The Useful Duck!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

They took our Jobs!

Yesterday the Mexican who runs the neighbor's seed cleaning plant brought his friend by looking for a job. Actually, his friend drove him by as I think E. no longer has a license.
I have been reading the website as my daughter asked me about Roanoke Island last night.
I get continual updates in my email from talking about the need for e-verify and how those illegals, They Took Our Jobs!
Here is the deal...
I've had a few people come by looking for work lately.
The one white guy needed more than $15 or it would mess up his unemployment. The other white guy was rather twitchy and I didn't trust him. The third white guy kept telling me how he could run stacker and weld and all his incredible abilities but I already knew he was a moron. The 19 year-old girl who wants a job would be a hard worker and offered to wash farm equipment in the rain in exchange for hay and I actually may get her to help. But she swears, A LOT!
So E. comes by with his Mexican friend who has been spot spraying and doing general labor type work for a neighbor. His English is passable, he has a family, he is polite and seems interested in our farm and what we do. He has a grasp of the concept of farming. He said he does not mind working in adverse conditions and said he does not need a lot of money to start out.
I ask you, which one would I hire?
And, where is my large helper this time of year?
Frankly I don't give a rip if he is illegal. I really object to doing e-verify and double checking his social-security number. I am not the one who left the door open at the US border and I am not the one who makes people wait in line for a week to get a US Visa. E-verify is just an excuse to track every person in the USA. Just like the question of why should I have to prove MY citizenship to get my driver's license renewed. Do I have an accent?
Why does it have to be this difficult?
If I were president I would issue an executive order. All illegals have six months to return to the country of origin. I would set up a fast track visa application where potential guest workers could move to the front of the line if they had a sponsor or proof of employment in the US. The idea would be to make it so they could go back across the border and show their info to the visa office and come back in a matter of days or hours.
Then, if you were arrested for a crime or found here illegally you would be promptly sent back.
I think there should also be a path to citizenship but the applicants would have to take classes in US history and do perhaps, volunteer work, or something.
Just some ideas which I think are quite sensible but nobody on either side of the immigration debate will come anywhere close to anything sensible.
OF COURSE, you know THEY would screw it up....
(THEY-meaning the clever educated folks who know more than you or I)
In the mean time I ain't hirin' no crack heads!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Anyone Remember DAK and Drew Kaplan?

When I was a kid I was always interested in electronic gadgets and sound. The highlights of the holiday advertising season were the Sharper Image and the DAK catalogs. I had already had a few months of the Montgomery Wards Christmas Catalog, but for an interesting look at funny and quirky electronics I enjoyed Drew Kaplan's DAK mail order catalog.
I liked his interesting combination of bulk audio tapes and interesting stereo equipment. Just what would you get if you bought 500 blank tapes? How could you write 500 words about a cassette tape that you could buy at BiMart and make someone want to buy them in bulk though the mail?
He disappeared for a while, there was a bankruptcy, pain and suffering in the 1990's, but I see he is back. On the internet plugging LP to CD conversion. Looks like he has a pretty good setup really. Not sure if it is all a good price. But, it is interesting.
Click here for Wikipedia
Click here to go to his website. I just like reading his copy. I never buy anything!
Click here to learn all about cleaning records!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why you should get married and have your family at age 19...

The family decided to camp in the living room. I can only guess that it was an off shoot of the occupy movement. Unfortunately we could not find the pump for the air mattress. Then my lovely wife was not feeling well and opted for the comfortable bed.
My daughter was quite excited by the idea of camping on the floor. So....I volunteered.
Never volunteer for anything!
She was going to read to me but we ended up in a discussion of why we have difficulty in large groups of people somehow ended in a discussion of my childhood vs hers.
When I was a kid, the stories told to me by my Grandparents were of steam trains and going to Colorado in a covered wagon and Grandma going sledding and getting her tongue frozen to a fence wire. My parents stories were also of steam trains, farming with horses, the first airplane they saw, the first car, the first radio, first telephone.
But, the stories I tell my daughter are tractors without CABS, the one hand crank phone I saw, tube RADIOS, hand crank record players, typewriters, and cars without airconditioning. In short, the stuff we still use...
It is not like two different worlds. Grandpa is so old that of course that is ancient history. And we just had a foot of snow a couple years ago.
Anyway, I forgot the point of that line of thinking.
The point is... I slept on a sleeping bag on the living room floor with my daughter. I am suffering for it. Every joint in my body hurts. I'd go smoke a joint if I just had a medical card and if being high didn't really annoy me.
Plus we will probably die of radiation poisoning as the carpet is where all the nuclear fallout from the ongoing Japanese reactor fallout collects from our shoes.
Perhaps I will go eat some Chinese lettuce...
I will feel better after five cups of coffee...Then I have to grind some pig feed.
The sun is out!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving day

