The Useful Duck!

Contribute to my Vacation, please...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dinosaur Train

Lets start out by stating my bias, I really don't like television...
I am continually reminded why I dislike television.
This morning the honor goes to the PBS show Dinosaur Train. It mixes science with fantasy which is perfect for the modern child who should be well programed whatever current superstitions and propaganda is in favor with the department of education by the time they get out of school. Junior environmentistias and Christo-phobic's by age 16.
The show features cartoon dinosaurs who travel by train between different periods in the evoloutionary chart and meet different dinosaurs who didn't live at the same time period. They have various problems which they solve. These problems are the usual stuff of the modern world of children's books. One dinosaur who has terrible claws does artwork with his claws. The dinosaur kids who travel by train to meet him, help him put on an art show. His friends and parents see the show and thing it is wonderful. He now calls his claws "terrific" claws.
Then there is Dr. Scott the Palentoligist who comes on screen to give us evoloutionary tidbits. Everyonce in a while this moron will appear on screen, stepping through a door that appears on screen and says, "point of fact, dinosaurs did not play dino-ball," sort of a Monty Pytonesque idea.
It is really just annoying.
There are bright green and orange colors and awkwardly rendered dinosaurs. Sort of a influenza fever tint to the whole thing.
Of course Sadie likes it.
The think is she would stare at anything moving on the screen early in the morning.
Or nothing.
The TV doesn't have to be on. She gets ready faster, has a better morning with no TV. In the past I have read to her while she gets ready for school.
But,  our TV stays on. A continual background irritation. I find I tune out and focus on the computer screen or a books and pretty much withdraw. Perhaps I would do that anyway.
Perhaps it is something I need to work on.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How can you work all day and accomplish nothing?

I am trying to get ready to plant. This should not be a hard job. I already did a lot of work to my drill. It should have been just a matter of hooking it up.
I did remount my calc-an-acre and spraymate fertilizer rate controller. That was not a big deal. I now have way to many cables in the cab. Very messy in the cab now. The foam marker is nto working, worked on that for a little while. I changed my orfice plates to drop down to 10 gal of fertilizer per acre.
Brother and I went and looked at a field to work for a vineyard fellow. He wants to be organic and I have no good idea how to get him a crop. If I knew, I'd be organic myself. He wants to plant clover and get a crop for bees next year.
The field is on a hillside, it has not been worked in years. Lots of bentgrass and black berries. I'm betting his pH is below 5.5! I could disk it twice, plow, disk, harrow twice, harrow again, plant. But, do I wait for a sprout? This is the end of September. What about erosion?
We told him to mow it and we would disk it a couple times and see what happens. I think I could use my no-till drill to plant oats.
Checked out some fields, trying to figure out if our spring planted red clover is a failure. I think it is. Or if our spring planted fescue in the teff field will make it. There are good heathy plants, just not that many of them.
I did mount the digital TV antenna for my wife. That was not so successful. Four channels of PBS! Boy, switching to digital was a good idea for us! Especially since I do hate TV...
Tomorrow is another day!
Remember, if you let yourself down-you let your country down!

Kipling Says:

Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

I guess all I have to say is, "you're a better man than I, Gunga-Din!"

I was married on the anniversary of the charge of the light brigade... Have no idea what that means, didn't pick the date based on the poem.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Silage Photos

Here are photos from silage harvest. It was over pretty past. First 25 acres in 4 hrs. Next 25 acres in three days. Or really perhaps two half days and one full day.

Look at the volume coming out of the spout. Three row header on an old 890 New Holland Chopper. $200 at an auction, three row corn head was quitee a bit more...

Then we were done. Had to leave a few rows here and there for the duck hunters.

I drove truck for the first time in 25 years. Just hauled one load, filled two. Hope my brother enjoyed running the White 2-135. When I used to drive truck it was behind a Fox one row pulled by a M670 super. Same truck but it was in a little better shape. Sometimes I drove the 1951 Studebaker.
Below is the view I am more used to...

What kind of creature is this bug? Locust?

And here is the last blackberry of the summer!

I tend towards the didactic

Not that I even know how to spell the word... My comments from the last post are mostly influenced by the fact that I'm not a successful farmer. I tend to miss details, timing of planting, and spraying, and I get these ideas like planting 2 rows of teff and 1 row of fescue, that any sane person would realize is folly. The problem is that you never get ahead if you screw up half your crops every year. I really don't know if I tend towards megalomania as I never get the opportunity!
So on this Sunday I turn my four followers towards some real preaching which I found in my efforts to come up with something orgional to add to our Sunday School lesson which is taken from Proverbs, "Behavior God Abhors"
Click here to read:
Now there is a real sermon!
Yes, I found "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God." I realize there are people who have read this sermon before. You can just skim it if you want.
Also, you should check out the links on the website this is posted on. I found it all quite interesting. It is a glimpse into the Christian culture of 30 years ago. Back when people in the USA accepted the silly teachings of Christianity and rejected the silly teachings of Budhism, Islam, Be Kind to Mother Earth and She will be Kind to You, Death Metal, Brittiany Spears, and PETA.
But, I digress...
You see a lot of criticism of Mr. Edwards based on the imagery of a literal hell and sinners lost with no hope without repentance. I would say three things to that.
(Note: I will use three examples that is a cultural thing for us Westerners, those with other back grounds might use seven examples, or two examples, and those from still other back grounds might wrap themselves with explosives and scream out their examples before blowing themselves up. I will stick with three examples.)
First, the sermon is really long and kind of boring. It really doesn't get ripping until the last half and by that time I suppose everyone would be sleeping, if not for the nasty proctors poking people to keep them awake. (I guess attention spans were longer back then)
Secondly, most people have not had the fortitude to read through the whole sermon. So criticism is based on the comments of people who were forced to read the sermon in high school...
Third, the whole literal hell and sinners lost to the fires thereof is kind of the point. It provides a nice contrast to the "love of God," sermons.
And the point was... Read this paragraph below:

"The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction. However unconvinced you may now be of the truth of what you hear, by and by you will be fully convinced of it. Those that are gone from being in the like circumstances with you, see that it was so with them; for destruction came suddenly upon most of them; when they expected nothing of it, and while they were saying, Peace and safety: now they see, that those things on which they depended for peace and safety, were nothing but thin air and empty shadows."

