The Useful Duck!

Contribute to my Vacation, please...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More people should grow Meadow Foxtail for hay and pasture

We grow Meadow Foxtail for seed. We had a bit of a crop failure this year as one of the strips of cardboard we used to block of air to the combine fan came off and a lot of the light fluffy seed went out the back of the combine. Pretty stupid mistake as the stuff is worth like $4/lb.
I think we have the last remaining field in the USA.
The OSU fact sheet kind of puts it down as a good quality forage crop but I disagree. It does very well in wet fields and it ripens sooner than any other grass. I've seen a lot of hay labeled "German Timothy" that was actually Meadow Foxtail.
If you have a little irrigation you can get your first cutting at the end of May, hit it with a little water and in July get a beautiful field of hay that is mostly green leaves. The horse ladies go nuts over this sort of hay.
I should arm myself with good propaganda on the subject and start frequenting horse forums promoting the crop. I wonder if I could get an article in a hay magazine. I could just make a bunch of crap up and if I wrote a good cover letter I could probably get it published.
I should start talking about how good it is on NAT.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I overslept and this will be a short post but you can still buy Bit-O-Honey candy bars

It is not like I just woke up. I stared at the ceiling in kind of a daze for something like two hours...thinking about what it would like to be a real farmer and not have every single crop be almost a failure. Not quite a failure... Look up previous post on my "sideways" luck.
I suppose it all came from my talk with MuddyV about the big fire at the local CIA airlines and how most people who make it big do it by business practices that we find offensive, (until we start doing it and then it is pulling oneself up by their own bootstraps)
I reviewed several people I know and decided Muddy was correct. The one fellow who showed up a the shop yesterday got the old folks in awe. He has 30 balers running all over the country. The guy did it by being a modern businessman. He undercut everyone in the straw business by offering the farmer high stumpage fees for the straw. He didn't actually pay those fees but did so selectively. Very clever. But, it put those who were honest or those who refused the risk out of business and stuck us bottom feeders paying money for something we used to get for free.
Completely ruined a really good thing and for what? He drives a really nice pickup and has a new house and plays in a rock and roll band and thinks he is a neat guy. You can't complain or you are just jealous because you are not a good businessman. Plus, he is the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. longer care...
I have to go rake alfalfa.
Anonymous found me a Freeman 270 in Bend but it sold...
I do not want to bale at night.
You can still buy "Bit-O-Honey" candy bars.
Click on the candy bar to go to the website from which I stole the picture. (I hope that is not a copyright violation, it takes you to the article by the guy who took the photo.)

You can get them from If you want to buy some then type "Bit-O-Honey" in the Amazon search box on this blog. This will give me a kick back. But only if you buy it when you do the search. If you come back later I get nothing...

Friday, July 29, 2011

A shadow of my farmer self...

I've been working ground off and on for the last couple days. It is not as much fun as it used to be. Working dirt is kind of like playing with Tonka Trucks or toy tractors on a much larger scale.
Knowing that you are using 8 gallons an hour of $3.87 diesel kind of kills the joy...
Frankly, I think the economic problems are due to the price of fuel and that any economic renewal plan should take that into consideration.
On two fronts: 1. The price is too high.  2. We need an alternative to fossil fuel from the crazy people.
But, that was not what I wanted to talk about, in fact I have no idea what I started this post about.
I was listening to them talk about the economy on the radio and it is depressing. Not a single fellow involved has worked a day in his life. The females are all shrill and seemed to have all grown up on affirmative action or being told they were much smarter than they really are. Oh, same thing... (No offense to those who had to work twice as hard as their coworkers to get ahead)
I think Our Dear Leader should make a speech calling for a balanced economy. One based on agriculture, industry, and some other important category. Stress self reliance and "sustainability," and call for everyone to pull together. Then fire his jobs czar who is moving the 110 year old GE x-ray plant to China and tell everyone to buy local.
The whining and crying would be incredible. (I think the term is wailing and knashing of teeth)
But, people would start spending money.
So what if the big businesses fail, they are outsourcing everything overseas anyway.
Of course we all know "They" don't think that way and are so "owned" by "those" who got them in power it couldn't be done.
Second major thought, what is the amazing kool-aid they give you at the university that causes everyone who attends to define themselves by the their first marxist professor or Cliff's notes edition of "Catcher in the Rye." Good grief I listened to Bob Dylan and read that book about Monkey Wrenching, and the other one about how to be a revolutionary and I moved on.
Of course I also read James Joyce and look what stream of consciousness has done for me.
The sky is blue...
Oh no! I'm turning into a giant bug....
No, that was Kafka. I like Kafka, feels like my life...

