The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ideas for projects

So I got this Ford Ranger 4wd pickup. Have been thinking of things to use it for. I found this hydraulic pump with an electric clutch that is set up for a serpentine belt.
But it cost $500 and I will NEVER actually get it installed.
I want to add hydraulics to the pickup as I've been given a sprayer which will fit in the back of the pickup. I could put a hydraulic powered centrifugal pump (like I have to run the fertilizer on the grain drill) and have a sprayer I could spray thistles at Muddy Valley.
AND, I could power the Allen v-rake which is hydraulic powered. It would free up a tractor.
But of course it won't get done. To many other jobs to do.
I think I need a better helper.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Driving by FarmerGPS

If you have ever wondered what it is like to drive by a computer screen....

Having some problems with the accuracy. I just have a little Garmin 18 USB. I bought it for $35. It is not quite the same as a $2000 Novatel antenna.
Sort of like, 10 foot accuracy for a drill on 7.5" spacing. But it gets me sort of close.
Notice there is a little bit of a climb and a little sidehill.
Planting peas. The peas are for seed but the seed will eventually be used to sprout and then people eat the sprouts.

Monday, March 25, 2013

2-155 PTO removal

I was not a big fan of White tractors back when it mattered. I was mad at the company for discontinuing the Minneapolis-Moline line and it took the desperation of not having a tractor to get me to switch from Moline to White.
In fact, I came very close to buying a Case/IH 7140 instead of a 2-155 White.
After owning the 2-155 for a number of years I've changed my mind. Brands that appeared to have more features and seemed like better tractors have proved to be incredibly expensive to own in the long term.
New tractors are overly complicated and too hard for a bottom feeder sort of farmer to repair. My 2-155 and 2-135 are a little hard on fuel usage but are easy to work on and have a 3-spd power shit and PTO that you can remove without having a degree in tractor mechanics and a full featured shop.
And it doesn't take $35,000 to overhaul the powershift.
It took me an afternoon to pull the PTO and three hours to put it back in. Not including the trip to get the book which I forgot to bring with me the first time.
Overhauling the PTO was delegated to my brother. I've worked on them before and they are not terribly difficult.
To pull the PTO you first drain the hydraulic oil. Have six open top five gallon buckets and a helper. The oil comes out pretty fast. Also, remember to take all the buckets out from underneath the tractor before moving it after finishing the job. Five gallons makes a big mess on the shop floor.
Remove the oil lines to the PTO.
I then pulled two bolts out of the cover and replaced them with longer bolts that had the heads removed.  I also put a piece of 1/4" flat bar on top of the hitch bracket. This way you can pull the PTO straight back.
You also have to remove the bolts that hold the three point arm guides as the bolt head will keep you from pulling the PTO straight back.
I removed the rest of the bolts, slid the PTO straight back and then hooked a chain through the top link hole on the PTO housing.
Removal is the reverse.
I used my guides and the 1/4" plate and you can just slide the PTO in.
There is a short PTO shaft that is kind of a Pain to align. It is spring loaded so you have to be careful to to lose anything.
I also changed the Transmission oil filter. When I refilled the transmission I also filled the transmission oil filter. The hydraulics didn't even howl when I started the tractor up.
If you hold the brake pedal down slightly it will circulated the hydraulic oil and is a good way to get the air out of the lines. Also, rails and lower the three-point arms several times.
After getting it all done I discovered hydraulic oil bubbling out of the top of the remote valve body. I have three remotes which makes the repair of this assembly a pain in the bottom.
A project for another day.
And now I am going to go plant something.
Have a nice day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A random thought on a Sunday

I have had a couple discussions about guns with a few neighbors who were avid supporters of our dear leader.
I find it quite amusing. There are two statements I keep hearing: "oh they will never take peoples guns away!" and the conversation continues to were I then learn they are getting a concealed carry permit or hoarding ammunition and 20 round mags. And so I try to point out humor which is met with, "Well, I'm not giving up mine..."
There is a disconnect between what we want to believe and what we actually think. Very interesting.
Sort of like the number of dedicated anti-GMO and self proclaimed supporters of our dear leader who sell produce and eggs which they label "Organic," but they are not.
I think it is a bit funny and quite a bit annoying.
I'm opposed to everything.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Loosing my mind?

