The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

And the Christmas Spirit sort of wears down a bit....

There have been a couple moments in life where I've felt the urge to laugh and cry at the same time. I'd post a link to Absurdist writer Flannery O'Conner here but I'm using my iPhone Blogger app which doesn't do links and misinterprets my horrible spelling...
But I digress...
Those moments were unexpected as well as ill-timed.
The most memorable was some years ago. It was right after my Mothers funeral when my best friend and I were sitting in front of the ancient wood stove at our old house. I waxing a bit philosophical and he says, "You do realize there is no God." He explained that he had thoroughly studied biology and mathematics and he was sure that there was no "greater design," just the laws of random numbers and evolution.
I told him thanks for the comforting words.
The second little event happened just this week. It was day after Christmas.
I loaded a pickup load of hay for a long term customer.
It was dark. We sitting on hay bales and talking about the people who have died and how relatively small amounts of money would make all the difference in the world to people like ourselves. I made the example of how $100,000 would get the farm back on track and let us buy the farm store from my Uncles estate.
My friend looked at me and said, "what the hell is wrong with you? You are living in poverty, in a f...'n mobile home, not saving money and you don't own a damn thing. And you want to buy a farm store with five customers? Get at G.. D... job so you don't have to load hay in the cold at 7 pm."
I must say he does bring up good points. I've known him for a few years.
But it sort of "harshed" my post Christmas mellow...

In other news...

The Christmas tree is dying... I suppose that is relevant somehow...
Have a nice day...
Happy Nude Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

More Christmas Cheer?

Years ago we made gift baskets and sent Christmas cards. Now we don't. Something went wrong somewhere.
Longtime customers bring candy to the store.

As you can see, the LED tree shines on.

Monday, December 22, 2014

More Christmas Spirit on a Sunday Afternoon

Sunday we went to our local church for a Christmas Program. When I was a kid we always got brown paper bags with peanuts, an orange, and assorted hard candy after every Christmas program. I guess Oranges are no longer remembered as a delicacy. Not too many people who grew up in the 1920's are in charge of Christmas programs any more.
The Church has new chairs which replaced the old pews. I don't really understand the current obsession with replacing pews with chairs. I suspect it goes kind of like this.
People who are in committees in churches are concerned membership is dropping. They have been at the church for years and so never get an outsider's perspective. People rarely disagree with them, they just go to church somewhere else. No one really takes the time to sit down with people who quit going to their churches but I suppose if they did, they wouldn't get a straight answer.
So, the Committees must do things. So they buy chairs because those old benches are so formal and interlinking chairs could be moved around the sanctuary and that would give the church a fresh new perspective.
Committees must do things and must spend money and so they do.
This is not so much a criticism as an observation.
Of course there are always unforeseen results, no place to put the hymnals, chairs are kind of uncomfortable.
We left when everyone went forward for communion.
Nothing personal. We just don't interact much...
Then we went to "town" for Sushi.
It was a surprise for Lulu. We told her we were going to the Blue Goat which got her mildly annoyed (she is 13 which explains many things) then we told her we were going to the Mexican restaurant she dislikes and then when she had her nose buried in her phone we turned into the local strip mall and parked in front of Sushi Kyo.
Then we she exclaimed, "are we going to eat here," we said, "naw just messing with you," and started to drive away.
It was nice.
I have no idea what I ate. The dishes come by on a little conveyer belt and you pick what you want. Sushi tastes like sticky rice to me. I just put some of that greens stuff on it and a little soy sauce and figure if my bald head starts sweating it is good.
The did have good chocolate cake. It had mousse in it. I ate it with chopsticks.

Later, we went home and I spent a hour trying to find cheap kayaks so we could go boating on the lake that covers our farm. Strangely, no one stocks cheap kayaks this time of year. I was thinking about the Sunstream Pelican which was on sale for $150 at Dick's Sporting goods.
We listened to Christmas Music for "Young People" and played with horrible Chinese legos until my tower fell apart, due to my use of Horrible Chinese lego copies. You know, if you are going to bootleg legos you could at least make them sort of fit together. Oh well, they were cheap...
Later we played "Settlers of Catan."
I suppose everyone spends Sunday afternoons listening to Bing Crosby, Ed Aims, Burl Ives, and Nate King Cole singing Christmas songs.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

If only I would have ordered those cheap kayaks from Amazon

Our farm is underwater. It might have something to do with the three inches of rain we got yesterday. I spent the afternoon moving the baler, rake, and grain drill to my neighbor's empty hay shed. Our shed is still full.
It is sort of like the other day when I picked up a load of barley from storage and thought I would stop by my customer's house on the way home and deliver their already paid for barley on my way home.
I filled the first barrel and then I looked in the top of the barrel. Bugs...
Of course there were bugs. That is exactly what happens.
The bugs are not a problem for pig or chicken feed. I dump diatomaceous earth in with the raw grain. It's a great dewormer!
But this was for sprouting and I was filling 55 gallon drums.
So I folded the auger in and went home.
I threw a pile of diatomaceous earth under the tarp.
In other news...
The Christmas tree is still going. LED's are highly efficient!

Friday, December 19, 2014

A short post about iPhone point of sale apps

I am not the smartest iPone/smart phone user.
And I'm getting just a wee bit frustrated...
Here's the deal...
I want to use my iPhone to do something other than to play games and take selfies.
I want to use it to keep records of hay sales and feed sales.
This is the way it should work.

I sell things:
1. Customer arrives and I plug their name into the invoice function. It looks them up in contacts and completes the invoice or it gives me an option to edit the name.

2. It asks me for item and quantity and price. I plug it in. It totals them.

3. It asks for method of payment. If a check, then I have the option to take a photo of the check.

4. If they pay later I can have a box to accept payments later. I also have a box to click that shows payment clears.

5. I can get reports by customer of open invoices, sales, balance.

I can buy things:
1. This would be done with a purchase order. I haul in a load of hay. If I buy it from myself I can put in my own name. If I buy it from someone else I can put in the vender name. Customers can also be venders.

2. I can add to inventory if I want using this same purchase order, but I don't have to. I can take a photo of the item to be sold. There could be a box to check to add to inventory but I don't really need to.

3. I can pay later and there is a spot to record check number and a photo of the check.

I can transfer information:
1. I can print an invoice or purchase order
2. I can print a very simple monthly bill which could be like a report. Wouldn't need to be very fancy.
3. Some sort of summery so I can retype this into Quickbooks

This is all I need for a basic app.
Extras would be a subscription to a cloud service, perhaps different invoices which would let me track hours.

A huge added benefit for which I might actually pay. The ability to accept credit card by taking a photo of them with my phone.

I don't really understand why there is not something like this. I can see so many small business which this could benefit.

Apps I've tried and am trying which all have some sort of basic flaw:
Invoice Pro, (if you hit the wrong button and close the app or screen you lose the invoice, I think)
Invoice Asap, (no purchase orders)
GoPayments, (no purchase order and it is mostly a credit card payment app)
iConnect POS, (Wants me to sign into to a cloud service and it was one too many sign ups and I closed it)

Does anyone out there keep records with their iPhone?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I sort of forgot about Christmas

It is rapidly approaching.
There is of course no Christmas program in the Public Schools. You sure wouldn't want the kiddies to learn to appreciate 2,000 years of a tradition that has pretty much evolved into being nice to other people, singing Silent Night in German, and the High School band playing Jingle Bell Rock.
If you don't believe in it then why does it matter?
I have to listen to you blather on about the Big Bang so why can't you listen to the middle school choir butcher "Away in a Manger" once a year.
But I digress....
Perhaps I'm just grumpy.
Here is Christmas at the Farm.
An LED Christmas Tree in the office.

