happy Thanksgiving!

Flower Power, If you really have faith... A collected of disjointed thoughts

I watched this "Flower Power" clip in somewhat horrified bemusement right after the Islamic warriors attacked the Death Metal concert.
I will not even comment on the irony of Death Metal fans getting a taste of what they sing about...
Instead I want to asked you to notice how multi-cultural French person subtly changed his son's argument from a question about living with violence into a focus on the beauty of flowers and memorial candles after you are dead.
The child seemed to have made a mental jump (as well as almost every other person I know) to the idea that flowers and candles are a projection against Islam Ak-47's.

A couple thoughts,
1. If you really have faith that flowers will project you, will they?
2. Changing the argument: We play with semantics. We argue and we compete with word definitions. The Jihadists just go ahead and shoot you.
What the father said was important. His son asked for a course of action. His father deflected the question. But he turned it into a way that accepted the beauty of defeat, the romance of failure. Flowers and candles are the memorial. Is this a more important statement? Has the West already accepted defeat. Do we believe deep down inside that this is what we deserve because of our "debauched" lifestyle?
3. This interchange shows an interesting mindset. You cannot say "God" will protect us. Meaning the traditional God of Christianity that also represents the (for want of a better term) spirit of Western Civilization. Saying God will protect us and meaning we will use whatever means we can to fight this attack by Barbarians (I think I'm using the term correctly).
(For one thing, the term "God" has been hijacked by public relations groups and is now used to refer to Allah.)
4. Which brings us to the Disney question. If you really, really, believe in Flowers will they project you? 
I mean, you really have to have faith....
5. Of course I want to make it clear that we should import as many Islamic refugees as possible. There is no way that they are potential terrorists in any possible way. Well, maybe one in one hundred but what are a couple dead people in relation to the total population? We need to feel good now!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today's find

Today I found three empty cans of chew setting in the middle of an empty parking lot.

Monday, November 23, 2015

It is cold outside

This morning it was 25 degrees F. I blew leaves in parking lots. It made my fingers hurt.
College kids do not pickup trash outside their cars. They often drop receipts. Little white scraps of paper.
I also found two dimes. That was good, if I find a few more I can buy gum!
I looked at my watch wrong this morning and was early to work. I thought I'd hit Carl's Jr and get a sausage biscuit with egg sandwich.
There were only three cars in the driveup. 15 minutes later I was almost late for work. It could be the start of a saying, i like my women like my Carl's jr sandwiches, Slow and nasty....
I can still taste that fake cheese.
Oh wait, that was sinus drainage. We are also do sitting. Two cats and three dogs in the house and a dead Studebaker in the driveway. We have truly arrived...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A sunny saturday

My father-in-law is dying.
It's ok, he is 92 years old.
And....
In the last week he has declined considerably.
It goes in cycles, bad to better to worse to not as good.
Today he can talk but can't walk and no longer can make it to the bathroom.
We spent the morning changing his bedroom around for easier access.
We parked him in his wheelchair in th living room in front of the TV.
While we were moving the bed he decided to get into the recliner.
He ended up flat on the floor.
Nothing broke.
If I ran an insurance company or a gubment program which encourages home Healthcare I would provide training (and probably require training) for family members, (and give incentives) on basic things.
Like how to lift people, change a diaper in bed, change sheets with person in bed, what to do when he dies, just basic stuff.
Some help is given but I'd like to be a bit more confident.
For example lifting someone off the floor is hard and is almost impossibly unless you know the procedure.
Also, there is always a police investigation when someone dies. Might as well just call 911 and tell them it is not a big hurry. Then get your list of medicine and a statement figured out. Or at least that seems like a decent plan.
Hospice is coming tomorrow, guess I'll have some questions.
In other news, I'm attempting to make feed, everything is a mess, nothing will start, and the tarps leaked. I should have been working after work.
It's all kind of depressing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I am blowing leaves in this... funny!

I can think of lots of things to do when it is raining. I wouldn't have to set in the shop and drink coffee all day. We could do something like, have a training day, service are leaf blowers, sweep the shop, go to Atlanta keeping store and look at plants, I don't know...
But blowing leaves when it is pouring down rain and blowing 30 miles an hour seems just a bit counterproductive.
And text to speech on a galaxy is needlessly hard to use...
It all pays the same.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I find my phone switch to be less than exciting and I talk too much at work

I have been attempting to use my Samsung Galaxy 5s or s5, whatever...
It is mildly annoying.
I was quite excited to get it. I bought it used on the auction website for less than what it would have cost me to replace my iPhone 5s or s5 or whatever though the useless Verizon insurance.
Now that is an utter scam. You can pay for your phone twice.
To digress just a little.
If you break your iPhone and you have insurance it will cost you $175 to replace it. It makes sense to have insurance for possibly the first six months. If you are prone to breaking phones (like I am) then perhaps a year. After a year you have paid for half the cost of the phone anyway so it doesn't really matter.
I suppose if you were a disciplined sort you could put a dollar a day in a jar and be self insured...
To get back on subject.
The Galaxy should be a much better phone. I was quite excited when I realized I had won the auction. then I was mortified when I saw I accidentally sniped the auction in which the seller had only two previous ratings. This brings up a problem with the iPhone I was using (iPhone 5 without the "s"), the screen fonts are too small for me to read...
The Galaxy has three of the four important features that I thought would make the perfect "smart" phone. It is water resistant, has a removable memory card and battery, and has a good camera. (Actually that makes four features.)
The first problem I noticed was it is kind of flimsy feeling and a little hard to hold. But, then again, I never even attempted to use the iPhone without a case.
The second problem is the OS. I wasn't all that happy with the iPhone OS but it was pretty well thought out. Text messages and phone messages are really easy to see. Phone voicemail is very handy. You can view individual messages and you can listen to them in any order. I can't figure out how to do this with the Galaxy.
The Galaxy OS seems kind of thrown together. Lots of features and buttons and stuff and I can't remember it all.
And it has stupid sounds. I hate keyboard sounds and I hate going through nested settings folders to find the proper way to turn annoying features off. Throwing the phone against the wall will stop the annoying keyboard sounds but then they are always back again when you get the new phone.
This was one of the annoying iPhone issues. Preference settings in strange places.
I have been going back and forth between the two phones. I just switch the SIM card from one phone to the other.
I really expected to love the Galaxy but I find I am not really bonding with it. It is just as annoying as the iPhone, only in a slightly different way.
Actually, what annoys me the most about the Galaxy is that it reminds me of how pathetic Apple is. If Apple would just build the best product they could build, instead of holding back features for incremental upgrades, they could put out the perfect phone. But they won't.
Speaking of sandbagging...
I got a performance review.
My supervisor says that even if it is him and I that are having an interesting conversation about groundskeeping, I need to stop that conversation when the morning meeting or break is over.
I found that to be quite entertaining.
He said he could not really criticize me as I am getting a lot of work done but...
I figured that there would have to be something for me to work on. I actually anticipated more than one item and did kind of expect that I would have some criticism for talking too much. Especially as I was able to drag my morning ride around all the way to morning break and my afternoon review to almost an hour.
Blowing leaves is kind of boring... (not that I want any added responsibilities)
I know I have a pretty good job, as far as jobs go, but is proving to be a bit of an adjustment.
If someone would just give me 1.2 million dollars...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mowin' in the rain