Sort of like the George Clinton album, "Free Your Ass and Your Mind Will Follow."
Wonder if it works with donkeys?
Get it? Loosing your mind, widening your horizons, George Clinton, Balaams Ass, um perhaps my free association thoughts don't quite work like yours...
Apparently "loosing your mind" starts with your spelling abilities. Who would have thunk?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I swear I am loosing my mind

I'd tell you more but there are locals who read this blog. Who actually would recognize me on the street. Who might hire someone else to plant for them.
It started a month or so ago but we will not go there at this time.
Last night I thought I had a flat tire.
This morning I checked it out and there was in fact a lot of air coming out of that tire when I put pressure on it.
So I called around to find a used 20.8-42 radial tractor tire.
After a couple hours on the phone I found no used tires but did find someone who could get me two new tires by afternoon.
I thought I was getting Trelleborgs but they were out of stock and the only tires they had were from India, I think the brand name was "Savaroo," opted not to buy the "Happy Fortune Good Luck Real American" brand tires which are made in China.
So the tire guy shows up and starts to work.
About that time my neighbor calls and tells me he has two new Firestones he will sell me for a reduced price. It is a little to late for that. I suppose being polite to the tire guy is not worth $3465.50 but he already had the tire off the tractor.
The tire guy then asks me if I had changed those tires recently with the look in his eye along the lines of, "What idiot farmer would but worn out tires like that on as inside duals," and pointed out to me the fresh tire grease on the inside of the tire.
I told him it was a tractor destined for Orin but he didn't know Orin so it wasn't funny.
I said, "you know there is a funny story about this tractor..."
About then a hay customer arrived, followed by another, and then there was some sort of minor crisis which I don't remember.
When I got back the tire guy was just putting on the second new tire. He showed me the old tube that was holding air and said that someone had put a tube in a tubeless tire and it must have leaked into the tire and then escaped when I ran over rough ground.
I asked him if I could have got by with just a flat repair and he said, "um, but you ordered new tires... no one said anything about a flat repair"
He didn't know, he was just dispatched...
So I could have shopped around or gone for another four years on baldies or whatever. But now I have new tires.
For the last two days I been getting calls to no-till. I'm now have 230 and one half acres to do by Tuesday with four different fields 15 miles apart.
So at nearly dark I am ready to plant our own 20 acres of oats and clover, 10 acres of flax, and 1/2 acre of hard red spring wheat. (Someone wants to make flour.)
We can't find the wheat.
The drill won't pump the fertilizer out of the truck into the drill.
I forgot the inoculant for the clover. I went to the house to get it out of the refrigerator but my wife gave me coffee and I forgot why I was there.
So I lay out the half acre with my GPS with the $25 antenna and I thought it looked a little big but it was in the dark and I figured the GPS wouldn't lie.
I then figured out that I forgot to turn the automatic rate controller on and the hydraulic flow control was stuck at zero miles per hour and had turned the pump off. So I got my fertilizer into the drill.
My helper found the wheat. It was only one bag.
I set the rate down to 25 pounds as I thought I would plant it twice and there was 50lbs in the bag.
You can see right now where I'm going wrong.
I wanted to plant at 100lbs so I needed to set the rate at 50lbs so I could plant it twice and not have any skips and it didn't matter if I had a 50lb bag I was not planting 50lbs per acre so setting the drill at 25 was not the thing to do.
I started planting. I thought the population was a little low on the monitor but I soldiered on. The seeds seemed rather far apart when I was digging them up but it was dark and then someone called me on the phone.
The field seemed a lot larger than the GPS told me, but I was on the phone.
I made a couple more rounds.
All of a sudden the low seed alarms started going off. Half the drill was running out of seed.
I looked at the GPS screen a little closer.
It was not .55 acres, it was two acres, I had been going 5.5 miles per hour, the GPS had actually measured the field at 2 acres.
I just quit and went home.
I had planted two aces of wheat at something like 20lbs per acre. 350,000 seeds per acre. But I got down 10 gallons of 10-34 per acre so I got one thing correct.
Actually I quit, got out of the tractor and forgot that Orin ordered an extra step and missed the ground and fell on my bottom, but I managed to protect the GPS computer this time.
THEN I went home backed the seed truck into the barn with no backup lights. The crash I heard was me hitting the hammer mill.
Then I found the screenings truck parked outside and so I backed it into the barn with no brakes and no lights. The jarring crash that knocked my head into the rear window was me hitting the Mercury-Pettebone forklift. I didn't see a dent on the forklift. Perhaps I should add brake fluid.
The evening ended well as my wife had fixed me mashed potatoes and gravy.
I have a feeling tomorrow will be a long day...Anyone have 200lbs of hard red spring wheat that you can send me?

