The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Decoration day and we make lego movies

We decorated the graves today. Wife and S. and I went to the cemetery today and put flowers on the ancestors. Both sets of my Grandparents are there, Mom, and my great Uncle and Aunt. Since the roses we used were most likely planted by the Great Aunt we made sure we took care of them as well.
The great uncle cured me of smoking when I was but a wee lad of less than three feet in height. I was in the store running my hands over the top of the old nail counter. I liked the feel of the old wood. I also happened to find one of Uncle Milton's old cigars. He did not smoke them so much as he chewed them. There is nothing more disgusting than a half chewed stogie. I think I am traumatized to this very day. He always pretty much scared me anyway. He would set in his old swivel chair in the store and I would never know if I would be in trouble or if he would give me a candy bar. Mostly I remember he used to wet his pants and he wore striped overalls and what I think is called a panama hat. He drove a 1952 Pontiac and he was a character. I like Grandpa a lot better. He was always pretty grumpy and he wore blue overalls. Grandma would send me down in the dark basement to raid Grandpa's supply of crackerjack prizes.
The Grandparents on Mom's side lived longer and I knew them better. I used to ride the schoolbus to Grandma's house after school. I would sit on her lap and help her cut out quilt squares and she would help me with my spelling words. Grandpa was quiet and stern, but he would play jokes on me. After school I would go into Grandma's bedroom and listen to the radio. It was an old tube radio and you had to wait for the tubes to warm up. I still have it. I listened to Stories of Great Christians at 4 p.m. and then spin the dial down to 55 a.m. to listen to Children's Theatre on KOAC AM Corvallis. Walt LaBonte and Bob Roberts would read children's stories till 5 p.m.
Sadie left Roses on Mom's grave as well. Then we walked around and looked at dead baby graves. S. likes to do that.
Back at the farm... S. decided she wanted to make a movie. Her cousin made one and a kid as school made one. I guess there is a Lego program to make movies. We used my Fuji camera and iMovie. We set the camera on a tripod and moved lego people one photo at a time. We made two movies. The plot line is pretty simple, lego person gets hit by a bus...

Movie night at the great white barn which is right across the road from our house...

If you are wondering what this black mass on your screen is... We are watching farmer Alfalfa on the side of a giant hay shed.

We watched several block-busters tonight, Winter on the Farm, Woodie Woodpecker, "The Piano Tuner," Mr. Mago, "Three-ring Magoo," we saw the UniRoyal thrill drivers drive on two wheels and A farm implement by International Harvestor Co. The IH one was pretty cool with the early 1970's farm equipment. Mr. Magoo was pretty dumb, Farmer Alfalfa and Woody Woodpecker are very worthwhile.
A good time was had by all! And the kids helped me set up and carry out the movies and hook up the speaker and clean the chairs, so that worked very nicely!

Friday, May 28, 2010

We are supposed to chop this?

This is what grass looks like that will yield 18 ton to the acre of silage! It is chest high on me and I'm 6ft tall. Yikes! We have a 30 year old New Holland 890 silage chopper! I felt better when we had four 890's and two 892's setting in the weeds. Sure they didn't run, but I felt like I had a back-up. Now that I've scrapped them all I feel less secure... Sometimes I wonder if buying a 12ft disk mower was such a good idea?
We are probably a good week away from chopping it. It is very very wet. The sort of boggy field that feels like jello when you jump down from the tractor...

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I overhauled a baler this week. I had to crawl into the bale chamber and adjust the face places on the plunger and adjust the knife. It was a tighter fit than it was a decade ago. I don't like it. Makes me tense. We are going to bale some two tie 16x18" bales this year. I don't know if it is a good idea but we have to sell some hay-somehow.
I've got some 140 acres of what used to be my own farm to do and the main farm has another 75 acres and it is all going to be ready at once. When it stops raining here it will not rain again until September, except perhaps around the 4th of July.
Instead of doing something useful and rebuilding the hydraulic cylinders on the tension control, I fixed the bale stroke counter. I did a very nice job of making a mounting bracket. Note the nice pattern of holes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I chop silage and listen to NPR

