The Useful Duck!

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another "for want of a nail the shoe was lost post."

The Great Plains 1500 no-till drill is a simple idea. Great Plains just built a cart with aggressive coulter that cut a slice for the double v-openers to follow. The drill is a 3 point mount drill with a lot of down pressure which mounts on the back of the cart.
The cart i have now is kind of a hokey set up. The first drill had the Precision Hitch which lifted with a rock shaft. It was a lot heavier and drove a little straighter in the field. It was harder to back up to the truck due to the way it pivoted.
Oh, did I mention? The Secret weapon of the GP drill/cart setup is that it pivots in the middle so the front and back don't slide sideways when you turn. Of course it doesn't pivot enough so if you forget to raise the drill you will drag the whole back end around and mess up the openers.
My drill has sliding telescoping tubes with long hydraulic cylinders. This allows it to lift higher but it gets loose and the wheels tend to get out of alignment.
Yesterday I lost a wheel bearing.
I replaced the wheel bearings on the lift this spring.
One of the bearings was made in China.
It failed...
As bearings made in China tend to do-randomly...
The thing is, the bearing was not really cheaper, it was the only one available. It is pretty frustrating to have to look at the fine print on every bearing box to make sure it does not read, "made in China."
"Made in China," could become a term that means, it might work or it might fail randomly, but the instructions will be really funny and in the end you will be angry...
China will take over the world when all the bearings fail at once. Of course who is to say bearings don't also fail randomly in China? Probably they don't because they just execute everyone in the factory if it does happen...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

High Speed Internet! Oh Boy!

The onlinemac guy came out and upgraded our internet today. We are in a canyon between barns and trees and have a problem getting on the wireless tower that DOESN'T have 50,000 subscribers.
I had a lot to do this morning but I figured that since I forgot the Battle of Balaclava I should at least  get fast internet for so my wife can watch TV on her iPhone.
So I'm spending my precious moments when I should be eating lunch watching the Roosty6 channel on YouTube!
Old Roosty is kind of a hot rodder! Never been able to watch him before.
Click Here to view

The last day of sun

The weather is about to change.
That is what the TV guy says.
Accuweather agrees.
I have 20 acres of cover crop to plant at the dairy. (Planting Oats and peas on the corn ground there.)
I have ten acres of timothy to plant. (a little worried it is too late)
I have ten acres of vetch to plant but I don't have the seed.
Yesterday I planted 22 acres of hay for the dairy next door. I planted Maximo intermediate ryegrass. It is supposed to be a really fast growing high sugar type ryegrass. I also mixed in a similar type of Annual Ryegrass with the idea that something will grow...
The field didn't turn out quite as smooth as I wished.
We have poop to haul from the dairy, a pile of dirt to move, the rough spot in the corn field needs to be worked down, I need to get the neighbor to actually get his antique AC hooked up to plow his field for my other five acre test plot of flax,
I called my brother's little helper to see if he was still sick. He is coming to work this morning he said.
He came to work Monday but I was out of cell phone service and my brother was going after seed. He had coffee time, filled his car with gas and went home, he didn't know what to do...
It would be funny if it were not so tragic. Fifteen years on the job and he doesn't know what to do on a random fall day. Other than take a crap and fill his car with gas...
Jose' used to clean up, put tools away, wash equipment, grease stuff, anything to stay busy. But then again, Jose didn't weigh 375lbs and when he went past 200 he decided to go on a diet.
Francisco rebuilt the heads on a 1948 UTS by looking at the exploded parts diagram. He did it in an open sided shed with no heat.
But, I digress...
We have our usual screw up. Rain on the way and the helper has been "ill" for a week.
It just makes me tired.

Monday, October 28, 2013

They can shut down the panda cam but not the rule making?

Oh yeah... while the government was in non-shutdown mode we got more regulation.
Commercial drivers will have to be tested for sleep apnea.
The world is certainly a safer place...
More idiotic rules for truck drivers that may sound good but really do nothing.
CLick Here

Read the comments.
Comment 1: Truckers are underpaid
Comment 2: They should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and they are not underpaid.

Reality is there are a lot of different experiences in the business but it the idiotic hours of service laws and other regulations make it hard on many truck drivers. You really have to be over qualified to be a truck driver as you have to pass drug tests an annoying license exam and you already have to pass a physical and drug tests. It doesn't really matter if you know how to back a truck.
If you can pass all the tests and don't mind being away from home you can make a lot of money as a long haul.
More laws and regulations and the idiots who think it is a good idea...

Also, why did this person paint his gun's? One purple and one silver? Also, who in their right mind would try to take a gun through NYC.  New York is famous for prosecuting people who check a legal gun in their luggage at another airport and then when the flight gets diverted or stops in NYC, they prosecute the passenger even though the gun never leaves the airport or the baggage area.
Obviously the fellow was a little nuts. Supposedly there was a round in the chamber. But, then again, who knows?

Friday, October 25, 2013

I forget the battle of Balaclava

However, my lovely wife reminded me with a hug and the code phrase, "happy anniversary!" This is how we remind each other to celebrate the Charge of the Light Brigade, October 25, 1854.
We usually go out for dinner and give each other cards. Since we can't buy cards saying "Happy Charge of the Light Brigade," we substitute anniversary cards. There are lots of those.
Sometimes I buy her flowers.
Seems like there is another important event that occurred today, but what was it...
I absolutely cannot believe it is October 25th already.... I have so much work to do before it starts raining... Oh poop!

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
   Someone had blundered.
   Theirs not to make reply,
   Theirs not to reason why,
   Theirs but to do and die.
   Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
   Rode the six hundred.

Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
   All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
   Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
   Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
   Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
   All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
   Noble six hundred!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Farming the Lazy Farmer way and how to be a BTO in five easy steps...

