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Monday, December 26, 2016

Learning To Fly The Autel

My first attempt at editing some of the Autel drone video I have been shooting. It is a lot more work than it should be. The video files won't open in my normal windows movie maker program so I have to download a converter program to make the videos work. Maybe there are better editing programs out there but I've always used windows movie maker and know it well. Best of all it was free.

Oil Change In The Merc

47 years on an oil filter must be record of some kind. Not many miles on it but almost a lifetime of years. The old Varcon filter looked as good as new but I dropped in a new Fleetguard filter along with the new engine oil to keep the old flathead V8 healthy. Road test coming up when the weather is nicer.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

New Rear Shocks On The Merc

I finally got the new rear shocks installed on the Merc in November/December. Some days were just too cold to work out on the cement floor at 0F degrees. I recorded some of the highlights as it would have been a several hour movie to watch if I'd recorded the whole thing. It is uploaded in HD. I don't know if that makes a noticeable difference to the video quality but it was a much bigger file than normal and took over an hour to upload to youtube.
Had it out for a short test drive yesterday and can't say I noticed much difference. But I know the rear axle will be more securely attached to the rest of the car with two new shocks.
In other news I've got the auxiliary wall unit gas heater working in the house again. The first guys still haven't returned my call but the one I called this morning was here and had it fixed within 4 hours of the call. I'll know who to call next time. And who not to.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Learning To Fly

But I ain't got wings. The title of the old  Tom Petty Tune came to mind today while literally learning to fly the drone. Or U.A.V. as they call it . (un-manned air vehicle). I call it a steep learning curve as I went from knowing almost nothing about it last week to being at least capable of taking off, flying and most important, landing, without incident. (Yet). Its a great new angle for photos and videos. I'll never need to pay for an aerial photo again.
Cold weather was not conducive to flying up til yesterday when we saw a major improvement in temperature. Up in the +20s.  Prior to that my fingers would freeze up and battery temp would drop so low as to cause a warning. Plus getting dizzy from walking in circles trying to calibrate the compass. Lucky that only has to be done once and I got a little help with it finally.  I'm sticking with beginners mode for the time being. It allows a ceiling of 90 feet which is pretty good height for most of the photos I want anyway.
It sounds like a swarm of angry bees and scared the cattle away from their feeders.
No doubt I will find some practical uses for it but so far it is just for fun.
In other news my gas heater had to be shut down as Sask Energy's detector found slight gas leaks on all the threaded fittings. Not enough that I could smell it but enough that the auxiliary wall heater has to be shut down and the fittings repaired. Guess I'm losing my sense of smell?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cool Clear Morning On The Farm

Took the Gopro camera along while I did the chores this morning on a cold and clear day. Down to -30F overnight but it had warmed up to -25F by the time I got out there.
Warming up by Monday (they say).

Friday, December 16, 2016

Inside The Mercury Speedometer

Thaks to the extreme cold we have here I've had time to edit and upload a "how not to" video to youtube. I got the speedometer apart and gave it a good cleanup but was unable to repair it.
Did get the rear shocks installed in spite of the cold weather.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Yes, Its Cold Now

We are finally down to normal and below temps for December. Daytime highs just about 0 farenheit are not bad if the wind stays down. Many layers of clothes help but if I have to work with bare hands, like changing a battery yesterday, it  gets pretty hard to work when I lose the feeling in my fingers. Have to smile a bit at the irony of a space heater that won't start up when it gets really cold. It worked fine a couple of weeks ago when the temp was around the freezing mark.
Cattle seem fine as long as the feeders are full of hay although they start to complain if the water trough is empty, or full of ice.
When I was a little kid out "helping" my dad and whining about the cold he would say just beat your hands together and stomp your feet to get the blood circulating and warm. It never seemed to work for me. 

I have to say its a little less stressful and more satisfying sometimes working out in the cold with animals or machinery compared to fighting this computer trying to install a download I need for another project. Instructions sound so easy but they don't work. Its for a new project (toy). More to come on that.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hauling Flax Bales

I took the opportunity to shoot a little video while hauling flax straw bales last weekend. One of these days I need to get a camera mount to wear while I'm out actually working throwing bales. This one makes it look like I spent all my time just driving the tractor while my helpers did all the work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Got my "r"s Back

The letter "r" on the old asus laptop gave up completely a week or so ago so I've been improvising by copying and pasting the letter "r" from wherever I might find one handy. But it really slows down my normally fast typing speed plus the annoyance of trying to think  of words I can use to express myself that don't contain the letter r.
But I'm back and typing on a new logitech wireless keyboard that seems to work  well. It came with a spare wireless mouse too so I guess I have a spare.
We are gradually acclimatizing to the onset of normal (cold) weather. Daytime highs of 5F and a strong Northwest wind pushed the wind chill factor up into the uncomfortable zone even with the multiple layers of clothes I normally wear.
In my usual manner of getting things done just in time, I got the harvest machinery mostly cleaned up and parked in their winter shed locations before it got too cold to run them. We got the flax bales hauled off the field and stacked near the greenhouse ready for the stove when required. Before the snow got too deep in the fields.
I got a start on installing the new rear shocks on the 52 Merc but don't spend too much time laying on the floor in these temperatures as it takes the fun out when the hands start to freeze up.
Merc rear axle and  shock

Nearly froze them on Monday while chain sawing beaver logs off the fence line. Once I'd got working hard enough to get the blood circulating I was ok but for a while I was feeling that special intense pain I get when (almost ) frozen fingers start to thaw. Gloves just don't do it for me. Should have been wearing mitts.
Just about wore my back out handling some of those logs. Now I need to go back and fix the fence that got wrecked.