When I was a lad we always went to a big family Thanksgiving dinner at an old church. The potatoes were always cold but the gravy was usually amazing.
My dad's cousins were all characters. They grew up together on a big farm where they did everything. They had prunes and pigs and cut firewood and grew grain and had a prune dryer and broke horses. In the winter they would cut firewood and load the cordwood into boxcars that went to Portland.
With the advent of WWII the government decided to locate a training base in the area and they had to sell the land and everyone scattered. Thanksgiving was the big get together.
After dinner there was a time for everyone to talk about what they had done that year. There was often a devotion and several hymns were song. As kids we always pretended to hate it all but I will admit it was usually very entertaining.
That era is over with. There seems to be no real shared heritage anymore.
We are going to my wife's sister's house in Portland. She is already up there. She has four sisters and they all like to get together they day before Thanksgiving and make pies and tell each other what to do. They enjoy this a lot but all the talking makes me a bit claustrophobic so I am home.
I was attempting to organize my record collection and vintage stereo, 16mm move, and reel to reel collection, as well as books and computer stuff and Marx toy barns and...and...
I think I will listen to the Legendary Stardust cowboy as I am alone and the Ledge seems to get the cats really agitated.
I bought some new speakers.

They are Dynaco A-25's.
I took Lulu with me to look at them. Before we went in I explained my theory of buying stuff off of craigslist.
First I only had the amount of money I wanted to spend. This was not a lie as I was pretty low on cash and I wanted to eat lunch.
Second I was going to look for something to complement the fellow on to build empathy. My goal was to get him to want to sell me the speakers because I was a nice guy. This was all kind of academic as I was not doing one of those deals where you offer the guy a fraction of his asking price and just walk away. I have been doing a fair amount of research and was pretty shocked at the price of 1970's era speakers on ebay.
I took one look at them and cringed.

They were pretty ratty looking and had funny sparkle grills. Sort of groovy, which is kind of a problem. I'm not so much of a groovy fellow. We don't have any shag carpet in our house.
But they sounded amazing. And they turned out to be the A-25XL model which is somewhat sought after by collectors.

I got Lulu to give me a second opinion. She said I should buy them.
She may have been a big preoccupied by the fellows kitty-cat but she has better ears than I and she lends a somewhat critical eye to the crap I drag home.
So I made my offer and there was silence.
I said, well that is what I've got and if you want to wait another couple weeks and advertise them, just give me a call and I will come back.
He helped me carry them to the car.
He was a very interesting fellow. Collects records and plays music. I hope I didn't offend him.
Then I got home and saw my statement from Case Credit...
And there is the issue of paying my rent. I am glad I am completely anonymous and no one to whom I owe money reads this blog.
Then there is the issue of water leaking around the window frame in the house, and the woodstove I was going to buy and... whatever...
After enjoying a complete album side of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, I wonder if Sam Adams would not have been better off trying to roust the occupiers with a blast of The Ledge, instead of a blast of pepper spray?
Have a happy day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...

In order to put us in the mood for Thanksgiving I give you some holiday music...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Over compensated