Speaking of the absurd-I just noticed my daughter is dressing like her Wii avatar. I'm going to have to ask her about his. Short pants, t-shirt, stocking hat. I think it is even the same color. What goes on in their heads? What does she think? How does she interpret the world? I can talk to her and never know her but I see the wheels turning, the computer in her head. I just don't know... Banjo music, that is the key. Banjo and the Ledge. She is learning to play guitar... I tried to get her to sing "standing in the trash can thinking of you," and she told me to "go away..."
Here is a photo of her Wii avatar driving the M670 tedding hay. No, wait, it really is her.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lunch on the farm

I remember the farm lunches from the old days.
We didn't call them lunch, we called them dinner. The evening meal was called supper.
When I was a wee lad Grandma would cook dinner on the farm. There was always potatoes and gravy. The grown ups ate at the house. I only remember being there once.
The younger workers ate at a picnic table in the back yard. This was more fun as Skipper, (the resident black lab) would eat anything as long as it smelled like tuna fish. So it was quite entertaining to see my cousin feed banana peels to the dog and see the dog wolf them down in one bite.
After we moved to the farm Mom always made big dinners at 12 noon. You dropped everything and came to dinner. It was quite important not to be late as Dad ate at noon.
When we were working off the farm Mom packed huge lunches. They always had cut up apples or oranges and a sandwich. And we always got a big thermos full of ice water.
I don't have lunches like that anymore.
That is partly because I keep loosing the lunch cooler and the thermos. I never seem to do the same thing all day and I change vehicles and locations and there is always a crisis.
I will tell you the one thing I have learned is to always take your lunch, a water bottle, and a heavy shirt with you where ever you go. There is absolutely no promise you will make it back to the pickup before you die of thirst or freeze or starve.
I took for for Gopher Valley last week with no lunch. I was in a hurry.
I did find a Snickers bar and I had coffee that my wife insisted I take. I found the snickers bar in the toolbox of the M670 super. It was left over from when I planted corn. It was not in the best condition. It also was partly melted.
But, I was hungry...
Snickers have peanuts which are a source of protein.
I would sure love to have one of those roast beef dinners, with mashed potatoes and gravy, and beans cooked to death with a little chunk of ham or bacon with them. And I would really love to have some wilted lettuce, but suggesting that is like asking for a meth sandwich...
I'm having berry pie and coffee for breakfast right now. I suppose that is not USDA recommended...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why I disbelieve in science in general and 1970's social science in particular.

I grew up in the 1970's and there were certain types of people I instantly distrusted and disliked. Even at age 10. It is quite depressing to see those people running the country.
It seems to me that those who supposedly know better than you or I and who have access to the media or universities or government can make up inane theories and waste lots of money and ruin people's lives and be proclaimed hero's. It happens in diplomacy, in natural resources, in science, and in education.
I found this horrible example of stupidity in science and which is also an perfect example of 1970's sentiments. I'm not sure where. I think I was looking at the website of an offensive talk show host.
So they take a baby chimp away from his mother and raise him as an undisciplined human child of the 1970's and then when he turns violent and undisciplined later in life they take this as an example of "unhuman" behavior and sell him for medical research.
And this is a microcosm of post 1970's thought.
Sort of like raising your human child with no restraints and then letting him rot in jail or a mental hospital when things go bad.
Look at the comments following the article. No one gets it!
Things they could have learned:
Chimps can and will communicate sign language. In fact this chimp communicated with sigh language throughout his life and seemed to be able to express emotions outside of a simple reward/gratification kind of cause effect relationship. (As in a dog doing a trick for a treat)
If you raise any animal with no discipline they do not learn to control themselves and they have screwed up adult lives.
We have a moral responsibility to those whose lives we take control of.
What they did learn:
Nothing... In fact they decided that (wonder of wonders!) chimps are not human. And they blamed the chimp for acts that were the result of their stupidity and which showed the chimp's intelligence and social instincts.
It was immoral and I am really kind horrified. These people still do this sort of thing. They do it in third world countries, they do it to racial minorities, they do it to our allies, they did it to Mubarrak, they do it to us, their arrogance is without bounds.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Almost done with hay, movies on Sunday, the sky is blue...

