The Useful Duck!

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm selling my collections

My treasured set of American Plastic Bricks are on ebay and are now at $10. I bought them a few years ago at an estate sale. The fellow who owned them was quite an interesting person. He had old cars and old fishing lures and he drove the funny little jeep and read the meters from the local water district.
His uncle died a few years earlier and the neighbor say that he went into the fellow's house and got the title for the man's 1965 Pontiac GTO. The old farmer had bought it new in case he ever wanted to go Girlin'. That urge never really came, or perhaps the car was not effective and he died a bachelor.
The story was that the nephew brought the GTO home and listed it on ebay and it brought much less than expected. Perhaps $10,000 instead of $20,000. Not that it really matter much as in a few short years the man was dead himself.
So, I bought his collection of bricks. It looks as though someone built houses and exploded them with firecrackers. That is what happened to my Lincoln Logs. My Log cabin actually caught on fire and plastic Marx (highly collectable) cowboys and generic branded spacemen were serious maimed in the ensuing conflagration.

I may sell my Marx Happy Time and Lazy Days tin barns as well. I have a lot of stuff and it is too fragile to play with.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I find old Popular Mechanics on line-The free piston engine and the B-36 are amazing!

So what ever happened to the "free piston" engine as described in the September 1950 issue of Popular Mechanics?
Those old Popular Mechanics were amazing magazine. There were so many things to build and so many amazing inventions. Science was still capable of saving the future, the government was not out to get you, and we were going to win the cold war.
Not to get off the subject of piston-less engine trucks and spending 34 hrs in a B-36 but frankly I disagree with the clever people's understanding of the 1950's as the dark ages.
Civil rights issues were being resolved, while there were bad things happening things were moving forward-the whole thing had not been hi-jacked by the victimization crowd, people were making money, we actually had a good educational system, rap had not been invented, Television was still really hard to watch, cars were much cooler.
On the other hand tractors did not have air conditioning and people had lots of flat tires while driving so perhaps it really was the dark ages. I have no idea. I'm just rambling.
Anyway check out the cool magazines that Google Books has scanned.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

If a terrorist is recruited and supplied by the FBI is he really a terrorist?

 Here is a link to a story about another lone bomber, who didn't get his encouragement from the vast underground Islamic terrorist organization, but from the FBI who got the idea from a comic book or a movie.
I would have expected it from a U of O student. Of course he was really a good kid. The really good kids are the true believers... They are bought up to do what they are told, to hold true to their beliefs.
Now who said the TSA protest and scanner boycott wouldn't get results!!!

Note: This does not mean I am a strong supporter of the religion of peace or I did not notice that it was not that hard for the FBI to get the kid all worked up to kill the infidel...  I'm just making an observation...
This tactic worked pretty good for authorities when they were trying to catch abortion clinic bombers and white power people. I read one observation that there were more FBI informants in the Aryan Nations then there were crazy Nazi's.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I got un-unstuck and then I planted on Thanksgiving and it was a waste of time

I am sure all 25 of my faithful readers have been waiting with nervous anticipation to see if I was able to get unstuck. I can report that not only did I get unstuck but I was able to plant a whole whopping 15.3 acres before it all turned to goopy soupy mud.

My neighbor came to my rescue with a very large articulated (meaning it was good at elocution) John Deere tractor. I have no idea of the model number as I generally boycott all things John Deere but my pride has it's limits. My theory to getting unstuck, and I was happy to find out it was shared by my neighbor, is to use the biggest tractor you have to pull the offending stuck tractor out. If you use too small  a tractor then the stuck tractor sinks in worse and then you really have a mess. If you get the huge tractor stuck then you have really good photos to post on farmer websites and some places you can win contests!

While we were driving across the field comments were made as to the timing of my planting and he urged me to count my blessings as I was planting. A very interesting comment. Of course there is more to the story. I found it interesting that I heard nothing from the people I was planting for. My neighbor even stuck around for a few minutes to make sure I didn't get stuck again.

I did have a plan. We were supposed to have freezing weather for several days and so I could plant this last 35 acre field while there was a bit of a crust on top. I got stuck on the opening round. Yesterday morning we walked about the spot where I became stuck. It was a 10x20ft spot. Had I not found it on the opening round I would have been able to finish the field.

As it ended up the sun came up and the temperature went above freezing by noon. I quit and ran the tractor and pickup out to the road. This involved nice long walk through muddy fields but it was not raining. I took the opportunity to trespass on the train tracks for a short walk and I kind of feel like a rebel.

Don't you like my nice hat. My daughter thinks I look funny most of the time. The point is the mud on the press wheels. The next photo is what it looked like a half hour later.
I took a walk down the train tracks and looked for the old nails that had the dates stamped in the tops but I didn't find any. I did get to trespass on rail road property and that felt good.

I did almost miss Thanksgiving dinner as my wife and child were at her sister's in Junction City. By the time I was out of the field I had several phone calls with invitations for Thanksgiving so all was not lost. I went with my brother's offer as it was but a short walk across the machinery lot and they were waiting dinner on me.

I took a long hot shower and put my muddy clothes in the washer before I went. It was a really nice shower.. And a nice dinner afterwards. Later I fell asleep on their couch while the nephews played bugdom and watched Home Alone 15.5 beside me.

It was a nice Thanksgiving...

I went to bed at 9:30 pm and woke up at 8 am. My wife didn't wake me. She said I must have needed to sleep or I would have woke up on my own. I hope none of the other farmers find out I slept till 8 am. I bet Ed Winkle never sleeps in. Orin may as he lives down there pretty close to Eugene.

Post Script: Today it is pouring down rain. It was a mile long muddy lane into the field. If anyone from the farm would have responded to my message that I had to quit the field I would have suggested that we get their truck out. I'm looking out the window this morning and I think with this rain it will be pretty difficult to get a semi and trailer out until it drys out. I don't know when that will happen now. I suppose this will cause me to miss the blessing I may have gotten for helping them out. Oh well...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A post for Ralph who suggested that people get stuck worse than I (actually he is right...)

