The Useful Duck!

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Monday, September 21, 2020

A day off

 I took today off work. I didn't expect to do so.

Sunday evening I was attempting to find Bass with poor judgement and attention deficit disorder who would actually strike shiny objects in the river. 

I caught leaves, sticks, algae, and lost my lure. 

I actually lost my lure on the first cast. I was a bit over eager and I snagged it in a tree across the river. I took off my pants and waded after it. The water was pretty warm for a recent 2 inches of rain so I took the opportunity to fish pantless for a while. Rather liberating. Probably disturbed the neighbors. Although I heard no laughing so I assume I was not observed.

I didn't even get a bite.

I was packing up when my wife called. She was going to retrieve the daughter from college. Daughter is sick and there is an outbreak of Wu-Flu on campus.

I have 120 hours of Personal Time Off and my boss is absolutely terrified of the Wu-Flu so I'm home. I was hoping it was just a quick bout of the crude but it seems more serious. No coughing. I'm waiting for the doctor to call.

I have a photo from my birthday dinner. My wife made me apple pie.

Pie makes me happy!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Smoke, Hay, The Birthday Party that didn't happen, and Random Noise

Today might be my birthday. I can't remember my age. 

I wanted to renew the Daily Strumpet Birthday Extravaganza but since the DS only exists in random archives and in my muddled brain I suppose no one would understand. Plus, Flying Pig Fiddle and Banjo are somewhere in Iowa.

The plan was to make it The Budd E. Shepherd memorial film festival. But BESMFF is not really that great an acronym. I sort of stalled out there.

Next was a decision on main features.

I have in my collection, Fury of the Pagans, (sword and sandal epic), Gumball Rally (The first one with boobs and the Mercedes though the sign), King Kong (without the gaint spiders), a Gene Autry Movie, Three reels of The Blues Brothers (turning a bit red and some sprocket damage) and miscellanies Woody Woodpecker, Farmer Alfalfa, Felix the Cat (in Spanish) and farm girls from 1960 sexing corn in short-shorts. (don't even ask why).

But... The daughter has a sore throat and isn't coming home from college. I didn't get around to inviting anyone. My wife isn't real excited. I am lazy. Crowds make me stressed. I'm not sure I have spare projector bulbs. I'm not really sure who to invite. There might be fist-a-cuffs between Looney Lefties and Trumpets (BONUS!) and it would probably just degenerate into a hemp fest as I've got 1000lbs of buds in the barn. I figure hemp smoking is like my shooting skills. If you can't shoot accurate shoot often applies to pot smoking as well. If your hemp has .4% THC you gotta have a bonfire!!!  Which would lead to calls to the local fire department and noise complaints as the whole neighborhood would be playing Willie Nelson.

Good thing I didn't get around to having a party. 

In other news...

Last week the smoke was thick. 

Mowing the baseball field in the smoke

The air quality index was off the chart!!!

We had to wear N95 masks. This is the mask at the end of the day. 
It was pretty funny. When we had a strange virus that might or might not make you sick and probably wouldn't kill you we were sent home. When clouds of noxious smoke that really will make you sick, (like smoking four packs a day but with out the buzz, they said) we were issued N95's and sent to work. Go figure...

Then the weather changed. We baled our 5 acres of Alfalfa at haylage moisture levels. This was not a huge problem as the yield was four bales per acre. 
This is a photo of the last bale. Note that it is broken. I suspect that the moisture in this bale is more like 35% than 22%. One nephew is baling and one is applying hay preservative. 
This was Thursday evening and they bales are not hot. They are probably just going to turn to mush.
Friday though Saturday we got at least an inch of rain. I should have taken a photo of mowing the baseball field in a downpour but I was too wet and cold.
Today it is sunny!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Meanwhile at the end of the world

 Oregon has caught on fire. We had a 100 degree heatwave followed by wind and 13 percent humidity.  

It was one of those 100 year events I suppose. Lots of people expected this to happen. 30 years ago Oregon stopped doing actual forest management. Once the environmentalists figured they could make money fundraising the plight of various supposedly endangered species there has been no such thing as a longterm sustainable forests program. Every timber sale for insect damaged timber is met with a lawsuit. You can't build roads, local timber companies sold out to national companies who replanted and moved on to the other side of the country where trees are planted in rows.

Plus, fire department don't really put out fires anymore. They follow lots of rules and procedures designed to prevent personal injury insurance claims or liability claims and should a fire actually get put out that is a real bonus. I mean really, it's all insure isn't it?

