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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

2090 Stuck In The Mud

Dry and dusty out there in the ashes of the bulrush fire so I was a little surprised when the tractor got stuck in the mud with the disker.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Oct 16 Bulrush Burn

More smoke and flames as I reclaim former farm land. Not the greatest video or audio but all I had was the I phone at the time.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Marking The Day

It was a good job for the rather cold but sunny day. I'd noticed a leaning corner post North of the barn. Closer inspection revealed it had rotted off just below ground level as they often do. So I sawed (by hand) an old telephone pole in half to make two good long posts for the fence.
Augering a hole in the ground was a real challenge. A summer of almost no rain has left the ground hard and dry. Add to that it was one of the stoniest spots on the farm and it turned into an almost all day job. Soil too dry for the hand auger to pick up so I pulled most of the powder dry dirt out of the hole by hand. One big rock was too big to loosen up and remove so I had to expand the post hole a bit to the side of the rock so I could get the post in position.
At the end of the day the new posts are in, not as deep as I hoped, rails re-attached and standing almost straight. They will keep the cattle in for a few more years.
Its not real pretty but I can look at it every day now and remember what I did on my 64th birthday.
The Fab Four. Not the Beatles but they do a pretty good rendition of this old tune. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


At least it looks like I succeeded in the job I started two days ago. Another trip to the dealer for more oil and a couple of filter gaskets. (One for a spare in case I wrecked another one). This time I carefully installed the new gasket according to the advise I'd been given. I have to say it is one of the more awkward and difficult filters I've changed. Heavy cast iron filter body hanging upside down under the tractor.  One hand holding up the filter and body while the other turns the wrench trying to start the bolt. It was almost a 2 man job but I got it done myself. After a test drive I could not find any leaks. Ready to go to work.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cutting Bulrushes With the 730 Case

Finally got some editing done of the huge file of Gopro video I have featuring the old 730 Case and me cutting down bulrushes. It was a sunny warm day, just what I need for riding my uncle's old tractor on the land he used to farm. Bulrush fuzz was in the air and plugging up the grille and radiator on the tractor. It required occasionally stopping to clean it off. Made quite a clearing but now I have to see if I can burn it.

Saw the first snow flakes of the season today. Not anything to accumulate but a sign of whats to come. I think we will get a few more good days yet.

Harvest Over Still Busy

You might think with harvest over early that things would slow down but I'm still trying to catch up. Of course at this time of year we try to get those things done that winter will put a stop to. Like getting the potatoes dug before they freeze in the ground. I've likely got enough to keep me going over the winter already in the bin but there are plenty more to dig. Today might be a good day to work on that as the forecast is for a cold night. Already had ice in the cattle trough a few mornings.
I can't do much with the "new to me" John Deere tractor as I wrecked a gasket doing a hydraulic oil change. Guess I should not have started the job on a long weekend when the parts store will be closed. In close to 50 years of oil and filter changes I don't ever recall making that mistake but what's done is done and I'll put it down as the cost of experience. Great little tractor though and it will be nice to have working brakes, pto and easy steering for a front end loader.
Yesterday's large family gathering to mark thanksgiving and a couple of birthdays was good.
Smoke continues to rise most days as farmers burn bulrushes (cat tails) reclaiming  land that has been flooded for the past (decade?). Hope to do a little of that myself if time and weather permits.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Drone Trike Oct 1

First of October and for the first time in years, I am finished harvest with the machinery all put away for winter. Having finally giving up on harvesting flax makes a difference. Notice  I said harvesting, not growing. It was  never a  problem to grow a crop of flax  but at least half the time it was a major  challenge and  sometimes impossible to harvest. I'll miss it in the crop rotation but I won't miss the grief  and stress  of trying to  harvest it.

So time for  a scenic drive on the trike with a view from about 90 feet above.  We have had a good run of fall colours here this year but its  coming to an end. High winds one  day and now rain is making the trees look a little bare.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Disking Bulrushes

I'm finally getting some of the bulrush forests knocked down in hopes of reclaiming the land now that it has dried up. Beaver trenches and dead trees make it interesting. I think it will still need to be burned as there is too much vegetation laying there for anything other than a disk to work through. At least it won't be a snow trap to catch more water for next year.

Down The Highway and Through The Woods

Just some scenic video I put together from a couple of days ago. Leaf scenery is as good as I have ever seen it here. I've taken a lot of pictures of it over the years but never get tired of seeing it from new angles. Gopro on the sun visor of the old Merc as I cruised down the highway. Then some drone video as I drove the winding trail through the woods. Stopped for a photo re-enactment in the same spot as the Merc was parked in a 1961 photo by Grandpa's house. A lot of changes over the years but the old Merc continues to be a common thread.
We will likely lose a lot of those leaves if the winds get as strong as predicted. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

At Long Last, Rain!

Its the first real rain since early August. There is actually water standing in the yard. And its not over yet. It always sounds like a downpour when I'm working in the shed with the metal roof but when I came out and saw the water I realized it was significant. 6 tenths in the gauge so far. Lucky the harvest is almost finished and I didn't swath that bit of wheat yesterday.
Working on a long overdue repair on the Chevy II and its turning into a real #*& job. A simple wheel cylinder replacement on the front wheel but with rusted fittings and lines I'm having to do more disassembly. Might have to resort to hammer and chisel if things get too stubborn. Just a start on the long list of rainy day jobs that never got done all this dry summer.
I took the picture to refresh my memory when (if) I get to putting it back together as I'll never remember where all those parts go.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hauling Oat Straw

Now that harvest is pretty much done I am catching up on other jobs. The cattle have been patiently waiting to get into this oat field since I combined it two weeks ago. I knew the fence had weak spots in it (flat on the ground) so could not let them out. Knowing cows, even if they have good pasture they want to check for weak places in the fence. I spent a good many hours pounding in new pickets and stringing up wire to replace what had sunk into the mud of now dry sloughs. Its not hundred percent how I'd like it but I think it will pass. So I got the bales picked up and left the gates open for them to find their way out to the new field. There is enough green stuff there to keep them fed and happy til snow comes I think.

