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 muddle 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, June 7, 2020

Random irritations which I have not proof read

I've been listening to George D. MacDonald books which I've downloaded from Audible.
I have read them all before so a lot of what I find interesting is the social commentary and the comparison between now and 1965-1979.
I really had forgotten the utter BS that was the 1970's.
Pretty much the same as now. I find it pretty amusing that "kids today" make fun of the "Boomers" as they are exactly the same as sanctimonious and pretentious morons as their grandparents.
I also find it interesting to see that the propaganda/cynical manipulation of disadvantaged people by the educated elite of the 1970's is now accepted as gospel truth today.
I suspect that actually reason MLK was knocked off is the same reason Bill Cosby got his kink exposed, they opposed the institutional victimization of black people. You must have class conflict to further the revolution.
I understand systemic racism a lot better now that I spent a winter stripping hemp with poor white folk. It is pretty simple.
If you are white and your parents get caught up in drugs, crime, if you have a single parent and live near the poverty level, it is really hard to move up. If you don't do well in school and you don't have parents to force you to study, get a job, learn self discipline, and your influences/roll models glorify your failure, you will end up 34 years old with a face tattoo, riding a BMX bicycle because you never got around to paying off your traffic tickets, you are going to get profiled and harassed by the cops.
I see those people every day...
I get profiled myself. In my life of driving crappy cars I've found that looking a certain what and driving a certain car will guarantee that I will have a broken license plate light and I will get pulled over. It is almost amusing to see the cop's expression change when he discovers he has stopped a grumpy old farmer with a car he bought at an auction and not a potential meth dealer.
Of course I've had to be more careful now that I'm carrying around felon possession amounts of hemp. (I can prove it is not weed. I carry the test in the car with me)
I find it amazing that in the 1970's activists laughed about changing the interpretation of statistics showing black people commit more crimes per capita to the interpretation that black people are targeted solely because of their skin color.
Of course the problem is that white liberals are idiots.
I see it at work and the way my college treats students. There is no challenge to be excellent. Everyone is defined by their victim status. Work study students are not challenged to work, we are just their low paid babysitters.
It is really pretty depressing.
In other news, I'm thinking of becoming a labor activist.
I do hate progressive politics and unions in general but our new president is determined to screw us.
He loves slogans.
He thinks he is a man of the people and his favorite jingoistic slogan is "one (insert name of our third rate college here)."
Our college is a very hierarchal benevolent dictatorship sort of bureaucracy. Back when the college was actually relevant to the local community we had a lady president who saw the college community as family. I was talking to a long term security person at the college the other day. He was telling me how the president used to walk with him and talk to him when he was doing his rounds at 4 a.m. He laughed when I asked him if the new president hung out with him.
We have a couple employee associations. There is an association for for hourly employees which I am a board member. This association has a contract with the college. We provide representation if you are called into HR or if you have to meet with a supervisor. We have an agreement which spells out our rights and benefits.
The administration of the college really hates this. They continually try to redefine our agreement and it always results in an interpretation which devalues us.
They really hate our free tuition benefit. It used to be that if you worked at the school for over 5 years your dependents could get free tuition even if you quit. Also, there were summer school tuition benefits. The leadership thinks that this costs the school money. The school is begging students to attend. We have a 95% acceptance rate. I doubt they even check your heart beat. Although, if you are the child of an employee they are not real excited to have you as you are getting something for nothing. This pretty much sums up the attitude of the college HR department and the long time department heads and supervisors. Employees are there to collect the (formerly) amazing benefits and do a moderate amount of work for not very much pay.
We are expecting an announcement at our next meeting.
I'm researching how to organize a real union. I'm not going to join it. I just want to irritate the people power.
I'm especially irritated with he president who pretended care about us working class stiffs but really is just using his position to hang out with celebrities.
Ah, the undeniable virtue of the oppressed...

In other news...
It is a rainy Sunday and I'm trying to come up with a more concentrated hemp tonic. A former Workstudy student came to see me yesterday. She is now a physical therapist and was quite excited about the benefits of topical CBD applications.
I've found that just soaking the shake/trim in Everclear gives mixed results. I have some concentrated crude which I was trying to infuse with alcohol to boost my leaf based tonic.
My daughter wanted to listen to records so I put on Tom Waits, Night Hawks at the Diner, followed by Tom Petty, "Southern Accents," Now we are on MC-5 "Kick out the Jams."
Haven't heard much from her.
Tom Waits does "Phantom 309" if you want to get confused on your Trucker Music genre.
MC5 does "Back in the USA."

