The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Corn planting photos

Finished planting field corn last week. Have 50 acres, down from the usual 80 or so. 
Rotated to a different field this year. Close to the pump and with a more silty and better drained soil. Ground was in wheat last year. We planted through some pretty tall stubble. Use a six row strip-tiller by Unverferth. It is pretty aggressive and we go 16 or so inches deep. Trying to break up some hard ground. Doesn't always looks so pretty. Use a no-till White 5100 planter.

Silage Chopping

Corn is planted. Now we are chopping silage for dairy down the road. Planted 20 acres of rye for forage. The stuff is quite tall. A 12 foot windrow is about all the old New Holland 890 will handle. Mowing it with the re-engined White 2-135. Chopping with the 2-155. Left the duals on as I have more no-till planting to do.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Planting corn or a funny picture?

I have been trying to plant corn. Have been having some difficulties getting everything to work. Driving straight, seed placement. Fertilizer placement-the acre counter. So instead of going into the problems of following a strip-tiller with a no-till corn planter when you can't see what you are doing and the GPS on the strip-tiller was not working right, and the markers were set too close and two rows ran out of corn seed before the others did and I wasn't looking at the monitor, but was instead trying to see if the fertilizer drive chain was coming off, I'm going to post a picture of my employee. He is drinking coffee and shooting rats in the barn. A fine use of a $9.50 per hour wage I would say! Have a good day. If you are reading this at 10 a.m. which is the time I'm posting-You Should Be in Church!!! (as should I)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Getting ready to plant corn

I'm working on the corn planter. We have a white 5100 six row with liquid. We have 40 acres to plant. You have to do as much work to the planter to plant 40 acres as 100 acres.
The problem is that it has never really worked right for us. We are strip-tilling first, then following with the White. Our old 5400 4-row I think did a better job.
The 5100 does a great job in straight no-till. It has the factory White no-till coulters, sometimes we use the disk type row cleaners that came with it, I added Yetter no-till coulters to a toolbar a year ago. We use those to place the liquid fertilizer.
When you get into loose cloddy soil, like striptilled compacted ground, the seed placement and spacing go all over the place. The two no-till coulters just move the clods around, rather than cutting though them. 
We also have problems with the John Blue squeeze pump. I'm never sure if it is fertilizing or not.
I should just go out  and buy the system. I think I would get the Martin row cleaners first, they would knock the big clods out of the way, without digging a trench. I'd mount them on the row unit I think. Then add the martin closing wheels.
We also need to add an extra spring to the down pressure. I thought we had the springs but now I can't find them. Might add schaffert seed firmers if it keeps raining. Not terribly expensive.
Now is not the time to be overhauling the corn planter. Need to be planting...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The modern world and the Flight 93 memorial

I took Mr. Winkle's advice and wrote a letter of protest.
I'm not sure why this annoyed me, but the people behind the Flight 93 memorial have got the National Park Service to condemn private property for the memorial.
The Bureaucracy has swallowed another private sector triumph (stopping Flight 93) and has gone on to consume more private individuals (or their property). Read articles here and here. Also, here.
The response is directly below, my email is below response... I would say I got what I expected!

Subject: RE: new memorial
Date: May 12, 2009 7:10:35 AM PDT

Thank you for your email regarding the Flight 93 National Memorial.

As you may know, the goal of the Flight 93 National Memorial is to honor the 40 Heroes on board Flight 93 and protect the sacred ground on which they perished. The completion of the memorial will fulfill both the federal legislation authorizing it, as well as our national promise to the families of Flight 93 that the courage and sacrifice of their loved ones will never be forgotten.

While the temporary memorial that currently overlooks the crash site is powerful in its simplicity, a permanent memorial is necessary to accommodate sustained visitor traffic and provide the public with educational opportunities and greater access to the park's resources. Because the 40 Heroes of Flight 93 were successful in choosing a sparsely populated location over which to launch their counterattack, the crash site sits in a remote location, requiring an expanse of land merely to provide adequate visitor access.

In order to stay on schedule to dedicate the memorial on the tenth anniversary of September 11, the land must now be acquired by condemnation. This does not mean, however, that the landowners will not be compensated for their land. They will be paid fairly and based on proper appraisals. It is also important to note that donations to the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign are not used for land acquisition, but for the actual construction of the memorial.

The task of building a permanent national memorial is complex, and we appreciate your interest in the process. We will continue to raise funds for the memorial with the 40 Heroes in mind every step of the way, and we hope that the result is a beautiful public memorial that all Americans will be proud to visit.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 10:53 AM
To: Flight 93. Memorial
Subject: new memorial

Just read a newspaper article about this memorial. How fitting.
Regular folks worked together to overcome hijackers and stop an
attack on the US. So the parks department fools around for 10 years
and then at the last minute decides to condemn the land of regular
folks to build a memorial to the other regular folks who died. I'm so
happy to see my tax dollars at work.
I really enjoyed the fellow who stated that he was going to GIVE the
land to the memorial and then he finds out it is going to be condemned.