Later that day I figured since the tractor was hitched up to the bale wagon I might as well continue with the job so I hauled a load (11 bales) of hay home from the hundred acre woods. Beautiful almost hot day for this time in September but it can change overnight to cold.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Harvest 2017

I was going to say that harvest 2017 is complete as of last night (Sept 16) but remembered that I have a few acres of late planted wheat here to swath and combine. Hardly worth the trouble but I guess since I planted it I might as well harvest it.

I had a whole series of "combine cab commentary" on the sd card in the Gopro that ran right through harvest. Unfortunately it seems to have deleted most of them except for the last day of harvest. So you get the economy version of this year's harvest video. I know there were a lot of other videos and photos on the card that now seem to have disappeared. Good thing I can't remember what most of them were or I'd be even more disappointed.

I was unable to get any drone  video of harvest as I was just too busy.

Its been a month since I started swathing and combining crops and was pretty near a not stop run of good dry weather. Like nothing we have ever seen. Harvest began and will finish early this year. It turned out better than expected but then my expectations were low considering the lack of rain all summer.

I was really needing my "flathead fix" not having had a chance to take the old Merc out for a spin. So today after a day of baler repairs and fencing,  I took a sunset drive. A good end to the day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Where I've Been

Not on the net much lately as I've spent most of the last 9 days in or around the combine. Time just flies by. It seems I no sooner get into the cab and suddenly its 12 or so hours later and I'm quitting for the day. The acres are getting done and bins are filling up though so its ok.
Crop yields are surprising me as I did not expect much after a summer of almost no rain. Bin space will be adequate. Less fuel being burned since the ground is hard and dry and not trying to suck the combine down into the mud as it has the past 7 years.
The seeming endless run of hot dry weather seems to have come to an end today as it got cold and then light rain this evening. Canola seed was still testing so dry even though the straw coming out the back of the combine was hardly breaking up at all. Normally canola straw disintegrates to a fine dust by the time it runs through the combine. So I had to quit. Hoping for a few good hours of sunshine and wind tomorrow to finish that field. I could have wrapped it up late tonight or early tomorrow morning if the rain had stayed away. Kind of nice to get home before midnight for a change though.
Maybe I'll have time to exercise the "Merc" one of these days. Its been too long.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Swathing Solar Eclipse

I shot some video while swathing oats on August 21, the day of the solar eclipse. We were well North of the area where it actually got dark. I could not tell any difference at all. Not a bad crop of oats. I have since combined it and the oats are in the bin (dry I think).

Friday, August 25, 2017

Long Hours Fencing

I've spent more hours fixing fence the last three days than I have in a year. I had neglected the fence this year so was "inspecting" it from the cab of the swather as I cut the field of oats. Shocked to discover that one stretch was pretty much gone. Being submerged in water for years will do that to a fence and this dry summer has taken away the water leaving no barrier except for the beaver trenches. Which the cattle could have easily walked through if they had tried.
Finished the field and figured I"d still have enough daylight to at least get one wire up. Turned out to be a major task. Jumping over the beaver trenches carrying a roll of barbed wire and various other fencing tools, stringing out wire through mud and over broken water killed trees, tangled and rusty "re-cycled barb wire" was a real test of patience but I got a couple of wires in place. Finished the job up next day and decided to inspect the rest of that field border. Again I was shocked to find places where dead fallen trees had put the wires down to near ground level and it was just pure luck the cattle had not found it. So, more picket pounding with the big heavy old hammer. Most locations were inaccessible to use the tractor and front end loader to drive the posts in so I got more than my share of exercise. Posts are hard driving when the ground has dried but that has not been a problem for years. Luckily we are past the wood tick season and there are very few mosquitos.
Had to fight my way through a veritable forest of bulrushes in some of the dried up sloughs. I literally used the chain saw to cut them down in one spot. These in the picture tower above the fenders of the Massey as I drove through.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Much Ado About Nothing

That is my opinion about the much heralded upcoming solar eclipse. People are traveling many miles and buying special glasses to watch the eclipse of the sun. I seem to be one of the few that feel no inclination to do either. We are well out of the path of totality here in Sask. but even if we were in it, I would not be risking my eyesight by looking directly at the sun. Even with special glasses or a welding helmet. Permanent eye damage is just not worth it. Not worth it
In other news, I've been busy swathing a rather Poor Crop Of Canola. No big surprise considering the lack of rain we have had through the growing season. Maybe I should be surprised it as good as it is.
No doubt the rains will start once I swath my oats. Rain now is too late to help this year's crop but it might help next year's. Be nice to green up the grass for the cattle too.
Currently editing and saving a video of last week's mud bogs and classic car shows and hoping the old laptop does not crash again before the save is complete.

