The Useful Duck!

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Monday, February 1, 2010


What a day. My new wireless rain gauge says we have over a half inch of rain. Beats the heck out of me, cause it doesn't say 1/2 or 3/4 or 21/64 anything easily understandable. It reads out some decimal system number. At least it doesn't read out in commie numbers. Everyone knows the commies are behind the metric system. Well, also the Nazi's and those degenerate French people. Well, and the rest of the world perhaps... But I still hate it.
This tractor collector friend showed up to get an old dodge pickup. A '53 or something. It was not in such good shape as it once was. Instead of cash he brought a pile of Minneapolis-Moline parts that are still in their original boxes. He bought the stock out of a closed dealership a while back. He got in ahead of the auctioneer and got the "good" stuff. He then scrapped the starters and generators. That was probably the only stuff worth a lot of money and easy to sell. This is what is left. I was not in a happy place anyway. My brother had too big a load on his truck and left me 500lbs of wheat screenings in a big bag when he left for Washington at 2 a.m.  It started raining at 5 a.m. This would not have been a real big problem but the M-5 would not start. I put another bag over the bag of screenings. I tried to put diesel in the M-5 but the pump on the bulk tank in my pickup died. We had to sort of short the wires to get it to work. Then the tractor would not start, not even with 1/2 or perhaps I should say .5 of a can of ether.
Then Mike showed up. I did not have to help him load. I did make a couple sarcastic comments about trading scrap for scrap only his was boxed up. That got me a lecture about the fortune in MM and Avery parts that I could make selling bearings and small bolts on ebay. Yup...
Then he wanted to go to lunch. I got him to fix the governor on my Z while he was there. I told him he was very smart and I was not and as a friend he could help me and fix it. My tactic worked.
We gave up on the M-5 and I started the 110 generator and hooked it to the block heater on the tractor. Mike wrapped more plastic around the screenings bag and we went to lunch.
I now have to go and help Crazy Mark put the engine in my pickup so I will pause in my narrative.
I meant to rant but there was too much set up to my rant and I lost my sense of frustration. Plus, I've been in the bathroom for a long time and my daughter needs to use it next.
Items I will cover in the next post.
1. The old guys in the cafe singing country western songs and talking about the carter family
2. The elaborate system of buckets and gutters above my dads office that keeps the rain off his desk.
3. The discovery that my Jotul stove is kind of a piece of crap
4. What strange stuff will happen as I help Crazy Mark with the engine.

2 hours later....
I did not have to go install the engine. Something came up and Mark didn't get quite ready. Perhaps tomorrow.
Anyway... We were in the cafe and the old fellows at the counter were talking. There was the fellow who runs the antique store. He is famous for getting a loading zone in front of his store, then parking a POS old van in front of this store with a sticker that says, "If it ain't in the King James it ain't in the Bible," or something like that. I think he may also drink a lot. The other fellow is a big old guy who is quite the story teller. He is one of those old guys that was once a secret agent or sniper or some sort of super hero but has now retired and can tell stories. They were discussing the Carter family and A.J. Carter and what songs were sung by whom. They even sang a few verses to each other. Then Ernie came in. Mr. E was carrying his coffee mug. The ratio of booze to coffee is pretty high. I stay clear of him when I see him with his little pickup, although I think he may just carry it around and talk about it. I'm not sure he drinks it. Mr. E sang a couple songs as well. Sounded like "Wildwood Flowers" but then don't they all. When we went up to pay he even made up a little song for us. Much hilarity was involved.
Meanwhile back at the farm...
Mike said he was praying for me and encouraged me to spend time in devotions and prayer every morning. He said he could not list things on ebay as he could not read that well. He taught himself to read about 10 years ago. He is pretty close to 60 years of age right now. He also encouraged me to tithe regularly. Then he told me a dirty joke.
He is a pretty good guy. He has some problems. He really works at his faith. When he doesn't he tends to get in fights. So, I did have to explain to the others with me that the dirty jokes were not really hypocritical, as you should have met him before he was a Christian. There was a difference! I kid you not!
About this time a neighbor came after some hay. Got rid of a pile that was in the way. We moved the tractor and drill over to the neighbor's shop to work on. When we got back there was a crisis.
There was a lake in dad's office. The roof was leaking and dripping into his banking drawer. I shut the door. He was on a very shakey ladder above his office emptying buckets.
Dad's office is built under a tall shed. The shed is attached to the shop. My uncle rents the shop for his business. When they put a new roof on the shop they would not put a new roof on the section over dad's office. Dad either didn't have the money or was too cheap to replace that section of the roof. When they put a new roof on the shop they were also too cheap to fix the junction between the tall shop and the lower attached buildings. Those buildings were moved to the farm in 1942 from the previous farm. The whole building set up is pretty much crap. The uncle just fixed the leak between the two buildings by hiring a local contractor to install a gutter inside the shop to catch the leaks between the two buildings and run them outside the shop. The contractor kept up a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing. I need to get some photos.
Above dad's office there is a maze of five gallon buckets and surplus plastic gutters hanging from the rafters. The roof is aluminum and over the past 50 years the expansion and contraction of the metal has elongated the nail holes. The rain runs down along the rafters into a system of buckets and gutters. There is even a plastic tarp which collects water which then spills over and comes into Dad's office in a deluge. There was much fussing and mucking about in the office. My aunt was cleaning the store and so of course she was involved. There was a lot of talk about the roof. I find it kind of amusing as it is there own damn fault. The whole thing is pathetic and is just one more in a whole string of jobs that need to be done.
Dad was pretty happy that I emptied the bucket. The ceiling was still dripping a bit but it was manageable. What he didn't understand is how the water was getting in his bank draw. Oh for pity sakes! he exclaimed. He was quite worried about it. I should have told him that I had closed the drawer earlier. These things will come back to haunt me I'm sure. I think that one day I may be 91 years of age.
Then we worked on the stove. There is a reason you can buy a $3,000 stove for a few hundred dollars. For one thing it is kind of a piece of crap. There is no science involved in this stove. It is a cast iron box. I do not see how there is even a good air flow around the inside of the firebox.  The exit vent is blocked by the catalyst. There is a damper control. But, I can't find a fresh air inlet control. The stove was supposed to be approved for a mobile home but there is no external adapter for fresh air. The damper control was froze solid. One leg had a broken screw. The screws that hold the lid on are broken off. The screws were metric but will soon be tapped out to 1/4" fine thread. I did expect more from a Jotul.  I'm afraid it will smoke badly if I shut down the vent at night.  I need to do a bit more research on this subject.
So that is my story for today.
Sometimes I wonder what I should be when I grow up...
We did get the M-5 started and the feed put away.


  1. Curious to hear why you don't like your Jotul.

  2. I now finished my post so you can read up above. I may not be making a good judgment about the stove. There is a lot of cast iron in the stove. I just don't see how it could draw well. The wood sets right down on the bottom of the stove. There is a double cast iron wall to the stove but the double wall only goes partway up the side of the fire box. I can't tell if there is a double wall in the bottom of the firebox. I don't see how you get the incoming air to the fire as it appears it is not really routed in such a way as to give a good draft to the fire. I must be missing something.

  3. It's been many years since I worked in the local stove and fireplace shop. Catalitic convertors for stoves were just a nasty threat on the horizon at the time. Like automobiles, they may have been environmentally improved to the point of worthlessness.

  4. Oh it is not that bad a stove. I just expected more I guess. I don't think catalyst stoves are good.


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