So when fires started popping up all over the state it turned into a major emergency. At first people listened to the authorities and evacuated. However, it seems that you actually want to save your community and you are not faced with 35 mph flames, you and a few neighbors are better off evacuating the family but a few people who are not on a fire department and bound by procedure, staying behind with water trucks and shovels and bulldozers.  AND most importantly, keep quiet about it. The law of the 21st century is "shoot, shovel, and shut up." You could replace shoot with drive a bulldozer. If there is a lot of smoke they can't record you with an airplane.

I find it pretty interesting to hear what is going on from people involved in firefighting or law enforcement as opposed to what is on the news. People are going back into level three evacuation zones and looting. There may be more going on than that. Perhaps fires set to cover crimes or just random crazies? Procedure over performance and if you do take a risk that may save a life you will lose your job. Just as the former Oregon State Fire Marshal.

It might rain Monday. We did that. Hopefully someone will thank us. When it looked like a week of 40 mph wind and 12 percent humidity we cut alfalfa. Oregon may burn but we were going to have the best alfalfa ever. With the wind came clouds and high humidity and now that it is time to bale we are expected to have rain. The rain will coincide with the point where the Alfalfa is ready to bale. Probably will rain Wednesday. It would have been Monday but I restacked damaged straw piles instead of fluffing the hay Saturday.

The smoke rolls in... I took this picture when I got home from work Monday. The fires were with in 40 miles. On fire was in the hills above my daughter's college. She could see the fire from her dorm room.
This is the view near sunset looking towards Muddy Valley. (sort of)
This is the view after the fellow who came to haul the straw stacks had a few problems loading the stacks. I spent Saturday pulling the bales into rows and restacking them.

I'm not sure how this facebook link will work. It is too a local news story about lack of resources. You need to look a the comments. Several logging and construction companies have offered help. It has been turned down. A firefighter's wife states that untrained people are a liability. That is the mentality and it is BS. You don't need to be a firefighter to drive a bulldozer and make a firebreak. Or drive a water truck. Ten minutes of instruction and you are fine. Plus, loggers have to put out their own fires. Probably know more about fighting fire in the woods than a city firefighter any day.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

The never ending hemp processing

Art was wondering what happened to the lazy hemp farmer...
He suggested too much Bud for Budd! He could have been correct!

The process is never ending.
We finished stripping buds off all the hemp plants. I dried everything and put it in large bags. They are 36" by 36" by 46" high.
We still have our contract with the processor. Our CDB levels should be around 12%.
Labor costs were starting to really eliminate any spare cash. We hired a couple people who were connected with the farm where we are processing the hemp.
When we finished stripping the hemp we took a couple days off to reorganize and figure out what needed to be done next.
There are six bags of material that test 7% CDB. We need to sort stems out of this so that we can improve the ratio buds 13% CDB to leaves 2.6% CDB, (according to the calculations of my workstudy girl who helped during Christmas break and is a genius).
While we were shut down we got robbed.
The farmer got hit worse. He lost a generator and tools. I didn't think we lost any material as the person who is supposedly the thief weights 300lbs and could squeeze though the locked door.
(I have now installed a second lock on the door so you can't pry the door away from the post.) Word is that he got a few pounds from me also.
The end result is that I have no one to help sort hemp.
I am able to get college kids on the weekends.  I'm really hoping my Workstudy girl doesn't get stuck in Vietnam because of the virus. She went home for New Years and has to fly though Hong Kong to get back. I'm thinking I will try to recruit this coming week as there is a winter break at my college. Going to also have to call in the daughter. I have nephews but they are a little hard to find.

The worst problem I have now is that hemp absorbed moisture from the high humidity and I may have to re-dry and re-bag most of it. If I do that I will use plastic bag liners and use a vacuum pump to remove the air. Then I will put CO2 or Nitrogen gas in the bags.
I need to just finish this project up. The price is terrible but we do have a floor price in our contract. I'm tired of working on this every evening and recruiting my wife and various college kids and people without valid ID to help.
Sometimes I feel like the little red hen...

In other news, yes I am still a groundskeeper. I love blowing leaves in the pouring rain. I am happy all the day long!
This is an art installation on campus. This is what you can do with $42,000 when you study art...
I think the cleaning services guy was disappointed when he tried to change the roll of paper...

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