The Useful Duck!

Contribute to my Vacation, please...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A short rant about the "pressure" put on the Gibson Guitar Company

They were talking about the raid on the Gibson Guitar factor on NPR this afternoon.
I heard about the raid on Gibson Guitar's Less Paul factor a few days ago. The official reason is that they were using a rare and endangered wood and knowingly broke the law. The real reason is probably that they are nonunion and owned by a couple guys who donate to conservative causes. What seemed to have happened is that Gibson did not have all the correct documentation. You see, in the Owellian age, you have to have a paper trail to prove that you don't have banned material-the government doesn't have to prove you have it, you prove you don't. The law is so broad as to make every guitar made before something like 1990 illegal. A guy asked for information on how to import antique piano's and he had his piano's stolen by the government and faced felony charges.
The government raided Gibson Guitar. Meaning, they didn't send them a letter, nor did an agent show up and ask for an inspection. Nope, armed officers! Apparently there were no Amish folks selling raw milk and a guitar factory was the next highest priority.
Of course gun dealers can be forced to sell guns to illegal buyers and when those guns are used to commit crimes in Mexico it is all an honest mistake. I suppose the government would not actually raid itself...
The really frightening thing about his all is that there is no perspective on this. Those agents thought they were doing the right thing. They were all convinced of their own total self worth. They were following procedure. No one stopped and said this is insane. We could just send one guy down there and handle this whole thing.
It is like the old guy from Costa Rica my friend was helping get to the USA for a visit. He waited in line for two days and then when he gets his interview they find out he was a commie in the 1950's. They wouldn't let him in on a tourist visa.
Commie's are totally irrelevant today...
Meanwhile, anyone can just walk across the border from Mexico. Of course as an employer it is my responsibility to verify them when I want to hire them. Anything to keep em on the government support!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The non-condensed version

I quit early tonight. I have something like 1000 bales to stack but the field is unbelievably rough and the alternator belt was slipping. The alternator belt also drives the water pump and if the belt breaks you have to remove the master hydraulic pump that runs everything on the stacker.
Plus, it the voltage gets below 13 volts the computer starts screwing up and double counts bales or something and messes up the stacks.
It should not have been a big deal to tighten the belt. I am only a mile from home. I made about five trips home today anyway to solve various stupid problems that really did not require my assistance...
I pulled the stacker up to the shop to discover a so much crap in the way that I could not get anywhere near a light.
There was a creeper, an air wrench, the broken rake teeth I forgot and left there Saturday, cardboard, chaff out of the combine and just plain crap. I attempted to get to the electric cord but my path was blocked by a pile of pop cans that I had picked up about five times previously.
So I got a big scoop shovel and just started throwing stuff in the trash. If it is not worth enough to pick up off the ground then we don't really need it.
Of course the rake was backed in at a funny angle because the person who was working on the rake would not pick up ANYTHING that he didn't actually remember leaving. I suppose that is what irritated me the most. So what if I forgot the rake teeth? Or someone left the air wrench out. Why would you go get another air wrench just to avoid picking up the one that got left out. It ALL PAYS THE SAME!!!
When I moved the rake I ran over a bucket of used motor oil. Why would there be a bucket of used motor oil in the way? The used oil drum is only a 100 feet away?
I just said screw it all, shut down the irrigation as I can't remember if the time clock works and i don't want to find out tonight and I'm going to bed.
I kind of miss a couple years ago when I could go home but now I live here and this is "home" so perhaps I'll have sweet dreams of huge magnet cranes and big bulldozers...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stupid People

This lady made a video of the "unusual" discipline methods used on her adopted son. The kid comes from Russia where it seems kids are beat up, sold as sex slaves, starved, and I saw a picture of one being thrown to wolves. Needless to say the Russians are quite upset about the child abuse. I suppose they are quite nice to their little tykes after the vodka wears off.
This would be like Islamists being upset about sexism or spousal abuse. Ok, I know there are guidelines. (You can only beat your wife with a "RUBBER" hose. If you use a 2x4 you will be tortured for two hours, but it is ok to run down your daughter with a car if she wears eyeliner.)
But I digress....
Perhaps the lady thought Dr. Phil was a real doctor?
Frankly I don't care that she poured hot sauce in the kid's mouth or forced him into a cold shower. I've heard of worse things. It is kind of ironic that the video was a plea for help and naturally it got her in trouble. Oh no, CSD couldn't show up with a Dr. Spock book or a bad of doggie treats. No, no, no, that is not the way to teach the peasants. They need to feel the force of the law...
What would have been really funny is if she would have used a dog shock collar or made him sit in a corner and watch Oprah.
In other news...
Farming, blah blah blah, less than spectacular yields, blah, blah, blah, problems, blah, blah, blah.... Someone paid me, someone didn't pay me, I'm behind, it is hot, I need 1.2 millon dollars, blah, blah, blah...Various technical tractor terms, followed by specific farming practices, photos of my daughter doing something I think is cute, blah, blah, blah...
And there is a weeks worth of blogging in one paragraph!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Short blog post due to the fact I should be working