My first field with the 2-155. Only six years ago! This is what happens if you don't get unstuck on the first pull. Meaning we started with too small a tractor.
I liked that drill better than the one I have now.

This is the photo that almost matches the one Ralph posted on this website:
 That is sure a nice Case you got stuck there Ralph. I sure did not want to give this one that I rented back. It did cost a little more than the 2-155 however.
This photo doesn't show quite how bad we are stuck. I am so far out in such a wet field that I didn't think we were going to get it out. Of course it is the drill that is buried. It got in a little deeper before it came out!

Crying Wolf, TSA boycott a failure

The threatened TSA scanner boycott was a joke. People were in a hurry and no one wanted to opt out. So we just gave approval to more invasive government. That is the way it works. We beg the government to regulate us and we say thank you by giving them more authority and more money.

Sometimes things just go wrong and you get stuck and then the weather forcast changes and you are so screwed and that is farming...

I want to finish planting for this one particular farmer. I have 1/4 load of wheat in the drill which holds 36 bushels. I want to be finished and done and have it all over and I want to wash the drill and put it in the shed and forget about it all till the end of January when it is time to plant spring oats-even though it is not spring.
With that particular obsession I conspired with the farm manager to plant today.
We have had a bit of a cold snap and the top two inches of soil is frozen pretty solid. It thawed out a bit at noon but by 3 p.m. the temp was back down to 30 and it was all drying up/freezing up again.
So I started planting. I've got a 60 acre field of which I would like to do a good 20 acres which would give me just over 200 for this farmer. To get to the field you have to drive a mile down the edge of a field but the field I'm planting borders a highway.
When I suggested we try planting in the frozen sod I was thinking the field was several miles down the road and next to a fellow who has a large articulated 4wd tractor, and I thought the field was one which was much better drained. I even went to that field and waited for 10 minutes before I called and found out which field it was.
I moved the tractor over and started. There was some seed on top but mostly it was making a nice slice through the ice and covering it pretty well. The 2wd 2-134 was not sinking in, nor was it really pulling hard. There was a slight draw next to the road and I stopped and walked it before going through it. I made it to the end of the row and lifted the drill and turned around. It did not pull down, sink, or act like it was soft in anyway.
The field is a twice disked prennial ryegrass field and there are large chunks of sod on the surface. The Great Plains drill slices right through them. They are fairly well frozen but they shatter when sliced and the harrow is doing a good job of covering the seed.
I head back up the draw and the tractor starts pulling down. I hit the differential lock and the throttle and the three-speed and lift the drill just a bit, but it doesn't matter. I'm stuck.
I almost said a bad word but the utter hopelessness of the situation made it pointless.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Who will pull me out?
I checked the weather once again. I've been checking it every five minutes all day long. They have been saying it will be in the teens tonight and tomorrow it will be below freezing till a warm front brings rain in the afternoon.
The forecast has changed. Tonight it will barely reach the high 20's and tomorrow it will be above freezing by noon.
I did find a neighbor with a 4wd who will pull me out in the morning. I could not find the required cable or heavy log chains after dark tonight.
I am half a mind to take the 2-155 over in the morning, if my brother makes it home tonight but with metal filings in the three-speed I suppose that could get expensive.
Perhaps I'll get up at 4 a.m. and see if the ground is frozen and I can just drive the drill out.
I didn't even try to get it out by myself.
I should have just stayed home... But, It really doesn't look that bad does it?

This is what it looked like before I got stuck.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Out of Order Post on OPB's John Lennon Special

I am was watching a special about John Lennon on OPB. It was really quite fascinating.
I am not the biggest Beatles fan but they had their day. They were a tight group, their songs were a bit silly but they were simple and straight forward and had a certain energy.
Then came Yoko.
A couple things stuck in my head. First, while the Beatles were a bit simplistic and perhaps a bit silly but it was good honest music.
After Sgt Peppers the Beatles degenerated into utter silliness and at best, pretentiousness. This was about the time Yoko and her pretentious and stupid art projects captivated John and then there was the LSD and heroin and more art.
There was footage from the famous New York concert with John and Yoko and I cringed. I'd never seen it was quite surprised at how genuinely unattractive she was. I was horrified at the strange noises which came from her mouth.
And how ridiculous the whole production was. The stupid hard hats. Yoko...
The documentary went into how the Nixon Election and the bad concert reviews upset everyone and then John ditches Yoko for a hot groupie and she kicks him out. Oh, yes! Even as a wee lad I remember this tears following the Nixon election. (He did end Johnson's war however!)
So John goes to LA, finds a much better looking and acting girl friend, and did some sessions with Phil Spector in LA. They have been playing the songs that he was doing with the soundtrack of the documentary. I've been thinking how bad the songs were and then I hear Lennon doing these early rock and roll songs (that he didn't write) as warm up songs. They are good. There is energy, the lyrics are simple, and it is real rock and roll.
Then he came back to New York for Walls and Bridges which they say was not that great an album (although I liked it) and it just got sadder and sadder.
The man could have had just about any woman he wanted and he chose Yoko. Good grief, we are our own worst enemies.
Then they talked about his concert with Elton John and Elton John comes on and says the best thing was that Lennon got back with Yoko. If he could have just completed the Yoko withdrawals perhaps he could have become a real rock and roll artist again.

Then we have an album with Yoko and John together. Oh my goodness is she bad! I didn't like her because she always seemed very manipulative and so completely full of crap. I never realized how horrible she was as an artist. Wow! Ouch... Painful... make it stop!

I looked up Yoko on Wikipedia or something, I went to sleep in my chair and now I've lost the link. The article described her art projects. My memories of the 1960's and 1970's are from when I was a little kid. I remember seeing programs on modern art in what must have been second grade and all I can remember is my conviction that it was a scam to get status and money by people who couldn't do real art. Now, I find it all pretty funny as here you had this whole group of people, who were all congratulating each other on being smart and witty and oh so hip and they were all totally full of crap! Read about Yoko and her art projects here and here, pretty funny!