I find it a challenge to work for a bureaucracy after being self employed for years.
Part of the problem is that when I don't really know what I'm doing I defer to people I think do know and in a bureaucracy people just tell you random stuff that is just what they are thinking at the moment or at worst, try to manipulate you.
In a modern work environment there is no danger of ever getting punched. This is because The only thing that will certainly get you fired is showing righteous anger.
So people do these chicken-poop little things akin to peeing in your booze when your not looking. Not that there is anything wrong with peeing someone's booze as long as you don't get caught.
Not that this has any relevance in my job....
Yesterday was my mowing day. However it rained a lot.
I asked how one evaluated this situation and just what the previous groundskeeper did in the winter when it was pouring down rain.
I got two different opinions plus a lot of random off subject comments about how things used to be done, but like an i-dot I showed confusion.
This is bad...Followed by worse failures in judgement as you shall see.
I had a sound plan.
I would blow leaves until morning break. Then run the push mower until midmorning. Then drive around in my cart a lot, or blow more leaves. Then, after lunch break I would get out the riding/bagging mower and do the small lots when no one was looking.
But no...
I got into a discussion with another groundskeeper who wants to work together. Her idea was to have two of us spread lime and fertilizer. We could use the tractor and spinner spreader and one person would load and one drive. This sounded good.
Then the supervisor showed up.
He thought this was a good idea.
This is a mistake. Talking innovation with the supervisor.
Talking to him got him thinking. He had a plan for me to use the push mower. Apparently I am supposed to use the push mower on the little strips between the street and the lawns because someone once hit a pop up sprinkler head.
I don't because it takes forever to run the big push mower from place to place.
There are no good ramps for the trailer.
Plus, I don't hit sprinkler heads or plastic utility boxes because I've done this kind of thing my whole life.
Today I'm going to learn how to run a push mower.... Oh joy...
Thing is, it all pays the same...
Not enough, in this case.
Here is a view from my "cab."
Can you see where I dropped my coffee cup and the guidance system over-corrected?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I get a different phone

My mid-life crisis is apparently in full swing, in a moderate fashion...
So far I have, changed churches (but not really cause I don't go three quarters of the time), bought a new motorcycle, (not really cause it is a 1982 model), changed jobs, (not really cause I'm still attempting to farm) and now I've abandoned my iPhone for a Samsung Galaxy.
The switch to the Galaxy has not enamored me with the Android system as much has it has furthered my resentment towards Apple, much like my experience with switching churches, but not like my experience with owning both a Triumph and a Honda. Sort of like my job frustration.
The Galaxy is just the perfect size but it kind of feels cheap compared to the compact and solid iPhone.
The iPhone had several features I liked. The bar at the bottom of the screen you could swipe up to get the flashlight was the most important. I also liked how easy it was to see if you had voice mail or texts.
However, the new iPhone OS kind of screwed things up... of course...
The main issue with switching phones is that I just don't really care all that much. It used to be that getting new technology was a treat. I spent hours figuring out how to use my new PowerBook 100 or even my new iPhone. Now it is just kind of annoying.
I am looking forward to better apps. More work seems to have been put into the apps that I use frequently. TractorHouse works better, the horrible Blogger app is less horrible, Craigslist is a little better, and I can play around with GPS apps.
I can't get my voicemail to work properly so hopefully people will just text me.
I can switch back pretty much instantly. It is just a matter of switching sim cards. (I bought an adapter)
I'm going to order a huge memory card so I can take lots of photos. Galaxy has a much better camera than the iPhone. Plus, I can now listen to hours of books on tape and music of questionable origin. AND....
The Galaxy is not tied to iTunes. No stupid Apple backups that don't work, no stupid Apple vision of a connected computer universe with doesn't work, no OUT OF MEMORY messages!!!
And now it is 7:20 and I forgot to make a lunch...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I have yet to get fired

I've been at my job for a month. It keeps me pretty busy. Working 8 to 5 pretty much kills your 12 hour day in the winter. If I were a better manager I could do it. However, I don't have the mental discipline to work for two hours before going to work for someone else. Coming home and going to work is not as difficult, but I have learned if I ever sit down for dinner then I get nothing else done.
I had a nice conversation with the older Hispanic worker. He says the key is to never go in the house. You come home and go straight to work, otherwise you want to talk to your wife, have dinner, sit in the chair.
He is a pretty interesting fellow. He is older than I. He is selling Amway. He has a huge garden at home. He likes to talk about growing peppers and tomatoes and Garbanzo beans. (Chick Peas). I like to watch his expression when he gets told to do something he is already doing or given extra work. His english is really hard to understand. I like him.
The job itself is somewhat of a mental adjustment. I don't always get it. For example, I don't get the point of mowing every week even if it is raining. We are just making lines.
Last week I was bored and I made a serpentine pattern on the lawn. I mostly did it to annoy the fellow who used to have my job and moved up to painting. He was in a heated building wearing short pants and I was freezing.
I picked an area that you could only see if you were at the right angle. Friday my boss asked to see me. He acted like I was in trouble, but I think it was a joke. He had taken a photo of my pattern with his cell phone. I actually do not know if I was in trouble or not.
It is a matter of pride to be able to make perfectly straight lines with your mower. I was cautioned many times not to drive in circles. In fact, I think the biggest concern when hiring me was not my utter lack of groundskeeping experience but rather a fear that farmers drive in circles.
But of course, row crop farmers drive back and forth. So do grass seed farmers in our area.

