The Useful Duck!

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Monday, April 30, 2012


First I would like to thank Ed Winkle for forwarding me the 22 signs of economic Doom. I'd link to it but I figure the NSA guys have already seen it. That did not depress me in the least. Now... where is that bottle of vitamin d, not finding that perhaps a little more old number 7 in my coffee will help.
Secondly, I have got to find a more fuel efficient service truck. My 1989 Ford 4wd will haul 250 gallons of 10-34 (11lbs/gallon) but it also uses gasoline at an alarming rate. I went though a tank and a half in two days worth of planting. And (as my family has told me) I drive like an old farmer. That pedal has not seen the floorboards since the second week of owning that truck.
I really need the 4wd and the ability to carry an air compressor, 150 gallons of fuel, 10 gal of hydraulic oil and 200lbs of tools. Also, the ability to carry a 120lb dog who attempts to stand on the roof would be nice. That and a 350lb employee.
I violated my only remaining personal belief and planted on Sunday. I did got to church first. We had an excellent sermon but I find I can't remember a word of it this morning. Other than I missed a rousing talk by a really interesting fellow who I wanted to visit when I was in Costa Rica years ago and parts of the sermon were from his talk.
I took the daughter and fishing poles and went and helped my neighbor who had 15 acres of worked ground.
My transmission cooler developed a leak Saturday and instead of planting late we took it apart and the fellow I was working for said he knew someone who would weld it. I texted Orin as I knew he had suffered through the same problem. When he referred to the AGCO parts service as the AGCO Sodomy department I did not inquire as to the the price. I'm still a little sore from buying the pistons for the G1355. I wondered why they included a bottle of Vaseline and it was labeled "assembly lube."
But, I digress...
We got home from Church early and my neighbor was over working on my other forklift. Then my brother from the big city showed up. Then the farmer I was to plant for called and said they didn't have the cooler welded yet. So I pulled the cooler off the MM G1355 just in case.
By the time I got started it was 4:30 or so.
We mapped the field with the FarmerGPS program which estimated our finish time at 7:30 p.m. We did want to go fishing so we bumped up the speed until FarmerGPS decided we would be finished at 6:33. It also turned out to be 18 acres on the map but I ended up with 22 acres. There were a lot of corners!
We didn't catch any fish but the farmer's lovely wife brought us pizza. I think my daughter was not terribly bored. It was nice to have her with me. She is good a calculating how long it will take to finish the field.
Now I am off for about a 20 mile move. It is raining where I am going so I may sneak in another 30 acres of straight no-till where I am. We did the worked ground yesterday which was good as it rained last night.
The farmer that needs planting today worked his ground yesterday as he had a planting deadline. I hear it rained on him and I really doubt I can plant his field today.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Internet privacy links

Big Sister can now troll your personal information looking for evidence of code violations and excuses to freeze all your assets. Some of us have no assets but that is not really all that comforting.
It is always about the money.
The masses don't seem to care.
In fact the only place you hear about anything at all is the internet. I saw this on a UK news site before it got any widespread attention here.
And then there is what would be called racketeering if it was not done by the state. Remember, Republicans gave us these laws.
Of course it does nothing to advance personal liberty for me to provide links. I get 40 hits a day. Probably 10 of them are from gubment monitoring...
I've heard you make lasting friendships in the re-education camps!
I think China is the place to move. They have dissident groups there who actually care about human rights and will protest when you get tortured.
Frankly, I trust Maoists more than Islamists. (I think when you look at the big picture the story actually proves the contrary of the author's gleeful expose of conservative paranoia.
It is funny how the puzzle "seems" to fit together.
Note: I'm only ranting about this because my neighbor who listens to Air America came to visit yesterday. He gets me off topic...