I think I will show movies on Sunday night. Hope it is not too late for everyone to change their last minute plan tickets.
We are on the last field of grass hay. We are actually doing a hay field for a couple nice ladies and the only reason I'm doing that one is that they agreed to pay the outrageous price I quoted them. After bouncing around the field I think I didn't charge enough...
I have had a farm at Gopher Valley for something like 20 years. For the last five years I've been threatening to quit. But, the old folks that talked me into making hay for them 20 years ago, beg me to continue. I like older folks and so I agree to do it just one more year.
The problem with older folks is that they die or lose brain function and then the younger folks take over. The young folks think that the pathetic rent you pay is ripping off the old folks and that you are making a fortune off them. That is because the young folks think they are entitled to all the old folk's money so that THEY can spend it.
I lost one farm last year and I see the grandkids are now making lots of over-ripe hay. They have all new small equipment. Small tractors with cabs and a/c. A new baler, a new little disk mower, and a new tedder. They are going really fast on the smooth fields. They have not said thanks but they did wave when they went by.
When I got that farm from Mr. Allen, who pretty much talked me into doing it, and who promised me I could have it forever, it was a mess of weeds and rough ground. But, that was a long time ago. If I would have bought a house instead, I would now have something worth money, but that is water under the bridge...
I just had a talk with my other landlady. She must have had a small stroke. She repeats herself. Last year she forgot she told me I didn't need to pay rent as I worked her fields and they got rained out before I could plant. So I gave her $1,000 and told her I forgot and I apologized. What is the point in arguing.
That all happened about the time her step-son-in-law moved in with her. He lost his job and her family hated to see her live alone.
That all sounds good, but he is a very strange guy. I kind of think he hides from me... I always look for people around the house and then stop if I see them, or at least wave. I saw him in his garden but he would never look up. I was in a hurry and didn't stop and press the issue. I should have.
Yesterday, all the doors in the garage were open and the gate to the road was open. As soon as I started raking all the doors were closed. But, when I started stacking I saw the land lady emerge. I stopped and talked to her. No step-son appeared.
The neighbor's think he is tweaking and cooking in the garage, but, of course, they will not stop in and see her as the gate is closed.
I suggested to her that he expand his garden and mentioned the good soil next to the creek. She said she thought he needed a tractor. He also needs a truck for his plumbing business which he doesn't actually do. I assume he already has the pants for it...
The other day I took my daughter to work with me and she ran the tedder.
Here is a phone video of the event.

In other news... I was accused of spilling hydraulic oil on Gopher Valley road, but I didn't. Someone else did the dirty deed.
I also think I sold most of my rained on hay for below the cost of my production but that means it will be gone, lots of things when wrong. One truckload already is on its way to California. Also a fellow drove his log truck into the creek which is kind of entertaining, in a depressing sort of way. As in, if you are BP you can poison the Gulf of Mexico and ruin the Florida shrimp industry and get away with it but heaven forbid you drive your log truck in the ditch or loose a bucket of hydraulic oil.
I also have a link to an article which tells you what to do if you find Fender's blue butterfly in your field at Gopher Valley but I lost the link. I'll tell you what you do, which is not what the article says to do. You post No Trespassing signs, you pretend not to know what Lupines look like, and you swear ignorance if someone from the nature conservatory rats you out. Because..., the farming practices you are doing are what promotes the Lupines and the Butterfly and they assume the butterfly is there by chance and survives in your field despite your farming practices. I've seen some unofficial tests and the butterfly does better where the hay is cut. This does not fit the party line however so it is not true...
But, now I need to go to work.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Potential Movie Night at the Great White Barn

I am considering watching movies on the barn Saturday night. We do have church in the morning. I could do it Sunday night. I forgot to invite anyone.
Update: I doubt it will happen...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My favorite Everly Brothers Song

It goes with the soundtrack currently playing in my head.