Here is a link to a blog I enjoy and the one story that incensed me today.
I've been washing farm equipment in the rain. I just moved a large piece of equipment through town in the pouring rain because my very useful and hardworking employee went fishing instead of finishing the field and the fellow I borrowed it from wanted it back. It was kind of embarrassing. I had to apologize for keeping it for two months.
Then while the neighbor was talking to me I just discovered that for the fourth straight year, no one dumped the lorsban out of the insecticide boxes on the corn planter, nor did they clean out the corn. This is also embarrassing as it shows I am a pathetic farmer. Saying that you told your helper to clean it out brings you no glory. Only pity...
I have to wash my two disk mowers, two balers, a rake, and it looks like the stacker.
It is raining. Not just raining but it is pouring.
I have to get this stuff done.
AND I come in the house to dry off and I see that the U of O football coach is getting a five million dollar retirement. You tell me that guy made the world a better place, or contributed anything useful to society and I would be happy to shove a football up your arse. (Unless you are Sam Adams, oh-wait, I'm too old for him!) Actually that is all a figure of speech. I would not want to do anything that unhygienic. I wouldn't even hit you. I'd probably just leave. I might try to get the dog to pee on your tires when you were not looking. I would certainly overcharge you for your chicken feed. Perhaps spike it with some round-up ready alfalfa.
Anyway, I get to deal with all the morons driving up and down 99W with their green flags and the big "O" on the back of their cars. Every one of them is a jerk who is in such an incredible hurry to see college boys touch each other on the bottom that they can't wait five minutes for me to find a wide spot in the road to pull off.
Does anyone really think I want to be blocking traffic on a Saturday?
So when I come into the house to dry off and have a cup of coffee when I'm soaking wet and cold and irritated and I see people so over-compensated for doing so little I get a little annoyed.
Not that I plan on occupying anything other than perhaps the bathroom for a while...
$40,000 a month...
It's a playground game people!
There is no point to it...
After washing a tractor and trying to figure out how to get the insecticide boxes on the corn planter dry-and thinking that I'm an idiot because up to last week I could have just taken them off myself and put them in the barn... And worrying about slugs eating our wheat an annual ryegrass and thinking how stupid it is for me to be washing hay equipment in the rain when I should be working on broken stuff in the shop....
I got to thinking about my rant.
Mike Bellotti is one of the special people. Those who are over compensated by far. This class includes the CEO's of large corporations, sports figures, entertainment stars, and heads of various other agencies and people who are not me.
Whose fault is it that they are over compensated? Would you turn the money down? What kind of a messed up society pays a college football coach 4 million dollars a year? Put that into perspective with the cost of tuition. People end up with thousands of dollars in student loans due to outrageous expense of higher education. A service you buy which has gives you no recourse if do not get what you thought you were buying. A service which has no customer protection at all. You can't even refuse to pay that loan. Of course you can come back which the argument that sports are paid for though private donations. All that argument does is bring to light the corruption that goes on inside the sports programs.
The problem is the utter moral corruption of our society and no amount of yelling at police officers will do a dadgummed thing about it. The only thing that works is capitalism and a return to some sort of moral code rather than this I'm special and the rules don't apply to me BS that has become our cultural mantra. Withhold the funding and the market responds. Give people a conscience and the greed is tempered. Of course the belief system we are going to get is probably going to be a bit painful for those of us who cling to the old religion. Off to the re-education camps we go!
But, I digress. I refuse to spend a dime on sports tickets. I almost never go to a movie. I do not support packaged entertainment and I complain a lot. I'm not sure what else to do but I think a few more people should try. I tell my kid to do the what is right, to be honest care about others.
Not very revolutionary but I really don't know what else there is...
And now, I'm going back out into the rain. Well, perhaps after I do some dishes. My wife seemed a bit tense this morning.

Monday, November 21, 2011

We Go To the Big City and See Joe Ely and laugh at hipsters

In 1989 I saw Joe Ely at the Pine Street Theater in Portland. It was an a amazing show. I think he played every song he ever wrote and sang with such intensity and energy he was drenched in sweat by the end of the show. There were no reserved seats at the Pine Street, in fact the only seating was in the bar so everyone stood to watch the show.  I was right up against the stage.  He gave me a smile and I took his photo. I even got a guitar pick. He seemed like a pretty decent guy.
Last night my lovely and gracious wife took me to see Joe Ely at the Aladdin theater in Portland. It is always a bit of a culture shock for me to leave the farm. I am a bit amazed at how much the guys look like Scruffy from Scooby-Doo and the girls all look like refugees from an 80's punk band. I get the thrift store thing. Yes, we did that back in college when we were trying to be hip and happening and we had so much more insight into world events because we just took lit 101, and had some freaky angry instructor expose the evils of capitalism and Christians and tell us Jesus was a Marxist, and music was so real and all that BS.
It would seem that 35 years later, not much has changed. Other than the fact that everyone under 60 years of age in Portland is doing this and everyone looks the same. It kind of seems that the whole "Keep Portland Weird," slogan is a cry of desperation. What was cool about Weird Portland in the old days is that no one knew they were weird. They were just doing their weird stuff and living their weird lives and then it was cool. If you have to try to be weird you are pretentious.
But, I digress...
We went to bulk Goodwill were I picked up an Irish Rovers album and some not very good jazz. The scruffies were kind of aggressive. It really bugs me to see people throwing books and records around in the bulk bins. I know they are destined for the trash but I am a polite and respectful person.
I found a dual 1019 in a record console. Someone had pulled the cartridge and the spindle, of course...
Then we wandered around the Sellwood area for a while. It has a lot of old buildings and old neon which we think is cool.
But, again I digress...
Joe Ely was at the Aladdin which has the distinction of showing "Deep Throat" for something like 20 years straight. I'm kind of afraid to use the restrooms. However, the kid taking the tickets was probably born the year the Aladdin peeled "Staring Linda Lovelace," and the "XXX" off the marquee and started booking concerts.
So, I didn't get to use my "two for Deep Throat," line that got a laugh 20 years ago when I saw Ian Tyson there.
The opening singer was terrible. Not that she was a bad singer or guitarist. It was that she talked. She tried to affect a "I'm just a poor black child" attitude and she kept giggling and rolling her eyes. She was very good technically but the in between the songs banter sort of ruined it.
Joe Ely was good. The guy is working class. He grew up in Texas and has pretty much spent his life touring small clubs and singing and playing music.
He brought with him only one guitarist. Well, the guy played guitar, mandolin, and slide guitar, and was pretty incredible in his own right.
The sound was good and tight. They played well together. There was a nice mix of old and new songs. My wife got him to play "Down on The Drag," and he said that was a good choice.
The crowd was older. Of course, since the death of FM radio, where would you hear Joe Ely other than KBOO. I heard him on KFAT/KLOO years ago when they were an alternative country station and played albums. I've heard him on internet radio, but you do have to look to find anything non-mainstream it seems to me.
It was over much to soon. He came back and did a couple more songs. He ended it with his song, "have you ever seen Dallas from a DC-9 at night," which was really good. "Down on the Drag," was good.
I just wished he would have played a bit more. Money is a bit tight and this is a once in a couple decade event for me.
It is pouring down rain and we have 50 mph winds scheduled for tonight.
I'm going to bed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blah, blah, blah, once more...