In the news, another blow to the Canadian cattle industry  with over 20,000 cattle quarantined and at least half going to be destroyed. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Raising A Little Dust

Seems like a long time since harvest started. Thats only because it has been a long time. This video was shot fairly early in the season I think judging by the leaves still on the trees.
I moved the swather home a couple of days ago as I don't plan to try cutting any more flax now that the snow seems to be here to stay. The combines have been in the sheds for some time now but waiting for the final clean up before their winter holiday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Diesel Leaks

Man, I reek of diesel fuel after working on the Massey. As good a tractor as it is, there is not much room to work on certain places. This has been a bad year for leaks on machinery and this one has bothered me since late winter. Thought I had it soldered up last spring but no, it was leaking diesel again. Tried the old stand by JBWeld but even that failed. So today I got a different piece of steel line and with a little custom bending I got it in place. Accompanied by the steady dripping of diesel fuel on my hands at 32 degrees (that is 0C for you metric converts) my fingers pretty much lost feeling by the time I was done. Hopefully when I check it tomorrow there will not be fuel dripping on the ground.

Sunshine on the weekend inspired me to try baling some of the flax straw I had combined. Even that was difficult. After many broken shear pins on the baler , crawling along in first gear, I think I had around 200 bales done by the time darkness took over. The final shear pin broke and that was the end of the day for me.
I'm getting a sore finger from the stubborn "r" key on this laptop. Sometimes it takes intense pressure to get the letter. I'm attempting to chose words that dont' contain many "r" s but that is not always possible. I've pried the r key off and cleaned out anything that looked like it should not be there. So far I have resisted the urge to take a ball pein hammer to the "r" key but for how much longer I can't say.
Today in history, I can remember only a little about where I was on that day when JFK was assassinated. This was an interesting interview with Abe Zapruder's grand daughter

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Merc At The Car Show

An updated and edited version of this past summer's drive to the antique car show at Dysart museum. Accompanied by the oh so perfect music of Alan Jackson's "Mercury Blues".
It was a great day with perfect weather and scenery. A good selection of fine looking antique cars and trucks and nobody was too critical of my old rusty relics either. And a big thanks to my sister in law and nephew without whose assistance I could not have got both cars to the show.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Note To Self

In case I forget by next spring, do not attempt to grow flax again! And thats all I"ve got to say about that.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thanks A Lot Cargill

You have increased our "carbon footprint" (if you buy the whole carbon myth) considerably and unnecessarily. That load of oats you rejected and sent back to us yesterday was only 1.2 points above dry and could not find some way to blend it in to a train load of oats?
So the oats got a 75 mile ride and are back in the yard for now. 50 plus miles on my truck moving grain vac, auger and people back and forth between farms. 20 miles on the tractor (at 15 mph) plus whatever fuel it burned running the vac and auger.
I know my time is not worth much but wear and tear on machinery plus fuel used costs money. And the grain is already too cheap.
This grain is contracted and as much as I'd like to, we can't just walk away from the deal once your name is signed on the dotted line.
Anyway, not a total loss as I got the long slow drive on the tractor with plenty of time to enjoy the scenic cloudy, damp skies and drizzle. Canola swaths lying in the fields along the way. Moisture levels bouncing back and forth from tough to damp to off the scale.
Harvest month 4 begins next week. When will it end?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hope Deferred (Again)

I know I"ve used that biblical quotation before here. Most likely a reference to bad weather at harvest time. It was one that great Uncle Arthur used on occasion. He was a great one for quotations for most occasions. Many from the bible, some from Shakespeare, some unknown.
This one comes to mind most days lately as the predominantly cloudy and damp weather continues to put harvest on hold.
We did get a rare sunny afternoon today after the fog cleared. Last night's light rain cancelled out any drying that happened in the fields.
Stats are still putting harvest at the 80% complete mark which is well behind the normal for this time of year.
I saw several fields of flax today in my travels. Some still standing and some swathed. Still looking good, just too wet to combine. The standing canola appeared to have some empty pods, likely threshed out by wind or the wet snowfall we had.
Took this photo out the window driving by a field of flax today.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Waste Mart

Although I doubt Walmart is the only guilty one here, it is the one that came up in this news story Here! I have to just shake my head when I think how we work to produce this stuff and try to make a living doing it, only to hear that a lot of it is thrown out ending up in landfills producing methane. Which, by the way, contributes to greenhouse gas almost as bad as carbon dioxide apparently. What next? A methane tax on top of the (proposed) carbon tax?
In other news, there is none. Wet weather continues with zero harvest progress for the month of October. No real good weather forecast either. At this stage we need days of good drying weather but every day gets shorter.
Maybe history will repeat as in 2009 when we were shut down by early snow but harvest resumed in November when we got some rare nice weather.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Carbon Tax