I went to sleep on the couch after supper last night and no one woke me up. I had another ten acres to farm but I am so incredibly lazy...
I was going to get up early and repair the baler by neighbor borrowed from me and destroyed but then I got distracted by Gene Logsden's blog. CliCk Here...
My brother has been reading one of Gene's books and we've been discussing organic farming.
(I almost bought a couple Gene books at Powells but I was too cheap and opted for the Corning Egg Book, By Corning Himself, instead... Sorry Gene, if you read this)
The blog that made me sit down and have another cup of coffee has to do with herbicide resistance and what that means for the future. There was some hopeful comment about a chance for small farms with farmers who want to cultivate or hoe.

I think it is quite simple...
1. Big farms will get bigger...  As people become bigger arseholes in general, the size of their farms increase.

Here is how it works... When you are really small and struggling you are nice to everyone to get someone to give your ground. Then you hit a wall. No more ground. Neighbor's want you to be smaller than them so they feel like better farmers. So, you have to decide, be nice and be small or get big.
Step two, you screw anyone to get more ground. You form an LLC and you offer more money for rent you look at the tax map to find potential landlords to manipulate and you set a goal of 10,000 acres...
Step three, you give up a little... Drop to 7,000 acres. Cry hard times. Perhaps a bankruptcy, then you can pick who you want to pay off. Those people will be your potential friends, so choose wisely!
Step four, wait a couple years, avoid screwing anyone important in the local ag community. Perhaps, give up some ground. After three years start joining stuff. Farm Bureau is a good place to start. They are desperate for members and completely irrelevant. Hire a couple of the smaller neighbors to help with harvest. Wave at people.
Step five, benevolence... Be a part of the community. People will forget how you got there. Now they will be nice to you because you have things they want... You are in! Lots of folks will come to your funeral. What a goal!

2. Um, I forgot what point two was. Perhaps it doesn't matter. I doubt I will start farming with a horse. Have all the harness. I like horses. I have the USDA handout, "Horse Sense," from 1918. Of course I also have a civil defense bulletin on building a fallout shelter and a pamphlet from 1936 warning of the Nazi threat. Sort of old news I suppose...

I got way off subject and now I have to go to work...Out of coffee and my bottom is getting numb. Elvis has a cushion on his throne!

Here is a photo of a large scale farmer! Look! New overalls!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Look what I found in my pocket!

Junior Mints! MMM! I like that chocolate outside with the fresh burst of mint on the inside. They good good with coffee!
Plus there was that episode of Sienfeld where Kramer dropped one while observing an operation...

Wonder how long they have been in this coat pocket... Haven't worn this coat all that often in the last decade... They are unopened... Hmmmm....
I guess if they are still individual Junior Mints and not a melted mass at the bottom of the box-THEN THEY ARE OK!!!
Ahhh, life's simple pleasures!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A tractor or two and that ole' Mt. Dew

I've been planting red clover. It is really late for red clover but I expressed my concerns and the farmer said the Field Man said it was fine and so I really just do what I'm told.

Mountain Dew can be used to get the inoculant to stick to clover or pea seed. It seems I am the only farmer in existence that hates the clay based inoculant. I saw a seed salesman Sunday who said people like the white clay based stuff because you can just pour it on top of the seed in the box and you don't have to mix it.
I say it is better to mix inoculant and clover seed in a garbage can with a shovel and a case of Mountain Dew than it is to clean the clay out of the flutes on the seed meter.
Here I am, doing the dew, as they say in the TV commercials.

And I saw a few tractors....
A nice IH Hydro which could be used in the "end times"

And a JD that would fit right in the tractor lineup on some of the new small farms. Wonder if it comes with it's own "grow card."
Have a nice day...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I plant clover and listen to talk radio and get my knickers in a knot

I've been driving around in circles again. I am planting clover in a 60 acre field. I have planted for this farmer every year since I bought a no-till drill. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work. However, he keeps hiring me.
This year I'm planting red clover into worked ground. It is difficult to plant small seeds 1/4" into worked ground with a drill that has just about enough down pressure to plant into concrete. It took a few adjustments and I'm not completely happy.
I should have bought a set of three inch wide press wheels as the two inch wide ones I have just sink into the ground. However, I was too cheap to pay $65 a row from Great Plains. (Could have bought them from Shoup for $40.)
I'm using the small seeds bin on the drill as the seed tubes drop behind the openers and plant at a shallower depth. The main box would handle clover fine but the v-openers are going too deep.
The small seed box is not hooked to the drill monitor which means I have to get out and check for plugged tubes and check the box level. I also am mixing up the inoculant (this very stuff) myself in a garbage can with a shovel.
I'm using Mountain Dew to get the inoculant to stick to the seed. It works really well but it plants at a different rate. And it attracts bees.
The plan is 8 oz of Mt. Dew and one pack of inoculant to fifty pounds of seed. You first dump in the Dew. (I usually take a couple drinks first if it is still cold as 8 oz is just a little too much really) Then mix in the Dew with the shovel. When it stops clumping you dump in the inoculant and stir it in. The inoculant wants to stick together in little clumps instead of sticking to the seed. The Dew helps it stick.
Then you let it sit a few minutes to sort of absorb the stickiness.
USE ONLY the peat or humus based inoculants. The clay based stuff is easy to detect. It is white. It will plug the fluted wheels in the seed metering cups and static electricity attracts the dust to the rubber seed tubes where the slightest moisture makes a nasty sticky mess.

