The Useful Duck!

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

I baled hay yesterday, today it is raining

Yesterday it didn't rain. We spread out the windrows from the day before. Let it set for a couple hours and then raked it and baled it. I picked up five blocks of 56 bales. We also baled a small field for our neighbor. Not to bad for a late afternoon's work.
I even sold some chicken feed.
I am making pig feed today.
Movin' on they used to say on the Jeffersons.

Friday, June 29, 2012

It rains, I try to make hay, things go wrong, I am angry at apple computers, the usual complaints...

The point of this post was my frustration with rain which of course is a result of man-made global warming. It goal to be more tolerant during deviant sex month. (not that there is anything wrong with it)
Being on the subject of deviant sex also brings us back to my feelings towards my Apple Computer.
I have been an Apple follower since the Commodore 64 died. I started with a 512 and have wasted enough money on over-priced but smoothly working computer products to have a pretty decent retirement account, or at least several iced mocha's in one day.
However, I am starting to migrate towards the I hate Apple camp. Of course I absolutely loathe my PC tablet I use for GPS but somehow realizing it is a piece of crap windows machine and understanding it cost my $75 plus shipping, and remembering my solemn vow to never again rip the tablet and all the wires out of the tractor and hurl them out the door-as that does not actually hurt Bill Gates in any way and then I have to get a new tablet PC and rewire the maze of wiring which is all one color because that is what I had and there is no wiring diagram because that was the notebook that was under the hole in the roof in the shop during the rainstorm that is winter in Oregon... (Wow! a run on sentence-never done that before!)
But, I digress- I hate rain, failure, and Apple computers.
I will start with my new reconditioned MacBook Pro.
I have a wonderful little Apple iBook G4. It the last of the PowerPC iBooks. The best Apple models to buy are right before they orphan them. It is against Apple's creed to build the perfect computer. There goal is to build an almost perfect computer but always have some annoying fault, but yet you know what could have been. It is a strange sadistic scheme that has tainted my relationship with my computer from day three.
The iBook is running system 10.5 which seems to be the last least annoying version of OS 10. It does not run in classic mode but I've pretty much stopped using OS 9 anyway.
The MacBook Pro looks good, it is fast, and it has crappy wireless range, and I dislike OS 10.6. It does not save your wireless passwords reliably and does not remember networks properly. I can have the iBook right beside the MacBook and pick up additional networks and not have to retype in the passwords. Meaning I do not have to get up to email my wife to get her to slide toilet paper under the door when our Onlinemac/onlinenw or wine country internet-what ever it is, stops working for the 100th time and I have to sign on to the neighbor's internet and I can't remember the password.
But, this is not why you decided to read the Lazy Farmer this morning.
No, you wanted to hear about farming!
Here it is- It rained!
 I had a cunning plan. Of course it failed... Because I am not the sort to actually get stuff done...
I have someone coming after some hay left over from last year. I figured I could sell him a truck load of hay- if I had the truck load setting in the shed. I calculated the weather out by the hour and decided I could make the four blocks I needed to complete the truck load-before the rain scheduled for yesterday.

I was wrong...

First of all I somehow communicated the wrong amount of hay to be cut. So, we have ten acres down instead of five.
Secondly I spent too much time bleeding the brakes on the stacker and not enough time getting my helper to take a short lunch break and get the baler ready. Grease, diesel, and twine, plus hooking it up and putting the trailer ball on the tractor hitch.
Thirdly, Instead of talking to the fellow who I want to rent ground from-and who will never rent me his farm,  but instead will rent to his more wealthy neighbor, I should have been making windrows to bale.