AND the Goats have uncovered Alfred's house.
Apparently Alfred was a bachelor uncle who lived some twenty miles away from the farm.
Legend has it that when Alfred got to old to take care of himself, Grandpa and Uncle Milton simply took a truck to his house. Winched the house on the truck and brought Alfred and his house to the farm to live.
His house is not in the best of shape. The goats seem to enjoy it however.

The President of the USA mistaken for a Valet?

I just read this story in the London Daily mail about the every day racism experienced by the Obamas.
I feel their pain, just the other day I told someone I was a farmer and they asked me how many acres of grapes and filberts Hazelnuts I had. You people just assume....
You folks know that the President is just like you all. Living in Chicago and trying to catch a cab. Getting mistaken for a waiter and probably harassed by the Po-lice.
Yah, and the first lady got mistaken for a clerk in the local Target, which is pretty racist when you consider the included photo which shows a tall white guy trying to look casual (Secret Service?) and a brownskinned person checking their phone. 
So, did a near sighted elderly person not notice the fifteen thirty security guards and think they could get this tall person to reach something on a tall shelf? 
Did she wear a red apron to Target? Cause that would explain everything...
Otherwise, I'm sorry, but it is impossible to believe.
Why would anyone assume anyone else would be Target or Wallmart employee based on RACE and not based on their store UNIFORM. 
Perhaps someone really did need help getting something off a shelf and asked the nice tall lady for help and she interpreted as racism which is a subject all on its own.
As for the President being mistaken for a waiter, that was in a movie. That didn't happen in real life in the 21st century. He was not the only black man in the room in a TUX.
Well, I guess it could... Democrats are pretty condescending. The top leadership is pretty white. 
We have a neighbor that is quite proud of being a Democrat. He always has a brown person that he is "helping." 
Sometimes I ask them how they feel about being the "token" brown person in my neighbor's life. They usually laugh about it and make jokes about not actually being let in the house. 
The one guy who really noticed and was slightly annoyed pointed out that his ancestors came from New Mexico, he didn't speak Spanish, he had more eduction that his "Patron" and he actually was helping the older buy and didn't really appreciate it all that much.
Then I asked him if the Democrat had ever tried to get him in the hot tub and that was pretty funny. It was quite an enjoyable conversation.
But I digress....
The President, Oppression, and now Dance parties.
I find the Dance Party comments also pretty funny. Well of course he listens to Sly and the Family Stone and Al Green and of course they have dance parties in the White House. 
Although I wonder if they made a mistake with their "Code Words." I doubt it. I'm sure this was a carefully crafted interview. Choosing to say dance party and dropping Sly and Al as names must be designed to appeal to a certain black demographic. I suppose rap and basketball would be over the edge.
Pretty funny article anyway. 
Not that they need it. The party faithful will be happy with what ever bone is thrown them...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A room with a view is better when you are looking at St. Petersburg Beach

Last year at this time I was looking out the window at the Howard Johnson at St. Petersburg beach. There were dolphins and white sand and it was not cold and damp.

Today I think I will sort a few more piles of scrap metal and perhaps weld a toolbox to the side of a truck.
I think I'll also have five more cups of coffee.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A daily strumpet from the archives

I posted with the iPhone. I think I may have to enlarge this photo a bit.

The movie Elf is without a doubt

The worst movie I have ever seen. It would have been a funny two minute Saturday night Live skit if Jim Belushi, Chis Farley, Dan Akroid, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray or Amy whatshername were involved and there were fake sharks involved. Will Farrel is an utter moron.
Now I think I will listen to the legendary stardust cowboy just to appreciate life.
No I didn't spell check...

More blather about advertising

So, my gentle readers....
I am skeptical about this advertising program.
It is my opinion that my readers are mostly grumpy farmers who still have their first dime and never click on advertisements.
However, I envision vast sums of money with little effort and so I continue.
Please feel free to click on those adverts even if you don't want to buy anything. Just set your web browser to delete cookies when you shut down.
I actually get more money if you leave those cookies on your browser for three days but I think that is pushing the good will of my readers.
I've found some interesting advertisements on the fellow who doesn't have a job's website. While I didn't buy anything, I read about solar power and beekeeping.
I've added another link to Amazon. This link should be contextual and might actually be useful. I have Amazon prime and use that to download and play music. I avoid iTunes as much as possible, being a loyal and longtime Apple user. (Since the Mac 512)
Have a nice day...

UPDATE: Ten minutes later... I see Hogan's Heroes is listed as a suggested purchase on Amazon. I highly recommend this boxed set. So perhaps this is more of a public service than a money making scam!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Big money!

Since signing up with adsense earlier this week I've made .16 cents. Movin' on up...

My new theme song

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A lazy farmer in winter

You may have noticed that the title of this blog is The Lazy Farmer. I look forward to Ralph posting copies from his archives. I also found this discussion of The Song of the Lazy Farmer.
The Lazy Farmer tended to sit in his Rocking Chair and keep the fire warm while his long suffering wife did all the work.
I have always found this to be an admirable goal, but the cultural fear of the Irish Potatoe famine has kept me from attaining my ambitions. Still, it is good to have goals.
It has taken me an entire week to get the lights fixed old Ford L8000.
I got off to a fine start. It was not the alternator that was bad, it was the regulator. This was a matter of simple trouble shooting skills and advice from my brother who knows everything and actually works.
Let my give you a step by step so you can appreciate my brilliance.
Keep in mind that I keep forgetting how to do everything so even though I've done this before, it is all new, all over again.
First I put my test light on the large post with the red plastic insulator. There was power.
This just proved that there was not a break in the wire to the battery. Then I tried to remember if this was a single wire Delco or if it had an external regulator. So I looked for disconnected wires or terminals which I didn't know what they did.
I found an outlet for an electric tach.
Then i found another red wire on the back of the alternator.
There was no power to this wire.
So I traced the wired back though the harness and found a little silver box cleverly hidden behind the air cleaner. A regulator!
A quick consult with the iPhone told me I could short two wires together but I decided to ask my brother who remembers everything. After rummaging around in the back room he came back with a bunch of funny connectors on a chain and said I should disconnect the regulator and connect the connector on the chain that fit and check the gauge in the truck.
Suddenly I had 14 volts.
We looked though our vast supplies of out-of-date parts and could not find a regulator. However, we do have a vast reserve of non-running trucks and I was able to find an almost new regulator and a large capacity truck battery that I had forgotten about.
Now if the story ended here it would be a story of successful troubleshooting and efficient repair.
But, It does not...
I then decided to figure out why the lights kept quitting when I was driving down the road.
More clever trouble shooting skills that a mere employee would not have.
I turned the lights on and wiggle the hood violently.
The lights quit.
In the dim light of a rainy winter afternoon I discovered the hood grounded through the hood hinges. (sparks)
But then it started pouring down rain and I retreated to the store.
Next day....
I expanded my repairs to clearance lights, door handles, and window regulators.
This involved robbing a spare truck cab down below the hill. Access was by four-wheeler.
It started pouring...