Very interesting open letter here written by a Sask. farmer stating how the govt. proposed carbon tax will affect us. I've seen the comments somewhere that businesses will handle it by simply passing on the extra expense to their customers. I guess that works ok for all the businesses that we have to buy our farm supplies from. But how do we , the farmers pass that extra cost on to our customers? I'm sure if I mention it to Cargill or Viterra that I need a few extra cents per bushel to cover the cost of the additional tax I"m paying they will just laugh. Historically we have been price takers, not price makers.
Anyway, its not carved in stone yet and our provincial government is fighting for us with this petition  to sign.
No real news on the harvest front. Sunshine has been almost non existent the month of October. Hardly a day with the humidity below 70 percent and up around 90 overnight. There is just so much moisture in the climate that our short days can't dry it up before the next rain or snow shower.
Got the last of the hay bales hauled home from the hundred acre woods on the weekend on one of the rare sunny and almost warm days we have had this month. The next day it rained.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Road Testing The 52 Merc (again)

For those not already tired of seeing this rusty old car tearing up and down the gravel road, here is the latest video from the fall of 2016. Some nice sunny days and autumn leaves. Plus the awesome sounds of an unrestricted flathead V8 exhaust.

We have finally figured out the carburetor problem. A simple adjustment and now the old Holley can breathe deep and put out some real horsepower.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Moisture Testing Grain

I shot this video a couple of weeks or so ago but it could have been today. Only difference is that today is colder and there are no leaves left on the trees. The month of October has been zero progress for harvesting here and much of Western Canada from what I read. Its not too late yet. The weather could improve. The glass is half full, not empty.

This vid shows the process of testing the moisture in the grain we harvest. It likely won't be of great interest to many but you never know. The rest of the harvest videos seemed to go over pretty well and I picked up a few new subscribers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Last Day of Harvest 16

September 30 was my last day of harvest 2016. Not finished but everything except flax which was not ready at the time. A couple of days later it started raining, then snowing, and its been all downhill ever since. I heard a figure quoted today that there remains 4 million acres of canola that farmers have not been able to harvest in Western Canada. That is a lot of money left in the field.
There is still some hope that at least some of that crop will get harvested this fall. Not likely dry though.
My flax maybe stands a better chance as it is still standing. Or at least most of it was last time I drove by. That may have changed though since the last six inches of wet snow.
With daytime "highs" in the 30s it is a slow process waiting for the snow to melt into the mud. Every day gets a little bit shorter, the sun a little less powerful this time of year.
This was a nice day when I shot this video of the last canola field.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Harvest 2016 Part 4

The latest installment of harvest 2016. The upside of this miserable wet weather is that I have time to edit and upload more video off the cab camera on the off chance that anybody else is interested in watching me run the combine.

The recent snow is slowly melting which looks like an improvement anyway. Today was almost a drying day for a change but more showers are forecast for tonight. So its two steps forward and two steps back. Keep that up for long and real winter is here before we know it.

I got inspired to dig a few more potatoes out of the wet ground today. 9 pails worth. It is the only harvesting I can do at this point.

Here is a photo of the snow on canola swaths yesterday afternoon , October 7.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October Winter

Sitting here in full winter regalia and furnace running to keep the house warm. Outside the temp is just below freezing and the ground is white with new snow. And its only October 5. Last I heard harvest was around 75% complete for the province. I'm a little better than that with only a field of flax left standing.

Its not the first time harvest has been put on hold due to snow. Looking back to 1969 there was hardly an acre of crop harvested here through the month of October. It was into November before the weather relented a little and the combines hit the fields again. The grain never did dry but it was cold enough to bin it til spring and get it dried then. Frozen ground thawing in the mid day sun made it interesting for the old Massey Harris combine trying to climb the hills. Mud built up on the tires of the tractor pulling the hopper wagon. Grain so damp it would not unload easily out of the wagon. Working into the evening and darkness on open combines was miserable and  cold but that late in the season everybody knew there was no time to waste.
My dad finished up in the early morning hours of November 11 that year. A neighbour brought in a newer, bigger combine to help and dad ran that. Although he still sat up high and exposed to all the wind, cold and dust. Must have nearly froze.
At least this time I'll ride in comfort.
Dad. 1979.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Back In The Oat Field 2016

Part 4 of harvest 2016. Got a few more acres done between rains. Managed to  keep working til 3:00 am without getting lost, falling asleep or driving over anything I shouldn't. Then it rained. After that it dried up for a few more days before the next rain, and the cycle continues. Currently sitting here at near 3 inches of rain with it likely turning to snow by morning.  I guess the flax will stand through it. And if I'm being optimistic, I might even harvest it this fall before real winter sets in.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Its Been a Month

Since I started harvest I mean. And it might be over. Light rain this morning and it continues. Forecast is for more most of the week and the S word is even mentioned. I'm lucky to be as far along as I am , having only 120 acres of flax still standing. Ready or not, I don't know as I have not had a chance to check it lately. I suspect there will still be enough green (flax or weeds) in it that I can't cut and pickup the same day but who knows. Laying a swath now with more rain, or worse, forecast is not a good plan. Swaths take a long time to dry once we are into October.
I took this picture a few days ago unloading wheat into the truck. Have to admit we had some very nice harvest weather while waiting for the grain to dry. Lucky I did not wait for it.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Harvest 2016 Episode 2

Part two of harvest 2016 on my farm. More to come as I get it edited. Keeping busy in the combine lately and down to the last field.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Harvest 2016 Episode 1

You can tell its a rainy day and I can't harvest. So I'm catching up on a few things including editing some of the video and photos on my cameras. I worked til 3 am last night trying to finish a field of oat swaths before the rain but never made it. Those big swaths were tough enough going even when relatively dry but the rain was the finish. My "harvest crew" stuck with me right to the finish and I would be lost without them.