Sunday, May 3, 2020

A rambling post including Wu-Flu, Hemp, Farming

It has been a while...
I've composed several blogs in my head but have not actually posted them.
Since the "Pandemic Lite" started, life has certainly changed.
I am still working at the college.
I am an essential worker.
We divided into three teams which work three days a week.
The other two days I "work for home." I actually do work from home. I rebuilt the new sprayer my college bought me. I took sexual boundary and harassment training. I though briefly about lawn mowing.
The rest of the time I spent catching up on things which I have neglected for the past four years I've been working off the farm.
No-Tilling oats at the top of the hill

I've also been pushing hemp tonic. My hemp tonic is made from left over leaves and buds soaked in Everclear. I soak them for three weeks and then strain out the solids and put the alcohol mixture in a spray bottle. Hispanic people buy it. Apparently people in Mexico do this with the actual weed.
I have repeat customers so I guess it works. I use it for hand sanitizer. I tried a couple sips as people do take CDB internally for things like Parkinson's disease but it really tastes bad. Not something you really want to ruin a full cup of coffee with.
The whole Wu-Flu debacle has been pretty depressing. What is really sad and depressing is what will follow. If say ten percent of the population had died then world wide quarantine measures would be heroic. However, the Wu-Flu seems to mostly his rest homes and places where people are really squashed together (NYC) or have been sharing a lot of bodily fluids (spring break).
We are at the point where people who have small businesses are going to lose everything. When faced with the choice of going broke at age 55 and losing your house and all your life savings or getting really sick but probably not dying people are going to not choose losing everything.
So we have a conflict between those who have really good unemployment, an essential job (like me), or compromised immune systems, versus those people who are going to lose their homes or in other countries, people who will starve.
Politicians and Governor's can't deal with this choice because they can't understand the choice. The concept of losing your life's dream has never occurred to them. They don't think that way. If they did there would be a lot fewer sexual harassment accusations towards people in power.
I think we are going to have to go back to work. And I think there will be a spike in Wu-Flu cases as different groups start interacting and different levels of immunity come into contact again. (because that is how it works with cows...) Then the idiots that run the world will do exactly the wrong thing. Not sure what the wrong thing will be but they will do it. It will divide along party lines for sure but there will be legislation that will remove our personal freedoms and make us more vulnerable to pandemics.
That is my opinion.
This photo sums it up. Sports fields are closed at my college. The tiny golf green and the hammer throw are behind this fence. It is the only sports field with no gate. Someone put up caution tape. There are only a few people wandering campus during the day. Sometimes people go around the caution tape and sit on the bench by the hammer throw.
The only people this tape keeps out are the one guy who works for Utilities that likes to hit golf balls on break and people on lawn mowers. I do not tell people to leave because I don't care. Unless they are damaging the lawn.
Keeping America safe by restricting all open spaces
In other news...
I have been thinking about my lack of blogging.
I have an hour lunch and I'm bored to tears for 30 minutes so I could blog or write the Daily Strumpet.
Here is a shotgun list of all the issues:
When I get home I tend to work.
I don't think I'm funny anymore.
Mechanical problems:
Back in the day, I had a PowerBook 180, a giant monitor, and a GCC BLP II laser printer. I used a real camera and sometimes developed my own pictures. In someways it was easier to print the Daily Strumpet than it was to do a Blog. Or more fun..
Tunnel Vision on the PB180

Currently, I have a MacBook Pro 2010 which locks up unexpectedly with large programs and won't shut down properly so the battery is always dead. I take photos with a non-iPhone and send them to Google Photos. Then I have to download them to my glitchy MacBook. The Blogger App does not work on my phone.
When I was blogging every day, my MacBook Pro worked. I used an iPhone or a digital camera and you could just hook up a cord to the computer and import the photos into a named folder created by Graphic Converter. I don't think things work as well as they used to work.
I'm looking at a 2017 MacBook Pro with 8gb ram, 256 gig HD, 13" screen, and the Adobe Creative suite installed for $750, might have another six months of AppleCare. I really don't want to spend the money but the battery life is amazing. My daughter bought one for college and she loves it. HD failed and AppleCare replaced it with 500gb flash drive and the guy she bought it from offered to replace the software.
I don't know. I've go so much work to do and not that much enthusiasm.

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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