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Monday, August 22, 2016

Got It All Done

Canola swathing and hay baling got done today. With a little help. I made good time on the canola swathing as the crop was a little lighter and I could travel faster without plugging the swather. Had the field done by 6:00 pm and then to work on the baler. I'd had a little help from a family member who ran the old hoses into town to have new ones made up for me. I had them re-assembled and headed down the road by 7:00 to bale.
It had been a really hot day and the humidity was well up there. Good news for baling hay as it needed the extra day drying today. The humidity helped it feed better without plugging on the baler pickup and I was done just before dark. Tires were getting wet from the moisture on the grass. Broke another cross bar on the baler chain for un known reasons.
Here is a picture of a "test plot" in my canola field. The green crop standing on the left of the picture actually received no canola seed at all at planting time. I'd run out of seed and just threw in a bit of wheat to finish off that two acres. Then when I sprayed the canola with roundup in June I forgot about the wheat and sprayed right over it. Roundup did a good job killing the wheat. Apparently there was enough volunteer canola seed leftover in the soil to produce a fair stand of crop although it is pretty late and will have to stand a bit longer before I swath it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Best Laid Plans

Of mice and men, gang aft agley. Old quotation by Robert Burns. I don't often have well laid plans. Ideas and hopes maybe but I know how often things go wrong so don't have my plans carved in stone.
This turned out to be a seven day week as I wanted to finish the summerfallow I did not quite finish last night due to time and low fuel. That went so well and quick that I figured why not try the hay too. Although the weather tried to hold me back by threatening clouds and the odd spot of rain, I threw caution to the wind and headed down the road on the open Massey and wheel rake to turn and double up the hay swaths at the hundred acre woods. A lot of the hay looked ready to bale while some was still damp and green underneath. I decided to try and bale at least the driest of it so headed back with the 2090 and baler.

It went well until I was about half way done and I noticed oil spray on the baler hitch which naturally indicates a leaking hydraulic hose. These things only happen when I'm five miles away from home. Never when I'm working near the yard. It was the hose that controls the twine wrapping arm so it only leaked when I had to wrap a bale. But it was quite a leak and I soon realized I would lose a lot of oil if I continued. About the same time I noticed a broken pipe on the cross chain of the baler. Not uncommon on this baler and I even carry a spare. Unfortunately I did not carry a spare bolt to replace the one I accidentally dropped into the baler while trying to bolt the new pipe in place.
Ok, I can work with one pipe missing. But can I manually run the twine wrap as the bale is turning? Probably, but I could also get caught and wrapped up in a bale. Not worth the risk so I headed home in the dark to take off the damaged hoses for repair tomorrow. Looking across the field at my last canola I'm thinking I need to be swathing that pretty quick. With rain forecast for tomorrow night I guess I will have to sacrifice those last few swaths of hay and try and get the canola in the swath tomorrow. It will be an all day job, maybe more, depending on how heavy and difficult it is to swath.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Epic Journey In The 52 Mercury

Ok, it was only 28 miles round trip but it was the longest drive for me and the Merc since 1969 when the car was unofficially retired. I'd had hopes of taking the Merc to the local museum car show for quite a while but was not sure it would happen right up til the actual day. A week of damp and rainy weather left little hope. I didn't want to drive the rusty old car on muddy gravel roads.
The day dawned sunny and clear with a wind drying up the somewhat damp roads. I had a volunteer willing to drive the "new" Chevy II along as a support vehicle. Not everybody can drive a "three on the tree" nowadays.
I loaded up the Chevy's trunk with tools, spare gas, tow rope, and assorted other stuff for whatever possible problems might occur and we set out.
Is that 40+ year old fuel pump going to fail? Fall victim to that old flathead malady of vapour lock? Yes, I had a pail of water along for that problem too. Were the loose rear wheel bearing and whining rear axle going to pile up on the trip? That leak in the radiator going to get worse?
And how about the five gallon fuel tank? Enough to drive 13 miles surely?
With all the improvements to make it street legal I still had not got the "teapot" carburetor working as it should. It requires  judicious pumping of the gas pedal to accelerate without stalling. And you never know when the 14 year old tractor battery under the hood is going to give up the ghost. But keep the pedal down and the old flathead ran smooth and steady once up to speed. I watched that heat gauge pretty closely and it did run higher than I'd seen it on my short runs, but not enough to cause trouble.
The well used oversize Michelins rode pretty well with only a hint of wander in gravel. With no working speedometer I could only guess but found out later I'd been crusing around 50 mph a lot of the time. Not bad. Averaged over 15 mpg too which really surprised me.
At the destination we parked among the rest of the antiques and looked right at home. Although that nice shiny Fairlane beside me made the old Merc look a little weathered and worn.
 No, I did not win any of the people's choice awards and that was no surprise as there were a lot of very nicely restored cars and trucks there. Got a few comments on the very smooth idle of the old flathead V8.
The trip home was uneventful and the road was dry enough that I was getting a little dust in the interior through the various rust holes not yet patched.
For those that are not yet tired of viewing this old Mercury I have a few minutes of video uploaded at youtube showing the trip.
Meanwhile I have a bit  more summerfallow to finish, hay to rake and bale, and the last field of canola is almost ready to swath. Weather permitting, hopefully, all within the next 48 hours. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Time For An Update

