The Useful Duck!

Contribute to my Vacation, please...

Friday, December 22, 2017

I pass my test, build things, get sick

Monday I took my Turf herbicide license test so I can get a commerical pesticide applicators license. I passed with an 87% which is pretty good considering I was convinced of failure. Strangely enough, it was not my lack of mathematical skills that was the problem. I did find on the math. However, there were a lot of trick questions (in my opinion) and I forgot to study one section.
I was about the have a great week at work.
The shop guy wanted me to work on the leaf pickup machine. We put a different engine on it. Replaced a 40 year old Clinton (I think) that kept breaking the starter with a Harbor Freight Predator.
Controls had to be moved and changed.
This beats the heck out of blowing leaves in the cold and rain.
Tuesday I started feeling a bit off. My wife has decided to do some painting and caulking. Monday night we used a rather stinky product which is not labeled for indoor use, then the dog barked every two hours and I could sleep.
So I didn't think much about feeling like crap Tuesday morning. But around midmorning I realized something was wrong.
I had trouble thinking, my brain started attempting to crawl out of my right eyesocket. This is even more uncomfortable when you are running a grinder and the stereo in the shop is blaring hard rock with the occasional speed metal thrown in for torture.
Fortunately my supervisor was gone and the Shop Guy sent me on a 20 mile parts run.
I started noticing that I was having trouble driving straight. Also, I was a little dizzy. I figured it was a bit of an inner ear infection and if you are going to crash you might as well make it worthwhile so I just went faster.
I got the wrong parts... Well, one of the parts was wrong. However, I was kind of wiped out and I went and watered plants in the greenhouse. It was warm and quiet there.
Then I got a text from my missing supervisor to put out rat traps for him. I think that is a mark of responsiblity. I tried to do a good job.
When 4:20 p.m. arrived I headed for the office and I was out the door before 4:30. But then I remembered I had promised my daughter to pick up some artistic stuff for her mother for Christmas. So I went downtown and bought a really cool Japanese made pen that is like a paintbrush and you can do lettering or calligraphy. Not that she does calligraphy but it had really cool Japanese writing on the pen. Then I spied a basement tea shop which I'd never seen before and the owner looked like Yoda so I bought my daughter some tea.
Then I went home and crashed on the couch.
I think I was able to expose a large number of people in several different social setting to plague and disease in the week before Christmas.
The family was taking my daughter's foreign exchange student friend to Seattle and would be gone for three days. They stocked me up with wood for the fire and gave me lots of Ritz crackers and they bailed the next day.
Interesting illness.
As I noted earlier I have once again popped a rib out of place. I usually ignore this until my wife forces me to go to the Chiropractor.
So I had a severe headache, deep coughing, I found blood in my snot but (not being delicate) the stuff that came out of my lungs, the stuff that was up in my head. I could not stay warm, (but it is cold and damp out), every muscle connected with coughing hurts. I have no appetite but am not nauseous. I'm tired but can't sleep, my right ear starts hurting from time to time.
I thought I was well this morning till I got out of bed and had to cough. It hurt so bad I just went back to bed. As of this moment I figure I am mostly well but I'm still cold and have no energy.
It was a strange illness and I don't wish it on anyone else.
I have not finished my Christmas shopping and I really don't feel like it.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Muddy Valley back in the day...

I hate tests

The GRE test is my excuse for not going to grad school. Stupid reason, I'd probably still not have a real job anyway.
I fell off the forklift yesterday trying to change the yard light. Took Teddy and I all day. Ended up installing a new fixture. I wanted to go LED but didn't have $150. Got the cheapo $75 mercury vapor one.
Tomorrow I take my commercial applicator exam. I'm going to fail it. I can't concentrate.
I think I am mental.
Daughter is sick. Skipped church and I'm hoping hot water jets on my back will make me feel better. Not sure what to do about my knee.
Am trying my favorite brand of muscle relaxant.
We shall see...

Monday, December 11, 2017

Meanwhile in California... I can see if he was going to eat it...

Second man comes forward to claim he was the heroic bunny rescuer via

Thursday, November 23, 2017

I spend actual money in a record store and feel foolish

Yesterday the President of my humble college issued an edict declaring no work after lunch and we all were sent home with pay.
I had a few things to do like put my meager pay check in the bank and pick up a pizza for supper.
My plan was to play pinball most of the afternoon and then pick up the pizza and go home. However, now that I am fifty-&*(^%ing-old, playing pinball all afternoon does not calm the nerves like it once did. Plus, I have a CDL and I don't feel like drinking Pepsi by the pint glass and I can't even sniff mouthwash without being subject to a driving under the influence.
I suppose I could have talked a workstudy student into accompanying me but that just seems weird. I saw a former helper/workstudy kid walking home and invited him home for Thanksgiving but he declined. He said he was going to have a pathetic Thanksgiving with his three remaining Frat brothers at the weed friendly fraternity on campus. It also might also be because I noted he was certainly looking good when I invited him into my car. He was wearing a bandanna and silkish rainbow hued harem pants and playing with funny juggling balls with string things on them that he spins around his head.
He made a comment about ass, grass, or gas, and I responded with, "Hey, nobody rides for free..." He seemed cool with that.
Well, he did look sorta cute...
But, I digress...
I gave him my lunch and threw in three beers which I had found in a flowerbed earlier in the week. He was looking a little skinny. He was very happy about the Thanksgiving bounty. He said he was going to use my carrots in his stew and totally gulped down his half of my sandwich. The beer was an added bonus. He expected one can but I gave him the three left in the pack.
I can't tell that story in Church but he seemed genuinely touched by my good will and this ain't exactly Church...
I cashed my check and headed back into town to straighten out my insurance defugalties. I texted my insurance agent who said her helper was in the office. She wasn't. So I ordered the pizza.
Which reminds me of a little story.
I was trying to enrich the word power of a workstudy student. He wanted to know the difference between a defugalty and conundrum. I suggested that a metaphorical example might be if he could picture sitting on a mower and really had to go poop but the restroom was far away. So you were sitting there wondering if you should just poop yourself or hold it in till you go blind. That is a conundrum and both of those two solutions would result in a defugalty. A couple days later he thanked me putting my explanation into "real world" terms that he could understand.
But, once again, I digress...
To kill some time I went to the local record shop. The owner makes me a bit nervous as he always looks at me intently and never seems to recognize me although I've patronized his shop off and on for at least a decade. Of course I seldom buy anything although I once found a pristine copy of the Blue Ridge Rangers for which I had been searching many years.
I was looking for the Kinks album that has their greatest hits excluding "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" or that stupid one about their cousin. The Kinks really have some horrible songs and like only five awesome songs. Sort of like the idea of if you shoot the shotgun often enough you are going to eventually hit a duck school of song writing...
And then I saw a tab for Mudcrutch!
There in front of my confused little eyes was a genuine Mudcrutch album. I put down the demo copy of "The Fabulous Thunderbirds" first album and looked with wonder on Tom Petty's first band. This would have been recorded during or after his groundskeeping gig at Florida Sate. I just assumed it was a remaster of old tapes on to Vinyl and it would be amazing. I looked closely at the cover. I read that it had been recorded in one take in 70'. I rushed to the counter. The kid behind the counter said, "whoa, Mudcrutch, their first album..." I started talking.
Fortunately and attractive girl walked in and the owner and his accolade abandoned me.
I picked up my pizza and rushed home.
My wife and daughter were home.
I restrained myself for at least an hour and then when I was requested to come help make pies for Thanksgiving I suggested we listen to my new album.
I dropped the needle on the first track and it was Tom Petty singing a Folk Song, followed by a country-western song, and suddenly I realized that this was recorded not in 1970 but rather in 07' meaning 2007.
This ain't swamp rock from 1970, this is middle aged dudes singing country music. This is not bad as it is what country music should be, but I just was not prepared. Plus, I could have bought the CD from Amazon for half the price. Heck I could have bought the CD and the record and got the songs as a Free MP3 download from Amazon and had it delivered by tomorrow if I was actually looking for a Mudcrutch reunion album.
Oh well, it is worth something to hear Tom Petty singing "Six days on the Road." He leaves the "little white pills" line in.