We chopped 17 loads of clover silage today. It was a tad on the damp side so we used a dump box behind the 2-135 until it blew a seal and sprayed a fine mist of hydraulic oil all over the International truck. It also filled the hydraulic system with milky watery oil so that will be 30 gallons for the neighbor's shop furnace. Bill swore it was just ice cream but I knew the truth. (Punchline to a really bad joke thrown in just for my personal sense of humor-Joke involves a penguin and a car repair at the Walrus auto repair shop)
I called up a neighbor and we went with two trucks and just the box on the back of the chopper. The fields were narrow and triangular and it was a pain in the butt. They cut them with a swather and then raked the clover. It left a lot of piles that tended to jam up the chopper header. We cut the one field next to a rich fellow's house. His house is huge and kind of ugly. He has a nice driveway. I accidently blew silage all over the road. I saw that the young fellow whose field it was, spent a half hour cleaning off the driveway. He is a nice guy.
I got a laugh out of NPR. The morons who run the government are talking tough with BP over the oil spill. The one dumb arse who is the head of the EPA or whatever, said something about having his boot on BP's neck. A nice fascist reference there... The spokesman for BP said that if the government thought they could do a better job then BP would certainly step aside. Then the head of the Coast Guard said how much they depend on BP and called it all a partnership.
Pretty funny. Our government truly is impotent. BP knows it. Obama can't even get Louisiana oil booms or make a decision on putting up sand berms to stop the oil. Like Obama could call on an American oil company like ARCO to help-oops BP bought them a while back. Perhaps he could launch a strike force on some brown skinned people, then get the wrong house, then prosecute some soldiers for doing their job, then torture some people and try to cover it up. Morons, morons, and more morons. They should have more women running things. That would make it a kinder and gentler world. A lot more rational and less paranoid as well...
EDIT: The above paragraph contained sarcasm...
I did see a DC-3 fly over. They are beautiful planes. Reminds one of a time when America was a better place. Built things, invented things, did things...won a war or two...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My wife and I try semi-fine dining!

My lovely and gracious wife and I went out to dinner Saturday night. Sadie is at her Aunt's house. So it was just the two of us. We started out to help one my wife's friends from work who was hosting a progressive dinner but who didn't think she would be back from a baseball playoff in time. We were going to get things started for her.
But, we got a call that she had returned, just about when we were walking to the car. My wife did feel that she should go to the musical which some of her students were involved in.
Because I am somewhat of an insincere person I suggested that we go out to dinner and then comeback for the end of the musical. That way we would not have to set through the usual somewhat painful high school drama production but could still congratulate the kids, who would have no idea we were not there for the whole thing.
Once in town we realized that we no longer know any restaurants other than a couple Chinese places that have been in Salem for 40 years.
Now I will admit that I am cheap. I see it as being frugal and often completely broke.
Our dinner out when Sadie is away is a sneaky trip to the bar (The Deluxe or the Blue Moon, can't remember the name!) on 3rd Street in McMinnville that advertises 2 steaks for $20. I always look both ways before entering this den of iniquity as I hate to be a stumbling block for anyone who has set their expectations too high in regards to my character, but the siren song of a cheap steak and a cough-syrup-like bourbon and coke is my weakness.
So our understanding of fine dining in the area is a bit lacking.
We decided to try the Copper Kettle, which I think used to be the Night Deposit which is across from what used to be the Ladd and Bush bank but is now the Key bank. The Tikki Resturant and Lounge is also long gone. The steaks at that place were wonderful and the decor was amazing fake polynesian. I think there was even leather padding on the bar.
The Copper Kettle was ok but was obviously a bar and at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night was just waiting for all the trend hipsters of Salem to slouch by. We had a couple appetizers and dropped a $20 pretty fast.
We decided to walk around and see the sites. I see the old adult bookstore next door is now an "alternative" store. I really don't know what that would be. There was a girl with bad posture and uncomfortable looking piercings leaning against the door post. I'm sure she thought she was quite the individual, quite possibly she invented angst. She certainly had the uniform down to a "t." Perhaps the "alternative" store sells those black uniforms that the "angst" ridden youth like to wear. In the old days you had to scour Value Village and Goodwill, but once stop shopping for the uniform would be good. You could buy a dog-collar and black fingernail polish all in the same store. I bet they even have mirrors so you can practice looking bored.
We noticed a lot of wallet chains.
I certainly would not want to try and make a living as a pick-pocket in Salem. Although the wallet chains are so long that you could probably steal the wallet, pilfer the cards and cash, and be long gone by the time the hipster hit the end of the chain.
We wondered down by the Elsinore Theatre. The one remaining old time theater in Salem. The Oak BBQ pit cafeteria across from the theater is long gone. But, we discovered Jonathon's (since 1973), which I think used to be Jonathon's Oyster bar on State Street and it was next to Shoegrens Stereo and the Metropolitan and a big bookstore but I'm a bit fuzzy on it all. Now it is on High Street I think.
I looked it up through Google this morning and I got all sorts of bad reviews. I had none of that in my head when we decided to give it a try. All I remembered is that it seemed out of place, but it had been in Salem for years so I must be wrong. Perhaps they just redecorated. I had good solid traditional American restaurant food in my head. You know, a baked potatoe or rice pilaf with every entree, and a pitcher of water at every table.
So we went in.
Interesting ambience I guess I would say. Very high ceilings with new paint and a very old industrial tiled floor, white and institutional green tiles, and walls of a color which I can't identify. Perhaps a dark blue or purple or something modern. There were a couple harpoons on the wall and some long oars and photos of sailing ships on the walls. I bet they had some meaning. Now I understand they came from the Old restaurant location, but since I was confused I just thought they gave it a paint job.
They were very busy as there was a large group in a meeting room upstairs. The waitress was very nice and kept checking on us to make sure we were happy and to let us know they were running slow.
I ordered the 8 oz sirloin steak as it was under $20 and I am cheap. I really hate to pay over $10 for fish and chips as the old Skipper's restaurants always made it better for $7.50 and kind of ruined me on the gourmet angle.
The lovely wife ordered the seafood stew. We debated several cajun dishes and the merits of clam chowder but in waitress said the stew was good so she went with it.
My dinner came with soup and I opted for the seafood soup of the moment. It was a chowder base with a bit of a dijon flavoring. It was thick and had chunks of potatoe and chewy seafood in it and was quite good. The bread basket was pretty small but the bread was tasty.
My steak and her huge bowl of soup came at the same time. Her seafood stew (I can't remember what they called it on the menu) smelled delicious. It had scallops, shrimp, clams, and a chunk of fish, with some fancy bread (she knew what it was called) to soak it all up. The soup base contained a lot of tomatoes which seemed to kind of not go with the rest of the contents but that was not the case. It was delicious. It had somewhat of a cajun spicy flavor.
Here my culinary vocabulary fails me as I am in no way a restaurant critic and I guess it doesn't really matter as how many of you are planning on a trip from the midwest to Salem, Oregon to sample the city's dubious culinary delights? Shall we say it was delicious?
My steak was quite a treat. I knew I was in for a good meal when the waitress brought me a bowl of sour cream, butter, and real chunks of bacon for my baked potatoe.
Now, I was a bit hesitant as I ordered a medium steak and I thought I heard just a bit of a startled moo as I cut into the inch and a half think blackened hunk of beef flesh. I was grateful no blood spurted into my eye as that really ruins my meal.
The steak was a masterpiece. It was blackened and salty on the outside and pink and juicy on the inside. It sliced up nicely with my knife, and was hot all the way through. That is a huge plus for me. The bonus was that I could even chew it! In fact it came as close to melting in my mouth as a chunk of animal flesh could do.
The baked potatoe could have been baked a bit longer and it came with the obligatorily  side of almost cooked skinny beans and carrots but no one eats those anyway so I ignored them.
I have been laughed at for my insistence on a well cooked steak but looking at potatoe bits turning red from blood just makes me want to hurl. So, perhaps the dim lighting enhanced my dining experience. I did not take advantage of the nifty little LED flashlight provided at each booth and perhaps that was a good thing.
The bill came in a $51 which was not so bad considering a couple extras which we had to go along with the meal. We passed on the carrot cake dessert as it just reminded me of too many farm co-op sponsored dinners Holiday Inns.
We are thinking of returning with Sadie so she can experience a dress up type dinner. Plus, they have steamer clams and she loves steamers.
We discussed our dinner this morning and concluded that it was a success. We spent $70 but it was good food. We had a nice walk about town and we think we caught one of her students attempting to buy beer at a 7-11. Sooo, a good time was had by all. I even had time to work on my devotion for Sunday School.
I think I am getting old...

