The Useful Duck!

Contribute to my Vacation, please...

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Things I do when it rains

I am setting in my easy chair. My wife raided the scrap barrels and set up a booth at a local flea market. She actually got money out of old springs and broken sprockets that were IN THE SCRAP barrel. It never ceases to amaze me what middle aged women will spend money on.

I am not complaining...

In other news, I am making pellets. I am not sure why. I rarely end up selling the pellets. However, they do take up less space than bags of screenings.

The bags were 1200lbs each. One looked like wild rice but I think it was just broken grass straw. It was full of little black seeds, barley, wheat/triticale, and smells suspiciously of Dog Fennel. The other bag was barley screenings, tops, straw, and hulls. It reeked of mouse piss.

Running the screenings though the pellet mill did not make a real good pellet but it got rid of the mouse piss smell and the fennel smell. The pellets crumbled pretty badly. I think I needed some sort of oil seed or molasses added. However, I combined two bags into one. It took about four hours so I suspect I lost money.

I did learn about hydraulics so perhaps it was useful.

I found a flow divider so I could run two hydraulic motors off the one remote on my White 2-60.  I didn't quite understand that flow divider on a hydraulic pump with 12 gallon a minute actually splits into two outlets which then have six gallons a minute. That is not a lot of flow for the hydraulic motors.

The auger was supposed to feed the mill and the conveyer cools the outgoing pellets but the auger didn't have enough power to turn when full of material. So I swapped the conveyer which worked. Then I used the auger to cool the pellets. It tends to break up the pellets badly. I need another conveyer I suppose. Or more power for the auger.





Sunday, June 5, 2022

I updated something and now I can't comment on blogs

I am a little frustrated with Blogger. I have no idea what I did but I can't comment as Budd E. Shepherd on anyone's blog. I get a message with browser is configured wrong. 

Google suggested I change my email id due to a problem with mail.com. Now my email is buddeshepherd52@gmail.com.  Which also doesn't seem to work.

Oh well...

I can still be reached at buddeshepherd@mail.com but not at buddeshepherd@mindless.net

Perhaps it will fix itself with the next update.


Wet hay!!!

When no-till actually works it is a beautiful thing! Barley into annual ryegrass.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

I am still lazy, barley is barely up, hay got rained on, I am a bad employee

I am skipping my college's graduation. 

I always volunteer to help on graduation Sunday. It is not really volunteering as I get overtime pay for helping and a free lunch. It usually turns out to be like ten hours.

Friday morning I unvolunteered. I am not sure why. I told everyone my daughter was coming home. This is really not a big deal as she only lives 15 miles away. The real reason was I just didn't feel like doing it.

I would have gone if my work best friend would have gone. We usually work together. We are both problem solvers so we go off and fix stuff. We can drive tractors and move trailers and try to find the easy way to do things. 

There is also a big problem with the graduation field that drives me absolutely nuts. We have had a lot of rain. The people who put out the chairs put down plywood for walkways and then left the plywood for two weeks. When they removed the plywood the walkways are yellow from dying grass. It is wrong... I will get constant commentary about it  and I will have to see it. 

Then I will have to note that the grounds department was kicked out of the process three weeks ago and that puts me back into the negative view of my job. My college spent a lot of money on a conflict resolution company that finds out what you are doing wrong in management. They produced a nice report that listed several really obvious things and then that was it.

Here is an example of what happens at my college.

We got a bonus from the COVID giveaway. This was awesome until you read the fine print. The bonus was two percent of your pay with a minimum of $1000.  So you are really grateful for the $1000, until it is pointed out that 1. All of us in facilities are getting the minimum, meaning no matter how qualified and how many years you have worked, you will never make $50,000. 2. People making over $50,000 just gave themselves a bonus. 3. In this economy, with housing costing $1,800 a month, gas at $5, you can't live on less than $35,000 and that is considered a good wage at my college.

They should have just given everyone the same bonus. 

I personally don't care. I am not going to look down on $1,000. I appreciate the gesture!  However, a number of people who have worked longer than I were cynically laughing about it. 

The work culture at my school, perhaps the whole culture at my school, needs to be looked at if they really want to do something. Or they could just get rid of the people who have been there a long time and have attitudes.

In other news....



Last week I no-tilled barley. It is barely up. (See what I did there) It actually looks really good. 

It is always gratifying to see no-till working.

