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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Falling Rain

Another 3 quarter inch last night. Inch and a half last week. We are not short of rain and the timing was pretty good for the crops recently seeded. I got a couple of opportunities between too wet and too windy to spray a couple of tanks on chem fallow. Way late as usual but at least it is done. The flax field that did not get the burn off spray before emergence is looking weedy. I did not dare look too close as I was passing by but its going to be weedy. Have to rely on the post emergent spray now and hope the weather gives me a break to spray when the crop is ready.
The rain puts me in mind of this old "Song of The Lazy Farmer"  article from the Winnipeg Free Press.
The weekend was nice weather. I did a grass cutting marathon with the old John Deere and got the yard looking like somebody actually lives there again. So I had to take the Merc out for it's regular exercise and a picture or two. 


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Good Timing , or Lucky

I finished seeding the last field yesterday and today it is starting to rain which will be good for germination. I even got a row of peas planted in the garden this morning while waiting on the weather to make up it's mind. As it turned out I would have had plenty of time to spray out a tank of roundup on the chem fallow but the radar screen showed showers coming and so did the forecast. Its a five mile drive to the field and takes 3 hours to spray out the tank and I could not see three hours of good weather ahead.
So I went harrowing to smooth out the last field instead.
Still no rain falling by 1:00 pm but very threatening so I headed out to pick rocks on the fields seeded to canola and flax last week. That old 970 Case is really good on the rock picker although on a hot day the lack of AC might be uncomfortable.

I stopped to take this photo of it beside the Nevardland lilacs. The slow rain had already started but I carried on picking for another hour or more before it got too hard to see through the rain on the windows and the tires were picking up wet topsoil.
Surprising to see how well the crop was up already. I'd planned to spray the rest of that flax field with roundup to kill the weeds I missed with the air seeder but that train has left the station. The flax is up and roundup would kill it. Will be an interesting experiment to see which field is better. The one I sprayed last week and killed the weeds, or the one that did not get sprayed. It was way too windy when I sprayed that first 50 acres last week and the following 3 days were all windy so the sprayer sat and I missed my chance.
Maybe now I will have a bit of spare time to fill out the census form that Statistics Canada seems so intent on getting from me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Lowering My Expectations

Been doing that all day. I'd originally figured to be satisfied finishing the 60 acre canola field today. But in the sunshine and optimism of the morning I started to think it should be possible to also finish the 40 acre wheat field if I worked late. A hundred acres in a day with 28 feet is not beyond possibility even for me on a good day. However, today was not a good day.
A series of holdups, complications and just the usual myriad of little things needing to be done made for a late start in the field.
And after running five minutes or so I was stuck in the mud. The only big pulling tractor I have was 9 miles away and I don't think the little old tractors would do much in that mud. Lucky I was able to unhitch the air seeder and get the tractor out, then using the nylon tow strap, carefully extricate the air seeder from the mud. Giving up a few more acres to high water levels this year I guess.
For some reason the seeder planted heavier than planned and I ran out of canola seed with maybe two acres left to go.
Change over to oats just to use up the leftover seed so I don't have to store it til next spring. Planted 14 acres of oats and that was done. Then change over to wheat with all the numerous adjustments and clean outs that entails. It was 8:00 and threatening rain but I figured a couple of hours might just see me finish the field. It was not to be. After 14 acres it was spitting rain so I decided to do a quick top up on the seed tank and then run the other tractor and hopper wagon back to the shed in case it rained harder (no tarp on this wagon). On checking the seed tank I was shocked to see it still almost full of wheat. Apparently some careless operator or gremlin had not got the drive chain on the sprocket. Looks like I will be going over that same ground again tomorrow, this time with the seed shaft turning out wheat hopefully.
Ok, I am done for the day and the field is not finished. If it rains, it rains.
On the positive side, I did not drive over my toolbox again and did not have any more flat tires or blown hydraulic hoses.
Years ago I would never have dreamed I could carry $600 worth of canola seed on my shoulder. Good old roundup ready canola.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Can't Believe It

I can hardly believe I (and some helpers) wasted a good half hour trying to pull start this old IH truck before finally deciding it was out of gas. Always try the simple things first.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Days Go By

Days go by so quickly now it seems. As I sit here catching up on email and eating a late (11:00) supper I guess it is not surprising that time passes quickly this time of year. It is almost a blur of activity and I will forget just what I did when if I don't at least make some note of it.
Second day back in the field after a break for rain last week. Planting wheat but finished the field and changed over to canola in late afternoon. I took this "seeding selfie" while standing on the tank watching the fertilizer fill up.

