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Sunday, August 19, 2018

A long hot summer where things go wrong

This summer has been one long heat-wave.
90 degrees at 9 p.m. Smoke from California and endless bales.

I have been stacking straw bales after work and on the weekends. I need to take time off work but I'm behind at work as well. I seriously lack motivation.
Working at for the sort of bureaucracy I work for is mind-numbing.
For example...
The local soil conservation district is doing a restoration project on the creek on campus. I think was spearheaded by the environmental studies instructor but I don't have all the details correct.
Step one was bat houses and bird houses. The bat houses were important as the attic of the oldest building on campus was sealed and the bats kicked out. The bat houses were to provide a new home for the mosquito eating little furry creatures.
For two years the bat houses and bird houses have been sitting in storage because "there is no time" for grounds to put them up, AND... According to upper management, insurance doesn't allow volunteers to climb ladders on school property.
Really... I can think of multiple solutions but I suppose that is why I hope to NEVER be in management here.
I have problems with crab grass on my sports turf. I've been digging it out with my pocket knife. This makes mowing pretty slow, but if I let anyone else mow then the crab grass multiplies. There may be chemical solutions to this problem. But they must be researched... There are chemical company field representatives who could help. Many emails have been exchanged...
Perhaps next year...
The good news is that a new guy has been hired who has professional sports turf experience. I have been assured I will not be replaced. However, it would make sense to put the person who know what they are doing in charge of athletic turf.
Which is what makes me fairly sure I will not be sent back to cleaning parking lots...
Straw is never ending.
There have been some spectacular failures.
An example:
One evening I was a little stressed. I got in my service pickup to find all the tools and spare parts that usually sit on the dash were now on the floor. The roar of no exhaust reminded me that only two weeks ago the exhaust pipe had fallen off whilst driving down the road. Then there was the time I came home to discover the large air compressor had tipped over in the back of the pickup. Not one to hold a grudge I just smiled and drove on. It was perhaps a bitter ironic smile. After all I had in fact disrupted the tools in the back of my father's pickup and cause him great consternation on several occasions.
A strange clunking sound kept invading my consciousness. It was hard to discern over the dull roar of the 450cc Ford engine which was running on at least six out of 8 cylinders, not all at the same time.
During one of the moments of silence when all 8 failed at once I could definitely hear a clunk coming for the front end.
Being of an inquiring mind, I pulled over and wiggled the right front wheel. It moved in and out at least an inch. I figured since I had only made it two thirds of the way to the field I better just go back home.
Upon arriving home I realized I had the diesel for the stacker in the back of my pickup and the stacker was almost out of fuel.
My brother graciously offered his pickup but it is a totally thrashed (actual automotive term) mid 1970 Chevy which I'm sort of embarrassed to drive. But, mostly I'm afraid to drive, because it runs on fewer cylinders than my Ford but appears to be powered by bunker crude.
Fortunately my cousin who lives near where I was to stack offered to bring me fuel. So I drove my vintage GMC (slightly better than a Chevy, akin to Coors lite vs Coor Banquet). It was only 97 degrees but I don't think that was why the radiator exploded. The radiator exploded because it is a cheap Chinese aluminum POS radiator.
And then I committed the unpardonable sin. I jumped in the stacker without greasing or checking the frequent failure items. I got my diesel and I cranked up the AC and I went to work.
At approximately 10:30 PM I heard a funny grinding noise when the second table went up and I just knew what it was.

The second table cylinder mount had busted and hit the brand-spanking-new $2000 hydraulic pump.
Hydraulic oil was spraying everywhere. I quickly dumped by part load and stopped.
The cylinder had pushed the power steering port fitting out of the pump, stripping the aluminum threads....
That was a while back. We fixed it...
Yesterday was worse. I just wanted to go home. The A/C quit.
Now I am a certified Automotive A/C tech. I took an hour class and was tested and I have a certificate. The class had NOTHING to do with the sort of A/C repair I am called on to do. As in backyard retrofitted R-12 to R-134 forty year old farm equipment. It was actually funny. If the A/C doesn't work. You hook up your fancy A/C machine and evacuate the system. If it won't hold a vacuum you start replacing parts. They don't even recommend flushing the system anymore. You NEVER top off a system.
They also didn't cover fixing melted switches with a piece of wire which you happen to find under the seat. But, I did a last have glorious cool air...

And now, I am going to water the garden and feed the chickens and do the dishes as my family returns home from the grand and glorious adventure to Ireland.
Have a happy day!

Also...
My blog looks fine on my phone and MacBook. However, on the PC at work the formatting is weird. Does my blog look like crap on your computer? Just curious, I most likely won't bother to fix it...






6 comments:

  1. The blog looks okay on my end, except it's depressing to know your luck is even worse than mine. Hang in there, death will come eventually and our problems will all be solved. (a little dark humor to brighten your day) Seriously, I hope the rest of the season works out well for you.

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    Replies
    1. It is just life. You just have to keep trying things. I have insurance, I'm saving for retirement (not much), and my daughter can get free tuition. I thought farming in my spare time would work out better than it did. Only think that really gets my down is the lack of possibility in my job. To make more money I must switch departments.

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  2. Good to see the blog back and looking as it always does. Loved the movie but don't like the temp of "The Long Hot Summer". Expensive breakdowns seem to be just a fact of life in farming. Putting a few thousand into the CIH combine here this week. Its only 30 years old.Why don't things last anymore?

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  3. web site looks fine here.
    sorry you are suffering.
    God bless you and yours.

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  4. It looks fine. The mechanical breakdowns reinforce why I don't have much mechanical. Deal w/ the crabgrass in the spring: pre-emergent. My field is being taken over by 4' tall thistle. Round-up is the solution to kill thistle but then I'll have cancer. After a decade of not locking the barn and garage I intalled locks. Now four months later someone has broken into both. Nothing is missing. I think they are stashing drugs there. I've installed game cameras to get some evidence. Jobs always suck, regardless. Keep the job. Keep farming. Your daughters future is your future. She'll never appreciate your sacrifice but she will when she's doing the same for her family.

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  5. Whoah, that's a rocky ride down memory lane. I've busted my farming habit down to a seven hunnert pound pig and two acres of butterfly/pollinator habitat but even at that I lose whole days to battling the patron demons of fences and sixty year old equipment.

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