Seems to be a busy time of year!
Yesterday my daughter drove a tractor by herself for the first time Tuesday. We had a discussion of safety and what to do if it caught on fire (run) and not to slip the Amplitorque or to go downhill with it in low and never to get off with the PTO engaged. Then I drove away. I didn't drive that far. Just enough to make her think I was gone. She fluffed some hay for me. It saved a little time.
My employee has been sick for the past two days.
My daughter has been a great help. She helps me move equipment and she also raked a field of hay by herself yesterday.
I had to bale a load of wheat straw by 7 p.m. for a fellow who pays cash! At 1 p.m. we had hardly started the combine.
Muddyvalley came over to help. I offered him cash out of my payment but he declined.
I think he was just so thrilled with the cultural experience...
We shall see what today brings!

Monday, August 15, 2011

It will rain or it won't. Staring at the weather forecast doesn't seem to make a difference!

It is supposed to rain today. Everyone freaked out last week when the 10 day forecast predicted rain on Monday.  Daughter and I were discussing it last night. Or rather I was pontificating on the weather.
Three days ago we had wide con-trails overhead. The train whistle was loud across the field. But, we did not have the flocked sky and last night the sky was red at sunset. I didn't feel a serious drop in pressure and the barometer is at medium pressure and I just don't think it is going to do much.
I did get my first major stacking job of the year helping the neighbor girl. Only she is not a girl any longer. She was worried her wheat straw would get rained on. She is pretty funny when she in worried. She talks really fast and calls me "sweetie." As in, "You are such a sweetie for helping me."
She had pulled up to where I was greasing the stacker with her service truck. The baling crew was wedged into the pickup. There were two baler guys and her niece who was running the rake. The niece was kind of peeking out from behind her Aunt and laughing and making a bit of a face.
When I got to the field it was rougher than a cob and on a hillside.
The field was planted in circles, sprayed along the hillsides, and they swathed up and down the hills. This meant you had to go across sprayer ruts. We did five semi-truck loads in five hours which would have been pretty good time for one stacker.
Then i drove 10 miles toward the coast to pick up two more truck loads of annual ryegrass straw. It went fast. I went from 15 minutes a load to 6-7 minutes. Plus, I got to watch the coyotes catch mice.
And I was home for supper.
Not a bad day.
Sunday the wife and daughter went to keep Aunt B. company. "Lulu" loves her Aunt B. for good reason. Aunt had a major knee replacement and needs some company. I went to church.
Had an interesting conversation about bluegrass music on Pandora and the cultural shift away from Christianity and how the current cultural viewpoint affects our interpretation of history.
The fellow I spoke with talked about going past the Bob Wills dance hall on his way to the Youth For Christ meetings and how they always wondered just what went on there.
After church I listened to old reel-to-reel tapes and tried to figure out how to get the Magnecord to record. One VU meter is going nuts and the recorder has tubes so I probably fried a capacitor. Either my old reel-to-reel had miss-adjusted heads or this one does as tapes from my old player have no high-end on this one.
The infamous gang of four wanted to go to the river and play with my Tonka Trucks. I have a Structo steam shovel in perfect condition and they really wanted to play with that.
They build a large holding pond, big enough for a kid to set in, and filled it with five gallon buckets of water. When the "dam" blew out, as it did several times, much hollering and running around followed. It was quite the local crisis. I think they may have raised the turbidity level in the Yamhill river by a measurable level.
I engineered several roads and a couple smaller ponds.
A good time was had by all...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Happiness is...