I think the word is sophomoric.

My favorite comment on Yoko follows this article:

I've heard the joke before- someone called "datruth" posted on February 27, 2009 at 3 p.m. "You want to know why there is no god? 5 shots, not one hit yoko. Still believe in god now?"

Of course she is celebrated as a great feminist. Not that she actually accomplished anything on her own. No, she had to latch onto John Lennon to burn her horrible shrieks into the record of history. The whole discussion of how she stood of to John's sexism and abuse (he was mean to his hot first wife) is a bunch of BS. It was not so much "standing up as a feminist" no it was the classic pattern of manipulation used by women throughout the ages. Get the man hook with sex and perhaps drugs, deny him affection, Give him more sex, be strange and remote, make demands, deny sex, set him up for humiliation, reel him back in. Pretty much classic manipulation.
True Feminism would have meant she would have made her own way on her own terms. As in Yoko needed John like a fish needs a bicycle.
Wow! That was a rant. Don't even know what that all came from.
Note, I don't claim to be anything but a poorly educated lout who believes representational art.
And who doesn't like to proof-read.
Good night!


The kids are excited. It is sort of like Christmas.
Pretty pathetic snow if you ask me and probably Ralph Goff!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I read books

I've been having computer problems. My trusty iBook G4 has developed a reluctance to connect to my wireless network. And it has decided upon an annoying habit of shutting down unexpectedly while unplugged.
This puts a serious crimp in my blogging.
I really hate to be indelicate but my idea breakfast lunch and dinner while farming is Snickers candy bars and black coffee. I break up my routine with fresh tomatoes when in season and hard boiled eggs when the fellow that I sell feed to runs out of cash and pays me with eggs. As a result I tend to spend quite a bit of time in a certain room of the house that is too far to reach with an ethernet cable and in which I am reluctant to hook up a power cord despite the fact that it has a GFI on the outlet.
So I've been reading.
I've been reading two books. The first book I have now lost. I think it was called "Slow Money" and it was about the perils of modern farming and how everything would be better if we went back to the old ways of doing things. The clever folks call that sustainability," I think.
I couldn't find the book with a short google search but I found this link to a blog. It looks kind of like the same thing.
I like the book. I like the idea of farming in a balanced system. The knowledge to farm with few outside inputs and to live the old and simple life is so appealing. But, as an avid reader and one who remembers the tail end of the "old life" I can tell you that it is a whole lot of hard dirty work. To be honest, I'm not sure if I am smart enough for motivated enough to do it.
I've been reading about the new old style farmers (who are a total bunch of hippies) and I'm amazed. They are farming with horses and old equipment and reviving the old ways, but not the old faith. I wish the old faith would be revived, but without the whole prosperity doctrine thing, or the excessive Calvinistic streak, or the whole kill them if they don't convert sort of thing. I guess I could join the Amish but I do really like fiddle music.
But I digress...
The second book I picked up on the fabled anniversary trip to Portland last month. I found in a Portland Goodwill store next to a complete set of Robert Louis Stevenson books which I could not afford.
It is called "Into the Wild," and was written in 1996 by Jon Krakaurer. (apparently it was made into a film-what do you know-I'm out of touch!)
"Into the Wild," is about a fellow who decided to live off the land in Alaska in 1992. It didn't work out so well for him as he discovered the hard way that the seeds of wild potatoes contain an alkaloid toxin which builds up in your system.
The story is fascinating in that the guy just walks into the bush with a .22 rifle and a big bag of rice as his major supplies and he nearly makes it. One small mistake and he is dead. I almost didn't buy the book as I've read "Call of the Wild," and have talked with a few outdoorsmen from Alaska who have stories to tell about the clueless folks who show up from time to time and must be rescued.
I was impressed by this fellow's utter determination to leave civilization and his willingness to wager his life in a gamble that if he would have won would have been the achievement of a lifetime.
As someone who has always wanted to be a nomad but could never turn loose of all his accumulated crap and the history that surrounds each of his odd possessions I am in complete awe of someone who can just walk away...
I don't have "Into the Wild" quite finished and I suppose as my diet improves I'll have less time for reading. I read the last chapter so if I get distracted it will be kind of like reading the whole thing.
(I'm a cheater...)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

War stories from the old pluggers at coffee time

Yesterday at coffee time they were several war veterans. They got to discussing their war experiences. I kind of stayed in the background as they were talking amongst themselves and starting to use terms like 1st Louie, 2n Louie, Short Arm Salute and I had a pretty good idea what inspection required the latter term and I kind of liked hearing the more reserved old guys loosen up a little.
There was a younger farmer who was in the National Guard in between wars. I would say he missed Korea somehow. He said he didn't want to drive truck so he tried to miss most of the questions on the truck driver test. Of course he ended up being a truck driver. He did not like doing this because that mean you had to sit around all the time and didn't get to walk around during war games.
He then asked this older gentleman who comes to coffee time every Saturday about his WWII service.
Mr. C is not in such good shape, his younger friend brings him out and they bring doughnuts on Saturdays.

Mr C responded.
I was 26 when I got out of the infantry.
When I got to Germany we were all lined up and the officer asked if anyone spoke German.
I spoke up and said I did. I was the only one.
The officer asked if I spoke it well.
I said I did.
The officer said, "C stand right there and don't move"
The other soldiers were dismissed and the officer came out with a German woman. He told me to interpret what she said. I understood her but it didn't make any sense so I asked her to repeat it.
The officer asked me if I understood. I said I understood the words but I didn't understand what she was saying.
He said, tell me what she said.
I said, she is saying the Goose is finished.
The officer clapped me on the shoulder and said, "Well then, lets go eat!"
They had found some fat geese in a pen and had them cooked for dinner. I ate pretty well.
My Uncle (fellow WWII vet) asked what his rank was when he got out. Mr C said he didn't want any rank and he didn't remember. I can't remember exactly what he said and other people were talking but it was going to lead to something interesting.
Then other coffee time participant ask him if he did any interrogations.
Mr. C noted that he was one of but a few German speaking US Soldiers.
"Sometimes I was with a couple prisoners and sometimes I was the only one with 6,000 prisoners. I have some bad stories and some good stories," he said.
He was quiet a while, and then told this story,

There was another soldier who spoke a little German. We  found a fish hatchery. It was in a pond in the middle of a big field. We didn't tell anyone but in the evening or at night we would go and catch a mess of fish. We just used a worm and a hook and it was great fun.
Finally the officers wanted to know where we were getting all the fresh fish. We said we got them from the creek that ran through town. That was true, we just didn't tell them we found the hatchery.
The officers had a big lunch packed and they spent a full day fishing the creek and caught nothing.
That night we went back to the hatchery and caught out share. We never did tell.