Working dirt in March?

It could start raining and not stop till June.
The river could flood and wash everything away.
There is a lessor chance it could not rain till the Rose Festival but that is a long shot.
I have a no-till drill so it seems silly to spend a lot of time working ground but the ground was so stinking rough after being strip-tilled and then no-tilled that you couldn't turn around in the middle of the field.
It looked almost dry enough to work and so I worked it Monday and Tuesday.
First pass was with my vintage Steiger disk that I bought last year. It worked quite nicely.
Second pass was a bit more of a challenge. We don't own any wide equipment. When we went to more horsepower it was to buy a no-till drill and I didn't buy a wide disk or harrow.
I was in a hurry. The 14ft Bush Hog disk had a flat tire and the hydraulic cylinder didn't work.
So I looked around.
I couldn't find the Du-All, made by Forest City Implements in the 1970's. It is my tool of choice. It has danish tines a stalk chopper and a harrow all in one implement. It does a nice level job. I think my helper left it in the field he was working when he didn't come back to work for a while.
I found a vintage Minneapolis-Moline 12ft disk, a very old 16ft spring tooth chisel we call a "Glenco," and a 14ft drag harrow.

It worked.
Last night I found a harrow and roller and packed it all back down.
Today I shall attempt to plant.
Things that went wrong yesterday...
The taper-lock duals came loose on the tractor Orin should have.
My helper discovered that a 6-71 detroit will run backwards and if that happens you will be stranded at the fertilizer plant until your boss drives a mile at 5 mph and then walks a quarter mile to the pickup and then finds a squeeze bottle with a spout that fits in the hold on the fuel filter base so that you can re-prime the injector pump.
I may have ruined a tire on the tractor Orin should have when I ran over a cow bone in the dark.
I cannot tell you why there are cow bones in our field but I know why and I am annoyed.
Orin's tractor is leaking oil down the side of the engine.
The 2-135 puts out a huge amount of vapor out the breather tube and dribbles oil. It also leaks out the front and rear main seals. Then it quits leaking and steaming. Then it may start again.
I have no clue. I think I pulled it too hard without warming up the engine properly when grinding feed.
The air conditioning didn't work in the tractor Orin should have.
I charged it. Now the a/c pump won't shut off.
I got another 180 acres of planting. Of course that is in two jobs which are 15 miles apart over hill and over dale.
And I most likely have a flat tire and it needs to be done by Wednesday.
I think I'll go back to bed.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I lost my planting job.
I had a 60 radish planting job but I didn't want to work Sunday and someone else younger who had spent a lot more money on GPS than I did want to work. So I lost my job.
The farmer called and apologized and I of course said the goal was to get his field planted.
Monday I had to make feed anyway.
I tried to do it Sunday but I broke my forklift.
After church I took daughter to get softball cleats and a mitt. In the process I discovered there are no more local sporting goods stores. Just chain stores. Big Five Sporting Goods is not that great.
Then we played catch for a while. She was incredulous that I did not play sports. I did not point out that I objected to the homo-erotic overtones of Football or that I didn't like coaches and had no school or team spirit.
Later I was a newspaper sports editor.
But, I digress...
By the time my arm was worn out from playing catch it was almost dark.
I started weighing ingredients to make feed, but the fan belt flew apart on the forklift and it kept getting hot.
Then I checked my phone and discovered that I had lost my planting job anyway and I could make feed Monday morning.
Monday I was able to get the other forklift stuck and then I ran out of propane.
That all took a while.
My brother went into town and got me a fanbelt and propane. That helped out.
Then I went to plant oats.
The ground was so rough I decided to disk it.
But, then a chicken feed customer called and said she was out of feed.
I discovered that the front and rear main seals on the 2-135 are so bad that oil pours out in a stream when the engine gets hot.
So I went delivered the chicken feed.
Then I got the 2-155 off the drill.
I finished the field at 9 p.m.