I miss the old days.
I was talking about with one of the hispanic workers. Somewhat of a language barrier but he was also talking about the big family dinners of his youth and how people just are not the same as they used to be. Kind of interesting. Curmudgeonism can bridge borders of language and culture. I have discoverd some sort of inter-cultural enlightenment...
My family used to have a huge Thanksgiving dinner with all the extended family members. It was kind of a pain when I was a kid but now I kind of miss it. There was usually really good food.
We are going to my Wife's family today. Which is great.
I invited one of my workstudy students when I found out he was one of the few people left in his Frat house.
He declined as he was determined to have Thanksgiving with the few that remained. Sort of a holiday tradition I understand. I gave him my lunch which had a lot of carrots. He was pretty happy as they were making stew. I also gave him several beers that I had found. This made him Very happy. It sounded as if his Thanksgiving dinner would be greatly improved by three beers, a bag of carrots and a bag of peanuts. Perhaps i should take him a pie this afternoon.
I kind of feel bad about eating the candy bars I found under the stadium bleachers. Should have also passed those on.

Monday, November 20, 2017

My lucky day

I found 25 cents and half a twizzler blowing the stands after the big football game.
Talk about the benefits of being a groundskeeper!
Of course this was offset by my very astute supervisor saying we can't wear our boots home because the college bought them.
And now I know why people steal pens from work...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I play with tubes, listen to odd music, talk about work...

I know a number of successful people. I have often wondered what makes one successful. To a large extent it is how you interpret your life.
I really envy people who can focus. That self discipline to go past being average seems to always be out of my grasp.
I try to substitute obsessiveness...

My family is visiting family elsewhere and I've been left to my own devices. I have been tying up odds and ends. Yesterday I changed the alternator in my old GMC pickup, checked to oil in one car but got distracted and forgot to check the other vehicles.
I capped the evening when I thought I left my phone on the air cleaner of the pickup and drove away on a test drive. I actually dropped it under my work bench. But I got to walk about in the dark with a flash light and worry about it.

I have been working on the record player which belonged to MuddyValley's father. I replaced the broken tonearm with a lessor quality but equally old substitute and I did a lousy job of soldering.
When my wife's father came to live with us we moved into the large bedroom that housed our collections and my battered old Lazy Boy recliner. It also housed my record and stereo collection.
My wife has been using my over-built stereo stand as a night stand.

I thought I would take it apart and perhaps sell off a few rather valuable pieces. However, I got distracted and started playing with the old Scott 299 tube amp.
I'm setting in the living room listening to rather scratchy record albums via a HiFi older than myself. I cranked it to distortion levels and then backed it off a notch. I'm substituting volume for clarity.
It sounds really good with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (Midnight Special) which is acoustic guitar and harmonica but falls off with heavy bass or rock guitar music. But I am sort of tone deaf.

Tomorrow will be another day at work and I'm not really enjoying my job. My boss is a bit of a micro-manager which is really annoying but at the same time he gives me an excuse to be a slacker and avoid the above-mentioned effort to find true success in my job.

We have a new worker. He is young, something like mid twenties. He has groundskeeping experience, heavy equipment experience, has been to school for mechanic training, and he is working in grounds for slightly above minimum wage. He says it is for the insurance, retirement, and tuition, but I suspect we will find out why he doesn't have a real job in the near future.
My supervisor likes to tell this story about his days in cleaning crew when the radio station people would smoke lots of weed late at night in the studio. The security guy tended to avoid confrontation and when entering the building would complain about there being a skunk outside the building.

Last week I was eating my lunch by myself as I prefer to do. (The secret to happiness in any relationship is controlled access.) I have a half hour lunch break and every one else has an hour lunch break. The young fellow comes in and sits down by my as I am about to get up and punch back in. He seems rather chatty and tucks into his ham sandwich with enthusiasm. He usually shows up when I'm leaving and wants to use my cell phone to call his girl friend at lunch. He said no he was just being friendly. kI was halfway through the door when it hit me. He'd been out hot-boxing his truck a half hour before coming into the office. He reeked of "Essence of Willie Nelson."
I had to consult with Jesus, (the older hispanic fellow who was helping me clean street drains- meaning we work like dogs for an hour then drive around and tell each other slightly off color jokes and make rude jokes about goats in Spanglish) and see if I had a work study student and so I didn't get back to the office right away.
I have to make sure I am not near the office at the top of the hour as my supervisor figures I'm wasting time and not getting back to work. This is kind of funny as if I actually want to waste time there are infinite ways to do so which escape detection.
But that day I came back in for my hat and I was leaving just as the supervisor came back from lunch. This was bad as I was just putting on my dry hat and so it looked like I was just going to work.
As he unlocked his office door he commented on the strange smell. I started to say "skunks!" but cause myself and instead made a comment about drains and beat it out the door.
At the 3:00 break I was standing outside waiting for Jesus to return from his break and the supervisor walked out of the office. Just as Jesus returned and opened the door to my cart I was summoned to the office. The supervisor asked me to be "more mindful of my time," and return to work sooner after my lunch and other breaks. I would have liked to see own on face as I'm sure I had an interesting expression. However, I smiled and said I would be more careful. There were things I would have like to have said. But, I didn't want to keep Jesus waiting.
Which is funny in itself, he is the king of stretching breaks and Snapchatting on the Job but he always manages look busy and I'm the one that gets in trouble.
Insurance, Tuition and Retirement...
I just had to laugh later when I thought about the new guy sitting at the office table giggling as the supervisor wondered about the smell. I'm kind of glad the super was distracted by his perception of my tardiness and totally missed the fact that the other guy was baked.

"And I'm waiting on a message from a girl by the name of Veronica.."
(reference to above record album)
According to my daughter this song has been redone and is popular again. Who wuddathunk, a Wreckless Eric song???

 A beautiful Song. Listening to the full album right now. MuddyValley can play it with his trombone at my funeral after fall asleep mowing and get run over by the infamous Willamina Wobbler (freight train) that rumbles through campus. Perhaps Flying Fiddle and Banjo could accompany. That would be a cacophony!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

What I'm doing today...

I repeat this mantra every day. "Free tuition, good health insurance, retirement..."
There really is no point in mowing the soccer field which was watered so late it won't dry out till spring as they can't play on it anyway.
I go a work order to dry it out. Really...

Three days ago I was doing this

I never thought I would see farming as a vacation...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Should this ever happen to you

Do NOT rip off the remaining nail with your teeth.
Suffering will follow...
For at least a week...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A 100 year old spider lily

It resides in the library at my college.
It has bloomed twice under my care.
Of course the Ficus tree did lose all its leaves onto the carpet.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Why we can't have nice things

I was driving the tractor down the hill on our farm to get my grain drill when I saw a tail pipe in the road. People had been driving around it.
Me, not being the sort of person to poop and then sit back down in it, stopped the tractor to move the broken exhaust pipe.
I then realized it was from my pickup.
Now I could have lost it last night when I went to look at the drill but I should have heard it. But it makes it more pathetic if people drove around it all day and didn't move it.
At least they didn't run over it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Some photos and my birthday

Happy birthday to me...
Several people have complemented me on the outstanding job I have done on the soccer field. My supervisor is the one who insisted on overwatering it and that is why it is green during the driest summer in years.
I am the one who drives straight and who has not sprayed out the fence rows, cleaned the bark dust beds, or sprayed the weeds in the gravel parking lots.