Friday, May 21, 2010

The beans don't look so good...

It poured down rain today. I went and looked at our 4.5 acres of soybeans. Most are sprouted and all are in mud. Some are under water. It rained so hard it washed the loose soil off the top of the no-tilled beans. I'm not sure this will be a successful venture... Perhaps this is why people don't grow soybeans in Oregon... The corn I planted is coming up and it is turning yellow. Too we and too cold...
In other important news, I shot three starlings off the roof with the trusty 10-22. The barrel moves around as the gun warms up. It is that cheap machine-gun looking plastic stock. I have to figure out how to stabilize the barrel in the stock. There is no barrel clamp and there is a 16th of an inch gap between the bottom of the barrel and the stock. There is a barrel guard and piticanny (sp?) mount over the top of the barrel which sort of holds it in place. I'm sure I could hang all sorts of SWAT team looking crap off the side of this gun. All I really want to do is kill tin cans and starlings and rats. I like to shoot rats.
But, I digress,
When the gun is cold it shoots low and when it warms up it shoots right on. I know this because it took me six shots (or so) to hit 3 starlings. 
My motto is, "if you can't shoot straight-shot often!"
The worst starling shooting experience I have had was a couple years ago when I shot one off the electric wire and somehow I hit it in the head. It gripped the wire with it's feet and hung upside down and bled out all over Aunt Elsie's car. The retired neighbor fellow got the blame for that one and I let him take it. It was pretty funny... Right down the wind shield. I guess you would have had to have been there for that coffee break!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rained out