Its supposed to be a big one but so far just slow rain. Canola and wheat yielded great. Oats not quite so good and I suspect I should have swathed them sooner before Sunday's wild wind threshed out a lot of crops. Some canola swaths were torn apart and there was a "twister trail" across the oat field yesterday and swaths were scattered. As always, we are at the mercy of nature in this business.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What Else But Combining

Not complaining that I spend almost every day in the combine, or swather, or tractor. It is normal for this time of year. Weather is pretty nice and the scenery gets better every day. This shot over the steering wheel this afternoon while cutting "Brandon" wheat. New variety for me and I'm impressed with it so far.
Took another photo from up on the bin ladder today while watching the grain fill up to the point where the bin won't hold much more but before the auger  plugs up. My truck driver ready to close the gate when I give the signal. So far, so good. 

Just at a rough calculation I must be half way finished. Heavy rain predicted for the weekend (or earlier) so that will be an unwelcome break from harvest that could set us back who knows how long. Today looked pretty damp and hopeless at first but the sun came out and I was able to finish another wheat field. Early too. In the house by 9:00. I almost felt guilty. But did not want to move machinery another 9 miles down the road in the dark.
I've been shooting a short video clip most days in the field in hopes of stringing it all together into a harvest "vlog" when I get around to editing. With as long as harvest gets to be lately I might have to make it a two part Roosty6 video.
In the meantime, Happy Birthday to The Lazy Farmer

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Harvest Days

Back at it for the second day in a row since the rain shut us down nearly two weeks ago. Slow going in a heavy swath with numerous piles of canola where the swather plugged. Some go through while others plug the combine feeder no matter how slowly and cautiously I approach them. I never needed the reverser working for years but this past couple of days I could have used it. So get out the huge wrench and crank it backwards by hand , pulling the tough and wiry canola stems out of the feeder.
The shock loads on the feeder drive are really tearing up the drive sprocket and shaft and I doubt it will run another day before it fails. Sounds like we have two more good days before rain hits again so hopefully I'll get to spend them harvesting rather than repairing.
Picture from today at sunset thanks to my truck driver.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Not Harvesting

Yesterday's showers gave a good 7 tenths rain here so its wet and will take a day or two of drying before harvesting can resume. And that is only if tomorrow's prediction of more rain does not come true.
The heavy fog lifted this morning and created some awesome cloud and sky views here.
As the wheat in the aeration bins had cooled down to the 60s I decided to move it out and free up at least one of the bins for more damp grain if it should happen. Managed to avoid most of the muddy or soft spots in the yard with the truck for the first bin. On the second move, transferring the wheat from the hopper bin into the aeration bin, I spent a bit of time arranging augers so I did not need to use the truck. Just feed from one bin to the next via two augers. It took some work setting up but I think I saved time doing it that way. Plus did not have to run the truck back and forth between two bins less than fifty feet apart.

While you are at youtube you might enjoy watching this U.K. Farmer and his running commentary while running the combine in field and on road. I liked it.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Harvest 2016

Been a little busy , I'll blame it on harvest although I 've only combined wheat for two days.

Typical land of extremes here. It was so hot last week the days I was harvesting that the wheat was hotter than the test scale at one point. Over 30C. Thats around 90 some farenheit for those non metric speakers out there. I was concerned the combination of heat, green spots in the field,, and the odd weed patch would combine to produce heating and spoilage in the bin so ran the fans continuous for about 4 days. Got lucky and the daytime temps were barely hitting 60 (F) the past couple of days which really cooled down the wheat.
Some of the nicest wheat I've grown in years but no doubt the grain buyers will notice ergot, fusarium, or some other imperfections to downgrade it . Prices are of course way down now too.
Today the weather finally smartened up and rained. Not what I wanted but I was sick of the cloudy and threatening conditions that just kept me on the edge of my chair wondering if I'd combine or not. Now I know. ( I won't).
Those indecisive weather days I usually make the wrong choice of jobs. So I swathed a field of wheat/oats on Saturday. This rain will soak the swaths and hurt grain quality.
In other news, I'm officially a great uncle as of last Wednesday night. I'm not allowed to say too much more about that on the web but suffice it to say that the new arrival is very special and very welcome to the family.
If you haven't checked out the LiptonHistory page yet on facebook then head on over and "like" it. I don't if there is some kind of reward when I hit the 500 likes mark but maybe?
Fellow blogger Budd E Shepherd has a new blog post at last. He must have been busy cutting grass and working on his Studebaker but good to see him back.
Got nothing new for my youtube videos although I have some raw , unedited video to put together when I get around to it. Maybe I'll go check out Coldwarmotors channel for inspiration and get something done. He just hit the 10,000 subscribers mark.!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fixed The John Deere

The lighting problem on the swather turned out to be a switch problem. Pretty tight clearances in the overhead console and the switch had been rubbing on the ac evaporator fins causing the switch to lose internal connection. A little work with the vise grips had it tightened up again. Bent the top terminal down so it did not contact the evaporator anymore and should be good. Those wires would have worn through pretty soon causing more problems.