Friday, April 27, 2012

More fertilizer spreading, a forklift, I get stuck in the lawn

I gave my neighbor his fertilizer spreader back.
I my little helper finished my hay ground fertilizer spreading with the 2-135 and a pull-spreader from the local co-operative. Only it is no longer local and is part of some mega-co-operative somewhere else.
But, I digress...
The usually wet hill ground hay fields were surprisingly dry and I put a little extra fertilizer on Muddyvalley's farm.
Then another neighbor called in somewhat of a panic because his renter was out of money and had not fertilized his wheat. So...we went over and spread fertilizer on his wheat. I am really amazed at the number of people who are on a cash-only basis with the local coperative. We are going to combine this wheat so there is not a lot of risk. Well not that much more risk than anything else in farming. We have worked back and forth with these farmers for a while, as in-as long as I have been a farmer.

We got stuck...
There was some speculation that the box was too heavy... He had just been through the same area and it seemed fine. It wasn't...

We were in luck as the excavating company that is working on the subdivision that is taking this field had a big 4wd loader and the operator offered to pull my helper out. I was a few miles away and was called on to bring cables. Of course someone took the log chain out of tractor cab. Someone always robs the hay hooks out of the truck and the log chains and there is never a grease gun when you need it.

Yesterday I was supposed to be no-tilling a few miles down the road. I started moving the drill and tractor and the sky opened up on me. It was pouring rain. I had hitched a ride to the tractor so I couldn't stop anywhere so I just toughed it out.
I took the back roads to avoid Highway 18 in the rain.
I don't think it rained on the other side of the hill where I am supposed to be Monday. It will be a long drive. I need new tires on my tractor.

The other day a neighbor dropped off a forklift for me.  Now I have two. This one runs. It is an old Pettybone-Mecury with a 3 cylinder Detroit Diesel engine. It took me a while to get it to start. I had to take the starter apart and clean it out inside. It is not an easy task to remove that starter in the mud.
I was so excited to get it running that I decided to take it out in the yard to pickup my wife's lawn mower which had an electrical failure and is really hard to push.

This was not the best decision. I started realizing that I was going to get stuck by the forklift has no brakes and I was going slightly down hill. I pulled it into reverse and floored it and it made a huge amount of noise-and I was stuck. Of course it makes a huge amount of noise what ever you do.
We pulled it out with the M670 super. The lawn suffered.
All in a days work for a bottom feeder such as myself.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Last weekend daughter and I went down to the river to look for the remains of our settlement. This is all we found. The river had washed it all away. We spent some time looking for signs we had carved on willow trees and then we built a new fort.

This was made from drift wood and willow branches which we wove together. It was fun figuring out how to do it.

Then we ran into the old neighbor guy who talked about fishing. He once saw a Northern Pike in Alaska eat a seagull. He said it pulled the gull right under and all you heard was a gurgling squawk.

Finished up with the annual ryegrass yesterday. It was still a little wet. Now we are fertilizing Muddy Valley.
It is amazing to see the yellow stressed color turn to a deep healthy green after only a few days!
Not sure if the color shows up but there was a difference you could see!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Almost dry enough to spread fertilizer

I have been attempting to spread fertilizer.
My goal is 80lbs of N per acre on the annual ryegrass. I am using 40-0-0-6.
The density of the fertilizer has varied from 48, to 52, to 50.
The chart for adjusting the spreader is somewhat confusing for me.
The neighbor told me I needed to use his spreader. He was right. His spreader is old but it has huge flotation tires on it.
The problem is that you have to maintain a constant speed and rpm in really wet/muddy conditions. And that it has a single spinner so you have to drive in circles instead of a back and forth.
I have a lot of trouble judging the distance.

Finally I went and got my GPS out of the grain drill tractor. I use FarmerGPS which runs on a tablet computer. You can switch GPS antennas really easily and it runs off a battery. It was not too difficult to program in the offset for spreading in circles with a single spinner.
It helped but it was hard to hold the GPS with on hand and drive with the other.

The problem with not really having any idea how many lbs I am applying is not so much the annual ryegrass, (Orin may disagree) Aside from the streaks in the field, at something like .27 cents per pound it really gets expensive.
I hear ryegrass straw will be worth a lot of money next year so perhaps my over application with make us rich!
Or not...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I figured out why my helper didn't show up yestereday!