Budd E. Shepherd

So I have a couple questions: Why 200o acres?

This whole event has less to do with Flight 93 than it does in describing the character of the US government.
You can draw your own conclusions.
I would say that taking the land totally detracts from the actions of the passengers on Flight 93. They didn't over power the nutcase Muslims on at that plane to take land from a Lutheran minister, they did it to prevent a catastrophic loss of life, to defeat an enemy of the PEOPLE of the USA, to preserve our indepandant way of life, cause they knew they were going to die anyway, because they thought they might win. Because they are Americans and that means BEING IN CHARGE OF YOUR OWN DESTINY. I guess now it is about the triumph of Bureaucracy over the rights of the individual. Glad we had this object lesson...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Engine swap a success

Finished up engine swap Saturday. Drove tractor a bit today. Seems to run fine. Have not been ablt to pull it due to wet weather. I see it just started raining again.
Spent day working on hydraulics in other White. (2-155) It would not lift the striptiller. Plugged a gauge into the remote and saw it was only putting out 2200 PSI with the compensator on the pump screwed in tight. Called my friendly former White serviceman and he said I needed to shim the relief valve. I found the relief valve, with the help of a book, and took it apart. The shims fell out in may hand. Called around and the correct parts were in Fresno. So, I used a couple grade 8 washers and got it close. Scavenged rest of parts from Minneapolis-Moline G1355. Ouch... One more step closer to the scrap yard.
Put 2-155 back together, not enough pressure, put in 3 more thin shims, too much pressure, took one out, still too much, took one more out. I really don't have a clue what I'm doing.
It will now lift the strip tiller. Will see if they hydraulics get hot when I'm running the hydraulic powered pump on my fertilizer. Wish I were just a tad more mechanically inclined.
Not really sure what I am inclined towards. Often i think it is not farming... Will not get into that subject.
Here is what the tractor looks like back together. Just needs a coat of paint!

The best present I ever gave her

A couple years ago the bale counter on my baler broke. The new one was kind of expensive and I couldn't bear to throw the old one away. So I gave it to my daughter. It still counts but the lever doesn't return properly.
I have found that counter all over the house. She keeps it in her treasure box. Sometimes she takes it to school. Mom found it in bed one morning. I finally ask S. what was up with the counter.
She just likes to make it count. She runs it up to a thousand and resets it. She said her goal over the next few days is to reach 10,000. She clicks it when she is bored, or when she is trying to go to sleep, or watching cartoons.
Kind of interesting.
I was going to throw it away...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dad and his iBook

My dad is 90 years old. He says he is retired. He spends his days organizing his stuff into a database using his iBook- (non-productive and kind of strange) and selling moisture testers. Seems to do pretty well with the moisture testers. Sells Delmhorst and Farmex hay testers and also baler stroke counters, dew alarms, soil moisture, compaction meters and also soil and compost thermometers. Even has a website
I am processing some photos I took for him. I should be working on the White but Dad has a hard time waiting for his photos. He likes to cut and paste together catalogues using the office photocopier. I often wonder what people think when they get his flyers and brochures. I'm hoping they think, "this guy grew up with horses and he is using a computer and has a website-WOW!" 
Sometimes I get a little annoyed when I have to show him how to print for the 10th time this week. Still, I realize he is only here for a few more years and I better pay attention to him while I can. And secondly-This guy is NINETY years old and using an iBook. I guess he is entitled to forget how to print a couple times  per day...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coffee time and William Cullen Bryan

Phillip stopped by for coffee time yesterday at 3 p.m. He was waxing poetic. Phil E. is a big man. The hardest working fellow I have ever met. I think he is in his 70's. It is hard to watch him age. He always needs to be moving. Used to say, "got to get going,"  "come on lad we gotta go." He has made and lost a couple fortunes. Has had a huge farm, then smaller, then bigger. Kind of an amazing fellow. He started out shearing sheep as a kid, was the fastest shearer in the county. 
But, I do need to get to work so I'll get to the point.
The folks at coffee time were talking about geese and ducks. Then got on the subject of our neighbor was fishing and found a fellow who drowned.
Phillip all of a sudden says, "I have a poem. It's by William Cullen Bryan." He launches into Ode to a Waterfowl.

To a Waterfowl


  Whither, midst falling dew,

While glow the heavens with the last steps of day

Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue

Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's eye

Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong

As, darkly seen against the crimson sky,

Thy figure floats along.

Seek'st thou the plashy brink

Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,

Or where the rocking billows rise and sing

On the chafed ocean side?