Have you ever heard a sermon where someone spoke with this kind of intensity and used imagery like this? This is amazing. Now of course it would have to be shortened a bit for modern audiences. Each paragraph would make a modern sermon. In fact if I ever had to pitch hit for a preacher I'd just run it as a series. One paragraph per Sunday. It probably wouldn't fly at the old folks home (where our church is held) without admitting where I was lifting my imagery as the old folks are a tad more literate.
I bet if I put it into a powerpoint presentation with a few jokes I could preach it at the local mega-Nazarine church! But, then I suppose I would be missing the point wouldn't I.
I guess I'm just not cut out to be a preacher.

"O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment."

This is almost poetry. The language, the way the words flow. How can I incorporate this into my devotion this morning!

"You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of hell, but do not see the hand of God in it; but look at other things, as the good state of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are nothing; if God should withdraw his band, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it."

We are one foot from the grave at all times, one harvest away from bankruptcy, one step off the curb and you are hit by a bus, one thunderstorm away from being struck by lightning, one lottery ticket away from 250 million dollars. We do not see the hand that holds us back or keeps us safe. Is it random fate, salvation in statistical abstracts, or is it the hand of the Divine?

Is it hard to learn to play the Banjo?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Farming Philosophy

There was an interesting post on NewAgTalk a day or so ago.
Fellow posted bemoaning the direction agriculture has taken. Essentially he pointed out than in going from the family farm to the BTO farm we went from nurturing to exploitive agriculture. Apparently there has been some expose' on big egg farms and this fellow was reacting to the point that you can't afford the sort of farm with 30 chickens and make a living.
I started to go on a rant, but came back later and removed my post.
I thought of another important idea. We don't want to live on a farm with 30 chickens, 50 cows, a couple pigs, and a farmall M. (or in our case a Minneapolis-Moline model Z) subsistence farming is a lot of work. Oops! That is called sustainable farming now.
However, I wonder if you could make it work with somewhat of a new model of doing business.
First you would have to start with capital or a decent job.
The second major problem is land. You have to have at least 50 acres of good, probably irrigated ground.
You could start out in this area doing hay. You use the custom hay business to buy a nice modern cab tractor with FWA and A/C and 90-120hp. You can scrounge up 10ft equipment with no problem.
Once you get the nice tractor you can realize huge fuel savings and creature comforts that allow you to farm at night or when it is 110 degrees outside. You then take advantage of the many opportunities to put in pastures and mow weeds and do various unpleasant jobs that the big guys won't do.
The next step would be crops and cows. Raise vegetables and hay for the local markets and feed the waste to livestock. I think you could do fairly well and have a nice lifestyle with 100 acres and an outside job, or a lot of custom farming.
I have not seen this done as most people you start out doing this fail. Still I think it could happen with the right mindset. I've sort of done it, but we were doing to save the family farm, and I don't like livestock cause they bust my fences.
But here is my rant:
(See link to NAT before reading my rant)

I feel that I should point out ideas which help to give me understanding to such frustrations as you have expressed.
First of all, in my humble opinion, most farmers know deep down in their heart of hearts two very important things.
1. The Almighty has given them and mostly them, the unique ability to be the best darn farmer in the whole world.
2. With that idea in mind, of course they would be the best stewards of whatever land GOD Himself might send their way.
So you may talk about the benefits of smaller farms. How, a small farm buys local and hires local, and supports the local grain elevator, the local co-op, and the local farm dealership. You might opine how many smaller and a few larger farms build a population base of people who understand farming and how things work and who will make good leaders for future generations. You may point out that huge farms mean fewer  farmers and thus a smaller voter bloc or lobbying group or shall we put it bluntly LESS VOTES. But, you in fact are totally ignoring that GOD Himself has given a mandate to x-family farms to wisely shepherd the land in five counties and who are you to question the realities of modern commercial agriculture.
Then again you may be ignoring the idea that perhaps all that really motivates farmers is the desire to have a really huge combine and a couple really awesome Big tractors and they just like to drive around in circles all day pulling really large implements. Then on their off days they can drive around in really new pickups and look for more land that God has sent their way.
Now I'm not saying I really know all that much. I've spent most of my farming career doing custom work for other people and listening to them complain about their BTO neighbors. After all, I've been so much happier now that I understand farming is a BUSINESS and not a lifestyle.
And I hate chasing cows. I just like to drive tractors, so forget that whole old fashioned lifestyle farming idea with pigs and cows and chickens. I'd rather stay in a tractor for 36 hrs straight than shovel out a chicken house!
Anyway, that's just my current opinion...
Then of course there was all the comments about US agriculture feeding the world-which is sort of previous century thinking in itself.
Right, when I go out and plant my grass seed I'm thinking about feeding the world. It is going to replant a freaking golf course. (or it was till the economy tanked)
I'm thinking about making a buck.
When everyone else on here is planting corn for that nasty crap that rusts my gas tank, they are not thinking about feeding the world they are thinking about getting some cash.
I can respect that.
If you are growing wheat or sweet corn or tomatoes you are thinking about feeding who ever has the bucks to pay for your crop. That's the bottom line. Just admit it. There is no shame in feeding your family.
Good grief, I memorized the FFA creed just like everyone else, but I don't say it everyday...
Ok, that was long and you've read this on here before...All four of my readers know what I think already...So go back to work. Time's a wasting.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finished with corn silage

I took some photos but left the camera in the pickup. Finished our silage today. We had 50 acres. 25 acres was done in three hours by a custom harvester. The other 25 acres were done in the last three days by us and our New Holland 890 pulled by the White 2-135.
Was not the best yield we have ever had but then it was not the worst. It is sometimes hard to get the water and the weather coordinated. I needed to stop hay and work on pipe, but PGE didn't get our pump hooked up, then the pump (rebuilt this year) died in the hot weather and we got behind. Just hard to get it all done. Sort of depressed about yields this year. Not really sure what to do to improve things next year. I guess that it why we are not big time operators...

