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Monday, October 20, 2014

Another Day In The Field


Not the greatest photo but the one I took today turned out to be invisible so this one is from yesterday. . Just one small problem in a series of bigger ones . I am going to try and be like Bud E. Shepherd and remain an optimist and have a positive attitude though.
With that in mind I will not complain about getting stuck in the mud with the swather (again) and pulling it out myself (with a little help from the tractor). Flax swathing went well aside from that. The walk for the tractor through moose territory was uneventful thankfully.
And of course the biggest bright spot in the day was that I did not burn down the combine even though there was smoke coming out of the feeder house from the smoldering bundle of flax straw that had somehow wrapped and accumulated on the return auger shaft just above the cylinder on the 7721 combine. I really need a new pair of gloves without holes in them. Although the holes in mine did help me detect where the hot spots were on the combine. No serious burns luckily.
Again on the positive side it was a beautiful warm day with record breaking high temperature. Exactly what I need to get the harvest done. I would prefer not to have wasted at least two of the good hours on mud and fires but hopefully there will be more weather like it. I need a few good days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stuck In The Muck

I should have taken a picture, but it was dark. Maybe I could have entered it  at stuck in the muck As it was I was more intent on just getting the swather out of the mud holes I had dug with the wheels and back onto (mostly) solid ground.
Just another chapter in this season that has been plagued by too much rain, muddy ground and drowned out crops. Maybe if it had not been dark I might have noticed how muddy it was getting as I worked my way farther up the hill side. Those big fat "turf tires" have excellent floatation but at some point they run out of traction and turn to smooth , tractionless doughnuts.
Lucky for me my "support crew" had just showed up to drive me home for the day. Instead they got to help me move a tractor down from the next quarter and pull the swather out of the mud.
Its only an 80 acre field but could take quite a while to swath if I have more of these incidents. Some of those drowned out patches are 90% foxtail and not worth cutting, but the good patches are fairly decent. Too bad the frost hit early and damaged some of the seed . I think it is going to take a long time to fill the combine hopper this year.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Harvest Thanksgiving

Only in Canada as I know the U.S. has their's later. I had an uncle who used to say it was too early for thanksgiving. Too early to sing the hymn "All Is Safely Gathered In", and he would sometimes refuse to go to the Church service to give thanks since he had not yet been able to finish harvest. Many are in that position this year as harvest is late due to wet weather.
I still have a ways to go but am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as I finished the standing wheat today and only have a few acres of oats and flax left to do. This last field of wheat was thin and short in places so I made good time. Acres per hour were high, bushels per hour not. Glad to be done in the "swamp" that this field has become. I have no end of respect for the mud handling capabilities of the 1660 CIH combine. Those big Goodyear tires were churning up mud numerous times, to the point that the rear wheels would not even steer anymore. And still it maintained forward motion. Having two big tow ropes on stand by must have been good insurance. Its not hard to stay awake on this job having to keep close watch for water down under the crop canopy, or that "sinking feeling" as the wheels quite literally sink in mud. The hydro starts to whine a little as forward motion slows. Its an adventure......
Lots to be thankful for including good friends and family who put on a special thanksgiving/birthday dinner today.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

In a Flap Over Ducks

Its been in the news the past couple of days. Certainly not great timing for any organization to put out an ad blaming farmers and their draining land for flooding problems elsewhere. But that is what Ducks Unlimited apparently has done.  It has stirred up angry reactions from farmers on the Western Producer site  Not surprising at all. We are losing acres to flooding here every year. Roads have been built up and flooded again as the water table continues to rise. Pumps running 24/7 in some areas to bring the levels down on some of the municipal roads.
No question we have always known this is "pothole country" and we grow a lot of ducks for that reason. We have always been used to farming around the sloughs but recent years have expanded those potholes into small lakes in some cases. We are farming the high spots while some very productive land lies under water or growing cat tails. Dreams of next year getting back to "normal" don't come true and the water just keeps increasing.
 In other news, tried a sample of wheat today and it tested over 18% moisture so I parked the combine and went back to bale hauling. Beautiful day, just not dry enough to combine yet. Man, those fields are wetter than ever since the last rain. Ducks should be happy.

A Sunny Day to Haul Hay

It was a nice sunny day with not too much wind and "seasonal" temperatures. Since I felt the grain would be not quite ready to combine I decided to get some hay bales hauled. Big plans of two trips soon got trimmed down as complications set in. Installing the bale spear and having to re-set the brackets. A little tire maintenance, tractor needed fuel. Loading took forever as I had to carry the bales up the hill to load on a level spot. Running a tractor with no brakes means level ground is essential for loading bales. Its a ten mile round trip on an open tractor so this job needs to get done before it gets really cold.
It was the first working road trip for the Massey Super 90 this year since the head gasket replacement and it passed the test with no problems.
By the time I was home with the load and emptied the trailer it was close to sundown so that was the end of my road travel for the day. One trip down, Probably five more to go.
Nice scenery and I should have taken more time to set up this photo but didn't have much to spare. Out on the stubble field at Winstanley Grove.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Days Of Clouds

And then a half day of sunshine. That is what we have had for the past week it seems. Not what we need for harvest. I've got in one afternoon in the combine in the past seven days, but I've already covered that in the last blog post. Showers predicted for this afternoon which will set us back again. Looks like plenty of opportunity to catch up on some of the "non harvest" jobs around the farm. Like hauling sand and gravel which I did yesterday. Its low quality material but it is close by and free so its what I use. This nice sunset scene ended the day as I was parking the machinery back in the shed. Red sunset??