Now I have to let the dirt dry out a little bit and then figure out how to get damp soil with a lot of wheat stubble mixed in to flow through a harrow.
I may plant the oats with the Great Plains no-till drill and then come back and plant the clover with the little Minneapolis-Moline drill. The GP drill has so much down pressure that you have to get the ground packed to keep it from burying the clover seed.
My helper was of course not here yesterday.
He needed to go to Salem to get government help to pay his electric bill. I suspect that he has not been paying it for a while. I did not point out to him that if he would come to work, and do things like weld, work on engines, sand sheet metal to paint, load hay, make one decision per day, do things he doesn't want to do, then he would no longer need government assistance.
Of course there would still be the evil ex wife who pops out babies to gain child support income but there are also lawyers.
I've inquired around and discovered that with his benefits he is getting decent wages for a farm hand that won't be in charge of anything.
He is a really nice guy. If he would have showed up for work yesterday I would have bought him a new car. The scrapper had a really nice Chrysler Imperial on his trailer. I ran to the house to find the phone number and then thought, screw it, he ain't here anyhow...
And now I am off to work. I really wanted to go with my cousin to look at an IH 1430 pull type combine. I wish I would have seen it first. I think a big IH pull-type would look really good behind the 2-155 FWA.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What I did last weekend

Last week we went to Portland to see BB King.
We ate dinner at Huber's. Portland's oldest restaurant.
My wife had a steak and I had the house special. This was a hot turkey dinner with ham.
It was good. But more like what one would have for lunch, not for a night out on the town. Wife's steak was very good. It had a port wine reduction sauce which was quite tasty.
We ordered their famous flaming coffee. This means a person comes to your table and sets a perfectly good cup of coffee on fire. There is a lot of arm waving and artistic bottle pouring. There is a jar for tips involved. They are kind of expensive.
I think whatever it is that they put in your coffee makes you more comfortable with spending money.
The guy does tend to get into one's personal space.
That personal space was completely violated by festival seating standing at the concert.
It was at the old Starry Night which is now the Roseland after a scandal which involved someone being dumped in the river. Click for story
Curtis Salgado was the opening band. He was ok. Telling a story about his momma singing in the kitchen while he was growing up in Eugene seemed pretty amusing in context of Chicago Blues. You sure do learn the blues going from white middleclass Eugene to White Middleclass Portland. Those introspective girls dressed in black sure do break a man's heart. And when my Pappy lost his job as a janitor at OSU it meant really hard times for the family. And that is when I started carrying a roach clip in my dreadlocks. Angst is not the same as the Blues...
BB King mentioned a straight razor and singing in Church and the Woman who was foolin' roun' with another man. Now that is the sort of moral questioning that makes for good music.
BB Kind brought an eight piece band.
They were quite amazing. They were so smooth.
We had some stupid white kids near us. I could just hear the commentary the next day, "We saw BB King, drank some Jack, smoked a bowl, it was like wow! Oh yeah!" But I suppose we all want to be authentic.
Later we attempted to ride MAX. It is sort of a joke. A really big train set!
My wife understands the city, she hailed a cab.
We stayed at an old hotel on the east side of the river. It had a sky-view bar. We went up there for something to eat at 12 midnight.
There were only four people in the bar. It had a beautiful view of the city.
The bartender was a fan of Neil Sedaka, we had a nice chat and a chicken sandwich.
Sunday we went to Powell's and looked at books. I wanted to buy Gene Logsden's book, Holy Shit, which is what I almost said when I saw the $14 price tag. But then I thought that perhaps skipping church, attending a blues concert, drinking flaming spanish coffee, had used up my indulgences for the week and that saying a bad word would put me right over the brink into sin and dissolution.
So I said, "oh fiddle!"
It was a nice trip, I have no more cash, I feel old.