He went back tot he rank discussion.
"I tried not to get any rank. they tried to promote me but I thought if I had rank I would have to stay there longer. Finally they made me a corporal(didn't hear this exactly). I guess that was ok."

That lead to talking about rank and the offenses of second lieutenants.
My Uncle had a short story. He was in Germany in the Headquarters Battalion at the time of the Battle of the Bulge.  (I'm assuming this was during this time.) One time I met an officer in the woods in. I didn't salute properly and so he made me salute him repeatedly until I got that right. After about eight times I kept thinking that was a pretty crazy way to win a war. Soldiers were off fighting and I was saluting a 2nd Louie in the woods.

Mr. C told a short story about being assigned to find what women in town had "the clap" and to get them treatment. "I only found three but I got some soldiers pretty worried," he said.
Someone threw out a comment asking how he tested them and the discussion changed.
Another coffee drinker told how a 2nd Louie called for a VD inspection in the chow line. Another fellow piped up with the term "short arm inspection" and all the vets laughed. It was quite a coordination act between holding the tray, standing at attention and being inspected.
The instigator of that inspection got in a lot of trouble for that.

My Uncle told how he got to be a sharpshooter.
My other brothers where the target shooters, he said. I never did that much but I was the one in the Army. I was trying to hit the target but I wasn't much good at it. The instructor wanted us all to be good shots as that would make him look better. He got down there with me and told me I should let him show me how. He finished my shooting for me and hit the bullseye every time. I ended up with a sharpshooter's medal.

There were some other interesting short stories but I didn't get all of them. Then a customer showed up and coffee time was over.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winter days where it rains and i do nothing only it is not winter yet...

I'm not sure where the day went wrong. It started good. I kind of overslept but why lovely wife made me a sausage and egg muffin thing and brought me a steaming hot cup of coffee.
But suddenly it was time to go to work. My daughter was trying to find her lunch and her glasses and her sweater and catch her ride to school and I was turning off lights in the house.
Perhaps it was when I discovered the little green puddle underneath the White 2-135. I had just repaired the lower radiator hose. A surprisingly difficult task in my opinion, which took me most of yesterday to accomplish.
It took me a good 45 minutes to manage to reseal the leaking hose and then it started pouring.
I was just getting ready to repair the fertilizer fill hose on the drill, but I decided to put a set of shelves together instead. It was a little annoying to discover I put two of the shelfs in upside down, but I often do things like that.
Of course then it was coffee time and I was debating about walking over to the store when neighbors started showing up. One of them came out to the shop and started chatting. I started picking up tools and sorting bolts. I did need to get that all done.
He was just getting ready to leave when a seed company representative showed up. Out of seven seed tests six of them had the name of the seed listed incorrectly and had to be changed. He said he had quite a few problems like that from this particular seed cleaning company. The tests were not all that good and just looking at them made me tense all over again.
By now it was lunch time and the neighbor doesn't like to buy lunch so he left. I was going to fix myself a sandwich but a friend showed up and asked me to got to the cafe with him.
I had the country scramble for $7.50. It settled into my stomach in a leaden blob of thick gravy and greasy potatoes and eggs. It stayed there all afternoon.
By this time the rain had settled into a steady downpour.
We decided to check the pump in the river. We have to leave it in late to fill the duck ponds. There I discovered that there was no safety rope holding the foot valve to the bank. Just a chain holding it to the pump. The current was pulling the elbow off the pump.
I went back to find a tractor, but by then it was coffee time again. I was just enjoying my Pepsi when dad announced that AppleWorks was too small and he couldn't type.
Somehow he had managed to set the word processing startup to a page four inches wide with 36 point typeface.
That took me a good hour to straighten out.
I finally got down to the pump. The elderly duck hunter had left a tank trailer in front of the pump which I had to move with my pickup. I figured I had only one shot up the hill and so I floored it. I didn't make it. Of course it is pouring down rain this whole time.
I went to find a tractor.
The 2-155 has power shift problems. The 2-135 is hooked to the drill. The 1964 M670 had a dead battery. The Super had a sprayer on it. The Vista has a flat tire the Jet Star wouldn't start, the M-5 wouldn't start and by then it was almost dark. I took a chain and a couple come-alongs back down and chained the foot valve to a tree.
Then I went back up to finish up the 2-135 so I can use it tomorrow to pull the pump out. I had ordered a radio antenna so I could install a radio in the tractor when I had a free moment. It was the wrong radio antenna.
I found an old one with a broken wire and resoldered the wire. Then I discovered the new speakers only came with a foot of wire.
I just gave up and went home.
What did I do today?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oh boy, a so-called Food Safety Bill. I'm sure this is a good idea...

In further Orwellian developments I see the Food Safety Bill is being debated by the senate. I wrote my senators and complained about it. Of course I did so at the last minute. So it won't do a lot of good.
I am afraid I end up sounding like a conspiracy theorist with my objections to the bill. I don't believe it is about food safety. I'm not real sure there is a problem with food safety in the USA. Sure there has been contaminated food but you can be sure that this bill will do nothing to prevent those outbreaks but will only react to things that have already happened.
There are to many definitions and to much leeway given to the judgment of the FDA and The Department of Homeland security, (Located in the Winston Smith Memorial Building). What in the world is the Dept. Of Homeland Security doing with an agriculture bill. Another freaking joke. The idea that the shoe bomber and underpants bomber terrorists are going to what, poison the water supply? Some other comic book inspired plot? Crap in a lettuce field to spread cholera? (oh wait, that already happens) Oh yeah, they will hijack a crop duster and spread anthrax on the tomatoes.
It doesn't even matter what the bill says, it gives the government more authority and you know that is bad. If you think such things are good ideas then take a ride on an airplane and have the TSA grope you...
Here is a description of the bill.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where did the Real America go?