Then I needed to watch the store.
Then people wanted to talk.
Then I helped my wife.
Then I was worried the river would flood and I needed to move my mower that formerly resided at MuddyValley for three years and now resided in a flood plain...
No small tractors would start.
SO I used the 2-155 FWA White with $6,500 worth of new tires that farmers keep giving me a hard time about. (Just sharing the pain)
It turned over hard at first and then suddenly roared to life.
There was a blood curdling yowl and the annoying cat that my wife and daughter rescued from the cat pound came hurdling out from under the hood.
It came out to the space between the a/c pump and the valve covers. It came out like a rocket with all four legs extended in a flying x. It hit the ground at a high rate of speed and has not been seen since. (Four days ago)
The tractor would not fit on the mower so I sort of pulled it with a chain.
I then installed the wrong window regulator, the one I had just taken out...
And it was raining.

And so it goes... It is Saturday morning, I 'm setting in my easy chair and my brother is at work. I just remembered that there is a taillight out on that truck....
I did wash it last night in the dark. Perhaps that will solve all my problems...
One more cup of coffee would be good.
I'm home alone, just me and the Christmas tree and the dog and a bottle of Four Roses a cup of hot coffee and a whole collection of Tom T. Hall albums Christmas albums. I think I'll have another special cup of coffee wrap some presents!
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 12, 2014

My Conspiracy Theory

I sell more than hay and pig feed. With every ton of hay you get a conversation.
This is good and bad. People tend to reveal the oddest things to me out at the hay barn.
Tales of sexual misadventures, the dark secrets of Evergreen Airlines, tales of gangs wielding AK-47's in Portland, and just exactly what is wrong with the world.
I really never know what to believe.
I once made a deal with a hay customer for a collection of old slides and movies which should have detailed the development of the Boeing B-29. What I got turned out to be vintage naked photos of the Boeing Engineer's wife and his penis in a bathtub.
I also found photos of a vacation to Arizona and his family Christmas in 1955. I have a couple more boxes to go through but I really don't want to see more penis photos. The bathtub was nice. Had nice old style fixtures.
But, I digress...
I've been getting conspiracy theories. It is kind of amazing the number of people I meet who are convinced there is an evil plot to rule the world and whomever is currently president, is in on the plot.
I have my own theory.
It is the Conspiracy of Stupidity. People laugh at me when I explain it but I swear I'm right.
Here is the way it works...
It is based on a central belief in human stupidity.

It is my belief it is impossible to fully comprehend the stupidity and self centeredness of people who aspire to leadership. (Think local on this one and you will agree)
In addition, you are always arguing the wrong argument. There is usually a third perspective which is a little more complicated but is closer to the truth.
Events can be explained by the phrase, "What would Larry, Moe, and Curly do?" Art imitates life. One of the biggest lessons not learned from WWII was that authority figures are comically stupid and evil. Watch Hogan's Heroes and then watch the news, then realize that those screen writers and authors were WWII veterans.

I say my previous post on our local cops killing a guy trying to surrender my theory. It wasn't because he was hispanic, it was because they are trained to believe every suspect is going to pull out an AK and mow down the city. We attack the cops and call them racist thugs but how do you know the whole theory of modern police training was not thought up by a moron who wanted to separate the gubment from a whole pile of money and just made it all up as he went along. (relying heavily on comic book scripts)

So...What is the point of this post?
First of all, I want to see if adsense will cancel me for being a nutcase.
Secondly, I have believed since day one that the CIA torture program was run by idiots who had based everything on B-Movies and were so stupid that they did not realize they were destroying everything the USA stands for. (they watch the wrong B-Movies)
Today I found out I was correct.  (Click Here)
The whole torture program was a scam by two idiots who made a fortune out of ruining the good name of the United States. 
I think they should be executed for treason. Their decision to torture POW's (how ever inept they were) will result United States soldiers being tortured and killed. People should be outraged but the idiot conservatives are lining up to say it was necessary.
We have three thousand years of the discussion of might vs right and the End Justifying the Means and we still don't understand.
Idiots... There are no conspiracies, no... only short sighted self serving stupidity, and the laws of statistics. We just connect random events in to a pattern that fits our bias...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

If you want to understand police shootings then read this article

There was a stabbing in our community a couple weeks ago. A college student was attacked by a crazy hispanic guy in the Seven Eleven. 
The crazy hispanic guy went home covered in blood.  His friends were horrified and told him he had to go back and confess. (Should have said call a lawyer)
He goes back, stands by the store for a while quietly waiting for someone to notice him. After a long wait the cops notice him and start screaming at him to put his hands up.
He puts his hands up and they keep screaming at him. More cops run out of the store and start screaming at him. 
Then all of a sudden they open up on him. One officer shot eleven times. 
He drops.
They are still screaming at him to put his hands up.
He can't do that as he is dead and lying on the ground. (Resisting arrest I suppose)
The local radio station (KLYC 1260) which actually covers the news and lets you read it on their website, (unlike the pathetic excuse for a bid cage liner that is called the News Register.)

The quotes by the local DA are amazing.

"Berry says a person would think that officers yelling at you with guns drawn should cause a person to know it was in their best interests to drop any weapon they were holding."

Unless of course you are insane or don't understand English or don't have a weapon to drop or if you have a nervous tic that makes you flinch or....

The following quote is the key to understanding all the police shootings and what some people consider police brutality,

 "Berry says he is ruling this as a justified shooting and that the officers reacted as they were trained to."

Conservatives as well as the nutcases on the left playing the race card need to get this understanding through their thick skulls.

The police follow their training.

Get it? Their training... They are trained to escalate conflicts. To intimidate/dominate the suspect. Violence by the suspect is the SUSPECT's fault. Because, "If he wasn't guilty he would not of resisted."

Perhaps it is time to address issues a little more in-depth?

Remember that when they come to put you in the re-education camps....

It has been a bad year

I looked at my facebook page last night and I'm pretty sure someone else I knew has died.
She was not a close friend. She used to sit behind me in English and in front of me in History class because of alphabetical seating.
In 8th grade she liked to talk about sex. She would get into these long arguments about who could "last the longest" with the boy behind her. I attempted to be this guy's friend in fifth grade but he would get violent and he was weirder than I.
He liked to wear a wide leather watch band in the 1970's style of the day. It was held together with a wire bread twisty.
I had no clue what they meant by "lasting the longest" and at first I would try and nod wisely. Later I just ignored them. I really hope I did not turn my caustic wit upon them. I still have no clue what they were talking about. I suppose they had read "Penthouse."
I actually considered the girl a friend. We sometimes walked home from school together when I moved to the farm. She a friend of one of the neighbor girls. We lived at the very end of our morning bus route and so worked out a deal with the bus drivers where we got on the bus that went buy our houses but rode a different bus to the road that goes by the farm. It was a mile walk from the intersection home.
Soon after I joined facebook she asked to be my friend. I don't really talk much on facebook so I just accepted her friend request.
I think she just died. It appears she had cancer.
I feel bad. I would have been happy to have a chat with her. If she thought I was a sarcastic jerk in High School I would liked to apologize.
I just never know what to say to people...
It is pouring down rain.
Yesterday it started pouring when I was attempting to take a window regulator out of an old truck parked in a fence from. I was soaked to the skin by the time I got back to the house with the four-wheeler.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I find a Christmas Tree and the usual complications arise...