Friday, March 8, 2013

I heart Monsanto!

Looks like Monsanto have hired a PR firm!
(Click Here)
I like it! It is the modern farmer way! Screw me hard and tell me it is for my own good!
Of course you can't really blame Monsanto as they just do what they do because they are a huge bureaucracy and want to absorb the world.
The folks that run this country and don't understand their own laws, like anti-trust, monopoly, or basic concepts like general biology.
If I raise sweet corn and my cannery says I can't have the corn closer than 1/2 mile or three weeks from GMO corn, why should I not be able to sue for Pollen drift? You can sue for dust pollution, smoke, loud music, and plumber's butt, and hot coffee at McDonalds.
I'm saying this while at the same time I think herbicide resistant corn and alfalfa are wonderful when you need them.
I object to the purchase of every single independent seed company, the rabid attacks on anyone suspected of saving seed, and their refusal to admit their GMO pollen drift is pollution to a farmer whose market is NonGMO!
Yeah, nominate farm Mom of the year!
Pay for it with the money you extorted from her husband over an allegation he saved soybeans from last year!
However, advertising has proved that polishing a turd will make people think it is a steak so I guess we get what we deserve.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Daughter and I went to the river Sunday. We were test driving the fine pickup I bought from the scrapper. It is at the point where the scrapper guys pull in the yard and instead of asking me what I have for them they say, "look what I brought you."
We discovered that if you hit a really big mud puddle at 45 mph the pickup will die. The key is to not try this on a mud puddle that you don't have enough momentum to get completely across. As in, a small pond.
We also looked for evidence of the forts we built out of willow branches last year.

This is all we found.
Click here for a photo from the same spot taken last year.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I fix the barn

Speaking of hiring a retired farmer to follow me around... As Kev pointed out, this would not always work out so well...
So, I was loading hay for a retired fellow yesterday.
I've been just a little uptight, not so uptight that I don't blog at 7:20 a.m. today, but I've been working late. I have to get my grain drill ready to plant Saturday, or Monday. I've discovered it needs a lot more work than I thought.
My sometimes-a-great-employee was going to help but he many crisis events yesterday.
So, I'm loading hay and there is a piece of tin loose on the side of the barn. It is making a lot of noise. The retired guy says he is going to bring me an extension ladder and will help me.
I say sure, if you climb the ladder. It is a tall building.
Then he brings over the ladder. He just drops off his trailer which has the ladder strapped to it.
It is a 10 foot extension ladder. The barn is something like 20ft to the eaves. The ladder is not going to work as you can see.

He threatens to come back and help me.
So I got the old loader tractor out and pushed the berry vines away from the shed.

Then I climbed the loader, and then the hay pick up fork thing that attaches in place of the bucket. It was a little twitch in the wind. I didn't have the nerve to stand on tiptoe and screw in the last little bit below the eves.

I am afraid of heights.
Here is a view of death row future projects to restore.
An update: 8:30 a.m. After laying under the grain drill and busting my knuckles on stubborn bolts I came back to the house for fresh coffee, but forgot my coffee cup. So I decided to check my mail, and I see I have comments, and perhaps an update is in order.
This is the view before I climbed the loader. The tractor is sort of stuck, I debated about just leaving it there for six months but decided perhaps that was just pathetic... It was holding the tin against the wall.
I would have like to see Mr. MuddyValley standing on the end of an extension ladder strapped to the hay fork!

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