We started chopping clover silage yesterday and then it rained. After two trucks got stuck I decided to quit. It was a mess.
I should have set up the chopping for Saturday but I didn't. I wanted to finish planting our empty 40 acres and I didn't want to run on Sunday. This is the first field of the year and you always have problems. So...I lobbied for Monday and the farmer whose silage we are chopping and the dairyfellow who is buying the silage actually listened to me. Sooooo... Saturday I actually checked the weather forecast and it didn't looks so good. But, the field was already swathed, or so I thought. Monday was a bit dreary but we moved over and chopped one load. It was really wet so we opted to wait a couple hours. I moved the tractor home and planted some more. We never got back to chop.
Tuesday morning we started at 8:30 or so. Once it started working (it was still a little wet) I called a couple friends and got two more trucks. We really got moving and put out 5 10-14 ton loads before the rain hit at 11:30 a.m. We finished loading two more trucks after that but they were only part loads. I was using the dump box hooked behind the chopper to pick up the wet sections and narrow parts where it was hard to run a truck along side. I was planning to drop the box and chop directly in the trucks as three tandem axle trucks keeps my little chopper pretty busy.
While we were discussing what to do next, a little field mouse crawled out from under the fuel tank and started running around on the hood. I should have tossed him in the chopper. I don't need mice under the dash of my White. This may explain why my lights are not working properly. I took his photo.
This truck weighed 52,000lbs. While it is true that it is a heavy truck, wet silage makes a heavy load...

-The Lazy Farmer (252) has passed up Asian Porn DVD (247) in referrals to The Eye of Polyphemus. Truth and beauty have triumphed once again! The Lazy Farmer fans have squeezed aside Naked Boobies! Hmm, that didn't sound right...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another day in Paradise...

Today we started chopping silage. Sort of a poor start I might add. It rained last night so the clover was so wet water was running out the bottom of the dumpbox. The reason I knew water was running out the bottom of the dumpbox was that the bottom split open and I thought it was going to drop 7 tonnes of silage on the ground.
I opened the field which put a load on the old International truck. Then I went back home and planted 4 more acres of barley. So you could say I barely planted barley. That would be a very confusing sentence if you were dyslexic.
This is a continuation of yesterday's barley planting adventure. I have had a lot of problems no-tilling the heavy clay river bottom soils late in the spring. They crack and dry out really bad. So, I had my faithful employee disk at an angle and then I planted across the angle with the Great Plains no-till drill. The drill worked the ground up very nicely. Unfortunantly I caught up to the little M670 rather quickly. So, I did a test plot as I wanted to get done planting.
Then we installed the new $345 turbo on the White 2-135. It even rain!
This morning I took the 2-155 and chopper down the road to chop clover for a neighbor.
At coffee time we discussed the Russians turning loose the pirates. See the link to Hyphenated American. I have opinions.
Now I think I shall go to bed. Am feeling a bit depressed for various reasons but I don't really have the energy to share... Look, the bottom is busting out of the dump box! Oh no!

I am linked to by Eye of Polyphemus and I send him referrals

Sometimes I get linked to by The Eye of Polyphemus. I don't always understand why he thinks the posts he links to are "link-worthy." The most recent link was to a photo of a tree and the second installment of my planting on a very steep hill.
Mr. Jeffords has a list which ranks the sites that send referrals to him. The Lazy Farmer has sent 242  referrals and I am listed right below Asian Porn DVD website who has sent 247 referrals.
Don't click on the Asian Porn DVD link unless you want to look at BOOBIES! I don't think it is any kind of joke. I clicked and there were BOOBIES!!!.
So...What is the deal? I guess I should have spent more time investigating but BOOBIES distract me and since I was setting and watching Rick Steves with the family I left the BOOBIE site as soon as possible. How do you get referrals from Asian Porn DVD? Would you want referrals from the aforementioned site? Do porn viewers really go for conservative commentary on science fiction? Do the same folks that watch Dr. Who also love Asian girls with naked BOOBIES?
And... 242 people have gone from The Lazy Farmer to The Eye of Polyphemus.  I guess I should be proud! Please continue going to Eye of Polyphemus. I would really like to get up there ahead of the naked asians!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Take your daughter to work day at the farm

I hate building sickles. Sadie wanted to make some money to buy legos. So, she learned how to use an air wrench and how to make sickles. Some day soon it will be time to swath Meadow Foxtail, then annual ryegrass and fescue and then it will be time to combine and then time to bale and then chop silage again and then plant and then worry about going broke and there will be rain and snow and I can sleep in my chair.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Some things look better wet! I'm talking about old motorcycles...