I listened to the radio again. This is bad- as it gets me annoyed and I talk to myself. Our formerly great nation is just becoming more and more pathetic. Of course I am listening to NPR. They were talking about the TSA.
In 1984 my brother and I flew into Frankfurt Germany on a backpacking trip through Europe. This was just after an Islamic bombing of a nightclub and security was tight. There was a serious looking soldier with a submachine gun by the metal detector and a couple screeners doing a very quick and effective job of searching every bag. I keep comparing that image to the morons I see at the TSA. Take your shoes off? What a joke! The shoe bomb didn't work and it is a little too late to be worried about it now. The guy made it on the plane already! So, now they are looking for a wiener bomb-too late, they already tried that and IT DIDN'T WORK!
What got me going was (as you may have noticed) The TSA (See what Frank James has to say) and their scanners were discussed on NPR. (Click Here) Our invasive screening procedures are even annoying the Brits. (Click Here)
So you have a choice between an invasive pat down and dangerous radiation, plus a rent-a-cop looking at you naked.
In the mean time has the TSA actually stopped any real terrorists? Oh, I've seen the photos of piles of pocket knives and buckets of shampoo. And I've heard the story of them taking away someone's brick. But those are not weapons. (I don't know why someone took a brick on the plane but I really don't see why you couldn't. What are you going to do with it? Tie a threatening note on it and throw it at the cockpit door?) Now if a middle eastern guy in a coyote tried to take an anvil or a piano on the plane I would be worried. Of course you know the TSA would let him through.
I think the whole taking off your shoes and invasive searches are pointless and part of a plan to 1. Make people think the government is doing something (which it isn't) 2. Make the rent-a-cops feel important, 3. Give an image of power, 4. Some stupid phychological warfare scheme by the US Government-make us get used to submission. 5. Really looking for people smuggling drugs or money. 6. Making the former head of the TSA or Homeland Security (another agency to disband) a lot of money from their ownership of the naked body scanner company.
There is no way you can strap enough explosives to your wiener to blow up a plane-and not be so obvious your fellow passengers will notice. Even if  you are from a race reportedly to be exceptionally well blessed in that department. As we saw with the "underpants" bomber.
Of course that is probably the key to security on an airline. If you try to light the fuse sticking out of your coo-coo your fellow passengers will wrestle you to the ground and beat the crap out of you. (really!)
For further reading try, Conditioning Americans to Accept the Unacceptable from The Classic Liberal. There are several other interesting articles on the sight also. Try this commentary, "Probable Cause is You Bought A ticket."
Or Frankwjamesblogspot- TSA Behind the Power Curve
Remember if you are flying on Thanksgiving support National Opt Out day. Make them search you by hand! 
Of course in the old days when America was a real country no one wanted to blow us up! I can remember when pulling out a blue passport got you though security in a hurry and made you friends on a train, even if you couldn't understand a word they were saying.
And now I'm going to work...

Monday, November 15, 2010

What sort of winter will we have?

Tell me which picture tells more about the kind of winter will have?

The Wooly Bear photo? They say you can tell by the width of his stripe.

Or this photo of me spilling 600lbs of wheat on the ground. (oops, shouldn't have pulled that string-it didn't make it tighter...)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My mind wanders in church

We have a very nice view out the window of our church. We meet in the chapel of a retirement home. The is on a hill and looks out to the east. I think they designed it in the winter as in the late days of summer there was a bit of a back lighting problem . I sometimes get distracted by the view out the window. I'm not really sure what the message was about today. Those ceramic vases in the large bowl is some sort of strange water feature which makes a running water sound and makes anyone in the first two rows have to go to the bathroom.

In other comments, I see Gorges Grouse has celebrated his first year of blogging. I never realized what he was holding in his photo but now that I actually enlarged the photo I get the joke.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A bad day, amplitorque fails on White, I slice my finger almost in half, and I melt my GPS