Monday, August 14, 2017

2 Cars, 2 Car Shows, 2 Towns in one day

The title is almost the whole story. As usual I am short on time and doing this in a hurry. Wouldn't you know that the only car shows within my rather limited range for  the old Merc would be on the same day. So with a little help from a trusted family member to drive the Chevy II support vehicle, I set out on the longest journey the old Merc has made since the summer of 69.
What a change, driving on paved highway without the road noise of gravel and the dust coating  the interior and all who ride in it.
We made it to the first show in the morning. Not a lot of competition there. Watched the side show  of mud bogs enjoying all  the sound and fury of 4 wheel drive trucks tearing through deep mud at full throttle with mud flying in all directions.  The smell of  racing gas, or was it nitrous oxide,  was in the air. I did a little drone video but with too many distractions  and poor visibility in the bright sun I ended up missing the scenes I really wanted to shoot.
It was an all day show but if we were going to make the second show it meant leaving by early afternoon. Just another 8-9 miles down  the smooth highway to the next town to park alongside the real classics.  Nobody had anything bad  to  say about the rusty old Merc with it's faded paint and  rust holes.  I guess I'm lucky they even let me park there.
No problems until we went  to leave and the old Merc stalled within the first  ten feet. A little inspection and testing revealed the fuel pump bowl gasket was leaking allowing  air to enter  the system. Its the kind of fix I like. Easily done and making me look like I actually know something about fixing old cars.
Made it home safe and still plenty of gas left in the 5 gallon fuel tank. Video to follow when I get around to editing.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cockshutt 50 In the Parade

Dad's old Cockshutt 50 tractor had it's first drive through town in probably 40 years this past weekend. The thing about actually being in the parade is that you don't get to see much of it. I could see several ahead of me and a few behind me but not a lot of chance to look around as there are things to watch out for. Like not running into the vehicle in front. Or people.

So, for something completely different, here is the parade view from the inside. I had the Gopro camera mounted on the fender mirror of the tractor

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Parade And Threshing

Continuing hot and dry in Sask. so what better to do than take the day off , take a vintage tractor to a parade and run a threshing machine. Surprisingly the heat didn't bother me much. Not seeing a thermometer I can only guess it was 90 degrees or better. Keeping busy sometimes helps me to ignore the heat. The old Cockshutt 50 handled it ok without boiling over or running out of oil. Parade was easy enough but requires a lot of attention to not run into the vehicle in front or the people running out to pick up the treats thrown out by the leading vehicles.
In contrast to my usual parade videos, this one will be a view of the crowds sitting and parked along the way, watching us go by. Different anyway. One drawback, you don't get to see much of what else is in the parade when you are driving in it yourself.
Threshing demo right after dinner and that was what the old 50 had been requested for. Few tractors have a belt pulley anymore and you can't run a threshing machine without one. I'd never run a thresher before but no problem. Being the "engineer" I only had to line up and tighten the tractor into the belt , keeping an eye on the gauges and making sure my end of the operation is ok. They had a thresher man or two watching the separator (thresher) and they had to signal me to shut down once when the grain elevator belt threw off.
Then I initiated a brief shut down when I remembered I had not checked the engine oil in the tractor. Knowing the 50's appetite for oil and leakage problem I figured it would be good insurance to throw in a litre of engine oil.
There were enough interested by standers to man the pitchforks and feed the sheaves into the separator.
That starter drive on the tractor took a beating. Always temperamental, it takes quite a few tries (and grinding) before the starter actually engages. Although it only takes a turn or two to start the engine.
I had a few comments on how smooth and quiet the 50 was but in reality it has a rough idle and top end speed that I can't iron out to my satisfaction.
The sheaves had been in storage in a barn for about 13 years so were well aged. The wheat looked surprisingly good for colour although a little frost damage (2004 crop).
Video coming up when I get it edited and uploaded.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Messing About With Old Tractors

Reminded me of a quote from the Wind In The Willows although I think water rat was talking about boats when he said, "Believe me my young friend, there is nothing half so much worth doing as messing about in boats".

There was a purpose to this recent activity with old tractors. The Ford tractor way in the back of the shed was going on it's last long ride and the Massey Harris was in the way so they both needed starting. After maybe 14 years of rest it took a bit of persuasion but it was not long and they were running. The old Ford moved under it's own power onto the trailer.

And no, the tractor is not going to China as scrap iron as to much of our old iron does these days.. It is headed to the U.K.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Baling with the 2090 Case

It was too hot to bale or work this afternoon at 90 degrees but I went out about 5:30 and gave it a try. It worked well so I went on over to the hundred acre woods and baled up all the hay swaths I had turned this morning with the rake. Bouncing around the rough old yard of Winstanley Grove. No buildings remain but the collapsed walls of the  house can be seen  down in what was the cellar of the house. The concrete footing of the barn sticking just high enough out of  the grass to give a  real jolt to any wheels that  pass  over  it. Grass  sure grows thick and  tall there even in this dry summer.
Its nice to get dry hay but the wheat and canola is  starting to show the stress of this heat and  lack  of rain. Hilltops are turning light (burning) and probably won't have much grain in  them.

It looked promising  this evening at  sundown as I baled. Clouds in the West. Radar showed some measurable rain to the West and North of me but it eventually split up and went all around us. Its like this area  has some kind  of rain  repellent lately.

Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Wheat Crop July 16

About time for  a blog update but its late in the day so I'll just post this video of one of my wheat fields from the weekend.

Crops still looking pretty good in spite of the continuing dry weather and lack of rain. Complete turn around from last year when we couldn't miss a rain and wished it would stop.