The problem with life is you only have one story, or rather one narrative. You can read about other people's stories, see them though film, see made up stories, you can live those stories for two hours or read a  book and drift off for a week. But in the end it is your story you write and that is the reel playing in your head when you are sitting in the wheel chair at the rest home wearing a Depends and sipping jello.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A photo from last week

This is what it looks like when you pull the cart off the irrigator.

There were sound effects that went with it but perhaps it is best to leave those words in the corn field.

The irrigator is a huge reel of 4.5" plastic hose. On this one there is a water turbine which drives a chain which turns the reel which pulls in the pictured cart which has a giant "rain bird" sprinkler on it. Actually it is a Nelson but when I say "Rain bird" you know what I mean.
The sprinkler covers 240-280 feet or so. I always forget. I have the old sprinkler stuck in my head and that is 360 feet. Oh my, now i can't remember anything... I will never make a real farmer! I know is it written down somewhere.
I'm going to work... Still raining... More coffee!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Random shallow thoughts and a song from the 1980's.

I was going to write about farming. Farming stories get the most hits and seem to be picked up and referenced by other blogs. But, this morning my farming post disappeared into the "ether" and I've been a bit morose.
I suppose if I really deeply cared about blog exposure I would read and comment on more blogs. This started out as me talking to myself and to some extent, collieguy, because collieguy is a very interesting person who does interesting things and I never seem to be able to hear what he says on the telephone.
Which is because I'm going deaf in one ear...
But, i digress.
I have been following the writings of a blogger who is kind of an amazing person. I found her by accident a couple times and eventually bookmarked her. I follow privately as I think I would annoy her. Anyway, she hitch hiked across Mexico when she was something like 18 and has sort of wandered around the world taking photos along the way. She is also a heroin addict.
She has found her soul mate and they moved to Chicago to start a new life. They were doing quite well, the usual struggles, but really moving along in life. I checked her blog Sunday and she is back to heroin.
It makes the blog interesting but I feel sad.
Can we never change our lives? Does your average person recover from addiction or do we just base our hopes on the exceptions? It doesn't have to be heroin, at least that is a good excuse, it can just be the same little loose circuit in your thinking where repeat your same cycle of failure over and over again.
I had been listing to some interesting 78 rpm records Muddy Valley gave me to record for him. I got tired of changing them so I switched turntables and played an LP. For some reason I pulled out the Georgia Satellites which I liked in college, other than that stupid free milk and a cow song which didn't age so well.
The song I was listening to was "Every Picture Tells a Story," which is a cover of the only Rod Stewart song I can stand to listen to.
In listening to the lyrics it seems that it is a compilation of coming of age cliche's. Rome and Paris and Asian women, but somehow it works.
Well, I couldn't find the video on youtube so that screws up that shallow thought. I guess you just do what you do in life. One step in front of the other and that is how it goes. People looked pretty stupid in the 1980's.
I met a girl at Panama City beach who were from Athens, Georgia and they said the Georgia Satellites were a really good bar band. She smoked those funny little cigars and her and her friends gave me a ride to the Atlanta airport. Along the way we ran out of gas and a Florida Highway Patrol officer gave me a ride to a gas station and back and complimented me on my choice of travel companions. I was such a rube. Since then I've just come to accept it...
But, i digress once more.
Someone else can gives us a lecture about God and prayer and fate and just random crap that we attempt to make into a string of connected evens. That is why I have a comments section...
If anyone is interested I got 751 bales rain on and I have 20 acres of hay not baled and it has now had a good half inch of rain on it.

Update, addition, Note, Whatever- Somewhere I got off subject and missed the point of the song. I didn't think of it until I read Gorges' comment. It wasn't about the girls it was about what the guy learned. It also has to do with the philosophy of the song I posted.
The conclusion of the song is the result of his search for meaning in life. He says that he can't quote poets of philosophers but he has learned the answer is to, "make the best out of the bad and just laugh it off,"
Because, "you didn't have to come here anyway."
And I like that last line. Perhaps I'm not understanding the song, but so what, it is just a stupid pop song, the thing is-you didn't have to do it. You made your choice accept the results and move on.
It is better put in Kipling's poem, "If" which can be found in a previous post somewhere on this blog.