So I got started late with the v-rake. Then my helper decided he must go into town and cash his check, then he had coffee break, and by the time he got done drinking coffee and "petting" his pooch and I finally lost patience and started texting him and trying to call my brother to bring the baler an hour and a half had past.
Finally, I got the stacker...And it started raining. And my wife locked her keys in the car at wallmart. About that time I hit a rut so hard with the stacker I bashed my head on the roof of the stacker, my extra pepsi feel out of the Airconditoner vent and hit me on the head and I lost my phone. SO I did not get my wife's phone call and she had to call AAA. If I would have gotten that phone call whilst picking up hay in the rain I would then have had to make a later call to AA and perhaps my employee would have had his feelings hurt...Misplaced aggression?
The lesson: Don't think you are smarter than you really are. No matter how many times you try to be clever the dead weight of your situation will just drag you down. Always factor in the screw-up quotient for your operation. This number is determined by multiplying the average number of screws-ups in a day times your employee's weight, plus the average age of your tractor collection multiplied by the average height of uncut grass added to the number of items that should be scrapped and divided by  3.14. Then divide this number by 10 to get it into a manageable amount. If you play the banjo or have a rocking chair add 1.7, my number is 7.6...
I leave you with a view out the window of the stacker-and now I will go to work. I have spent nearly an hour messing about with the internet in order to make this post work. I really dislike, Apple computers and OnlineNorthwest at this point in time. Thank you very muchly...
Epilogue-I have spent an additional half hour attempting to find an email for my wife confirming a meeting she was to attend and no one is around. The lady organizing the meeting first sent out last years confirmation email which my wife printed out for the directions and she is not all that happy.
So... I am setting in the middle of the machinery lot on my MacBook Pro borrowing internet that is not Wine Country- OnlineNW related and actually works... And I now have two hours invested in a 15 minute job...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nettle Soup

My faithful subscriber Orin made a reference to nettle soup as a possible menu addition for the Blue Goat.
I found a recipe for it on Kev's An English Homestead Blog.
Link for recipe click here.
I encourage you all to check out Kev's blogs. I find it very interesting to see how people accomplish the same things I attempt to accomplish, using different traditions and perspectives. For some reason I keep expecting a giant paper foot to descend from off camera and squish his blog or perhaps a group of lumberjacks to stride out and start singing but I suppose that is a bit xenophobic of me.

I've had wild greens for salad at a very short-lived upscale Mexican restaurant in McMinnville. It was really quite good. You get some very interesting and not unpleasant flavors from thistles and other weeds.
I also had a very tasty pigweed salad at a Hispanic friend's house.
One day a day-old calf showed up in his back yard. It seemed fairly happy although it spent a lot of time tied with a halter and lead rope to a stake in the yard. I thought perhaps he was going to have his very own ox cart. But I was wrong and one day it was gone...
Later I got an invitation for dinner.
It was a good dinner although I felt a little squeamish eating pigweed salad and dead baby calf. They are so cute when they are little...
I should open my own restaurant. The main feature would be cute and efficient waitresses. They would have to be friendly and quick witted enough to deflect banter from annoying old farts.
I think if you had quick food and lower prices, it probably wouldn't even matter what you served... People started going to the deli at Dad's market just because it was fast and the heat lamp chicken was not terrible, plus they make pizza, and it used to be really entertaining when the two larger-than-average girls behind the counter tried to fit by each other.  (I apologize for that sounding mean as I actually liked the girls. Still, when the one was wearing low riders and hot pink poke-a-dot underwear it kept reminding me of that Stevie Ray Vaughn video...)

But I digress,
 I could just see the farmers sitting around drinking coffee, harassing the cute waitress and enjoying fresh road-kill and a weed salad. "Half a possum and a salad for $5!- Hah, you had the possum! That is so gay! I had the roasted Nutria, got it in 5 minutes!... How about those fescue prices? Oh well Barenbrug never returns my calls. Think I'll just plant everything to wheat this year..!"
"Oh Yeah! if I had a swing that big I'd paint it red and hang it in my yard!"
And I'd have subliminal messages programmed into the muzak, like, "tip well," "you like Nutria," "Eating road-gift makes you manly," "I like banjo music," "Hire Budd E. Shepherd to no-till for you," "I like grapes."
I'd be ringing up the cash register and becoming rich! Rich I say!
or not...
Reminds me of this joke...
Duck walks into a bar, say's "bartender you got any grapes?"
I suppose you have all heard that one before...
Have a nice day...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ashes Cafe, Krazy Ikes Plastic Pieces, Wine Country follies, whatever...

I stopped by the garage sale held by the owner of Ashe's Cafe on Sunday. She is selling pretty much everything she can sell to pay off the help. I got two coffee mugs and Crazy Ike's Plastic Pieces. I've been looking for Plastic Man parts for ages. Uncle T and Aunt D got me a set at the last Christmas held at the old Farm House with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt A.
I thought they were so cool. A little brittle but still cool. Sort of like how I view myself.
More about Crazy Ikes-click here