Yesterday I went to the Ag Show.
My sometimes-a-great-helper wanted to go and he has a better truck than I. He used to work for me. In fact, when he was a little tyke he used to ride around on the tractor with me.
He has his own small farm and a hay baling business. He works for someone else now. Someone who is much more successful than I. More acres, nicer equipment, works harder, more entertaining. More specifically, if you remember back a few posts, he is the one who said, "M..., I don't like tequila, I want to grow bourbon."
Lulu had a bad cough the night before and didn't get a lot of sleep and they were having a jogathon at school and she wanted to go to the Ag Show. So we took her along.
She is highly in favor of Cat Challengers. They have a buddy seat, a cooler, and lots of buttons and switches. She has decided I need one. I never even discussed the price.
Later we met up with a long time friend for lunch at the local incarnation of the Mongoloid BBQ. (Where you pick out a bowl full of raw ingredients and they cook it on a giant wok)
The show was kind of depressing. Equipment prices are quite high. There are more government regulations to comply with all the time. I have not lived up to the expectations of most farmers I know.
I saw the regional distributor for this company. He wants me talk my uncle into being a dealer for this brand of grain drill and he wants me to sell them. His company has been bought by this company and he figures his time is limited.
I probably should buy one of the drills and get it all set up and then sell it. It has a little different opener set up than what I have. I think I'll get the 30 footer...
The problem with selling them is that farmers in general are not as clever as they pretend on NewAgTalk. I could demo a piece of equipment that might be the greatest idea ever. I could plant a couple thousand acres in the neighborhood every year and they could see the results, but they will buy a John Deere. Apparently when you own a JD you get a special pair of underwear, not that you need to wear underwear anymore, as your poop no longer sinks. In fact, if you even have to poop, it comes out packaged as organic fertilizer, smelling faintly of fresh printed dollar bills.
But, I digress...
The fellow has been after me for like four years to do it. He says everyone is going from 12ft to 20 foot drills and I could cash in. I am sure he is right. Not sure I am the one to sell the state on cream and red grain drills however.
Now I am going to grind feed.
I went to the show to see if I could find a scales for my feed grinder. It looks like it would be cheaper to just buy a different grinder/mixer.
I think I could build a scales from chinese import loadcells for under $1,000 and buy it all off of ebay.
I may do that.
Have a nice day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Off to a grand start!

It would appear that the sun is trying to shine. True, we live in a canyon with neighbor's large straw sheds blocking the morning sun, but it sort of looks like a better day today than yesterday.
Yesterday I attempted to make feed.
I say attempted as it seemed all I did was move grain trucks around in the rain. How can you work all day and get soaking wet and actually do nothing?
I don't have a real efficient set up for working outside and in the rain. My feed making setup is pretty mobile and it works best when the sun is out or the hay shed is empty.
I run a hydraulic powered auger off of the 2-155 or 2-135 which I also hook to the feed-mill. I have a electric/hydraulic flow control with the control on a long wire so I can regulate the flow while watching the mill. I dump the barley out of the truck into the auger which feeds the mill. To add other ingredients I just dump them in the back of the truck right over the end gate and that stuff feeds down through top first.
But, when it is pouring down rain you it does not work quite as well. And when people come after two barrels of feed and then a load of hay and then another three barrels of feed and then another two barrels it kind of mixes up the whole routine.
And then if I have to wait for an hour in the rain for them to arrive it makes me grumpy.
So, I accomplished nothing but I got very wet. I have $200 cash in my pocket but that does not seem to be a very good trade.
Update: after getting ready for work and calling the school to tell them my daughter is sick (she coughed all night) I see leaves blowing past the window. Followed by horizontal rain. And the sound of tin blowing off the roof of the old barn.
Perhaps today I will go to the Albany Ag Show, er Willamette Valley Ag Expo. I'm thinking that sound high brow enough I'll wear my short pants.
Wonder if that fellow from Bellfountain will be there. If wonder if he will be wearing his Keens. Will probably be at the BTO booth. Perhaps at the wine tasting...