First day in the swather cutting canola today. Might be too early, or just right. Sure is  a tall standing crop and at times a real challenge to get it through the swath opening without plugging. It worked better after sundown when the crop got damp. Just at dark I was reminded that I'd had a problem with the lights on the swather last fall. At least the auxiliary field lights work so I was not totally in the dark.
That thunderstorm with rain in it went South of me luckily.
Got plans for a new video when I can get time to edit. I took the 52 Merc on an epic journey on the weekend. 28 mile round trip and the first time it has gone that far from home since 1969. The car attracted some interest at the antique car show at the museum. Nobody made any comments about the rusted out rocker panels and front fenders. Gas mileage exceeded my wildest expectations at just over 15 mpg. The idiosyncrasies of the old "teapot " carburetor requires a certain aggressive driving style that is not conducive to good gas mileage. The new carb kit is in the mail but now it will be a rainy day job as harvest operations take precedence.
video

Monday, August 8, 2016

More Lazy Farmer

No, not Budde Shepherd . This is a link to some actual original newsprint clipped from an old paper and pasted into a scrap book many years ago.  They are in pdf but of course copyright rules prevent me from posting them here.
Its rained again. At this rate I will be swathing canola before I have completed the first cutting of hay.
We did get a break to at least get the old crop canola hauled to market last week. All the rain means the gardens are doing well in the area.
In spite of some hot days I managed to get the new (to me) shed on site and leveled. Its not big enough to hold a vehicle or tractor but it will hold some of the important junk I have cluttering the actual work areas of other sheds.
I sort of wasted a day at an auction yesterday. The machine I was interested in was just too huge and complicated looking so I passed it by even though it went cheap enough for what it was. On the positive side I did win the free draw at the end of the auction and came home with  fifty dollars. Enough to pay for the new carb kit that is in the mail for the #Mercury .

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Business As Usual

Pretty busy considering its summer time. But a quick update. Finally got the baler fixed last week and finished baling. Now waiting for a break in the weather when it looks like I can get three days in a row without rain to cut and bale the rest of the hay.
Big hail some places again last night but only heavy rain here at the yard. Hopefully no hail on the good looking crops.
That spring harvested flax is gone as of last week. High dockage and low weight but thats what it was. Found a bin of old canola with a start of mold in it so I moved the whole thing to another bin. Its looking ok now and I've found a decent price (in this time of very low prices) so its going to be sold pretty quick. No comments on why I didn't sell it for an extra dollar a bushel last winter.
Got over all the summerfallow  in the past week too between rains. Surprisingly not as wet as previous years.
The garden is really starting to produce with great potatoes and the first picking of beans yesterday. There should be plenty to fill the freezer if I get time to pick them all.
Got a new shed to set down and level too. Long story but I couldn't refuse a free shed to store more junk in. Its not big but has a lot of character. Pictures to follow.
Of course I still work in time for the occasional evening drive in the Merc. Got to keep those valves exercised and working.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Heavy Hail

Not on me but a few miles South there are fields that are devastated with close to hundred percent hail damage from Tuesday night's storm. Even the grass in the ditches is too flat to even cut for hay now. Heavy rain, winds, and hail stones broke a few windows, damaged siding on buildings. We dodged the bullet this time but maybe not the next one. We are just entering what used to be considered the high risk time for hail storms. As my grandmother used to refer to the "fateful eighth" of August when they had a major hail storm pass through and wipe out crops.
I took a few poor photos yesterday while driving by some of the damaged fields.
Looking through my cracked windshield at that light coloured field behind the trees shows the damage. It should still be green but is now dyng off due to hail damage. Hail adjusters will be busy.