Now, do I use the swather to cut down the rest of the cereal grains or wait and hope the weather will ripen them enough to straight cut? Last year the straight header never came out of the shed and I swathed everything. Too much moisture and not enough heat.
Heavy rain today so I'm glad the wheat and oats are still standing.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Got It All Done

Canola swathing and hay baling got done today. With a little help. I made good time on the canola swathing as the crop was a little lighter and I could travel faster without plugging the swather. Had the field done by 6:00 pm and then to work on the baler. I'd had a little help from a family member who ran the old hoses into town to have new ones made up for me. I had them re-assembled and headed down the road by 7:00 to bale.
It had been a really hot day and the humidity was well up there. Good news for baling hay as it needed the extra day drying today. The humidity helped it feed better without plugging on the baler pickup and I was done just before dark. Tires were getting wet from the moisture on the grass. Broke another cross bar on the baler chain for un known reasons.
Here is a picture of a "test plot" in my canola field. The green crop standing on the left of the picture actually received no canola seed at all at planting time. I'd run out of seed and just threw in a bit of wheat to finish off that two acres. Then when I sprayed the canola with roundup in June I forgot about the wheat and sprayed right over it. Roundup did a good job killing the wheat. Apparently there was enough volunteer canola seed leftover in the soil to produce a fair stand of crop although it is pretty late and will have to stand a bit longer before I swath it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Best Laid Plans

Of mice and men, gang aft agley. Old quotation by Robert Burns. I don't often have well laid plans. Ideas and hopes maybe but I know how often things go wrong so don't have my plans carved in stone.
This turned out to be a seven day week as I wanted to finish the summerfallow I did not quite finish last night due to time and low fuel. That went so well and quick that I figured why not try the hay too. Although the weather tried to hold me back by threatening clouds and the odd spot of rain, I threw caution to the wind and headed down the road on the open Massey and wheel rake to turn and double up the hay swaths at the hundred acre woods. A lot of the hay looked ready to bale while some was still damp and green underneath. I decided to try and bale at least the driest of it so headed back with the 2090 and baler.

It went well until I was about half way done and I noticed oil spray on the baler hitch which naturally indicates a leaking hydraulic hose. These things only happen when I'm five miles away from home. Never when I'm working near the yard. It was the hose that controls the twine wrapping arm so it only leaked when I had to wrap a bale. But it was quite a leak and I soon realized I would lose a lot of oil if I continued. About the same time I noticed a broken pipe on the cross chain of the baler. Not uncommon on this baler and I even carry a spare. Unfortunately I did not carry a spare bolt to replace the one I accidentally dropped into the baler while trying to bolt the new pipe in place.
Ok, I can work with one pipe missing. But can I manually run the twine wrap as the bale is turning? Probably, but I could also get caught and wrapped up in a bale. Not worth the risk so I headed home in the dark to take off the damaged hoses for repair tomorrow. Looking across the field at my last canola I'm thinking I need to be swathing that pretty quick. With rain forecast for tomorrow night I guess I will have to sacrifice those last few swaths of hay and try and get the canola in the swath tomorrow. It will be an all day job, maybe more, depending on how heavy and difficult it is to swath.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Epic Journey In The 52 Mercury

Ok, it was only 28 miles round trip but it was the longest drive for me and the Merc since 1969 when the car was unofficially retired. I'd had hopes of taking the Merc to the local museum car show for quite a while but was not sure it would happen right up til the actual day. A week of damp and rainy weather left little hope. I didn't want to drive the rusty old car on muddy gravel roads.
The day dawned sunny and clear with a wind drying up the somewhat damp roads. I had a volunteer willing to drive the "new" Chevy II along as a support vehicle. Not everybody can drive a "three on the tree" nowadays.
I loaded up the Chevy's trunk with tools, spare gas, tow rope, and assorted other stuff for whatever possible problems might occur and we set out.
Is that 40+ year old fuel pump going to fail? Fall victim to that old flathead malady of vapour lock? Yes, I had a pail of water along for that problem too. Were the loose rear wheel bearing and whining rear axle going to pile up on the trip? That leak in the radiator going to get worse?
And how about the five gallon fuel tank? Enough to drive 13 miles surely?
With all the improvements to make it street legal I still had not got the "teapot" carburetor working as it should. It requires  judicious pumping of the gas pedal to accelerate without stalling. And you never know when the 14 year old tractor battery under the hood is going to give up the ghost. But keep the pedal down and the old flathead ran smooth and steady once up to speed. I watched that heat gauge pretty closely and it did run higher than I'd seen it on my short runs, but not enough to cause trouble.
The well used oversize Michelins rode pretty well with only a hint of wander in gravel. With no working speedometer I could only guess but found out later I'd been crusing around 50 mph a lot of the time. Not bad. Averaged over 15 mpg too which really surprised me.
At the destination we parked among the rest of the antiques and looked right at home. Although that nice shiny Fairlane beside me made the old Merc look a little weathered and worn.
 No, I did not win any of the people's choice awards and that was no surprise as there were a lot of very nicely restored cars and trucks there. Got a few comments on the very smooth idle of the old flathead V8.
The trip home was uneventful and the road was dry enough that I was getting a little dust in the interior through the various rust holes not yet patched.
For those that are not yet tired of viewing this old Mercury I have a few minutes of video uploaded at youtube showing the trip.
Meanwhile I have a bit  more summerfallow to finish, hay to rake and bale, and the last field of canola is almost ready to swath. Weather permitting, hopefully, all within the next 48 hours. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Time For An Update