I talked my brother into buying a combine. The diesel fuel injector pump promptly failed after two days of use. It sat for another three week. It has an odd pump. There are a million International DT-466 based engines and only a few of them have a not usually stocked injector pump.

I have 300 acres to plant and on the last field of straw the PTO catastrophically failed on my planter tractor and it is stranded in a field not that close to home. No hydraulics, no PTO, no brakes, no steering and a painful grinding noise. Hopefully it is just the coupler between the engine and PTO shaft. Whatever it is the minimum is one day to pull engine and three days to put it back in.

Yesterday I discovered the irrigation manager didn't turn off the irrigation on the practice field and golf green like I suggested Friday before the rain. The supervisor didn't tell him to do it. I turned it off  yesterday at quitting time. Today i didn't get stuck.

I was going to have a birthday party as Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo is somewhere in Oregon and I have a work-study student that plays old time fiddle. I decided to just work on tractors instead. Probably for the best...

I made these barn door roller hinge things for my wife. She is building something.

My daughter found Isaac Asimov's "The Robots of Dawn" at a second hand book store and gave it to me for my birthday present. I can't read it as the print is too small.
My lovely and gracious wife got me some SK brand metric tubing wrenches. They are very nice.
Starbucks gave me a free cup of coffee. It was also nice. The barista gave me a smile and several kind words. I gave her a tip.
I suppose it was a good day...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

It rained! I ramble about groundskeeping, I complain about blogger, I attempt a link

It rained last night. I think I have all the straw picked up. Unless there is another field which I just thought of five minutes ago. It didn't really seem like there was enough baled for a full day of work...
Plus, I see I left 800lbs of pig feed and the mixer/grinder out in the rain. Plus, there is the bin of flax I knocked off the truck a month ago.
Whatever... I never claimed to be a good farmer.
Or a good groundskeeper.
My goal is to be the sort of cheerful ineffective lout that people just hate to get rid of... Already failed on the cheerful but think I've got the ineffective down.
I applied for a job at a different school. That was a mistake.
I get this idea that I should be the best I can be. This is a load of BS drilled into my by my early role models and three years in the Future Farmers of America organization.
The 21st century model of success should be to attain the maximum amount of compensation of the minimal amount of work.
I had a frustrating month at my job. My promotion has just given me way more responsibility and I am not as fast as the fellow who recommended me for this job. This is a two person (or one person who is really hyperactive) job. My workstudy student keeps having a conflict between he amount of alcohol he consumes and the balancing of blood sugars. He swears this is not true but he misses a lot of work. And then my supervisor tends to send me from one job to another.
Example: I saw the Athletic Director last week. Had a nice chat about upcoming events and what is getting done. I just give up remembering and tell him to make a list and give it to my boss. I point out that I have a lot to do and things get missed so a list would be great.
My supervisor gets an email that afternoon. It is 103 degrees F. He comes looking for me. I was off driving my workstudy helper though the sprinkler system in the Mule and wasn't watching my phone. I did not get caught.
However, we did a walk though problem areas. Two foot weeds were reported on the softball warning track. The weeds were not there. There were a few under the bleachers and the warning track was clean. People from work use the softball field so I keep it pretty clean. I didn't show him the not quite dead blackberries under the bleachers.
So... we were told to drop everything and weed the warning track. I pointed out that were sports fields that had to be mowed and that the track would have to wait.
The next day there were other issues.
My workstudy student didn't get the practice field completely mowed and I forgot to finish it the next day. There was a leaking sprinkler line at the edge of the field which I cut the time down on so that there would not be a swamp. I was told that if I didn't spend so much time talking to people in the morning when it was cool that I would get more work done. That may or may not be true but I just smiled and nodded.
Monday, I got the lecture again. So I filled out a time off request for two days. Tuesday, my workstudy student ran into the grandstands and broke the windshield out of the mule. The only object in 100 yards and he hit it. We cleaned up the mess but I got quite the lecture.
School policy is that students without licenses cannot drive golf carts even off the road. They can drive lawnmowers or their own bicycles (but not their cars) but not golf carts. I said I was training him.
Wednesday I applied at another school.
Friday the supervisor was not there.
After a brief discussion with fellow workers where they repeated things I told them when there were upset- it was pointed out to me that changing schools would probably just mean I had to work harder. I only get upset because I want to do a good job. The real reason to work is tuition, insurance, and retirement and it is a 15 minute drive from home.
Since then the absurdity of the whole thing has made me laugh. My supervisor came to grounds from cleaning services. He is learning about groundskeeping by watching YouTube videos. The same people that hired him as a transfer from cleaning services seem to expect him to do the job of a guy with a degree in Turf Management and manage a crew of oddball independent characters who are old enough to be his parents. Not sure I envy him...

My new phone is not very good for blogging. Google has made it hard to have two identities on the same phone. I can't post photos or videos like I could with my iPhone. The Blogger App is pretty much a waste. There are no good replacements.

Today I'm trying to lay down and keep ice on my leg. I seem to have pulled a muscle a month or so ago and it is starting to get annoying. I have a hard time getting in and out of the stacker or off of a lawnmower once I run it for a while. I have tried wrapping it but it is a bit awkward. I see kids wearing all sorts of clever sports type wrappings for sprains and injuries. I'm going to have to find someone in sports medicine to give me advice.

Now I'm going to try and post a video.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I buy a new phone, go to a high school reunion, run out of money, and urchins steal my gator...

It is a Sunday morning and it is hot.
My family went camping.
I expect them back today.
I fixed myself eggs for breakfast. The eggs were fresh out of the chicken. I found some peppers in the garden and some mushrooms in the refrigerator. The mushrooms were in a brown paper bag. They were not growing in the refrigerator. My wife has not been gone that long.

I should have put fewer peppers in the eggs. I grew Hungarian Wax Peppers and Jalapeno's. The Hungarian wax pepper can be quite spicy. It is good for cooking and you can control the heat by the amount of seeds you keep. The flesh is mild and mine were a little sweet, more like a Bell Pepper than your usual fry your mouth ball-o-fire pepper.

I've been having a lot of phone problems. I've gone through five iPhone 6plus 16 gig. The iPhone six plus with 16 gigs is a junk phone. If someone gives it to you sell it. It will lock up and will randomly not receive texts, not send texts, send phone calls but not receive and received and not send. Plus, there seems to be a problems with certain Apple iCloud servers and you can't restore your piece of crap Asurion refurbished replacement phone.

I just got my replacement iPhone after the last failure and I could not restore the phone properly. I missed many important phone calls and texts. So I went to my local Verizon store where I got the car salesman treatment from a nice young man.
I was going to buy either an iPhone six 32 gig, an HTC, or a LG s6. The iPhone was too expensive for someone who continually breaks phones. They didn't have the HTC. So I got the LG.
My salesman said I could get $250 for my old phone from Verizon's buyback program. But, I had to do that at home. He also found me a $200 credit for switching to the LG. He did try to sell me a Motorola but the Motorola doesn't have a headphone jack. I don't want to deal with missing or dead bluetooth speakers in the middle of a Librovox recording fifteen miles from home and eight hours of boredom ahead of me.
But, I digress...
I bought the LG and paid double what I should have for a hard case and now I'm back to the other phone system. It is ok. I'm not thrilled but my phone doesn't really define my life. It is requiring some adjustment. I really just wanted my iPhone to work. I had finally got the iCloud BS to actually work. I liked the voice recognition for blogging. I was using BlogTouch Pro (which I really liked) for my phone.
I think the bottom line is that Apple is no longer longer an innovative company. The PC side seems to have learned a lot from the old days of Apple superiority and I can now tolerate them.