I edited the original in windows paint to be right side up but blogger does not recognize it. It is too late and I am too tired to investigate the alternatives to edit here. 
It got really quiet in the evening so when I shut down the air seeder I took the opportunity to burn the last of the flax straw piles. 
It produced much light and smoke and made for an interesting photo. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sun, Rain, Cold, Breakdowns

The title summarizes my life lately but maybe a few more details. We went from Dante's inferno record breaking heat last week to furnace running , almost snow here in the past few days. The rain was welcome as long as it does not out stay it's welcome. Surface was getting a little dusty on top of the mud.
And there is talk of overnight frost later this week. Glad the expensive canola seed is still in the bag and not sprouting in the mud to be frozen.
I nearly finished my first field of wheat but a leaking steering hose sent me home just before the rain started. Hopefully the wheat will not be growing before I can get back and finish the field.
The steering hose has been made and awaits installation. But its raining again and the tractor is parked outside so.....
I guess I could take the opportunity to fill out the Statistics Canada census form that was mailed/delivered last week. No doubt I have complained before about their ridiculous timing. But the work schedule of a few remaining farmers are of little importance when the government decides it needs it's statistics now. When I am busy trying to plant a crop I really don't have any extra time to spare (waste) in this case. Unless I sacrifice sleep or eating and I feel they are a little more important.
buddeshepherd recommended I take the Mercury out for a spin to relieve stress. Unfortunately the tractor sits in the way waiting for me to fix it. Plus it is way too wet and muddy to take a rusty old car outdoors today. So here is some previously unseen video from back in April when conditions were nearly perfect. Blue sky and sunshine reflecting off the faded paint and rusty chrome.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Rock Spreading With The Super 90



Trying to repair a mudhole in the prairie trail earlier this spring. Not sure if I made it better or worse.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Slow and Slower

I should be, and had planned to be out planting wheat today but have had to lower my expectations. Going from maybe finishing the first field to more like, maybe starting the first field today. Just no end of little things keep coming up needing to be done before I can even get out of the yard. So what if I waste another half hour or so coming in the house to eat dinner for a change.
That relentless wild wind can drive you crazy. Dry surface dust blowing around the yard. Worst was all the maple tree fuzz and seed that blew into the truck box as I was loading wheat seed. Good recipe for plugged drill lines I think.
And the #@^& raccoons are driving me crazy each night tearing more shingles and siding off the old buildings trying to get inside. I had to waste half an hour this morning patching up a wall or they will be into my chicken house by morning. The only way I want to see these creatures again is in a live trap or over the barrel sight of the 12 gauge.
Finally might have the air seeder ready to go, except for the drive chain I seem to have lost and will have to make a new one.
Next calibrate seed and fertilizer.
Next, install the GPS antenna on the tractor so I can tell where I have seeded and not leave any misses.
Have I forgotten anything? I would almost guarantee I have . Guess I'll find out this afternoon.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Busy Week or Two

Last week, combining flax. This week cleaning up and burning the straw. The past couple of weeks has gone by in a blur. So much accomplished in less time than I expected. As usual the straw piling and burning takes as long or more than the harvest did. Scary burning it with the somewhat dry conditions and listening all day to the news of the wildfire in Fort Mac, Alberta. No fire bans here yet but it could be just a matter of time. Still got a half dozen or so straw piles to burn when the wind conditions are right. I don't want a fire getting away in the hundred acre woods.
Got the fields anhydroused and only got stuck in the mud once.

 Unhitched from the applicator today, then hitched up to the air seeder. Couple of trips to the cleaning plant for flax and oat seed in the old Loadstar truck.
Record breaking high temperatures here several days. I saw 84F one afternoon. Land of extremes. Could be freezing next week.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Six Months Late

I'm six months late but the 2015 harvest officially ended here on May 1. Those flax swaths from last fall were good and dry (and dusty). Poor quality after a winter  laying in the field but hindsight is 20:20 now and I should have harvested it damp last fall.
Lucky to have plenty of help being the weekend with brothers, nephews, sister and niece in laws around at various times doing trucking, straw raking, moving machinery and just generally available for any little job needing doing. Nothing got burned, broken or stuck in the mud, well just a little bit with the truck but it could have been worse and hopefully we will have that mudhole filled in and drive able by this time tomorrow.
A few minor problems but the most annoying was the length of barbed wire, complete with a fence picket that somebody thought it would be fun to throw into the outside swath in hopes it might get picked up by the combine causing plenty of damage. Fortunately I saw it before starting the swath.  I guess somebody did not like me closing the gate to the field to keep people from driving over the swaths through the winter and decided to show their displeasure this way. I have a few ideas what to do with people like that but unfortunately none of them are legal so enough said.