It was 420 day!
The kid at the gas station made a joke about it being both Hitler's birthday and 4-20 day. It kind of caught me off guard. Did he think I was a Nazi or a Pothead? Are there Nazi potheads?
I pointed out that after a bowl no one really cared and he seemed to think that was funny.
My wife tells me I am the only person under age 60 who has never smoked a spliff. I suppose so.
I did buy a Peter Tosh cassette at Goodwill last week.
The girl at the deli pointed out that it was earth day on Sunday. I think 4-20 day and Earthday should be combined. You could make it a"joint" celebration.
I am really torn on how to celebrate Earthday this year. Do I burn a tire or recharge my airconditioning? I had couple old spray can containing Flouocarbons but they have all gone bad.
Perhaps I will just pee in a salmon bearing stream. Sort of a low key celebration this year.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I hate my Samsung Convoy II

I got a new phone. I chose this phone because it is very simple and has few features and because I had the Convoy I.
But here is the deal. Everything electronic is designed by people with no experience in life. I hate to say idiot as they are probably very smart people. But, they never use anything they design and there is no testing done and the companies are so huge that it doesn't even matter that I hate the phone. In fact, the very concept that I may hate my phone is a marketing advantage because that means I will smash it with a sledgehammer and buy a new one...
Here is the problem. The Convoy I was almost my perfect phone. Fairly rugged, few features to drive you crazy, you could get Accu-weather.
The Convoy II looks like a better phone. It is faster, has a better camera, has a better USB interface for getting photos off the phone, better bluetooth, and doesn't have that idiotic music control on the front panel.
However, I can't get accuweather, and it is complicated to navigate. My phone is not my hobby. I want to operate it with one hand WHILE DRIVING. (I don't give a rat's arse if that is illegal) well, most of the time I am driving a tractor.
It is like learning a new phone system and I am really, really, annoyed. I swear I will not break another phone though anger management problems.
I will now start counting, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, deep breaths, calming thoughts, Heck, I don't need the weather anyhow. I can look out the window and see the rain...
Every day in every way I am getting better and better...
I don't have tourette syndrome I am just angry...

I hate change

I have several interesting things to post about. Like the forklift I bought or spreading fertilizer, really captivating stories that build readership but...
Blogger has changed things again and I just wish they would leave things alone.
I am beginning to really dislike Apple Computers.
My wife has an iPad. I is not new as we generally don't buy such things new. She bought it because we have always owned Apple products.
Apple products have always been high quality (with a few exceptions) but never the pain and suffering I've experienced with the PC. The random failures, no chooser, hard drive failures that lose all your data, and inability to print.
But now she has an iPad.
You can't print with it!
Ok, you know you don't have a keyboard so the annoying interface is a given. I thought it would be much better as I've used tablet PC's for GPS and I just figured Apple would come out with a polished and well thought out interface.
I was wrong...
What I find amazing is that reviewers praised "a device" that will not print.
Which brings us to the other problem. Apple calls it a "device." Not a computer. So you have to have an other computer to update your device. So much for mobility.
But yet their stock price soars.
And I am eating my hat...
The next revolutionary thing would be that John Deere would lower their parts prices and put an emphasis on smaller stores and personal customer service and I'd switch brands.
Of course you know why that would never happen.
Change is NEVER for the better.
The first concept, thought up by clever and innovative people, is the best idea. Then the corporate types ruin.
Thus, Apple will become more and more PC like. John Deere will never do something like lower parts prices.
De-Evolution is the natural order of life...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WW II re-enactors on Craigslist

I'm not sure exactly how I found this advertisement on Craigslist.
Should the link expire, I will explain. It is for people to join a WW-II  historical re-enactment club. They have German and Russian units and US units. They camp in the woods and shoot guns loaded with blanks.
There is no where to sign up to be a refugee...
I'm not sure why I think that is funny...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I fix the sink

