The Useful Duck!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Deep thoughts, hydraulic valve repair, the sky is often blue, I have trouble concentrating

Today I rebuilt the hydraulic valves on my White 2-155. There was a leak in the center of the valve body so I had to take it apart. I know that the main reason people read my blog is for my thrilling descriptions of tractor repairs and my issues with being stalked by a duck. (Who resumed stalking me yesterday, much to the distress of those around me)

I had instructions.
However, I no longer have the concentration ability to actually follow instructions. My mind wanders.

I pretty much just guessed...
It took a while. Like three days. Of course I didn't work on it for three days straight... But I did start on the project Tuesday or Wednesday.
There are always other issues. For example my little helper is disking 80 acres with the other 2-155. It developed a huge hydraulic leak under the cab. He needed help. I made several sarcastic comments about rocket science and tractor floor removals. He was not amused and accused me of being a grump.
I removed the floor and the offending hose and then told him to make the new hose and put it back together again. He found another leak, the power steering return hose was leaking. The leak was covered by a clamp and since it is low pressure it just dribbled.
Of course it was a steel line and was too worn to weld so decisions had to be made. The line had a sharp bend which prevented me from replacing it with a hose. So, I needed to cut the steel line and then make a short hose with a special fitting which clamped itself onto the steel line. That would allow us to keep the sharp bend without messing with elbows and adapters and stuff.
During the discussion a well educated and progressive fellow from across the river came to visit. (This is a long story.) I do like the fellow so I'm not really making fun of him. But it is amusing.
People who have lived in New York City never understand that we have higher thoughts. Sure it is guns, country western, tractors, pickup trucks, and we generally go to quite a bit of trouble to not let other farmers know if we have read Tolstoy or occasionally go to the ballet (I don't) but it does happen. We do occasionally have higher thoughts. Not that often but occasionally. Why just last week realized I had forgotten the difference between modernism and post modernism and wondered if my somewhat cynical view of life had to do with nihilistic influences in my youth. Then it came to be that I had no idea what any of those terms meant and so I looked them all up on my iphone. This would have been a moment of higher learning but I got distracted by photobombs and family photos gone wrong and I still am somewhat confused...
But, I digress...
He wanted to see Dad who was not in the best shape yesterday. This got us onto a philosophical bent which lead to him declaring that we were "authentic" farmers and was of the opinion that there was money to be made from our authenticity.
Of course he has rented his farm to a modern farmer who we all dislike. He thinks he has the best of the fellow but he just doesn't know how much the guy farms and how little he really cares about contracts-You can always apologize later... or not....
I suspect that he is wrong, we are inauthentic farmers and the short guy with the ego issues and the funny handshake is the authentic farmer of today.
Then my chicken rancher friend showed up and it was a regular love fest. I noted that Chicken Little had been interviewed by Slate and our friend was amazed that us farmers read such progressive online sites. (You know, I didn't say I liked Slate Magazine. I wanted to say I only read it for the pictures but the conversation was moving pretty fast for someone with my lack of concentration.)
So while this was all going on my little helper was waiting for me to tell him what to do. I responded with some irritation which hurt his feelings and so I apologized and showed him how to repair the hose.
All this meant that I was not getting the valves repaired.
 I put it all together backwards and had to take them apart again this morning. I of course made two trips to town for o-rings. I said bad things about AGCO and the insane parts prices and swore to never buy anything new from those $%^&*.
But, the valves don't leak and I chopped two loads of silage for the dairy next door and disked ten acres of ryegrass ground this evening.
I had no deep philosophical thoughts while driving tractor today.
Mostly I thought about boobies how I was going to get the field worked and if I should bale the flax or try to no-till though it.
I think I fixed the problem with the hydraulics on the tractor. It tended to get hot and make a lot of noise like the bypass was running all the time. It no longer makes noise.
 After repairing the vale it was still buzzing so I plugged a gauge into the remotes and at 2,000 rpm the pressure shot up to 2600lbs when activated. The seal on the compensator valve on the pump is no longer there so I turned the compensator down to 2200lbs. After much fooling around I think I have it set so when you first pull the lever it goes to 2400 and then drops to 2200 and holds. This is what I understand from reading the book. The adjustment is quite touchy. I centerpunched it and hope it doesn't move.
And that is more information than you probably wanted to read, other than Orin who may have to do this to his 2-135 one day but is probably too busy to read the blog anyway...

Too many people? Or is is just an question of distribution?

