The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday afternoon and we play with Johnny West action figures

I've been threatening to sell my Johnny West action figure collection. The Johnny West "action figure" (not a doll) was produced by the Marx toy company in the mid 1960's through mid 1970's. See this collector's page for more info...
My daughter wanted to play with them one more time before I sold them. So we got them out after church. My wife was attending some art teacher training and so was not around. It was just Sadie and I.
Well, I don't think i will be allowed to sell them anytime in the near future. They had some major adventures. Several were injured, a couple got sick, two went to jail, one may have gotten married (to Barbie), the Indians turned out to be cannibals and ate one of the knights and Sam Cobra broke out of jail, stole a lot of money and is hiding under the plant stand enjoying his loot.

It appears that Barbie is spending the night in the Big Jim camping tent with a couple cowgirls and perhaps a cowboy or two. I think the knights ended up in the hospital.

It is very hard to play responsibly when their accessories are mostly firearms. I really tried hard. The daughter had to set me straight a few times.
I think those characters do have a mind of their own... A lot of Girl power here...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I had a bad day

Shel Silverstein

25 Minutes To Go lyrics
They're buildin' the gallows outside my cell.
I got 25 minutes to go.

And in 25 minutes I'll be in Hell.
I got 24 minutes to go.

Well, they give me some beans for my last meal.
23 minutes to go.

And you know... nobody asked me how I feel.
I got 22 minutes to go.

So, I wrote to the Gov'nor... the whole damned bunch.
Ahhh... 21 minutes to go.

And I call up the Mayor, and he's out to lunch.

I got 20 more minutes to go.

Well, the Sheriff says, "Boy, I wanna watch you die".
19 minutes to go.

I laugh in his face... and I spit in his eye.
I got 18 minutes to go.

Well...I call out to the Warden to hear my plea.
17 minute to go.

He says, "Call me back in a week or three.
You've got 16 minutes to go."

Well, my lawyer says he's sorry he missed my case.
Mmmm....15 minutes to go.

Yeah, well if you're so sorry, come up and take my place.
I got 14 minutes to go.

Well, now here comes the padre to save my soul
With 13 minutes to go.

And he's talkin' about burnin', but I'm so damned cold.
I got 12 more minutes to go.

Now they're testin' the trap. It chills my spine.
I got 11 minutes to go.

'Cuz the goddamned thing it works just fine.
I got 10 more minutes to go.

I'm waitin' for the pardon... gonna set me free
With 9 more minutes to go.

But this ain't the movies, so to hell with me.
I got 8 more minutes to go.

And now I'm climbin up the ladder with a scaffold peg
With 7 more minutes to go.

I've betta' watch my step or else I'll break my leg.
I got 6 more minutes to go.

Yeah... with my feet on the trap and my head in the noose...
5 more minutes to go.

Well, c'mon somethin' and cut me loose.
I got 4 more minutes to go.

I can see the mountains. I see the sky.
3 more minutes to go.

And it's too damned pretty for a man to die.
i got 2 more minutes to go

I can hear the buzzards... hear the crows.
1 more minute to go.

And now I'm swingin' and here I gooooooooo....
[ 25 Minutes To Go Lyrics on ]

Edit: links to youtube video
Johnny Cash 25 minutes to go
I couldn't find the John Doe and the Sadies album

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Crap From China

I bought an electric grease gun. It cost $200. It is an 18 volt and develops something like 7,000lbs of pressure. I broke it within an hour.
I bought the grease gun because my grain drill has 58 grease zerks that need to be greased every day. Some of them are in hard to reach places and I just don't get it done like I need to.
I tried the grease gun out on the plow. Some of the grease fittings don't take grease very well. The gun pulled down a little but it was pumping. Then I noticed grease oozing from a crack in the casting on top of the gun. I kept using it and it didn't get worse. But the grease hose would come unscrewed if I tried to grease a plugged fitting. So, I sent it back.
It came from a local supplier and I bought it through the Brother's so it was all a family thing. The Uncle thought it was an Alemite but it was a Plews. China likes to buy up old brands and use the names on stuff that is absolute crap.
In other China news...
I bought a Pyle radio for the 2-135. It was $50. I bought it because it has dual shafts like a radio should have. I figured I would be able to change stations and volume while the tractor was bouncing along, instead of being directed to some computer menu on a stupid radio.
The radio is incredibly cheap. It has slots for USB or a memory card or a mini jack for an iPod. But, no station presets. I have not installed it yet.