I quit

I'm not really a farmer...
Ed Winkle needs to spend a sabatical in Oregon showing us how to grow corn. I'd let him drive the 2-135 or the 2-155...
Bill and I will stick to making hay...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Birthday

Today I had a birthday. Sadie tells me I turned 45. I have no idea as I lost count a few years back. I used to love birthdays. Mom always made a big deal out of them. You always got to pick your birthday dinner and what kind of cake. With Mom gone it doesn't seem to be quite the same thing. It would not do me much good to ask for the sort of fried chicken, green beans, and potatoe salad that Grandma used to make as there is no one left who remembers what Grandma used to make. So, I just tried to ignore this last birthday. I asked for no presents, as they just cost money and frankly I don't need anything but new socks.
Last night we went out for dinner with some friends. We don't do that a lot. Sadie stayed with the cousins across the machinery lot and we went out on the town. I gave my friend a planting job that turned into 600 acres and in return I told him I wanted a steak dinner. This was my payment. I had prime rib. It was good. Not spectacular. I think the Golden Valley Brewery is fairly over rated. Still it was better than the two steaks for $19.99 at the Blue Moon.
Afterwards we went to the Hotel Oregon and had dessert. We split a Mudslide. This was a chocolate concoction with several layers. Kind of an ice cream pudding, chocolate kind of thing. It was very good.
This morning I had a hard time getting out of bed. Sadie coughed all night. We didn't get a lot of sleep. I don't know if it is allergies or a cold. I woke up late. I just lay in bed and pretended to sleep. Too many decisions. We have to find someplace to attend church on the Sundays our church does not meet. I just don't seem to like anywhere we have gone. Sometimes I just don't feel like getting out of bed and facing life.
But I did.
Wife wanted to take me out for breakfast. Sadie presented me with a box wrapped in her blanket. It was a new pair of work shoes and I had to give the blanket back. Wife gave me a giant coffee cup for a joke. The question was raised as to what I wanted to do for my birthday. I usually try not to make decisions on Sunday. I just play Lego's with Sadie or take her down to the river. Today I needed to drive to Gopher Valley and get a GPS map of my fields so I can get them sprayed with round-up before I plant. This did not seem to be that popular a plan and I was going to just say whatever and I thought, who cares if anyone wants to go, I'm going and we are going to have a good time. My plan was to take a good map and try and find our way to the coast without going on a main road. There are all sorts of logging roads and secondary roads through the hills that all end up towards the coast.
So we loaded up a cooler, and a metal detector, and a map and away we went.
We stopped at the Amity Cafe for breakfast. I had the buffet for $8. This was not so good. I think we were a little late for top quality. I should have just ordered what I wanted to eat. Two eggs, two bacon, and fried potatoes.
Then we went to Gopher Valley. I mapped the fields and talked to my land lady. Wife looked for treasures with the metal detector. Didn't find anything. Sadie was not so happy. She wanted to play with her cousins.
I have no idea how to put a map on this blog so I suppose you could look this up on GoogleEarth if you were so inclined. We took Thompson Mill road to Rock Creek road. This took us along the ridge overlooking my Gopher Valley farm. We saw some Mexicans on horses. There seems to be some sort of Mexican Rodeo outfit up there. That is pretty interesting. But, is another story.
From Rock Creek we took Buck Hollow road over to Willamina Creek road where I saw that the fescue I planted for Phillip this spring was growing. We went up Willamina Creek to Bible Creek and then we saw a small brown US Forest Service sign for Niagara Falls.
Now this is kind of unusual. I've lived in this area all my life and I've never heard of Niagara Falls Oregon. So we took the road. It was narrow and graveled, with lots of potholes and the sign said 11 miles. I think it was Forest Service road 8533. Sadie was having some coughing spells and we nearly turned around. But she recovered and away we went.
The scenery is pretty amazing. We passed through a clear-cut where the road ran along top of a steep mountain side. It looked like you could see all the way to the coast range. The horizon was purple mountains over miles of green fir trees. The road got narrower and steeper. The sign said Niagara Falls, closed because of hazardous conditions. Sadie was a little worried. Her and her Mom walked on ahead and watched for hazards. I waited in the pickup till I got bored and the followed. It was a pretty steep down hill but I put it in 4wd low. It was not so bad. After a while they got tired of walking and we drove some more. After going through a Birch thicket with the branches so close over the narrow road that they nearly formed a tunnel, at last we came to a clearing and a parking area with a sign that read. Niagara Falls, 1 mile. This meant we had to walk. I suppose I was hoping for a viewing area where I could sit in the pickup. Just the same we had come this far it seemed silly to turn around so we trouped down the trail.
It is never a good sign when the trail starts out going down hill. That means you will have to walk up hill to get back. I could see the torn warning sign that said the trail was closed but I didn't say anything. I figured we would deal with the hazards when we saw them.
It was a long and winding down hill trail. There were a few benches strategically placed for the uphill battle. After following a ravine for what seemed like much more than a mile we heard a faint gurgle of water. Sort of like a leaky water faucet. There was a bridge over a nearly dry creek. And there was the hazard. The trail had washed out in a mudslide leaving a narrow ledge to walk and a good 60 foot drop through rotten logs and rocks to the creek bed far below. After much discussion we braved the bad section of trail holding hands as we edged across.
At last we heard rushing water.
The falls were nice. There was not a lot of water. It was a long walk, I could see how someone could say they did look remotely like the real Niagara Falls. Like, if you were looking at Niagara Falls from space, or from the wrong end of a telescope, or if you had only seen Niagara Falls in a photo, a really small photo. Sadie was having a good time and it was a nice walk.
I found a Coorslite can at the base of the falls. I'm not sure who would lug a six pack of Coors Light down that trail but someone obviously did. As my wife pointed out, it probably was not so heavy as it is "lite" beer.
The walk out was much harder than the walk in.
But we made it.
On the way out we missed our turn and ended up on Forest Service Road 1400. After a while all the trees look the same. The road looked well traveled so we went on for quite a way until we noticed our compass was reading WNW instead of SE as it should have. We looked at the map and had quite a discussion as to whether road 1400 was the same as road 14 which went to Hebo. In the end we turned around as we did not want to drive from Hebo down Hwy 18 on a Sunday afternoon. Way too much traffic.
We backtracked and found the little side road we missed and soon we were back to Bible Creek road, then Willamina Creek road. We avoided 18 and went home through Willamina and Sheridan. Along the way we stopped for a look at the Organic Peas I planted for the fellow with the distillery at Willamina. It looks more like Organic Bentgrass than an Organic Pea field. I guess i pretty well saw that one coming.
I feel better than I've felt in months. That 2 mile walk made me feel much better than taking a nap. Who would have thought. I may have to take up exercising.
So that was my birthday. Not a bad one.
I do miss my annual birthday party. The famous Daily Strumpet Birthday Bash, featuring the Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo players from Iowa. I miss our old house with the fire pit and the lilac trees. That was a fun party I think. But times change, people pass, it was not our house, whatever...
Tomorrow we chop silage!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Fall is here. We had our mid September rain. I woke up this morning to fog and a touch of drizzle. I'm thinking the Teff is pretty much ruined. I didn't have the heart to drive down and look at it. I just came back in for another cup of coffee after Sadie got on the bus. Wife fixed eggs and sausage so I had an excuse to sit down.
The ground I was farming is so dry I can probably start farming it right away. I am looking for a little sun to make the wild carrot residue a little dryer so it goes through the harrow. I need to go see a neighbor about a heavy roller.
I used the FarmerGPS program last night again. It works really well in daylight for laying out straight lands as I can use the GPS to get me lined up with the previous land and headed in a straight line. I still sight on a fence post or something at the end of the field and then keep one eye on the arrows to make sure I am straight.( You never want to use a cow for your line up mark as cows move. Sometimes it is hard to tell it is a cow, just looks like a little black dot.)
I find it hard to steer by an arrow in the dark. I am getting better. The GPS was a little hard to follow but it gets you close enough to tell that the mark in the field you are following is from your last pass and not just a random mark.
It also did not cost me $3500.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More farming less Amity Park