I really enjoy Gene Logsdon, The Contrary Farmer. I like the way he always has a little different slant on a subject.
His latest post is about over population and he brings up the point of how increase agricultural production brings about increased population and how we as farmers expect to feed the world.
I wanted to point out how in the USA, Canada, Europe, people of a certain socio-economic class, who seem to be more self aware, are reducing their reproduction rates.
And then bring up the concept that this is being offset by people from other countries who have to have large families to survive and who bring this attitude with them to the developed world and who then also embrace the lifestyle the imagine the developed world has. Compounded with countries who have just reached the point where they can have a consumer lifestyle.
I didn't say it very well.
Other people made some very insightful comments but no one picked up on any of these and it was a 1970's lovefest.
Everyone is stuck in the 1970's ecology movement view which was basically that capitalism and Western Civilization is the root of all evil. Oppressed people can do no wrong because they are oppressed. People whose skin is not white always lived in harmony with nature and have really cool crafts.
What is really happening in the 21st century?
Is it really true that the USA uses all the worlds resources?  For example, if you take into account smaller family sizes, how does the consumption of the US compare with other countries by family? Or does us consumption really matter as it is offset by increased production?
It is pretty easy to look at traffic cameras on the news and see there are no old cars on the road. The new cars are much more fuel efficient. Everyone I know is trying to conserve energy reduce consumption, has that had no effect in the past 40 years?
What is the effect of the modernization of China and India?
From my observations, people who identify themselves proudly as liberals never get past their initial programming that their parents inadvertently bought them at OSU in 1970.
Young people pick it up from that longhaired english teacher in freshman english in high school or their first hippy girlfriend.
This is a stupid post, I'm tired, my back hurts, I have to go to work, it is going to be hot, I can't even remember the point, I can't get muddyvalley's drone video he took of the cornfields to post... Goodbye...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The last bale in the last field and then the stacker catches on fire on the way home

 I had 10 bales left so I brought them home. 
The two speed wouldn't shift into high so I just ran it up against the governer which got me. 35 mph,
 Half way home I looked in the mirror and saw flames.
I stopped and got the fire extinguisher out and sprayed it down.
Someone came out of their house and was quite agitated so I drove off again.
Made it another mile and got more flames,
The straw burns on the exhaust manifold and then drops down behind the oil filters.
I raised the bed so I could get at the engine and started digging wet smoldering straw away from the engine. It flared up again .
I called my brother to bring another fire extinguisher.
I finally crawled underneath and hit the underside of the filter housing with the last of my water.
My brother followed me home. No more flames.
I have it insured for 45,000 bucks. Thought about letting it burn...
There has got to be a better way to make a living.
I have only a minor burn...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Whitworth wrenches by Sears?

My gracious wife found me a partial set of Whitworth wrenches at GoodWill.
They are Craftsman brand so they were sold by Sears.
It is an incomplete set but then again, my Triumph 650 is a curious mix of Whitworth, SAE, and zip ties.
I have, 9/16, 1/2, 3/8, 7/16, 5/16, 1/4.
What am I missing?
What do the markings on the wrenches mean? Is it the size of the bolt hole?
Perhaps I will go eat a tomatoe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I think my helper has Ebola

Got a call from my little helper this morning.
Temp of 103, body aches, weakness, sore throat, headache.
I'm almost sure it is Ebola.
Much too severe to be CCS (chronic couch sickness)
You may rest assure there has been absolutely no contact of bodily fluids but I'm still a little worried.
Perhaps I should go fishing for the rest of the day, prevention is essential medicine...
I've also heard that Peach Pie builds the immune system...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What a way to make a living! Warning graphic photos which may upset farmers!

A years production of wheat straw vs one thunderstorm!
Plus some hail
Attempting to leave the field. Stackers don't have windshield wipers as the inventor was an optimist, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another 900 dollar tire?

A friend came and helped me stack. We picked up nine semi-truck loads.
At 10:30 p.m. the other front tire went flat.
The only tire I could find last Saturday was an odd-ball 14 ply four rib tire that doesn't really seem like something you should be driving down the highway.
But...I had to stack and I bought it.
I really don't want combine steering axle tires on the front to the stacker.
It is supposed to rain.
I have 80 acres of wheat straw to stack for a neighbor and $5,000 worth of little two-tie bales for myself.
I feeling a bit annoyed...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Can you make sense of these random photos?


(Bottom photo is just stock footage I am actually having a cup of coffee and thinking about church, really!)

Hint: The broken spring and the photo of a tire are not a cause and effect situation.
Bonus points: if you can guess the dollar amount involved in this one day's misadventures!
Double bonus points plus a pat on the head and a kind word: if you can politely explain in algebraic terms the relationship between strokes per bale, the day temperature, number of bales that are flat and not on edge, and the number of time the stacker operator has to stop and beg forgiveness from the Almighty for anger management issues.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I listen to Geronimo's life story

I have always been intrigued by the idea of "Geronimo's Cadillac."
I heard the song years ago and of course, (because that is what I do) got the meaning wrong.
The idea of Geronimo driving in a Cadillac fascinated me because I saw it as a contradiction of terms. A confusion of time and place.
The last great warrior driving around in the new automobile. Sort of like the guy with the Luger and the car in "The Searchers."
I have been downloading books to listen to while picking up endless fields of straw bales. Something which I no longer enjoy as much as I once did.
I'm using Librivox which in an app for my iPhone. Books are read by volunteers. They are free.
CLick here for a Link to someone smarter than I who has better comments on the song than I.
Yesterday I listened to Geronimo's life story.
I found it interesting that he seemed to view himself as a conquered leader and not as a victim. He had great respect for the president and the military officers who treated him well.
He was interested in new things and had a great time at the Worlds Fair.
He really hated Mexicans for killing his family.
If the US Government would not have used treachery and respected their treaties then our history would have been much different.
No lessons are carried over to modern conflicts.
Killing people's families tends to turn the survivors into dedicated insurgents...
It is quite interesting that this all happened at the turn of the 20th century. It was not that long ago.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

For a while I thought that there was a Dead Lady Found in my Hay Field. I was worried I had forgotten to lock my gate!