They still used the Pyle brand and font on the packaging but the instructions are in Chinglish.
I also bought LED headlights for $40 from Northern Hydraulics. They are pretty cheesy as well.
The fellow who brought out the grease gun said the cheap LED's are not very good. I suspect he is correct. I did not want to pay $100 for a headlight.
I bought the LED light because they only draw 1.3 amps. Supposedly they put out as much light as a halogen. I have a lot of lights on the 2-155 and I thought that replacing two 8 amp halogens with 1.3 amp bulbs would help on the current draw.
We shall see...
Yesterday we brought home the silage chopper.
I oiled it and greased it and hooked it to the 2-135. Everything works. All the electric controls, the reversing gearbox, the metal alert makes a horrible shriek and stops the feed rolls unexpectedly, and I guess that is what it is supposed to do. I think the metal alert may be a problem. I think it is only supposed to shriek when metal is near the feed rolls and not just at random.
We shall see...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I did this week

It is raining...
Yesterday I attempted to pick up alfalfa hay for my neighbor. He has been making hay since Hector was a pup, but he just has a hard time waiting till it is dry. I got there at 8 a.m. The hay was so green if you would have stuck a stem in a glass of water it would have bloomed.
It would not go up the elevator chain, it would not slide on the table, and it was so loose and mushy the tie tiers would squish and fall forward.
Fellow gave me a ride home and thought that the hay would dry down a little by afternoon and would slide better. I came back at 1:30 p.m. and I picked up two blocks out of ten in the field. Then it started pouring rain. When I would break a bale it would be hot in the middle. I guess his barn is still standing. If you look closely at the moisture tester you will find the needle. I think you could say it is buried...

The day before we got a visit from Mr and Mrs Collieguy and their collie. They took us out for dinner. We had a very nice Chinese dinner. The salt and pepper shrimp was quite tasty.

Today I bought a used silage chopper and took Orin a Perkins water pump to replace the one he loaned us when the Massy 750 started overheating this summer. So, it has pretty much been Lazy Farmer week. I would post a photo of the silage chopper but sometimes when you are bottom-feeding it ain't so pretty.
I do have a photo to show Orin how we fight crack here at the farm. Overalls are a great invention!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I lose my farm at Gopher Valley and thus I am no longer a farmer, but I'm still lazy...

 You should always have a rental agreement! I have rented this farm for 20 years. I am sure the owners once sent me a letter detailing their desire to have me farm it forever. They even set up a trust with this in mind, they said 15 years ago. But, Mr. Allen passed away a few years ago and now the grandkids want to farm.

But here is the rub..

Five years ago I found I needed to replant the hay field as yields were slipping. I talked with my landlady and she wanted me to keep farming forever. As in, "what would I do without you," sort of thing. My first replanting was a failure as the grass drowned out over the winter.

I then made an agreement with my neighbor to replant the farm and in turn he would get the crop for several years as he had a long time customer who wanted timothy hay. He plowed and reseeded farm and planted it to timothy and fescue hay.  There is a really good stand of hay there and over the next few years it should yield very well.
So we have like $120 per acre invested in farming and seed costs. For a total around $5500. Not to mention four years of rent at $2500 per year. The first year of our agreement he received no income as this was the year he planted the field. The second year the yield was quite low as the grass was still being established. This year would be the third year and is the only year in the past five that a good crop was harvest off the farm.

There is more to the story in that he lost his customer this year and so I harvested the crop of hay. I was not real happy that he planted fescue with the timothy and it has made it harder for me to sell the hay, but,  I still have a lot invested in the farm and was counting on harvesting the crop for at least a few more years.
No rental agreement. But it was only 45 acres. My 45 acres...
And of course there is the same problem coming up with another 20 acres that has my hay storage. And the other 20 acres across the road.
I'm not a businessman...

Friday, September 10, 2010

We watch brave deputies subdue 100lb girl. Will they put her face into the hood or drop her?