But you are all waiting to hear how I made the local scanner monitor page on Facebook.

The fellow who got my old JD Gator when I was "promoted" went on vacation. I fried the belt on my Mule climbing hills behind the college and it was in the shop. So I commandeered the Gator. Apparently his workstudy student was leaving the keys in the glove box and these two juvenile delinquents attempted to steal the gator. He also left so much crap in the gator it is hard to shift the darn thing and while the kids got it started and into reverse they were not able to get the shifter into the forward position because the mirror had fallen off the roof and was stashed on top of the shifter and prevented shifting into forward gear. So they reversed it into a big pile of grass and clippings couldn't get it into forward and then ran.
Security chased them in the little security SUV but nearly got stuck in the wildlife area. The kids escaped and I have been getting a lot of comments.
There is now a new edict that we have to chain up our steering wheels. I produced my keys to security so I was not in trouble. They like me as I laugh when they harass me and so I didn't get reported over the keys in the glovebox incident.

Last night I attended my 35th high school reunion. There were something like eight of us. Class size was around 47. I was not going to attend as I hated every moment of school. I was also a weird kid with odd religious beliefs, didn't do the pledge of allegiance, didn't go to dances, didn't go out drinking with everyone else, and people made fun of me a lot until eight grade when I became brutally sarcastic and somewhat of a cynic. Apparently I was well-liked in high school but the bitterness lingers on.
The fellow who was hosting the reunion at his winery told me if I didn't show up he or his wife would come and drag me out of the stacker. I was picking up bales just down the road.
I figure that was as good and invitation as any so I went.
Strangely enough, all the people there were people I liked and none of the people I disliked (in High School) were there. It was nice.
It is amazing how your early school experiences stick with you though life.
I had a nice talk with a couple people I hadn't seen since graduation and when the hosts heard I was on my own they loaded me with food to take home.

Next week it is supposed to hit 105 degrees. This is going to not be so fun.

Note: Blogger app on the phone is not letting me add photos. I foresee problems with the iPhone switch...

Friday, July 21, 2017

I am recovered and doing my usual mucking about...

I have recovered.
I am still having phone issues so I have no photos to share.
Today I went to sleep mowing and hit the fence. This was a bit hard on the reel mower. It is ironic that yesterday I got in trouble for letting my student run the reel mower. He was making perfectly straight lines and driving perfectly.
It was I who hit the fence...
Oh well, that is why God gave us welders...
My phone is a frustrating experience. I have an iPhone 6plus which has failed at least four times in the year I've had it.
I have Asurian insurance through Verizon. It is kind of an amazing scam, or at lest as I understand it.
Apple gives you a one year limited warranty but does not cover screens. However, they will sell you a new screen for around $150.
If you pay through the nose for Asurian they will give you a "reconditioned" phone for $150. Apple will not honor the one year replacement warranty on the Asurian replacement phone. Asurain gives you a phone that someone traded in because it was broken. So you get a crap phone for $150 which will probably fail and if you get stuck with a crappy model then you can't trade your way out of it.
I'm not sure there is any point in Asurain insurance on your phone. I think if I get a new phone I will try a SquareTrade warranty. I had it on a computer once I was very happy.
Today I intended to go pick up bales for my neighbors. They loaned us a baler when our engine failed.
However, my brother and I went to look at a combine instead and then I made some pig feed.
Making pig and chicken feed is not as much fun as it used to be when I didn't have a job.
I now have a good and rather large New Holland mixer-grinder. It pulls easy and holds 4,000lbs. It will also grind hay.
I liked making feed because I could trade it for beef and pork and it was a nice break from working on tractors in the cold. Grinding dusty grain when it is 80 degrees and almost dark is not as much fun as I had imagined. Plus, I think feed prices are down and I'm not getting the serious buyers I used to get.
Tomorrow I'm going to pick up bales. But, I am using my old iPhone 5 which does have enough memory to store books on tape. So it will be a long day.
Perhaps i can think of funny stories to blog about.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A day off

I've been a bit busy.
Before I took on this job at the College I may have worked long hours but I usually had some sort of break to write the blog.
I have also been having frustrations with my iPhone and MacBook.
The iPhone 6s has died for the fourth time in a year and I'm back to the old iPhone 5. The small screen doesn't work for blogging.
I took the day off today.
Actually, I'm sick...
It is really frustrating as I have Muddy Valley's hay baled and it looks good. But it is now sitting there bleaching in the sun.
I went home at 8 p.m. last night. Decided after the second time I had to stop the stacker in the field and take a puke break that perhaps I should just go home. I was a little worried it would come out the other end next.
It seems like I spent most of the night puking my guts out and now every muscle in my body hurts like heck. Especially my back.
I'd try the hot tub but I still can't trust my farts.
I should have some adventures to post about but frankly I feel like crap and I'm going back to bed...
Perhaps I should just call in sick for tomorrow.
Soccer players should mow their own soccer field, with push mowers, it would build charactor...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Random photos of my week

It was meant to be a picture story but the photos are out of order...
I'm going to church.

Subjects covered by photos. Warm weather, hay, late planting, bicycle trip to the coast, Russians and pacifiers.

You may assign captions at random




Saturday, May 13, 2017

White 2-135

I still need to redo the inside of the cab. Right now I'm more concerned about the digital tachometer not working.
The mounting bracket's are on the front pulley and I think I have to remove the radiator to change the sensor.
Or rather, I think it would be faster to remove the radiator to change or adjust the sensor.
It has gone from 135 hp  at the dry bar, to an estimated 200 engine horsepower. I would like to put it on the Dyno and actually see.
This is the 3rd White tractor/army truck engine conversion and I think each engine behaves differently. This tractor starts harder than the other tractors but I have not pulled it hard yet so I don't know how much power it actually has.
The 2-155 that I use for planting doesn't feel like it has this much horsepower as the ugly 2-155 I bought from Missouri.
All the engines were the same model.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The past few weeks of which not much has happened but they have rapidly passed

Having a dumb job is different from not having a dumb job (in reference to a fellow blogger) and much different from being self-employed.
Much less stress when you discover that you don't really matter. I probably will not get a raise and I most likely will not get fired.
I always thought insanity was the ultimate escape but really it is Mediocrity. That way you can have hobbies. And still appreciate them. Waiting for the End of the World becomes just waiting for the end of the day. Tractors to paint, a Triumph to ride, a supervisor to gaslight. It's not a bad life...

This is a 90 year old Spider Lily plant in the library. I have not killed yet...