I made another pass over my custom farming field. Six hours to cover 50 acres with a 13ft harrow and 12 ft cultipacker. I have one more pass to go. I will probably have to make two to get it right. I only bid enough $$ to pay for four passes. I've done three already. However, it is costing less money than I thought so perhaps it will be fine. It takes me 40 to 50 gallons of diesel to cover the 50 acres and 6-7 hours to do it. Fuel consumption is around 7 gal per hour. Not as bad as I feared. Not as good as I had hoped for.
It rained today.
We didn't get the teff baled. I checked the weather repeatedly for the last week. I thought we had one more day of nice weather. The day started out warm but it the showers started about the time we were ready to rake.
I kind of think my hired man took off early yesterday. I check the moisture at 5:30 p.m. It was very close. There was a good east wind blowing and I told him to try baling again at 6:30 or 7 p.m. I think he finished picking up the bales and went home. The moisture tester was still hooked up and sitting on the fender in the rain.
Oh well. What is a couple thousand dollars lost on rained on hay?
There has got to be a better way to make a living.
Will someone just hand me a million bucks? I promise I won't waste all of it-at least not right away!

More of the Amity Park tree cutting Misadventure

Was looking for more info about the clever folks at the Amity city hall who decided to log the park.
Yes there is a city manager, and I think I'm right about the whole idea that the city manager went to a seminar on what parks should look like.
I found this letter to the editor in the NewsRegister.

And I extracted this quote from a letter to the editor by Gail Hult.

"Some 77 Douglas firs and three oaks will be cut down soon. As City Manager Layton explains, many may be diseased or are merely an expensive liability to the city."

There you have it. An expensive liability to the city.

There ain't much locals can do when the tree are cut down... City Managers are a pain in the butt. They have to create issues to justify their jobs. Looks like he outdid himself this time.

So how did it come to by the Dorothy M. Burns Memorial Park. Is this the Dorothy Burns who lived near my Grandparents?

Old timers who worked in the timber industry opine that the rest of the trees will now start to fall. The stand grew up together and is not strong enough to stand on its own once half the trees are gone. I really don't know. Of course neither does the city manager or mayor... I just admit I don't know!

More FarmerGPS

Last night I attempted to work ground in dust so thick I couldn't see where I was going. Fortunately I had by trusty FarmerGPS software running on my not so trusty old tablet PC-Fujitsu 3400.
I haven't been able to find a DC adapter for my Itroix GoBook TR300 and I lost the DC to 110 AC converter so I can run the regular power supply so I pretty much out of luck. My newer Fujitsu tablet with the big screen had an immediate hard drive failure.
So it is back to the old 3400.
I took on a 60 acre farming job. It turned out to be 48 acres with the GPS and one section of the field is full of wild carrot and it plugs up the cultipacker. I disked it all two times. I'm pulling the 914 cultipacker behind our old 14ft bush hog tandem disk. I need to borrow a cover crop disk but when it came down to actually borrowing one I decided I'd just make one more trip with our disk.
Last night I brought the harrow over and hooked on the disk. By the time I got everything hooked up it was dark. So I started the field using GPS. The first land was not too bad but I find it really difficult to follow the little arrow on the screen. After an hour or so I was so disorientated that I quit. I could tell if the harrow was plugging or what sort of a job I was doing. But, I did 10 acres so all was not lost.
We baled more of our Teff hay yesterday. The old Cunningham conditioner did a good job. The second field was still too wet. It looked ok and passed the twist test on top so Bill went ahead and put two windrows together. Usually they would dry out quickly when turned over but I think the rake picked up a lot of wet material. The moisture sensor in the baler read from 12 to 30 percent. When I probed a bale I would get lots of tests over 20 percent so we decided to quit and I went back to my custom farming job. Think we will run the conditioner over it again today. Seems to dry it out faster than the rake.
This is why we never throw anything away... Setting in the bushes for 20 years and we get the urge to use it again...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Amity is run by very clever people! Oh No! They logged the Amity City park!

