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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. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sunrise Sunset

No, I was not thinking of the tune from "Fiddler on the Roof". It just occurred to me that I watched both the sunrise and the sun setting from the seat of the tractor for the first time in quite a while.

It was grain hauling day and I was clearing snow in the yard well before the sun came up. Not a lot of snow compared to a normal winter but it still takes time to do a decent job and make room enough for the big trucks to get around without getting stuck.
Then off to the hundred acre woods with the blade and grain vac to spend an hour or so clearing a path and turn around area for the trucks there.
Although it started out cold at -5F it turned out to be one of the nicer days of the week. Sunshine and no wind. That grain vac sucked up a couple thousand bushels of wheat in short order and with a whole lot less exertion than an auger and shovel used to take. Even so it was a good workout for my aching back but have to say it feels better tonight than it has all week. I think I overdid it lifting that heavy cast pto off the tractor last week. I should have known.
By the time I'd done a little more snow clearing in the yard after the trucks left, it was past sundown. Cats and cattle were looking for their feed and water.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Follow Me

Follow me is the name of the program that allows the Autel drone to follow (or lead) as I walk, drive or whatever. Tried it out today on a drive through the snow covered trails of the hundred acre woods. I did not get lost or crash into the trees with either vehicle so I'll call it a success.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Quirks and Quarks

Yes, its a well known CBC radio program that I often listen to. But every now and then they really annoy me with some ridiculous statement or claim. Like today in this segment about Monarch Butterflies .
His theory is that the population of Monarchs has taken a huge drop since the early 90s when agriculture started growing GMO crops. Soon as I heard that he lost most of any credibility I might have given him. Apparently the Monarchs only feed on milkweed plants. Commonly known as a weed when they appear in crops. Yes, we use chemical herbicides to control weeds in our crops since there is no profit in growing weeds. And GM crops have nothing to do with it. We were using herbicides to control weeds 40 years before GM crops were even dreamed of. And apparently the Monarch butterfly was doing just fine up til the 1990s.  And they were usually more hazardous chemicals than the widely used glyphosate that everybody likes to demonize today.
No, I don't work for Monsanto, but I do try to make a living growing their herbicide tolerant crops.

Multiple Crashes

This laptop has been ailing off and on all week it seems. Crash dumps every day and sometimes several times. Startup repair can't seem to fix itself so I usually end up going to system restore to an earlier date. Seems to work until today when even that would not work. Tried the mirror image (I think thats what they called it) and it reset the whole thing back to some date in 2015 which seemed to get things back to more or less normal.
The down side of that is any video or photo I had saved since that date in 2015 is now gone, or at least not visible on the laptop. Many of the videos were already on youtube but I know I had a few new edited versions ready to upload that are now gone. Some I can retrieve from the camera cards but I know some are gone. I can't remember for sure what they were but maybe its best I don't.
Our above normal temperatures have lasted all week so I've been taking advantage of getting in some good flying time. Not much worry about air traffic here unless it has feathers. I took a few shots of the thriving metropolis of Lipton yesterday about sunset.
 Got a load of oats put through the hammer mill for cattle feed giving the old Cockshutt 50 it's regular exercise. After that I removed the pto for what I thought was a simple clutch adjustment but turned out to be more serious. Going to need some expensive parts. That dis assembly operation was one of the lost videos come to think of it. Oh well, guess I get a chance to do it over again.
Drone photo here from earlier this week reminded of my dad's old saying of "fog in the hollow means a fine day to follow". It was true.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sunset Drive and More

Its way late to be posting videos but I lost a couple of hours due to a "crash dump" of the laptop and it took a bunch of system restore, spybot,crap cleaner, etc to get started again.

I wanted to post an example of my first attempt at the follow me feature of the drone. After figuring out what I had been doing wrong I find it works quite well now. Warmer weather helps too. Frozen fingers do not work well on the control panel. No crashes or actual frostbite yet. More to come.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Distracted Drone Driving

Its a good thing this video was shot on a private road with no traffic to deal with. I gained some flying experience and got some exercise walking a mile.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Merc Park Lights

No, thats not my car in the cover photo. Just a short video I shot yesterday opening up the mail package containing park lights and housings for the 52 Mercury. A big thanks to the sender as these will improve the appearance of the front of the Merc. Who knows, I might even have working park lights eventually. Way too cold to spend much time on it now, but one of these days.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year Day Tradition

Seems it has been a tradition for longer  than I remember for the family to gather here for a meal to mark the start of a new year. As seen in this old photo from about 40 years ago. Only two survive from that photo. Although  the missing ones have been replaced by younger  members, friends that are almost family. Seems we still have about the same number around the table for 2017.
There may have been occasions when the weather/roads forced moving the date of the gathering a week or so later.
Our weather continues it's roller coaster ride of above to below normal temps. The snow is below normal but just enough  to keep everything white without needing to shovel much.
-30F this morning but it had warmed up to -15F when I took a few aerial photos.
The smoke in the photo is from a pile of burning branches I had gathered through the summer. I figured this cold weather was the best time to work at burning them and keeping warm too.