We also cut hay ten days ago when the forecast looked good. 

It doesn't look so good now.


This was the problem. Serious stem moisture. The hay passed the twist test where you grab a handful and twist it three times and see if all the stems break. It also passed the loose hay test with a moisture tester, but the joints were we as can be.



Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Sun comes out and I am of course not ready. Perhaps I will go fishing!

The rain has stopped and the sun is shining. My weather app says the rain will return in ten days. It is May 22. Should we cut hay? The retired fellow who comes out and helps in between garage sales and drinks a lot of coffee says the ground is too wet.

It I were home on the farm full time I would cut. I would set the mower narrow and mow 20 acres. I would not touch the hay for two days. On third day I would run the Tedder on it and spread it wide. Ted it again the fourth day. Hopefully rake and bale on the fifth day. Maybe... It always changes.

It is all academic as I have not adjusted the baler knives. The mower tractor is on the feed grinder and still has the duals on it. Plus, I didn't check the hydraulic pressures to see why the hydraulic system is so noisy, and I didn't fix the door latch.  I was also going to change the new disc mower PTO to 1000 rpm so there would be more of a choice of tractors to use.

Instead of doing actual useful work this winter I made feed, built a trailer that sort of works, took my White 2-60 apart and busted the exhaust manifold off, ordered parts which won't be here for a week, and otherwise did nothing useful.

This what the inside of a CAV injector pump looks like. I replaced the o-rings on the throttle and fuel shut off shafts. I only had to take it apart four times!
Will you look at that! All back together again. I even used my special SK wire twisting tool to affix the safety wire!


Thursday I was dispatched to find more Perennial Ryegrass seed. I replanted the Baseball field and was doing quite well till I returned from lunch and picked the wrong mark to start. Since we are planting at 5lbs per thousand square feet which is like 250lbs per acre. Half an acre or so overlap does go through the seed. I was able to talk baseball with a sales rep and score 500lbs of hard to find seed. Then I ended up with 800lbs. The college crummy is not as heavy duty as one might have expected!

The seed company is right next to the International Dealer so I stopped in to look at Great Plains drill. I really want to try out this drill on our 11 acre practice field. I actually have been contemplating buying a small no-till drill and planting pasture, government conservation projects, and cover crop between Filbert rows. I am not sure I really want to deal with planting for those sort of people after working for a college for years. Not sure I have the patience.

One of the nephews got a swather out and cut five acres. This is good as it will put the pressure on to work on the stacker and the baler.

When it looks like an early spring we work like crazy and get everything ready to go. When it is a late and rainy spring we always seem to be behind.

Saturday I no-till planted barley into the dead spots in the clover field. I found a little clover to put with it. I planted the barley at something like 200lbs per acre and the clover at 5 lbs. This will be good for the hay as the barley and clover need rain to sprout as I did not roll the field after planting. So I figure the potential for a planting failure will offset the potential for a hay failure.



I could find a roller and pack the whopping five acres of barley or I could take the dog fishing. 

What would the Lazy Farmer do?



Sunday, May 1, 2022

I make misjudgments and misalignments and have a tomato

I spend a lot of time driving around in circles.

My mind tends to wander. In order to keep from texting the President of the University with odd observations and pointless puns I have been designing things in my head. Due to somewhat lack of a connection to reality, or just plain bad judgement, my designs do not always turn out as planned.

Some years ago my wife bought a Harbor Freight trailer at a yard sale. Quite recently I acquired a John Deere Gator. 

I had a cunning plan!

My wife and I have been helping with the landscaping at our Church. I hate filling the pickup with lawn debris as it is annoying to clean it out. I also need to spray fence rows and black berry patches at our different hay fields. What if I had a trailer for my Gator? And, what if that trailer could carry the Gator and then be quickly converted to pull behind the Gator to haul debris?

I have been planning this for a month. Sure the Gator undoubtedly weighs more than the weight limit on the trailer but as a Farmer I know weight limits are really just recommendations. I also didn't realize the price of steel has tripled and plywood for the deck costs more than I paid for the trailer.

But, I was given bigger wheels to fit my trailer and I forged ahead!

Yesterday I decided to see if it would hold up. So I lifted the Gator onto the trailer with the forklift.

I think I have misjudged things a bit...