For those of you who have been waiting anxiously for news of my under the sink hot water heater, I have hooked it up.
This resulted in a medium sized flood to begin with but all is well at this point.
The new sink and faucet looks good but the water pressure is pretty bad. The 3/8 plastic lines really restrict the water flow.
My initial plan was to replace any lines with 1/2 and I do have the copper fittings to do so. However, my plumber thought the smaller lines would be fine. If I were ambitious I would all the lines. But, I'm not. Instead I will just be vaguely unhappy when I use the sink.
Yesterday I put the water heater in line with the hot water line. I capped the extra valve fittings put the heater from the cold to the hot.
Actually, I first put it in line with the cold water line. This gave us a lot of hot water and no cold water. Then I actually installed it correctly...
There is such a long distance between the kitchen and the main hot water heater that the 2.5 gallon under the sink heater actually runs out of water before the hot water gets there... So you have hot water instantly, followed by cold water a minute later, followed by hot water, a minute after that.
Kind of funny.
In other news, neighbor helped me out of a pinch by making me a deal on some wheat for feed. He said that I had done favors for him and he would like to help me. That was very nice of him.
He is pretty depressed. I thought I was the only one.
It would seem that this weather has gotten everyone down.
They (the neighbor and son) have quite a bit of ground worked and now it is rained on and wet. They said they wished they had called me to no-till it instead.
I didn't pursue the comment as I suspect a cash flow problem and didn't really know how to say it, but I would have planted the field for them and they could have paid me when ever they had the money. It is not the people who tell you up front that they are low on money that rip you off! Plus, I'm sure they had a tank full of diesel that they could have filled me up with, so it would not have actually cost me money.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I planted 20 acres today

I actually worked. This is my first planting job in a month. I planted 20 acres of peas and fescue. Two rows of peas and one row of fescue. The peas will fix nitrogen and they are a annual crop. The fescue will be harvested for grass seed over the next few years. This was a bit of an experiment.
It of course turned into a much more complicated job than I had expected. Two different seed rates and planting depths and a trip down the highway with the highest accident rate in the State of Oregon.
And 20 acres per day is no world record. I should be able to do 70-100 acres. Of course I had to load some pig feed in the morning and set the drill up and move the drill and the farmer had five different things to mix in the seed.
I was home by 8:30 p.m.
Now I only need to find another 580 acres to plant this spring to make my drill payment. We shall see...

The two most useful survivalist blog posts I've read in the last year...

Click here...
and read this blog...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do it yourself

I don't have a lot of self confidence in certain areas. But...what I find is that I can almost always get what I need done. There is a book somewhere or someone can give me advice. Frequently I find that if I pay someone to do something-they really don't know that much more than I and they don't actually achieve the end result I was hoping for.
Take the kitchen sink as an example.
I figured I would screw it up and annoy my wife so I hired a friend/handyman sort of fellow to do it for me. The problem is that he is too expensive. Now I can't really complain as I am not paying him in real money.
He installed the sink very nicely. There are no leaks and the plumbing is measured correctly and there is no use of JB weld or baler twine to hold up long runs of pipe.
The pressure is actually worse than it was before.
And the hot water heater doesn't work.
We got in a little bit of an argument over installing the on demand hot water heater.
His premise was that the heater should be fed from the cold water to save money. If you run the on-demand hooked into the hot water line then you have to run the main tank to heat the water you are not using and that water will go into the lines and cool off and then you are paying twice to heat the water.
My premise was that instant hot water would save so much on flow that the amount of energy lost in the lines would not matter.
The real argument should have been- If you run a line from the cold water though a water heater and then into the hot water there will be no flow as the pressure is balanced. AND if you have 1/2" lines to the water heater, even though you step down to 1/2 OD tubing from the valve to the sink on the main hot water it will still flow out of the main line as there is less resistance .
I knew that was the problem but got into a stupid argument about energy savings on the hot water bill. This means I still have to redo the on-demand hot water heater and I don't know what happened to all my fittings and he used these little tiny fittings and I just want it done.
That is why I hired someone else to begin with.
I can't really complain as he was just doing me a favor anyway and a real plumber probably would not have done what I wanted anyway as it is probably some sort of code violation.
If someone would just give me 1.2 million dollars it would all be an academic discussion and you would all be entertained by tales of how Nigerian scammers and tractor salesmen were trying to swindle me out of my money...
Speaking of tractor salesman, one apologized to me yesterday. He sold my neighbor a brand spanking new IH six-row corn planter.  All the neighbors seem to be discovering rowcrops. I suppose those of us who have been growing row crops for years should discover annual ryegrass or wheat to solve our problems of disillusionment.
However, I don't really like doing custom corn planting. I find it way too stressful.
I did notice that the main difference between the 2012 corn planter and our 1980 something White 5100 was in the linkage on the row units. However, as my other neighbor with the JD 7400 explained. He went to a lot of trouble to get those parallel bars loose. IT allows the row units to follow the strip-tiller rows!!!
My question would be- How many acres of corn does it take to pay for a new 6-row planter. And, if you have that much corn, should you not buy a 12 row?
I don't think he can plant beans (green beans for eating) as there is no way to use a splitter to get 20" row spacing. However, he may plan on moving the row units.
Oh well, it looked nice...
If I would have been clever I would have bought a 5 year old White planter and outfitted it the Ed Winkle/Martin way, hooked it up the G1000 Vista and been a corn planting fool...
I think I drifted from the original topic. Actually not... If I would not have screwed up the guy's corn by letting him talk me into planting into too wet soil, with a piece of crap monitor, I would not have lost the planting job and he would not have purchase a new planter.
Bottom line... If you want it done right, do it yourself!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The good life: mobility-awareness-month

