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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Under Stormy Skies

I took this picture of the stormy skies to the south of me last evening. These thunderstorms make for some impressive sky photos.
Summer 2010 is starting out even wetter than spring. Its been a losing battle. Ground that I could work in April is now either under water or too muddy to drive through. Things usually work the opposite in a normal year. I've managed to get mostly caught up with crop spraying by working in far less than ideal conditions. Some days were too windy but I tried to avoid working beside any of the neighbour's susceptible crops. Makes for poor relations.
The ground was always too muddy but I pressed on with 4wd and managed to drag the sprayer through without incident. The ruts I made last week now have water in them from recent rains.
I finally realized that the destruction in the yard while I was away Friday was caused by a hail storm. Broken tree leaves, satellite dish cable and multiple dents in the metal roof of my porch finally clued me in. Strangely enough I can't see any crop damage. Still one more field to check though. To show just how local these storms can be, I was only 8 miles away spraying a crop when this thunder/hail storm hit my yard and there was nothing fell where I was working.
Between crop spraying and thunderstorms we were able to get all last year's spring wheat hauled to Viterra. Six semi loads that would have taken me a week with my old IH but only a long afternoon with today's semis and grain vac. Expensive but time is money too.
All the unseeded acreage in the country is starting to affect grain prices as the market begins to realize there may not be enough grain out there to satisfy the demand. Thats good news for anyone with a good crop growing or old grain in the bins.
Grass is growing like crazy and theres a tremdous crop of hay and pasture out there but I hardly dare start cutting until this wet weather eases up a bit. Those heavy swaths of grass will take forever to dry and will likely rot before they can be baled.
Mosquitos are becoming a real problem for any outdoor activities.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fencing, spraying weeds, etc.

Thats my Dad fixing fence back in the hot dry summer of 88. I thought about him yesterday while replacing some fence posts.
Most of the time I will use the tractor and front end loader to push the posts into the ground but where the fence goes
through trees and bush it is impossible to get the tractor near so I do it the old fashioned way, with a crow bar and
"post maul" as Dad used to call it. Thats about a 12 pound hammer on a long handle and it will drive fence pickets deep
into the ground, but it takes a good man to swing it. Dad would hold the post steady with his left hand and swing that big
hammer with his right arm. Once the post was lined up he would go at it with both hands on the hammer. Smooth steady swings
using the weight of the hammer, not so much the strength of his arms to drive the picket into the ground.
Fence repair, not one of my favourite farm jobs but one that has to be done if there are cattle.
It was a good day for it, cool and cloudy eventually turning into a fine rain that would soak you through before you realized
just how much it was raining.
Its been a rare day that we haven't had rain lately it seems. Producing lush green pastures for the cattle but causing problems
for those still trying to plant their crops. I was lucky enough to finish up a week ago but am now trying to catch up on
crop spraying. Weeds grow well too when it rains this much. Unfortunately all that moisture makes it "interesting" trying
to spray the crops. I've had to put the big front wheel assist tractor normally used for heavy tillage, onto the sprayer. Even
with that I've been close to stuck in the mud a time or two. Theres some pretty nasty ruts left behind me which will provide
some rough rides for the swather come harvest time.
Its clouding up in the west again and more showers are predicted for tonight and tomorrow. Looks like the sprayer will get
a day or so off.