First day in the swather cutting canola today. Might be too early, or just right. Sure is  a tall standing crop and at times a real challenge to get it through the swath opening without plugging. It worked better after sundown when the crop got damp. Just at dark I was reminded that I'd had a problem with the lights on the swather last fall. At least the auxiliary field lights work so I was not totally in the dark.
That thunderstorm with rain in it went South of me luckily.
Got plans for a new video when I can get time to edit. I took the 52 Merc on an epic journey on the weekend. 28 mile round trip and the first time it has gone that far from home since 1969. The car attracted some interest at the antique car show at the museum. Nobody made any comments about the rusted out rocker panels and front fenders. Gas mileage exceeded my wildest expectations at just over 15 mpg. The idiosyncrasies of the old "teapot " carburetor requires a certain aggressive driving style that is not conducive to good gas mileage. The new carb kit is in the mail but now it will be a rainy day job as harvest operations take precedence.

Monday, August 8, 2016

More Lazy Farmer

No, not Budde Shepherd . This is a link to some actual original newsprint clipped from an old paper and pasted into a scrap book many years ago.  They are in pdf but of course copyright rules prevent me from posting them here.
Its rained again. At this rate I will be swathing canola before I have completed the first cutting of hay.
We did get a break to at least get the old crop canola hauled to market last week. All the rain means the gardens are doing well in the area.
In spite of some hot days I managed to get the new (to me) shed on site and leveled. Its not big enough to hold a vehicle or tractor but it will hold some of the important junk I have cluttering the actual work areas of other sheds.
I sort of wasted a day at an auction yesterday. The machine I was interested in was just too huge and complicated looking so I passed it by even though it went cheap enough for what it was. On the positive side I did win the free draw at the end of the auction and came home with  fifty dollars. Enough to pay for the new carb kit that is in the mail for the #Mercury .

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Business As Usual

Pretty busy considering its summer time. But a quick update. Finally got the baler fixed last week and finished baling. Now waiting for a break in the weather when it looks like I can get three days in a row without rain to cut and bale the rest of the hay.
Big hail some places again last night but only heavy rain here at the yard. Hopefully no hail on the good looking crops.
That spring harvested flax is gone as of last week. High dockage and low weight but thats what it was. Found a bin of old canola with a start of mold in it so I moved the whole thing to another bin. Its looking ok now and I've found a decent price (in this time of very low prices) so its going to be sold pretty quick. No comments on why I didn't sell it for an extra dollar a bushel last winter.
Got over all the summerfallow  in the past week too between rains. Surprisingly not as wet as previous years.
The garden is really starting to produce with great potatoes and the first picking of beans yesterday. There should be plenty to fill the freezer if I get time to pick them all.
Got a new shed to set down and level too. Long story but I couldn't refuse a free shed to store more junk in. Its not big but has a lot of character. Pictures to follow.
Of course I still work in time for the occasional evening drive in the Merc. Got to keep those valves exercised and working.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Heavy Hail

Not on me but a few miles South there are fields that are devastated with close to hundred percent hail damage from Tuesday night's storm. Even the grass in the ditches is too flat to even cut for hay now. Heavy rain, winds, and hail stones broke a few windows, damaged siding on buildings. We dodged the bullet this time but maybe not the next one. We are just entering what used to be considered the high risk time for hail storms. As my grandmother used to refer to the "fateful eighth" of August when they had a major hail storm pass through and wipe out crops.
I took a few poor photos yesterday while driving by some of the damaged fields.
Looking through my cracked windshield at that light coloured field behind the trees shows the damage. It should still be green but is now dyng off due to hail damage. Hail adjusters will be busy.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Haying Was Going Well

Until it wasn't . I did get off to a good start raking and doubling up all the swaths. The inch and a quarter of rain the other day did not seem to hurt it too bad and it still has fair colour. Today was an ideal drying day with 80 degree temps and wind blowing.
Finished raking and back home for the baler (and very late dinner). There was some ominous looking clouds but way off to the North which were far away.
Got maybe half the baling done when it got a little too quiet behind me. Figured a shear pin had broke as I was turning but it was way worse than that. For some reason the middle u joint had broken . By some miracle the spinning pto shaft did not self destruct before I shut it down. The broken joint appears well greased and no noticeable wear. 
Those are the worst kind of breakdowns. The ones that happen for no apparent reason. 
Will I find new parts for a 40 some year old baler? Will I get it together and finish baling before the next rain hits? To be continued...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fields of Blue

Finally got over to the flax field early enough today to take some pictures of it flowering. Seems to shut down in afternoon but it was in fine form this morning. With the neighbour's canola field of yellow in the background.
Still have not moved the poor excuse for last year's flax crop but here I am looking at a new crop's possibilities already. It always looks good at this stage before the weeds show up. And they are there. The herbicide did a great job, as evidenced by the "check strips" but the high moisture conditions have given us a whole new crop of weeds. Flax is a poor competitor with it's spindly stems and leaves. The flax is well ahead of the weeds for now but it will not look so nice when they grow tall above it. Still should be a good crop.
The bloom is starting to fade a little on the canola now. Big pods forming.
The hay cut on Friday is pretty well dry enough to bale right now except for the heavy parts of the field. No sooner did I think of hitching on  to the hay rake and the clouds rolled in. Spitting rain now. You just can't win with hay it seems. No matter. The cows will eat it this winter even if the quality is down a bit.
Thunder rumbling so I better post this before the power cuts out and I lose it. The battery life on this backtop is measured in seconds now.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