In other news...
I have not been posting as my phone died. I have not photos to go with my posts. And, I've been trying to get stuff done.

In other, other news...
Things that irritate me that could be a whole post by itself:
1. The hypocrisy over paying homage to Native Americans as mascots for sport teams.
It is my opinion that the goal is to remove any pride from the heritage of the Native Americans. The successful political effort to eliminate our national empathy and respect for the brave Indian Warrior who resisted the US Gubment against all odds will forever cast the Native American as a victim.
Essentially all it has done is change the stereotype of "Blanket Ass" to "Casino Indian" as an object of derision by the locals.
People don't name sports teams after cowards, dishonest groups, drunks, or people who are in anyway pathetic. To claim that having a sports team named after you is a negative racial stereotype that subjects you to racial harassment shows one of two things. Either you have no concept of what sports competition means to people in the USA, or you are an idiot.
Victimhood is not a virtue, it is just pathetic...

2. Ben Carson... I suspect Ben is in for a rude awakening. Conservatives were so desperate for someone to stand up and say, "pull your pants up and go to work," that when Carson gave the speech he suddenly became a hero.  When you are a basically honest person you forget that you have to be able to completely back up everything you say. You know your would never purposely lie. But... you cannot just go completely off of old memories. You have to fact check the memory.
For example, my friend tells a story about cruising in High School with me. This fellow was getting ready cross the street. He looked nervous. When he started across the street I floored the car it was driving. This startled the fellow. It was funny or crazy depending on how you tell the story.
I remember it as funny, because I was driving a Ford Pinto and the fellow was in no danger and he laughed when he saw the car. My friend remembers it as me driving a 1965 Pontiac GTO. That makes me slightly homicidal.
The goal is to smear Ben Carson. The progressives hate him because he tells them to go to work. The established politicians hate him because he is not one of them. The left in general hates him because he is a Christian and hating Christians is the key any questions of policy by our modern intelligentsia.
So... The Clever folks are purposely misunderstanding commonly known but not specifically defined concepts and using smear journalism techniques to make him sound dishonest. This works like a charm as we are conditioned to believe that everyone has a secret sin. Which is not necessarly true. This is a popular lie along the lines of "the Bible is purposely written so there can be different interpretations."
But, I digress...
No Carson did not apply to West Point. He never said he did. He was encouraged to accept the offer of an appointment if the appointment would be offered but the appointment was not offered because he said he was not interested. Appointment and Scholarship are used interchangeably in common usage in regarding West Point. It took about five minutes for me to figure this out.
However, I think he should have fact checked his book a little closer. But then again, did he plan on running for President when he wrote it.
If I ever ran for president they would have a field day with me. I'm a little loony myself...
Have a nice day...
I'm not going back and proofreading this...
Also,
Thanks for the condolences regarding the passing of my father. I think he is a lot better off this month than he was at this point last month.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The funeral is over, I break my phone, I fix the roof, I find an excellent place for Pizza

My father's funeral was Saturday. I took me much longer than you would expect to do a 2:34 minute powerpoint slide presentation. There were no Ken Burns effects. But the pictures were two small to see properly.
Actually, I talk my wife into doing it but she doesn't have a lot of experience with it. Various major events happened and it takes a lot of time to scan photos and put them into PowerPoint. We should have used Google Docs and my daughters netbook. Apple and Microsoft have really embraced bloatware.
The funeral was nice. There was pie afterwards. People respected my father.
We have my wife's father living with us. He tends to not sleep all night. This results in chronic sleep deprivation on my wife's part.
This was a big problem when my father lived with my brother. I knew it was coming but it is still hard to deal with.
Today home healthcare came to see us again. There are a lot of programs available for elderly living with family. It sounds like someone is coming in once a week to give him a bath. That will be a relief.
Today it rained.
I woke in a panic. There were straw stacks still outside and the porch leaks like a sieve onto the dog's bed. This really upsets Stanley and his plan is to avoid the rain by moving into the house.
I couldn't find tarps, the owner of the machine that puts the stacks in the barn was at Church and I dropped my phone.
I went to the Verizon store where the helpful sales representative verified that the phone was dead called the insurance company. This took an hour.
I found out that iPhone have a $100 deductible.
There is no point in having insurance on you phone past one year.
I hate Verizon, their insurance company, and iPhones.
The salesperson was nice.
He showed me how to remove the simcard and I am now attempting to set up a different phone. The iPhone setup just has random settings thrown around where people with short attention spans cannot find things.
I used to love technology. Now, using my MacBook Pro and my iPhone is just a pain in the arse. Technology should be fun.
However, in honor of my wedding anniversary and the anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade I went to Mikey's Pizza to bring home a pizza for my wife. Since she can't get more the twenty feet away from her father as he tends to get up unexpectedly and then fall over.
Mikey's Pizza has pinball games. I had an enjoyable twenty minutes waiting for the pizza. By then I so hungry I had to try it.
It was excellent. I am so tired to bread crust thick pizza with that disgustingly sweet tomato sauce you can by the drum from the ACME restaurant supply company. Meaning, Dominos, Figaros, Pizza Hut, and 90 percent of the other pizza companies. Mikey's has a crisp thin crust, a spicy tomato sauce, a good range of toppings, it was not terribly greasy, it was just good old fashioned pizza.
The bright spot of the day.
I came home and worked on the car port roof. I managed to slip and fall and put my hand through the cheap clear roofing which was leaking anyway. I kind of think the carport is actually going to collapse in the next hard wind. But I peeled off the clear sections and replaced it with metal. Managed to get a fair amount of blood over everything but it was raining anyway.
I came back in, had more pizza, and have been attempting to set up my phone.
I would really like to take my MacBook Pro and my iPhone out to the woodshed, set them on the splitting block, and pound them into a million tiny shards with the eight pound splitting maul.
Just saying...
Might not buy a new or used MacBook Air. Kind of stepping back from that purchase after two new operating systems which steadily get worse...