I've been in a bit of a funk.
To summarize without a lot of boring narrative.
Things went wrong...
Other things went wrong...
I melted the last diode for a NH 1085 second table solenoid in the state of Oregon.
Other things went went wrong...
I was annoyed...
I found out that I planted 200 acres of corn with three rows not putting out enough fertilizer and I don't have $5,000 to refund anyones's planting payment. Not that anyone has asked for a refund yet.
I realized I was not 16 with my whole life ahead of me and full of promise and excitement, (never saw that one coming)
I am going to get hay rained on...
So I was driving through town in my less than pristine 1964 Studebaker cruiser and this song came on the MP3 player playlist... I was on my way to pick up a hub for the windrow pickup for a 1970 Massey 750 combine...
I have to stop listening to old country western music...
And it was followed by Billy Rancher...
I am so freaking weird...
Perhaps, I should just say "eccentric."
My poor daughter!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I get a reel to reel and go somewhat highbrow in my musical tastes

This was one of those somewhat frustrating days. There are computer and hydraulic problems on the stacker. The diodes on the second table solenoid fried and I attempted to repair them. I am not sure this is truly a user serviceable part. I sent my lovely and gracious wife to pick up a couple from the NH dealership and I then did nothing.
Well, I helped my father with his computer, I unloaded a truck of annual ryegrass, I went after my pickup, I attempted to find a hydraulic valve for the stacker, and I kept forgetting what I was doing. I lost my coffee cup five times and by the time I found it the contents were quite tepid.
After I got my diodes i was able to fry one of them with the soldering iron.
So, it was quite a relief to retire relatively early to the house. However, the family was in bed and didn't seem to need by fatherly attentions.
However, I was anxious to try out the ancient reel to reel tape recorder bequeathed to me by lazy farmer follower, MuddyValley. (you may have seen his weather station link on this page)
It is a Magnecord 728 Professional which would have been pretty much top of the line in 1957. It came with four boxes of tapes on 15" reels.
I am at this very moment listening to a record of the Guarneri Group playing at the Portland Garden Club, from May 5, 1960. (Before I was born)
The program consists of Haydn's Quartet in G Major, Debussy's Quartet in G Minor, The Prayer of the Bullfighter (Turina) and Mozart's Quartet in C Major.
There is absolutely nothing that sounds like the ledge singing, "Standing in the Trashcan thinking of You."
The members of the Guarneri Quartet are most likely pushing up the daisy's at this point in time. I wonder if they ever had the faintest inkling that their little debut in 1960 would be heard by a somewhat grumpy and mostly Philistine farmer in the year 2011.
I am really quite amazed at the sound quality. I am playing it back through my little Radio Shack SA155 1 watt amplifier and Optimus 7 speakers at pretty low volume so as not to wake anyone. There is virtually no background noise sound quality is rich and full bodied. This was recorded with two microphones, which I would have loved to have, but then again-what would I have done with them? I can even imagine I am hearing stereo imaging.
Perhaps if I can find some jazz I will turn into a bit of a "longhair."
Care to see my etchings anyone?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bit-O-Honey bars left on porch, blogger snubbed by reader, perhaps it is a clever plot!

I stumbled out of the house this morning to find a mostly empty box of Bit-O-Honey candy bars left on my porch. I remembered all the Sherlock Holmes stories as well as the Great Brain and using my amazing powers of observation I deduced they had been there all night. (The porch rail was dry under the box)
I don't know if the box was full or not before it was left. Or if the person who left the box shoplifted the almost empty box from Dad's Market or if they were really hungry and ate most of the box, or if they just wanted to taunt me with a box containing three candy bars.
Here is a photo of me with the candy bar.

They are not bad. I understand why Grandpa ate them and also why they lasted for years after his death. They are in little squares with almonds and hard taffy. So pop the little bite-sized square in your mouth and chew on it for a half hour. They are great for eating in the tractor. I think I will supplement my Snickers and Coffee diet with Bit-O-Honey bars from now on.
I got a job baling small Orchard Grass hay bales for a fellow a few miles from home. It is a long story which no one cares about. As i was watching traffic go by I noticed a familiar looking bright red International pickup truck with about 20 cars behind it. Sure enough it was that fellow with the weather station at MuddyValley. I waved but he seemed preoccupied. I think I can say with authority that the flip side of being eccentric is.... oh well perhaps I should not call the kettle black.

After wandering around the internet I see that people are talking about commenting on government regulations that closed for comments two months ago. That is our dear government. Ask for comments on the internet on a site that no one reads.
CDL's for farm tractors. Great, that is someone's good idea. I read some comments about the regulation change requiring farmers to have PUC's and CDL licenses to haul grain. There were a number of commerical truckers for that one. They are always mad at farmers. I find it funny. If farmers have to get CDL's and PUC's to truck their grain then they will start hauling for hire in their spare time. And, since they don't have to make a living off their trucks they will undercut everyone else. I've seen it happen here where a farmer gets turned in for hauling a couple loads for a neighbor and then he has to get PUC plates and all of a sudden there is more competition.
IF only the budget crisis would shut down DOT and the transportation department instead of the FAA.