I Remember This

Or at least I think I do. Its a little piece of history retained on the driver's door post of the 52 Mercury. In those days when many owners did their own engine oil changes they would (usually) mark down the mileage and date on the sticker that came with the new oil filter. This one from Atlas filters is marked 1967, July something. That scrawled pencil hand writing is my own I think.
It looks like Dad was using BA (later Gulf oil) 10w-30 oil at that time. No mileage recorded so I'm guessing the speedometer had already quit working by that time.
Its been a week of threatening thunderstorms every day and yet not very much rain. So it keeps me on hold putting off hay cutting , etc. I did manage to get a couple of fields of chem fallow sprayed. They needed it. Flax hauling was scheduled but put off due to threat of rain. You really don't want rain when loading flax as it turns to glue and sticks to the inside of the truck box sides.
It was a very quiet evening with no wind and hardly a sound except the birds and the occasional distant whine of a plane or sprayer working on crops. They are going all out pouring on the fungicide or insecticide (or both) on canola and cereal crops now.
I did disturb the silence a bit with the rumble of the straight pipe on the Mercury flathead V8 for a short drive. Got to keep those valves exercised so they don't stick. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Canada Day

Although it was already two days ago, here is a photo of what has become sort of a Canada Day traditional gathering of friends and family. It was pretty cool, cloudy and windy so I passed on the actual trail ride.
Funny , with all the threatening weather we have had lately, in fact there has been hardly any measureable rain. Just light showers that keep everything going but make it very hard to make hay. I was lucky enough to get most of what I have cut baled up last week. So far holding off cutting any more as there are showers forecast almost every day this coming week. 
Crops progressing nicely with canola blooming and wheat heading pretty much on schedule. I took these recent photos of wheat. Of course it was a good opportunity to exercise the 52 Merc. Can't let it sit too long and have the valves get stuck from inactivity. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Baling, raking, taking pictures

plus a few other things made for a busy day. I was reluctant to cut any more hay seeing as rain is forecast and I don't want it to get soaked. But some that I cut the other day looked almost dry enough to bale so I figured get it done before the weather changed.
The Cockshutt 40, usually so reliable, failed to start. The 15 (or so) year old battery seemed too weak.So the next best candidate was the Cockshutt 50 beside it. Weak governor action, armstrong steering and a weak pto clutch but it got the job done. Made a few more good quality square hay bales to re-stock the hay loft for next winter.

Had to do an inventory check on the spring harvested flax before making arrangements to sell it. Between it being low bushel weight and high (12%) dockage it is not going to be a big money crop.
I took this photo  while on top of the flax bin as the canola is starting to bloom pretty good right now.
Did a little hay raking with the Super 90 Massey late in the afternoon. Hoping by turning the swaths they might just be dry enough to bale tomorrow. Some of it had only been cut down for 24 hours so there is still some drying needed before it is safe to bale. Hopefully, weather permitting, I will get it done tomorrow before rain moves in. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

WWII Another Installment

Just adding another chapter or two of my dad's memoirs of WWII. This bit from July of 1944 gives a good impression of life under fire in the 18th anti tank battery. A few memorable days at Troteval Farm near the location of the battle of Verrieres Ridge

26. So again, it was for us to move up. I guess the
situation must have been pretty grim for we started out
late in the afternoon approximately the 20th of July,
maybe later. Our attempt at moving forward got
stalled on the road on account of heavy shell bursts on
the road directly ahead. We were a pretty worried
crew, seven in all. Jack Faibish, the Sergeant said the
ditches are supposed to be mined so keep out of them.
At the same time I’m thinking if the shelling gets
much closer I’m heading for the ditch. So we just sat
there and waited in open country. There we are hoping
it will hurry up and get dark. Our objective was a farm
yard about a mile ahead called Troteval Farm which
was located on Verrieres Ridge. By dusk there seemed
to be somewhat of a lull so we proceeded. We were to
put our gun in position on the west side of the farm
yard which seemed to be spread out over quite a large
area. Brick buildings and fence. We quickly unhitched
our gun , set it ready for action. However,
there was a knocked out Sherman close by . Thinking
it might give us a little more protection Jack decided
to move the gun over to the Sherman about a hundred
yards away. So we hooked the gun again and
proceeded toward the Sherman.. Harold Hammett, Bob
Hartley and myself walked ahead to the knocked out
Sherman where I noticed quite a large hole in the
ground alongside and partly under the track which
was broken. We stood there waiting for the gun to be
pulled up. Being almost dark Jack walked alongside
the truck and driver. When they were almost abreast
of us I saw a great flash. Next thing I knew the three
of us were on the ground. I guessed it must have been
the concussion, at first I thought it was a shell. It was
a mine, same thing that got the tank. Being
temporarily stunned it took a moment or two to take in
what had happened . I heard Hartley calling me to
help with Hammett who was temporarily blinded.
There didn’t seem to be anyone else around. I took a
quick look for Jack. He was laying beside a large hole
in the ground and partly under the front wheel which
was badly battered on the drivers side. I heard anti
freeze leaking out. Jack appears to be quite dead. The
rest of the crew are gone so Hartley and myself help
Hammett to the other side of the farm yard where our
officer was with a jeep. The three men who were all in
the tower at the time of hitting the mine all had
wounds so they were all evacuated. I can not
remember the details on how they went back or where
Hartley went. I never saw him again.
27. I sort of lost track as to what happened immediately
after except our officer said don’t go back to the gun
as that area is mined. I concluded there was not much
doubt about that. I met Bill Todd about this time . He
said join up with our crew which I gladly did. After
the shock of losing all the men off our gun I was at
loose ends. Bills trench which he was in the process of
digging was in between two buildings, all brick and
the dust was pretty thick. Kicked up by German
artillery and mortars. I guess what was drawing so
much fire was the presence of infantry who had set up
their three inch mortars and were really laying down a
barrage at times. One thing about them, they usually
drew fire. It didn’t take the Germans long to get their
28. We had just acquired a new officer due to Jim
Armstrong being wounded . The new officer’s name
was Heaps. I believe he was from Montreal. He
became quite popular with the troop. He arrived the
next morning quite early and informed us that Buster
Gross had got a bullet through his heel so we lost
another man. He hinted to me about taking over our
gun to replace Faibish but I declined the offer saying I
would rather remain number 3 gunner. Jim Erwin, also
a gunner was persuaded to take the job and the crew
was made up of new recruits all except Jim and
myself. One of these I remember quite well was
Michael Oliver from out of McGill University from
Montreal , Rosemont, the son of an Anglican priest.
Mike was a big likable character. Mike was good
natured and was quite amused by us westerners and
our gophers. I spent a few days in the same trench
with Mike He seemed to think I should learn some
French so to break the monotony and Jerry with a
Spandau and the odd 88 I did learn a bit of French
before we left Troteval Farm.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Crop Spraying/Auction sales/Haying