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm finished with planting and our occupy experiment failed

I planted my last 20 acres today. In the rain. No-tilled oats and vetch into chopped wheat stubble. It really worked quite well. A little muddy but only one plug up. One blown hydraulic hose put out enough high pressure oil to pretty much coat the drill. I finished up in the dark.

Later "Lulu" and i continued with our occupy the living room protest. She has set up a tent. We demanded ice cream but it was pointed out that we had chocolate pie for dessert and besides, we know where the ice cream is kept.
Then the mayor of the living room went to bed.
We tried the "occupy" chant and worked on a further list of demands but got bored and looked for our own ice cream. After discovering the rocky road had been consumed during the occupy protest yesterday we pretended to have hot chocolate in the igloo tent with some stuffed animals.
I sort of got kicked out of the tent.
Afterward I was quite successful in occupying the bathroom.
I am currently occupying the comfy leather chair the mayor of the living room found on craigslist. Lulu is reading a book.
Yesterday the occupy protest was interrupted by an angry polar bear who announced he was hungry and his plan was to eat little girls. The little girl in question objected in no uncertain terms and returned with a nerf gun and dispatched the offending polar bear in short order.
We are just not the revolutionaries we aspire to be.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why I think the Occupy Movement are Useful idiots

I've been watching the live stream from Occupy Portland.
I've also talked to a few local supporters. I find I agree with a lot of their complaints.
Sure there is a growing gap between the upper and lower classes.
I'm not much of a fan of banks and large corporations.
Student loans are a ticket to debt slavery.
Sure we live in a police state.

Watching the video feed is so frustrating. All this blather about corporations and the 1 percent misses the point.
The big corporations and the huge banks care about only themselves and they always have. Everyone has seen, "Its a Wonderful Life." There was the Industrial Revolution. There was the Great Depression. We have seen it all before.
So we make laws to regulate these guys.
Then it turns out that no one was actually enforcing the rules and that the rules had been relaxed and when the banks got caught in their own Ponzi Scheme who bailed them out?

So, going out and protesting the banks and corporations is pretty silly. They just are following their nature.

And, it appears that we are ignoring huge violations of regulations which have resulted widespread economic problems and personal suffering but yet individuals and small businesses are saddled more and more regulation and loss of personal freedoms which are enforced to the full extent of the law. Amish people are raided by SWAT teams for selling raw milk. A friend of mine faced huge fines for selling beef which was basically mislabeled though several mistakes and misunderstandings and the whole thing could have been handled by a visit by an inspector and a civil conversation.

I think this whole Occupy movement will somehow be used to restrict civil rights in some way, advance some sort of political agenda that will give even more power to different big corporations and big government, somehow it is going to take money and land from small and medium sized business owners and land owners and give it to people who will remain in perpetual dependence on the government.

It has happened before...

It is sad to see that there is no resolution I can see. Do you really think the Republicans have any great statesmen in the works? Look at the morons running for president? The Democrats are worse, it is going to be Obama and change and they are going to claim the Occupy people as their own- I suspect.

Perhaps I'm just negative.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Read a book, as in past tense...

I just finished "Nanette, Her Pilot's Love Story," by Edwards Park.
I like to read books about WWII. I am amazed by the way ordinary people did extraordinary things.
The author down plays his war record and focuses on his plane. Describing the plane as somewhat of a living creature with a will of her own.
After doing a bit of research I've found that the author was really somewhat of a "hero" in his own right. He certainly put in a lot of flight time in a rather unstable aircraft and made it back home again.
I actually started the book last night.
I tend to read fast and continuously.
I may be finished with my planting. The winter rains have started.
I need another 200-500 acres of planting to make up for my hay baling shortfall this year. I suspect that I will for ever remain on the other side of that 1.2 million dollars I hope for.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Days