I took my old Triumph for a ride today. It has been setting in the shed for a year or so. I put a little gas in it. I checked the oil level and it was ok. I took the slack out of the kickstarter and I did this kind of funny weight transfer thing to kick the engine over as hard and as fast as I could. You don't really kick it over, you stand on the kick starter and use your body weight to roll the engine over, you don't really have to be that heavy or that strong to get it to work, you just have to figure out how to do it. It is not really explainable. It took about five good hard weight transfers to spin it over fast enough to overcome a totally dead battery but it fired right up. There is a little bit of smoke from one cylinder but it went away as the engine warmed up. I quickly brushed the dirt and oil off the pipes so they would not loose their nice shade of blue. I suppose that is kind of a waste as there are a few rust spots through the chrome at this point in time.
I pulled the cap off the oil tank and held my finger over the bypass return. This ensure oil flow to the top of the valve covers. The oil looked very clean. I should have changed it but I didn't have any 30 weight nearby.
I pushed it as fast as I could and then jumped on and pulled in the clutch. The clutch always sticks for the first few times you start it. I mashed it into second gear and held down the brake till the clutch released. I gave it a spin past the neighbor's house. It really has a neat sound to it.
Then I washed it.

There was a pretty thick film of WD-40 over everything but it came off and the old bike looked pretty good wet. I took it for a bit of a longer ride. Went past the fellow who gardens in his speedos. He is an older fellow who loves to ride cafe racer type superbikes. He was out in the garden but was fully dressed. I guess it is not speedo weather yet. I thought his head was going to swivel completely around as he tried to figure out what old motorcycle was going by. Kind of funny.
I really should either fix it up or sell it. It is a 1970 Trophy. This is a single down tube frame model. Has a single 26mm Amal carb and a 4spd transmission. It has the amp gauge headlight and the speedometer and tachometer instruments. It is not a very accurate restoration. I bought it at the DJ's Motorcycle swapmeet years ago. It needed some finish work... It has always been a very nice running motorcycle.
It needs- gear oil change, motor oil change, new points, plug, battery, new tires, new brakes, swing arm bushings redone, and a coat of paint. The seat is in good shape. The speedometer is dead.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I plant 4.1 acres of corn and am frustrated

Yesterday I attempted to finish our 30 acres or so of unplanted ground. I needed to do around five acres of corn for the duck hunters and which we intend to combine as a test plot. Then plant three bags of soybeans as a test plot. Plant a few acres of barley. Plant 10 acres of Teff for hay. Figure out what to do with the other 10 acres that is full of poroso millet which will plug up the harrow if I disk it. The seed company wants swan oats in the worst way and would take a 10 acre planting. But, it needs to be certified and the field had triticale and barley in it. I do not want to plow as the ground is a little wet and I would loose the moisture and make golfball sized clods that would never go away. If I no-till I will also loose the moisture. It needs to go into corn.
I strip-tilled five acres Thursday. I had to borrow our strip-tiller back from the neighbor who needed it Friday. It needed to be gone over twice. But, I was in a hurry... By the time I got fertilizer, the planter, then I thought about putting some early sweet corn in, and I had to go to town for seed, and then I had to cash a check so I could make my drill payment, (not the drill cart-just the drill).... We were also trying to finish up spreading fertilizer. There was about 35 acres of grass that has finally dried out enough to get on. Part of it was fertilized earlier and it is not showing green yet, so we put a bit more on. We had to use the 2-155 as the spare M670 had a pto failure. So....
I didn't get to plant corn till 6 p.m. The wet ground had turned cloddy and the seed was not getting covered. The low seed alarm keeps going off on the rough ground. I was too cheap to buy 2 lbs of sweet corn seed at $20 a lb or Ambrosia so I just had a little bit of seed. The white air planter does not like to plant 1/2 lb of seed per row. I put seed into two outside rows and I thought this would give me 4 rows. I of course miss-judged when to turn around and ran out of seed. So, it will probably cross-polinated with the field corn. I also did not change plates so there are lots of skips and doubles. I did mark the rows by dribbling in some gaint sunflowers. Of course no one will actually remember that there is sweet corn there... And the rest of the 40 acre field will be a later variety of sweet corn so I guess it doesn't really matter.
The rest of the grain corn planting was pretty much a bust. I couldn't get the seed covered. The alarm kept going off. I ran out of fertilizer with 1 acre left...
I went home and we have visitors. My wife's sister and family are here to help "organize" the storage trailer. Another job I failed to do. They were watching Avatar at high volume. Someone attempted to make popcorn. Our convection oven/microwave shuts down if you make popcorn. It has done this for the past three years. Just the same, I guess you have to try it again! Hey, circuit breakers reset themselves right? So I went and took my shower. Came back to a dead microwave, but no popcorn in the microwave. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. It was kind of funny. I opened the door and let if cool down, then I made my nachos and watched Avatar.
Lots of computer graphics, humans are kind of bad, special effects are great, machine guns can be taken out with really good bows and arrows, if we all work together it is wonderful, nature is better than tech, there was a minor crisis, a major crisis-with a questioning of identity, followed by the main charactors putting on a show then another huge car chase, some charactor growth, and an improbable conclusion and charactor growth and the important message to accept those who are different.
More incredible creativity from people who still can't get over being made fun of in high school.
I am trying to teach my daughter to understand the system. I had one small success last night.
She was sleeping on the couch as her aunt and cousin had her room. She thought she needed a pillow and tried to ask for one. She was completely missunderstood and much dialogue ensued with no attention paid to what she was trying to saw.
In the middle of it she came over to me and said that they really didn't know what she was trying to say but she was just going to let it go. She was laughing. She was just going to take care of it herself.

rule # 5: If you know you are right, do you have to explain it to everyone else?

