The Useful Duck!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Starting the 2-155

The LDT 465 Hercules is now in the 2-155...
It even starts.
It starts better with a full tank of diesel.
Now if I could just get the hydraulic temp and the powershift pressure idiot lights to shut off...
And why does the new clutch push so hard?
Beautiful weather. I could plant the whole farm in three days, take on another 80 acres, take over my neighbor's straw baling business, I've got a good helper, I could rebuild the G1000 Vista, and the baler and, and..

But...I suspect I've once again snatched defeat mediocrity from the jaws of victory! An unbroken record of sideways moves. "Be almost the best you can be," is my motto.
If there is a choice between the high road and the low road I tend to wander off down the little squirrel trail that leads down to the creek where I get distracted and then forget which way I was going to begin with and just wander in circles...

Plus, I need to make pig feed.

Have a nice day...

Saturday, September 26, 2015


The header broke and jammed everything teddy welded it.  the feed rolls broke, teddy welded them, the hydraulic remote blew out, I switched hoses, it rained, something else broke... 
Ten acres to go,,,
Plus, (in the heading insult to injury category) The air conditioning doesn't work Half the time and so my Ho-Ho melted.
Well, at least it wasn't a Ding-Dong.

Monday, September 21, 2015

I start the day with happiness and end with frustration

My daughter needed a shirt for "Sprit Week" at school and we dug out my box of 30 year old t-shirts. She actually decided that I have two cool t-shirts and borrowed them.
She wore the Silver Surfer shirt for "Hero" day.

The other is of a band that she hates. I told her it was a band she likes. It's all old people music to her.
Later I will laugh at her...
We started corn silage. MuddyValley brought me some of his honey and some coffee beans.
I told him collieguy and family came to see me yesterday and brought me a collection of lazy farmer clippings.
I think MV feels a bit slighted for not being invited. It was not personal. Crowds frighten me...
We chopped 21 loads after starting at 11 a.m after numerous small delays.
At 4 p.m. I received a text from my wife that she was taking Grandpa to the emergency room as he had fallen and possibly broken a hip.
At load 21 the tractor started making loud chuffing noises.
It is very likely a blown head gasket.
I have three (3) White tractors with Hercules diesel engines. All three are now dead.
I have begged various mechanics to work on these tractors. But they all claim not to know how to work on Hercules.
My helper and I nearly finished converting a Hercules Army truck engine into a tractor engine. As a knowledge base we  used only an I&T shop manual and two-year-old scribbled notes that I took while talking to someone who had done it.
We have never overhauled a diesel engine. It is true that we broke the exhaust manifolds but I we didn't actually know what we were doing...
If you can't do something yourself you are screwed.
So I started changing the oil on the Minneapolis-Moline 1355. I hope I don't kill it as well...
It has been a long, long summer...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The events of the week in living color

I am at my daughters softball game. The deal was, softball on Sunday morning then no skipping evening church services.
Lulu steals home!

Goals are good things to have. 
Today may be my birthday.
Next year I'll be a full deck.
We have been getting ready to chop silage.
The dump wagon rusted out last year. I decided to fix it the rain Wednesday.
Finished welding in new bottom Friday.
I'm very happy to not be the person doing the welding.

For various reasons we rented corn ground to a friend. Various plans went wrong and we ended up with to many acres of silage for our neighboring dairy. So it was sold to a big dairy who hired a real silage chopping crew.
One truck didn't make it up the hill. He tried to shift down, missed shift and slid backward so trailer wheels started over the edge.

I had to put the 2-155 alongside and pull trailer wheels up while the owner pulled truck up hill with JCB fastrack.
It was exciting when I ran out of a place to go forward.
This was first attempt. I'm not pictured.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Undeniable Virtue of the Oppressed file, Kid makes fake bomb, cops freak, kid has lobbyist group behind him, gets invited the White House, just a good thing he didn't say "bang!"

The Useful idiots on Facebook are out in full cry today.
No one has actually read the news reports.
This is a perfect example of stupid people being manipulated by propaganda news sources.
So here's the deal.
A kid in Texas makes a digital clock/count down timer "for his technology teacher."
The teacher tells him to not show it around because it might get him into trouble...
This is the paranoid 21st century. No one but an idiot or an activist would bring something to school that looks like a gun or a bomb.
This so-called clock looks like a movie time bomb. It has a big LED readout and wire sticking out of a suitcase. 
According to some news reports the kid takes it to the next class and it starts beeping. (Movie bomb always beep)
So of course, the cops are called and he gets handcuffed and hauled off.
But this kid is of a special class and has access to an "advocacy group," which cranks out the press releases and spin and now he is a poor oppressed minority who is hated by white people.
And the only thing the President likes better than a gay football player is an oppressed Islamic kid.
The liberals all love the Islamics because the liberals all hate themselves and since the Islamics are so scary they love them. 
And we get Facebook post after Facebook post about the oppressed boy genius. If it was a poor white kid or black kid they would be in jail. 
People are such idiots. We got people believing every outlandish conspiracy theory anyone can possibly dream up and you get basic obvious old school Pravda reporting and you repost it all over Facebook.