I found some photos from 1994. I'm going to have to scan them. They show my father planting with a nicely restored M670 and my brother riding the back of the drill. It is the old MM with the steel wheels so it is before I started pretending to be a farmer as I bought a sloped side Moline drill with rubber tires when I started. It also shows the G1000 Vista plowing and really looking pretty good.
I was looking for the Heathkit Tube amp/receiver that my father-in-law built himself. I found a place in Portland that rebuilds tube amps and I'd like to get it checked out. One of the amplifier tubes is out and before I replace it I want to make sure that capacitors have not all dried out.
But, that was not really the point...
Not sure what the point was.
Anyway, the helper shows up and seems to be a bit bummed. I was in fine form as I had just made a trip to the bank and discovered I am pretty much broke till I sell some pig feed.
It turns out the helper is about to be evicted and needs to come up with $1,000 by Thursday.  This is Wednesday. I had an unexpected expense and I am totally broke.
I don't even have that much cash sitting around so I really am spared the moral quandary.
Then I read that fellow blogger  Zeta Woof had emergency surgery and has no insurance.
So if you were considering clicking on the paypal link to give me 1.2 million dollars perhaps you should consider sending Mr. Woof the .2 million and just giving me the even million. Perhaps also sending my helper a case of beer. That would be cheaper than giving him the $1,000.
Here is some music that seems fitting. My lovely wife bought me a CD. Travers Chandler. "State of Depression." I'm enjoying it. Incredibly depressing music.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fog, changing plans, cold wet Oregon weather...

I need to be planting. I am not.
I have other things to do. I have difficulty switching tasks. I am in planting mode, not working on stupid crap in the fog mode.
I am working on a 35 acre field of tetraploid ryegrass,  I have two 15's of the same and then another 15 acres of fescue to reseed.
What I want to be doing is 50 acres of oats and vetch. I could plant that in this weather.
The small and light ryegrass seeds are hard to  place at the proper depth with the soil so wet and sticky. Plus the press wheels on the back of the drill build up with mud which lifts the v-openers up a half inch.
I am not real confident that this will work anyway. I think it should have been planted a month ago. But...There were reasons I am sure.
The other problem is that the field is not dead. It was in spring wheat and there is a pretty good green sprout. The farmer's sprayer is broken. I think this could be a failure.
I'm going to try and the farmer to provide me with the diesel for this job. I know he is low on money and I suspect this project may fail.
Anyway, he wants me to wait until afternoon when the sun may come out. The next farmer down the list has not called me yet this morning.
I guess I will wander out and find something else to do. I have plenty to do...
 Typical View out my tractor rear window

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Daughter and I went to the beach today.
We had lunch at Lil' Black Sambo's in Lincoln City. I've wanted to eat there ever since I was Lulu's age. It was a bit of a let down. Lulu had the pancakes which were fine. I had fish and chips. It was ok. The fries were good. The fish was average. I know this sounds a bit Philistine, but I really prefer the Skipper's for fish and chips.
They did have some amazing lego creations on display. London Bridge and the USS Constitution made out of Legos.
A guy and girl came in with U of O logos on their clothes. The guy was tall enough to be a basketball or footballer player. The girl had the hard attractiveness of those college cheerleader hotties. Where do they buy their perfume? Does it come in gallon jugs from Nordstroms? Is it injected into the water at the sorority houses-sort of like the tidy-bowl in the toilets?
But, I digress...
We hit the beach...I got in trouble for saying a bad word. A whole gaggle of well-dressed folks walked in front of me against the "don't walk" signal as i was turning into the parking lot. I let a word slip. I apologized and suggested she remember me in her prayers as I did in fact have a problem with saying bad words.
Which brings up a story from Friday. I have a had a girl calling me who wanted hay. I kept forgetting to call her back and I kept putting her off. She was always polite and cheerful. She had been hauling hay the hay in her little car. One bale in the back seat and one in the truck.
So, I just hauled her a ton on the back of a tandem axle diesel truck. I was going to take Lulu as it is at a local horse boarding stable, but she was not feeling well. Upon arrival I discovered the girl to be kind of a potty mouth. A few f-bombs were dropped. I think my daughter would be offended.
But, I digress...

The coast was a bit foggy and a touch on the cold side.
We had a good time.

We built a pretty elaborate sand castle and road system.

She chased seagulls.

There are always dogs at the beach. They also chase seagulls.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yamhill County and the US Government has too much money...