I played with them for a while Sunday afternoon. The daughter was not as impressed as I was. Oh well...
It sounds like the Historic Amity Downtown is going pretty much empty aside from the Blue Goat and Dad's Market.
The landlords are not keeping up with repairs and it is a mess of plumbing and roofing problems. I would think you would be pretty much crazy to try and start up a new cafe or any other business with the buildings in the shape they are in. But, it looks cool and old and someone will bite.
Meanwhile the new grocery store appears to operate at a loss with the goal of displacing Dad's Market when the roof falls in. Progress...
The future belongs to short pants people with deep pockets who don't need to run a Mini-Mart or a Cafe to survive. And robot tractors-click here...
I imagine the city council wants Amity to look like all the other wine country towns. Cafes replaced by wine tasting rooms and little boutiques run by women who have plenty of money and nothing to do. Perhaps we will get a "vibrant arts scene" as well.
No downtown parking and tree to dodge when driving through town.
Tourists and bicycles are the wave of the future.
Perhaps I should open a bicycle shop.
I wonder if Mr. Garrison has a patent on his bicycle design? I would love to see the Amity City Manager on a Mr. Garrison bicycle leading the Amity Daffodil festival parade.
I think I will go to the Blue Goat for lunch today. CLICK here for a link to the website and menu

I will have the:

Forager’s Panzanella
Tender toasted chewy house bread chunks with aromatic herbs, tossed in a pickled onion vinaigrette with local foraged lady fern fiddleheads, wild greens, and flowers.  Finished with shaved Boerenkaas aged gouda from Willamette Valley Cheese Co.  

Followed by the:

Bolivian Fried Egg with smoked onion dip
Hard boiled farm egg wrapped in potato dough and deep-fried.  Served with house pickled peppers.

For the main dish perhaps the:

Country-Style Pork Pâté
Served with lemon pickled onion, apple chutney, and house-made porter brown whole grain mustard.  With toasted house bread.

I figure You can't go wrong with Fiddleheads and apple chutney....and I really need to be more cultured. Heck, just this Saturday I went to a BBQ/Birthday people and sat next to some winery people. Perhaps they will take a ton of hay in trade. Or perhaps some nicely ground barley, infused with gently aged second cutting non-GMO Alfalfa, a hint of 40-year-old molasses, and topped off with red clover screenings. For our discerning goat gourmets I have a special blend with a  hint of tin can and essence of old shoe leather but it is a premium feed and made by appointment only.

Actually, I did find a few menu items close to my budget. I usually don't like to spend more than $5 for lunch but they have a pulled pork sandwich for $8, A hamburger for $10, Small Pizza for $10. Perhaps I could just go in there and ask for something random like you could do at Ashes Cafe. Who knows, perhaps I could bring in my own cat to have cooked? 

Just say no to wine!

Update: I can see the pasture out the sliding back door. I can see the driveway that has been traveled by several of the better farmers in the neighborhood. I cannot bring myself to get out of this chair. I think my clever helper has arrived. Of course he will spend a half hour drinking coffee in the store. I do not want to go to work today. I do not want to walk out that door... Perhaps another cup of coffee... I do have a new coffee mug...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I participate in the de-evolution of our society

Today we discussed child rearing in Sunday School class. There were some disagreements on the types of punishment but everyone was polite.
The agreement was that teaching a kid self discipline by setting clear boundaries is a good plan. Teaching the kid right from wrong is good, teaching the kid to be a productive member of society is good, teaching the kid from the Bible is good.
This evening whilst my brother took his family to church I spent several hours with my daughter at the river teaching her important things in life. Mostly, building forts out of willow branches, skipping rocks, and how to throw flat stones really high in the air so that when they come down in the river it sounds like a bathtub fart, complete with the little bubble of water coming up. It takes a certain knack to getting it down correctly.
And then we would giggle...
Not going to get a parent of the year award I don't think...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rain and Hay and idiots who are spamming me and now I will have to turn on word verification