I am 90 percent sure it was the entrance to my field at Gopher Valley that the missing lady from Newberg turned up in.
Across from Walker Texas Ranger Steph Walker, little used side road, property owner called 911, canopy of trees, photos that look like my field. The owner of next field (which I used to also farm) lives in California so probably did not call 911.
They keep telling me to lock the gate. I am positive I did wire it shut when I finished with hay this year.  Perhaps I'll call my landlady tomorrow and find out for sure.
I almost went up there to help someone stack Monday. I always check the field. It could have been me to find her... Yikes! Good thing I'm a lazy farmer.
CLick here for the story!

UPDATE: After looking carefully at the video I think it is across the road. The field entrance is not one to the hay fields. I think it is the tree farm across the road.

SECOND UPDATE: Check out this link (CLICK HERE and watch video)  It was right across the road from me. Those are the neighbors that won't buy my hay and instead pay a lot of money for hay that is probably of lessor quality but doesn't come from right across the road.
That is a pretty obscure little road. It is pretty strange that she went though that gate.
Also, Steph Walker, interviewed in previous story, is the only person I've ever see to drive around with dueling banjos playing at high volume in his pickup truck.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A note to readers

I apologize for not responding to all your comments. I've somewhat viewed blogging as more of a conversation than a statement and like to see what you have to say in response to my random rants.
I've had some motivational issues this summer which result in me not getting up quite as early as I should and the battery on my laptop is not working correctly and so my habit of taking the laptop into the ...... um perhaps you don't need to know that.....
Let us say that changes in logistics have resulted in my use of an iPhone to check my blog and to post and it is rather difficult to use it to respond to comments.
Posting has languished for this reason as well.
Life is full of pain and suffering, it is a bitter struggle....
Have a piece of pie and remember the good times and forget the bad...
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah....
Here is a video showing my attempt to climb the hill in fifth gear with the U.
I am successful!

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Yesterday I was stacking, it was hot and it was a big field. The daughter was running the rake with a tractor that the a/c had failed.
I was itching like crazy from the fiberglass insulation I stuck my upper torso into whilst fixing a broken waterline under the house that morning.
I get a text from a friend asking me if I want to go
"Hey, wanna join me summitting and glissading down Mt. Adams this evening?"
I have no idea what those fancy big words mean but I get excited.
I got my friend to promise to help stack, I called my chicken friend to help in some way, and he says, do you have any idea what you are getting yourself into.
I inquire further:
"Would head up to trailhead and arrive by 4:00. Hike up to 7000' and camp. Wake up about 4 or 5 in the morning, summit, slide down."
I suggested to lulu we just camp at our own river.
Now you all have unlimited wifi and I'm setting on log next to an unconvincing fire trying to cry steaks in my castiron pan, and I'm using up my bonus gigabyte blogging...
You-all tell me if Lulu and almost 50-year old me are ready to climb Adams.
Pretty funny if you look it all up!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Only in Oregon, Morons shoot cow, beached whales

I have nothing to say.
It is hot and I overslept...

I noticed that cops are not that great at handling livestock. Provoking the suspect into freaking out so you can shoot em is not the best policy when dealing with an angry angus. I bet the cow's owner actually said, "Shoot me, I can't take it any more," after watching all the people shouting and freaking out his cow, and the officer just misunderstood.
No time to step back and rattle a grain pan or grab a bale of alfalfa or call scooter boy it was a crisis!

Somehow, naked goddesses swimming at the beach does not really appeal to me.... I have seen a lot of Oregon women who think they are goddesses and well, I just hope Captain Ahab doesn't show up cause there will be more than one Great White....

Friday, August 1, 2014

A huge thunderstorm

It wasn't the loud thunder that woke me it was the smell of wet dog.
The farm dog whose name is not Stanley was standing next to my bed looking at me.
He went through the screen door.
I was still half asleep.
I put him back out and shut the slider.
I forgot about the main door.
I went back to bed.
When the next bout of thunder hit I woke up to whining.
From the dog...
Next to my bed...
There went the other screen door...
Then it poured.
I should have picked up bales last night.
I should have put the grain in the barn.
I should have put the mixer grinder in the barn.
There are big mud puddles, this can't be good.

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