This budget crisis is a bunch of crap... I say shut the whole thing down.
I just got a call about a meeting by the Yamhill County parks and rec about a proposed park down the road from us.
It is absolute insanity.
They want to put a park basically on top of an old garbage dump, across the river from the new mountain of garbage, but on our side of the river. They've got it all. Nature trails, river access, overnight camping.
The old dump should probably be a superfund site. I've seen the green mystery sludge oozing out of the river bank. I know what went in there. The school bus used to turn around there when I was a kid. I know where the garbage trucks came from. Anything and everything went into the old country dump. I've seen the neighbor's deformed livestock. Five people that I know of in the neighborhood, including my mother, have died from cancer, And it is an old Indian burial site. Not that the Grand Rhonde tribes give a rip, they are not from around here and there is no casino money to make on it.
And then there are the meth-heads who will take over the park. There is a story in itself.
But, Yamhill County is moving ahead with it. They are committed, because they invented parks and know what they are doing.
So we have money to put a park on top of a toxic waste site but we can't pay down the national debt or fix the stinking roads in Yamhill County. Hell, they can't even grade Hook and Eye Lane or Gopher Valley Road, but they got the money to open a $%^&*ing park.
Yeah, the meeting is at 9 a.m.and it is 8:52 a.m. While I am a lazy farmer I still have to work on Saturdays as I am NOT feeding at the public trough. $150 in payments for not growing wheat doesn't put me on easy street.
The people attending the meeting have already given up on stopping it. They are going to "compromise." Screw that...
The Government has way too much money... It is our patriotic duty to vote down every single tax increase and avoid paying taxes in anyway possible. They will keep spending the money until it is gone. If only China would quit loaning us money. Perhaps I need to write a letter to Mao...Maybe I'll boycott Harbor Freight...
The funny thing is...When I play Sim City (WHich the idiots at Yamhill County and the US Gubment should be required to do) I like to have parks. I think the whole park concept is pretty cool.
BUT-it is on a toxic waste dump AND it will attract MORONS...De-Evolution gets us again...
 After five minutes of reflection...
AND Furthermore, what really pisses me off is that the county planner people cynically manipulated the system by delaying and rescheduling meetings so that those of us who ACTUALLY WORK FOR A LIVING would not be able to attend. Those %^&*(#$ Sam Adams wannabees. If there is any way to be an obstructionist one should do it.
I should have gone to that meeting.
$%^&*( and ((*&^ and @@##@%&!!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The information age

The Nuclear Disaster in Japan is possibly as bad as Chernobyl but the authorities have decided to lie about it.
The West Coast of The USA is down wind from Japan. We know this for a fact as during WWII they sent us balloon bombs.
Somewhere I have a gieger counter. But exactly what good would that do me. "Oh, gosh, yes, I've been ingesting radioactive lettuce...Oh yes, my carpet is radioactive. I guess taking it out after six months is better than living with it for 10 years...
Lying to your subjects has worked pretty well in the 21st century (and before) so I suppose this will continue to be the order of business...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Farm management again

I am sure my loyal readers are waiting with baited breath to hear the conclusion of yet another whine about my lack of management skills. I admit that this is Whine country. You see the logo everywhere, purple with little grapes. I think the color is more of a maroon which is kind of appropriate, but I digress...
I got my helper to take fertilizer box back and put on a pallet of ryegrass seed. We then moved the drill though town with him flagging for me.
The fog actually got worse.

He started working ground and I planted. It was bare dirt so it was a little sticky.
I do have very good scrapers on my Great Plains drill.
I thought I had 300 gallons of fertilizer left.
I thought I had 25 acres to plant.
I thought I set the drill correctly.
In reality I had 225 gallons of fertilizer and I forgot the special stuff to put with it to increase the soil fungi. It was home in a the shed. It is expensive stuff. Perhaps I blocked it from my mind. Kind of like replacing the tires on my wife's car...
In reality I had 35 acres to plant.
In reality I looked at my notes wrong and set the drill for 13 lbs instead of 20. This was not so bad, but what it meant is that a month ago when I thought I was planting at 15lbs I was really planting at 9lbs. (I think) Who knows, the rate changes if it is really damp. Anyway, the monitor showed 22 seeds per foot and 1.1 million seeds per acre and I figure that is a heck of a lot of annual ryegrass. Especially since I don't think the sensors can actually count that many small seeds falling past the little electric eye.
I got the 20 acre field planted. It worked very well. The sun came out and the dirt dried out. I did have to go at 4 mph as I kept catching up to the disk and roller so it went slow.
Then I got a call from a lady that gets hay from me. She said she had found some 16mm movies from the development of the Superfortress at Boeing in the 1940's. I've been after those movies for two years. She thinks I give her a good deal on the hay because of her over abundance of secondary sex characteristics and her tendency to wear inappropriate clothing to pick up hay, but it is really the 16mm movies. The other stuff is kind of like a train wreck, you can't look away, but yet you can't look and it makes me slightly uncomfortable.
But, I digress.
I went home to load the hay.
She arrived with a box full of old slides. She said the movies must have been taken to Colorado by her ex. I looked at the box. There were some BW negatives on rolls. I unrolled one. There was a lady with a bottle of whiskey and an army man naked in a bathtub. I am not sure what I have. I think if I can figure out what I did with my BW darkroom supplies I could sell gay porn on ebay... That would probably queer any chances I have of running for president...
My brother showed up and went to combine buckwheat. I forgot to tell him the combine pickup was bent.
He called me.
Instead of going to plant I went to help him. It was no use. The drive shaft for the belt pickup was bent where it goes into the flange that drives the long roller that turns the top belt. It was not a field repair.
I went to plant.
My next customer called me and said it was raining so hard he almost couldn't get out of the field with his drill and tractor.
I said, "oh fiddle-sticks."
I started on the steep hill over looking town. On the second round it started pouring. On the third round I hit a bump and control box for the drill and foam marker and GPS interface box and crap out of the ash tray and my coffee cup fell on top of me due to the steepness of the hill. I hung up the phone.
It was dark and steep and after a while I could see where I had planted. The GPS doesn't work well on steep hills, it was too wet for the mechanical markers, the foam marker was making runny foam and it was pouring down rain. I put the 2-155 in 4wd.
I finally resorted to going back and forth and just steering by the gps and an occasional glimpse of foam at the end of the field.
I never spun out and didn't slide sideways down the hill so I guess all is good. No alarms went off so no plugged seed tubes.
I finished that field. I still have five acres to go. I wish I had not put so much seed in the drill. I hate digging it out with a five gallon bucket.
This morning the sun is shining. There is not at much fog. It may be too wet to plant.
Five stinking acres to plant.
Perhaps I'll try the special soil additive on the last five acres.