I got a good chuckle out of our local paper this evening. The News Register is sort of a local joke anyway so I often get a grin out of it. It is pretty funny that it wins awards from time to time. The editor and publisher really think they put out a stellar product. But, if you ever know anything about the story they are covering you know that they got the story wrong, once again. No one really complains because what the paper prints is so irrelevant that there is no point to complain. Of course there is no competition. No one cares what happens in Amity. They sell no advertising in Amity. You won't see it written up in the Statesman Urinal
But, again I digress.
The Amity City council decided it was time to thin out the trees in the Amity City Park. This is pretty clever of them as the trees are the one feature that makes the Amity City Park interesting. There was a thick stand of Douglas Fir trees that must have all been planted at the same time. That is the feature of the park. Very tall, very old Douglas Fir trees. That and the last remaining good swing set in Yamhill county. That sucker must have been 30 feet tall. You could get incredible air with that swing set. So of course, last summer they took it down. This summer they are taking down the trees. They are doing this for a good reason. They have documents to prove that some of the trees are diseased and one did fall down during a major windstorm a couple years ago, and they need more parking so the tree have to go. (Of course they won't show the study to anyone.)
Right, they need more parking. Think about it. Who will go to a park with no trees and no swing set? Perhaps more skateboarders lured by the cement skate park and the occasional whiff of Chronic floating through the air-undiluted by the scent of fir boughs. Perhaps they can have the Amity Wine festival. This will fit well with the Amity Daffodil festival, the Amity ATV parade, and the Amity citywide garage sale. Those events really pull in the people.
Actually the one event that does bring in people is the Amity Pancake Feed. Of course there will be no trees to shade people in the July sun, BUT there will be more parking!
Of course no one figured out the trees were coming down till the tree fallers arrived, so there was much hoopla at the city council meeting. Who pays attention to Amity Council Meetings, unless they are going to raise the water rates! Of course they did not leave time for comments in their busy agenda, cause they already had a special meeting for comments, so when a 90 year old resident got up to speak they really told him off and made him sit down. Oh yeah! Way to be decisive Mr. Mayor. You put the rabble in the back seats where they belong. Someone has been to the Big Government Seminar on how to run a small town and get the people on your side!
Of course this is all the more funny because this is the Amity City council. What really important business does Amity have to discuss? Or rather, what did they screw up this time. This is the same city whose employees entered no invoices in the computer for a year because they were afraid of the Y2K crisis. (That would have not been so bad but they also didn't use a receipt book. No they just put the invoices in a shoe box...and stuffed the shoebox in a drawer! Y2K couldn't find it there!)
I'm fairly sure there are not real "bright lights" on the city council at this point either, as no one actually wants to run for Mayor or council member. Previous councils and city administrations have managed to get rid of all the old-timers who actually knew anything. So, now we have folks from the succeeding generations who know more than anyone else running things.
I am sure that Mr. H's ramble about trees in the park was pretty disruptive. Those feisty 90 year olds are notorious trouble-makers. His speech probable cut into time they had set aside to figure out how to get the words, "Wine country USA" along with a nice splotch of purple into the Amity City logo. Or perhaps how to use some stimulus money to beef up their famous speed trap. The famous speed trap which no one ever got around to sending in the tickets to the local court so no one actually had to pay the traffic fines.
Now the real story. Those tree are old. They are going to fall down someday. It is probably a good idea to cut them down before they start dropping on stoned skateboarders. Of course the people running the city of Amity are not smart enough to figure that out. No, they want to get rid of the trees because the park does not fit the city manager's idea of what a park should look like. Someone went to a seminar somewhere and came back with the idea that the park needed to be redone. So here they go...
And this is why I don't want the government to run healthcare. The country is run by morons, local, state, and federal morons. And of course they don't have a clue that they are morons. And they will probably arrest you if you try to explain that to them in a local council meeting-unless there is time allocated in the meeting adgenda for such a purpose...
I will leave you with the featured quote out of the article written by the total moron who writes for the News Register.
This is a quote from the one of the guys falling the trees:
"We don't want to mess anything up," he said.
Oh yeah! Put that in bold print and quotation marks. Way to make that fellow look like a genius Paul. I see another award in investigative journalism coming for you!
Sometimes I don't know if I shoud laugh for cry...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Making hay in Oregon-in September....

Our Teff crop is not what it should be. It was planted late. I think it was close to the first of June. It was after the triticale downed out and after our 2" of rain in 15 minute thunderstorm. I think it was as soon after the downpour as I could get on the field.
Teff is a tiny seed, sort of like a grain of sand. You only plant 3-5lbs per acre so it is a bit of a challenge to plant. I used the small seed attachment on my Great Plains 1500 drill. I had it stopped down almost as far as it would go.
Teff is an annual grass. People use the seed for flour. Ethiopian folks like it. It is an important part of their diet back home. It is hard to find teff flour here in the USA.
We have been growing it for hay. Our ground is so wet we usually have a couple fields which we can't get planted until late. The choice usually ends up being Teff, Barley, or Buckwheat. Sometimes I do some sorgum-sudan hydbrid for hay but it has such thick stems the horsey folks won't buy it.
The Teff has done ok in the past. The hard part is getting the field clean enough. Teff does not compete well with broadleaf weeds or wild millet. No chemicals are labeled for it so you have to make sure you have a good sprout and a good kill on that sprout before you plant. Last year we got two cuttings and ended up with a total of close to four ton to the acre. This year we planted so late our first cutting was just to control weeds. We are doing our second cutting right now. I think it is only going a ton per acre.
The color is good. We set the mower for a wide swath, then let it dry for two days. Then I raked it to get it off the wet ground. We raked it twice then pulled the old Cunningham Hay Conditioner over it. This fluffed it up and crushed the thick stems of the water grass and actually got the moisture content down to 14 percent. I baled two stacker loads with the trusty old Freeman Baler before the moisture shot up to 22 percent and the bales started exploding. I figure if you can get your fingers under the strings they ain't baled tight enough...
The bales look really nice. I have a few customers who really love the hay. Their horses go crazy over the stuff. I don't know if it is the hay or my secret hay preservative that does it however. Not sure I want to reveal the secret. Budd E. Shepherd's hay tonic and laxative! I would say it cures baldness but it has not helped me. I will say that people tell me that their animals turn up their noses at other folk's hay after having a sample of mine. Sort of crack for cows I might say...
But, I digress.
I had a cunning plan for this Teff field. I planted two rows of Teff and one row of fescue. The seed salesman really put the switcheroo to me on the fescue. I ended up with high endophyte fescue which is what I said I didn't want. Doesn't work for hay. But, it is destined to be a grass seed field. The Teff is not tolerant of frost. My idea was that we would water the Teff all summer and the fescue would get a good start. The Teff would kill with the first frost but the fescue would keep growing. Of course we had a very hot and dry summer and one pump failed so we couldn't keep up with the water. The last fescue plant I found had burnt down to about a quarter inch from the ground. Not so good.
I have one bag of seed left. I'm going to no-till fescue back in as soon as the Teff is off.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Today I'm preaching you a sermon