So, I've been listening to talk radio as my Mp3 player batteries went dead. It is pretty depressing.
For many years I've felt that the only way our country was not doomed was if we had a spiritual revival. The problem is that I don't know (and no one else knows) how to have a revival that works in the modern age. (or is it post modern age)
I have already put off half my readership by using the term revival.
You start talking about God and all the haters come out of the woodwork.
You get to hear about all the excesses of people claiming to be Christians. Witch trials the inquisition (which no one expects) TV evangelists, intolerance, and all the proof that there is no God, and blah, blah. blah...
But here is the deal...
The concept of The One True God defines this country. The United States of America was set up as a city on a hill. It was to be the culmination of all the best of Western Civilization.
There were failures. We committed atrocities against the American Indian. We committed atrocities against the American citizen, especially Lincoln, Grant and Sherman's invention of total war against the populace...
But humans are vicious and mean and the evil committed by Christians in general and by the Americans should be viewed as evidence that even a system designed with the intent to bring out the best in an individual and a nation suffers for the curse of humanity.
As we as a society suffer from De-Evolution we cannot handle philosophy above the sophomore level. Witness the favorite argument of the internet atheist, "a bus load of children go over a cliff, did God push them." No one can step beyond the obvious and accept that random horrible things happen and your belief in a higher power is what helps you get though life.
Even with the discovery of the God center of the brain has not made people think a little further. (The spot that gets all excited when people get involved in religious activity...)
I think the human being needs religion. I suspect that human's will manufacture religious beliefs in a absence of a community belief system.
I think that with the loss of our cultural belief systems we are very vulnerable to being exploited by politicians, advertisers and other forces of evil.

So what was the point of my rant?
Click here to read an article about Franklin Graham. I heard him speak on the radio. I'm going to see if I can find a transcript somewhere but now I have to go to work.
He really calls it like it is. This article has some quotes and gives the gist of his premise which is that the USA, from the leaders on down, has essentially lost its collective faith in God.
Look at the comments and see how the haters come out of the woodwork... Most of them just want to be clever. The term I think is sophomoric...
Now think about what the idea of the "one true God" is supposed to mean. In the context of how you think scripture should be interpreted.
Does not the concept of "God" mean the best of everything. Honor, truth, mercy, love, redemption, respect are things that come to my mind. Plus there is there that huge benefit that comes in the New Testament which is God sending his Son to forgive our sins.
That is one thing that is lacking in the modern world. A chance for a "do-over." Repentance brings foregiveness? You don't see that one anymore...
So what I wonder is this...
Even if you don't believe in a supernatural, why can't you see the benefits of understood and universal cultural values? Why not protect those values and give them perhaps a few nudges one way or another?
Instead we threw them all away so we could do what? Buy more crap? Perhaps get laid more often? Feel smug? Really? Why?

Friday, October 18, 2013

One (almost) sane voice in the House and they drag her out...

She really had me until that last little bit about the Freemasons.
What a lesson in knowing when to stop talking! One step too far and you go from a prophet to a nut. Which is not to say I am convinced she is completely wrong, it is just that some things you can't say out loud.
Here is the best transcript of her quote:

 “He will not be mocked; He will not be mocked… don’t touch me… He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here is that this is not one nation under God, It never was. Had it been… it would not have been… No. It would not have been… the Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons… and go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus.”
People are being forced under threat of the law to finance and therefore promote the ungodly acts of contraception, abortion and other things via this financing. Many of the foundational tenets of freemasonry are directly opposed to ones found in the Words of God and His Christ. Freemasons are therefore “sons of the devil”.
The problem with this quote is that making reference to Freemasons is akin to referencing Aliens. Otherwise she is pretty much correct.
The USA calls out to God all the time. "In God We Trust," is the motto found on our money. The government has ceremonial prayers.
But the real god of the gubment and the USA in general is (probably Plutus) is money and graft and that is the problem.
The house stenographer has to sit through all the BS, she hears it all. Don't you think it is all going to build up after a while?
If you read the quotes in the news you don't see the whole quote. The talkers were all going on about what the lady was talking about and trying to spin it as a condemnation on the Republicans.
However, it is not that complex. It is an anti-abortion rant. Anti-abortion folks get no respect. Abortion is one of the sacraments of the new religion and we try not to talk about it.
If only she would have said:
"He Will not be mocked, You cannot serve two masters, Praise be to God, Lord Jesus," now that would have been the Word OF God!
I could have understood that message from God. You can't call on the name of God, you can't call yourself a Nation Under God and violate every directive found in the Bible. You can't claim to be a country of freedom with a constitution supposedly based on the Word of God and the best aspects of Classic Western Civilization and then completely violate every aspect of it.
Now that would have been a speech!

To make this post clear for any clever nonbelievers cruising the blogosphere let me expand on the obvious.  You could say that "God" represents more than a deity, you could say that "God" as used in this context could be collection of classical beliefs and ideas representing concepts such as honor, truth, the ten commandments, love, mercy, AND forgiveness and redemption. Those are the ideals "Christian" people aspire to believe in. It you substitute this idea for your anger about having to got to Sunday School as a child it helps you join in the conversation past your "God is a fairytale" rant...

***Further Note*** The above paragraph is in no way supposed to be a correct theological interpretation or blasphemous so stanch Christians should not get their knickers in a knot..

Also, by Friday morning much of this story has gone into the "Memory Hole." I lost my links to stories I found last night. If you want to know more you all know how to use!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Was going to plant 15 acres of Timothy. Couldn't find the seed. I think I used it all or gave it away. The drum the seed was in had annual ryegrass. Hmmm.
Was going to plant for my neighbor.
Discovered one of the from FWA wheels on the 2-155 was broken.
Numerous interruptions later I got the wheel off. It is full of calcium and very heavy.
Took wheel to tire shop to get tire removed.
Realized I was going to be late for my daughter's fall choir concert.
Told tire guy. He said he would do the tire right away and I should come back in 15 minutes.
I came back and he was in the back room fighting the tire. He asked me to hold one of the tire iron while he pried off the tire. He was drenched in sweat. Tire guys earn their money!
I said thankyou! (At least twice)
Got back in time to weld up the rim. Have to do a pretty good job as the tire people are not supposed to mount tires on repaired wheels.
Went to Choir concert.
Came home, started reading one of my daughter's books. Got engrossed in the book. Finished the book at 1 a.m.
Have a nice day...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A post about blogging and an interesting link

I got this comment on my last post and I thought I would devote a post to the subject of blogging.

