The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Comments on Making feed, feeling like crap, going broke, and the usual complaints

Yesterday I attempted to make feed. It did not work. I am having serious problems with logistics and cash flow. 

What I need to make feed efficiently is a concrete slab. I need three bins which hold 2-10 tons. (Oats, peas, barley plus maybe another small bin for flax or clover seed) I need a hopper with a conveyer that goes really slow to feed the pellet mill. 

I need a place to set it up and leave it.

But here is the problem. If the local farm store sell a full pig ration for 40 cents per lb., I can't charge more even though I am locally grown. It is just too expensive, plus I am not able to legally add the vitamins and mineral package as that is another level of licensing. Although, if I had a 20ft by 30ft, 18ft high eves, building with a cement floor I could probably be organized enough to get the license.

Second issue goes back to the first. Pelletizing the ground grain allows you to produce a non dusty product. You can use grain which is dirty or has small hard noxious weed seeds that don't break down in th hammer mill. Or I can more efficiently add alfalfa or grass hay.  However, the pellet mill capacity is a maximum of 900lbs per hour with the 6 mm die. This is for a soft mix of oats, peas, barley, and alfalfa (and a little molasses and/or used cooking oil). That rate drops instantly if you add grass hay or you can't get the moisture right.  So if my math is correct, at $75/hr for the Fiat White 2-60, my lowest cost per hour for pelletizing is 8 cents. 900lbs/hr and $75 is $.08. It gets worse. The small die is a maximum of 400lbs per hour but according to my experience it is more like 200lbs which boosts the price to 38 cents a pound! Even at 400lbs it gets expensive at 19 cents per lb.

So if raw grain is $150 per ton or $.08 per lb and I add $.05 for grinding and $.08 for pelletizing then my cost is $.08 + $.05 + $.08 then my basic cost per lb is $.21! So, if I am hitting the magical price point of $.28 per lb which is where the feed really starts to move when I am selling locally I am doing all this work for eight cents a pound???? Not even counting the price of equipment! So, I am making a profit of $160 per ton?

Why am I doin this???

I had to do sprayer training Thursday. I hope you all understand that my other job is a groundskeeper. Somehow my supervisor signed me up for sprayer training with Agri-Service dealership. It is a multistate AGCO dealer. I learned how to run a Rogator. Doesn't really translate to a ten foot sprayer powered by a Honda engine. 

One of the trainings was on a system that reduces drift and increases sprayer efficiency. There were numerous testimonials where BTO's swore the system worked but they didn't know how. The "system" is a stack of tubes which appear to be on the suction line which are full of rare earth magnets. This costs $30,000. I found a DYI which perhaps I will try. I do love me some powerful magnets!!!

It doesn't matter what you produce, it is marketing! I have hemp tonic which will prevent the Wu-Flu, I have local and sustainable feed, I have rare and valuable old stereo equipment, I have a charming and fun personality, BUT DO I HAVE MONEY????

Also, I am still sick. My student helper of a couple years ago came out with her husband to get a big plastic shuttle tank to store rain water. I didn't tell her this was probably illegal. She is from Vietnam and is used to dealing with Commie Bastards so I think she can adapt. We talked for a long time. I got really cold. I also spent the day covered in dust. Today I once again feel like crap. Can't breath and just general low energy. I have taken zinc and vitamin C and hemp tonic and Vitamin B-1 and I sleep 12 hours. Good Grief! I have also tried will power... Perhaps I need a booster shot of Will-Power and not some weird vaccine that will probably kill me though a blog clot.

Views from my week, cause I know you like pictures...

This is where I want to be..
Making Hemp Pellets

The Cure for Covid!

350 pounds per hour! I am getting rich!


However, when I try to grind grass and alfalfa I have to feed it super slow. If I cover the rollers it plugs up. Extremely frustrating!


Sunday, January 9, 2022

Existential Illnesses are the Worst kind

I think this is more than just a simple Chinese engineered virus that I don't have. I wonder if I have finally been abducted by aliens or I was abducted years ago and a programming switch has been pulled or maybe this is what getting old looks like. 

It hit me this morning. 

I went to bed at 8 p.m, last night. I thought about going to bed and sleep all day. Much of the day I spent working on my wife's Kia Soul. It is the newest vehicle I ever have partially owned. It has been a great experience. I avoid driving it. But one rainy and cold night I drove it and I backed into the Forklift. It is the very same Forklift that I left I the way that afternoon and said to myself. I have left the Forklift in the way. It was a really stupid thing to do. It probably precipitated my illness. Perhaps I am just dying of shame. 

The crash broke the plastic bumper cover and it cost my my remaining HiFi and random Sprayer Controller purchasing fund eBay allowance to buy a new cover. I got the cover partially off and discovered that I also munched the fiberglass 5 mph bumper and the new cover wouldn't fit. So I taped it back with Gorilla Tape and zip ties and I now I must spend another $150. 

I also spent most of yesterday talking to random people who were looking for my brother who is on some sort of vacation. I must remember to keep the shop door closed. Or not be so darned interesting and likable.