Have a nice day...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Farm accident drill and planting corn

I planted corn the other day.
A couple things went wrong. Not only that day, but for the rest of the week. I don't even know what day it started to go wrong.
But things were not as bad for me as for this poor straw man who went through the haybine. I guess that is why strawman purchases are illegal...

The fire department called me whilst I was planting and wanted to use some junk farm equipment for a safety drill. Well, why did you call us?! Oh the neighbor said you were scrapping, can we do it this evening. Um... if you would have called a WEEK ago we had two silage choppers and headers but now they are headed for CHINA... So, I had him call my brother.
The brother found a combine header and a haybine and when I got home I jack knifed the 2-135 and disk so they could trap another straw man between the tire and the tongue.
It was interesting. They tried a sawzall on the combine header and ruined two blades. I think the straw dude died. They tried to lift the disk with airbags but the aircompressor wouldn't start. Eventually they used hydraulic jacks to move the disk away from the guy. The fireman in charge demonstrated why you can't move the tractor. First, he couldn't figure out how to get the White in gear as I had put it in park. Then when he moved the tractor he shut the engine off without putting it back in park and it rolled backwards and squished the poor scarecrow once again.
The fellow in the hayconditioner was pretty much declared a goner. They couldn't get the rolls to move. Well, they have not moved in 20 years so that might have been the problem.
The fire department had a good time and got to use their bright lights so it was pretty much a successful training session.
But, I digress...
Back to planting corn!
First of all, I thought the field was going to be ten acres larger than it was so that kind of got me off on the wrong foot I guess.
Then I laid out the field wrong. There were wet spots at one end. The farmer left wide headlands. He is going to combine the corn with a direct cut header. He needed wide headlands. What I should have done was either step off 60 foot and put up flags or make a couple passes empty and start four planter widths from the edge of the field. Then, when I was finished I could just make four trips around the field in a circle. I do this with the drill frequently if I am planting back and forth, but with the corn planter I had my head up my arse.
I had a lot of problems with the markers slowly moving in on one side. That was just frustrating.

I went to sleep and didn't hear the low seed alarm. So, I dug up rows for an hour trying to find the spot where i ran out of seed. I did find some very nice spacing of seeds.

I was trying to get the population up from 34000 seeds to 34400 seeds per acre. I think I looked a the chart wrong and moved the wrong sprocket because it jumped to 44,000 seeds per acre and I ran out of seed too soon. I got that fixed and the fertilizer plugged up. I think I caught that right away.

Otherwise it did a very nice job. I have not planted conventionally tilled fields for a long time. All the no-till attachments really work the ground nice, and the new Keeton seed firmers were really working. There was no seed on top of the ground. I planted about 1 1/2" deep. Right down in the moisture.
NOW-if there are no skipped rows do to me not watching the monitor.... I really need a population type monitor.

 I feel like kind of a moron with my planting. I hope my friend will still speak to me when the corn comes up. I hope the corn actually comes up.
Yesterday I strip-tilled five acres for duck hunter corn. We are planting a 68 day nonGMO variety. It was really too wet but my cousin is going to plant sweet corn in the field and it has to have a separation of three weeks because of cross pollination. This is kind of screwing things up but you do what your landlord wishes I guess.
Then the employee shows up on the 4-wheeler. The turbo is ticking on the 2-135. It is 5:05 and and too late to order a new on from A&I. I tried the internet but couldn't get the dealer code to load. So, I guess I better get the uncle to order me a turbo this morning...
Then, I think I will plant our whoppingly huge 10 acre soybean field. And work the Teff ground with the 2-155. I like to hook and unhook all the wires and hoses on the Great Plains drill for 10 acre plantings. Oh, perhaps I could plant Jose's 2 acres of Garbonzo beans. (Chick peas)

Monday, May 10, 2010

A photo of a tree and a photo of a planting success!