I'm supposed to be working on my devotion for Church. I have problems with my role as the sort of Sunday School superintendent, I'm not sure I'm really qualified. But, I've been doing it just about as long as I can remember so complaining now probably won't help.
We have changed lesson helps and no longer follow the International Sunday School Lessons. The international sunday school lesson deal a good idea. You could go to just about any Church any where and no what the Sunday School lesson was. If you actually studied your lesson the week before. How many people do that any more?
So, anyway. We have a new lesson quarterly and the lesson helps for teachers and the Sunday School Superintendent is kind of rambling and confusing.
Today's lesson is about wisdom. Now I'm finally getting to the point of my rant.
To quote from my devotion: (I lifted some of this from the lesson help, but I know Christian Light Publications won't sue me. They might come to me with another brother and ask me to stop, but they won't sue. Inside joke)

"James says in verse 13, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom.
If you are truly wise then it will show in your life. It will be shown by your lifestyle. Verse 17 gives us several characteristics of a wise man: pure motives, peaceable relations and actions, gentleness, an openness to other’s ideas, merciful and ready to forgive, plenty of goodness, a fairness toward and respect for everyone, and a life without pretense.
We can contrast that with the characteristics of the fool’s life: bitterness, envying, strife, refusing to accept the truth, confusion, and all kinds of evil works. The fool makes a big deal out of his supposed wisdom. He does not recognize it is only based on his selfish ideals. He does not realize that is only vanity."

Look at the characteristics of a wise man. Do you remember these guys from your youth? Where is the classic old-school Christian? The fellow who was level headed, who was really a good guy, who you did not feel comfortable telling an off color joke to. The fellow who you know never told a lie in his life.

I'm not that guy... I don't think I'll be that guy at 65. I see my father in that light, but not that many other folks.

And here is my pet peeve with Disney movies: "Follow your heart"
My heart has led me to some questionable situations. Perhaps I was not following my heart but rather, um-perhaps we will leave that alone..

We make decisions throughout our lives. There is no way to get around making decisions as even a lack of a decision represents a choice. What do we look to for guidance in our decisions? (pet peeve) Popular culture tells us to look to our heart. “You will find what you truly desire within your heart.”
There is the phrase from Disney.
I try to tell Sadie that we need to first fill our heart with the things of God. To build our conscience with the knowledge of God and what is right and wrong. Then we need to look to God, the Bible, and to a heart that is full of God’s word, then we can make a wise decision.
If only I can help her build that conscience correctly…

Now for those of you who don't believe in God and think religion is silly. I understand the mechanics of this who thing. Our "western civilization" is built upon Greek thought and influenced heavily by Christianity. These "legends" and beliefs give us a framework with which to understand our lives and the world around us. Sure, there may be a better way to teach the kid to do the right thing but I don't really know what it is. Somehow I hope she will find the faith of her grandparents and build a personal belief system that keeps her our of trouble and brings her personal satisfaction.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it...

Friday, September 11, 2009

My moment of fame is past

Only 10 visitors today. I am no longer famous.
Now I can go back to my old boring farming related posts.
Raked our Teff hay today. The Teff is not doing so hot this year. It just did not grow. Not sure the problem. Wish I knew a good soil consultant.
Have been getting ready to plant. I hooked up my eBay special Calc-an-acre SprayMate II so I can now have an automatic variable rate control for my liquid fertilizer on the GreatPlains 1500 no-till grain drill.
I also rebuilt my GPS computer. I found an Itronix ix300 rugged tablet computer used on eBay. I am upgrading to an actually halfway fast tablet. I'm thinking this will give me better guidance. The old Fujitsu 3400 would tend to get a little behind as the GPS unit was sending more info than the computer could process.
I have been using a program called FarmerGPS which runs on a PC and costs a lot less than a dedicated GPS unit.
I've manage to buy the tablet and GPS controller on eBay and save a huge amount of money. However, I've been hooking it all up myself so it is not quite a s pretty as it could be.
Then I suddenly ran out of money.
I decided to pay off the 2-155 white. I had one last payment which was due in December but I would save $400 in interest and get rid of the stress of that additonal payment. But then I had some unexpected bills. So I suddenly was broke. Had a little more stress then...
But, yesterday a fellow called me and wants me to work and plant some ground for him. So I today I went and checked out the field. Looks like a good job, hope he pays. Feast or famine is how it always seems to go.
First photo at the top of the page shows my very cluttered cab monitor system. Need to put the calc-an-acre and the spraymateII next to each other, the Loup drill monitor should go closer to the front so I don't have to turn my head so much to see it. The hydraulic speed control is the silver box and with a dial under the calc-an-acre. This controls the flow to the fertilizer pump. The little monitor screen is a car backup camera which is pointed at the drill level indicator as the fertilizer tank obscures my view from the cab.
The computer screen shows the FarmerGPS setup. You follow a line and there are arrows telling you to drive right or left. The little tractor arrow paints a map of where you have been. It has last pass, which guides you the width of the drill over from where you have just been on your last pass, and you can draw A-B lines to make straight rows. It works pretty good. I have wired up a magnet on the drill which trips a relay and puts the GPS, Spraymate, and Calcanacre on hold when the drill is raised.
It is a work in progress.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

If you are one of the 8500 people who visited....