I am a scrounge. An unabashed and unrepentant scrounge.
It really annoys me to pay $30 for a tree that sits in your house for two weeks and then you burn it.
I scrounge for Christmas trees.
I once found a baled Christmas tree alongside the road and brought it home. I did have to power wash it to remove the road grime, but it was an awesome tree, it was free!
So, when I saw the posts on facebook from my old Ag Teacher about trees for homeless people or whatever, thought in my small little scrooge of a brain... Trees for the poor means trees they can't sell so that means there will be a trailer load of trees somewhere, perhaps slightly deformed and a bit out of date but we have a smoke alarm and it is not like we put burning candles on trees in the 21st century!
Luck was with me yesterday when the young fellow that works for my neighbor came over for one 1/4" x 2" phillips head stainless screw. I couldn't find the stainless and he settled for a machine screw that had been on the shelf since Hector was a pup. I did throw in a free Pepsi... And then I set the hook.
Step one, Establish empathy...
Free Pepsi, and mentioning I saw on facebook how he got into tree charity work as a result of being in Ag Class and knowing Mr. W. I mentioned the unfairness of the photo of him being stuck. It was a good story, he was not stuck, Mr. W had gotten stuck and my friend was unsticking him but Mr. W took HIS photo and put it on facebook pretending that my friend was stuck, hence the extended middle finger...  (Wow! That was a sentence to remember, but my motto is don't look back, don't proofread, so away we go!!!)
Step two, bait the hook...
"Well I hope you got a free tree," said I.
"That was the only good thing, I hate buying trees," said he.
Step Three: Set the Hook...
"Yes," said I.
"I always wait till the last minute cause I think I'll get a good deal, or find one alongside the road. We did that one year," I added, with a self-depreciating giggle.
"Well, we have extras, come get one!" said he...
Step Four: Gently Reel in...
"Oh I couldn't do that," said I, "You guys are selling them"

And you all know where it went from there.
I got two trees, one for me and one for my brother.
Now before you all judge me, remember the rule: If something it too good to me true, then it probably is...

So it is not the perfect tree, the Butt is huge and it ain't just the pants. I did have to cut off a little. This was fine as somehow I didn't think how tall a tree I was getting and it sort of hits the ceiling. Plus, it leans to one side just a little and I can't get it straight. I solved this problem by putting little wedges under one side of the couch and chair and hanging the TV slightly crooked on the wall. I'm sure my lovely wife will never notice. She was not at home...

UPDATE: I think I take too much credit to my salesmanship. The fellow offered me a tree because they had several they were going to have to throw away. I was going to give him the little bolt and a Pepsi anyway. My blog makes me sound like a scammer and not a scrounger. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Apple withdrawal

My daughter just got a Samsung Galaxy s5. She loves it! I'd kind of like to switch...
She had an upgrade and had been studying phones. She had an Apple iPhone 4. I have the iPhone 5s.
I've been a little frustrated with my iPhone.
It is almost the perfect phone. This "almost" with Apple is getting a little tiresome. Apple (in my opinion) has been almost the perfect computer since OS 9 was discontinued.
I won't discuss how annoyed I am with iTunes or the apple store.
My wife was working, she cares for an elderly lady down the road, and I didn't feel like cooking so I took Lulu to Third Street Pizza and we walked around downtown McMinnville and finally ended up at Corner Stone Coffee where we had Mocha's and listened to a hippie couple sing coffee shop music. It was a cultural experience...
But I digress...
While we were setting in Third Street Pizza enjoying a thin crust pizza made the way Figaro's does not make pizza, (meaning, they don't buy their pizza sauce from the ACME restaurant sauce supply company that has four products in 55 gallon drums, red sauce (if you want to go Mexican), gelatinous goop (Chinese), nasty sweet tomatoe sauce (for Italian and Pizza restaurants), and bulk coffee creamer.
But, again, I digress...
I was in the midst of a lecture on finding vintage Acoustic Research speakers in a Pizza place and was about to tell the story of finding old Dynaco AR-25s in the local electric motor repair shop when Lulu pointed out to me that she had no idea what I was talking about but was using my suggestions of "Smile and Nod," to make me feel like I was having a conversation. To which I countered by asking her opinion on the question of Might vs Right and if the End Justifies the Means, and went off on Arthurian legends vs the life of Christ and if Jesus actually visited England and she noted that the end does not justify the means and that the labors of Hercules probably made him a better person and then she pointed out that she doesn't listen to about half of what I say and that her Samsung s5 could get ten networks and one of those was not locked.
Whereupon I compared with my iPhone 5s and found three, none of which I could break into using "password," or "admin" or "12345," (the extent of my network hacking skills.)

She also pointed out that you can move the curser around on your Galaxy without selecting blocks of text, you don't hit delete every time you type "m," and you can hang up the phone first, to end a conversation.
It is kind of silly that you know you are talking to a fellow iPhone user without headphones when no one hangs up and you can hear someone muttering in the background as they try to figure out how to get through multiple screens to get to the hangup button.
She does miss her apps and Siri. She used to talk to Siri. (It may be lonely being an only child)
So here's the deal...
Apple spent all their time creating Siri and making a cool looking glass brick of a phone that is not water resistant and you have to buy a case for it anyway, and they neglected to do the obvious, like give the phone to someone to use and figure out that people will get annoyed if they hit delete instead of "M" every stinking time.
The reason people die while texting is more to do with using their iPhone than it is the act of texting. With my old cheap phone I could text and drive without looking at the screen. Now that I have my beautiful iPhone, there is no way, even with speech to text, because you still have to find the correct non-button to touch, and you must proofread before you send. Jumbled words are easier to read than iPhone guesses at what jumbled spellings should be.
For example: I texted yesterday to my wife, "I got the Christmas stuff out of the trailer." The text appeared as, "I got Crisy's stuff out of the trailer," which implies I'm hanging out with tweakers on Sunday afternoons.
The crazy thing is that I think almost all my iPhone problems could be solved with a new OS. I don't mind the small size, I can deal with not hanging up the phone, I just want it to get something right on the first attempt. Just change something for the better and do it without taking up more memory. I sure can't add an extra memory card now can I?
But, I could still steal music if I really wanted to...
Here is my question: Did they build the perfect phone, pass it around the office whilst laughing like maniacs, and then just throw in annoying things so they could make incremental operating system upgrades-so they could reset all the apps to use cellular instead of WiFii? AND lose your music so you would switch to Amazon Prime instead of the iStore?
Who knows, but now I must got to work. My chair is making my bottom go numb...
(note to readers: I have been getting commentary on my speling and punctuation; and I must remind you of the social contract involved in reading this blog... I write it and then I post it. Proof reading is for sissy's. (not that there is anything wrong with that) It filters out the uptight people that would be offended by photos of children shooting semi-auto rifles into a ball of black smoke and flames...)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Burning Flax Straw

Saturday we recycled.
(not a very good picture but it is hard to time the shutter to the explosion)

Recycling day at the farm is always a lot of fun. The kids scoured the farm for anything burnable or remotely explosive. Then we piled that on the baled flax straw that was too dirty to sell for erosion control, doused with a mixture of diesel and gasoline, and lit a match. Well, someone forgot to add the gasoline and the butane torch wouldn't stay lit and nothing ever goes as planned, but we got it going.