I had a post written but I didn't save it and firefox crashed

And now I have to go to work...
For a quick synopsis: Farming, hay, rain, annoying customers, one nice customer, my daughter, peacocks, a picnic with a brass band, more rain, wet hay, frustration, nerf machine gun attack, blah, blah, blah...
So I think I will post this picture of the Lazy Farmer that collieguy sent me and I will go to work.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A fundemental problem with 21st century farming

I posted about this before, but I called my New Holland dealer to inquire about a new small baler. (before the rain on 40 acres) I wanted hydraulic tension, 540 PT, 14x18 bale chamber, heavy duty model. He called me back and started with payment terms first, but I finally got a price. $27,000+ He just called me back and I said I was no longer interested. He thinks I'm depressed... I think he actually cares.
At $27,000 I would need four times the acres I do now and two balers to get it done. It would not by logistically possible for me to do it-as far as I can tell.
But, I digress.
I see Frank James posted photos from an IH field day. A multi-million dollar field day. Read this post and then come back here and listen to me whine....
I'm sure on NewAgTalk there would be all the blathering on about economy of scale, and get big or get out, or whatever other meglamaniac BS is popular in professional farming circles these days.
But, and this is a big Butt... Fewer bigger farmers may mean bigger profits for those farmers but it also means less overall political clout-in the same way farmers had political clout in the past. Which could be the point.
Fewer Farmers mean fewer votes-plain and simple.
But, Fewer Farmers means a different distribution of dollars to lobbyists. Meaning a 6,000 acre farmer has different concerns which are more in line with big business than with those of us with small businesses and that farmer will drop a much bigger contribution in one spot than would 100 small farmers with slightly differing viewpoints. (not sure this makes exact sense)
Fewer Farmers mean fewer young people leaving the farm with a sympathetic farming view point which gives us a less favorable public image. This does not matter so much to the big guys who can make it illegal to take photos of their farms.
Fewer Farmers means that farm equipment will get bigger and more expensive and will not be designed to last 50 years. That is bad for us bottom feeders.
Fewer Farmers means less farm dealers with bigger stores which is bad for service.
Fewer Farmers means that State Fairs are boring.
Fewer Farmers means there are fewer hot farmer's daughters which ruins a whole series of traveling salesman jokes.
Oh, there are no more traveling salesmen either.
Oh well, I guess that is progress...
I seem to get off subject from time to time. I have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm just grumpy. Got my hay rained on....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Scattered showers

Mostly over my hay field.
I finished Muddy Valley hay field sometime around 11 p.m. Monday. I got stuck a couple times with the stacker. I was pulled out once by a Traxscavator which is basically a 1940's D-4 with a hydraulic loader bucket. I may have a photo.
The other five times with just used the 2-135.
I was on my way to stack for the neighbor Tuesday Morning when I started to see more and more wet pavement and then puddles. I turned around and went home.
My land lady at Gopher V. called to tell me it was raining on her hay and I should do it first next year. I was polite. I think there will be no next year at Gopher V. I'm not sure what to do with 40 acres of rained on hay in this market. I should just walk away. Would have been done if I would have had another day of nice weather.
Today it is raining. We are working on the stacker. I am going to attempt to rebuild some large hydraulic cylinders...
In the mean time, for lack of photos out of my phone, I leave you with a fiddling Robot.
It is fiddling while the hay molds!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What I did yesterday and the day before and the day before that and for 20 summers before that...

I have been making hay while the sun shines. Actually I've been picking up other people's hay and my helper has been mowing and raking and baling all by himself. In the evenings I go to our fields and pick up what has been baled during the day.
Yesterday I went to help a friend (kid who used to work for me) who was making 14 x 18" two tie bales. They don't stack as well as the large three tie bales that we have been making.

I figure we will have to go back to small bales for the horse ladies but I sort of hate to. Later in the day I spoke with the farmer who is a friend of his family and was supposed to help the kid stack but had problems with his stacker. I offered to help him stack if he was broke down. He said he wanted to teach the kid some sort of lesson in getting stuff done. I asked what sort of lesson the kid was to learn? He had asked for help a week ago when he started cutting the hay! I guess the lesson is to not call your neighbor but to call someone who charges you to stack? I'm probably not going to charge him money but I'm going to trade for beef or something. But, we do stack for other people to supplement our income and so actually try to have a schedule. He called, I said I'd do my best to get his field stacked. And I did it. 2860 little bales in 16 hours. 40 some stacks. Not sure of the hours. It was a long drive down highway 18. Traffic was horrible on the weekend.