We are having "self-evaluations" this week at work.
This is idiotic.
The goal is a pitiful "merit" raise. It has been announced that there will be no "merit" raises because we have fewer students and have no money.
I took this job for three reasons, tuition for my daughter, insurance for my family, and retirement for me.
I did not take it to reach "self actualization."
The lady who sits across the table from me freaked out Friday when it was announced the evaluations were due. Apparently she had missed an entire weeks worth of complaining about the evaluations which happened every morning before work. 
She gave me a ride after I ran the diesel lawnmower out of diesel in the middle of the main street on campus Friday afternoon.
She was swearing up a storm about the evaluation. She wanted to know why she only had a day to do the evaluation and the rest of us had a week.
This was good as I had forgotten to turn my into the boss.
Well, actually I didn't forget all. I was contemplating doing my little manipulation trick of acting like I was getting it done but not really doing it and being super polite and helpful and sincere but really stringing the who thing out as long as possible just to push the authority figure to the point where frustration wins out over sympathy.
That approach just seemed petty.
I filled out my evaluation that morning in the greenhouse. I took me longer to find a stool, clean off the potting table, fix myself some coffee, sharpen a pencil, and find a good radio station than it did to fill out the evaluation.
First I checked the scoring to see how many above average scores I needed to get in order to barely qualify for merit pay. Then I started reading the questions. Then I got bored and checked boxes at random. "Meets Expectations" and "Exceeds Expectations."  In the comments I described my biggest challenge as being able to keep up the professional groundskeeper who had moved on to be boiler man.
My main adventure yesterday was running out of diesel. The diesel pump has a four pin round connector that is supposed to mate with a connector on the diesel vehicle you are filling. Apparently, sometime in the past, people would get the diesel and gasoline mixed up at the pump.
However, not all the diesels have the connector. 
I usually use a couple paperclips to hotwire the whole abomination so I can use whatever vehicle I want to transport fuel. But I was in a hurry Friday and the fuel gauge doesn't work right and I knew there were full diesel cans at the other building.
I wired up a much better system which is still rather unsafe but now I can at least fill the dadburned thing without looking for random drywall screws and paperclips. 

In other news...
I've almost finished the 2-135 paint. 
It is the classic "good from far, but far from good." I really screwed up the decals and had to mask and repaint a couple areas. I've just given up on quality and am attempting to just get it done. 
I had all the hoods on and discovered the lights didn't work. I had installed a metal firewall behind the fuel tank which would necessitate removing the said fuel tank and firewall to get at the wiring if it was a serious problem. It turned out to be a bad connection at the light switch which I fixed  by prying up the dash and wedging a screwdriver against the offending spade plug. I need a new connector but that would mean a lot of rewiring.
I should have been planting clover...
The weather has prevented any planting on our wet ground. I planted barley for my neighbor and got rained out. The tractor and drill are on the wrong side of town and the tractor duals are wedged full of goupy mud.
I think I'll bring it home today on the back roads.
I see the new "big time operator" has been advertising for summer help on Facebook. I'm surprised at the number of farmers who have liked his page. I'm also amazed at the people who use his services. He is notorious for stealing your land. However, throwing money around and talking capitalism makes farmers get all weak at the knees and while they talk big they really just want to be his special "friend" so of course he won't steal their land.
It reminds me of the hyena's saying "Mufassa" to each other in Lion King.

When they see his ten combines blocking traffic on Highway 18 they pretend to be angry but really they have secret, um... nevermind...
I would like to see land use and commercial vs farming tax laws revised but I don't trust gubment to do it without screwing the small farmer. The idea that large farms need tax breaks cause they are feeding the world is a load of crap.
The idea that large farms are good for agriculture because they hire lots of people is crap. Those kids that run balers and combines in the summer don't join FFA. They don't learn how things work, there is a service truck chasing them.
Kids who work for small farms where they are involved in the operation are the ones that go into agriculture careers. 
More farms make more jobs and produce people who know how to fix things, who have a vested interest in the future of their own land.
Feed the world my ass, feed their own megalomania more like it.

I included this photo to show the problems of painting with cheap metallic paint when you don't really know what you are doing. The metal flake tends to pool or spot, as in big spots, like metal flake camo at a lowrider convention. Which brings up another point. I want to turn my daughter's 72 GMC into a lowrider. But, no time or energy...

In other news...
Lulu likes the Blues Brothers.
This is my favorite movie.
I like the scene where they start swearing in front of the nun and fall down the stairs.
Last year I bought a faded copy on 16mm from a guy in Australia.
We will not mention how much shipping cost me.
I hooked up speakers and was prepared to be amazed. The sound was terrible.
Last night we watched in on Netflix.
Lulu likes Carrie Fisher so we were looking for all the scenes where Jake's exgirlfriend was stalking him.
This morning we are listening to Robert Johnson before church.
This is the lesser know Tommy Johnson. He also made the deal. I don't have a Tommy Johnson album... While quite influential he has a funny voice. (yeah I'm a philistine)
I made bacon omelettes. I started off with a lecture about the crossroads metaphor in literature and if it were possible for a person to trade their immortal soul and was heading straight for an explanation of faustian agreements and their importance in literature ending up Madonna stealing Brittany Speers soul and Katie Perry's supposed agreement with beelzebub but I saw her eyes glaze over and went back to cooking.
She just noted that all Robert Johnson's songs sound the same... But that she was still enjoying the album...
Yesterday she had Elmore James on the CD player.
I suppose it is alright to have a CD player if it is hooked to a 50 year old tube amp... And since CD technology is now considered yesterday and the new thing is analogue.
I'm such a rebel... Rebel lite...

Sunday, April 23, 2017

I get the new lawnmower stuck, I attempt to paint a tractor, general complaints

Due to weather cycles that us puny humans do not understand man made global climate change Oregon is having the wettest spring in years.
Mowing lawns is a bit of a challenge to say the least.
As my loyal readers may remember, I have been transferred to mowing athletic fields. I have suggested sheep and or a herd of goats as being sustainable and wonderful but the sheep guy says the school is worried he does not provide a barn for the sheep and the school is worried about sheep poop and electric fences.
Also, they worry about the oppression of transgenders (transphobia- I think its called now-a-days) which I suspect is related to a lack of access to sheep but I can't prove that point...
But, I digress...
The mechanic wanted me to try out the new mower. It is the last replacement for mowers that got damp in last years, weather cycles that us puny humans do not understand man-made global climate change inspired flood.
It is hydrostatically driven and has a bit of a counter-intuitive control system. When things start to go wrong they go wrong fast.
I promptly go it stuck.
I am really glad I installed my own winch on my Mule.

Note the thin cable between the Mule and the mower. The winch control is remote wireless so I can run the mower and the winch at the same time. $49.99 from Harbor Freight.

In other news...
We actually competed out tax returns a day ahead of schedule. I can report with confidence that Turbo-Tax is worse than worthless. Put that $80 you would spend on Turbo-Tax home business towards either an accountant or just blow it on good booze and get the tax forms at the post office.

A side note: I like to think I have a good relationship with Jesus, at work... Sometimes he takes me for the free coffee at the dining hall. He helped me get ready for the tennis tournament. Meaning-he did all the work whilst I mowed. He lectured me about Tequila. I didn't understand all of it. It would seem that the stuff with the Stag on the front is good. The bottle with the Goat on the front is crap that is a cheap knock off on the Stag. This is funny for some reason and I suspect has to do with "goat love." 
Jesus says a good way to drink Tequila is to take a bottle of Corona Beer, pour the Tequila into the space between the beer and the top of the bottle. This is the correct measurement for a shot. Do not mix the beer and the Tequila, "Because then it will taste like shit!" (say that with a heavy Mexican accent to fully appreciate the experience and bear in mind that Jesus almost never uses "bad" language."
I kind of think you are then supposed to chug it. 
Have not tried it as I suspect suffering will follow. As in singing songs about fighting with Chickens and a broken heart and land which Pancho stole from father long ago.
He also told me how to bet on the horses and how to bet on Cock Fighting. You never put your bet on the best looking Rooster because the scrappy one always wins. Never bet on the favorite horse either for the same reasons. I asked him if this applied to women as well and the consensus was that a little "Gordo" is good. I assume this means she is a good cook.

But, I digress...

I am attempting to repaint a White 2-135 Series Three tractor. I forgot the first rule of Farm Implement restoring. Never trust the paint codes. While you can get a lot of personal enjoyment out of looking up the paint codes the best thing to do with the codes when you find them is post them on New Ag Talk so people can argue about it.

