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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Heat

Seems not long ago we were complaining about the late, cold spring. Today is a real old fashioned summer day with temp near 90 and humidity up to the uncomfortable level. Sitting in the cool basement for a break I thought this cartoon from the "Lazy Farmer " series was appropriate.
I don't know if I'll survive to see the age of eighty-five. And Mirandy won't come through for me because she don't exist, by gee!
Actually haying went pretty well so far. Baling yesterday in the comfort of the cool , dust free cab was quite enjoyable. Some nice hay that had hardly any rain on it. I even shot a little video for youtube when I get it edited and uploaded.  Cutting the hay was a bit of an endurance test with mosquitos and pollen driving me to the limits by the time I quit.
I'm caught up in baling but there is more I could cut. Just have to decide how much more I might need to get the cattle through the winter.
This heat is bad news for the canola crop as the blossoms are really dropping off. It seems to have been a short blooming season anyway. Maybe due to the shallow root system that developed as a result of seeding in the mud.
Of course this weather can bring up summer thunder storms and the threat of the "big white combine" (hail storms) that can wipe out a crop in minutes.
My flax is looking good with the first blue flowers showing up these last few mornings. I don't see a lot of flax seeded locally so maybe I will have a scarce commodity if I'm able to produce a crop of it. Prices are good right now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Moving Canola July 11.



Heres a little video of what I did yesterday. Known in the industry as "turning grain", I moved some of last years canola from several smaller bins into a bigger hopper bin. It was a good day for it although I made some mistakes with the camera taking interesting pictures of the ground as I walked instead of what I intended. The canola dust bothered me a little but not nearly as much as the grass pollen did today as I sat out in the mosquito-ridden hell that is Saskatchewan outdoors this summer.
The open station IH swather offers no protection from the weather , bugs or grass pollen. I used to laugh at people who talked about "hay fever" until the past few years when I have become much more intolerant of grass pollen.
Its like a bad head cold. Between the sneezing , runny nose, itching eyes and wrists (that could have been mosquito bites) I was about at the limit of my endurance.
This swather does not do well in certain types of grass. The knife builds up with material and begins to hammer out a warning that , if not heeded, could lead to expensive destruction of the knife drive gearbox. Slow down! Although at times I was hardly moving at all. A sitting duck for the hungry mosquitos. It was a good windy day that would normally keep the mosquitos and pollen dispersed and offer some relief. Unfortunately there is so much bush on Nevardland where I was cutting that a lot of the time I hardly knew the wind was blowing.
By 7:30 I had enough and drove up onto the transporter to enter the welcome confines of the cab of the Case tractor and drive home in relative comfort.
There is quite a bit more hay I could cut there but I've already cut more than enough to keep my small herd fed for the winter so I will not be in a hurry to go back and cut the rest.
Easterly winds blowing and clouds in the west hint at rain in the near future. Not a good thing for drying hay but I can't control the weather.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Modern Problems

Ok, I guess not modern my some standards, but to me a 1997 vehicle is "modern". My Chevy Blazer , normally ultra reliable, has failed me. It has taken a notion to stalling in traffic at low speeds and only reluctantly re-starting. Like so many newer vehicles the engine is nearly inaccessible to service or diagnose, not that there is much I could fix even if I could get at it.
A mass of electronics, sensors and computer controlled junk. After searching the net I see that this is not an uncommon problem on these vehicles. Unfortunately I have not found a clear and definite diagnosis. It looks like I will need professional (expensive) help on this one.
For the short term I guess I will get back to basics when life was simpler and license this old 64 Chev.
In other farm news, between rains I have managed to cut and bale a little hay for winter feed, shingled the leaky roof on the fuel shed, finish weed spraying, and get at least one summerfallow field worked into good condition. The rest awaits. Grain hauling deadlines approach and keep getting set back every time it rains and makes the grain bins inaccessible. Summer is racing by just as fast as spring did. The heat is on, 80 degrees one or two days. That is about too much for me. Early potatoes are blooming and looking great. Still a couple of rows I should hill but the aforementioned heat and of course mosquitos are making that job a little unattractive at present.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Made It Rain!

Well I actually managed to finish crop spraying today without the rain spoiling my plans. The wind got a little extreme but I was so close to finished that I pressed on and got it done. Unfortunately ran out of herbicide mix with a few acres left to go. Didn't feel like driving back nine miles to mix up another batch for a few acres today in the heat and humidity.
Then I made it rain. Seems I only have to hitch the tractor onto the hay baler and the clouds roll in. I thought I'd get this bit of hay around the yard rolled up in bales before it got soaked but there was so many green patches in the swath that I had to quit. Green hay in a bale is not a good thing. Leads to mold and spoilage which is good for neither man nor beast.
Anyway,the hay that remains in the swaths now is thoroughly soaked with this evening's thunderstorms and violent light show
A rainy year will grow a lot of hay but it becomes a real challenge to get that hay put up in good quality between rains.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 1 Canada Day

I'm old enough to remember when July 1 was still called "Dominion Day".
I spent it as I often do, working a field of summerfallow. Hadn't noticed how striking the big white clouds in the blue sky were until I put this picture on screen. I'd likely been too busy watching the grass and trees to see how much they were moving. Trying to judge if the wind was dropping enough for me to go to work on the job I really needed to do, spraying flax for weeds. Between high wind, high humidity and threatening clouds I have had no luck spraying for days now. I don't recall ever spraying for weeds this late but thats the kind of year its been, everything just a little late.


I did get an early start on haying, cutting some with the swather this week. Its faster than using the old 7 foot mower but the big swaths usually take a long time to dry and need turning with the rake to speed up the process. I really need a hay conditioner but hesitate to spend the money on my small "hobby" herd of cattle. I turned the swaths this afternoon. That usually brings on the rain.

We have had a bit of a break in the rainy weather and fields are drying up. Roads slowly improving and getting repaired although a few trips through with the gravel trucks soon rut them up again. Not sure how I am going to get the grain out of one farm as both trails are under water last time I checked. I really don't want to have to try and pull a loaded semi of grain out of the mud. I'm sure the trucker doesn't either.

Last night there was a bright display of northern lights (aurora borealis), the first I have seen in a long time.