They dropped her.
I hate dislike cops. I know criminals are worse but you kind of expect it of them. Cops are supposed to be a cut above. Sometimes I forget that cops are all arseholes. But, I get reminded every so often. I know that the hero of Frank James book would not have dropped a 100lb chick face down into a plowed field but he only exists in a book. (And now I see the book is no longer online, it was a good cop adventure, with terrorists, a hot chick, explosions, and farm equipment...perhaps it will be a movie someday)
But, I digress.
Now, I could see the Amity cops using the tazer on her but that is because she outweighed the skinny cop and could outrun the fat cop and it would be either zap her or shoot her or let her get away.
Let me tell you what I saw...
My neighbor came and got me for lunch. I've been plowing and it kind of drives me crazy-being a die hard no-tiller and all.
So we are driving the long back road into town and we see several sheriff cars have pulled over a smaller 4wd pickup. The sort local kids drive. We put on our seat belts, just in case. We are trying to figure out if it has anything to do with the truckload of straw parked at the side of the road and we see this kind of skinny girl standing in the field with deputies surrounding her. I say something like will they drop her in the field or put her face into the car hood-sort of as a cynical joke, and we see her go down. Face down into the plowed field. We were not that close so I don't know the details, perhaps she said a bad word and the deputy felt threatened. It looked like they dropped her, put a knee in her back and attached the hand cuffs, and then lifted her back up by her arms.
When we went by they were putting her in the car. The side of her face was red and scratched from hitting the wheat field. The deputies were pretty burly so I'm sure it was a pretty serious threat.
Of course if you would make a complaint you would find out that she was trying to elude, or threatened the cop and it was all really her fault. They've got rules and procedures for dealing with all of this-rationalizations in case, heaven forbid, officer should feel a sense of responsibility for beating up a chick.
So, all of you who want to defend the deputies, just think of a few things you do that are illegal. Or what things that you do now will become illegal in the future. What if you defended yourself and when the cops showed up too late, they decided to arrest you? What if you ran the disk over an endangered species?  Would you want yourself or your wife's head slammed into the hood of a patrol car? Well, after all you did break the law. I mean well, you shouldn't have broken the law, and then you got angry when the cop was just doing his job.
You may think it is funny when it is tweekers and brown-skinned folks getting roughed up a little-but it wouldn't be funny if it were you...
I didn't get a very good photo as the phone has a delay before the shutter snaps and we hit a bump. Looks like the dash is pretty dirty...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I hate alfalfa, I hate rain, but my daughter loves school...

It is raining and I did not get the alfalfa baled. It was only 20 acres but it has taken me three days. I baled the first field at 18-20 percent moisture and perhaps a little more. I checked the stacks this morning and they are all still under 22 percent so I should be ok.

But, the second field will not dry down. I used the strange Lely fluffer to get the windrows off the ground and I waited for the sun to come out.
As soon as the windrows dried on top I flipped them over with the rake. I had the moisture down to 24 percent and it started raining. All I needed was another half an hour of sun...

In other news S. started a new school today. The word was that she was getting a bad teacher at the public school and that she would be in a 3rd-4th split classroom. She wanted to attend the Christian school with her cousins and so we said yes. She needs more Christian programming anyway. If you understand the most influential book in Western Civilization then you miss out of a huge amount of historical and cultural understanding. So, she is wearing a uniform and she says she can deal with it. Clothes are not that important. She came home today and said she loved school and she is learning things. Can't argue with that. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. And it is going to take a lot more of my time than the public school. And I can't make fun of the teacher or the uniforms or encourage sarcasm or bad behavior, I have to be supportive. I can't tell her to disbelieve what her teacher tells her. How is she going to grow up to be properly cynical if she has a good experience with authority figures?

Driving in circles

I'm doing a custom farming job for our neighbor. He has 66 acres of pasture that we cut for silage for his dairy. It is so rough from years of cutting silage when it is way too wet that you can't stay on the tractor seat cutting hay. I really don't care that much as I don't do his hay, but I do have to stack it from time to time. If I were cutting his hay I would go the same way as the silage chopper cause that is the operation that made the ruts. But, the hay cutters cut in circles. I divide the 66 acre field into two sections for silage as otherwise you have to drive around the whole field to get out with a loaded silage truck.
We also confuse the field by cutting back and forth when there gets to be too many corners as the pull type chopper and the truck drivers don't care for lots of turns. So, I guess the hay people kind of hate me.
The plan was to disk it twice and then he would pump his manure lagoon on it. Then I'd work the crap in and by that time the field should be smooth. I was going to plan triticale and rye but have since decided to just plant annual ryegrass. It will make a nice forage crop.
Here is the screen of my GPS. I tried to farm at night but I can't see anything on my second pass. I can't afford a very expensive GPS so I'm running FarmerGPS on a tablet PC. It worked really good at 4.5 mph but at 5.5 I just can't seem to stay on the AB line. I think I need to set the look-ahead feature up a little more but I can't remember how to do it. I think this is why I have so much trouble following it with my drill.
Life is way too complicated.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I hate alfalfa!