Friday, October 23, 2015

A random post after a bit of a break, or Why I have not made pig feed in three months

i have been busy...
While I have had a lot to say, I have not had time or energy to get on my computer. Raking leaves is surprisingly hard work.
I have not been reading blogs, writing blogs, thinking about blogs...
I've have read all the comments and I thank you for continuing to comment.
Some absolutely hilarious things have happened with my new job. I am pretty sure I can't comment about them...
My father took a turn for the worse two weeks or so ago. I had been spending my lunch breaks sitting with him at the rest home.
It was a bit difficult as he seemed to have a disconnected circuit in his brain which prevented him from talking. He wanted to say something.
Hospice provided morphine and not a speech therapist.
Procedures were followed.
He died Sunday.
Our family mythology will be that he seemed relived after my brother explained to him that all the crops were planted. (I finished planting after dark Saturday evening) And thus, he died at 5 a.m. This was the time he liked to get up every morning.
He had read a number of self-help books as a youth. He was very much a proponent of self betterment and the power of one's mind over emotions. His theory was that one needed to "hit the deck running," every morning or else you would, "not be good for anything the rest of the day."
Thus, every morning at 5:30 a.m. Dad would leap from bed, sprint to the bathroom, slash cold water on his face, sprint back the bedroom, pull up his overalls, bound down the stairs and noisily start the fire. Every morning... Barefoot in a faded blue nightgown, (yes he wore a nightgown), I can still his his bare feet running past my room when it was so cold the bathroom pipes were frozen. (to which he said, "oh! for pity-sakes!" and charged down the stairs.
I've never really subscribed to that theory, perhaps this is why I'm not a successful businessman.
In other news...
My father-in-law returned home midweek. (he broke his leg near the hip)
He has had a bit of a personality change after a month in a skilled nursing facility. This is not for the better. I'm a little worried about my wife's sanity.
My supervisor told me I needed to take a couple days off. I went to HR and found I could take a week off and still be paid. I'm not actually taking a whole week off at once.
Then I got called back to HR to discuss work events that I really wish I could tell you.
We will go with what I said and not what I heard..
I explained that while I did not seek out gossip about coworkers and one of the reasons was that I have poor impulse control and tend to blurt out comments which I think are funny at the time. Because I recognize that failing I avoid knowing things which could lead me to those social gaffs and I apologized for making the social gaff that I assumed led me to HR.
I was told it was bigger than my one comment.
I asked if people had hobbies outside of work, there was a pause and I suddenly realized that I had illustrated my tendency towards blurting out things which should be filtered. It got a laugh. And probably a comment in my permanent record.

Here are things which I found in the flowerbeds on Monday. You never know what you will find Monday morning!
This is a padded woman's foundation garment, size 32B. Nice frilly lace on front and sides. A little mark mulch on it. Pictured with it is a broken ping-pong paddle. 

A full can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. I did not drink the beer, this a posed photography.

The human mind tends to make patterns out of random events. Please feel free. Found the items between the administration building and the another important building which I can never remember the name or purpose of. It is an imposing brick edifice from the original college.

Pictured below is my haul from the Previous Monday.
If you will look closely you will find the ratio of booze to mixer rather askew.


This is what it looks like when you are mowing a lawn in the rain.
Instead of "dig we must," for a motto, we have "mow we must."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I watch TV and make t-shirts.

My wife is watching "Million Dollar Listing" on direct TV.
I absolutely hate everyone who appears on the show. Except for the girl who was hired to be a mermaid in an inane stunt to distract buyers of a 3 million dollar house from the apartment building across the street that towers over the back yard.
I always thought I was a die hard capitalist but...
The show makes me want to grab a AK-47, a jug of gasoline, few empty vodka bottles, and do some wealth redistribution.
I watched the show while helping Lulu make t-shirts. She is running a marathon and we silk-screened t-shirts for her and her team.
It all turned out pretty well. I've been worried about getting this done for quite a while. The first two screens didn't work. It has been an education experience. It is a lot harder than it looks.
In the mean time...
TO THE BARICADES!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I learn things

My job continues.
And in the words of Benny Hill, "learning, always learning."
First of all I discovered that using a 1970 Triumph motorcycle as a commuter vehicle is a mistake. I forgot just how much effort I put into it before every Sunday ride. The tail light failed and I think I floated valve. If I have a bad day at work I tend to ride a little aggressively. I think I'm Gary Nixon i guess...
Secondly, I stopped by the Rest Home to feed Dad his supper and he is kind of in bad shape. He didn't have much to say. Just stared past me. He attempted to make commentary about planting annual ryegrass but the words didn't come out.
And the tail light on the trimph failed, but it was not quite dark. 
Yesterday I learned how to mow a lawn. You go twice round the outside and twice around the tree and the back and forth. Only farmers go in circles.
The mower has a bin on the back for the grass. It is hydrostatic and steers with two twitchy little levers. My line are pretty straight from end to end, but there is a little wiggle or three in the middle.
I drive down the hill to the dump yard to get rid of the grass. I discovered if you hit the patch of loose gravel and the pothole at full tilt you will tend to descend the hill in more of a spiral pattern.
I discovered if you wait for the full bin alarm and then just get to the end of the row you will plug up the bagging system so tight the it take 7.5 minutes to unplug and 10 minutes to discuss the issue.
And now I'm going to go to work.
It's raining...





Sunday, October 4, 2015

I have a good job...