The fun thing about recycling is the used starting fluid cans. Cans of spray paint which no longer spray are also a lot of fun.  We sat the cans on a board over the fire and then when the caps started to melt, shot them with the .22's. We had a regular firing line. The key is to shoot them when they are just about to explode on their own.

Several very satisfying explosions were experienced. There is nothing like a good ball of fire on a wet and cold Saturday, right before you have to attend another funeral.

(Note: That is NOT my Chevy pickup shown in the photo)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Make way for the Highway

Here is some interesting reading for you this morning..
I was looking at Gorge's Grouse this morning and saw his photo of the view before the Interstate.
The idea of a little old lady changing the course of an interstate is a out of date image in today's world of eminent domain, well funded developers, and police with tasers. (Click Photo for link)

In today's world, cops would have her on the ground and zip tied in two seconds. All her conservative friends would tell her she deserved that broken hip because if she wouldn't have resisted they wouldn't have had to beat the crap out of her. I'd complain and then all my cop friends would tell me how dangerous their jobs are, even though I actually have a much more dangerous job and cops rate one step below garbagemen in job injuries and death.
I've always admired "Granny" for changing the highway but figured her pies tasted like exhaust and her chickens probably where killed by speeding automobiles.

Friday, December 5, 2014

An eventful week

The afore mentioned Events explained in detail.

Christmas is on the way...
The nose is lit on the White Stag sign. I wonder if China will buy the White Stag label and start selling toxic sleeping bags in the USA...

1. Cousin fell over dead after Thanksgiving dinner. Went out in the backyard and died. While he was in the hospital being shocked and it not working, his dog went out in the backyard and died...
Three months ago, my Uncle (the expired cousin's father) was in his backyard and died. I can make patterns of events... Stay out of the backyard!!! We don't have a backyard, we have two front yards as we have never decided which door is the front door. Both cousin and uncle had been to the Dr. recently. Cousin just had a stress test two days before dying. I wonder if he will still have to pay for the test, it was obviously wrong... wonder what happened to the poor guy that got the cousin's results by mistake?
Funeral was kind of amazing. If you didn't get there by noon it was standing room only. There was some commentary by the grumps that the preacher didn't really need to save everyone's soul and could have cut it off a few minute sooner.
My opinion...
My cousin one of those people who didn't have a lot of self doubt. He took his training from our gruff old ancestors very seriously. This can drive one crazy if you live and work in close contact with someone who is always right. However, the reason he was always right is that if he was interested in something he would completely study it out until he had it in his head. He was totally "by the book."
Here is an example of our conflict.
I was installing an automatic fertilizer rate controller on my grain drill. I knew nothing about sprayer pumps and how to plumb them. So, I asked my cousin. BUT.... I needed to do it just a little different from a crop sprayer.
He gave me an hour discussion and explanation of sprayer systems and got me so confused it took me days to sort it out again. This was because I wanted to do something he had not studied out and didn't think could be done...
BUT, after I did it he was impressed and then thought that I WAS A SPRAYER EXPERT and started asking me questions. I was and am not a sprayer expert, I just...oh it is too complicated to explain.
So... while some of us with strong opinions would be frustrated, there were many people in the community who needed his leadershi,p and his strong opinions it was pretty touching to hear how he helped people who really needed a strong father figure in their lives.
The lesson here is to do everything and live every day to the best of your knowledge and ability. And learn to make decisions without self doubt and introspection...
There were many people to talk with after the funeral. I missed the best desserts. I also talked to my cousin who is a successful journalist (unlike myself). To read his blog click here.
To see his other accomplishments, click here.

2. My daughter bought herself a Samung Galaxy 5s. It is really amazing. I'm ready to switch. I'm not a switcher, but each time it gets easier. Changing from Minneapolis-Moline to White was tough, changing churches is/was/will be traumatic, but switching from Mac to anything but Commodore will be the worst, other than buying a Chevy... I'm thinking about a Surface tablet...

3. I was going to buy a Ford F250 diesel made before 1996 but then.... shall we move to issue number four...

4. Six loads of have been rejected due to random spots of mold. If anyone needs a couple bales of hay, I've got them. One bale per load will screw you. The hay market is crazy. It is either over $200 a ton or you are giving it away.

5. My wife's sister is in the hospital getting her knees repaired. They said it was like she was walking around with a broken leg for a couple years. My wife helped her sister and bro-in-law navigate the warren of small roads and confusing corridors at the Oregon Health Sciences University.

6. Lulu and I went to Portland to get her last night. I hate Portland. I used to like it. The rain and the lights and the annoying people and the stupid protestors. The protestors really frustrate me as they make traffic worse. Plus there is never a clear cut right and wrong. New York was police brutality, the Mo thing was the punk kid's own fault... I dislike snotty-nosed punk protestors, aging liberals, black thugs, police officers, and Portland in general. Perhaps I should be more positive. I do like the Zoo train, and OMSI!

We gave up on traffic and attempted to have Chinese food. House of Louie was closed. So, we went to Portland's oldest and "worst," The Republic Cafe.

We did not have the Orange Chicken. I think that is what you are supposed to have. We had Szechuan Beef and House Lo Mien, and an appetizer of Potstickers and spring rolls. It was a lot of food.
I am happy to say that the epic wallpaper is still there, but the place no longer smells like urinal cakes. This is a good thing...
The person on the left doesn't like to be pictured in my blog.( I don't blame her.)

Afterwards we watched a multimedia installation on an old building which showed it's history though backlighting on the windows. It was nice. The fellow who designed it stood behind me. I didn't talk to him. It was cold and raining.

I refrained from pointing out the humor that could be had from standing outside CC Slaughter's for 12 minutes. Lulu didn't seem to notice.