First things first...
I do not understand the spammers. Do they even get one hit by commenting on year old blog posts and putting a link to their stupid payday loans website. Neither I nor anyone of the sort of people who read The Lazy Farmer on a somewhat random basis will ever go to the Payday Loans website and get a loan.
Second thing second...
I would like to add my two cents to the search engines about Onlinemac's wireless internet service. While it does say "Wine Country" on the website and I do appreciate that, nearly everything connected to the News Register is somewhat small town and amateurish. That includes their internet service. Now it is true that I have not paid my bill for two months but I really doubt that effects the quality of service. I suppose I should send in my payment. They said they would not disconnect me right away. They will probably publish my porn viewing google searches if I complain too much so I will say the customer service is really good and the guy who comes out with the van is a nice guy. But, I know they can't fix it and so I just ignore it. If only my brother would move his router so I could pick up his internet from my easy chair, all would be well in the world. I know it is not my router that is the problem as I am now connected directly with the ethernet cable and I have still have no internet.
And while we are on the subject of internet I will bring up technical de-evolution. My iBook with a broken screen hinge will pickup three wireless networks (that are not mine) from my easy chair. I have the secret passwords for two of those networks but it is rather difficult to hold the ibook so the screen doesn't go black. The new MacBook has crappy wireless range and this latest Mac OS is not my favorite. (Of course I still prefer system 7.6) The POS network security does not remember the passwords of networks you have connected to. So you have to retype passwords you have obtained through nefarious means and I cannot for the life of me remember passwords.
Thirdly-it rained.
Now I should be out working. I have a lot to do. My brother is working, I heard his screen door slam. I'm a sure Dad has wheeled his walker out to the office is staring intently at his computer screen at this very moment. But, I am setting in my chair with a cup of coffee and looking at porn reading blogs.
But, I digress...
After shutting off and restarting the various routers around the house I am back online and I have photos of making hay. If you care...
Here is the first hay of the season for us. This pretty pathetic considering it was baled June 21st. We should be halfway finished by now and not have some 200 acres to go. This is Meadow Foxtail hay. Sometimes it is called German Timothy by people who are trying to capitalize on the Timothy Hay market. This is a very early maturing grass and does make excellent hay if cut early. It was once used to seed pastures because it can be grazed early. I have a little trouble selling it locally as people confuse it with Foxtail which has sharp burrs on the seeds and can get caught in the teeth of horses and cows. The grass has a long furry seed head similar to timothy but much shorter. The seeds are very light and fluffy unlike the small round Timothy grass seeds.

Here is the lineup of haying equipment this year. The biggest tractor is on the v-rake. The hydraulics seem to be failing on the 2-155, along with the PTO, a broken front rim, and low oil pressure. I think it may have more than the 7,500 hours showing on the tach. I wish I could buy Frank James' White 195, that would be a nice tractor for the no-till drill!

Here is the tedder on the opening round. This photo should be first but I'm sort of backwards this morning anyway. We are applying "hay preservative." I have quotations around that term as I make my own hay preservative. For those of you not from the farming community, the tedder fluffs up the hay to dry it out before baling. It has spinning arms which lift the hay and fling it around. This throws the wet hay up on top so it can dry out.

Here is the pressure regulator. I built it myself! As you can tell...

We used to use Conklin Pro-Serve hay preservative. It touts the benefits of Lacto-Bacissiushkalektket something bacteria which is just essentially putting the right kind of bacteria on the hay to help it cure and a lot of sugar (molasses base) for it to eat and the hope that it doesn't dry out or get washed off and it helps the curing process. (click here for a pdf of a study showing something about hay preservative)  However, Pro-Serve is something like $250 a gallon now and I'm too cheap to buy it. However, I did get a barrel of 30 year old molasses from my neighbor and instead of making rum I decided to make my own hay preservative. I did this by dumping the remains of a jug of pro-serve into the tank and pretending it would work like sourdough starter. I did stare at the tank for a while and concentrate really hard. I have now convinced myself that I now have 350 gallons of boot-leg Pro-Serve. Perhaps later today I will dump a bottle of my wife's lacto-bicyclist indigestion pills into the tank and figure I'm good for another season.
I put a gallon of molasses on 15 acres of hay. I have a little spot-lite sprayer mounted on the front of the M670 and a system with two valves that gives me a little agitation in the tank. There is a filter in front of the sprayer nozzle which I have mounted on the safety guard on the tedder. It seems to work quite well. People say their horses love my hay and refuse to eat anything else once they have tried it. So my goal is to get everyone's animals addicted to my sugar coated hay. I am not sure what I will do when I go through that 350 gallons of 30 year-old molasses. Perhaps I will retire...
"Get off my lawn!"

-Note: I am a bit of skeptic on the subject of hay preservative. When you read the instructions that come with your moisture tester you see that the used of hay preservatives can make the moisture tester read higher which essential makes you think you are baling the hay wetter than you really are. Plus, hay preservatives are so stinking expensive that they fall into that category of "I spent all this money on it so I will believe it works."
But, that is just my opinion...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gran Torino