I went out with the haybine today and cut a few more patches of hay as my normal hay patches did not yield what they normally do.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cattle In The Summer

They have all the grass they can handle but they never refuse a pail of oat chop. I give them some every morning as it saves me having to go out in the pasture to check on the cattle. This was just some video I shot while walking  among them. It was near 80 degrees at the time and  I was thinking back to  the video I shot in February , or was it January, when it was way below zero degrees. The cattle have lost their winter coats now  and look smooth and shiny. Flies are a pest and the cattle spend some time in the shelter some mornings as  it seems to be a little less fly infested. Or  they think so anyway. Very few mosquitos this year which is a  nice change. Probably due to the dry conditions. It used to be a common practice to light a "smudge" for the cattle in the evenings. An old straw bale, partially rotting or wet made a good source of smoke to disperse the mosquitos. The cattle knew it and came to stand  in the smoke. I guess we were adding  to the carbon footprint even in those days.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hay Baling 2017

I've done videos of haying most years lately and here is the 2017. Nothing too new here but it was mostly shot in evening and night time due to the dry conditions. This baler does not work well if the hay is too dry.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fifty Years Ago

I think I can almost remember sticking this oil change sticker on the door post of the 52 Mercury. The date scrawled in my own hand writing is July 1967. I guess my dad wanted to give me something to do to keep me busy while he was doing the actual work of changing the motor oil in the car. I see instead of recording the mileage I wrote down the brand and weight of the oil. (BA #30). Chances are the odometer had already quit working by that time anyway.
In other news I've been cutting hay. A little bit earlier than some years but the grass is further advanced and going to seed due to the lack of rain here. Its a short thin crop and in places I can hardly see the swath behind the 9 foot haybine. I covered a lot of ground cutting more area than I normally do but will likely have less hay than other years. 
Canola is blooming but it is short and not looking great. Heat and wind while its blooming will cut the yield down. So far the temps have been moderate. The boys on agriville are already forecasting doom and gloom for this year's crop in most of Sask. On the positive side it is pushing the price of wheat up. Unfortunately I sold all I had left before the last big increase. Still a good price but not as good as today's. 
Still hoping canola will do the same thing. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Spraying to Haying

I finally got finished (for now) spraying crops and unhitched Monday morning. Removed the duals from the 2090 and should have probably hitched up to the haybine and cut hay. But I don't usually start til into July. It is a little shorter crop this year since  we have had so little rain. A big change from the past decade when I was always complaining about too much rain.
Luckily the crops are hanging on using subsoil moisture. And it has been mostly below normal temperatures which does not  stress the crops so badly. Those forecasts of a hot and  dry summer were a bit out but its not too  late to come  true. Heat predicted for next week.
According to photo records we are little behind last year as the canola was blooming yellow by this date. I'm not seeing much for flowers yet but any day now.
Wheat prices have taken a real nice jump. They will likely increase quite a bit more now since I just sold the last of mine a couple of days ago. Too bad canola is not doing the same but maybe its just a matter of time if we don't get rain.
Heading home on the grid road in the land of living skies. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Need More Global Warming?

Is this the climate change/global warming they are talking about? June 23 and my furnace is running! The temp was down to 62 which is downright uncomfortable for sitting around the house any time. Outdoors we struggled up over the 50 degree mark finally (about 10C for you metric converts) but with the wild wind blowing day and  night that is cold  too. I kept  warm hilling  potatoes  and sawing dead tree limbs part of the day while  wearing coveralls and a  heavy jacket. Not what you expect for June in Sask. I can remember June days when it was literally too hot to work out in  the direct sunlight. I'd try to get  jobs done in the early part of the day before it got too hot. Maybe I need to drive more and produce more CO2?
On the positive side the mosquitoes are not a  problem while this wind blows. Unfortunately it is also too windy to spray crops. Meanwhile the weeds keep growing and the crop gets bigger, more prone  to tire damage during  spraying. Maybe tomorrow.
Saw the first potato bloom yesterday. And the first potato bug today.
Nice straight rows planted by GPS (Goffs Positioning System)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spray? No Way!

So far I've had one good crop spraying day this week (yesterday). Other days were threatening rain or too windy. I did work monday evening, when the wind dropped but I had to run right up past sundown to finish the field. The crop was getting so wet even at sundown that the tires were building up mud so hopefully the herbicide will work on the weeds. Same thing next morning when I got out early to empty out the last ten acres worth in the tank. Crop wetter than if it had rained so we will see how that works. The rest of the day was near perfect conditions and I finished the wheat.
Roundup ready canola is more than ready for it's second spraying as soon as conditions permit. The plants are getting so big I will do some damage with the tires just by pulling the sprayer but there is so much volunteer flax coming up that I really need to get it done. Or else it will be a "dual crop" of canola and flax.
I watched this one working in the wind this morning before it got up to ridiculous speeds. They say wind gusts hit over 70 km per hour by mid day.
Hoping for a quiet morning tomorrow.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happy Father's Day

We seem to hear a lot more about Father's day now than when I was a kid. I don't recall anyone making a big deal out of it way back then. My dad's comment was always, "every day is father's day".
This photo from 1961 is one of my earliest memories of him. We would get off the school bus and if dad was out in the field working we might be sent out with lunch for him. A syrup pail hanging on the handlebars of the bike with coffee and home made cookies was the way I remember it. Mike the dog would follow along too of course.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Boating On Former Farmland

In case you miss it on facebook, here is my latest youtube video. It was a cool Sunday afternoon but the sun came out for some impressive sky views. We truly are the land of living skies. The land under this lake used to produce a lot of grain before nature claimed it back with high water levels over the past decade or so. No fish here that we know of but maybe its time to introduce some?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Messing About in Boats

That line from the Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Graeme came to mind yesterday as we were out in a boat. Just a 14 foot but it held six of us comfortably and stable. 4 rowers kept busy for the best part of an hour and we pretty much made the rounds of the "lake".
This lake was formerly farm land that produced crops. But for the past ten years or more a lot of it has been under water due to high rainfall and low evaporation levels.
You can see the same area in this video from September of  1997 when we were harvesting oats.
I think that combine would be over half submerged in that spot if it was parked there now. I could not reach the bottom of the lake with my 7 foot "selfie stick" so it is pretty deep. Not a good place for a guy that can't swim and floats like a rock. Hence the life jackets.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Courage of The Early Morning