The good life: mobility-awareness-month:

Half the time I can't actually watch videos due to the random slowness of our wireless internet connection from Online Northwest-so I didn't actually watch this. But, Muddy Valleys says it is important so you should watch it.
I think it is a documentary on the filming of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and probably also has antique tractors.
Or it has to do with people who have disabilities.

Another post about vintage audio

I have been building an "audio rack."
This is the snooty audiophile name for "stereo stand."
Since reuse/recycle is a way of life for us bottom feeders it is nearly 100 percent scrap metal/wood.
The uprights are angle iron which was cut for either a harrow or who knows what some 15 years ago and has been setting around covered in moss and rust ever since. I'm not sure what the angle iron was robbed off of before that but it is fairly straight and there were only a few random holes in it.
The shelves are adjustable. They are held up by other chunks of angle iron which are bolted to the remains of old windrower sickles. The teeth of course were removed first...
The actual shelves are 1950's birch plywood that my wife salvaged. The feet are made from new carriage bolts screwed though one inch round wood discs cut from an old school desk.
I was going to go all audiophile and make the top from two layers of plywood with a cork insulation between the two to deaden the turntable but it was way too much effort. Instead I attached the top with double sided camper tape and drywall screws. After all, I am a "bottom feeder."
I suppose it will not have proper sound deadening characteristics but I doubt my hearing is all that good anyway.
Here it is with some of my accumulation of old stereo treasure. I first set it up with the Dynaco AF-6 tuner, Tube PAS-2 preamp, and much maligned Stereo 120A amplifier. On top is the Rec-o-Kut turntable with Fairchild 282 tone arm. The tonearm which tends to fall off of its bearings every so often.

Later I moved the AF-6 tuner into the living room and connected it to my little Optimus SA-155 1-watt amplifier (Goodwill $5) and Optimus 77 speakers. Thus I was able to torment my daughter with high-brow singing in Latin with lots of symphony type accompanying orchestration early Easter morning after I went back to sleep and missed the Easter Sunrise service. (We did make it to the later service but most likely only because I was anxious for ham which is always served at Easter potlucks as a snide insult to Jewish people, Seventh day Adventists, and supporters of the religion of peace-though the use of exploding people and beheadings.)
But, I digress...
Here is the living room setup which was approved by my somewhat understanding wife. She even fished my home built dipole antenna out from behind the bookcase to bring in the station better. It has been carefully tuned to the strange and wonderful left side of the dial. (Said without a trace of irony!)
I really need to do something about the wires going to the LCD TV.
I will note that in all my frustration with the expense vs quality of "vintage" stereo equipment I did price a good amplifier. I bid on an Adcom made in the late 20th century, after seeing what new ones sell for on I was shocked at the selling price. It would seem that good quality stereo equipment is the same relative price now as it has always been. What is frustrating is that there is no medium to low-end stereo options anymore. It is all cheap crap made to fall apart and the sound quality is pretty poor.
I now have to decide what to keep and what to sell...I suppose....
I still have my first stereo. It is a Kenwook KA3500 which I purchased well used from Butch McKimmie (spelling?) of Discus Records when he went out of business some years ago. He was a very interesting fellow and now he is a Google search term. Perhaps he will find me. I would like to talk to him again.
But, this is not getting any farm work done. The sun is sort of shining! I must fertilize Muddy Valley, grind feed, put tractors together, spend money I don't have, scratch my arse, work on the stacker, service the corn planter, scratch my arse,  fix a baler, or something...
Have a nice day...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Another day at the Retirement home that is our neighborhood