There was a really big old oak tree in the hillside field and I took a photo of it. Compare the size of the tree with the size of my pickup.
I was trying to figure out the elevation of the field. I know the lowest point was 250ft above sea level. I looked at the GPS at the top of the highest hill and I am sure it said 1600 ft. Say it was 1450 and I rounded way up. That is still a heck of a climb in a 20 acre field. Total acres ended up being 75 acres in three fields. Not too bad a job.
Sunday I went back to move the tractor out of the field. I planted my way down a hill and up another which was about half a mile from the main field entrance. The hill was too steep to climb if it would rain and rain was forecast for Sunday evening.
So Sunday afternoon I went to move the drill and pump the remaining fertilizer out of the tank on the drill. It was quite a nice hike up the hill. I need to exercise more.
I had 100 gallons of fertilizer left in the tank on the drill so I decided to pump it back into the tank on the truck. This should have been simple but of course it was not. I blew the end off the hose on the truck. I did not think the little pump on the drill was that powerful, just an little ace 104. You can loose a lot of fertilizer in the time it takes to shut off a tractor, get out of the cab and turn off two valves! And it all ran right down the field road so there is no way to just pretend it didn't happen. 10-34 is something like $3.?? per gallon I think.
Later I drove by a field I planted April 27th. I think I posted about it here. I planted oats into a fescue field that was green as can be. It had only been sprayed a day before and there was a lot of plant growth. Well, I was worried about it. On the way back from moving the drill I stopped and looked. It is a little yellow as everything has been pretty wet, but it is growing.
I do NOT understand this whole no-till thing. You can do something you know will not work, planting oats into not dead fescue on wet river-bottom soil, and it works. But, you think you have it all figured out-like my barley into nice crumbly soil, and it turns yellow.
Now it is Monday and I have to decide if it rained enough to change my plans. Not that I really had a plan.
I could:
1. Plant a pasture 10 miles away on another steep hillside.
2. Plant corn for a neighbor
3. Plant soybeans here, it is still a little wet
4. Try to disk
5. Bug the dairy fellow next door about chopping silage
6. Take a nap
7. Wander around aimlessly and try to look busy
8. Scrap metal
9. Clean behind the barn so Aunt E. doesn't have cow
10. Take my truck in to find out what went wrong in the $2500 overhaul that failed.
Oats into Fescue Photos. Note the lovely shade of orange...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The 2-155 has seatbelts and I used them for the first time!

I'm planting a pasture. I think there is close to 75 acres total. The first field was 20 acres. It ranges from 300 ft above sea level to 1600 feet above.
I have discovered a couple things.
1. My tractor has seatbelts
2. There are hills that the 4wd White will not climb.
3. My tractor has good brakes
4. I don't mind having the duals set out so far anymore
5. I need new tires
6. Today I will take two pairs of underwear...
If anyone has a spare window for a White tractor laying around will you mail it to me?
In the top photo you can almost see the farm!
In the middle photo you can almost see Uncle Ted's house.
In bottom photo look at the water level in the foam marker... I am not speeding around a corner. I just noticed that you can also see the fertilizer level. I did not raise the drill out of the ground on this pass...
Today will be one of those, "oh crap!" days...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Food safety and big companies and big government and wallmart and mcdonalds

I was reading the FarmAid website. It kind of gives me the urge to smoke dope and embrace alternate lifestyles but it is interesting none the less.
I found a link to this SF Gate Article on Food Safety rules and how it will hurt small farmers.
Wallmart and McDonalds have such strict requirements for the farmer to comply with that they have to poison animals and birds in their fields.
And this is the response:

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said Monday the administration is keeping a "close watch" on these so-called "super metrics," acknowledging that they have harmed the environment but said, "nobody gets a pass on food safety."

Oh, yeah! We have a "green" administration.
No one except earnest and sincere elementary school teachers and a few folks in itchy scratch woolen underwear really gives a rat's bottom about the environment. Everyone else is making a buck or influencing policy or what ever it takes to capitalize on a trend.
I have some opinions on how the E-coli got into the spinach...
I doubt anyone will propose a portable irradiation device to go at the end of the packing line conveyer belt...

There was also a discussion on round-up ready crops.
In our area there is a debate over the question of the expense of the technology fee and the round-up vs the benefits on round-up ready crops. We found round-up ready was only really a benefit when you had serious weed problems. But, we don't have 2000 acres of corn and we can use atrazine and we can do some mechanical weed control before panting.
The real problem is the monopoly of two companies that sell the seed, fertilizer, and chemical, and the lack of genetic diversity in the plants.
If round-up doesn't work people will stop using it...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shooting rats

I don't really have the patience to shoot rats this time of year. However, my messy feed grinding operation has attracted them.  I shot two yesterday and then ran out of ammo and had to change brands. This new .22 ammunition shoots all over the place. I've never been real precise. I go for the if you can't hit it the first time you've got 10 more chances school of shooting and so I sight the scope in if I drop the gun or the bolts come loose. This new ammunition shoots completely differently. I don't see how an obviously lower powered ammunition can shoot high but it does. I went back to some good CCI's and I was shooting right on the cross hairs. The new Federal ammo I have to aim low.
I took a photo. It is an old Weaver K1 or K2. Not sure the model number. It is older than the famous K-4. It is mounted on an old Ruger 10-22. It is fun to shoot. I missed four times today. I tried a starling and shot out all his tail feathers and sent the powerline vibrating like crazy. Perhaps I'll have to go back to the 12 gauge. It is kind of loud...