I have now wasted the best hours of the day and need to go work, in the drizzling rain. I did not feel lightning, the dominique hen was eaten by a hawk yesterday, I hate gin, and if I were to be caught with a "Rose of a different name" it would be trouble in paradise. And, Someone used all the cane sugar in their coffee yesterday...
Have a nice day...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

An iPhone app for Florida beach cams

IJust what the Doctor ordered! I discovered a way to view my happy spot with out the illicit application of the pedal steel, strong drink, and a lazy boy recliner.
I found an app which is pretty much explained by the title: "Florida Beach Cams."
If you have ever wondered if people use the pool at the Panama City Best Western on Thanksgiving, you can check!
Or you can watch the sunset at Destin Beach.
I find it quite relaxing, plus I discovered a whole trove of Jimmy Buffet records, which is not such a good thing.
(screenshot from Thanksgiving afternoon)

I'm going to take a few moments and enjoy the beach as I just managed to knock over my vintage tube retro stereo department while attempting to adjust a couple cables and measure the distance from spindle to the center post on the tonearm on my rare and valuable Rek-o-Kut/Fairchild tonearm combination. (Probably should classify that as formerly rare and valuable)
Someone emailed me asking for Rek-O-Kut information and I found a whole trove of stereo connector cables and I just had to tinker.
It would seem that despite weighting a hundred pounds and being made from angle iron and used sickle bar parts, my stereo stand is just a wee bit on the tall side and does not slide on carpet. Nor should you tip it away from the wall when it doesn't slide, nor should you pull on the powerstrip extension corn when it doesn't quite reach.
A vintage record stand, a Minneapolis G900 brochure, two Roy Clark records, and a Jimmy Buffet Album, (greatest hits) died in the crash. However, judging from the gouge in the bookshelf, there may be a few more, I think it hit Montana Slim, and probably also took out the Charlie Pride collection.
The tonearm broke off the gimble thingys, (official term), the Scott 299 tube amp now has a large dent in the face plate. The worthless Dynaco 120 is fine, there is a huge gouge in the bookshelf, but I did not spill my coffee on the carpet.

I just stepped on a very old electrical terminal strip so that must have come out of the Rek-O-Kut.
Well poop.... Yes it the tonearm is no longer connected. Tore the wires out of it and I just dropped the one remaining bearing into the carpet.
Just found my Stanton cartridge on the extra Dual 1019 headshell that I'm supposed to use for 78's. I don't think the cartridge alignment is quite right anymore and the stylus looks bent.
If I wouldn't have drank so much coffee I'd go back to bed...
I just had to mess with stuff...
I just don't see this as going to be a good day and I have to grind feed...

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Thanksgiving day to remember

My cousin fell over dead yesterday. He was in his backyard talking to his neighbor and he collapsed. His father died this summer. You may have seen the post...
Now here is the deal...
I didn't always get along with my cousin but he was family.
He was not quite sixty years of age.
While I sometimes annoyed him and he annoyed me, and he was somewhat of a comic foil to what I see as my clever sophistication, he was my family and I was intensely loyal to him.
When my uncle died I was ready. He was past eighty years of age.
But my cousin was not that old. I still had things to disagree with him.
He had a huge amount of information.
Strangely enough, I am not dealing with it very well.
I'm letting my older brother handle it.
This is not fair to my older brother...
But, my older brother is a nice fellow and won't tell me off.
I've thought about putting everything on Craigslist and getting the heck out of here. However, Muddyvalley tells me I would not be happy buying his property in Florida cause it is too far from the beach...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Riots in Amity Averted by Strategic Street improvements

A mildy annoyed crowed of three people gathered Monday night outside the Blue Goat to make sarcastic remarks about Faux News and the Koch Brothers, but were distracted by a park bench and an antique store.
"I sure do love my life of white privilege," said a local activist who would only be identified by his moniker, Disgruntled Steve.
"What we need in this town is more Bike Racks," he exclaimed. "And the curbs don't stick out far enough into traffic," he added.
"But, what about Ferguson," exclaimed a lady wearing a large wool sweater and ill-fitting leggings.
"Yes! Lets burn THE patrol car," said a bearded fellow who was sipping a $25 micro brew and had been waiting two hours for his micro-pizza, fifteen minutes longer than the other three people inside the establishment.
"We should have more diversity in Amity," said members of the city council. "Oh yes, diversity would bring up property values!" said another member, rubbing her hands together and salivating slightly.
"Not if they riot," said a grumpy man walking by on his way to the liquor store.
"It is Bushes Fault! and the Koch Brother's," exclaimed a fellow who just pulled up with his VW diesel pulling a trailer.
Tensions were high and someone was about to make a sign when Assistant to the Assistant to the Sub Assistant, to the secondary Chief of Police, James Clark, pulled up in the Amity Police cruiser and encouraged the VW driver to pull his trailer past the pedestrian island that takes up half the street.
"You wouldn't want a bicyclist to get hit by one of those pesky farm trucks, now would you! People might not come to wine tastings anymore," said James diplomatically.
At the words wine and bicyclists everyone began to hug each other and had a great time sipping wine and eating artichoke and peach pizza at the Blue Goat.
Meanwhile, at the skateboard ramp in the Amity Park..... well, nothing happened, everyone things have gotten much more "mellow" in Amity in the last week. But, try and buy a bag of Doritos in Amity....

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Landfill Farms, Waste Management's clever plan to buy off the local organic crowd

It was just a few years back that some farmers in the neighborhood were shocked to find strange deformities on their animals. There were open lesions, chickens were dying, cows quit milking, calves died. No one could figure out what the problem was. Then one farmer started filling a water tank at our farm and using it to water his animals. Wonder of wonders, they didn't die, In face they did quite well.
There was talk of lawsuits against the owners of the local dump, which had just started a new site directly across the river from the old site, and was making a lot of money accepting out of county garbage.
(Back then, the trucks were red and white, not green, and they didn't talk much about recycling.)
Then, all of a sudden, no one would talk about it... It was sort of like nothing had ever gone wrong. (Aside from a few folks who didn't get the cash, and didn't sign the nondisclosure agreement.)
Shortly afterwards a couple farms sold and the nice fellow whose father had sold his farm to the local landfill with the agreement that as long as there was land owned by the landfill that was being farmed, his descendants would farm it, started farming on our side of the river.
Today, I just heard that my friend, the landfill farmer has been evicted, (but not from him) and that the farm is now going to be part of a partnership between Waste Management and the local organic crowd. The plan is to offer four acre plots to local organic farmers who don't have land.
I find this quite hilarious, people who are so terrified of Genetically Modified seed that they became farmers are now raising delicious crops on land that was once considered as a potential Superfund site. 
Here is a quote from the News Register which is a link to the Waste Management site.

It just goes to show you what a little public relations, nondisclosure agreements, a lot of money, and twenty five years can do for your image.
Just to keep this in perspective, the local dump is located on both sides of the Yamhill River, in a flood plain. The old dump may have leached into the local water supply but Western Oregon Waste bought up all the land surrounding the dump and part of the deal was nondisclosure agreements.
The person who started the local farmer's market used to be very opposed to Waste Management's expansion plans but has "seen the light."

You can find her name repeatedly in this "press" release. You can see the "rehabilitation" Waste Management from the green typeface to the change from "sanitary landfill" to recycling company. It is absolutely amazing. The dump is a nasty place which concentrates "regional" garbage in one location. A location in the "heart of wine country," just off of Highway 18 on the way to scenic Oregon Beaches, surrounded by filbert Hazelnut orchards, and now... Organic Farm to School programs. AND these are the folks that are opposed to Fluoride.
I also find it somewhat amusing to be reminded that selling one's soul to the devil often is not as good an idea as it seems at the time. Take this example, My friend lost a good chunk of farmland but can't do anything about it even though they violated the agreement with his father because, 1. He can't fight Waste Management because that have the resources of Mordor, 2. He gets enough money (I think have heard from a former family member) from Waste Management that he can't afford to do anything that may result in the loss of that income. He can't even tell what he knows about the contamination of the old dump due to confidentiality agreement issues. Pretty funny...