That is the title of a book by Billy Bishop , the flying ace of World War one. I must have read it years ago and the title stuck in my mind and usually I'm reminded of it on the rare occasion I actually do get up early in the morning. Once I'm up I enjoy it though. On a day like yesterday when there was fog in the hollow indicating a fine day to follow, without the annoying and soul destroying winds that plague us all to frequently, it was worth getting up at 5:00 am.
It was because of those wild winds, which made it inadvisable , or just plain crazy , to try and spray crops. Some mornings it was even windy by sunrise. Not June 7 though. I got in a good day of crop spraying. Put over 30 road miles on the tractor running back and forth for tanks of water/glyphosate, and probably more miles than that in the field. And only a gentle breeze at most.
No time to stop and take photos as I'm always under pressure spraying crops but I did take this quick shot over the steering wheel while driving by the "big slough" over on Winstanley Grove. So named back in the days when most sloughs dried up except this one.
You can see the rows of canola plants looking good. Looks like canola planted on summerfallow is superior to what I planted on flax stubble this year. In the years when it rains every other day the canola will germinate quick. But in this , the first dry spring we have had in years, any seed planted in dry soil is taking a long time to germinate (waiting on rain).

Monday, June 5, 2017

Lucky Again

At least for the short term. I finally went last night to check the first field of canola I seeded. I expected to see a big bare patch that would need re-seeding with something.I had made a mistake setting the sprockets on the air seeder and the canola seed ran out way faster than it was supposed to. Luckily I stopped to check after 20 acres expecting to still have enough to do another ten acres. The tank was empty!! And  I did not know for how long it ran that way so no way to go back and re-seed at that time.
Looking last evening I could only see a small triangle of unseeded ground. Not worth a 12 mile round trip with the air seeder.
Lucky too that the canola is actually emerging considering how little rain we have had. Driest May in 45 years they say. This field (on summerfallow) is doing pretty well for emergence compared to the other field planted on flax stubble. That one is a lot drier and some of the canola seed is just waiting for rain to germinate. That makes for an uneven crop.
Its been said that we are only ever two weeks away from a drought in the growing season in Sask. Hard to believe after the past en years of mud and excess rain but I guess it had to happen.
Also see me rambling on about seeding, weather, etc. in this latest video.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Done Seeding and.....

We have caterpillars. Tent Caterpillars in hordes like a science fiction movie. If you are the type that has a phobia about creepy crawlers you won't want to visit my hundred acre woods. And the other woods around it. The poplar trees are literally stripped of leaves and the branches hang with webs from the worms. They have spread out into the fields too but hopefully don't eat crops.
Caterpillars coating the tires of my truck today. 
They rode along on the booms of the sprayer this morning. Even a 6 mile ride down the gravel road did not shake them loose. 

The whole month of May has been pretty much a blur of activity and here it is over already. I was surprised and glad to see canola coming up today. I did not expect to see it til a rain fell but I guess there was enough moisture in the soil to sprout it. That glyphosate burn off was a good idea and sure set the weeds back, giving the crop a chance to get a start. Say what you will against Monsanto but their products work and make our life easier here on the farm. 
As expected there is a tremendous crop of volounteer flax coming in the canola crop but roundup will take care of that. 
I pretty much pushed the limit on the glyphosate burn off on the last field of oats I planted. 3 days of non stop wind kept me from spraying and I was afraid the oats would be out of the ground before I got it done. Which would very likely kill the oats. But the weeds were so bad that I figured take a chance as there would not be much of a crop if I didn't spray to kill the twitch grass etc. 
Been a long day having been up since 5:00 for an early start on chem fallow. I need to do the same tomorrow to finish up the last 60 acres. Then a short break before the canola is ready for it's first pass with glyphosate (roundup). Probably next week. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Drone View Planting Canola

Been a little busy the past few weeks trying to get a crop planted. With the usual hitches , breakdowns and general setbacks it takes a long time. I think time passes quicker the older I get. I did manage to get most of the crop in the ground by the 24th of May which is kind of a random target date I like to be finished by. Still got a few garden things to plant. That first row of potatoes has been in the ground near a month I think and a few of them are growing.

I've been too busy to fly the drone but my nephew was able to use his to get some great video of my running the air seeder this past weekend. Out among the scenic sloughs of pothole country. Hopefully it will be nice and yellow this summer with blooming canola.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


I guess its not unusual for us to get frost overnight in May and we had it last night. Ice in the cattle trough and cat dish this morning. Lucky I have no crop up to damage yet. There is talk in some areas that emerged canola suffered some damage from frost. It takes time to show.Re-seeding might happen for some.
Got in a good day of seeding wheat here (my first) after getting a couple of hundred  acres of canola planted. We are seeing a little dust behind the air seeder which is something we have not had a lot of in the past wet (mud) years.  That canola in  the dust will need a little rain shower to help it germinate. It might happen on the weekend.
I had a little help  in the field today
Mary running the 2090 and harrow packer.
While I seeded wheat on canola stubble. Good looking sunset. Should be a nice day tomorrow.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Windy Day