I had a large BBQ sausage from a roadside BBQ stand while waiting for traffic to clear. It was good.

Traffic was not so good. On the way back I started smelling smoke. Some hay dust on the exhaust manifold. I figured it I stopped it would flare up and disturb folks on the way to the beach. I saw no sparks so I figured I was ok. When I turned off the highway I pulled into a gallery parking lot and raised the bed. No huge flames so all is well that ends well. The gallery owner came out and we discussed picking up hay and traffic.

When i got to my field there didn't look like a lot of bales. But the field was rough and the next field was wet. It took me till 10 p.m. to get caught up. Sometimes I hate hay. I should be able to bale more than 60 acres in a week. Of course we did a few other things as well.
Then I got stuck.

Three times...

I still have another 30-40 acres to bale. I think I am going to drop a few acres and concentrate on this one farm. I hope I don't have any landlords reading who will build up expectations and then realize I don't get stuff done.
Monday I need to bring up a load of rock and a culvert or find a new entrance to the field. I've got two more fields I can't get at.
But, the people who haul my hay want to do it Monday. I suppose it will all work out in the end...
I need to do a bunch of mowing just to clean up fields. Not, to bale or anything. I just don't get stuff done...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Economics and Casinos and I'm off to pick up bales

I was listening to the radio while stacking yesterday. Just my little MP3 player and it only has FM, so I was stuck with OPB.
Our Dear Leader had a twitter conference. How wonderfully modern.
I didn't get the exact quote but it appears our new economic plans is to spend more money and look for the "next best thing," to boost the economy.
I asked the farmer I was stacking for what he thought and he went ballistic.
He is old fashioned and thinks Our Dear Leader needs to stop spending money we don't have. He also thinks people will not spend money on their horses and on his expensive hay when they hear idiotic economic schemes like this.
I suggested perhaps Our Dear Leader next plan would be to take a billion dollars to the nearest Indian Casino and double it in the "High Roller Room."
That scheme followed by taking meth is the first thing that comes to mind when encounter locals who pursue "The Next Best Thing," as a matter of business practice.
From practical experience it seems that paying down debt and not spending money are the first things to do in a business crisis. Maxing the credit cards and buying new Farm Equipment leads to the casino and meth situation.
But what do I know, I'm not even a real farmer...Now I'm off to pick up bales for someone else and I don't have third gear. I use third gear a lot. I wonder if the whole transmission will lock up on 99W or better yet, in downtown Amity, or on a railroad track, or when it is 102 degrees outside.
Anyone have a spare Eaton 5 speed they want to loan me?
Or 1.2 million dollars so I can get the !@#$%^& out of here and go to surf school in Costa Rica?

I actually worked...

In the last two days I've picked up a little more than 3,500 bales of hay. Been nearly stranded along the highway with one. Jammed the stacker in gear. Unjammed the stacker. Lost third gear in the stacker. Delivered a small freezer. And something else. I can't remember what.
The 3,000 bales is not a huge number unless you realize 2200 of them were light and fluffy and didn't pick up very well at all.
I picked up 1,300 of my own bales this evening and they stacked pretty well. Of course the stacker transmission is failing. I don't have the hay sold.

Monday, July 4, 2011

We celebrate the 4th of July

We just watched a pretty good fireworks display from lawn chairs in our front yard. The neighboring town ran out of room for their fireworks display so they moved it to our fair city. The one which has been unkind to bicyclists in the past.
We live 2 miles west of town but 2 miles gives a good perspective on a fireworks display. Plus, we got to see all the illegal fireworks going off.
The 4th of July is an interesting hobby. People willfully violate the law in the last remaining demonstration of the attitude that built our country. The tight-arsed folks that have pretty much ruined the country, have made any fun fireworks illegal and homemade ones make you a terrorist. But, you would not believe the number of explosions rocking the neighborhood tonight. The illegal fireworks run pretty good competition with the expensive official fireworks display.
The joy of illegal fireworks provide excellent object lessons to the kids to explain what useless crap the elected officials spend their time doing.
I attempted to pick up bales today. I didn't get a lot done. There was a picnic with my wife's family.
Yesterday we went down to the river. The kids seemed to thing it was a good idea to spray me with water in an attempt to get me to go swimming. Finally I was so wet I just jumped in.
Then they pushed me  into current in the big tractor tire inner tube. I needed some peace and quiet at that point so I just floated away. The actually seemed to get a little worried and ran for the 4 wheeler to intercept me downstream.
Here is a photo of my 92 year old father taking a shot at a pop can with a BB gun. He hit it!