So now it is time to get rid of Mr. Cain

I suspected Herman Cain could never be president. (Aside from the problem with him being a hard working African American who became successful without playing any sort of victimization card...)
His tax plan is too simple, he makes white folks like me not appear racist, he seems honest, he is not really part RNC establishment, he says what he thinks, but mostly he is not one of the "chosen" and he has complicated the Republican set-up for the presidency. The establishment will not allow anyone from the Hercule Ross Perot,  Donald Trump, school-who preaches financial responsibility, to become president. Only the "slick" politicians are allow. Perry vs Romney and who wins doesn't matter. In the end we are destined for 1. More inane laws and restrictions on personal freedoms, 2. More money wasted on stupidity, 3. More international interventions with no clear purpose, 4. More inane rules and regulations-oh wait, I said that already.
And so... The fix is in...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Farm Management continued

The word is that farmers are making more money...
The answer is, some are-and some are not...
The most frustrating aspect of modern farming is farm management. You have to think ahead to get ground, plan crop rotations, set budgets, find the "next new and best thing," and so on. For an example of that click here...
I am setting in my pickup waiting for our impossibly slow pump in our diesel bulk tank to transfer enough diesel to the tank in my pickup to supply a day's worth of planting. It usually takes a little over 40 gallons a day. Unless, i get a really good and big field and can do 75 acres-whoop! whoop!
It is 7:30 a.m. here and the ground is white with frost. This will follow with pea-soup thick fog. I might as well have slept in as I have to move the tractor and drill through town, which is not as bad as moving down highway 18, but I don't like to move in the fog.
I see we are out of gasoline so I shut off my pickup, it has a 460cu engine.
The helper says he will be here today and so I have to find him a job.
This reminds me of my utter failure in employee management.
You see... This is the last day of nice weather. We have something like two acres of Buckwheat to combine, 4 acres of Teff, 20 acres of ground to work, and a whole list of swathers and balers to service and put away.
The pickup on the combine broke last Friday. My helper took off Saturday and Monday. Both were days he could have worked ground or worked on the combine. But, I was not here, and neither was my brother.
I will get to the point later. My tank is now full. It took 76 gallons. Yikes!
8:03 a.m.
Waiting for my cousin to call me. He is going to help me move the drill this morning.
My helper just texted me that he will be here in 5 minutes.
This just means I will have to spend a half hour telling him to do stuff I've already told him to do-which he can't do anyway because it is frosty and foggy.
What I need to do today.
I need to move the drill three miles though town to a new field. I have to take the truck with the fertilizer box (which we used to haul wheat seed) back to the Co-op. But, I need to keep the liquid fertilizer tank as I need that for the drill. I also need to fill the drill and possibly get more fertilizer but I don't know exactly how much. 100 gallons of fertilizer that is already in the tank belongs to the fellow I just planted for.
Once the fertilizer box is removed I need to put a pallet of ryegrass on the truck. The loader tractor won't quite lift the pallet so I have to divide it into two pallets which don't quite fit.
Then I have to get the truck into the same field as the grain drill.
Part of the field is plowed but finished. I will have to skip this part or work it myself or have the helper do it.
But, we still have Buckwheat and Teff to combine. The Teff will not get done. The Buckwheat is probably too wet but I thought we would spread it out to dry.
I MUST keep the grain drill busy as I have another job 10 miles away and it is going to rain.
It is 8:08, I am sure the good farmers who read this blog will have lots of advice. But, I am going to flush and go back to work...

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