Note: The views expressed on this blog are solely for entertainment purposes are recollections on the part of the writer. They may or may not be as accurate as the News Register. But, you can't read the News Register because they have put it behind a pay wall which only makes it more irrelevant than it already was. Old articles in the News Resister can't be accessed through a Google search so for the casual researcher, the News Resister is truly a throwaway newspaper.

Oh Poop!

I It was a s.... Job!
And here's to mud on your eye! Yup, that
Is what happened next! And when I exclaimed, "oh shit!" Was i swearing?

Of course something went wrong!
I had a crappy day! Literally... See the puddle behind the tire? Not vanilla pudding!
I really did go up poop creek!

Please feel free to pun further...

Monday, November 17, 2014

The sun was out and it was a nice day

I needed to make skids for my remaining grain bin so that I can fill it with barley and not have it tip over. My brother suggested an old truck frame of which we have more than two.
It really seemed like a good idea. I roughly calculated that it would take at least $25 per foot to make skids out of 3/8" flat bar and have it formed.
It took me a good solid day to cut and trim two 11 foot chunks of truck frame. (Well, I did take an hour to load some hay and have a nice chat with Mr. MuddyValley.)

After dark I spent some time figuring out what I was owed and who owed me. I did twice as much stacking as last year but only planted a small fraction of the acres I usually plant, I got 25% less hay yield and I lost my main pig feed customer. It would be ok but I spent a lot of money on things like tractor tires and a better rake thinking I would do my usual 500 acres of no-till. I'm not going to starve but I'm feeling just a little annoyed about a number of things that there is no point in discussing.
I do think I would have been better off spending the $25 per foot and just buying the steel. I have real work to do.
Perhaps I'll post a photo...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lies that we want to believe and the useless internet which doesn't really give you answers

The latest paranoia that has going around FaceBook is the "revelations" by farmer Keith Lewis that farmers drench their fields with "Roundup" to make the wheat get ready faster and more evenly.

In my part of Oregon we grow soft white wheat which goes for pastry and to Japan for noodles and we are very sensitive about GMO or anything that would upset Japan and cause them to stop buying wheat.
I will state absolutely that I have NEVER heard of anyone in my area using glyphosate to make their wheat get ready sooner and more evenly. I did a search for this practice on Google and found some discussion on using Glyphosate for this purpose in areas where wheat is swathed instead of combining standing.
I really don't see the point in doing it as most places in the USA have a long enough growing season that there really is not a problem with wheat ripening evenly.

I quote,"It appears that standard, recommended wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as withered, dead wheat plants are less taxing on the farm equipment and allow for an earlier and easier harvest." This takes you to the Greenacres blog which has the story. It will also show up on your facebook page from the usually sources.

In another post I found an amusing comment from Mr. Lewis decrying the future use of "Roundup-Ready" wheat and, oh the horror's, more use of Roundup. This is funny because if the wheat was resistant to Round-up then the only reason to spray it on before harvest would just be to poison people. Which is exactly what us evil Monstanto-loving farmers like to do...

However, I could be wrong. Perhaps someone would comment?  In can see it as perhaps a regional practice, but I never thought it would be used on a regular basis in major wheat growing regions.

I will add that if it is a standard practice than by all means keep doing it! Then I will break down and buy those ten bags of Fife Wheat they my neighbor wants a lot of money for, and I'll start growing hard red wheat myself!

And, who is Keith Lewis, is he really a farmer? Who seeds these stories and how do you make money off them...

I've got my own, I know a certain farmer who pooped in a truck load of pumkins. Keep that in mind when you have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!  Oh well, at least it wasn't Round-up...

UPDATE: Ralph pointed me to NewAgTalk and sure enough, it has been discussed there. Yes the clever farmers are using Round-up on their wheat so they don't have to swath it to get it to dry down for harvest. It is not an issue of if Glyposate is bad for you are not, it is an issue of whether people think it is. However, it does open up business opportunities...

Friday, November 14, 2014

A duck for lunch

This year has been a good year for duck hunting in our area. Our landlord has shot more than he can eat and so is passing sharing the wealth.
He cleans them and cuts them up for you as well. I could not turn down a couple duck breasts and decided to try my hand at cooking them for lunch.
I've never really developed a taste for duck, although I do admit to a certain occasional longing for the sometimes elusive Tubetopped Bar Duck, lightly pickled in Coors Lite, or Perhaps the occasional Red-headed Double-Breasted Bed Thrasher served with a hint of shame and the aroma of Arandas for a little spice.
But, I digress...
My lovely and gracious wife is not a fan of Duck citing a long ago Thanksgiving celebration as an bad memory, but she found me some bacon and the cast iron skillet and kept me focused as I do tend to drift from time to time.

I cooked up a couple strips of bacon for a little grease and to make sure the skillet was heating evenly. When the grease was hot enough to think about smoking I dropped the duck breasts into the hot skillet and turned it to a medium heat.
The plan was to sear them on both sides as you can overcook wild duck easily and it may turn tough on you.  I seasoned them with Everglades Heat, a spice we bought at the Pigglywiggley in Bloutstown, Florida last year and sprinkle on a little garlic because you can never go wrong with garlic.

They appeared to be browning too fast on the outside and not getting hot enough on the inside so my wife "butterflied" them by slicing the breast open and turning them over so the inside would cook faster. This was an excellent idea.

I used a meat thermometer to make sure the center reached 165 degrees.

I found some homemade potatoe salad in the refrigerator and also one of these very excellent dill pickles.

My wife made me up a cup of coffee. It was a good lunch. The duck taste was not overpowering. Wild duck is much better than tame duck. Plus, a little bacon improves just about everything.

Patching a leaking fuel filter

Baling wire is somewhat of a legend. However, baling wire is but a metaphor for "whatever is at hand."
It reminds me of the time the rotor came apart in my brother's Ford Ranger going past Mt. Shasta at night and we fixed it with chewing gum and the aluminum wrapper the gum came in.
A couple days ago I had several sales for pig feed. 
As soon as I discovered my customer was on his way things started to go wrong.
First of all the forklift would not start, secondly I got a call that a truck was on the way to collect 780 bales of straw, and it all sort of continued from there.
I started with fixing the forklift.
It would seem there is a second fuel filter that has never been changed. It was somewhat covered in oil and it was leaking. 
Diesel fuel is horrible nowadays. Has water and alcohol and whatever other crap the clever folks put in fuel to make our vehicles run badly.
We did not have the filter.
It had a rather large leak which caused it to spray diesel on the fan belt.

Fortunately someone has been drinking a lot of Coors Original Banquet in the neighborhood and I found a can nearby. Equally fortuitous was that it was empty, otherwise there would also have been the job of pouring it back into the horse... 
I'm imagining that the can probably came out of the back of the my neighbor's pickup. He picks up cans alongside the road.

A little work with my pocket knife and an extra big hose clamp out of the scrap barrel and I was back in business. 
Which is not to say, that things improved all that much.
After dumping boxes of wheat screenings, peas, flaxseed, and a random half a ton of buckwheat, into a powerbin which I have semi – permanently borrowed from Wilco, I discovered it would not feed out the auger.
So, my customer ran the auger while I poked the mixture through the intake with a long piece of PVC pipe. I discovered he is quite a safety conscious guy.
He moved really fast when I fell into the bin.
It was ok, there was a screen over the auger... AND I had eye protection!
have a nice day!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Freezing rain, meadowfoam, the usual randomness of my life...