"I've enjoyed your blog for a while. The combination of relentless work, broken things and a cynical sense of humor is appealing.

I'm writing a blog about my first year of unemployment in which it all seems hopeless (but my Scandinavian heritage accepts as normal) full of opportunities for cynical humor, etc. 

1. do people actually donate to your blog. I've donated to another blog (The best radio you have never heard) which is really good.
2. I see that you have monetized your blog. Do you make anything off of that?

Oh,yes. Your blog is partially responsible for my purchase of a 1948 tractor.


First of all I'd like to thank Art for following my blog. It makes it all worthwhile when you hear that someone enjoys reading your blog.
I would like a link to Art's blog so that I could follow him.
Which brings us to the whole problem with blogging. (I will get back to his specific questions later)
Blogging gives you a chance to connect and read the mindless ramblings of people you find interesting. You find these people/bloggers through internet searches or browsing blogs.
But the internet search is in many ways the inherit flaw of the blog. It can bring you a very specific audience that is interested in what you are talking about. It that is a narrow subject, medium sized farmers with 1980's equipment, who don't like GMO, have International trucks, like fiddle music and O.V. Wright, Triumph motorcycles and Studebaker cars, and are grumpy... Well, you get the point...
So unless you work tirelessly to promote your blog, if you have a blog where you are kind of unique, you tend to develop a small core of followers who read nearly every day but they don't bring you new traffic. (Unless you post pictures of naked or nearly naked women on a regular basis)
Here is how my blog works. Nearly every day I go to my blog and I read the new posts on my sidebar. I almost always check out Gorges Grouse, Mindless Ramblings, Ed Winkle, and I read "The Goodlife" even though I already what he is doing. If the Proverbs fellow has posted I read that, and Buffalo Noise, and the guy that restores guitars, and I like to see what Kevin is working on in England. Then from Kev I look to see what "Hippo on the Lawn" is up to cause I think the guy is pretty amazing. (The sort of fellow I imagine myself to be when I'm reading an adventure book but in real life I'm not much of a risk-taker) And I look to see if Frank James has anything to say. I do miss his farming blog. And the Ohio Farmgirl and her goats...and Gene Logsden, and soon it is midnight and I haven't posted.
I like to read other people's blogs because I find their lives interesting. I want to know if Ralph combined his flax and I keep hoping Gorges will buy a Bellsaw and I really hope MuddyValley will find Bigfoot on his trailcam. And I really hope Jamie Jeffords is ok, but I don't know him in real life so there is no way to find out... So I blog and read other blogs to be part of a community of like-minded people. And I know that I have a good post if I get Collieguy to make a comment...
But I digress...

With the above information in mind I will now answer the specific questions.
1. Do people actually donate? Well three people donated. When you consider that I have 52 followers and get around 250 hits per day, I'm not sure that is a terrible rate of return...

2. I did not actually go through all the steps with Google Adsense and I have no idea how to get into my account. So if you see advertising I didn't do in on purpose. However, the Amazon link works fairly well as I have a friend who uses it frequently. I use the return to buy books and CD's on Amazon. It is not a large return.

3. More details on the 1948 tractor please. Also, I never claimed to be a GOOD influence.

In conclusion...
Art likes my blog because he finds my somewhat narrow scope of discussion interesting. Because it appeals to him he assumes it appeals to a lot of other people. It doesn't. Not that many people care about oddball farmers.
If you want to make money on your blog you have to promote it. You need to link to other blogs and probably have an agreement to click on other people's monetized links. You need to pay attention to keywords and write content to promote the keywords. The posts that consistently bring hits tend to be where I explain how to do something. Like repair an old turntable or split a tractor.
That and discussion the question of the bovine navigation of inclined planes.

A couple unrelated links:

How to get started farming, perhaps this will be the subject of another post. A link to The Small Farmer's Journal.

Problems with the US border, sort of why I never went to East Germany when I had the chance and I've always regretted it.

We are spending trillions of dollars on crap like this which hasn't actually worked.

A reason why I am not one of the top ten blogs on blogger, at least it is not the "Ledge."
I was going to post a Flying Pig Fiddle & Banjo video but couldn't find one before my cup of coffee ran out and I had to go to work...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Columbus Day...

Today is Monday. I generally dislike Mondays.
However, in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered American. It did not exist before then. Except briefly when Vikings were here. But then they left.
Columbus Day is no longer an acceptable holiday. Because of course, before the whitey everything was a natural utopian paradise...
Here is what I have been doing, since everyone cares deeply...
1. Saturday I took off work and went to the Big City.
Daughter and I went to the big Lego Expo at the convention center. It was pretty amazing. The theme was a map of the USA. You could make models and have them placed on the map. We attempted the Statue of Liberty and then discovered there was not the right combination of bricks to get real fancy without a lot of effort. Plus, it was too hard and we have short attention spans. Lulu built a tower faintly reminiscent of the Space Needle and I built a boat out of grey bricks. I am fairly good at building boats. Oregon was filled up, spilling over the Rockies and pushing into the Midwest according the Lego person who was placing the structures.
So we opted for the Florida Panhandle. Lulu's tower is somewhere between Marianna and Tallahassee and boat is cruising the Gulf just off Apalachicola Bay.
We also had Dim Sum and went to Powell's Bookstore.
Powells is a giant used bookstore that has become wildly popular with the Portland Hipsters. I was looking in the children's section for Victor Applegate books and detected the overwhelming stench of Chronic. Not sure if it was coming from the bathroom or the goofy guy in dreadlocks browsing.
This is the first time I've been to Powell's and was unable to find any of the books on my list.
The list was, "The Farmer Stockman Handbook," by Ensminger. Early editions have excellent info for small farmers who are trying to use as few chemicals as possible.
And books by the author of "The Hired Lad," a book about an English farmer chap after the second world war. I have the book but wanted to see more books by the author.
However, I found a rough copy of "The Corning Egg Farm Book," by Corning Himself and the holy Grail of No-Tiller propaganda (I guess), "The Plowman's Folly."
And now I must go to work.
There is a large truck parked outside the house. It is here for straw. It arrived sometime in the night.
I should be up and around by 6:30 I suppose.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The neighbor's corn