Find a section of unfaded sheet metal and take it to your local autoparts store. They have a scanner and can then match the paint. When you get a match, try to find an industrial color that is close to the match, or just use a chart of industrial paint chips. If that fails use automotive paint chips to match. Stop a moment to think hate towards the regulators who have enacted insane VOC standards that have resulted in $75 a gallon paint now costing $375 a gallon. Remember that hardener and thinner will also set you back $150.
Now look at your tractor again. Do you really want to paint it?
It might be that using the above mentioned of theory espoused by Jesus on how you should drink Tequila will help with your decision.
In the end, I suggest spending the money. You only want to do it once. Knowing you are spending your life essence on paint will motivate you to do better prep work. Prep work is the key.
Don't forget to buy a good rust resistant primer. You can't buy DP-40 anymore. Thank you Al Gore...
We bought cheap paint for the sheetmetal and used a code to match paint for the engine and frame.
I think it is now going to be a Series I White 2-135. Unfortantly you cannot buy decals for a White Series I. Having a White painted as a Series one and putting Series III decals just drives me nuts. I also got a really bad sag above the door where I will see it every time I get into the tractor.
However, I seem to have lost the decals anyway so I guess it will just be a silver and not-exactly-black tractor...
I really hate not having the correct paint color or the correct paint scheme with the proper decals.
Plus, I am a terrible painter. Orange Peel abounds. I've never painted metallics before.

I can't find my old HVLP paint gun and so I bought a Harbor Frieght special for $15.
I took it apart and rebuilt it according to info I found online. However, the fit and finish of the parts lead to some problems. It won't stay in adjustment.
I dug around until I found my Sharpe 75. It was an awesome gun but it is not a high volume, low pressure model and I quit using it because the HVLP guns made less overspray. It is in perfect condition as I always cleaned it and it cost me a lot of money at the time. The cup is missing... I suspect it is with my old HVLP gun that I use for painted balers and home built sprayer projects that I never use after building...
So back to the Harbor Frieght special.
I went back to Harbor Frieght and bought a cleaning kit with small brushes. I took the POS apart again and cleaned it. I also put another filter and regulator on the air compressor and reduced air pressure to the cheap Harbor Frieght regulator on the gun.
This sort of helped.
The paint on the hood started bubbling after setting a week for some reason. I used aircraft paint remover to strip it. (Hint, if the paint you bought from the tractor supply store says you should use mineral spirits you have cheap paint. 
Find out exactly the type of paint you have and then get thinner and hardener from your local autoparts store. It will be worth it...)
I put primer on but it orange peeled badly. I can't seem to get the airflow and paint flow balanced. I followed the directions for thinning but it appears I have to add quite a bit of extra thinner to get the gun to work properly. This causes its own problems.

In other news...
My workstudy student wants to be a farmer. She is into "permaculture."
I bought her the Farmer-Stockman's handbook by Ensminger for a graduation present.

It came with the owner's notes.

I'm thinking of keeping the notes, but that is what makes it really cool. I have not decided if she is really sincere or just a modern college student.

An Apology...
I'd blog more but there always seems to be something to do. My iPhone is not a good blogging tool. I'm a lazy former farmer. Also, when ever I'm setting with a computer I find there is always something else that I should be doing...

I bought a Kinks Greatest hits CD for my daughter for reasons too odd and confusing to be related in this blog post.
I have this song stuck in my head...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Those idiot republicans....

I didn't think I was going to get a Rose Garden.
I didn't vote for Donald Trump because I thought my healthcare premiums would go down. I voted for Trump because I hate liberals preachy liberals are starting to get under my skin after eight years of a fake negro president, our first sort of, but not quite black president, Bush Lite. I voted for Trump because I think it is insane that I can't clean out a ditch on my own farm. I voted for Trump because I think the gubment is running a protection racket just like the mob with health and safety inspections. I voted for Trump because my liberal friend told me that even though I am the only white male in my department, I got my job because of white privilege.
I expect my healthcare premiums to become unaffordable because the Afordable Care Act institutionalized the graft and corruption of the insurance companies and once it was enacted the insurance people who signed onto it and contributed to the corruption were institutionalized and accepted and the ones who were deemed unworthy were put out of business. Even if the ACA is revoked we are still screwed because the competition that makes the free market work has been eliminated.
I voted for Trump because he was going to upset the apple cart (so to speak) He was a rich bastard but yet an everyday moron enough to appear on the Howard Stern show and laugh at himself. He gets in a big rig and makes motor noises. He isn't a smug prick in a bicycle helmet.
Rejection of the ACA may have been akin to Slim Whitman riding the A Bomb in Dr. Strangelove but it was me turning the wheel off the cliff and screw the establishment and screw you pathetic liberals. He put  climate change denier in charge of the EPA and a private school supporter in charge of the Education Department. YES!!!! I don't care if it all goes to hell. I love to see the shrill cries and hand wringing on Facebook!
But no, the Republicans had to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I hate them almost as much as I hate Democrats.
I suspect we are heading for some interesting times.
There is no way in heck I would vote for Paul Ryan or John McCain. No freaking way, well perhaps if it were Hillary. Naw, I don't think so....

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Still sick, my Dynaco SCA80 phono stage sounds horrible, a bit about White 2-135 tractors, and Groundskeeping

Another epic ramble...
First of all, a statement about my health. I feel like crap. I suspect the Russians or the CIA or mind control. I've had a cough for what seems like forever. Sunday is the one day I can just lay in bed. The family went to church and I'm in bed. Now, understand the title of the blog is "The Lazy Farmer" but there is avoiding work cause you are a lazy arse and there is feeling like poop and staying in bed all day. Two completely different things. My wife is threatening to send me to the Doctor. I say no because I suspect that half of it is stress and frustration and that I'll have to go through endless tests and they will find out that I have a cough and I need rest... I already know that.
Then about blogging.
I suspect blogging is a thing of the past. I was reading this blog (Click Here) because he talks about Dynaco amps, mostly because (like myself) he finds the fit into bookshelves nicely. But, he seems to have quit posting. Probably died like half my other blogging heroes.
I just hope MuddyValley, the dude holding a duck, and the funny farmer from Canada, and that carpenter from England stay healthy. Now I left out the guy who doesn't have a job and he will probably leave a mean comment...
Ok, you get the point!
I still like to read everyone's blogs but the problem is that blogging is not really supported like it used to be. The apps that I have for my iPhone don't provide and easy way to leave comments and blog-reader apps try to keep the hits to themselves. I want to read my favorite blogs and have the people know I'm reading their blogs. I don't want them to see a blog reader link, I want them to see my hits in their stats.

In other news, I have started the 2-135. This is the last of my army truck engine swaps. It runs great but I see water in the transmission/hydraulic oil. This is bad as it has been sitting for several years and I never checked the oil. I should have drained it last night but my wife and daughter got Chinese food and I was hungry and I never went back out to work.

This is the preheater for a white Hercules diesel tractor engine. Those broken chunks of ceramic insulator will go through your engine and ruin it.

Being a groundskeeper.
Ironically, this is forcing me to learn a lot of things about spraying and fertilizer that I have always had a hard time understanding. I really miss not having a Crop Science degree. AND... my clever plan to stay under the radar and spend my days climbing hills with my Gator and arguing politics with workstudy students have come to naught. My boss keeps giving me more responsibility all the time (with no increase in pay) and of course I am compelled to try to meet his expectations. It is a curse.
I was grumping about being behind to my workstudy girl and she laughed at me. She noted that while we spent a lot of time driving around talking about philosophy somehow I still seem to get as much or more work done than anyone else (aside for the lady who has been there forever) and that she suspects me of actually being able to "really get stuff done."
I don't know.
I spent another 8 hours in pesticide class on Friday. This time with my boss. We went to lunch together. We discussed his life goals, his Christian faith, his upbringing with guns and his ability to strip a rifle by age six but yet his guilt from killing living things. I have the same problem but I am death on pop cans and varmints that run... Strange lunch conversation.
One mower for the softball field one more for the baseball field. I get to wash them both three times a week.