It actually towed fine. But, when I went to back the Gator off the trailer I discovered that the deck tilted down prematurely as when the rear wheels are off the deck, the front wheels are still over the pivot point.

Good sense would have declared an end to this misadventure as I now have a great Lawn Mower trailer. But, I decided to add a couple feet of deck space. It is not completely finished.

Of course this is the point where all my projects end up. Not quite finished. I still need to add turn signals, bolt the deck down. Make sides for the trailer. Paint it. Details... 

In other news, I had my first tomato of the season! It was quite sweet. I grew it in the College Greenhouse. The greenhouse is over run by aphids. I have tried Lady Bugs, toxic chemicals, lemongrass and soap, and this year I have ordered Green Lacewings. We shall see....



Sunday, April 24, 2022

Goal setting, idyllic living, happiness, insomnia, fishing, what to do with a Coors Can

Today is a beautiful day. I had intended to go fishing after attending  Church today. However, I skipped church and last night I checked out the river and it is running pretty high. I haven't had a lot of luck fishing for Bass when the water is high and murky. However, goal setting is important. It got me through the week. Perhaps I can take up the backup plan of going for a motorcycle ride.

I should check the river today as it will be going down and clearing up. 

I drove my gator to the river and the river was high

I was able to brutally murder an empty can of Coors Banquet. After six years at LU I do see I am shooting a bit high and to the left. I always saw my self as aiming a bit low and to the right, but times do change. Who knows, perhaps I will become a leftist. My dad was past 90 before he started voting for Democrats... I probably should just let that one go. I mean, he would actually laugh at the joke... But...

High and to the left

I have not been sleeping. I wake up at 3 a.m. and worry about life. I hate these transition stages. Six years ago I never dreamed I would be in the same job at the college. Or essentially making less money than when I started. I suppose telling Jose the security guard to go fuck himself two years ago pretty much queered any change for my advancement. Also, using terms like "queered" probably also helped kibosh things. Spiked my own Petard, so to speak. Probably also why I am going blind. My doctor says this will not happen for 40 years. I asked what was causing my macular degeneration and she said I should eat more leafy green vegetables and stop smoking. I noted that I did not smoke and I had a huge salad every Friday. Then I thought I probably should not continue in the direction I was going. 

What I do at work. A straight edge on the Softball Field.

She suggested I just squint more and not worry about people making fun of me for squinting when I read. Squinting pushes my eyes back into focus for some reason. She tried to tell me why but I was thinking about self abuse jokes and missed most of the information. As my mental age is really only 14.

Yesterday I went to look at a tractor. A friend of my wife lost her father unexpectedly. Her friend's mom is selling everything. Even things that they actually need on the farm. The friend was really close to her dad. Her dad told her certain things would be her's. He didn't write it down. No one believes her. 

The only John Deere that is not valued at four times what it actually worth

I would actually buy this tractor if I had $20,000 cash. The hydraulic front wheel assist really hurts the value but it is super clean and would make a great mower tractor. Or a great feed mixing tractor. I have always been anti John Deere but after working for liberals for six years I feel like kind of whore anyhow.

I am kind of running out of blogging steam currently. The stream of consciousness is running dry. I have been listening to "Ulysses" at work. I gave up the last detective action adventure book when the author started killing everyone by sticking large objects up their butts. Really.... Don't read books by authors who just use one name

I am sitting in my easy chair and listening to Dire Straits, "Brothers in Arms," on the stereo. My wife is in the hot tub and the dog is laying in the sun,

It should be an idyllic life. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Leaving home and growing up...

My daughter turned 21 this week.

I put together a tool kit for her. It is a mixture of old and new. I gave her my trusty crescent wrench. I found 3/8 drive Craftsman sockets in Metric and nonCommunist up to 21mm and 3/4", I included a hammer and a square and a rubber mallet. She needs the rubber mallet if she goes into psychology.

I found her a 1/4" drive SK socket set only for $60 delivered. It has deep well sockets also and has a neat little box. I have already explained the difference between a ball peen and claw hammer and so I included both. Plus a square and small level. 

I included a couple automotive stickers at the suggestion of the retired gentleman that helps at the farm. (Actually he provided a couple stickers.) I engraved her name on everything. 

She seemed happy.

I really miss my daughter from the pre Young Writers Convention at Sweet Briar college days. But such is life.

The toolkit


The daughter before I made the mistake of working at a college so she could receive a free indoctrination.


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