I was going to post about hooking up my latest ebay find. A Spraymate II automatic rate controller to my Great Plains 1500 no-till drill but I forgot and left my camera in the pickup.
Then I scrolled to the bottom of the page to see how many people looked at my blog.
This morning there were 2500 hits in a year of publishing. 1000 of those were just me refreshing the page to watch the counter go up.
This evening there are 11,000 and some hits!
WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? What strange keyword did I accidently type that made me show up in what GOOGLE search?
I have nothing that compelling to say that 8500 people would want to look at my Blog in one day.
Will one of those accidental views please tell me what is going on?
I don't advertise, I don't promote The Lazy Farmer, I hardly ever tell anyone about this site. Just about gave me a heart attack. If only I were signed up for Google adsense.
I bet Collieguy has been promoting me at one of those get down and boogie fiddle parties they have!
(If 8000 people per day are going to read my ramblings, I'm going to have to start proof reading. Yikes!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First day of School

My daughter has had such a different school experience than I had. She likes school. She looked forward to her first day. For me, school was prison. I hated school, especially elementary school. She seems to be a happy friendly child. She generally likes people and is not terribly insecure. She is a bit shy but is also quite polite so people tend to reach out to her.
Of course this is my opinion because I am her dad. I think she is the best kid in the whole world...
I took her photo for her first day of school. She is standing on the porch with the white German Shepherd who is staying with us until the rain starts. Her name is Kivia.
I am not keeping Sadie home so she does not hear Obama's speech. I think those who don't want their kids to hear the now-infamous speech are a bit misguided. I worry every day about things my daughter hears at school. I really doubt Mr. O has hypno-eyes, or his speech is full of subliminal messages that will turn kids into instant Marxists-who will inform on their parents for owning guns or reading the Bible. I think a couple generations of earnest young teachers are already well on the way to doing that. Unless, the Obama speech contains the TRIGGER PHRASE! Oh no! I never thought of that. I had best be on my way to school to rescue her.
We need an educated and informed oposition. Not a superstitious one.
Hope her first day of school goes well!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Something that I don't know a lot about

I've become somewhat interested in the dairy industry as of late. Something I don't know a lot about. I was surprised to see/feel how the declining milk prices affect local ag sales. I found this link to a study discussing the economic impact of dairies.
I wish someone who knew about this sort of thing would comment, don't think I am that widely read. Perhaps I should go post a question on NewAgtalk.
I think the dairy industry is a good study in what is wrong with big farms and corporate farms.
I also think this dairy crisis will lead to more consolidation and bigger farms.
I don't understand the price supports that seem to lead to over production.
I see the economy of scale leading to the 1000 cow and above operations, but don't really see the motivation? Is it just meglamania or does the structure of the US market lead to huge operations.
I think the influx of illegal immigrants is a symptom of another problem not exactly the cause of the problem.
I think someone who is not a commie/marxist or an professional people exploiter should reach out to these immigrants.
I think many of these people are hard working and fairly conservative people. Many are extremely motivated. I wonder if a clever organizer could reach out to those who share our traditional values and are here for a better life and seperate them from the rabble and criminal element.
I know that our former employee is pretty much a regular guy, who wants his family to do well, grow up in a church, be productive citizens.
My opinion...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Dairy Crisis

I was looking at my links on the blog sidebar. I check out Gasoline Alley every day but have not looked at vdare for several months. The whole political situation just gets me depressed.
They were discussing immigration and the dairy crisis. The post had several interesting items and you click on the link and read the post.
I find it interesting that I often disagree with the whole argument, or perhaps I should say I find myself finding a different question.
The V-dare post seems to link dairy size to the crisis, and also illegal immigration. One reader wrote in and made a direct link, saying if dairies are going to get more money then they should hire Americans. More information indicated that dairies are getting bigger in areas such as California, New Mexico, and Idaho.
The problem is that you have a number of different things going on.
Yes, I think the dairies are too big, and yes they over produced.
The dairy industry is highly regulated as the production capacity can quickly outstrip demand.
But they have Mexican immigrants doing the labor because from what I have seen, the average immigrant works harder, does a better job, cares more about his job, commits fewer crimes and is not a Meth addict. The sort of American who will shovel crap, milk cows at 4 a.m., and not take drugs, just doesn't exist anymore. If you should find an American citizen who will do this kind of job you should check to see if he is just a little jittery, perhaps look for open sores that he picks at constantly, check out the teeth.
The argument is not about the availability of cheap illegal immigrants saving the dairies so much money that they can expand to 3000 cows. That is a totally separate issue. Now you can complain about 3000 cow dairies and big nurseries making a practice of hiring illegals, that is a valid point. But a 3000 cow dairy is not really a family operation, it is an industrial facility.
Then again, if it were not for very restrictive pollution laws, and petty and stupid government officials who enforce the laws, there would be a lot more small dairies near population centers and more of a local job market. When the small dairy goes away, the ambitious producers move to Idaho or New Mexico and as long as they are borrowing money to start all over, why not do it big time-and they do... Away from the population centers.
Then there are the price supports and the focus on exporting concentrated Milk products around the world and the US dollar and the world recession, so really there is no one answer to the dairy crisis.
I do know that losing our local 350 cow dairy has hurt our farm. We sold them hay, 2500 tons of silage, excess grain, straw, we chopped clover silage off of several local farms for him. It is really a shame.
Just shutting down the border will not fix the problem. You have to first recognize that there is a demand for this kind of labor. Then you have to overhaul the immigration process so that people can actually apply for a work permit or somehow actually be allow legally in the country. Then you can put more pressure on enforcing the borders and making sure those here illegally are kicked out. You can't fight the forces of supply and demand, by shutting off one or the other. It needs to be channeled and shaped.
But, we have morons running every aspect of this country and little hope for positive change. Every crisis is a chance for someone to make some money, gain some political clout, gain power. It ain't about you and I and no one really gives a crap about the average Mexican, sort of a new Colonialism but without the tempering influence of those who believed God called them to help the poor and suffering...

Change in the weather!