But, I digress...

I felt like crap this morning. Which is every boring in recent memory. I went back to bed because I could and I don't fear disapproval. (I thought)  My wife went to church. This caused me enough guilt ruin my nap and force me to get up and get Sunday dinner started. I found a couple steaks, they were frozen solid. This was predictable as I found them in the Freezer. Not to be put off by a mere technicality, I liberally coated them with salt and worcheschire sauce and stuck them in the Traeger with a load of hemp pellets to dry thaw them out. 

I retreated to my Barcalounger to recoup. I reviewed my options for the day. 

My lovely and gracious wife has finally objected to the over abundance of HiFi crap located around the living room and wants me to make room for a few plants by the window. I looked at the array of mid-century awesomeness and decided to put on a record. I was looking for Tom Petty, because that is just who I am, but then for some reason thought of hot girls from the 80's and inappropriate sexual relationships that were cool back then but would put you into jail today. That lead to Maria McKee and I took to the "L" section where I found Claudine Longer, "Lets spend the night together." Skipped right by Marianne Faithful, not in the "L" section.


I cued up the Red-O-Kut and the Scott 299 tube amp and sat down to read blogs. If she sings in French again I am going to faint.

I think I have finally cracked up....

Possibly I have time traveled to 1963?

And after a quick search wondering what happened to the singer corrupted by Tom Petty band member and U2, I discovered that of course the inevitable happened. She gained weight and she went 21st Century.  I guess that is one way to deal with getting old...

I think I will go build a mail box stand to replace the one that just fell over. This is one screwed up world...

Have a nice day...

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Laziness Continues

I am honestly starting to worry about myself. 

Last night I went to bed at 8 p.m. after sleeping on the couch since 6:30 p.m. 

This morning I woke up at 9 a.m. It is a Saturday! My lovely and gracious wife has a job painting someone's living room. It appears by the warmth of the coffee and the state of the fire that she has only been gone an hour. She did not wake me. She cooked bacon, which did not wake me.

I am starting to actually worry that I have/had the China virus. Which is why I haven't just ignored being tired and went to work. Other than it is cold and damp outside and I hate cold and damp and I am lazy.

I suppose there is no point in getting a test Monday. Not really sure what the point is at this point. I am not coughing much, I have probably already infected my circle of influence. No point in taking the horse wormer when the horse has left the barn...

If my wife was home she would be marching into the bedroom with a cup of coffee and telling me to get my lazy bottom out of bed. She left me fixings for lunch so I suspect I have all day. I figure if I run a couple loads of laundry and do the dishes I and go out to work about 2 p.m. I can escape her disapproval.

Then my goal is bed by 8 p.m. Sleep just seems like a wonderful place to be right now. It is my goal...

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

A day in the life

 I am back at work. It is 40 degrees and raining. I have a student who wants to work. I do not want to work. 

The plan today was to trim branches on the wellness trail. This is a mile trail that circles some farmland owned by the college that is completely not utilized for anything relevant to the college. Not a lot of vision at the college. Unless it involves short pants arseholes in the wine industry or diversity and inclusion virtue signaling.

Our dear leader (who is a great guy) is still vacationing in Dubai and posting photos on facebook. This is amusing for several reasons one of which I will mention here. This is Oregon and while Oregon is now California lite, it still has a bit of it's old Hippie character. Oregon has always been about "sustainability." Over the top gratuitous wealth is amusing but not really appreciated. People pretend to be regular folks. Like the governor who thought he was clever by wearing jeans and gave us Kate Brown. Especially amongst the smug libtard classes. The sip wine with their little fingers out and they wear honest to goodness real Pendleton or Woolrich and perhaps a Filson, But, you know it is because they spend so much time out of doors.

So the Prez of the college is partying in the conspicuous consumption capital of the world and the we are freezing cold back here in Oregon. Humor is being had at his expense. Oh well. He ain't from around here!

Just the same, I am not real thrilled about picking up wet branches in the rain, and we cleaned the greenhouse yesterday. So I thought we would drive down to the creek in the Mule and check out the flooding. I got stuck.

I got out again.

I said those famous last words. "We will just get a run at it!"

I buried it.

So I strung out my Harbor Freight $40 winch that has saved many a stranded mower. Pulled it off the spool. Could have just got the tractor right then but I didn't want to walk. Restrung winch. 

Found a tree and started pulling. Pulled the spool off the winch. But, it was enough to get a better run at it and we got out.

Spent rest of the day rebuilding the winch.

It was a good day...

Monday, January 3, 2022

Happy New Year

There have been New Year's such as this in the past. I have trouble dealing with stress. I have been feeling a bit under the weather. There are a lot of reasons for this. I took a test and I don't have the curse of Dr. F unless the test is wrong. I just feel like crap. 

I thought I was well New Years so my wife and I called a lady I used to work with and we went out to dinner. We didn't stay out super late. We were home by 10 p.m. I was hoping my daughter would come over when she got off work at 9:30 but she didn't. So I set off my own fireworks. Tradition is important.


Next day I felt like crap again.