Note: I don't think he should have been expelled nor do I think kids who point fingers and say "bang" should get expelled, or kids with plastic knives in their lunch boxes. Rather, my point is that all of those issues are ignored and this incident is turned into an example of the oppression of a "favored" social class rather than example of stupid rules.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I try to do a simple engine swap and kind of fail...

I have been avoiding decisions. I really have no clue as to what I should plant. I got pretty far behind this summer stacking for the neighbors and did not get ground worked early in preparation for then end of summer rains.
Part of the problem was also a dead 2-155.
The 2-155 that was abused by the Smiths in Mo to be exact.
If you all remember it lost oil pressure whilst chopping clover silage. Since then it was been parked at the edge of the field. I haven't found anyone who wants to haul it home for me.
So, I pulled the engine and brought the engine home.

It turned out that the idler gear which drives the oil pump was not tightened properly and worked back and forth on the shaft until it wore out the key.
We pulled the pan and found that the engine was really pretty worn out.
I just happen to have two Hercules LDT 465s diesel engines sitting in large crates in the back yard.
It seemed like a good idea to just install the Army truck engine.
It is not so hard...
You just have to swap manifolds, injector pump, oil pump pick ups, oil pan, timing gears, front engine cover, bell housing, clutch, injectors, and oil filter assembly.
I've never really rebuilt an engine before and so there were a few issues.
My helper and I would spend the day putting it together wrong and then in the evening I would take it apart and put it together correctly.

Getting the timing correctly was an issue.
There were supposed to be timing marks on all he gears. You just lined everything up.
I put both engines on TDC so the pump would be in the right place and all the gears would be correct when I took the engines apart.
However, I got the mark wrong on the injector pump gear and lined the pump up at TDC.
When I got the front cover and front pulley on I lined up the mark on the front pulley and discovered the pump is timed for 20 degrees before TDC.
It seems simple. You pull the pump and rotate the gear one tooth. But, there is not enough room in the front housing to turn the gear and the front cover and front pulley had to come off.
Yesterday was the biggest screw up.
I mixed and matched exhaust manifolds as they are a two piece manifold and the one that I took off had a crack. I have several manifolds laying around.
My helper was doing the final tightening and heard a ping. Broken manifold.
My stupidity was soon evident.
When you overhaul an engine you often resurface the intake and exhaust manifolds. If you mix and match parts you get manifolds with different thicknesses. 

This can be a problem.
So... A new $350 manifold from Iowa and a week to ship and then it has to be surfaced.
Meaning I am short a tractor still.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Modern Farmers and Landlords continued. The weird and the irrational and the potential landlord.

The last time my gentle readers viewed this humble blog I was in quite a stew over 30 acres which I didn't want but accepted anyway and then it appeared it was taken away from me. Sort of insult to injury, if you would...
So, yesterday morning I called my farmer friend/short term landlord to attempt to find out exactly what was going on. He didn't answer...
Shortly afterwards my phone rang and it was a friend who works for the Big Farmer who disced up the field I thought was mine, and he needs some straw.
I asked him what he knew. He says, that while he avoids getting involved with planning sessions he had heard the owners talking about the field. My farmer friend/short term landlord, shall we call him FFSTL for short, (cause its kind of a catchy acronym) has been after them to plant filberts on this ground for some time. (Remember the BIG Farmer farms the good ground owned by FFSTL.)
My straw friend says that it was discussed last week and the plan was to disk the field as soon as I got straw baled off the field. They were politely waiting for me. And he stressed that his boss wasn't all that excited about farming this hard to get to piece of ground and he was pretty sure his Big Farmer boss would not take ground away from a Lazy Farmer such as myself.
But, he added, he really knew nothing official as he tries to stay out of company business.
So I apologized for taking so long to bale the straw and asked if to please explain my slowness to bale the straw as I was baling everyone else's straw first and FFSTL had been trying to get me to farm the place for the past five years or so. I also pointed out that I had asked FFSTL why he didn't just get the Big Farmer to farm the place to begin with?
I was somewhat impressed that the Big Farmer actually gave a rip that I had straw to bale. The other Big Farmers around here would have just baled it themselves and said nothing.
Since it was now quite obvious that the deal had been made at least a month ago...
I had barely gotten off the phone when FFSTL called me.
He says that the Big Farmer had called him out of the blue and said he was working ground in the area and could work of the field. He also said that he was not able to get him to work up the other 20 acres for me.
I said, "what are you talking about. Am I farming your place or not? I'm pretty sure Big Farmer didn't stop by and disk the field up just to be friendly."
FFSTL starts talking about 30 acres for hazelnuts and this being a whole unexpected development and his family needing to get money out of the ground, and I could farm the rest and this whole speech completely different from what I expect is true.
I said, "you mean the other five ares?"
He says, "Well I'm going to talk to Big Farmer on Monday and I'll let you know what is going on."
I just said,"Ok and hung up."
Now... This was a pretty long story with a few too many details but has common elements that I have heard so many times.
In my case, Big Farmer was somewhat of a long time family friend. So I didn't have that little extra twist of the screw that the new big farmer likes to give you when he steals you land out from under you.
No, this is your typical landlord screwing. The guy pretends to be your friend, he doesn't so much lie to you as just live in a fantasy dream land.
I think one needs to learn to live off of what one owns. I'm not sure how to do it but you certainly can't trust anyone these days. I guess that is why written rental agreements were invented...

