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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Its Been A Year

As of tomorrow, the 29th, its a year since I resurrected the 52 Merc out of the woods where it sat for the previous 30 some years.
It was none too encouraging bumping along on 3 flat tires behind the tractor towards the yard.
Parked outside the shop all winter it was too cold to do much serious work but I did get it sitting up straight on 4 tires that held air, for a while anyway. 
By March I had compression on all cylinders and soon running and moving under it's own power. It made it's first trip down the driveway and back in April. 
A pair of new shock absorbers got the front end stabilized and more driveable. A set of new water pumps kept the anti freeze in the cooling system from self draining when it was parked. 
What paint was left shined up pretty well with steel wool and diesel fuel followed up with some Turtle wax rubbing compound.

The rusted out fuel tank was way beyond repair and a new plastic marine tank in the trunk solved that problem. 
A seat from a newer vehicle was a nice replacement for the raccoon ravaged original seat in front. 
It was almost a miracle that most of the lights still worked, inside and out!
It still has only a parking brake to provide some limited stopping action. It will of course require frequent driving to assure the valves do not stick from lack of movement again. 
It has quite a presence on youtube ..



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Not That I'm Complaining

But it rained again. Out of a clear blue sky last night, somehow it just rained early before sunrise thereby knocking on the head my great plans for finally getting to combine flax today.  I've been going to the field the past few days and hand threshing a sample to test the moisture. It takes a lot of time and work but better than a five mile drive with the combine to test it. Saturday afternoon's hand threshed test was 12.1% moisture which is about 2 percent above dry. I figured if the weather continued drying I'd just go ahead today and combine and hopefully fall somewhere in the 11 to 12 percent range. Safe enough if it is not too warm or left in the bin too long before it is sold.
Every passing day now is shorter with less drying time for the crop. Overnight frost melts in the morning sun adding a little more moisture so the mid day  sun has to work a little harder to dry the swaths. The bushes block the wind that would help dry the swaths.
On the positive side we did get the straw baled on the first flax field that I have combined.
So I sit and wait. Well not actually sitting for long as I have plenty of other jobs needing doing. Still on beaver patrol with no luck eliminating the pesky rodents. The municipality spent some of the tax payer's dollar clearing the dam on the creek through my land earlier this week but no beavers showed up to shoot, unfortunately. So I guess the dams will be back and I will be out there with the pick or grubhoe opening them.
Still got a few potatoes in the garden. More than I will ever need but I hate to see them freeze in the ground and go to waste so I dug another seven pails today.
I did get all the hay bales hauled home from the hundred acre woods this week.
Here is a picture of what I might look like if I was sitting back relaxing listening to my favourite CBC radio programs on a Sunday morning out in the workshop.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Good news, bad news

The good news first. I got in 3 or more good days harvesting and finished the cereal grains.The bad news, I still have 130 or so acres flax swaths waiting to be harvested. And both combines incapacitated and an eighty percent chance of rain tomorrow. Yes, the flax tested dry (9.7 percent moisture) this afternoon. When I finished the oats I tried a sample of flax. The IH is a fantastic combine on cereals and canola but an absolute failure on flax. It wrapped up tight with flax straw on the beater within the first minute of picking up swath. That means a laborious session with hooks and hack saw blades to get it unplugged. At least I got enough flax in the hopper for a moisture test.  Headed for the five mile drive  home to park the flax wrapped IH and figured I'd head back with the JD pull type and at least get an hour of combining flax before dark. Already 4:30 with darkening skies and the wind dropped to nothing so I knew it would be a short run.
Far shorter than I expected though. The JD never even got out of the shed. Turned the key and the Magnum barely cranked the engine. Those 15 year old batteries finally failed. I'd been expecting that for the past year or so. That is about double the life most get out of a  set of tractor batteries and I guess they don't owe me anything. Luckily they held out for the weekend and I got one flax field done at least.
That John Deere 7721 pull type just eats up flax swaths but even it has a few spots I have to watch and check frequently for flax straw wrapping. I came very close to burning it down last harvest when flax wrapped so tight on a rotating shaft that it started to smoke and burnt the paint off the cylinder housing.