This ear of corn is from the neighbor's field. It was planted later (as you can see from lack of denting), the plants were nearly the same height perhaps a little taller than ours, the population looked similar to ours, we planted less expensive seed that was non GMO.
This ear has 14 rows of kernels around the ear and 34 full rows of kernels.
The neighbor's field is better ground, not as much clay in the soil, better drainage and was worked deeper than ours. We just disked twice and knocked down the clods with a harrow. This field was disk ripped and possibly plowed. However, we also applied 2 ton of lime, BUT or pH was pretty low to begin with so I think that doesn't really matter in a comparison.
We did a test on a couple truckloads from our field from where I took a photo of the corn cob. Our yield for those rows was a little over 30 ton to the acre. The average for the field after we finished in the mud, counting all the down corn and missed rows, was around 27-28 tons.
The total from the neighbor's field was a little less or about the same, depending on how you figure the field size.
What does it mean?
Ask Ed Winkle, I have no clue... The fickle winds of fate seem to have more effect on our farming results than any sort of scientific/good farming practices/planning.

Here is an interesting article about people abducted by aliens.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An ear of corn

Here is a picture of one of our ears of corn.
Just to make the corn lovers happy.
It has 16 rows of kernels and 34 full rows of kernels. This was chopped up into 3/4" pieces and packed into a big pile for corn silage.
The maximum number of kernels is set before the silks emerge. Adequate moisture and fertilizer are very important early in the plant's development. We did a split application of Nitrogen and were a little late on the second application because of weather and Wilco saying we could have the special fertilizer spreader tomorrow. This went on for a week. Then we gave up and used the little New Idea twin spinner on a M670 which went slow but we got it done.
Now I am off to listen to weird old music and plant annual ryegrass.
Have a nice day...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I bought an O.V. Wright Mp3 album on Amazon

My neighbor laughed at me for blogging. He did not even comprehend my humor at his criticism of my pastime. Apparently blogging is no longer cool.
I had to laugh as he spends his days in his garage doing security checks for porn sites doing something on a computer that is quite cutting edge I'm sure, but it's in his garage... Probably makes more money than I but he actually cares what is "hip" in the computer world.
I suppose he is right. Who really wants to know what I did today. It was much like any other day, my brother's employee had a problem, it required my incredible trouble shooting skills. I missed the obvious for a half hour and the fellow who was standing around talking to me fixed the problem when I had my back turned.
I made pig feed. I did that yesterday as well. My customer who threatened to find someone more reliable returned at the last moment yesterday. He thinks I forget about him. I do and I did. He texted me that he would be there in a half hour and I had to turn cow feed for my neighbor into pig feed.
This I accomplished by saying, "sure I have pig feed!"
Then I wandered around and scratched by arse nose.
My wife was sick today and so I took the daughter to school. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was coming up over the hills in the fog. It was a glowing yellow orb in the grey foggy horizon.
My daughter was impressed. She asked me if it was the sun or the moon.
I of course replied, "Beats me, I'm not from around here."
She is such a polite girl.
"I'm laughing inside," she said.
I got her to school.
Then she got sick and I went back after her.
I attempted to peel the paint off the walls by building a huge fire in the woodstove.
I had coffee break.
A friend brought me what he thought was 1000lbs of wheat for feed. It turned out to be 600lbs of wheat and 50lbs of fertilizer. The fertilizer was jammed up in the end of the auger on the fertilizer bin he was using to transport the wheat. It took a while to figure this out. They use Urea in feed I'm sure. I've seen it on the label.
I should have been planting something.
But, of course this was not the point of the post.
I have an audience of 52, some of which actually comment on my posts. Some day, I will write a book... Or not...
But I digress.
My loyal readers come here looking for pictures of corn and Legendary Stardust Cowboy videos. But I am a well-rounded individual. Yesterday I even read a book.
I do realize there are more than two types of music, (country, and western) and I have been known to enjoy the occasional Tower of Power album.
So, I've been looking for, "A nickel and a nail," by O.V. Wright for sometime. I should have purchased it 25 years ago when I was first captivated by the album cover. But, I bought something silly instead. Probably a Clash album or perhaps it was that Barrence Whitfield and the Savages album I got from Rounder Records.
I swear I have the biggest collection of not-quite-the-right-record of anyone I've ever met. The worst of everybody. I guess it is why they were $.99 at ValueVillage.
So I bought "Nickel and a Nail," on Mp3 because I figure that one day I will find the album at a garage sale and it will be in perfect shape and I can hear it the way it should be heard, on a Dual 1019 and Dynaco A-25 speakers with sparkly cloth covers, but until then, I have iTunes.
It took a bit of effort to actually get the album on my Sansa Mp3 player. I lost the cord to connect it to the MacBook. So I popped out the memory card and plugged it into the MacBook but it came up as a Sansa device and the Apple OS wouldn't let me copy the song files to it.
So I copied them onto a USB flash drive and used the old iBook to transfer them between the Flash drive and the memory card, which I plugged into a USB card adapter. Kind of silly.
I've heard a few of the songs before and I know O.V. Wright is a legend but was not really expecting a really good album all the way through. You forget where modern music came from. They sure don't play this stuff on the radio.
From the opening chords of "Don't let my Baby Ride," though "He made woman for man," and the title song, "Nickel and a Nail," I found myself actually listening to the words.
I'm not much for horns and lady backup singers but perhaps it was the added growl of the hammer mill though my ear protectors or the scream of a detroit diesel but I loved the sound.
It sounds even better on the Dynaco. I like the deep bass and the mellow guitar which comes across with a really warm sound on the old stereo. Of course this is an Mp3 streamed through airtunes and sure is not audiophile quality.
I got a kick out of the dated sound of "He Made Woman for Man." Yeah, God could have made another tree but I do thank the Lord that He instead made a Woman for a Man. Yeah every time she thrills me like only a woman can, I thank the Lord, cause the world sure doesn't need another river.
It was not my intent to write an amateur record review that will show my ignorance of the classics so I'll shut up now. Wish I would have bought the album on vinyl back when I could.
Here is my current wish list, if you happen to see any of these at GoodWill please snag it for me. In the mean time I'm going to walk around with a nickel and a nail in my pocket. I can jingle them to make it sound like I have change and if I end up in jail I can bend the nail into a time travel device (as heard on Art Bell) and travel back in time so that I can use the dime in a pay phone and call my baby to go my bail.