My brother is on a sort of vacation.
Dad takes advantage of these opportunities to mess with this stuff. Sometimes it is amusing but sometimes it gets a little annoying. The problem of course is what do you say to someone 93 years old?
If is kind of funny that he knows he should not be messing with this stuff and he expects me to be annoyed. Sort of like a little kid getting away with something.
It all started this morning with a box of file folders. My uncle asked me to take them upstairs above the shop. This is a death sentence for anything important as the roof leaks. However no one will repair the roof and instead they like to hang buckets to catch the drips. Repairing the roof would cost money and since dad and his brother kind of expect they will die tomorrow but yet are too stubborn to do so-things like roof repair have not been done for the past 30 years.
Anyway, I did think it was funny my uncle was asked to take the files but I didn't really think about it that closely.
I looked in dad's office. It was a wreck. He had moved his organizational focus from moisture testers to previously filed boxes which had been supervised by my brother. Boxes were strewn everywhere. Since dad can't lift the boxes his simply pulled them off the shelves and knocked the boxes over. Some files had been emptied and refiled and there were boxes of empty notebooks which of course needed to go back onto the shelf.
I caught him with several packages of old negatives which he admitted that he would file randomly and loose forever.
So, I picked up boxes for him and followed his instructions on just where the boxes needed to go. Then I picked up the box he wanted hauled upstairs.
It was all of my farm records from 2009-2010.
Now he is calling me for coffee time.
He knows good and well that he is doing things that he is not "supposed" to do. And now he is calling me as he has been caught getting rid of my farm records and old photos.  Or at least that is what I suspect after dealing with this behavior for a couple years now. I don't rant about it as I could very well be wrong but I suspect a pattern.
It is kind of funny....
Later, I returned-dun, dun, dunnnn! as my daughter says to emphasis important moments.
Dad had really gotten into my brother's organizational system. I pointed out to him that the Minneapolis-Moline manuals had in fact been organized and while it might be helpful (to his personal satisfaction) to have them listed in his cryptic database system, my brother might be offended should they be reorganized. He deferred to my suggestion.
I had to go to town for parts and so I left him alone. I have been kind of afraid to go back. He was really eying the brother's supply of spare Apple Pismo laptop parts. I suspect they have all been cataloged and dumped in random boxes but I don't really want to go look...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Here is an example of what is wrong with the world