I have been really disappointed with my rebuild of a Rek-o-kut 120 tonearm with a Shure M91E cart. (I was considering a new stylus but I have run out of money.) Here's the deal,  I hooked it to the living room stereo system so the daughter and I could "rock out." It sounds kind of tinny and harsh. However, it sounded warm and rich (the kind of distortion I love) in the bedroom hooked up to a Scott Tube Amp and Dynaco speakers.
After some research I found that this is a common complaint with the Dynaco SCA80 amp.
To digress a little and get something off my chest.
The living room stereo is set up for surround sound for the TV. Unfortunately the folks that bought Grandpa the TV didn't think to buy him a TV with a headphone out jack. Now I can't really complain as I didn't pay for the TV and I didn't volunteer to go help him pick out a TV but I am going to complain anyway. It is really not so much an issue with the people who picked out the TV, but more of an issue with TV manufacturers in general. The TV costs an arm and a leg anyway so just put a stinking headphone jack on it. Then, you can buy remote earphones (or use a cord) and you don't have to have another remote to control the volume. Also, since the sound is not that great anyway, you could hook it up to an external amplifier. Having the option of headphones for your TV is really quite handy.
In our case Grandpa would crank the volume and forget about it because he couldn't hear. This caused problems in the retirement home and cost a lot more money when I had to go to radio shack and buy him wireless headphones. Not to mention the issues with an extra remote to control the headphones.
It has an optical output but that is a constant volume. So you have to get up and turn down the volume on the amp or add a preamp. But than means an extra remote. That is stupid...
I think I could wire in a jack to the speakers and then get amplified output that I could run through the Dynaco but my lovely and gracious wife and my astute and clever daughter feel that in the process there is a 50% chance I would completely screw things up.
I concur....
But I digress.
The Dynaco SCA80 phono stage sounds like crap. (see I think if someone gave me 1.2 million dollars this  blog would be a lot more interesting...

I am now going to go eat leftover Chinese food and then take a nap. I am pathetic...

Oooh wait, another story...
When I was forced to take on athletics (have I ever mentioned my feelings about coaches based on my experiences as a sports editor?) I also got the campus greenhouse. This is funny. We maintain a greenhouse for 14 plants in the library and the science building. In the greenhouse are "back up plants." I'm growing a replacement fiscis tree, ten begonias that the science lab uses for two weeks, and some odd plants that are placed around the podium at graduation. And like five aloevera plants that no one knows are there.
I started growing tomatoes, peppers, kale, artichokes, more peppers, more tomatoes, various plants that look pretty and I forget the names. My assistant climbs over the fence around the greenhouse if the sun comes out (like today) and checks on my tomatoes. I should grow pot...

I live in a random world but I guess that is just fine.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I passed my test and test the RekOKut

Repairing my Rekokut k33h has turned into a bit of an obsession. That, and growing peppers in the greenhouse at work. The peppers are doing pretty well, I put them directly in front of the heat that so they're 80°. I'm a little worried about starting them in pots and balancingThe amount of moisture they need versus the amount of moisture applied is a little bit difficult.
Yesterday I took the health and safety portion of the pesticide applicators license test. I took off work and took the test at the local community college. They have pretty tight security in the testing department. Frankly, it was more difficult putting my wallet keys hat and coat into the locker that it was taking the test. I actually had to read the instructions.
And I think I startled the nice ladies with my out-of-control hair. I'm really happy they didn't tell me I looked like a clown on the Simpsons.
I got an 83% on the test. They have trick questions.
I probably would've done better on the test but I was up sussing about where to find a good stylus for a M91e Shure cartridge. 
When I got home, I got ready to put the Engine into the to 135. But I kept thinking about hooking up the RekoKut. 
My daughter was done with softball practice by eight and I went into the house.
She was up for a test run. So I brought the turntable into the living room and hooked it up to my vintage Dynaco System that is supposed to be the entertainment center.
I found the kinks Kronicle album and we cranked up Victoria, until the Clapper thing that turns the lights on kept cycling.
We listen to the Kinks, The Cars, and a couple other albums. On the way to to school this morning she started singing, Waterloo station. She was impressed because she had been there.
I'm doing my best to create an odd and eccentric daughter

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A relapse and more rambling about lawnmowers and tonearms

I though I was getting better.
Last night I started coughing again. I just stayed in bed.
I am still in bed and it is just past noon.
The daughter is now coughing as well.
I was warned it might come back but I of course though I would beat it...
Yesterday I loaded straw and it was cold and wet and windy. This was not unusual and I doubt it set me back. I've been mowing the Baseball field and Softball field all week and that was really cold.
I did give my heavy coat to my new workstudy assistant as she did not dress heavy enough and the weather changed mid afternoon on Friday. I was washing the mower in the rain and she looked so cold hauling pine needles in the rain that I made her take my coat. Then I forgot to stop my other student who was driving off with my other rain coat.
Fortunately the fellow who I replaced was a bit of a hoarder and has a stash of coats and coffee cups which he found after sports events and he had a heavy coat.
We are getting ready for a big track event. For some odd reason it was decided that cleaning under the pine tree between the tennis court and the train tracks was a high priority. My pretty new assistant was commandeered by the irrigation and special projects guy who was convinced that people spent a lot of time in that little area.
The only people I have seen evidence of enjoying that secluded spot are those who turn old PBR cans into chronic pipes and leave empty 16 oz steel reserve cans.
It was ok as everyone looked busy and my other assistant was free to clean up the stands and edge around the Softball field.
But I digress...
Yesterday I was going to sell the last of my annual ryegrass straw and clean up the shed. I arrived to find my extra pile of three-tie straw knocked over with a number of bales missing, only one stack of annual, and then the tire blew on the hay squeeze.
My landlord blocked access for the trucker as he had the well-drillers truck parked in the shed and it wouldn't start.
If the tyre would not have blown I could have had the truck half loaded before they started the dadburn truck.
As it was there were problems. I had to sell the guy two-tie straw and I had problems with several stacks. It took me much of the afternoon.
I had a lot to do when I got home but the guy who I replaced and is the new boiler man texted me to see if I had a chainlift although he called it a chainfall. I guess I'm more optimistic.
I had not used the device in the ten years since my wife got it at a yardsale. I had problems getting it to work and so I took it apart.
There is an aluminum wheel with little knobs on it which match holes on the ratcheting gear. This gear is threaded inside and I think you turn the knob to set the brake to release the chain. I think the tabs allow the gear to move to change the direction of the ratchet.
I drilled out the broken tabs, tapped the holes to 1/4" threads and installed socket head bolts with the heads to the inside. I turned down the heads to match the holes and applied red Loctite to the threads.
It seems to work. This took way too much time and was utterly a waste of precious time.
Lulu wanted to go to Maria's in Amity to shoot pool. I was cold and a little damp but she asked nicely and I figure it is only a matter of time before the figure out that under 21 age kids are not allowed behind the fake half wall to shoot pool when the other half of the Mexican restaurant is also a pub.
The non-Mexican owner figured it out when I showed up with my daughter to play. But, he let us play Foosball for free and we had overpriced Mexican soda pop to make up for it.
Lulu beat me multiple times.
Later that evening I retired to work on the Rek-o-kut.
I am having trouble determining the distance from the spindle to the pivot point on the tone arm. I wanted to use the old Fairchild 282 mounting holes but they are slightly different.
Now I have discovered that the cartridge is not mounted according the the Rek-o-kut specs which makes the effective length of the tonearm different.
I am researching this...
I should be studying for my pesticide applicators license which I most likely will fail. However, I can explain to you the difference between the Baerwaold and the Loefgren theory of calculating tonearm mounting distances to minimize distortion when mounting tonearms.
Somewhere in my head there is a switch that is set incorrectly. There might be two or three...
In a side note, since this post is already so long no one will read it...
This pesticide applicator license pretty much explains why we voted for Trump and why I am overjoyed at his pick for head of the EPA and Education department. The bureaucratic rules and regulations to do anything in the country are insane and most are BS. I spent 8 hours learning the obvious, the pesticide label is the law and the instructions, look to it to find your safety equipment and how to use. If you look at the ingredients and use it for something that is not on the label you had better lie because it is illegal.
There was a discussion of how to kill the bamboo that is pushing up the rubber playground mat at the preschool. I pointed out that we have over a month when there are no children there. Then I kept my mouth shut. As we say out in the country "Shoot Shovel and Shutup"
Also, it is not in my area anymore to I really no longer care... But... If you pick a cold and overcast day and apply crossbow to the recently cut tips of the bamboo they tend to not grow as fast. Hypothetically, I read that somewhere. Actually a local city was experimenting with this direct application of crossbow and glyphosate to control blackberries without spraying the volatile 2, 4-D Esters.