We are trying to bale our third cutting of alfalfa. I waiting for what I thought was a nice long stretch of good weather and now it is going to rain. We have not had a hot summer and now we are looking at a week of showers.
The second cutting was not that great and even though we watered this stuff three times it just didn't yield like it should have. It has been down since last Tuesday and I fluff it up everyday. I raked the first 10 acres late last night. It was something like 55 degrees out and the leaves were still dry and breaking off. I of course used the open tractor and I had no coat. I was cold.
I talked my neighbor into buying a hay fluffer. It has ten or so rake wheels set at a slight angle. You pull it 20 mph with the pickup and it just kind of lifts up the alfalfa and fluffs it. It doesn't knock off the leaves too bad.
The annoying thing about this all it that you can still peel back the alfalfa stems with your thumbnail but if you twist a hand full three times most of the stems break.
The photo above was taken on the third day. There is obvious stem moisture here.
As I said earlier I have been fluffing the hay every day. I usually just cut it and ignore it for three days and then fluff it early in the morning with the dew on it. We have been getting such a heavy dew it looks like it rained and it really bleaches the alfalfa.
This is the view out my rear mirror at 20 mph.

This is a before and after shot as I'm running the fluffer.

Then I double rake it into one windrow. I am going to rake it again after dark tonight. I might be able to bale. I checked it this afternoon and the moisture tester read low, but it was knocking every leaf off the stems so I quit.

Tomorrow morning I will turn it again or perhaps use a different fluffer that just lifts the windrow up in the air and sets it back down. Then I'm going to just get it baled. Tuesday it may rain.
We also have 10 acres of Teff hay to bale. It is pretty pathetic this year. It is an annual hay crop which gives you two cuttings under good conditions. The planting was delayed because of rain so 50 days till the first cutting put me right into the end of August. But, it didn't grow. So I'm thinking it will yield about half a ton per acre. It is going to get a shot of weedkiller and then I'm going to no-till the field to annual ryegrass. Actually I think I'll no-till any ground that won't grow wheat into annual ryegrass, wheat into any dry ground even it there was wheat there before and see what happens. I think we will plant another 20 acres of alfalfa if possible and perhaps some timothy. I'm not sure where to put it. But, timothy hay and alfalfa hay are the only things that are selling right now.
Update: It is 11:30 p.m. and I just finished raking the alfalfa. I tried baling at 9:30 but it was already too wet. It went from leaves crumbling to 24 percent moisture in probably a half hour. I will try again in the morning I suppose...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Only Two Things in Life That Make it worth livin'....

I finally heard the Waylon Jennings interview on Fresh Air (I listened to OPB all day) I missed Merle Haggard and George Jones yesterday.
When I was in High School and shortly there after, I had the Honky Tonk Heroes cassette tape. I listened to it till I had every song practically memorized. I was a closet country fan at that point in time. I used to recite the title of this blog just to see if the other person would complete the lyric. It actually made a pretty good pick-up line.
Anyway, the interview was quite interesting as was the interview with Willie Nelson. I did not realize that Waylon was actually a good singer and that Willie is somewhat of a poet. He sang an unreleased song which was really quite good. Something about never loving the girl and if she would believe that then she would believe that stars are really just rain drops looking for a place to fall, or something. I know others have used that concept but I like the melodrama.
I'm farming for the neighbor. He had a little problem with meth and I recognized his symptoms. I was supposed to go talk to him but I'm not really that sort. I'm trying to offset my guilt by helping him get back on his feet. So, I'm replanting 60 acres for him. He's getting me the diesel and perhaps a small fee.
I should have put weedkiller on the field and no-tilled it to Triticale or rye. It has been in pasture for years. This spring we really put some ruts in it chopping silage. Part of the problem is he pumped too much manure on it when he was tweeking and killed out the grass. That part of the field works up good. The rest is thick sod and the cover crop disk just slabs it.
If I would have no-tilled and chopped the forage then I could just disk it and level it and plant it next year.  But, the fellow doesn't think it will work to no-till it and he doesn't have a sprayer. I don't feel like arguing and I am not waiting for the local co-op to come spray it. I guess it will all work out in the end.
Yesterday I broke the disk and today I broke the culitpacker. I can't get parts till Friday so I'm just disking. I fixed the disk.
I really wanted to make one pass over the 60 acres today. But, I forgot to fill my diesel tank in my pickup and that White uses a lot of diesel. My brother went to a farm meeting so I couldn't call him. I didn't want to miss the Willie and Waylon interview so I didn't call the employee till after Fresh Air which ends at 8 p.m. The fuel gauge was in the top half of the yellow so I thought I had a couple hours. Well, my faithful employee texted me back that he had to leave.
But, of course he had to leave. I needed diesel.
I thought I could go till 10 but the gauge suddenly dropped to the bottom of the yellow and when I tapped on the lower tank it sounded pretty empty. So, here I am home and I have 20 acres to go...

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