I've been telling people about my new job.
I made it three days without getting fired so I might as well "own it."
Usually there is quite a bit of shock when I tell them I'm now a groundskeeper.
However, almost everyone has been encouraging. There are three things about my job which appeal to everyone in my peer group.
1. Free tuition for family at a good private college...
2. Non Obama-care insurance
3. Retirement.
The order of importance of these issues depends upon the age of the person I talk to and the number of kids in the family.
No one asks about the pay...
It is an interesting job. I'm not really qualified for the job. I'm not all that excited about working outside in the rain. But, it is a fun place to work, everyone is nice, and there is quite a bit of humor in my situation. I swear, I have NEVER been hired for a job which I knew how to do. AND, I have never (yet) been fired.
I will say that after a long and tiring summer I was looking forward to time spent talking to random farmers who stop by the shop for coffee.
But on the other hand, I get to drive an old Gator around campus and it is beautiful weather and beautiful girls wave at me. Guys do not wave. It is kind of funny.
I suspect that as I learn how to do my job there will be more time for hanging out and drinking coffee with the Hispanic guys.
I am supposed to be completing my sexual harassment seminar online. I have several training courses to do on my own. This has proved to be difficult as I need to work with the school email. It is quite annoying. Has a complicated security password which I have already forgotten.
I took the sexual harassment seminar one already, but didn't have the password to record the training so I have to take it again.
The attractive 20-something fellow employee said it was ok to take it multiple times should I fail the first time. This was a joke! I was quite thrilled to be interacting with someone on the job! I laughed politely appreciating the irony of a slightly suggestive comment about sexual harassment training, but also cataloguing the comment in case she will be Sexually Harassment-ing me.
"Oh dear, it made me sooooooo uncomfortable and I felt just a touch of humiliation," says I to the HR person. And then I'm fired.... Kind of like the hyena's saying "Mufasa," in "Lion King."
All jokes aside, this sexual harassment deal is kind of scary. If someone wants to target you for something they can certainly nail you.
But Friday was a good day. I trimmed some shrubbery.  Jose' was showing me how to trim a fern when there was a strange gurgling croaking noise and he jumped back. He had almost clipped a frog with his clippers. The frog was quite upset, (it was the frog who made the noise.)
Jose' got out his phone and photographed the frog. Then he made a little nest for the frog under the fern. The frog's attitude did not improve. But, it was five minutes till break time and we did need to drive across campus to the break room.
When we returned the frog had vanished. Jose' was quite disappointed. He had come to like the frog.

Here are some bushes that I trimmed.

They are a bit ragged. This is very first shrubbery trimming experience of my life. Jose' said I did a good job and then he fixed it all in two minutes. I was really impressed. Sort of in awe of his shrub sculpting skills.

When I left Friday evening the boss asked me if I was returning Monday. I told him I had to return to work off all the shirts I had been given as the nice work-study girl at the supply department told me I had to cut school logo off it I quit within 90 days. (more humor on the job!)
He thanked me for working so hard and told me I was doing a good job. I told him it was all Jose' who was a groundskeeping genius and I enjoyed learning from him.
He stressed that I was doing well and thanked me again for my hard work.
I suspect they say that to everyone....

Saturday I spent all day putting the duals on tractors for planting and farming.
Today I'm going to see my father.
Monday, I'm back to wage slavery. I wonder if instead of doing the, "Job Safety" seminar online I can just watch Caddy Shack again... I think it is on Amazon Prime.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 3

There are three reasons people work here.
1. Insurance
2. Free tuition
4. Retirement

They claim to like their jobs but they don't love ther jobs.
The problem is that the school is run by the Human Resources department who all appear to be super nice people but...
There has been a huge turnover in long term employees in the last few years.
Benefits have changed, the insurance is not that good, pay is not that great for anyone who does real work.
Supposedly an effencency expert was hired in upper management to "improve" things and of course the "old hairs had to go."
I also got the lowdown on office politics today. And I discovered I just don't care. Eating lunch alone today.
Think I'll now go hang out with the Hispanics. They are happy.
Gonna get the one talking about the Pope visit.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A lunch break and a new job

Today is my second day as a groundskeeper at a local private college.
This may or may not have been a really wise career move.
I have developed a mantra, insurance, retirement free, tuition.
The main problem is that I'm in charge of a section. 
The fellow training me today said he didn't understand how there could be 30 applicants but none with Groundskeeping experience.
I was up against someone who said he was really qualified. But they didn't hire him.
I said, I know nothing and I never claimed to be qualified. 
Guy just laughed and shrugged.
After that we got along great.
We shall see what happens.
Of course after taking job I have had opportunities to make more money farming, or lose it, roll of the dice.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Starting the 2-155

The LDT 465 Hercules is now in the 2-155...
It even starts.
It starts better with a full tank of diesel.
Now if I could just get the hydraulic temp and the powershift pressure idiot lights to shut off...
And why does the new clutch push so hard?
Beautiful weather. I could plant the whole farm in three days, take on another 80 acres, take over my neighbor's straw baling business, I've got a good helper, I could rebuild the G1000 Vista, and the baler and, and..

But...I suspect I've once again snatched defeat mediocrity from the jaws of victory! An unbroken record of sideways moves. "Be almost the best you can be," is my motto.
If there is a choice between the high road and the low road I tend to wander off down the little squirrel trail that leads down to the creek where I get distracted and then forget which way I was going to begin with and just wander in circles...

Plus, I need to make pig feed.

Have a nice day...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Continued


The header broke and jammed everything teddy welded it.  the feed rolls broke, teddy welded them, the hydraulic remote blew out, I switched hoses, it rained, something else broke... 
Ten acres to go,,,
Plus, (in the heading insult to injury category) The air conditioning doesn't work Half the time and so my Ho-Ho melted.
Well, at least it wasn't a Ding-Dong.





Monday, September 21, 2015

I start the day with happiness and end with frustration

My daughter needed a shirt for "Sprit Week" at school and we dug out my box of 30 year old t-shirts. She actually decided that I have two cool t-shirts and borrowed them.
She wore the Silver Surfer shirt for "Hero" day.


