The Useful Duck!

Contribute to my Vacation, please...

Sunday, May 29, 2022

I am still lazy, barley is barely up, hay got rained on, I am a bad employee

I am skipping my college's graduation. 

I always volunteer to help on graduation Sunday. It is not really volunteering as I get overtime pay for helping and a free lunch. It usually turns out to be like ten hours.

Friday morning I unvolunteered. I am not sure why. I told everyone my daughter was coming home. This is really not a big deal as she only lives 15 miles away. The real reason was I just didn't feel like doing it.

I would have gone if my work best friend would have gone. We usually work together. We are both problem solvers so we go off and fix stuff. We can drive tractors and move trailers and try to find the easy way to do things. 

There is also a big problem with the graduation field that drives me absolutely nuts. We have had a lot of rain. The people who put out the chairs put down plywood for walkways and then left the plywood for two weeks. When they removed the plywood the walkways are yellow from dying grass. It is wrong... I will get constant commentary about it  and I will have to see it. 

Then I will have to note that the grounds department was kicked out of the process three weeks ago and that puts me back into the negative view of my job. My college spent a lot of money on a conflict resolution company that finds out what you are doing wrong in management. They produced a nice report that listed several really obvious things and then that was it.

Here is an example of what happens at my college.

We got a bonus from the COVID giveaway. This was awesome until you read the fine print. The bonus was two percent of your pay with a minimum of $1000.  So you are really grateful for the $1000, until it is pointed out that 1. All of us in facilities are getting the minimum, meaning no matter how qualified and how many years you have worked, you will never make $50,000. 2. People making over $50,000 just gave themselves a bonus. 3. In this economy, with housing costing $1,800 a month, gas at $5, you can't live on less than $35,000 and that is considered a good wage at my college.

They should have just given everyone the same bonus. 

I personally don't care. I am not going to look down on $1,000. I appreciate the gesture!  However, a number of people who have worked longer than I were cynically laughing about it. 

The work culture at my school, perhaps the whole culture at my school, needs to be looked at if they really want to do something. Or they could just get rid of the people who have been there a long time and have attitudes.

In other news....

Last week I no-tilled barley. It is barely up. (See what I did there) It actually looks really good. 

It is always gratifying to see no-till working.

We also cut hay ten days ago when the forecast looked good. 

It doesn't look so good now.

This was the problem. Serious stem moisture. The hay passed the twist test where you grab a handful and twist it three times and see if all the stems break. It also passed the loose hay test with a moisture tester, but the joints were we as can be.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Sun comes out and I am of course not ready. Perhaps I will go fishing!

The rain has stopped and the sun is shining. My weather app says the rain will return in ten days. It is May 22. Should we cut hay? The retired fellow who comes out and helps in between garage sales and drinks a lot of coffee says the ground is too wet.

It I were home on the farm full time I would cut. I would set the mower narrow and mow 20 acres. I would not touch the hay for two days. On third day I would run the Tedder on it and spread it wide. Ted it again the fourth day. Hopefully rake and bale on the fifth day. Maybe... It always changes.

It is all academic as I have not adjusted the baler knives. The mower tractor is on the feed grinder and still has the duals on it. Plus, I didn't check the hydraulic pressures to see why the hydraulic system is so noisy, and I didn't fix the door latch.  I was also going to change the new disc mower PTO to 1000 rpm so there would be more of a choice of tractors to use.

Instead of doing actual useful work this winter I made feed, built a trailer that sort of works, took my White 2-60 apart and busted the exhaust manifold off, ordered parts which won't be here for a week, and otherwise did nothing useful.

This what the inside of a CAV injector pump looks like. I replaced the o-rings on the throttle and fuel shut off shafts. I only had to take it apart four times!
Will you look at that! All back together again. I even used my special SK wire twisting tool to affix the safety wire!

Thursday I was dispatched to find more Perennial Ryegrass seed. I replanted the Baseball field and was doing quite well till I returned from lunch and picked the wrong mark to start. Since we are planting at 5lbs per thousand square feet which is like 250lbs per acre. Half an acre or so overlap does go through the seed. I was able to talk baseball with a sales rep and score 500lbs of hard to find seed. Then I ended up with 800lbs. The college crummy is not as heavy duty as one might have expected!

The seed company is right next to the International Dealer so I stopped in to look at Great Plains drill. I really want to try out this drill on our 11 acre practice field. I actually have been contemplating buying a small no-till drill and planting pasture, government conservation projects, and cover crop between Filbert rows. I am not sure I really want to deal with planting for those sort of people after working for a college for years. Not sure I have the patience.

One of the nephews got a swather out and cut five acres. This is good as it will put the pressure on to work on the stacker and the baler.

When it looks like an early spring we work like crazy and get everything ready to go. When it is a late and rainy spring we always seem to be behind.

Saturday I no-till planted barley into the dead spots in the clover field. I found a little clover to put with it. I planted the barley at something like 200lbs per acre and the clover at 5 lbs. This will be good for the hay as the barley and clover need rain to sprout as I did not roll the field after planting. So I figure the potential for a planting failure will offset the potential for a hay failure.

I could find a roller and pack the whopping five acres of barley or I could take the dog fishing. 

What would the Lazy Farmer do?

Sunday, May 1, 2022

I make misjudgments and misalignments and have a tomato

I spend a lot of time driving around in circles.

My mind tends to wander. In order to keep from texting the President of the University with odd observations and pointless puns I have been designing things in my head. Due to somewhat lack of a connection to reality, or just plain bad judgement, my designs do not always turn out as planned.

Some years ago my wife bought a Harbor Freight trailer at a yard sale. Quite recently I acquired a John Deere Gator. 

I had a cunning plan!

My wife and I have been helping with the landscaping at our Church. I hate filling the pickup with lawn debris as it is annoying to clean it out. I also need to spray fence rows and black berry patches at our different hay fields. What if I had a trailer for my Gator? And, what if that trailer could carry the Gator and then be quickly converted to pull behind the Gator to haul debris?

I have been planning this for a month. Sure the Gator undoubtedly weighs more than the weight limit on the trailer but as a Farmer I know weight limits are really just recommendations. I also didn't realize the price of steel has tripled and plywood for the deck costs more than I paid for the trailer.

But, I was given bigger wheels to fit my trailer and I forged ahead!

Yesterday I decided to see if it would hold up. So I lifted the Gator onto the trailer with the forklift.

I think I have misjudged things a bit...

It actually towed fine. But, when I went to back the Gator off the trailer I discovered that the deck tilted down prematurely as when the rear wheels are off the deck, the front wheels are still over the pivot point.

Good sense would have declared an end to this misadventure as I now have a great Lawn Mower trailer. But, I decided to add a couple feet of deck space. It is not completely finished.

Of course this is the point where all my projects end up. Not quite finished. I still need to add turn signals, bolt the deck down. Make sides for the trailer. Paint it. Details... 

In other news, I had my first tomato of the season! It was quite sweet. I grew it in the College Greenhouse. The greenhouse is over run by aphids. I have tried Lady Bugs, toxic chemicals, lemongrass and soap, and this year I have ordered Green Lacewings. We shall see....

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