A Robot for Collieguy

I have to rescan drawings for you. I tend to loose them. Here is the robot baler you suggested a while back. The sermon ended before I finished and I kind of misjudged the page size.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gopher Valley and butterflies and alfalfa

The problem with blogging is that any terms I use show up in Google search results so now my posts will be forever tied with Gopher Valley. I could change the name as most of my regular readers have no idea as to my geography and I doubt anyone follows my every move on GoogleEarth.
Gopher Valley is its only little microcosm. It is located several miles off of Highway 18 which runs to the coast. You have to drive up a twisty narrow road which used to be a chicken game with log trucks but now is a chicken game with zippy little cars. At least the log trucks understood they were not the only people on the highway.
I've seen the old folks move away and the speculators buy the old farmsteads. Those were sold to city folks who were entranced by the beauty of the valley. Most of them have now moved away and it is a mix of people leaning towards people who think they are conservationists and love living in nature, and people who like the view, and those who like to grow a little herb in their back yard. There are but a few old timers.
I called a friend up there Sunday to see if he would bring me the windrow guides to the tedder which I forgot. As a little side note he said someone was digging up the dirt piles left by the old pond and hauling them away. I tried to get more info but he was somewhat lacking on the details.
So... Sunday I drove up to take a look.
There was a backhoe and a rental dump truck in the field. I picked up my guides and went to investigate. I did notice that someone took the gate off the hinges to get into the field. This is kind of funny as it is not really locked. (It just has the lock latched through the chain which is looped around the gate to appear to be locked.)
The fellow said he tried to call me but I never answer my phone. (this is true) Although I did give him permission two years ago and now i forgot. The landladies son had told him it was ok and said he could just take the gate off the hinges.
The dirt hauler was an interesting fellow. He bought 60 somewhat unfarmable acres up the valley and is hauling the dirt as fill to build a shed. He wants to build the shed so that I can deliver hay with the stacker. Someone with more ambition than I needs to take over my farm. I think if you got the land cheap enough and some basic equipment you could sell an easy 100 ton of hay to the neighbors and with a little marketing probably move another 100 over the winter.
Anyway, I've got to cut this short as I have alfalfa to rake, but...
This fellow got into it with the infamous Kindcaid Lupine. He made the mistake of letting a nice lady get some seeds. She was not content just to get seeds, she brought friends and wants to manage the conservation efforts.
It turns out that his Lupines are white lupines which are not endangered and are toxic to animals. The seeds are high in alkaloids.
Now he can't get rid of the "conservationists."
I suspect that part of the issue driving this whole Lupine conservation effort in Gopher Valley is the Nature Conservancy which has been buying up property. They don't actually save the lupine or do any conservation work. Instead they are selling the timber and doing property swaps with the government and basically making a lot of money, in my opinion.
I've got to go. My employee is here a little early this morning. I have nothing pressing for him to do of course... But, instead of doing things like putting shop towels in the service truck, washing the windows, filling them with diesel and checking the back for jugs of hydraulic oil and motor oil, he will sit on his arse and drink coffee with the Uncle and then make remarks about me not getting to work early.
And I, being the enabler sort, will not point out I was attempting to bale alfalfa at 11:00 last night, and I will send him to blow out the baler and combine and insult him in some way.
But, I digress...
I was going to post links about the Nature Conservatory making money off of useful idiots but I have to run. I did find this link which I clicked on because the title of the blog had Balaam's Ass in it. I think that is quite funny so here is the link.
A little out there for me but they make some good points. Click here to go to (sorry, no nudity)
Have a nice day...
I leave you with an oil spill on Gopher Valley road. It didn't come out of no log truck and I didn't do it. I would bet a blown hydraulic hose on some implement or someone tipped over a jug of oil in the back of a service truck. It did not go in the creek. The residents have good imaginations.
They live in a beautiful location but they never see anything out their windows. They would not know the color of the tractor which dropped the oil. They see someone with a backhoe in my field but they can't describe the backhoe or the person, they see someone cutting my old hay field but they can't tell the color of tractor or how they stacked it or if they are young or old or when they did it or anything else but it rained on their hay. Or the people who replaced me have four balers and get stuff done really fast. They know all about litter and road hunters but they never see them. Do these folks ever look out their windows? It is kind of a strange place.

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