First flax field was not great yielding due to excess moisture and weed re-growth. The next two look much better . The last wheat field was excellent . Clean and heavy. Unfortunately bleached by weather and laying in the swath through rains. The moose crap in the sample is a little worrisome and will almost surely down grade it to feed status. Laying swaths in moose/deer country has it's drawbacks.
The wheat at 15.7 percent moisture was a point above dry but considering the forecast of rain there was no way I was going to wait any longer. Got in my best and longest harvest day of the season yesterday cleaning off a good 80 acres of wheat. Pushed the old IH pretty hard on those heavy wheat swaths but it never plugged or broke anything even working late into the night when the straw got so damp and wet that it would hardly feed off the pickup.
Really nice sunset yesterday and I took a picture of it through the window as I was combining Figured it would make a good one for the Sask Scenery facebook page but it turned out pretty unimpressive on the screen.

I even got a chance to vote in the federal election late today. I'd decided earlier in the day that no way was I going to waste at least an hour of harvesting time driving to town and back to vote. Figured I'd exercise my right not to vote.  But, seeing as I was shut down my mechanical problems late in the day I decided I needed my mail and groceries anyway so it made the trip to town worth while.
Oh well, if it does rain and I can't harvest for the next few days there is always this ......

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving weekend and plenty to be thankful for. The big hydraulic oil leak on the swather turned  out to be only a blown sending unit. Not expensive or difficult to fix.  No major damage to crops or buildings after the insane wild winds of Sunday. Only 3 tenths of rain to soak the swaths still in the field. Nice sunshine and blue sky that will hopefully , eventually dry the swaths enough to harvest this fall. I hate spring combining.
Great thanksgiving/birthday gathering with family and friends. Plus another vintage truck rescue. Not that I needed another project but this old truck needed a little attention and with a little help we got it safely home for a major clean up. Full length video to follow when I get more time to edit.
video

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Greener Pastures

It does not look all that green but these cows always like to get out into the harvested oat field to explore and eat.
Not that they are short of feed but I had harvested this field almost two weeks ago and they knew it so were patiently waiting for me to open the gate. Still some good fall colours out there. Fences to check before the cows find a weak spot. 
Fallen trees to cut and drag away off the field edges and fences. Thanks to the beavers in some cases. Gave the old Poulan chain saw a good workout. Me too. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

All The Leaves Are Gone

.......and the sky is grey. Yes, its like a an old song from the sixties looking at today's scenery. Not a lot of rain fell but after the first few tenths it does not matter much as far as the crops in the field. Wheat will be damp and tough for quite some time now until we get (hopefully) some drying weather.
It gives a break from harvest and time to take it easy. Maybe dig potatoes,, haul some bales or repair fence so I can let the cattle out in the harvested oat field.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Exhausting Work

Well not really. I refer to the "new" exhaust system I recently installed on the 52 Mercury on one of the many days it was either too wet to harvest or the crop wasn't ready. And there have been a lot of them. This video shows a detailed account of the installation of some new pipe and follows with a road test of course. Nice to have the exhaust exit at the rear bumper instead of under the passenger seat and sending fumes up into the driving compartment. The old V8 sounds better than ever breathing through an unrestricted straight pipe and idles so nice and smooth.
In other news harvest has come to a standstill due to crops not being quite ready on this farm anyway. Got a field of wheat swath laying , hopefully ripening. Although it is going to get a little damp if the forecast is right. I'm gambling on us getting another spell of drying weather after this weekend's rain so I can harvest it dry. Time may prove me wrong and I'll regret not harvesting it tough when I had the chance. By the end of October that 16 percent moisture wheat might look pretty good. 
Flax swaths usually dry quicker than cereal grain and the standing flax should be fine. Just need to get it swathed as soon as the weather permits.