I should have been checking the barometer!
I woke up this morning to wind and rain. The big yellow cat and visiting dog seem to be a bit disturbed. The resident dog, Stanley, is not coming out of his house.
My wife and daughter went to Portland. Wife's good friend from college lives there and she has boys that are Sadie's age, so L. and S. went to Portland and spent the night. Have not hear from them this morning so I figure they are doing fine.
I am setting in the house with the drapes pulled and the lights off. I've had 5 cups of coffee so I pretty much awake and I'm listening to the rain.
This is the first real rain which probably signals the end of the summer.
We usually have pretty dry summers here and once the rain hits at the end of August or sometime in September then the cool weather is on the way. This would be fine but we do have 10 acres of triticale, 10 acres of clover, and 40 acres of hay to do. Oh, and one field of barley that I planted June 1st and we irrigated. It is still green...
I've been having some computer problems. My wife kind of laughed at me. She told me that is what I can expect when I buy cheap computers off of ebay.
My main problem is that I do not understand the Windows OS. For some reason, I can't remember where things are in Windows. It drives me crazy. I have been trying to set up a tablet computer for GPS in my tractor. I started with a Fujitsu 3400 tablet and windows 2000. However, it gets overwhelmed with the amount of info supplied by my Raven 220 GPS unit. (ebay $400) So, when I had money, I bought a Itronix ix300 GoBook. It came with this really cool camera attachment which I didn't want to remove, so I bought a HP TR3000 which is the same thing, but it came with no battery. I was having trouble getting one out of the two so I got frustrated and bought a Fujitsu tablet. The Fujitsu has a nice big screen and it is much faster.
So I loaded FarmerGPS, iTunes, bonjour wireless printing, and I thought I was set. It worked for like an hour. All of a sudden it just locked up. So, I restarted and now it can't find the hard drive. I emailed the place I bought it from thinking they might send me a system restore CD. They directed me to buy a warranty from Square Trade. That has proved to be a kind of a pain.
So, I went back to the iTronix. I put the battery out of the photo tablet in the HP tablet which has a hard drive loaded with programs. I installed FarmerGPS and got a new license key. It runs much faster but I have yet to try it in the tractor. The screen is smaller than the Fujitsu screen so I'm not real happy. I also have yet to find a DC adapter so it looks like I will have to run a 110 converter in the cab, which adds more clutter.
Last night I started to hook up my Micro-trak spraymate II to automatically control the fertilizer rate on my drill. I may have to buy a lower capacity flowmeter but everything else seems to hook up fine. I have to decide if I want to run the Micro-trak off my GPS or a magnet on the drill countershaft. I'm thinking I want the Micro-trak connected to the drill so I can easily change tractors. My Raven 220 is bolted to the roof so I can't really move it from tractor to tractor.
In other news I see Ed is back. I wanted to get into a huge political sort of rant but I just held my tongue. I may yet. Had a discussion with the local progressive the other day and it is kind of interesting...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yield Update on spring wheat

Last march I posted some photos of no-tilling into what was basically mud. I talked to the farmer the other night at a farm meeting and he told me he got over 110 bushel yield on this wheat. Pretty good for March planting, especially planting into such adverse conditions. The variety was Merrill spring wheat.
The above photos are of the wheat struggling to come up. I also found a photo of the nearly plugged up disk openers.
The fall wheat I planted for this fellow did even better. Some of it went 200 bushel. That is another story which we will not discuss at this point in time.
However I think it is safe to assume I will be planting for him again. This no-till planting is at times such a crap-shoot. This year we could have rain at the wrong time, slug and mice damage, I could set the drill wrong, who knows what could happen. Just random acts of failure. Oh well, that is life. Two more years and that drill is paid off!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sadie learns to drive

I posted most of this over at the Ed Winkle Blog-as I've been invited to guest his blog for him while he is on vacation.

I should have taken photos to document this major event her her life.

I think there is more to this story than just the driving which is what I wrote about at Hymark High Spots.

We got off to a bad start yesterday morning.

Wife is teaching school again this year. She left for work with a note and a list of chores for Sadie. I came in to check on S. and she was grumpy. I went over the list with her and she got mad at me. She told me she could read and she knew what to do. I asked her if she knew what to do then why was she setting a the table crying? That made things worse.

I really gave her a speech as we have been having some problems with anger management on her part.

First, I made her take deep slow breaths and calm down.

I told her she needed to take control of herself and her life and learn how to control her emotions. I told her there was a reason she was upset. She needed to figure out why she was angry and figure out how to change those feelings in to something useful.

She didn't know and then began sobbing.

I told her she needed to stop crying or she would have something to cry about.

She stopped.

I asked her if she had breakfast.


I asked her if she knew what to have for breakfast.

She said yes.

I said, you are tired, you didn't eat breakfast and you don't know what you want to do today.

First eat breakfast, as you eat, or after you eat go down this list of chores, figure out what to do to finish them. Then figure out what you want to do. You've got legos, a movie, books to read, and you can help me.

If I come back in and you are still setting her with no plan, no breakfast, and still crying-then I will have a plan for you.


Then I gave her a hug, said I loved her, and pointed out that when I was her age I had the same problems. I would get angry and frustrated and I still do. I said I had to come up with a plan to deal with these issues and I was telling her what worked for me.

She seemed ok, but I was afraid I had been to hard on her.

When I came in later she was happy. She did her chores and was watching a movie. She thought she would like to come with me for a while, so that is how we led into the driving thing.

I do not know what goes through her pretty little head but she seems to be a good girl.

I am sometimes hard on her when she does the wrong thing, but I always try to show her I am proud of her for doing something well.

So anyway, Yesterday I taught my daughter drive. I needed to move the mower from one end of the farm to the other. Sadie was hanging out with me as her Mom had to start teaching school yesterday.

I looked over at her and said, "You want to learn how to drive?"

She said "ok"

And that was that.

Now she has been setting on my lap and driving for a while. I run the pedals and she steers. A couple weeks ago she steered the swather when we were swathing wheat stubble, so I know she can steer.

I sat beside her and gave her some basic instructions. How to start the truck, how to stop the truck, we practiced slamming on the brakes if there was an emergency. We practiced looking both directions when turning onto a road. I didn't teach her to back up as I'm a forward looking person...Well, that was a bad joke, I didn't want to give her too much information.

Then I got out and let her go for a while. She had a 30 acre field to drive around in before we moved so I let her get the feel of things on her own. The truck is a 1990 Ford F250 4wd with an automatic. I put the transfer case in low so it started out easier and top speed was limited, but I really didn't need to. She is a careful driver.

She was ready when it was time to move. She drove right down the farm road with no problems. At the next field I let her drive some more. It was kind of funny to watch her from a distance. She started and stopped and drove in circles. I could tell she was being careful.

We agreed to keep this whole driving thing low key but she was so proud of herself we had to tell Mom. We broke it too her slowly. To our surprise Mom was cool with it all. We did explain the practice sessions in the big fields, how careful we were, and that the truck was in low range.

Just the same, when it was time for supper, I was very surprised to see my white truck driving slowly down the road. Sadie had driven clean to the other side of the farm, navigating through a mudhole, down a steep hill, and through several turns with deep ditches beside them, all with no problems.

I told her she did a good job. I think the girl must have grown a foot. She is 8 years old.

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