I don't pretend to be a film critic.
Sometimes I pretend to like films but that is just to avoid controversy.
Tonight I watched the movie, "Gran Torino."
My wife bought it for me. She said she specifically got it for me because she thought I would enjoy it.
I liked it. She was right,
I had no idea there were any screenwriters left in America who know what it once meant to be an American. I thought they were all a bunch of miss-fit sissy punks who got beat up a lot in high school, but didn't rationalize it near as well as I did...
But I digress,
I heard a few reviews on the movie when it came on in 2008. Some took it as being ironic, some as sarcasm, a few just didn't understand it. There were also good reviews. It didn't win an Oscar. (No gay heroics)
I understand the movie quite well.
1. You do what you have to do.
2. America is was made up of people from all different backgrounds who worked hard and became hard working and honorable people.
3. Words are just words. You respect those who prove they deserve respect.
So, it may be that the film critics and the short pants arse-holes who ride bicycles and sip wine laugh at me and my outdated attitudes. I don't really care. I think they are a bunch of morons and think it is kind of funny when one of them geta creamed out by a truck.
However, if a family of them moved next door, worked hard, showed some respect, needed a little help, I would in fact be nice to them in a grumpy sort of way.
In conclusion, If you don't understand that attitude you can just go way back and sit down-on tacks!
(This is generally a profanity-free blog or I would be a little more concise and specific)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day to me...

I attended a wedding. Not that bad a wedding. It was my wife's nephew. I am sure he will be an exception to the law of averages and will live in happy wedded bliss forever!
After the wedding I picked up bales.
I was not really happy about picking up the bales.
I do not work on Sunday.
This is not because I am holier than anyone else. It is because I fully intend to go to church and because I need the mental and physical rest. I must unwind, sing a couple hymns, listen to a few records, annoy my daughter, and not farm.
However, my neighbor baled 2100 bales yesterday and it is going to rain tomorrow and his helper who was going to run our stacker did not show up again. What do you do? The guy can't lose his hay crop so after I got home from the wedding I went and stacked.
Last night between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. I picked up 13 blocks of 56 bales. Tonight between 9 p.m. and 12 midnight I picked up 14 blocks.  There should have been 37.5 total blocks so 13 + 14 = 27 so I left 10.5 blocks in the field. I suppose that makes me somewhat of a failure. I should have stacked them but they are on a rather steep side hill and my back hurt, my shoulder hurt, I was grumpy, and I just did not have the energy to do it.
So I went home.
My wife did get me a very nice gear wrench set so it was not a total loss. I was going to take my father a pie but I didn't see anyone home.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Progress... One more step towards Wine Country and for more step away from the way it "used to be." -And the way I like it...

The word is that Ashes Cafe is out of business. Sometimes the word is not always accurate. I have been a bit preoccupied and have not checked myself. I suppose I could pick up the phone and call.
Ashes Cafe is/was anachronism. A traditional meat and potatoes American style cafe in a modern world.  The place where the milkshake comes with the metal cup.
The problem with Ashes was in it's basic premise. It was not the style of food or the fact that it was completely out of date in the modern world of food.
Ashes Cafe was a labor of love by the owner.
She bought the Cafe from a rather unpleasant fellow who knew she wanted the business badly and who used that knowledge to totally stick it to her on first the rent and then the purchase price.
I have lived in Amity for a few years now. I've seen the Cafe go through a few transitions. I saw Templeton come out and walk across the floor when the infamous drunk owned it and I saw him stiff his successor with high rent. She was gone in a year.
Ashes Cafe got off to a grand start. Sharon had a vision. Good old style cafe food. Hot dinner sandwiches with real roast beef, homemade pies, reasonable prices, and lots of coffee.
The real roast beef was the first casualty.
Here is the bottom line, and I know it is the bottom line because I am an old style farmer who is continually about to go broke...
Under-capitalization, high overhead, dependance on a business plan that was upset by the whims of government and a failed economy.
The one area that I don't think got a lot of notice was the breakfast crowd. Sharon would open at 4 a.m. to get the trucker and logger crowd. She did a huge business before 8 a.m. and no one noticed. She had a clever scheme, there are no good restaurants open before dark. And there was truck parking across the street.
Then the economy crashed. When I was making money I ate there three or four times a week in the winter. I really liked the hot dinner sandwiches and they were cheap. A good turkey sandwich with gravy and dressing was under $7 and there was usually a meatloaf special with gravy for closer to $5.
Hamburgers started out in the $5 range as well.
When winter hay sales stopped my pocket money dried up as well and I soon found I couldn't afford to buy lunch for myself and an employee.
Then she went to deli roast beef and the sort of hamburger patties that I really dislike.
I switched to French dips which were really quite good and if you hit the right day she made them from the prime rib left over from the night before.
The pie quality and milkshake quality was always good.
Then Amity hit the Federal Cash cow "revitalize" the downtown. Of course with that money came regulations. The first to go was the truck parking. ODOT does not want trucks parked along 99W. So they first eliminated the across the street parking and now the parking in front of the restaurant is gone. Those idiotic little pedestrian islands with the flower pots which take up parking and give you no where to go except straight down the middle of the road with wide equipment.
At this point there is no where for a trucker to pull off and have breakfast along 99W from Junction City to Newberg, thanks to the clever engineering department at ODOT and their accomplices in the local small-town bureaucracy.
This was most likely the last straw for Ashes as her fixed operating costs were so high that there was no margin.
And now, I have to go to a wedding. Perhaps I will opine more on this subject after the wedding. It does appear that we will not be stopping at Ashes for Sunday brunch today. I am going to miss the all you can eat bacon bar.