There is a Power whose care

Teaches thy way along that pathless coast--

The desert and illimitable air--

Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,

At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,

Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,

Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;

Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,

And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,

Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven

Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart

Deeply has sunk the lesson thou hast given,

And shall not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,

Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,

In the long way that I must tread alone,

Will lead my steps aright.

 He couldn't remember the whole thing but did a few stanzas. 
When the folks started talking about the fellow who drowned Phil came up with 
Said his mother taught it to him. I think they learned it out of the Fifth Reader back when kids got an education.


        by: William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

            O him who in the love of Nature holds

            Communion with her visible forms, she speaks

            A various language; for his gayer hours

            She has a voice of gladness, and a smile

            And eloquence of beauty, and she glides

            Into his darker musings, with a mild

            And healing sympathy, that steals away

            Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts

            Of the last bitter hour come like a blight

            Over thy spirit, and sad images

            Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,

            And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,

            Make thee to shudder and grow sick at heart;--

            Go forth, under the open sky, and list

            To Nature's teachings, while from all around--

            Earth and her waters, and the depths of air--

            Comes a still voice--Yet a few days, and thee

            The all-beholding sun shall see no more

            In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,

            Where thy pale form was laid with many tears,

            Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist

            Thy image. Earth, that nourish'd thee, shall claim

            Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,

            And, lost each human trace, surrendering up

            Thine individual being, shalt thou go

            To mix for ever with the elements,

            To be a brother to the insensible rock,

            And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain

            Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak

            Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.


            Yet not to thine eternal resting-place

            Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish

            Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down

            With patriarchs of the infant world--with kings,

            The powerful of the earth--the wise, the good,

            Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,

            All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills

            Rock-ribb'd and ancient as the sun,--the vales

            Stretching in pensive quietness between;

            The venerable woods; rivers that move

            In majesty, and the complaining brooks

            That make the meadows green; and, pour'd round all,

            Old Ocean's grey and melancholy waste,--

            Are but the solemn decorations all

            Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,

            The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,

            Are shining on the sad abodes of death,

            Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread

            The globe are but a handful to the tribes

            That slumber in its bosom.--Take the wings

            Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,

            Or lose thyself in the continuous woods

            Where rolls the Oregon and hears no sound

            Save his own dashings--yet the dead are there:

            And millions in those solitudes, since first

            The flight of years began, have laid them down

            In their last sleep--the dead reign there alone.

            So shalt thou rest: and what if thou withdraw

            In silence from the living, and no friend

            Take note of thy departure? All that breathe

            Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh

            When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care

            Plod on, and each one as before will chase

            His favourite phantom; yet all these shall leave

            Their mirth and their employments, and shall come

            And make their bed with thee. As the long train

            Of ages glides away, the sons of men,

            The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes

            In the full strength of years, matron and maid,

            The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man--

            Shall one by one be gathered to thy side

            By those who in their turn shall follow them.


            So live, that when thy summons comes to join

            The innumerable caravan which moves

            To that mysterious realm where each shall take

            His chamber in the silent halls of death,

            Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,

            Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain'd and soothed

            By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,

            Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

            About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Wonder if my employee will come to work today. 

Kind of a contrast between old and new I suppose.

De-evoloution, I think that is a good term...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rain and repairs

The sun came out briefly today. I discovered lakes in our newly planted fields. Now I know how folks in the midwest feel!
First picture is from last week when we were planting triticale. Seed company said it needed to be irrigated. Didn't say exactly when it needed it...
Worked on 2-135 today. Fixed an oil leak and managed to make a huge mess doing it. I didn't get the buckets changed fast enough. What a mess.
Last photo is of the $275 sensor for the digital tach on the White 2-135. I find it unbelievable that AGCO charges $275 for a fairly uncomplicated proximity sensor. I robbed this off a junk combine and really hope it works. BUT-you can buy these things on ebay for $10-$50. To do this I would have to do a little research but I've seen the three wire honeywell sensors like the New Holland balewagons use priced reasonably. I'm betting these sensors are nothing special. They don't use an external magnet so there are a little different. Will have to check this out.
Employee texted me this morning he was not feeling well. He ways 350lbs so I doubt he is every feeling well. I offered to buy him a gym membership to help him lose weight and he declined.
The one thing I fear is becomming pathetic. I don't mind being strange, eccentric, annoying, weird, just not pathetic.
Life goes on.
I sure wish I would have moved my tractor out of the field. Look past the fender on the MM G706. Do you see a White 2-155 MFD with a Great Plains drill? Yup, that is a long walk though ankle deep mud!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How does it go back?