It was a good day to be in the shelter of the poplar groves of the hundred acre woods today. Wild East wind just won't quit. Nice enough working indoors in the cab but anytime I get out it nearly takes my hat off. Toque and jacket in the morning but AC needed by mid  morning.
Making progress slowly although I am a week behind where I should be thanks to the flax holdup. Finally got all the straw burned, field sprayed and now anhydroused.
Not without holdups and problems but overall not bad. That flat front tire on the tractor was repairable and back in service the next day. Thank goodness for the reliable services at the local Co-op that help keep the wheels turning. They got that leaking hydraulic hose fixed up for me too.
Have to say the soil conditions are the driest I have seen in a while and it is a nice change not fighting mud and stuck tractors. That might change in the next few days if the forecast it right.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Bad Luck,

or no luck at all. That expression kept running through my head these past few days. The flax field disaster just won't end. I've given up on trying to get it through the combine without burning the machine or field down. Now trying to dispose of the crop swaths is a mammoth task. The flax rake won't work at all. The harrows are working but slowly as some of the old swaths from last fall are almost glued to the ground. It all helped influence my decision to never try growing flax again. Weeds growing like crazy in the global warming heat we have endured for a couple of days. I should be seeding, or anhydrousing, both actually. But I can't til this straw is out of the way. I did get a small start on anhydrousing a small field of canola stubble yesterday. It had some surprisingly wet spots where I was lucky not to get stuck.
Dry fertilizer delivered to the yard Friday so that part is ready to go, if I ever actually get into the field with the air seeder.
Flax straw harrowing went well but slow today. Right up until a front tire went flat on the tractor. A 3/4 mile walk across the hundred acre woods to the only available transportation (the John Deere swather). Slow but it beats walking. No spares so that tractor is down til tomorrow. I made use of the wasted afternoon by cleaning up and putting the swather and combine away in the shed til next harvest.
Little spits of rain all over the radar map tonight  that likely won't amount to much. Not that we need any.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Up In The Clouds May 1

Got up into the clouds with the drone this evening. Got to see the sun. Sure is a lot of water on the fields. Seems like today's rain brought more to the surface but that might be my imagination. It sets us back even further to get started seeding crops. (Or combining).

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cold Start 15 Year Old Battery

Judging by the declining number of hits on the old Mercury videos I may have "jumped the shark " on the Mercury subject. But here is another one anyway. I often brag about some of the long life battery service I get but here is some actual proof. The old flathead cranks over pretty good on a six volt battery that my uncle bought for his Case tractor back in the spring of 2002. 15 years is pretty darn good for any battery, be it automotive or agricultural.

I'm also showing off the new oil lines on the filter plus a new battery cable. Nothing fancy here. Just another in the ongoing series of improvements on the Merc. Just passed the two year mark since it first started and ran under it's own power. Its still no show car or an example of artistic workmanship. If you want to see some real innovative and skillful repairs just take a look at one of my favourite youtubers, coldwarmotors Its a true source of inspiration for anybody that enjoys working on old rusty iron.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Old Porch is Gone

The old porch stood, detached from the main house, for just over 40 years. It had developed a serious lean over the years and the last few big wind storms were too much for it to stand anymore.
Originally built as the new house was constructed in 1920. It was very small but served the purpose of keeping the cold Northwest winds away from the kitchen door. It also served as a dog and cat house under the floor.
The old porch was retired and relocated in the summer of 1976 and a new, much bigger one was built to replace it. It served some purpose as a storage shelter and place to park things that we weren't quite ready to throw away yet.
Lots of memories in that little old building and it shows up in various photos over the years.
One of the earliest is this one from 1947 of my grandmother and Aunt Doris sitting on the steps.

Me with my dad probably  the winter of 54.

Thats my dad again, probably 1947. 

Little brother sitting on the steps squinting into the sunset about 1961. 
Summer of 76 the old porch was moved and we were well into laying the concrete for the new replacement. 
The old porch relocated to it's new home not far away near the maple hedge. 
Just the edge of the roof showed up this wedding photo from 2014. 

Couple of weeks ago it was all done. Now the clean up.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New Oil Line For the Merc

I'd just about given up on ever getting this piece of brake line bent into shape. I intended it to be a replacement for the ancient and leaking rubber oil line to the filter on the 52 Merc. Hopefully I will have a new line for it some time next week but in the meantime I wanted to have it mobile. So I got a little creative bending done without damaging or crimping the line beyond use. It does not look original but at least it works and does not leak.

And what a difference it made tightening up that nut on the pinion of the differential. I guess it had been loose for years. The car had a real howl on deceleration due to the excess free play in the gears. Tightening up that nut eliminated that noise. A simple fix. Almost too good to be true.

Ok blogger, you have "improved" the site now to the point that I can't upload a photo like I used to.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Piling Branches With 730

Carragana trees make a good hedge and are fast growing. They also take a little maintenance as they tend to spread out and break down. I went to work with the chain saw recently and cleaned up all the dead growth along one side of the hedge. The quickest and easiest way to get rid of all the branches was to push them into a pile with the dozer blade on the old 730 Case tractor.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Flying and Driving Again

Something a little different, video of the drone monitor while flying . It was a little complicated driving the Merc while keeping the drone camera on target (moving) and recording it all on the chest mount Camkix Gopro. But it worked, and no unexpected incidents this time.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Big Tree Down

Like losing an old friend or putting a beloved pet to sleep. I hated to cut down this big old spruce tree my dad planted well over 30 years ago. But I'd been thinking for a while now that it needed to go. So close to the house that the branches were nearly touching. Plus the risk that the roots would grow into the cement walls of the cistern and cause it to leak water. And if the high winds were to blow that tree down on the house it would do some serious damage. So I went to work with the Massey as an anchor and the Poulan saw this afternoon and it was surprisingly easy. It came down exactly where I planned it and without damaging anything. A rough measurement I figured 40 feet tall. It was a heavy load but the old Massey pulled it away even across the still wet fields.
I'm not sure why I left a six foot high stump but I can always cut it down to ground level later. Not sure either what I will do with the tree but if nothing else, there is a whole lot of firewood in that trunk.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Suspicious Minds