It is not really a 9 to 5 job...

Apparently it is now Sunday morning....
I'm still thinking Saturday evening.
It was one of those days...
My neighbor has been helping us with some farming. He has 50 acres of hay down which I said I would help him with. We do not get finished with our silage and now it is going to rain. We loaned him the baler and the stacker. Neither were really ready to go.
He called me this evening at 9:30 or so. The farmer who helps him and was going to run the stacker brought the stacker over and left and now is not answering his phone. I think he told me his plans for stacking this afternoon but as I was talking to him on the phone the PTO failed on the White 2-155 and I forgot everything he said. Of course when the PTO fails and you are chopping silage it plugs up the spout on the chopper and that took a half hour to unplug.
Nothing really worked right today. The stacker wouldn't start, there was water in the fuel. (We did get the rebuilt transmission in last night.) The truck quit. (fuel filter on it also) The other baler wouldn't tie.
So anyway... I got to thinking about the 1600 bales that need to be picked up before the rain scheduled for Monday and all the things that went wrong today and I decided I better go over and pick up a few acres and make sure it worked.
It didn't. The bales wouldn't slide, the two speed rear axle is stuck in high, there is some problem in the hydraulic valve I rebuilt so that you have to hold the lever that controls the bale pickup just right or the first table chain stops and the first table won't lift and the brakes stick.
But I picked up 14 stacks in 2.5 hours so it wasn't that bad.
I wish I had not consumed so much of that iced coffee my wife made for me. Perhaps i should have just kept stacking!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Clever local government ideas by people who have never driven a large truck or attempted to park in Downtown Amity or visited the sites they designed...

I just took my daughter to school. I needed to get a refund on her unused lunch money as she is not returning next year.
I took a trip though downtown Amity.
I swear the problem with government is not that they don't have enough money, it is that they have too much money!
And no one has any perspective on anything.
Amity got some sort of grant to improve streets. It sounded like a really good idea. The town is located along 99W. It has a short downtown section with a couple antique stores and places to eat. There is only about two and a half blocks with sidewalks bordering 99W.
The rest is gravel shoulders full of potholes.
Parking is pretty limited downtown. You used to see big trucks parked on the shoulders and the drivers would run in to one of stores or the cafe for coffee. The clever city designers got rid of the truck parking with the first phase of the street improvement.
Now they have pretty much gotten rid of all street parking in the downtown area by adding pedestrian island things on the street corners and one at the crosswalk which is sort of pointless as you don't need crosswalks in Oregon any longer. (One foot in the street and everyone has to stop)
The other problem they solved was to keep trucks from hitting the telephone pole by the old US Bank building when they turned from Amity-Bellview highway onto 99W. Instead of asking why trucks kept hitting that pole they went with the idea of putting up a big curb around it and putting the stop sign out at the edge of the pedestrian island. This is a great idea as it will accomplish several things.
1. The stop sign will get knocked over first
2. Traffic will back up on Amity-Bellview Highway
3. Trucks will now make death defying plunges into rush hour traffic on 99W and block both lanes when they turn.
I'm sure the whole project will be considered a success as it looks good on paper and we need to make the city more beautiful for the bicyclists and the wine tasters. They are of course the bread and butter of the city. They are certainly the ones who eat every day at Ashe's cafe and shop at Dad's Market (Which will now provide all the parking for the one side of the street will all the businesses.)
Which brings me back to the Landfill Park issue.
I got a letter from the planning commission telling me the conditional use permit the Parks Department was going to use to put the park in was denied.
This moves it to Phase Two. Where the parks department appeals the decision to the County Commissioners and they approve it. Of course they will approve it. There names are signed to the comprehensive parks plan which has been in the works for several years.
And this is how government works.