Friday, September 4, 2015

Let me tell you about modern farming/farmers/landlords, hint.. Craigslist hookers are probably more honest

So I have known this neighboring farmer for the past 20 plus years, perhaps 30 years. I have stacked his straw, his hay, loaned him my stacker, and had him practically beg me to farm his place for the past six or eight years.

I did not farm his place because a friend of mine was renting it. I told him I would farm it but not unless the guy who was farming it gave it to me.
This year my friend who was doing the farming had a lot of things go wrong and he asked me to farm it. At the same time the fellow who owns the farm contacted me to farm the place.
Of course I had no official contract...
The farm was planted to cereal rye which had not been fertilized. By the time I got it most of the rye was too high to fertilize so the yield was not that great. I ended up having to hire someone to combine it. I've already got the cleaning bill but haven't got paid for the rye.
The owner told me just before the rain he was in a hurry to get the straw off because he wanted to fill in a lowspot with dirt from his housing development and the city had to fix a blown out tile line.
So I got it all baled and hauled of before the rain.
My helper said he saw someone taking soil samples and the owner acted kind of funny but he kept talking about what I was going to plant this fall. He said he didn't see anyone taking soil samples.
Today my helper went by to see if the volunteer clover was growing and saw that someone had moved by baler tractor and disked the field.
So I called the owner and he doesn't answer.
Then I get this text that the big farmer that farms all his good ground has disked it and they may put in filberts on 30 acres. (I guess this implies that I get the remaining five...seriously) and he will call me this evening or tomorrow as he is in a meeting. I texted him back get him to tell me that I am not farming it and didn't get a reply.
Of course tomorrow I'll get some BS about how his family made him do it or the Big Farmer had an option or something that is a bunch of crap.
I called the landlord that owns the other 30 acres but I didn't get him. I suppose I'm screwed.
I really hate Big Farmers and the chickenpoop landowners that screw you for a few bucks but don't have the balls to tell you they are screwing you.
The thing is...
I didn't even really want to farm the place. I have to drive through town, it is in a housing subdivision and it is kind of crappy ground. I really expected to only have it for a year but he kept talking about a multi-year contract and about this coming fall.
And they didn't even have the balls to ask me to move my tractor, they moved it themselves.
I think I will send him a bill for the combining, the straw baling, and the trucking... That should hit around $10,000.
You see, I have no written contract and why shouldn't it go both ways...
I am so absolutely pissed you cannot possibly imagine...

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I am a lazy farmer once again

I should be working...
Yesterday we were called to a conference at the rest home where my father now resides. He is not eating. He is depressed.
The nurse went on a long roundabout verbal journey of a discussion what would happen if my Dad had a medical emergency at night. First we thought we were giving them authorization to send him to the emergency room and then, after an hour of beating around the bush in a very nice manner, we found the question was whether we would authorize Hospice.
Why would we not authorize Hospice...? One must assume that Hospice doesn't kill old people, they make their final six months as comfortable as they can within whatever odd bureaucratic restraints are thrust upon them. Moreover, sometimes people get better after receiving extra care which not is not available without being under Hospice.
And while it is my considered opinion that the unnamed other Mennonite rest home killed my aunt because they got tired of her complaining, I'm not blaming hospice for that...and I hardly ever mention that in public...
But, I digress...
It has been showering off and on. This makes it seem like we have a break. But there are things to do. The days pass faster than one would think.
I've got a couple hundred acres to farm and plant in the next two weeks and I doubt it will get done.
Yesterday I was going to work on the dead White 2-155 which is sitting pretty much in the spot at the neighbor's clover field where it died.
But, I installed a light for my lovely wife. I did a pretty poor job of it too. The rafters are too far apart in a trailer house Manufactured home so I was not able to attach the junction box or the conduit to anything so I just wedged it all in.
Afterwards I helped my daughter make a t-shirt. She has visions of starting her own t-shirt company and becoming independently wealthy. That is my fault, I tend to get over enthused at odd and random times.

We did tests on old T-shirts. This is my shirt.

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