The Classics I should have bought years ago which have cool album covers
Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
John Mayall - Bare Wires / Blues from Laurel Canyon
1963: James Brown — Live at the Apollo
Lee Moses; Time and Place
William Bell, “Soul of a Bell”
Otis Clay, “Tryng to Live my Life without you.”
Albert Collins- “The Cool Sounds of”
James Cotton, “The James Cotton Blues Band.”
Dobie Gray, “Drift Away”
Guitar Slim, “the Things I That I used to do.”
Eddie Kendricks, “People Hold On”
Freddie King, “Getting Ready,”  “Let’s Hide Away & Dance”
Maceo & All The Kings Men “Doing Their Own thing”
Charley Musselwhite, “Stand Back!”
Roy Orbison, “Mystery Girl”
Little Jr. Parker, “Driving Wheel.”
Jimmy Ruffin, “Sings Top Ten”
Sons of Champlin, “Loosen Up Naturally.”
Melvin Sparks, “Texas Twister.”
Howard Tate “Get it While you Can.”
Them, “Here Comes the Night.”
Tower Of Power, “East Bay Grease”
Ventures, “Rock and Roll Forever”
Jr Walker and the All Stars, “Shotgun”

And some "non-classic" weird stuff I like:
What If" ..... the Dixie Dregs
David Lindley, “El Rayo X”
Nick Lowe, “Nick the Nife”
Rockpile, “Seconds of Pleasure”

Madness, “One Step Beyond.”
The English Beat, “I just Can’t Stop It”
The Selector, “Too Much Pressure”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Last field, the Last Row, the Last Stalk of Corn

It is a good feeling

Although, now it is on to grinding grain, fall planting, and cleaning and winterizing everything.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I work on Sunday, lose my main customer, oversleep on Monday

I do realize most of my readers are real farmers or at least not lazy at whatever it is they do.
But, I have never made claims of greatness and there is a good reason for this.
Of course we are in the middle of corn silage harvest and it is going a bit difficult.
The dairyman was worried about his 25 acres of corn which we were chopping Saturday evening. It would have better if he would have made a few more passes with the irrigation. He was irrigating the corn with poop water and was worried there would be too much poop on the corn so he cut back the rate. This was not so good. The corn had moisture early and set fairly good ears but it had no height.
There is a forecast for rain this week and so the dairyman talked me into chopping corn after church. Something like quoting the scripture of pulling your neighbor's ass out of the ditch.
Just the same, I was a little grumpy...
I didn't get my good Sunday dinner, mostly because I cooked and did a bad job, and my Hershy bar melted as the a/c is not working properly in the 2-155.

Then I got a text from the fellow who buys grain from me. He wanted feed at 8 a.m. this morning.
I texted him back that we were chopping silage for the next three days, the same as we had been doing for the previous three days, and at this very moment, and could he do it later.
He kind of took offense at this and suggested that it was not so hard to remember to grind grain every two week and he was going to have to get his grain somewhere else.
Naturally I responded in my usual fashion.
No, gentle readers, I did not offer to get up at five a.m., nor did I offer a substantial discount, nor did I apologize... No, I replied, "yeah, I'm not that reliable, you will have to do what you need to do..."
So there went $1,000 per month.
Oh well, if he would have really wanted to buy from me he would still be my customer.
Such is life...
Then in the end, we did get the field done and I could have gotten up at 5 a.m. and made him feed.
Instead I overslept. For some reason my wife but a pillow over my head instead of waking me up.
You know....
I just renewed my life insurance policy....
Hmmm, just a coincidence I'm sure...
Today we have the last field. It is ten miles away down highway 99W. It is a small field but it won't be fun...
Have a nice day!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

We try to chop corn silage and I get a free chopper

Five inches of rain in one weekend can make it a little difficult to harvest corn for silage.

The accompanying rain tended to make it go down a little.

We cannot drive trucks in the field so the silage has to be hauled out in a big box and dumped into the trusty old IH.

Then it started raining again. It was so muddy that the silage chopper would not track straight behind the tractor. The tractor was ok as it has front wheel assist.
Part of the problem is that the three-row header is very heavy and the outboard tire was plugging up with mud and not turning. So we extended the axles and put on a wider tire.