Why I have not posted.

I checked my stats and readership is dropping due to my lack of posting. You really need to make a post a day to keep your blog rankings up.
I have been chopping silage and my wife is gone.
She is riding bicycle in the San Juan Islands with a group of kids from her school.
So it is just Lulu and I. I have avoided staring at my computer screen and staying up late as i've been trying to be a good father. Not to mention eating, sleeping, and watching Hogan's Hero's together.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I actually work and accomplish things but in a sad bottom feeding sort of way!

I have been chopping grass for silage. I bought the silage chopper (New Holland 900) on Craigslist for $950. It is not new.
However, I would say that if you are going to try and sell something and you don't want to be continually insulted by people making you low offers based on scrap price you should, 1. Wash it... 2. Air up the tires.
But I was able to see through the grime and faded paint to recognize a diamond in the rough. Was also somewhat desperate...
Anyway, it sprung a leak.

The blower on the back of a silage chopper does not actually blow. It throws the silage. I know that because the blower band broke out through the bolt holes. But silage did not shoot out the side of the chopper!
Fortunately I had a spare two by four in my pickup along with some old pipe fittings and the center section out of a failed bearing. We wedged the 2 x4 between the blower band and the frame of the chopper and lengthened the adjusting bolts with an old pipe nipple and part of a bearing.

It held for a couple days and then it rained so we put a new blower band on. Well, actually we robbed the blower band off a chopper I bought for parts. So it is in fact not new.
I was quite proud that we found spacers in the tool box on my pickup. It was a very clever repair!
After that clever joke... here is a photo of my master mechanic! He kind of grows on you!
Actually he has been quite helpful since I have messed up my arm and have trouble tightening or loosening bolts with my right arm.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I have now been at the location of Landfill Park 15 times more than anyone in Yamhill Couty Parks Planning Department

I see there is a new article in the News Register- (Wine Country!) about the proposed new park on next to the old unlined dump full of undoubtedly toxic waste and one time proposed superfund site.
That is interesting to me as I just planted for the farmer that rents the ground. I have now officially been there a few more times than the illustrious Ken Huffer and the rest of the parks department. Except for the jail crew that does the grounds keeping. Well, probably also more than that crew as well...
I found a nice quote at the end of the article which I think pretty well sums up not only the attitude of the clever folks that run "Wine Country USA" but also illustrates what is a major irritation about parks in general.
"Huffer responded by saying the Yamhill River is already open to the public along its entire length under the Public Trust Doctrine. "The development of this park is not intended to allow or open unwanted access to private properties, so Yamhill County Parks and Recreation has worked hard to create a park design to keep park users on-site and limit accidental trespass," he said."

I respond:
1. The problem with rivers in Oregon is not so much the people going up and down them-I understand, it is for the public good... It is when they get out of the river and start wandering around on private property and stealing stuff and doing vandalism or being victims of something-like their own stupidity. Or start telling you how you are miss-managing your own land.
This they do on a regular basis...
This is why people oppose parks, rails to trails, bike paths, and anything else open to the public that is going into your backyard or down the street where you live.

2. Yamhill Wine County Parks and Rec- nor any other local or state agency is actually capable of creating, "a park design to keep park users on-site and limit accidental trespass."

As for the continuing comments about Linn and Benton Counties having more parks than Yamhill I say, good for them. How about building a park at the farm end of Yamhill County, like say on the border between Lincoln and Yamhill out there towards Rose Lodge. Then everyone could drive by the Casino and could get lost on Federal Forest Land instead of our corn field...

And Furthermore... Enough of this "Wine Country," BS. All it brings in is arseholes in short pants, people from Portland, and bicycles. The whole Wine Country tourist traps BS was started by a couple winery owners and people desperate for income after the timber industry was shut down a few years back-by the same sort of people who now patronize our local wineries.
Just what Yamhill County needed, to replace good paying industrial jobs with minimum wage tourist industry jobs!
I remember setting in a Newport City Council meeting years ago and hearing the retiring mayor of Newport talking about the jobs tourism was bringing to Newport. He laughed about it and said that while they had to support tourism now that fishing and logging had been killed off everyone knew what tourists did for the city of Newport, "They come here, take a shit, and leave," he said. Of course this was said in private session so it couldn't be reported...
But, it is oh so true...
We all just pretend it ain't so... And we have purple grapes on the police cars (funny, police cars advertising drinking and driving) and pretentious eateries, and farmers wearing short pants and Keens.
Do you realize you can do a bicycle tour of wineries? Oh yeah, and who exactly is the designated driver!!!!
I leave you with photos of Landfill Park, in the rain... It is so beautiful-wish I had a sip of wine!