The other is of a band that she hates. I told her it was a band she likes. It's all old people music to her.
Later I will laugh at her...
We started corn silage. MuddyValley brought me some of his honey and some coffee beans.
I told him collieguy and family came to see me yesterday and brought me a collection of lazy farmer clippings.
I think MV feels a bit slighted for not being invited. It was not personal. Crowds frighten me...
We chopped 21 loads after starting at 11 a.m after numerous small delays.
At 4 p.m. I received a text from my wife that she was taking Grandpa to the emergency room as he had fallen and possibly broken a hip.
At load 21 the tractor started making loud chuffing noises.
It is very likely a blown head gasket.
I have three (3) White tractors with Hercules diesel engines. All three are now dead.
I have begged various mechanics to work on these tractors. But they all claim not to know how to work on Hercules.
My helper and I nearly finished converting a Hercules Army truck engine into a tractor engine. As a knowledge base we  used only an I&T shop manual and two-year-old scribbled notes that I took while talking to someone who had done it.
We have never overhauled a diesel engine. It is true that we broke the exhaust manifolds but I we didn't actually know what we were doing...
If you can't do something yourself you are screwed.
So I started changing the oil on the Minneapolis-Moline 1355. I hope I don't kill it as well...
It has been a long, long summer...





Sunday, September 20, 2015

The events of the week in living color

I am at my daughters softball game. The deal was, softball on Sunday morning then no skipping evening church services.
Lulu steals home!

Goals are good things to have. 
Today may be my birthday.
Next year I'll be a full deck.
We have been getting ready to chop silage.
The dump wagon rusted out last year. I decided to fix it the rain Wednesday.
Finished welding in new bottom Friday.
I'm very happy to not be the person doing the welding.

For various reasons we rented corn ground to a friend. Various plans went wrong and we ended up with to many acres of silage for our neighboring dairy. So it was sold to a big dairy who hired a real silage chopping crew.
One truck didn't make it up the hill. He tried to shift down, missed shift and slid backward so trailer wheels started over the edge.

I had to put the 2-155 alongside and pull trailer wheels up while the owner pulled truck up hill with JCB fastrack.
It was exciting when I ran out of a place to go forward.
This was first attempt. I'm not pictured.

.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Undeniable Virtue of the Oppressed file, Kid makes fake bomb, cops freak, kid has lobbyist group behind him, gets invited the White House, just a good thing he didn't say "bang!"

The Useful idiots on Facebook are out in full cry today.
No one has actually read the news reports.
This is a perfect example of stupid people being manipulated by propaganda news sources.
So here's the deal.
A kid in Texas makes a digital clock/count down timer "for his technology teacher."
The teacher tells him to not show it around because it might get him into trouble...
This is the paranoid 21st century. No one but an idiot or an activist would bring something to school that looks like a gun or a bomb.
This so-called clock looks like a movie time bomb. It has a big LED readout and wire sticking out of a suitcase. 
According to some news reports the kid takes it to the next class and it starts beeping. (Movie bomb always beep)
So of course, the cops are called and he gets handcuffed and hauled off.
But this kid is of a special class and has access to an "advocacy group," which cranks out the press releases and spin and now he is a poor oppressed minority who is hated by white people.
And the only thing the President likes better than a gay football player is an oppressed Islamic kid.
The liberals all love the Islamics because the liberals all hate themselves and since the Islamics are so scary they love them. 
And we get Facebook post after Facebook post about the oppressed boy genius. If it was a poor white kid or black kid they would be in jail. 
People are such idiots. We got people believing every outlandish conspiracy theory anyone can possibly dream up and you get basic obvious old school Pravda reporting and you repost it all over Facebook.

Note: I don't think he should have been expelled nor do I think kids who point fingers and say "bang" should get expelled, or kids with plastic knives in their lunch boxes. Rather, my point is that all of those issues are ignored and this incident is turned into an example of the oppression of a "favored" social class rather than example of stupid rules.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I try to do a simple engine swap and kind of fail...

I have been avoiding decisions. I really have no clue as to what I should plant. I got pretty far behind this summer stacking for the neighbors and did not get ground worked early in preparation for then end of summer rains.
Part of the problem was also a dead 2-155.
The 2-155 that was abused by the Smiths in Mo to be exact.
If you all remember it lost oil pressure whilst chopping clover silage. Since then it was been parked at the edge of the field. I haven't found anyone who wants to haul it home for me.
So, I pulled the engine and brought the engine home.

It turned out that the idler gear which drives the oil pump was not tightened properly and worked back and forth on the shaft until it wore out the key.
We pulled the pan and found that the engine was really pretty worn out.
But...
I just happen to have two Hercules LDT 465s diesel engines sitting in large crates in the back yard.
It seemed like a good idea to just install the Army truck engine.
It is not so hard...
You just have to swap manifolds, injector pump, oil pump pick ups, oil pan, timing gears, front engine cover, bell housing, clutch, injectors, and oil filter assembly.
I've never really rebuilt an engine before and so there were a few issues.
My helper and I would spend the day putting it together wrong and then in the evening I would take it apart and put it together correctly.

Getting the timing correctly was an issue.
There were supposed to be timing marks on all he gears. You just lined everything up.
I put both engines on TDC so the pump would be in the right place and all the gears would be correct when I took the engines apart.
However, I got the mark wrong on the injector pump gear and lined the pump up at TDC.
When I got the front cover and front pulley on I lined up the mark on the front pulley and discovered the pump is timed for 20 degrees before TDC.
It seems simple. You pull the pump and rotate the gear one tooth. But, there is not enough room in the front housing to turn the gear and the front cover and front pulley had to come off.
Yesterday was the biggest screw up.
I mixed and matched exhaust manifolds as they are a two piece manifold and the one that I took off had a crack. I have several manifolds laying around.
My helper was doing the final tightening and heard a ping. Broken manifold.
My stupidity was soon evident.
When you overhaul an engine you often resurface the intake and exhaust manifolds. If you mix and match parts you get manifolds with different thicknesses. 


This can be a problem.
So... A new $350 manifold from Iowa and a week to ship and then it has to be surfaced.
Meaning I am short a tractor still.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Modern Farmers and Landlords continued. The weird and the irrational and the potential landlord.