The problem is that if I ever drop my self discipline I revert to my normal lazy self. Having a job was awesome for the first two years. Insurance and 11.25 % of my wages into retirement was nice. Things have gone downhill since then. When I get sick and have to lay down and can't read a book then I start thinking of the things I seem to be unable to change. I don't have a bad life, I just took some wrong turns and I can't seem to recover and I feel like I am running out of time. No matter what I try to do I never make a cent at it and I miss my daughter.

I am not really sick today. I am just depressed. It is pouring down rain. My head hurts. I have given myself until 3 p.m. to be depressed. Then I am giving myself the only pep talk that actually works. "one foot in front of the other buddy. Get up and get on it..."


Actually, 2 p.m.

I am working on my books. This is depressing of itself. I got a lot of potential, just got to get it done. I have a great mix for pigs. Peas, Triticale, oats, and alfalfa. I should sell like crazy since the local farm store is at .40 cents a pound for 16 percent hog grower.

In other news. I have been sort of obsessed with old audio. I sold a turntable. The guy I sold it to keeps sending me photos of it with various albums he loves. I think I sold it too cheap. 

I dug out one of my reel-to-reels. I have a couple boxes of reel-to-reels I have acquired over the years. Most of them are total crap. I always had this image of reel-to-reel guys as HiFi aficionados who crafted Dave Brubeck tapes so save their records. Actually reel-to-reel guys were cheap arsed old dudes who crammed as many hours of the worst easy listening music as possible onto one reel because they were too lazy to turn over the record.

I found the tapes I made years ago. I bought the reel to reel from the radio station at my college. I didn't have a cassette recorder. I listened to some pretty random stuff. Los Lobos, Ziggy Marley, The Tailgators, The Cars. It is kind of interesting.

I got a text from the President of the University I work at. He spent New Years in Dubai. He has a boundless supply of energy. Not sure if it is inspiring or annoying.

Have a great year!


Tailgators, "Brown Eyed Girl," Swamp Rock 1985


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Why do I get sick at vacation?

 I hate Oregon winters. Non-stop rain and then nasty wet snow. It was fine when I had my daughter to play with but nowadays it just ain't the same.



Then I got sick. I have like two weeks vacation time coming and if I am going to get sick I can fake it at least one day at work. Hopefully infecting multiple people and then when I am getting well, take three days off and get paid for it.

It started Monday with a cough. I didn't realize it was a real cough. I thought it was the result of me eating lots of my sister-in-law's Chex mix. It hit me in the middle of the night. The headache is the worst part. Tuesday morning I took a Wu-Flu test. According to the test, I don't have the virus which originated in China. 

It also could have been the result of being cold and wet for a couple days. Or stress at Christmas or I got it from my wife who was sick a few weeks ago.

The problem is that while I am lazy and welcome a chance to set in the easy chair, I want to use that time reading a book or listening to a record or something other that trying to sleep.

My wife says I am at the grumpy stage and that is a good sign.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Almost a white Christmas



Eight years ago I would be out playing in the snow with my daughter. We would be figuring out how to ambush the cousins across the machinery lot.
I miss my daughter. 

She came home for Christmas and we played board games and had a nice Christmas I suppose. Then she left as she had to work today. Or perhaps it was the discussion. I don't know.

My wife got me a record cleaner for Christmas. A lady from Church has given me a box of record albums for evaluation. She won't say if she wants to sell them to me. They are incredibly dusty.


I was never into late 60's rock but I really like some of it. Cream, Quick Silver Messenger Service, there are a couple Beatles Albums, Eagles, John Harrison boxed set, and of course "John Barley Corn Must die" album by Traffic.
I took the box just for that album. I don't really like the song I just like the title. But, record collecting is a silly emotional pastime anyway.
It was amazing how dirty the records were. Of course the original owner was blind and perhaps couldn't see how badly he was treating his records. On the positive, all the original posters and paperwork are there. Obviously, he did not hang the posters. Not much point I suppose.
I don't know if I should buy the records or just tell her to sell them. They were so dirty I couldn't stand to listen to them so I cleaned them and put them in plastic bags.


Speaking of records.
I have been trying to sell a turntable which I rebuilt. No one wants to actually buy it. No one has a "stereo" any longer. So you would have to buy a phono preamp, amp, and speakers. I suggest just getting a CD player. Probably why I have not sold my turntable.
I think what I will do is get a cheap preamp from Phonopreamps.com, connect this to a cheap china amp that has bluetooth, and redo a couple of my little Bose monitor speakers. The problem is the price would be $250 to $300 so I am probably just throwing good money after bad.
Christmas is past.
My daughter is gone.
There is snow.
I have a great book to read that my brother gave me for Christmas. Perhaps I will retreat to 1945 when people had real problems...

I hate to live with regrets but I do. I think I should have quit my job after my father passed and we did all the accounting and realized we still had a farm. I just don't know if I should have gone back to farming or never came back from Florida. Somewhere and sometime I took a series of wrong turns in life and while it is fairly entertaining for observers. I am no longer as entertained as I once was...
Where I was six years ago and wish I was today!


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