Just a few notes while I'm waiting for Windows movie maker to load some video to work on.
My cattle have suspicious minds. Any little thing they see me doing different, wearing different clothes, even talking to myself while shooting video, they are looking alert and considering their flight path for escape. So I was pretty fortunate to get at least two of the cows treated with ivermectin (ivomec?) without them even noticing. After the past winter's problems with magpies pecking holes in one of the yearling bull's back I thought I'd try this treatment. The theory is that the warble fly larvae work their way up through the body and make holes in the animal's skin thereby attracting magpies. Typical scavengers that they are, magpies will keep coming back for more and no matter how many I shoot there are always more to replace them.
It is a pretty simple process of measuring out the dose of liquid ivermectin(which will kill the fly larvae) by pouring the liquid along the animal's back.
 I did it while they were eating up the chop I had just threw in the trough and they never even noticed. Two down, seven to go. Warm and sunny. Most of the snow gone. It is an early spring.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Feeding Cows and Finding Calf

Going hands free with the Gopro camera. No , its not a commercial endorsement but I thought I'd post a video of my first test run trying it out. It is a chest mount harness that holds the camera steady and secure so I can video and still have two hands free for work.

Went out to feed the cows and discovered one cow missing. After a short walk into the pasture I spotted her with a new calf. In almost the same location as she had a calf almost exactly a year ago.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

HydroAxe In The Hundred Acre Woods

I shot some drone video last week while watching the machinery at work cutting down the trees along the road on the North line of the hundred acre woods. And since drone video is silent I thought I'd add a little music. Recorded way back in the winter of 1955-56. My uncles and some neighbours making some music. I need to do some editing on the audio but for now, this will have to do.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How Did We Get To This Point?

I know I'm being non progressive and old fashioned but the thought of running my farm on a computer controlled  tractor is not something  I want to  do.  This recent news  story shows  just how crazy it can get when you can't  fix or  adjust anything  on your tractor because the computer software in it is still the intellectual property of the company that sold  it to you. This is not me
But for anybody efficient and  progressive enough that can't farm with 25 year old equipment, I guess this is the way it has to be.
On the other hand, I do accept new  technology in the form of drones :-) They are great for checking  out the fields and  crops from above. And things certainly do look different from up there. Learning to fly is an ongoing learning experience. For some unknown reason the gimbal quit "gimbaling" on mine while flying  this weekend. This is the mechanism that adjusts the camera lens up or down according to my commands. But it quit responding. After a rest and battery recharge, plus a little manual working of the gimbal, it seemed back to normal for the next flight. I was able to get some video without flying into the trees or driving the Merc into the ditch so it was a good day.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Passing a John Deere

Its not often we see a combine on the road in March here in Sask. but I caught up to this one today. Probably on the way back from the dealer's Green light service or something.

In other news, our Hundred Acre Woods I often refer to, is getting a little smaller each day this week. The municipality has the theory that the trees along the road were shading too much and preventing the road from drying out. So the cutting machine is working away taking down a 30-40 foot strip of trees along the full mile. Personally I think its a waste of time and the tax payer's money but who are we to stand in the way of progress and better roads.

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Brake Hoses For The Merc

More messing about with the Mercury. The Rock Auto front brake hoses arrived in good time by mail and I had to try one on just to see if it fit. It did. I even went the extra mile and replaced the cracked up Michelin XW4 tire with a much better Cooper Discover tire from my used inventory. The car is getting safer all the time. That new back seat installation is kind of dragging. I've got it set in proper position but have yet to make brackets to bolt the seat down.

This first day of spring was not too inspiring to get out and work on it . That wind was wild again and the odd bit of snow mixed with it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Way Up There

Recent changes to the rules for recreational drone users due to increased incidents of drone/airplane collisions. Or something like that. I guess it is no surprise that a few careless or irresponsible operators have caused problems and the rules had to be tightened up to affect us all. They say you can't fly within 9 km of an airport which is no problem for me being out in the middle of nowhere. I might see one plane a week fly over and usually well above drone flying altitude.
Rules also state we can't fly above 90 metres. (about 300 feet). I guess that is not a huge problem because for most photography that is more than high enough. But these things will actually fly up to over 2000 feet altitude so you might guess that some of us would have to test the limits.
And 245 feet is the limit to how close you can fly to a building. Again, it is good to live in the middle of nowhere.

In other news, its warming up and the snow is melting. One of these days I might actually have to start working again.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Nice Day

So why not move some more snow. And make a video of it. The wild, insane Northwest wind  put up a few hard drifts in places  that needed  to be cleared. The driveway was swept clean down to the sand and gravel.  Since then we have had nothing but strong South East winds. And cold. Today was the first day above freezing  for over a week.
That new  calf turned  out to be a heifer. I've let it and the cow out to join  the herd and they are getting along  good. All 8 of them.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Karl's New Chevy

Thats my Dad's uncle Charlie (Karl) Hobetzeder in his new 1928 Chevy. Cousin Ivy in the back seat. It was a big step up from horse and democrat travelling the 12 miles to town. It would have been a big expense on a small farm but I'm guessing part or all of the money came from an inheritance from a relative in England. 
"Aunt King" as she was referred to , Harriet King as her name appears in the will, (yes I have a copy of it). Quite interesting to read how the estate funds were divided up in various fractions to all the surviving relatives and descendents. I should look it up to get the actual numbers . Although it would be in British pounds which would not mean much to me. 
Anyway, Charlie had good service out of the Chevy right up to the post war years when he replaced the tired old 28 with a 47 Chev. I think the old 28 was showing it's age by that time. It had survived at least one roll over with no major structural damage. In fact the story goes that they were able to get it back on it's wheels and continue the journey. Tough old car. 
This photo shows Ivy and her dad beside the 28 Chev sometime during the war years. Can't quite read the license plate. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Working With The Cattle

I got really lucky this time. Got the calves I wanted to sell penned up and eventually hauled out without any problems. A slight complication when  cow decided to calve on the same day but it was really perfect timing. Since she was penned up in the shelter with the two to be sold I only had to separate them with some panels so I could keep her in. Lucky as the weather was about to change to snow and blowing snow. Not the kind of weather I want a new born calf to be out for. She might have been smart enough to bring it back to the shelter but you just never know with cattle.