As a young lad he was able to shoot a dime out of the air with a .22 rifle.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Lazy Farmer rants on mythology and culture but doesn't really know what he is talking about and didn't really proof read his post because he wants to eat his oatmeal before it gets cold

Yesterday morning I was looking for my brother. I found his car parked with the radio tuned to KBOO. He was listening to the old time country-western music show that is every Saturday morning.
On the dash was a book on pirates. I think it was called "Pirate Nation." (I started reading the book. In the middle of course...)
As the title indicates it was a history of pirates. It had lots of quotes from the aforementioned pirates. It broke down a lot of the old pirate stories and compared the mythology with reality. For example, not all pirates killed everybody and sunk the ships. Sometimes captains would be given back a smaller ship or have their rum taken but be given compensation. Sometimes they killed everyone...
It also discussed the motivations for being a pirate and the amazingly democratic pirate society. A society armed to the teeth and used to brutality can be a democratic society. No one steals from you if they know you will kill them.
One other funny thing I picked up from the pirate book was that their leaders were reasonably well educated. My brother noted that they had a better understanding of Christianity than most modern Evangelicals. I would concur.
I was listening to a cowboy song and reading a pirate book and the story of the Hispanic guy's pilgrimage to see the Pope was fresh in my mind.
I wonder if a major problem with our society and culture is that we have killed our mythology. We tear down our stories in the name of realism and the whole concept of historical realism is in my opinion a sophomoric conceit. 
The unavoidable bias of the historian colors our history and it becomes what is written.
Look at my mower story. I purposely implied that the Hispanic guy's prayer gave me the good fortune to find the mower I needed when I needed it. I ignored all the annoying things that went wrong the rest of the day. For example my employee putting the wrong disks on the old mower or my inability to get my hay picked up yesterday. I wanted it to reinforce the family mythology, which I have purposely encouraged.
I think encouraging the family faith in God gives us a common bond and lets us explain random bad luck as a challenge to our faith and an opportunity to show our faith. And we can attribute random good luck to divine providence and answered prayers.
It is our traditional culture and it encourages us to look beyond ourselves. To have higher hopes and dreams and to help our neighbors.
And it is so much less work subscribing to the modern be kind to mother earth and support MLK and white people are bad and science is truth and if the truth changes it is because we got new information type religion promoted in modern culture.
I read a story about a pirate captain who captured a ship. There were princesses the ship. It turned out that the princesses loved pirates so the pirates married the princesses and there was a potential story for a Disney  movie.  In reality the pirates raped a bunch of slaves from India and some of the women jumped overboard rather than be raped and lots of people were brutally murdered.
But that is not the mythology.
Likewise, cowboys were one held up as honest and rugged individuals and admired. Some Native Americans were nice to the Pilgrims and had a big dinner. Other Indians scalped settlers but were run off by Cowboys who wore white hats.
Of course reality was much different.
Mythology would blunt the edges to promote ideals of honesty, bravery, and inspire ideals of self-reliance and leadership.
History should probably strike a balance.
Revisionism rewrites the official biased History to match the bias/agenda of the current culture.
Anyway, I've kind of lost interest in the whole rant.
The bottom line is that I think our religion/mythology was tossed not because of its lack of validity but because college professors discovered that it was a way to manipulate sheltered middle class students into being impressed by the professors great knowledge and thus leading to sex with impressionable young co-eds.
Tell me I'm wrong...