Yesterday the sun was shining. There was a pretty good breeze and the ground was drying out. The temperature seemed to stay a little above freezing. I didn't check a thermometer but the ice in the buckets didn't melt, but the mud puddles didn't freeze.

This morning we have freezing rain.
I was scheduled to haul manure today. The pile at the dairy is getting pretty high and the dairy fellow called to see if my little helper wanted to drive truck. 
"Well," said I, "our little helper is off for the winter,"
"Couldn't you call him to come in for a day," said the dairy man.
"Yes, But, I just can't handle the crying," said I.
Here is the deal...
The helper took the silage chopper apart as he didn't want to work on the old White 7800 combine. This was in October when we were trying to combine the last five acres of flax.
I asked him to clean out the White and remove the hangers for the concaves as they were broken in some sort of catastrophic plug up. This is not a terrible job, but not a great job. The feederhouse comes off pretty easily. 
The helper thinks the White should be scrapped and so doesn't want to work on it. He cleaned out some of the straw, removed the feeder house, discovered both hangers were broken and sat down at the coffee table for an hour waiting on instructions, then took off early.
Out of frustration I told him to work on the silage chopper and we hired the neighbor to combine the flax. 
This was on a Friday, on Saturday he asked to take the day off to spend with his grand daughter. Monday he was sick, for a week, Sunday he texted that he would be in Monday.
It rained and he didn't show up.
He showed up the last day of October, walked in at coffee time while I was sitting at the table attempting to balance a feed ration using Buckwheat, Flax, barley, peas, and filberts hazelnuts. I was a little uptight. 
He announced that his little vacation was over and he was ready to come back to work, then he inquired as to, "what shit jobs do you have for me to do?" He was attempting to be light hearted but it was just not the right time.
I looked at my brother and my brother looked at me and my brother said, "We are out of money and won't have work this winter..."
Later, I got a text asking if the little helper was being punished for not showing up. I replied in all honesty that if he would have been working during the nice weather we would have kept him on, but since he was gone we spent every cent we had on paying rent and paying off the loan.
I have not heard back from him.
I am worried about him but I know that he will do what he always does, he will talk his landlord out of three months rent, he will borrow money from someone (with the full intention of paying it back), and he will come back in the Spring, get a substantial advance, and complain about all the things that we didn't get done in the winter time.
But, this wasn't what the post was about...
This morning there is freezing rain and the dairy fellow texted me that it is not a good day to haul. I'd figured that...
There is a two hour delay for local schools so I made Lulu and I cheese omelettes and stoked up the fire.

But, I digress,
the point of this post was to show you the nice weather from yesterday and to show you a photo of MeadowFoam which I no-tilled last month. It is looking good. Has a good population for a seed rate of 40lbs per acre.
Meadowfoam makes really good honey and so I saved what I vacuumed out of the drill for MuddyValley. Unfortunately, someone got a little wild loading hay out of the farm and knocked the five gallon bucket over into a mud puddle, so all that is left is a handful of seed, which I forget to tell him about.
Meadowfoam in bloom produces a starting white flower and 40 acres is a beautiful sight.

Invoice Manager for iPhone update #3 This morning I attempted to look at yesterday's individual invoices. Not as easy at one would hope. Not really enjoying this learning experience...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I try the Invoice Manager Pro App and sort of like it until I discover I have not saved any invoices after using it for a week

I have an iPone 5s. The theory behind getting the iPhone was that I could use it to keep records and take credit cards and get the weather every 90 seconds.
This is a good theory.
Here is the problem.
The iPhone uses apps. Most apps are written by morons who don't use the apps.
An excellent example of this is the invoice manager I actually purchased for $5.99 from the Apple App store.
It had good reviews.
It is called Invoice Manager Pro. I figured that was a pretty descriptive name. I downloaded a free demo. It was easy to use, but the demo didn't save the invoices.

It turns out that the full version, in theory, saves invoices, but I just can't find them.
Here is the deal...
It doesn't matter what wonderful features you have, if you can't figure out how to use the app within four keystrokes then it is pretty much pointless.
I just clicked on the step by step instructions. It is walking me through changing the color of the invoice. In my humble opinion, that is absolutely and completely stupid and useless. How about white with black lettering? A custom logo is just want I want on my so far imaginary invoices.
You don't really need a step by step tutorial, you click on the invoice button, it has a pretty annoying setup but you can input name and phone number and then add products. It wants to set up inventory to let you sell items which is really annoying, that is probably where I went wrong.
I made out several invoices last week, I emailed a couple and printed a couple more. But, they are not on my phone.
Apparently there is a cleverly hidden, "save" button.
Who knows? This app is going in the trash.
I tried the Apple program called "Numbers," but like all free Apple programs it almost does what I want but not really. There are only so many hours in the day I can sit on the toilet and figure out how to use my iPhone with out my butt going to sleep.
How can it be that difficult to write an App that does invoices.
An invoice requires a few basic items.
1. Your name and company name
2. The Customer's name and storage of said customer's name for future reference.
3. Date of invoice
4. Spot for invoice number which should be generated by the program
5. Item, number of items, cost per item, total cost.
6. A database of invoices searchable by item, customer, date, invoice number.
7. The ability to get the info out of the phone, email, text, print, export in quickbooks format.

What would be nice...and what I would pay money for.
Management of the information, as in sales per month, a place to enter payments, a receipt manager, the ability to attach a photo of a check or weight slip to the invoice, buttons to indicate payment, credit card payments, basically the functions of one of those companies that competed with Quicken before Intuit bought them all up so they could continue with a hard to use, non-intuitive, and annoying program.

It really can't be that hard to make this App and it shouldn't be that hard to actually get the info to people who want to use it.
But, here is the other problem. You can no longer use the internet to search for reviews of the best products. (or find people's phone numbers.) All the reviews seem to be scams to make money out of getting paid for clicks on your stupid phony website that does paid reviews or overly positive reviews on products you have never used.
I don't really want to run my business on my iPhone but I might if it were just a little bit more intuitive to use.
On the other hand, I see a lot of smart phones and I see people using them in businesses so perhaps I'm just exceedingly dense...
I wish I had my $5.99 back!

1. You can see from my photo that I am using the Blogger app. The Blogger app also kind of sucks. You are very limited on adding tags or formatting in anyway. However, you can take photos with your phone and post them without editing them to size. (I think, as no one has complained)
2. Apps mostly are horrible versions of the real program which have all the features you actually use removed. I own an Apple eMate which has limited programs which actually have usable features, (like entering information into an invoice template) I once owned a PowerBook 100 which had a screen you could read and simple but useful programs. I do not believe that usability of computers has improved since OS 7 but speed and useless features have increased dramatically, and Apple has yet to include any useful templates other than mortgage analyzer in any of their potentially useful programs.

UPDATE: (Wednesday Morning) I went through the tutorial last night and made up a new invoice following the instructions exactly. I still have the invoice after shutting down the App and opening up again this morning. We shall see...  I'm not sure what I did that was differing from the first five invoices I made. It could have been the update I downloaded. If so, that is a serious problem on its own. 

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