Well the title says it all...
I planted in the pouring rain last night until the beeping of the plugged seed tube alarms started to really get on my nerves.
This morning the sun was out early. Early enough for me to wear just a light waterproof windbreaker and then the fog set in.
I got to the field and walked around the drill and tractor and checked the fluids. When I pulled the dipstick out of the three speed hydrashift or whatever White calls the Amplitorque I noticed it was silver instead of a light gold from the hydraulic fluid. It is one of those moments when you feel the tension start. I walked around to the other side and pulled off the side sheet metal and unscrewed the oil filter. Hydraulic oil is not supposed look like silver paint.
I got a bucket out of my pickup and prepared to change the oil. Of course I could not find a 1/2" drive extension to fit my square socket as someone had used it and did not put it back. I went to the farmer's shop to look for one. I could have driven home in the time it took to find it.
The oil didn't look quite so bad when I drained it but there was a lot of fine particles of cast iron. Not bearing flakes just the silvery fines.
I went home and found a new filter and on the way called my local dealer. The White expert said that the three speed was so expensive to work on that I should not drive it or it could cost me "thousands," and then he added that it might cost me thousands anyway.
After consulting with my brother we decided it was probably the planetary drive that is engaged when you are in overdrive. That was really the only variable.  Last night I ran in 4th in over drive for a couple hours. I almost never run in overdrive when under load and it was pulling really hard. I check the oil every single day, except I didn't check it Wednesday. My helper checked it and filled it before I went to the field. I am pretty sure I checked it Thursday morning. I can't remember for sure. But, I always do check it. I know there has not been metal filings in the oil before. It had to have happened in the last two days. That is pretty severe in my opinion.
I changed the oil and started it. The three-speed has good oil pressure, I can't hear it making noise.  It never slips, I just can't see how it could go bad.
I sat in the cab for a few moments unable to make a decision.
I could get my cousin's 7140 4wd but then I would owe him money or a favor and what if I broke it.
So... I went and got the 2-135 out of the field. It is only 2-wd but it has taller tires than the 2-155.
It doesn't have three remotes but I have a valve doubler.
I didn't hook up the monitor or calc-an-acre and I don't have to put on fertilizer till tomorrow. I just hooked it up and went.
Then I saw seed falling on the ground.
The openers kept plugging and the uncleaned seed they are planting had stems when plugged the feed cups when the drill got low.
I made two rounds and discovered a bearing on one v-opener was out.
The farmer had not brought me my pickup back so I called him and got him to go to our shop and get me another opener.
Then i saw something shiny in my last pass. One of the opener discs had spun off and it was laying in the middle of my previous pass. I got out my 15/16 wrench and re-attached it. I got it tight and gave it a spin to make sure the bearings were ok.
My finger slipped and I could see it all happening but I could not stop the momentum of my hand. If my finger would have had just a little bit more angle that razor sharp opener would have sliced it to the bone. Instead, it peeled back a 1/4 x 1/2" slice of skin. You would not believe the amount of blood.
My first aid kit was in the pickup. I washed it out from a water bottle and wrapped one of those blue shop towels around it. It made me feel all queasy. That pass was not as straight as the previous one.
The farmer arrived and gave me a ride to the pickup. He has some really cool butterfly strips that we used to cinch the skin back into place.
I went back and replaced the other opener.
I also found my spare little Garmin 18 hocky-puck GPS antenna. It is not real accurate but I now had an acre counter. My drill acre counter failed and Great Plains has replaced the good old mechanical counters with a digital counter that doesn't actually work. So, I've never bought a new one.
I get going. No more plugged tubes and I sort of have GPS. Pretty soon I start smelling something hot. I can't figure it out.
Then I see the cord to the GPS melt.
I do have another one that is USB powered so I found that. But won't plug into my little interface box that shuts off the GPS when the drill is raised.
I finally got really going and was feeling pretty good.
Then the stop engine light and buzzer started going off. I've got oil pressure and water. What more is there? The hydrualics have their own sensor. I don't know. I wiggled wires. I shut off the tractor for a while. Finally I just decided to ignore it. Sure enough it went away.
I did another 15 acres after dark. Then I started noticing these little patches that someone had combined around. I went slowly though them. No problem. On the way back I found out what they were. One rear dual suddenly dropped a foot with a loud wham! Tile blowouts.
I quit for the evening. I'm not pushing what little luck I have left. I've dropped a front wheel in one of those before and it was not such a happy thing.
Tomorrow I am going to run away and join the circus. Orin can have my 2-135 if he can keep it on the road at 21.5 mph...

Four wheel drives are for sissies!

We watch old cartoons in the house

 With apologies to Uncle John's Crazy Town who does this the right way and is a real collector not  a hack like I!

I used my flip video camera to record some parts of an old Terry Toon movie that I found in my collection. There are no titles so I have no info on it.
The story line is that a large black lady gives her son a bath and sends him out to play. She warns him about the tiger before he goes. The family dog hears the warning and dresses up like a tiger. Hi-Jinks insue.

You have to suspend the whole racial overtones thing and appreciate the slapstick comedy. My daughter has probably never heard the old racial stereo types and she just appreciates it as a being funny.
I asked her what she thought about how the black folks were shown in the film and the kids did not make a real connection between the cartoon and real life stereotypes. The response was something along the lines of, its a movie! Its not real dad! So, I don't know what it means.
My favorite part is the family dog checking out his tiger costume in the mirror. Only... It is not a mirror!

And then there is Woody Wood Pecker getting ready for winter. Always good for a grin!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter has arrived and I know that because I got stuck

I was opening the field and I was playing around with the down pressure on the front coulters and not watching how close to what looked like was wet ground last year. I was also in 4th gear direct at just over idle coming out of a sharp corner and so when I hit the soft ground I stopped. And that was that...
The farmer brought out too small a 4wd tractor and that sealed my doom. I buried it to the axles, both the drill and the tractor. We had to lock the drill up, unhook the drill, pull it around sideways and then hook two tractors together to get it out of the mud. I did something like 23 acres today. Then, just after dark it started pouring, shortly after that the low seed alarms started going off. I got everything unplugged and planted out the rest of my drill load but I just came home.
Fellow I'm working for just got his brand new New Holland combine Repoed shortly before I got there to plant. Kind of depressing economic conditions here lately...
Strangely enough, the local Case-IH sales manager saw me from the road and stopped to talk briefly. Said he had nothing to sell me just wanted so say hello. I like him and he is a nice guy. I don't know if he understands that I am a lost cause. He told me they sold an Auto-steer GPS system to a local fellow for the tune of something like $35,000. Said they didn't have to use their drill markers any more. Didn't have the nerve to inquire further. Yikes! I guess I can stick with my ebay special non-auto steer system. You would have to do a lot of acres perfectly to pay for $35,000! But, wouldn't I feel like a BTO putting out my little RTK tripod. I wonder if you have to wear a white lab coat to make it work properly?
Although, spending $1,200 on a new helix antenna doesn't seem so much in comparison to $35,000! On second thought, $1,200 is still $1,980 more that I have. (Thanks to a generous contribution I now have $20 in my paypal account.)
I asked him to check if they made an autosteer valve for my 1984 White. (They don't-and they will laugh if you ask)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It was all just random...