Monday, June 4, 2012

What I did last Monday... Pictures of striptilling and White tractors

I am supposed to be planting Buckwheat for my neighbor this morning. But I am trying to get rid of the duck that has been stalking me and it seemed like an opportune time to make a blog post. I have been a bit remiss lately.
I did suggest we seed Alfalfa with the Buckwheat but he just looked at me strangely and I didn't pursue the joke. Sometimes it is best to just let it go...
Last week we planted corn.This photo is from a couple weeks ago. This corn is already up.
Last week we strip-tilled the corn. The strip-tiller is pictured below. It works the ground in one pass.

But we worked in the pre-plant fertilizer first. This also makes smaller clods.
Some places it worked well...

Other spots in the field were still a little wet!
Close up of offending row... This was not the worst. These clods actually broke down pretty well with the extra coulters on the no-till White 5100 corn planter.
People always like to see photos of White tractors according to the blogger stats page.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I am stalked by a duck and I listen to the radio which leads to many comments which most people will not agree with...

I have spent the last week in a tractor. I suppose this is a good thing.
I have been listening to the radio. This is not that good. I didn't realize the end of the world was at hand.
I have been listening to "Ground Zero," and discovered we being bombarded by radiation and there has been a wave of cannibalism, starting in Florida and moving up the Eastern Seaboard.
I learned about rational thought and that animals are especially sensitive to smells.
Sometimes I listen to podcasts from Howstuff Works.
I listened to a NPR special on the town of Roseburg which used to be called the "Timber Capital of the World."
I actually laughed out loud when the folks in the town meeting stated the town was "red hot" because of its wonderful art and theater programs, a vibrant farmer's market, and it's new found status as a wine capital.
There was only one fellow that I heard that made sense. He spoke about the cycles in the timber industry and in a very nice way did stress that the resource based industry did bring a lot of revenue into the local economy.
I laughed because I have watched the wine "industry" infiltrate Yamhill country. It is all based on nothing. Emotions, perceptions, speculations, purple paint, and arseholes in short pants and sandals.
Wineries are mostly owned by rich people who are "not from around here," and who don't really need to make a profit.
The winery business is like tourism. There are minimum wage jobs created, there is extra traffic, there are opportunities for people with specialty businesses that cater to their specific needs but it does not provide the cash flow that the high paying timber jobs provided.
The idea of a vibrant farmer's market supporting a town is also a joke. Farmer's markets exist because of a failure in the modern food distribution system. They are there only because food in the supermarkets is so bad and because of superstitions about GMO food.
Its not that I don't like farmer's markets. In fact I think this new-found concern for quality food to be a great idea. I just can't see the income generated by a farmer's market to sustain a whole town. It takes a lot of higher mark-ups to equal smaller profit and more volume of a commercial farm. And all it takes is a new interpretation of one law to shut down a farmer's market. Just a little more regulation that is bound to be here.
Which brings me to the other thing that I am amazed by. The shear volume of new rules and regulations. There is no wonder the economy is in the tank. It is weighted down by the shear volume of bureaucracy and regulation.
However, all this information has bettered my understanding of life.
I have noticed that a duck has been following me. I can hear him quack but when I turn abound there is no duck. I have noticed that the duck has very bad breath as I can often smell it after he quacks.
I thought I was being stalked by an evil avian for no apparent reason. I considered violence but settled for indifference..
However, now that I was able to use all the knowledge I've gained this week to analyze the situation I have a new understand and realize it is all part of a rational universe.
After hearing a podcast on rational thought I analyzed my activities.
Monday I had a bowl of beans and then I went to the dairy to check on the grass we are going to chop for silage. I did notice that the manure lagoon did smell quite badly that day and I saw ducks.
Shortly thereafter I heard the phantom duck quack behind me.
My hypothesis is that ducks are sensitive to the smell of beans. Thus the phantom mud duck sensed that I had consumed beans earlier in the day and followed me home from the dairy.
Since his breath does smell like the dairy lagoon I suspect that he has spent much time in the manure lagoon and thus comes from the dairy.
I think he is not really stalking me but rather has possibly imprinted on me but it quite shy or he could be an alien.
I do not know how he gets into the tractor cab with me but his loud quacks are startling at times.

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