Yesterday afternoon my friend who was going to cut hay for me called and said he was ready to cut my hay. I really should have had him help me I suppose. I was running the tedder fluffing up some very nice hay. It was totally green on the bottom of the windrow. The ground was so wet it was like putting the cut stems in a vase of water.
(Photo is a little over exposed)
I told him I no longer needed help. He wanted to chat, and I wanted to get done and so tedded and talked. I think the old M670 needs a muffler.
At four I got a call from our next door neighbor. They thought it was going to rain and needed help stacking 70 acres of Timothy hay.  So, I got the stacker out and turned on the A/C. No cold air. I thought about 70 acres and 80 degree temps with high humidity and how I was kind of annoyed and I decided 10 minutes to put the A/C gauges on would not be the end of the world.
I had pressure but still the clutch didn't turn. I shorted the high/low pressure switch terminals together. No power.
So I wiggled wires at the switch. Sparks!
The main power wire came off the switch. I plugged it back in and Cold Air.
I thought about telling my brother how he was one little clippy terminal thing away from cold air that long day he picked up loose bales for the other neighbor but he didn't look happy. He was having irrigation failures.
A 70 acre field with 4 ton to the acre hay and three balers looks very big at 5 p.m. The neighbor girl was stacking. Actually she is not the neighbor girl any longer. She is my age.
Her niece was running a baler. I wondered if the niece suspected that she could in fact end up running a stacker at age 40 something.
It's a lifestyle choice...
We finished at 10:45. I was not in very good form. I kept missing bales or knocking them over. I blew out a major hydraulic hose. I only picked up 20 stacks, which means 12 minute loads, deducting an hour for the hose failure. I used to be able to do better than that.
I was tired...

Friday, July 1, 2011

An intesting day

So this Mexican fellow was talking to the uncle in the store today. He made trip to Rome and saw the Pope. He has been praying for people. He works for a neighboring farmer who has a lot of money. One of the bosses there is kind of ill tempered. The Mexican fellow was saying how he was praying for this man and praying that they would all be able to work as one. I had to laugh quietly to myself. Now that is one true example of Christianity. I myself have not lived up to the standard set by this man. I don't even work with the guy and I once to the fellow How do I say it, other than it is an act technically impossible to do except for some earthworms. It was a bad day...
It was also interesting that he was not praying that the fellow would be nice or that he would not annoy the guy or that he would have grace to deal with him. No, he was praying that they could all work together as one team. This fellow really cares about his job and the people he works with! Amazing to me as someone who has experienced the other sort of employee.
So anyway, the fellow had quite the testimony. He really had some insight into how your Christian beliefs should affect your attitudes toward others.
He asked us to pray for him and in turn wanted to know what we need in our lives that he could pray for us. My uncle was concerned about his health and being able to continue working at the shop as that is pretty much his whole life.
By this time I had been drawn into the conversation as the Uncle had mentioned my dead mower and lack of funding. The fellow says he will pray for money. I said that I didn't want money. If he was going to pray for me to gain something I would like to have things just not go wrong. If I could have one wish it would be for good fortune. The money would take care of itself. I should have asked for anger management and the grace to accept unwanted advice without suggestion the giver of the unwanted advice not violate himself.
I didn't think much about it until this fellow I've been selling hay to called and told me he would trade me his nearly new New Holland 1411 hay mower in exchange for the remainder of my hay and the $3,500 he owed me.
I thought about the deal for an hour or so. I previously found a fellow to mow for me but he had mower problems and didn't get it done.
I thought about the 100+ tonnes of hay I have stored in the barn. I looked at the calendar and wondered how I would sell 100 tonnes of slightly over ripe two year old hay.
I called up the service department of the dealer who takes care of his mower and asked about it. They said it was a really good mower.
I called the fellow up and said I would do it.
So I paid either $12,000 or $20,000 for a pretty good mower which is worth probably $13,000. It just depends what value you assign the hay. I don't want a New Holland 1411 as it is a 10 foot mower and I had a 12 foot hydro-swing Hesston. With the Hesston you can swing the tractor on either side of the mower so you can cut back and forth like a swather. The New Holland prices are more expensive than AGCO.  On the other hand I'm getting a little annoyed with AGCO and I need a taste of Fiat to bring me back down to earth.
I imagine in the end this will all go sideways as is my luck, but right now I attribute it all to the Hispanic fellow who made a trip to see the Pope. And... I'm not even slightly Catholic.
In other news... I welded the old disk mower back together. We put it all back together and started it up. No noise, no vibration, it sounds good. I am not going to run it again.
I am thinking about putting it on Craigslist. I am not sure the ethics. I think I will just spell out what is wrong and put a low price on it. If it sells it sells. If not, there will be a consignment auction sometime in the next few years.
Tomorrow I'm cutting Muddy Valley. I can even check the weather from the top of the page.

To express my happiness this morning, I give you The Ledge

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