A guide to making protractors and solving equations for proper tonearm alightment and mounting.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Sick day

Yesterday was a nice day, the sun was out and it did not rain. I was stuck at a training class all day. I have to get my pesticide applicators license for my job. I do not get more money. I did not ask for a promotion that would cause me to have to have it. But it is a job requirement which I found in the FinePrint which I did not read. I figured I would have to do it sooner or later.
It was excruciatingly boring. Eight hours of hearing about stupid rules put forth by petty bureaucrats Who have a incredibly unreasonably high belief in the value of their job.
(Note, I am using speech to text on my iPhone while waiting for my daughter to get out of youth group and I probably won't proofread it)
Today I was sick. I have a bad cough, sore throat and I feel like crap.
I spent the day trying to sleep and working on my Rek-o-kut 120 tonearm.
And listening to the Kinks. I was drinking tea for my throats and I felt rather British...
Don't feel British when "tapping the admiral" but a cuppa tea and I joining the Village Green Preservation Society...
But I digress...
Muddy Valley gave me a Rek-o-kut k33H turntable with a Fairchild tonearm sometime ago. The bearings have failed on the Fairchild and so I bought the Rek-o-kut 120 as it has the same mounting footprint as the old Fairchild.
Now that vintage stereo stuff has gone through the roof price wise I only buy things that are broken or unpopular.
So I had to convert the tonearm and headshell from mono to stereo.The wires going to the headshell were bad anyway.
I ended up converting it to a common ground set up. I connected the negative wires from the headshell to the aluminum tonearm.
I found instructions at esoteric
It was quite a challenge soldering the really fine tonearm wire which I bought.
Especially since i had to use powerful reading glasses to see anything.
It took my mind off the pouring rain, my job, going broke, whatever.

UPDATE: Monday I am still sick and my wife suggested I stay in bed. I am still struggling with the mounting of my Rek-o-Kut 120 tonearm. It is not as simple as I thought. There is math involved.  I suspect I was not meant to be an audiophile. I have heard that CD's are the wave of the future.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Turning the baseball field green again

I am getting used to my new position at work.
I really miss my old area because it was beautiful. There were happy pretty college girls who said hi to me every day, and there were very few time-sensitive tasks, there were NO coaches involved, students sometimes bought me coffee, the lady at Security gave me brownies and pumpkin bread, and I had my own area where I could attempt to climb hills with my Gator.
Now that I am the athletics groundskeeper the only real benefit is that I have the greenhouse where I can hide when it rains.
I find it very difficult to hide my farmer abilities when using them will make my job easier.
My current task is to try and get the baseball field green.
I have an issue figuring fertilizer rates on small acreages and using lbs per 1000 sqft. I'm not so good with the mathematics and when the results are meaningless to me I find I have to covert to lbs per acre to make sure I divided the correct direction.
Last week I applied Ironman to the baseball field as it was looking a touch on the yellow side.
Ironman is a slow release 12-0-8 fertilizer with 14% iron.
The Nitrogen percentage is not the biggest concern as the Iron is what greens the field. It also 0 percent Phosphate which is what you want when you have a severe problem with POA/Annual Bluegrass, The reason the field is so yellow is in fact the Poa problem. Which I will try to solve using a combination of a growth regulator and a wilber-ellis product called PoaConstrictor. To do this I need to get my commercial applicator's license. I'm not thrilled.
Here is the problem that plagues me.
The fertilizer spreader combined with my driving and lack of concentration is less than accurate. A difference of one 50lb bag on 30,000 soft is a visible difference. A 50lb difference on 30 acres is nothing. So...I applied 6lbs per 1000 soft on the baseball field and 10lbs per 1000 soft on the softball field. Basically because I put an extra bag in the fertilizer spreader and I didn't want to drive back to the baseball field to spread it out.
The math to put it into perspective for farmers like me.
6lbs x 43 = 258lbs per acre vs 10lbs x 43 = 430lbs per acre. The softball field is a beautiful shade of dark green...
Then there is the figuring of the fertilizer rates. Mainly total lbs applied vs total lbs of NITROGEN. This is a big one. According to what I've read sports fields should take at least 250lbs of N per year. Probably in something like six applications. Depending on the percentage of N in your mix this could be from 500lbs to 800lbs per acre of total fertilizer.
Or 11 to 18lbs per 1000 sqft total applied product.
But when you say 6lbs of N per 1000 sqft it sounds like a lot less...
My supervisor tends to get those two very important numbers turned around. I don't follow what he is saying because lbs per 1000 sq means nothing to me.
But, I suspect I'm boring you all.
I'm growing heirloom tomatoes, kale, collard greens, garlic, peppers and cilantro in the greenhouse but don't tell anyone. No one has figured out we maintain a compete green house to be able to rotate 14 plants in the library... Depending on how you figure it. Actually there are 28 plants because we rotate them.
Have a nice week...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another phone

My replacement iPhone 6s died. A flashing line would periodically appear at the top of the screen and the screen would quit responding to touch.
My iCloud account was full as I apparently checked the back up photos option. So, it didn't back up.
I attempted to back up and restore from my iBook. This did not restore the apps that Apple no longer blesses.
I had to find a new blogger App.
I'm using it.
I can now add links and videos easier.
I think...

Below is what it looks like using a reel mower in two inches of water.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A train wreck...

Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl in Texas...

Absolutely hilarious...

Confirms what I've always thought about sports addicts wearing funny costumes and showing together.

No wonder Hilary almost won the election..

On the other hand, toilets are flushing all over America right now.

I hate my iPhone 6s continued

Now I am really screwed.
I just can't leave the phone alone.
I have been trying to shut it off or connect it to my computer.
I took out the sim card and put it in a different phone.
But I can't unlock my broken phone.
I type in the password and it will not recognize the last digit.
Then it suddenly started typing on its own.
Now it is locked.
If it was not 1/8" think and made of aluminum foil it would never bent in the first place. I swear I was backing everything up to iCloud and Google Drive but nothing shows up on my spare phone.
I would kind of like to go back to my old android but I robbed the SD card from my daughter's GoPro.
We are a tech family, sort of...
So I have to drive 30 miles to the Apple store to have them tell me to go to the Verizon store.
This is the main reason not to buy an iPhone. 
Don't buy anything that you have to drive 30 miles to have them tell you they can't fix it...

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