The last time my gentle readers viewed this humble blog I was in quite a stew over 30 acres which I didn't want but accepted anyway and then it appeared it was taken away from me. Sort of insult to injury, if you would...
So, yesterday morning I called my farmer friend/short term landlord to attempt to find out exactly what was going on. He didn't answer...
Shortly afterwards my phone rang and it was a friend who works for the Big Farmer who disced up the field I thought was mine, and he needs some straw.
I asked him what he knew. He says, that while he avoids getting involved with planning sessions he had heard the owners talking about the field. My farmer friend/short term landlord, shall we call him FFSTL for short, (cause its kind of a catchy acronym) has been after them to plant filberts on this ground for some time. (Remember the BIG Farmer farms the good ground owned by FFSTL.)
My straw friend says that it was discussed last week and the plan was to disk the field as soon as I got straw baled off the field. They were politely waiting for me. And he stressed that his boss wasn't all that excited about farming this hard to get to piece of ground and he was pretty sure his Big Farmer boss would not take ground away from a Lazy Farmer such as myself.
But, he added, he really knew nothing official as he tries to stay out of company business.
So I apologized for taking so long to bale the straw and asked if to please explain my slowness to bale the straw as I was baling everyone else's straw first and FFSTL had been trying to get me to farm the place for the past five years or so. I also pointed out that I had asked FFSTL why he didn't just get the Big Farmer to farm the place to begin with?
I was somewhat impressed that the Big Farmer actually gave a rip that I had straw to bale. The other Big Farmers around here would have just baled it themselves and said nothing.
Since it was now quite obvious that the deal had been made at least a month ago...
I had barely gotten off the phone when FFSTL called me.
He says that the Big Farmer had called him out of the blue and said he was working ground in the area and could work of the field. He also said that he was not able to get him to work up the other 20 acres for me.
I said, "what are you talking about. Am I farming your place or not? I'm pretty sure Big Farmer didn't stop by and disk the field up just to be friendly."
FFSTL starts talking about 30 acres for hazelnuts and this being a whole unexpected development and his family needing to get money out of the ground, and I could farm the rest and this whole speech completely different from what I expect is true.
I said, "you mean the other five ares?"
He says, "Well I'm going to talk to Big Farmer on Monday and I'll let you know what is going on."
I just said,"Ok and hung up."
Now... This was a pretty long story with a few too many details but has common elements that I have heard so many times.
In my case, Big Farmer was somewhat of a long time family friend. So I didn't have that little extra twist of the screw that the new big farmer likes to give you when he steals you land out from under you.
No, this is your typical landlord screwing. The guy pretends to be your friend, he doesn't so much lie to you as just live in a fantasy dream land.
I think one needs to learn to live off of what one owns. I'm not sure how to do it but you certainly can't trust anyone these days. I guess that is why written rental agreements were invented...

Friday, September 4, 2015

Let me tell you about modern farming/farmers/landlords, hint.. Craigslist hookers are probably more honest

So I have known this neighboring farmer for the past 20 plus years, perhaps 30 years. I have stacked his straw, his hay, loaned him my stacker, and had him practically beg me to farm his place for the past six or eight years.

I did not farm his place because a friend of mine was renting it. I told him I would farm it but not unless the guy who was farming it gave it to me.
This year my friend who was doing the farming had a lot of things go wrong and he asked me to farm it. At the same time the fellow who owns the farm contacted me to farm the place.
Of course I had no official contract...
The farm was planted to cereal rye which had not been fertilized. By the time I got it most of the rye was too high to fertilize so the yield was not that great. I ended up having to hire someone to combine it. I've already got the cleaning bill but haven't got paid for the rye.
The owner told me just before the rain he was in a hurry to get the straw off because he wanted to fill in a lowspot with dirt from his housing development and the city had to fix a blown out tile line.
So I got it all baled and hauled of before the rain.
My helper said he saw someone taking soil samples and the owner acted kind of funny but he kept talking about what I was going to plant this fall. He said he didn't see anyone taking soil samples.
Today my helper went by to see if the volunteer clover was growing and saw that someone had moved by baler tractor and disked the field.
So I called the owner and he doesn't answer.
Then I get this text that the big farmer that farms all his good ground has disked it and they may put in filberts on 30 acres. (I guess this implies that I get the remaining five...seriously) and he will call me this evening or tomorrow as he is in a meeting. I texted him back get him to tell me that I am not farming it and didn't get a reply.
Of course tomorrow I'll get some BS about how his family made him do it or the Big Farmer had an option or something that is a bunch of crap.
I called the landlord that owns the other 30 acres but I didn't get him. I suppose I'm screwed.
I really hate Big Farmers and the chickenpoop landowners that screw you for a few bucks but don't have the balls to tell you they are screwing you.
The thing is...
I didn't even really want to farm the place. I have to drive through town, it is in a housing subdivision and it is kind of crappy ground. I really expected to only have it for a year but he kept talking about a multi-year contract and about this coming fall.
And they didn't even have the balls to ask me to move my tractor, they moved it themselves.
I think I will send him a bill for the combining, the straw baling, and the trucking... That should hit around $10,000.
You see, I have no written contract and why shouldn't it go both ways...
I am so absolutely pissed you cannot possibly imagine...

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I am a lazy farmer once again

I should be working...
But...
Yesterday we were called to a conference at the rest home where my father now resides. He is not eating. He is depressed.
The nurse went on a long roundabout verbal journey of a discussion what would happen if my Dad had a medical emergency at night. First we thought we were giving them authorization to send him to the emergency room and then, after an hour of beating around the bush in a very nice manner, we found the question was whether we would authorize Hospice.
Why would we not authorize Hospice...? One must assume that Hospice doesn't kill old people, they make their final six months as comfortable as they can within whatever odd bureaucratic restraints are thrust upon them. Moreover, sometimes people get better after receiving extra care which not is not available without being under Hospice.
And while it is my considered opinion that the unnamed other Mennonite rest home killed my aunt because they got tired of her complaining, I'm not blaming hospice for that...and I hardly ever mention that in public...
But, I digress...
It has been showering off and on. This makes it seem like we have a break. But there are things to do. The days pass faster than one would think.
I've got a couple hundred acres to farm and plant in the next two weeks and I doubt it will get done.
Yesterday I was going to work on the dead White 2-155 which is sitting pretty much in the spot at the neighbor's clover field where it died.
But, I installed a light for my lovely wife. I did a pretty poor job of it too. The rafters are too far apart in a trailer house Manufactured home so I was not able to attach the junction box or the conduit to anything so I just wedged it all in.
Afterwards I helped my daughter make a t-shirt. She has visions of starting her own t-shirt company and becoming independently wealthy. That is my fault, I tend to get over enthused at odd and random times.