I was calling around and looking for wider tires when I remembered a friend who said he had a couple NH 900 choppers with extended axles that he was going to scrap. I called another friend who is good friends with this guy and talks to him all the time. I got a call this morning that if I would go get the remaining NH 900 from a dairy at Nehalem I could have it. It has tandem axles on each side and metal alert.
But, it had been setting outside within two miles of the beach for the past decade or so. 

I of course brought it home. It was an interesting trip down some of the most narrow and twisting paved roads you have ever seen. 
I was going to just pull the axles but the dairyman said he would be glad to help me get it ready to tow but he did not want it left at his dairy even for scrap metal. So after much head scratching and discussing we removed the very heavy auger base hay pickup and connected the chopper to my pickup.
I had a wheel bearing fail within the first fifty feet and I hit a bridge going through the Indian reservation but I made it home just after dark. My pickup used a tank and a half of gasoline. I barely made it home as my brother's employee neglected to fill the second tank. I got about 6 mpg. Lots of hills. 
There are a lot of expensive parts on it which I will use over the next few years. 
It was an all day project.
Today was sunny and tomorrow will be sunny as well. It was beautiful at the beach. Hopefully we will be able to chop all day tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In honor of the government shutdown and my friend breaking his leg I do things that are dangerous

Oh NO! Those evil republicrats shut down THE PANDA CAM! Have they no shame?!
In protest solidarity I decided to engage in risky behavior. I will assure my gentle reader that this did no involve poop shrooms, one beer, and a hot tub.
No, it involved a forklift and, gasp!, no safety harness, no  hard hat, and high voltage!
This is not illegal, however if a OSHA inspector was driving by they would be required by law to stop and demand to see if I was an employee or not. I'm not an employee and I personally have no employees so I am exempt.
However, just knowing that there were no OSHA inspectors driving around was a liberating feeling. Also,  I was thinking I would lend moral support to my friend who broke his leg by engaging in risky behavior. I was one step from multiple broken bones. And if it would have started raining and dropped below 65 degrees, one hour from hypothermia, (see yesterday's post). )I do have a hot tub but have no beer.)

We spent all day building this simple windboard for the dump box. The top of the box is directly in line with the end of the chopper spout. This means that when you finally get a good load on the box and you point the spout at it to finish the load, it blows the all the silage over the side of the box.
Then we hooked the box to the tractor and raised it all the way to test our repairs. A seal had leaked and one cylinder was full of water. We thought we had drained the cylinders and all would be fine. Apparently something went wrong. The hydraulic oil in the tractor is now white. It is a White tractor but white hydraulic fluid means water. At $13 per gallon and 30 gallons in the tractor it will be just a tad expensive.
But it will keep us busy. More rain is on the way...
In other news...
The mantra of blame Republicans continues. It doesn't really appear that it would have taken much by the Democrats to reach a compromise. Of course no one even talks about insanity of having the IRS involved in healthcare.
Although ZetaWolf has a nice post on how to avoid the fine tax.
Glad to see that the Republicans stuck together. I see many people online have their knickers knotted. They are of course repeating the talking points which were sent to them telepathically by the DNC. This should put a spike in the NSA workload and cost the government even more money.
The shutdown is pretty interesting. It really brings out the useless stuff that government spends money on. So... they hire guards to keep regular law-abiding folks out of the National Parks but they can't stop drug gangs from growing Chronic on an industrial scale. They are busting people from smoking pot in National Parks but, once again, industrial illegal grows are not really policed.
I personally have little sympathy for government employees. In general they get paid more than I, have better insurance than I, have more job security than I, and they work for the government.
I personally would like to see the government shut down until they stop spending huge amounts of money.
How much does it cost to record and store every single bit of info transmitted by cell phone or internet vs the actual protection benefits? How much did that huge shiny black building cost?
Apparently Wall Street doesn't care much either. Click here and take no of the headline, Wall Street Rebounds as Government Shutdown does nothing...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why I don't answer the phone on Sunday

