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Monday, October 28, 2013

When Will I Learn?

When will I learn, not to believe the weather forecasters ?. I don't usually consider myself a big gambler but this weekend I did. The weather man said nice weather for the next three days so I decided to wait and let the last patch of flax stand and dry out a little more before combining it. The flax I did harvest Saturday afternoon tested a bit high moisture so a little natural drying would be a good thing. As long as the sun shines and the wind blows. Monday morning woke up to clouds, cold and light snow fall. Wrong again! No harvesting today.

Well the sun did come out in the afternoon and it is looking hopeful for tomorrow except for the below normal temperature. It is getting down near 10F degrees tonight and those diesels will not be easy starters sitting out in the field with no access to plugging in block heaters. Guess I will go armed with booster cables and ether and hope for the best.
I got in a partial day of flax straw burning yesterday on the field that is finished. The heat of the burning straw piles felt good out in the cold wind. Still lots to burn when time permits.

We got the head off the little Super 90 Massey today to find that indeed the head gasket had burned through between #3 and #4 cylinders. Working on this tractor is like a jigsaw puzzle in reverse. Part A is connected to parts C and D which have to be unbolted so you can get part B removed. I will be lucky if I can remember how to put it all back together. Until then, no front end loader to handle bales.
 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Make My Day

October 18th, I still had hope left when I took this photo yesterday evening. The flax straw had been tough going through the combine all afternoon and I had to reduce my ground speed to prevent plug ups. A bit of sunshine and strong winds helped but by late afternoon clouds took over and I could tell things were going downhill. I finished off this little patch of flax and quit before things got too ugly. After tearing up a $318 pickup belt last night when straw wrapped underneath it I was not wanting to do a repeat tonight. The odd spot of rain hit the windshield as I headed for home.
This morning began cloudy as usual, plus fog in the air. Looking out now I see snow falling.
The crop was dry and yielding well. Maybe 35 acres left to do but I guess the deer and moose will have it for the winter now.
There might still be hope for it though. October 29 of 1952 was a beautiful sunny day, or so I am told.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Continuing Harvest

Yes, harvest continues. It seems a long time ago since I started, almost a month. Statistics likely say that harvest is 99 percent complete in this province. As usual I am slightly out of step with the norm. Numerous breakdowns and unco-operative weather are what I blame it on. The few that are still harvesting have called in help and work with fleets of equipment that make my one man/one combine operation look small and inefficient. Well not just one man. I am at risk of offending my ever reliable truck driver who puts up with driving my 42 year old International truck to haul the grain.
I am actually on the last field and it is flax. Standing flax that could be direct cut if my International combine could actually put it through. That is impossible though and has been discussed at length in previous blog postings here. The John Deere pull type handles it well but having only a pickup header, I have to swath the flax before picking it up. Single 21 foot swaths of course. I have found out to my great displeasure that trying to put double swaths through the combine is more trouble than it is worth. After spending too many hours inside the combine with various saws and hooks laying on straw walkers as comfortable as a bed of nails, I came to that conclusion. My nephew finally brought his "sawzall" which eventually cut through the tightly wrapped straw in the beater.
The deer and possibly the moose have been making their trails through the flax. And the bush rabbits that run ahead of the swather are showing disturbing signs of turning white, a sign of winter approaching. As does the chill in the air when I step out of the cab. The flax seed flows almost like water as it pours out of the unloading auger of the combine into the truck box. Good and dry today. Tomorrow, who knows?
In the meantime, read a few interesting comments by the lazy farmer about why we blog.
A day or two ago in another flax field when the sun was shining, unlike today.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Woods In Autumn 2013


October 14, Thanksgiving day in Canada, Columbus Day for our neighbours to the south. Also my birthday. My thanksgiving day/birthday dinner was a spam sandwich which I was quite thankful for. Even more thankful that I finished combining wheat late this evening. Still not dry but in light of the forecast for damp weather in two days I decided to get it done before it gets any worse.
Yes, lots to be thankful for. I could make quite a list of complaints such as spending hours laying inside a combine body with various saws cutting flax straw out of a plugged beater. But its late and I won't get into that now.
I shot this video a few days ago while checking some fence line out in my woods. Beautiful scenery, perfect weather for fencing. Except for the fact that I lost my glasses in the long grass it was a good day.

Friday, October 4, 2013

One Thing About Autumn

It has some fantastic scenery. The leaves are really colorful. It won't last for long so enjoy while it does. Wild winds will soon tear them down leaving only skeleton-like branches.
We have had cold, cloudy days lately with poor drying conditions. So harvest is at a standstill at present as I have finished canola. It was the only crop that had dried to the point I could safely bin it.. Oats at 15.9 percent moisture and wheat at 18.1 will not safely store in the bin for long without spoiling so we wait for sunshine and wind to dry the crop down. Short days now in October even if the weather does improve. No problems keeping busy as I had potatoes to dig, bales to haul. A hopper of tough oats on the combine to put through the hammer mill. And hopefully they will not heat in the feed bin. I guess I will have to keep a close check on them for a few days. This job gave the old Cockshutt 50 a good two and half hour workout on the belt drive hammer mill. With the late start I finished up in almost darkness. Wishing I had got around to connecting up the headlights on the tractor.
When the sun did come out earlier in the day it made for some nice scenery.

This old GMC has not hauled any grain in probably 20 years. It sits rusting away on the farm.
Take a look at the constantly changing skies over my yard in these time lapse photos from October 1.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Into Each Life A Little Rain

.....must fall. Its an old saying that came to mind this morning. Only light mist and clouds out there but its enough to stop harvest. Although it only barely resumed yesterday afternoon before a late evening rain shower shut me down. Anyway, another maybe 500 bushels off the field and into the bin. I don't want to harvest tough or damp canola. Even the dry stuff can get "interesting" when it starts warming up in the bin as one of mine did last week. It gave me something to keep busy with by moving 7 loads from one farm to another to circulate and cool it down. Not that I really needed any extra jobs to keep busy, considering . Bin space is in short supply this year due to the high yielding crops , plugged grain terminals and shortage of grain cars to move grain out.
Potatoes still in the ground to dig, plus a load on the trailer to unload. Numerous loads of hay bales to haul. I tried the gravel truck for that job yesterday and found it was quite unsuited for the job. Only held 3 bales and one fell off on the way out of the field so I guess it is back to the trailer. Some of those first oat bales I rolled up were so damp that they are heating inside. Thought it best to get them off the field seeing as they are surrounded by combustible material (the rest of my oat crop).
Yesterday's evening rain shower provided some good scenery but a rainbow over a combine is something I am never too happy to see. About an hour after this shot we were heading for home in the rain.