It would appear that every argument after WWII is based on the "Slippery Slope" concept.
I blame it on that movie about Lemmings that I watched in Mrs. Murphy's first grade class.
The problem is that sometimes this argument accurately describes a situation but you also have to have some reasoning abilities to evaluate the argument.
It seems from observation that one law leads to 25 more, or hiring one government employee leads to the hiring of 150 more. However, just because one person shoots up a school it doesn't mean that every student is a potential mass murderer.
I wonder how we got this inability to evaluate risk? Does it come from the insurance/lawyer industries obsession with the so-called-science of risk management? Or is it the estrogen in the water supply...
I have been trying to figure out how to make CD's of several albums for my father-in-law. I think I can record album sides, run my 15 year-old copy of "Toast," to define the tracks, save them as high quality music files, and then burn them to a CD. Then I can put the CD into iTunes and convert it to MP3. The trick is to get all the songs in the correct order and to title the CD properly so that iTunes will look up the album in the iTunes store and assign the MP3 ID tags. This will save me from 1. Buying a CD for $10 that I will never listen to again, 2. Typing in album title, artist, album tile artist, song length, song number, album date, and make the MP3 tag by hand.
In the process I came across this discussion of music piracy by the RIAA. I had never really read the rules as I never download anything that is not so weird as to be completely ignored by the RIAA.
I am so amazed at the total lack of perspective of members of Congress. When you read this link you will realize that there are people in jail, or whose lives have been completely ruined for an imaginary crime.
Check out the statistics for money lost to illegal downloads. You do realize they are using the concept that if one person  does it than everybody does it... You could get a felony conviction for downloading the Englebert Humberdick record catalog. What sort of prison status would you get for that?
Of course you have to realize that there are two worlds. There is reality, and there is "virtual reality," for want of a better term.
The advertising world, where Nike shoes are better, the TSA is essential, we need new firetrucks with crew cabs, kids really did fall into five gallon buckets before there were warning labels on them, people really do use saltpeter to bring down great public buildings on a regular basis, and our president is an American.
Then there is the real world where record companies market utter crap to utterly stupid people, where morons wait in line for hours for ugly shoes, and where most illegal downloads were done by weirdo farmers looking for "Gas Station Blues," or "I sleep well and miss trains."
Oh, look... someone is jumping off a cliff! That looks fun! I think I will do it!

I do stuff

Monday evening I drove to the coast to visit my good friend M.
His house developed a leak during the last storm and it made a good excuse to make a quick trip to visit him. Of course Monday was a beautiful day and I was attempting to install the engine in the 2-135.
In the last few years I have gained a lot of experience in pulling engines in and out of White tractors and it is really not that bad a job. Or so I thought. This time nothing would line up. And I had help. And a tractor that would actually lift the engine.
Then a fellow called and told me he was out of ground barley...
At 5:30 p.m. I went home. My helper was inspired by my dedication and worked till 7:30!
When I got to Seal Rock my friend had most of the work done. However, we had a number of heavy boxes and furniture to move.
Some of those heavy boxes turned out to be LP records and they were loaded into the back of my pickup. A friend of his worked in a record store for years and had accumulated a number of old country-western albums.
I listened to a few of them last night. There are some gems. I discovered I do like Mickey Gilley. There are five Boots Randolf albums, "50,000 Elvis Fans Can't be Wrong," (but not in that good a shape) and something like ten (10!) Englebert Humperdink albums. Plus, the Tijuana Brass album that has the girl covered in shaving cream, and every other album you find in the Goodwill record bin, but in perfect shape.
Some Chet Atkins, Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rodgers, Glen Campbell, and two Johnny Cash albums-The World of Johnny Cash, and Folsom Prison.
A lot of interesting records but I really don't know what to do with them. They are currently setting in the shop next to my three boxes of reel to reel tapes.
My friend wants me to make him some MP3 recordings but I'm not sure there is much point when CD's are so cheap! I've heard of MP3's as low as ten cents a song. Some of the old stuff I may record for my father-in-law to enjoy in the rest home retirement center.
But, most likely I will never get it done. I have a lot of plans...
My friend is installing heating coils in his floor. That was quite interesting.  I helped put the metals strips down which hold the wires. This is all then covered with grout and tiles will be put down on top. It is supposed to be pretty efficient. His whole house is pretty efficient. It is made out of Styrofoam blocks which have concrete poured though them.
But, I had to go home and grind barley.
My helper had the 2-135 running when I got home at 4 p.m.
Of course the scale would not work.
It kept counting on it's own.
It uses a Microphone connector to connect the scale read out to the load cells. It got wet as the scale sits outside. There were gounding problems and small pins and I lost my temper. I cut off the microphone connector and used Weatherpac connectors. But, I was out of dialectic grease and it poured down rain last night. I suppose I am right back were I started. I will probably have to cut another two inches off the cord and do it all again in a week...
Anyway, off to work I go....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Out on a limb

This nearly ended badly... Perhaps you can guess what is wrong with this picture...

I slammed the door on the shop and a huge oak tree fell down. We cut the unstable branches Saturday. No one was injured.

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