The farmers on NAT were talking about their GPS guidance suddenly not working.... Click here!
And then there was the missile streaking through the sky! Click here...
No connection I am sure...
It was just a weather ballon, or a problem with electrical wiring, or a jet on the horizon, or we just imagined it all... Not a big deal...
Perhaps we will have another fake terrorist attack to take our minds off it....
Oh, wait that isn't needed. Miley Cyrus showed side boob! And Taylor Swift didn't and the chick with two black eyes that is only 17 flashed someone at a nightclub. (I get the entertainment news every morning when I start up Safari webbrowser...)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday morning and it looks like work...

I think I am about to become quite busy again. So here are some tidbits and some links and food for thought.
1. My brother sent me this link to the Whizbang guy. Apple cider maker. I want to make slightly hard cider cause I love the taste.

2. Interesting blog I found from the wizbang guy's blog (click here to go to it or find it in my blogs I'm following side bar. Agarian society or something like that.

3. I've been checking my blog statistics. People keep finding the Lazy Farmer by doing a search for drag chains for planting soybeans. The drag chains are really simple.
As you can see, I don't have a good photo of the chains. But, you can see the brackets. I copied this from the martin catalogue. The chains are the part of old truck tire chains that go over the tyre to improve traction. They are a funny looking twisted type chain. The length is not a huge issue. They need to loop behind and drag over the row. I made two brackets out of 3/8 x 1" strap which bolt to the press wheels and are bent out so that the chain loops over the row better. It doesn't work to leave two ladder-like sections of tire chain connected. It does not work like a two bar harrow. Instead it all balls up and doesn't work at all.
So, if you are searching for drag chains for planting soybeans there is your answer.

4. Old stories-Ralph has a whole (mindless ramblings blog) series of videos on youtube from his family farming history. They are pretty interesting (well to us farmer types) Click here to hear his family singing "Old Mountain Dew" from the 1950's. And here to see his other videos. I like the chainsaw music one.

5. The cousins were at our house Sunday. My brother and his wife went to the coast for their anniversary and the kids came to our house. Dad was at home by himself. We kept the fire going for him and Joey ran over and checked on him. I made sure he was ok at 10:30. He was in bed asleep. At 12 a.m. the power went out. My cell phone rang. Dad said the lights were out. We told him that we had called PGE and the lights would be on in a while. At 1:45 a.m. the phone rings again. Dad says there are no lights. I say, well just stay in bed! Do you have a flashlight. Well, yes but it is in the bedroom. I say where are you. I'm in my chair he says and it is getting cold.
So, I grab a flashlight and head out the door. It was pouring rain. I came back in and got the keys for my truck. My wife laughed at me as it is not that far.  I needed the headlights to make it though the yard. Apparently the 7th calvary had a last stand on the front lawn. There was a wagon with a tall flag and several more wagons in a circle. I think there was also a cannon and a couple dead horses plus a number of stick weapons. A lot of death and destruction for kids attending the sort of church school they attend.
I get into the house and dad is setting in his chair. I guess after I left him in bed he got up to watch a Gene Autry movie on his iBook and was caught in the living room without lights when the power failed. I built up the fire and helped him to be. I guess you can do what ever you want when you are 90 years old.
But, I digress...
I was telling the kids about dads adventures and that they need to get him to tell stories. Dad smiles and is generally happy and polite and agreeable, but he is pretty remote as well. Very hard to talk to about anything personal.
They didn't know he was somewhat of a cowboy and could stand on a horse and loop a spinning rope around him and the horse. He could shoot a dime out of the air with a .22. He made a road trip to the Pendleton Roundup in the 1940s or so. He used to ride a 4 horse team to the field with only one broke horse-standing on the backs of the  horses. He used to ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He and his brothers once pushed their pet goat off the roof. Great-Grandma quit driving after forgetting how to turn off the model T and having to drive it round and round the house till it ran out of gas...
I told them they needed to hear these stories since they lived with him and one day he was going to fall over dead and then no-one would hear all those stories.

6. Interesting link to The Resistance where there is a post on the infamous naked body scanners at airports. Now we know why we are going to have to be exposed to x-ray radiation! Follow the money!

And now I've lost my train of thought. I guess I will go to work. I have to plant for some neighbors who are having a crisis and we will have to have a talk and my drill is broken and I have to pressure wash 3" of caked on mud off the drill and I want to go back to bed and my back hurts and the world seems to be falling apart and farming is looking grim and it is foggy and I have no money and no one bought me that nice White tractor or gave me a grant for 1.5 million dollars or, or, or, (sob)

Perhaps I will post a video of the cousins singing silly songs and playing with legos. That may be amusing.

Have a nice day!!!

(no-I am not proof-reading this, I have to go to work now!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Death of Country Music

 I don't know how to embed youtube videos in blog posts so you will have to click here and here to see this song performed live.
I heard it on the internet country and blue grass channel that I force the kids to listen to when there are here on Sunday afternoons.
Click on the links and look at the comments below the videos. Interesting.

Murder on Music Row Lyrics

(Larry Shell/Larry Cordle)

Nobody saw them running
From 16th Avenue
They never found the fingerprints
Or the weapon that was used
But someone killed country music
Cut out its heart and soul
They got away with murder
Down on music row

The almight dollar
And the lust for worldwide fame
Slowly killed tradition
And for that, someone shouldhang ("Ahh, you tell 'em Alan")
They all say "Not Guilty!"
But the evidence will show
That murder was committed
Down on music row

For the steel guitars no longer cry
And the fiddles barely play
But drums and rock 'n' roll guitars
Are mixed up in your face
Ol' Hank wouldn't have a chance
On today's radio
Since they committed murder
Down on music row

They thought no one would miss it
Once it was dead and gone
They said no one would buy them ol'
Drinkin' and cheatin' songs ("Oh, but I still buy 'em")
Well there ain't no justice in it
And the hard facts are cold
Murder's been committed
Down on music row

For the steel guitars no longer cry
And you can't hear fiddles play
With drums and rock 'n' roll guitars
Mixed right up in your face
Why the Hag wouldn't have a chance
On today's radio
Since they committed murder
Down on music row

Why they even tell the Possum
To pack up and go back home
There's been an awful murder
Down on music row

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I find a tractor on ebay and someone should buy it for me or Orin

Will someone buy me this tractor? It is far less money than is wasted by your local government in any one day. It is less money than a fancy new pickup truck. It is less money than a campaign ad and I'd painted "donated by _____" on the hood.
Plus- I would say "thank you"
Orin could also use it. He only has one White tractor which seems a bit lonely. He would sure look good blocking Volvos around hippie-town!