Looks like I get to move some more snow before this winter is over.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

2090 Clearing Snow

More of me rambling on about the boring details of my life on  the farm. While multi tasking driving the tractor clearing up a bit of snow. I thought I was shooting some great overhead views with the drone while working but found out later I had not pushed the record button and missed the best shots. I did salvage a little from later segments to at least show some of the great outdoor scenery we had on the first as March came in like a lamb. (Old saying is that if March comes in like a lamb it will go out like a lion). Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March First and Plans Changed

March came in cool (-10F at sunrise)  but sunny and clear with no wind, a bit of fog and hoar frost.

 Great photo opps but I was busy getting ready to load cattle so I missed some. As it turned out there was a re-scheduling and I had to release the cattle that were slated to load. Hopefully in a few days it will happen. Its unfortunate because I got lucky and had them penned up with no stress or excitement. Its not always that easy. Hope its easy next time too.
I'd had the tractor plugged in ready to go for 36 hours so figured I might as well make some use of it. I cleared away the snow in the high traffic areas of the yard. Probably a waste of time as it supposed to warm up to above freezing by the weekend and maybe a  lot of that snow will just melt.
I thought I was shooting some great action video with the drone while I was moving snow but later found out I didn't. Just a bit of between the scenes video having actually missed what I really intended to shoot. Why can't somebody invent a screen (phone or tablet) that does not just appear black when out in the sunlight? I find them really hard to see and  lot of the time I'm just working by instinct and guess work, unless I can get into a shady spot.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Grandpa Nevard's Saw

While working on one of my projects recently I pulled out one of the antique hand saws that I seem to have accumulated here over the years. I know there are power saws that will do the job better, faster and with less effort but in the spirit of making do with what I have I went with this one.
Although after a  few minutes I found it did not work well at all it was still interesting to read the fine print on the saw.
It has "H.W. Nevard" stamped on the handle so I'm guessing it was one that my grandfather brought from England when he first came to Canada in 1905. Probably one that he acquired while working as Carpenter's Apprentice in Lexden, Essex, U.K.  It shows signs of hard use with a break in the handle.
W. Tyzack and Turner & Sons stamped on the frame as well as the name "Non Pareil" over the little elephant image. No doubt a brand name from long ago.

I was thinking of a fellow blogger, Gorges Smythe when I took the saw photos since he appreciates a good wood working tool and writes an interesting blog you might like to check out some time.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Losing Our Snow

Not that we had a lot to begin with but these 40 degree days are slowly taking the snow away. Its nice working conditions but not normal for this time of year and makes you wonder if it is going to stay this "hot and dry" for the rest of the year. That could be trouble for growing crops but on the positive side, it will dry up some of the many flooded acres that have been growing nothing but bulrushes for the past 7 years or so.
We have had practically no hoar frost and fog this winter. The old saying was that you expect precipitation 90 days from when you see the frost and fog. If its true we can't expect much for the next 90 days or so.
Too wet and muddy to take the Merc out for a spin now but last weekend I took a drive and did a fly-along video  with the drone which worked pretty well. I only forgot to hit the record switch once.
My latest complaint is "Chinese Junk". Not the old sailing ships but the machine parts that used to be quality American built parts but are now made in China and sometimes of questionable quality. One of the made in China gearboxes on the big grain auger was leaking oil so bad after only 2 and a half harvests that I removed it only to find bad news. It appears that whoever assembled it at the factory did not have a snap ring properly in place and that allowed a bearing to slip out of alignment and the shaft to flop around so much it damaged the seal and the gear. Pretty disgusting on a $300 gear box. I can patch it up with a new seal but don't like the idea of having it fail in the middle of unloading an expensive load of granular fertilizer here this spring.
Income tax figures all tallied up and calculated this week. The only thing more amazing than how much money I made is how much I spent!. As farmers we sure do contribute to the economy.
Not that I'm complaining.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

See Me On Google Earth

Of course everybody is on google earth. Some visible, some not. Some on street view and some in their vehicles. I am in a "vehicle", actually tractor. I noticed an unusual pattern on one of the fields of Winstanley Grove from 2000 feet up. The field was obviously in the process of being worked so I only had to look a little closer to see my tractor and cultivator at work. That would put it at about 2:00 pm in the afternoon of August 21 of 2012.
Of course hardly anybody works summerfallow anymore as it is considered an inefficient and outdated practice these days. Wasting fuel, eroding  the soil and  releasing  the dreaded carbon to the atmosphere that  will  eventually destroy the world.  I  figure I'm pretty well  balanced  though when you zoom out and  see the huge "carbon  sink" on the rest of the 800 acre patch. Those poplar bushes,  according to what  I have read, absorb  a  lot  of carbon.  So I would  hope I am at least  carbon neutral and can continue my summerfallowing  if  I choose to.  
If you zoom out a bit  on google earth you can see the rest of the hundred acre woods that starts just to the left of this photo. 
Readers of the other blog, Nevardblog, will recognize the name Winstanley Grove as the homestead of great uncle Arthur Nevard.  That little clearing in the trees at lower left of the photo was his yard where  only the remains of the cellar  hole containing the collapsed walls of his log house remain. 
What would the great uncles and grandfathers say seeing a picture like this? Just shake their heads in amazement I'd say.