I've got my White 2-135 in pieces. Engine had excessive blowby, to the tune of a blue cloud and a gallon of oil per fuel fillup. I found a hopefully good engine out of a 2-155. I decided to try swapping since it has been raining.
I wanted to hook up the electronic tach. A new sensor is $275. I really hate AGCO. Raising in prices on parts for recently orphaned tractors is silly. If I can't afford the parts for an AGCO brand tractor I am sure not going to buy a new one from AGCO.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday showers

I've not been feeling in top form. I had been going to the Chriopractor but I don't think it is my back. At first I blamed it on the new seat in my tractor which cost a lot of money but was less comfortable than the old molded foam and fabric seat. White tractors do have comfortable factory seats in my opinion. I think it is stress. I ache all over and I'm always tired. Some years ago I got headaches. I was hoping it would go away once I figured out it was nerves, kind of like the headache issue. I need to just chill out. Dig out the Dale Carnegie course again.
Today I wanted to sleep in. Last night I declared we were going to church even though it is a Sunday that our church doesn't meet. My wife wanted to attend the early service of the local large church. Large churches full of modern Christian sorts bug me. I'd rather attend a small old church with a simple service. I actually like preachers who have regular jobs and choirs who are not the best singers. I don't like multimedia and would rather have hymns than a band on stage. I seem to crave real emotion, and regular working class folks with deep faith.
Anyway, they had a baptism. It was kind of amusing. The baptistry is behind the big cross above the stage, so it is like 30 feet in the air. As we were praying before the baptism I was peeking. I saw the huge cross swing aside, pushed out from behind by the pastor with a broomstick. He had a simple speech and a lady on stage read the person's testimony before she was baptized. I had kind of mixed feelings. I remember it differently from my old Church.
We skipped Sunday school. I don't like interacting with people. My wife is much more friendly but didn't want to go either. We should have gone for the daughter's sake but we didn't. 
We discussed the neighbor's 60th anniversary but we had the wrong day. Found out later that it was today. We missed it.
Went home and daughter and I put together a large styrofoam glider. Found it at Goodwill a week ago. New in the package from Toy Airplane Gliders of America. I couldn't find a website.
Did discover really expensive wood airplanes that used to cost $.25 at the drugstore. I would get a couple every year about this time. The whole ready to fly wood airplane thing was always a bit disappointing. (Click here for link to collector type wood airplanes made near me.)
Airplane kept coming apart or crashing. Sadie got pretty frustrated. After a lunch of steamer clams and garlic bread we modified the glider. I had purchased some aluminum foil tape at the hotrod swap meet couple weeks ago. I put tape on the bottom of the glider, then attached a plastic straw to the bottom as a rocket launch tube. We placed a bottle rocket in the tube, lit the fuse and then threw the glider. The key was to wait long enough to throw the glider. I nearly set the thing on fire when the glider crashed before the rocket left the tube. S. was not so impressed. I think I sometimes kind of annoy her. Soon it started raining so we went back in and played legos. Later we went down to the river and built roads in the riverbank. Had a pretty good day. 
Somehow I just don't feel ready to go back to work tomorrow.
Tomorrow I plan to replace the engine in the White 2-135... Six hours? We pulled the replacement engine from a junker tractor in only 2 hrs. So should be able to put it back in 3-4 hours?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I actually accomplished Something!!!! Whoop! Whoop!

Yesterday morning I had 20 acres of Triticale and 20 acres of Barley to plant. 
I got it done!
This may not seem like much considering that I make much of my living from planting with a 15 foot no-till drill. But, this was more complicated.
We were going to plant 2 rows triticale and 1 row of fescue as it is really too late for the triticale to get a good yield. While I was off planting for other folks, the ground at home was supposed to be worked and packed down in anticipation of the rain that fell last night.
It didn't get done.
So, I get home to find the field 1/2 worked at an angle and not started at the side where I need to plant the triticale. 
I just planted the triticale. I got the hired man going spreading fertilizer and found a friend to run the heavy flat roller and I planted. Put down 120lbs triticale with 10 gallons of 10-34 and some miracle grow stuff that a salesman gave us to try and then forgot about. It is supposed to boost the micro-nutrients.  We shall see.
The barley field was pretty wet. Last year I no-tilled and it didn't work. The drill places the seed with no problem but as the ground dry it cracks down the rows and the seed is exposed. Just a light disking will help seal the moisture in.  So, I had Bill disk ahead of me. I started with the flat roller but it looked like is was packing the ground too much so I just went right behind the disk with the no-till drill. Looks pretty bad but it is in the ground. Started raining hard just as I finished at 10 p.m. Hurried up to the shop to put the corn planter back in the shed and went to bed.
Today I have to spread fertilizer on a ryegrass field that somehow got missed, take my daughter to a pizza party for her soccer team, pull the motor on the 2-135. 
Right now I'm setting in my easy chair and it is 8:30...
Tales of the Lazy Farmer!

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