Friday, November 5, 2010

I plant and I listen to talk radio and get all worked up-again...

Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating day. It was supposed to be the last day of sun and I needed to get the field finished and I needed to move 15 miles down the road. I broke the bolt which holds up the gauge wheels on the drill first of all. I had that in the pickup.
Then the ace pump that supplies the fertilizer blew out. Not just a leak, no a virtual shower of $3 (?) a gallon fertilizer. (Haven't asked the price yet)
I went home and got my spare pump. But, I didn't take off the old pump. What I didn't realize is that somewhere in my continual modifications to my drill, I had changed how the pump hooked up. So...I had to change hoses and fittings.
In the end I finished. It was very muddy and who knows how successful.
This farmer heard the Oregon State reports that you get no benefit to planting wheat at high rates like 135lbs per acre, so he cut his rate to 95lbs. This was good as I didn't have to fill the drill all the time but I worry about a low rate in adverse conditions.
In between frustrations I listened to talk radio. I skipped around a bit as I was trying to find the local station in the hopes that someone would report on the "Large Red Combine" that broke an axle and was blocking 99w and answer the question if the LOG TRUCK stopped to help, what hit by a tire, or hit the combine and broke the axle. No luck on those questions.
There was a lot of discussion about this past election. Quite a bit of complaints about the third parties losing the election for the Basketball player who ran for governor.
I guess I would say that the third party rescued the election for the Republicans. I was never happy with Dave Dudley. Just another rich wine drinking dude set up by the short pants, Amway selling, mega-church attending, go to church on Sunday-rip off your neighbor on Saturday type of modern conservative that I don't like.
I actually trust the wild eyed fanatics in the constitutional party because I prefer the statement, "brother you are going to hell" to the knife in the back as practiced by the mainstream American Republican Party. (look up Trent Lott and Lindsey Gram)
So... Who lost the election in Oregon?
Well, if Dudley would have got up on the first day of the campaign and made a speech somewhere along the lines of, "Yesterday I was at the DMV to register my car and I discovered it was going to cost me over $100. So I asked what it would cost to register a big truck and they said it went from $400 to $800. I don't know how a hard-working Oregonian can run a business is this climate of taxation and regulation and I'm going to change it."
He would have got elected.
Instead it was just bland non-specific baloney and expensive TV commercials.
The Libertarian and Constitutional parties got a lot of votes. The urban cowboy-er midnight cowboy? John Kratzemheimer did not win by a landslide by any means. There were more votes against him than for him. The only people who voted for him were the Koolaid drinkers that actually want to be a little left of California.
The protest votes should be noted and appreciated. Perhaps the Republicans ought to listen to what the Libertarian and Constitution parties has to say.
Perhaps the Democrats should as well.
I think a lot of the people in these protest parties are not saying, "you must believe like me," they are saying, "let me believe what I want and let me be in charge of my life. Screw your own up if you want, just don't put it on me!"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Strange weather and adverse planting conditions

First it rained, then it was mud, now it is 70 degrees and Friday it will rain.
Here is the view out the window Monday-

This was yesterday-

This is what I did today.

Here is the last field I planted. This is not so good. I'm planting into corn stubble and it is too wet. I walked the field, farmer drove around in his pickup, but it doesn't crumble, it just slices. This is a silty clay riverbottom soil. It should dry out quicker. You can feel the silt between your fingers but it is still wet. 
I am very happy with my $20/row Air-Design scrapers. I would not be planting in these conditions without them. They have spring loaded carbide tipped blades that just peel the mud off the insides ove the v-openers.

I am now planting Geotze wheat at a 95lbs per acre. This Geotze is 63lbs per bushel so the drill will hold 2200lbs and I can plant 22 acres before filling up. It really speeds things up. But the ground is so wet I am only filling it half full.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Death of a Company-We Visit The ruins of the Freeman Baler Company

On our wanderings around Portland we drove down to the industrial area of Portland to find Great Harvest Bread Company, The former Freeman Baler factory and to see where my brother drives around with a 50 foot belt trailer.
We did find the Freeman Baler Company on Nikoli or Yeon or where ever it was. Here is a photo of the old headquarters.

And here are the loading docks. They have a whole block of buildings. It was one of those old rambling factories and was probably pretty inefficient.

Going to J.A. Freeman and Sons was always an adventure in my younger years. Sometimes we got a tour. The goal was to get a free hat (for me) and a calendar for Mom. The office had an oak counter and oak desks. There were framed blueprints on the wall. There were old and kind of grumpy people around.
The Freeman baler itself was kind of unusual. The basic design was really unchanged from the very first stationary balers.
It had large bullgears which drove a heavy plunger at fairly low speed. (75-85 strokes per minute) The whole baler was very heavy and it appear to be mostly fabricated by hand.
We have two model 200 balers with which we used to make 85lb wheat straw bales at below 16 percent moisture. That it making a bale so tight that if a string breaks they explode.
The company was bought by Allied Systems a few years ago and moved from North East Portland to an industrial park somewhere. Of course they screwed all their old dealers in the modern AGCO tradition and Freeman baler sales came to a complete standstill in our area.
In fact, I bought a Hesston 3-tie and we sold our 3-tie Freeman because we couldn't get parts. The fact that I, the owner of Minneapolis-Moline tractors, a Studebaker car, a Triumph motorcycle, and Mac computers actually switched brands should be an object of study by classes in salesmanship world wide.
Here is the companies tombstone (click here)
It appears that they are still being made. I would like to have two new 2-tie balers as that seems to be where the market is going, but I will probably buy New Holland balers as I don't want to deal with the local John Deere dealer who is the local Freeman dealer and who is trying to bury the brand.

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