We did tests on old T-shirts. This is my shirt.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Why I hate Conservatives or is it just Republicans?

I really like liked the People's Cube. Excellent political satire, I like the artwork, I have a People's Cube t-shirt and I've started sharing his posts on Facebook.
But, and that is of course a big butt...
Like most conservatives the love of unrestrained capitalism has tainted the golden elixir of truth and humor.
The People's Cube has popup advertising. Popups are the bane of the internet. The best way to make me avoid your site is to have a nice little pop-up that I have to click through to access your content.
Sort of like inviting me to your house for dinner and selling me Amway or a wonderful investment opportunity. It won't happen twice.
So now, the People's Cube is dead to me..
If I could remember how, I would remove the link on my blog...
The online conservative movement really hurts its image by being such a bunch of advertising whores.

In other news...
I got all my straw hauled in before the rain.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It is most likely going to rain in two days

In two days I will very likely have some 8,000 little straw bales setting (hopefully) in 80 bale blocks in various fields in a ten mile radius of my house.
This will be 10 semi truck loads of straw. I may do 14 truckloads if I have time. 
They are scheduled to be hauled Saturday, in the rain.
I did get everyone else's straw stacked for them. This is why I'm so late. The longest run of dry weather in history and I will get my straw rained on.
I do wish the person who asked me to stack ten truck loads a year for him would have considered that I also have my own commitments before he went ahead and baked 40 truckloads.
Or a least trained his baler operators to make decent bales.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Man prosecuted for imaginary death ray gun, Major Wolfgang Hochstetter is quite proud!


Why would anyone want to hear about my boring life when other people's lives are so much more exciting.
I have been watching the local scanner page on Facebook with my iphone. Lots of local fires and crazy accidents. 
But I have a libertard Facebook friend (accidentally clicked on the friend button whilst perusing his paranoid liberal insanity-dude is a 35 year-old skateboarder which I find amusing) and he posted a link to the Crooks and Liars blog, and I clicked.
According to the FBI, it is possible to build a death ray device and according to the blog, being a "self-professed" KKK member means you can actually do it.

“Glendon Scott Crawford is a terrorist who would have used a weapon of mass destruction to kill innocent members of our Muslim community were it not for the good judgment of citizens who quickly alerted law enforcement to his diabolical plan and the outstanding work of the Albany FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian  Captain Wolfgang Klink. “This case illustrates how vigilance, the shared values of Americans of all faiths, and vigorous investigation can defeat dehumanizing bigotry and hatred.”
(Click to read blog)

Be sure to read the comments below the article. Comedy gold, in a sad ironic sort of way. No one even considers that the weapon could miss-fire if you got really nervous and said "Kapow!" instead of "phew! phew!" when firing the alleged death-ray device.
I also was wondering about the "constructed using off the shelf components!" Is this off the shelf of Sears or Toy R Us or do they shop with the formerly evil Dr. Drew?
I did my research by googling indestructible and came up with a smaller death ray gun.
I would also like to know if anyone actually belongs to the KKK in the 21st century. I understand that in the mind of the average self-described Democrat everyone with a southern accent is a Klan member but in real life I suspect it is not so. I'd bet that at your average five person Klan rally four of the cars are gubment vehicles and the other guy rode his bicycle from the Southern Poverty Law Center to spy on the others. The reason for the four gubment cars is the infiltrators are from all different agencies which have fortunately not communicated about their covert operations.
And then one lone wacko inters the room.... And it is now a sting...
But, I digress...
I am protected, I'm wearing a funnel on my head!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An update from the drought stricken west

I have so many topics I don't really know where to start.
Things that have happened...

1. I have spent the summer stacking some of the worst bales I have ever stacked. I have photos to prove it.

2. As a result I am just now starting to bale my own straw.
3. It has been hot and dry and there have been multiple fires all around us.
4. A weasel or perhaps it was a mink, it was black, appeared and slaughtered a number of rats.
5. My numbskull hay customer pointed out to my wife that the weasel would start killing her chickens next.
6. The 14 year old neighbor boys heard about a wild weasel on the loose and staked out the barn. One of them ended up shooting himself and got a life flight ride. The other one seems to be grounded. The Sheriff noted that a little blood makes a good teaching experience... !
7. Stanley killed the weasel two days later.
8. Stanley may also have eaten the weasel. I tell you, we do feed our dog.


9. It rained.

10. All my straw got rained on and now is of lessor quality.
11. I am in a prennial bad mood.
12. My daughter and I bought a silk screen kit and are attempting to figure out how to silk screen t-shirts.
13. I hate the new Mac OS.

I'm setting in the rocking chair with an ice pack. Daughter is at youth group. I told her I was going to work on t-shirt designs but it was a lie.
Computer technology probably peaked in 2002. Since then it has been a downhill slide of bloatware and harder to use operating systems.
Apple took many of the bad ideas from Microsoft and Microsoft has become more Mac-like.
I need to scan an image and clean it up in Photoshop and add text. I honestly wish for a simple program like Ready-Set-Go or early Pagemaker or just give me a good photocopier with an enlarger feature and a type writer.
I think I can just photograph the old clip art image with my iPhone, print it out on the laser printer. Print out my text in NotePad, then put the whole thing together on a light table, photograph it again with the iPhone and then print out a transparency so I make a screen.
Ten years ago I would have just used my Mac.
However, it is now easier to go back to doing it by hand.
I need to buy a useable computer.
I think I will buy a Windows Surface tablet and get a keyboard.
I am no longer considering a Mac.

I could also go on a rant about politics. I suppose I shall refrain...

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