I generally do not answer my phone on Sunday.
There is a reason for this. A reason which sometimes must be reinforced.
You see, my daughter and wife feel that I could be a better person. I could be less grumpy and I should be happy and optimistic.
In fact, I got a lecture just this morning...
I was going to repeat my life philosophy of the positive attitude that is a result of my theory of diminished expectations, "if you expect the worst you are always pleasantly surprised as the worst never really happens-and if it does, why then you are prepared!"
So I am actually an optimist.
If I were an optometrist I would have more money, however.
But I chose not to argue. It was early in the morning. I had not had my oatmeal.
And so Sunday afternoon when the phone rang and I saw it was Scooter Boy I actually answered the phone.
His voice was weak and he was clearly in dire distress.
I briefly thought about pretending to be the answering machine but I thought there was a chance he  had been kidnapped by aliens. If he was in fact kidnapped by aliens, it would be an incredible story and I certainly didn't want to miss that one!
However, it was just that his pigs were out and in the neighbor's field.
Scooter Boy had gone after the pigs without his slicker and he was wet and cold and about to succumb to hypothermia.
He insisted that he needed me to bring my four-wheeler.
I suggested that he go to the house and warm up while I attempted to find an empty pickup and load the durn thing without ramps.
He explained that he had already called a friend who knew a guy who was on a tour from Hawaii who had a border collie that he used to herd or chase wild pigs and they were on their way.
I asked if he was sure he needed a four-wheeler and he said he was desperate for a four-wheeler and the pigs would head for the next county if he didn't stay with them but he was about to die from the cold and if he didn't get help soon he would die from the cold.
I said I'd come over.
I looked at the thermometer, after all, we were having a typhoon and not a blizzard...
It was on the positive side of sixty-five degrees but who knows, perhaps Scooter Boy was nekked...
It took me a while to load the four-wheeler. I had to use my wife's truck and I couldn't pop a wheelie to get the front end of the four-wheeler up on the tailgate because I'm not that good a wheelie-popper and I didn't want to scratch the truck. Finally I got the forklift.
When I got Scooter-Ville, Scooter Boy was just getting out of the hot-tub.
He was quite excited.
He was almost positive that should he have remained in the cold and wind for another five minutes his core body temperature would have dropped. "That hot tub saved my life," he said.
"Where are the pigs," said I.
The pigs were in the neighbor's field. I suggested we call the neighbor. Scooter Boy did not have the phone number and he said AT&T was not working but the guy from Hawaii had showed up along with the owner of a local art gallery and they had this dog that they used to run pigs in Hawaii and where are my boots and I need to get my boots and this dog is really good and....
"You want me to call, I have the phone number," I said.
"Well, he probably isn't home and I have to find my boots and I got really cold and I could have died but that hot tub saved my life and I can get you a beer when we are done and thanks for the four wheeler and I have to leave for Greece in three days, and..."
So I called. No answer. Well that problem was solved.
The next problem was getting his boots and getting through the gates and getting to the pigs.
I gave him a ride on the four wheeler.
He didn't want to hang on to me because he thought I might find that "gay." However, offering me a beer to get in the hot tub with him is something he does without a thought.
We were not naked on the four wheeler, there is a fundamental difference...
But, we made it down the hill and to the ditch separating his farm from the neighbor's. He said it was just a small ditch and he walked on across. Mentioning in passing that he could have died if from exposure but for that hot tub.
The ditch was bottomless mud. I did not make it across.
On the far side I saw a couple people in slickers who seemed to be amused and annoyed all at the same time. They waved at me. I found out later that they were the neighbor's daughter and her husband. I suspect much humor will be had in the neighborhood at my expense over this incident.
So I parked the four wheeler and pulled my slicker hood up. I could hear the dog. It didn't seem to be making much progress.
It was a little chilly. I really wished that I would have found the pants to go with my slicker. Not that I was pants-less. Just that my insulated pants were now wet. Hypothermia did not set in. However, mild annoyance did start to affect my happiness.
Eventually the pigs started to emerge from the woods.
The art gallery dude and his young friend from Hawaii soon followed.
Scooter boy was running around, getting in front of the pigs and fixing fences. His horses also showed up. They were quite friendly.

Hawaii boy held up a mushroom and expressed great happiness! Everything started to make a lot more sense... Ah, hippies! I had almost forgotten exactly who I was dealing with. Why should I expect rational thought or good herdsmanship? I decided to simply revel in the randomness of the event. This made me much happier and I took a photo.
The dog was not Collieguy's dog.
The dog also embraced randomness. This did keep the pigs sort of bunched up but didn't really move them in any particular direction.
We did get them up to the barn where it was discovered that the fence was in shambles.
I was going to ask Scooter Boy if he had in fact disconnected the electric fence but then I though better of that idea.
I was very much entertained when he picked up the downed wire and it shocked the crap out of him.
Then I went and unplugged the fence.
Hawaii Five-O exclaimed that we are all shooting sparks. I didn't understand that statement at first, thinking it was reference to the electric fence, then I realized... shrooms! Oh yeah, nothing like a fresh shroom off of a cow turd to get you through rain storm.
So many things now made sense to me.
Mr. Art Gallery and Shroom-boy headed for the hot tub. I helped scooter boy fix the fence.
He offered me a beer and a soak in the tub.
I declined.
He did give me two dead chickens. They were plucked and shrink-wrapped.
He also mentioned that I possibly saved his life and that another five minutes in the cold would have killed him.
I noted that he was certainly lucky to be alive.
We loaded the four wheeler and I went home.
Shroom-boy was standing in the door way in his underwear holding a beer.
I went home and after warming up next to the new woodstove and having a cub of coffee and several slices of zucchini bread I went down the river and helped my brother pull the pump. He was almost done so that worked out pretty well also.

In other news, a friend of mine fell off his corn picker and broke his leg multiple times. This post is dedicated to him. Although I should note that the good painkillers make you constipated and laughing hurts like heck when you have stitches in your foot. That is why I wrote something not funny at all. At least if you were in the rain chasing pigs. Although seeing Scooter-Boy get shocked by the electric fence was quite entertaining.
Now I'm going to go and chop silage in the rain. I must remember to keep my core body temp up.

Oh boy! Another Fake Crisis!

The Republicans actually did it. They didn't back down for once. Of course it is probably all meaningless.
It is a happy day when IRS audits, and the EPA enforcement office are reportedly shut down. I read it is up to the executive branch to determine what things are shut down so I'm sure they will try to make it hurt.
So what if the USDA is shut down. Does this mean no raids on Amish farmers?
National Parks? I have to work anyway.
On the news they have a newslady live from the federal building in Portland. That is a spectacularly boring shot. She is standing in the rain and the dark in front of the federal building. Real dramatic....
Now if the shut down would just last for a while, like a couple years....
have a nice day...

Update, just saw a clip with the prez ranting about the government shut down by one branch which are a bunch of poopie butts (paraphrased a little) And yes that is how it is supposed to work.
Of course it is all just legislative theatre. The Affordable Healthcare act is a huge windfall for bigger government and they are all in favor of it.
Few people are raising the question, "why do I have to have health insurance?"
This idea that because the gubment declares a victory means that it is a victory is the basically fallacy. Making it a law that everyone must have heath insurance and everyone must be covered doesn't really solve the healthcare issues.
If you don't want to be insured and you want to depend on the kindness of strangers, why not? It is your life and your decision, just like if you want to have an abortion or you are old and want to kill yourself...
Whatever, I'm just preaching to the choir...

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