Not much left of my International

The word is that scrap metal is worth some money. Perhaps over $200 per ton if it is prepared. Meaning cut into smaller chunks. We thought the International parts truck would come apart pretty easy. We were wrong. The real fast scrappers use a trackhoe with a thumb to lift and twist and rip. We are using a very very old Farmhand F11 loader on a tractor with no powersteering and a torch my brother bought at a garage sale. We are using propane instead of acetyelene  and it really drinks the oxygen. We have gone though four bottles of oxygen and less than 4 gallons of propane.
I thought I had a tachometer for Ralph but it seems to be missing along with the drive. I am still searching.
Then the Uncle and Aunt discovered people are dumping metal trash at the burn pile. So... they picked it all up. It would have been better if they would not have thrown partially burnt chunks of stuff and a couple broken bottles in with the metal. They even picked up two coffee cans of empty brass shells. I knew there was a lot of .22 as we had been saving empty spray cans and shooting them. If you get them hot from the burning "brush pile" and then shoot them they explode nicely. Especially after dark. Apparently someone else went nuts with .22 target practice as it looks to me like they may have caused the US .22 ammo shortage themselves. A coffee can of .22 shells all in one place? That is a good day's
worth of shooting!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sunday excitement! We go to OMSI, Chronic boy is faking

 Sadie and I took a field trip Sunday. We went to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I am surprised that they can leave the word "industry" in a museum title Oregon. Perhaps the word Environment" could be substituted.
We discovered that there is the same about of sugar in a Cola as in an avocado. We built a Roman arch out of large cushion blocks which was pretty hard to do with only two people. I supported the arch whilst Sadie lifted the blocks into place. After two failures we found the kindness of strangers. A nice girl helped hold one side of the arch so Sadie could put in the keystone.

We saw a telsa coil make lightning bolts,
shot a water filled rocket, saw what babies look like from 1 month all they way though birth, saw a lot of space stuff, and then we had ice cream.
Meanwhile back home... Chronic boy and his new family were building a wood stove. They have been evicted from their little trailer in the big tree farm and plan on living in a tent in various national parks all summer.
Chronic boy is of course on a disability from his bunny crash and has terrible pain in his shoulder. This does not affect his ability to lift medium sized chunks of steel out of the saw, or weld, or run the cutting torch, according to folks here at the farm who don't make a lot of noise but can see the shop and the saw. I'm sure there would be a good rationalization should the question ever be raised... Pretty funny...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I am getting stuff done... sort of ...

What I am working on... I think I am done. I need to mount the monitor. I think if I ever got a good planting job I would buy a population style counter, probably a Loup. I have a pretty new AGCO which is a dickey-john but it is not the population counter. I want a SMI3000 or a Compu-trak. I may steal the neighbor's John Deere labeled Dickey-John as he thinks it doesn't work. The monitor reads row failure when no seed is flowing, but it knows how many rows are hooked to it. I think that is how it works with no seed in the planter, as I read the manual instead of calling the idiots at the local Mother Deere lawn and garden store. Not much corn grown here.

This is what I want to be working on. Needs tires, brakes, oil change, set of points, oil in forks, perhaps swingarm bushings, carb rebuild. Stinking alcohol in the gas. Alcohol belongs in the bloodstream not in the gasoline... My slogan when I run for president.

There was a huge flock of geese in our clover field yesterday. They formed a very nice circle. Then they all flew away. That was an awesome amount of noise. Wings flapping, honking, turds dropping on the barn roof. Cool traffic patterns set up as individual groups circled the field.

And we now have gauges in the vintage 1972 International tandem with a 478 cu engine. The fuel gauge is the most important. I've been trying to get another fuel tank installed but the employee resists. It is maddening sometimes. We are cutting up the parts truck for scrap. I wanted to finish the planter. He sat on the tailgate of my pickup trying to figure out how to set the propane torch and asking me what I wanted to save. For the 1,000th time. Cut the tank mounts off so we can have an extra fuel tank, get the gauges and the strange choke and throttle cable, get the heat exchanger off the engine, see if the doors and glass are the same, check to see if you wiped your arse, just get it done. I finally had to just go out there myself....

So, the oil platform blew up on earthday? Hmmmm. Probably greenpeace or seashepherds or a North Korean midget sub, or well, it can't be right-wing crazy militias as the keysone corps got them just the other day.

In another note, some of the younger set were discussing life on the local police force. These people are unbelievable idiots. Most cops should only be allowed one bullet anyway but my goodness, they think they are the thin blue line.
Not to mention the "I got beat up at school a lot so I want to be a cop," complex that they all have.
Our fair city is adding two cops with scales to do truck inspections and raise revenue for the city. The morons on the city council won't cough up the money to pay for the schooling. The younger set were incensed. I was incensed when I heard that the schooling was like three classes. Basically, the truckers know more than the cops and so there will be a fight. I hope and pray they nail some important and outspoken people right away and that those people attend a city council meeting. If only they would taser a local farmer.

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