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Friday, November 26, 2010

Weather turns nice, things get busy

Well finally the weather gives us a break. Temperature soared to +20F today so I was able to do a bit of catching up on jobs that were not too attractive at below zero temps. Pumping summer diesel out of tractors , adding thinner and pumping it back in. Installing snow blower and spending hours blowing snow off my yard and driveway.
My old reliable Massey Super 90 has developed a major water pump leak so I can't use it to put hay bales out until I fix it. That looks like a difficult job so I removed the front end loader to at least improve the accessibility to the engine. Now I'll have to find an alternative to handle the big bales til the Massey is back on the job. The first option I think will be to install the bale spear on the 3 point hitch of an even older tractor. The 1953 Cockshutt 40 currently has the snowblower on it so I'll have to make that switch. Hopefully we will not get a major blizzard while I have the snowblower off. Just in case we do get snowed in I think I will install the dozer blade on the "new" tractor, my 1980 model 2090 Case. It will push snow clear into next winter and all in the comfort of a heated cab so I guess things will be under control for the time being.
I cheated a bit with this picture, its not from today, or even yesterday. In fact it was taken in 1990. Same yard and tractor (and driver) though.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Whats Wrong With This Picture


No, not the one above showing my neighbour's wheat and my tractor and house. I'm referring to the price of the wheat in the picture. I just got the returns for a semi load and a half of spring wheat and the results are less than inspiring. The gross price per bushel is $3.20 per bushel which I guess is not all that bad for #3 wheat (although I really question the grade as it is sure some nice heavy wheat.
The net price per bushel is a different story. By the time all the deductions such as elevation, rail freight, terminal cleaning, weighing and inspection, are taken into considerations, I end up with the princely sum of $1.70 per bushel. My Dad was getting that much for the same wheat back in the 1960s. True enough, theres a good chance the wheat board will have an interim and final payment coming to us later this year so it may look a little better then. But still, when over half the value of your grain is deducted by the "middle man" it makes me wonder why we are bothering to grow wheat .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day


Remembrance day 2010, the day we remember those who served in the military over the years, both past and present. I missed last years as I was still harvesting. Luckily this year I am finished with harvest and a good thing since we received about a foot of heavy snow in the past 24 hours. So I did not get out today either as the yard is heavy going and highways are not great driving conditions.
The above picture was taken near Oldenburg, Germany, just after the end of WWII. My Dad and a group of the guys from the 18th anti-tank battery sitting around an Archer self propelled gun. No doubt feeling pretty good that the fighting is over and they have survived and looking forward to going home.
My Dad never had a problem discussing his military experience and I wish now I had taken more time to listen or ask questions. He made some life long friends in the 18th anti tank battery and they kept in touch over the years and at reunions.
Dad put down some of his experiences on paper in the last years of his life so we are lucky to have those records along with many photos like this one.
One of these days I hope to put them all together into a book form, just to preserve a little history,, lest we forget.
Going back a little further, heres my grandfather, H. Nevard's wedding photo. 1919, just after he finished his military service in the Canadian army , 195th battalion in WWI.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Reprieve from Winter


Great news, last week's snow has mostly melted and its nearly record high temperatures here the past few days. Time for us to catch up on a few jobs that need doing before winter sets in.
Unfortunately that snow last week contained a lot of water that will only add to our already saturated soil problems. Every slough is full and running over to the next one. Culverts and creeks are running like spring time, something I don't ever recall seeing at this time of year.
The wet conditions add to the problems of moving grain. I had to use the big Magnum tractor and borrow a neighbour's huge nylon tow rope to pull a loaded semi of wheat this evening after it became stuck in a patch of mud and melting snow.
That picture above shows the results of my unsuccessful attempt to pile some of the flax straw. The soil surface is so wet that the blade pushes mud into the piles which is not acceptable. Mud causes the straw to stick and wrap on the tractor wheels. Guess it will have to wait til spring (or freeze up).