I think crop spraying is finally slowing down. Not to the point I have unhitched from the sprayer but just taking a break before hitting the chem fallow a second time. Did a poor job on the first application. Amazing the difference it makes leaving out one jug of Roundup from the mix.
Finished the last of the canola last week and shot a bit of video while driving. Plus a little outside taking a close up look at what appears to be herbicide drift damage to my canola from the neighbor's spraying. Contrary to popular belief, the newest sprayer technology is still not immune to high winds and ground speeds.
Looked at a really nice self propelled at an auction a few days ago but could not quite bring myself to spend what it would take to bring it home. 
Nice , well kept equipment, good weather made it an interesting auction but its taken me 24 hours to get over the back ache from all the standing around. I need to remember to sit down on a piece of machinery for a break sometimes. 
Haying has begun, on a very small scale here. Just enough to try out the 40 year old haybine and make sure everything works. It does. Baled up a few small squares along the driveway to replenish the supply in the hayloft that I depleted over the late winter when I had a cow confined in the shelter. 
Naturally laying a few swaths of hay seems to attract rain. Not a lot but just some damp drizzly weather that puts everything on hold until the sun comes back. 
Early canola fields are blooming already. Pictures to follow. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Hearing quite a bit today that this is Father's Day so I  guess its an excuse to write something here. My dad used to say that every day was fathers day and he didn't want to make a big deal out of it. Here is a photo of him and his three sons back in the summer of 63. Or probably late spring judging by the blooming dandelions. They still bloom just as good now over fifty years later. Maybe I should take that 52 Merc in the background out for a commemorative drive. Sounds like a good excuse to me.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Stopping On A Dime

With 90 cents change, I think that was the old saying . Yes, the 52 Merc now has four wheel brakes that hold on the first application of the pedal. I'm so used to pumping it three times to slow down that it will take some getting used to.
I took advantage of the help I had here today to get the long overdue job done. Bleeding the air from the brake system can be done alone but it is so much easier and wastes less brake fluid if there is someone to help work the pedal.

So it stops good, now if I could get it to go better. Not that these heavy old flathead powered cars were ever considered to be fast but this one is well below even my modest expectations. Its like the dreams I used to have about trying to stop a tractor pushing brake and clutch pedals with all my strength and it just won't stop. Only in this case pushing the pedal to the metal (gas pedal) and the old Mercomatic won't shift up until I ease up on the gas pedal. I'm going to need a longer test track to see what it will do after the 1-2 upshift.
Edit: I finally got this posted this morning. Fell asleep in the middle of trying to upload a photo here last night. Woke up and forgot what I'd been doing and shut down the computer . Lucky that blogger had saved it in drafts so I didn't have to re-write the whole thing.
Sun is shining and wind hardly blowing so maybe back to the crop spraying today.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Crop Spraying

Its going well, until it isn't. We had one really good day this week. Meaning no wind, not too hot or raining. Otherwise it is usually too windy and I end up spraying herbicide when it is less than ideal and blowing expensive poison all across the countryside.
Crops doing pretty good with only moderate weed competition.
Looks like I was a little too cheap with the roundup on the chem fallow. Everything except the twitch grass is dying as intended but the grass is hanging on. Should have thrown another jug in the tank.
Daytime highs hitting into the 80s a few days. Been a while since the last rain. Days? Maybe a week. No worries yet. Plenty of mosquitos to make life miserable when there is no wind to keep them away. Tent caterpillars are starting to thin out. As are the leaves on the trees due to the caterpillars.
Still trapping rats in the chop bin but no luck with raccoons. Turns out I had the safety latch on the trap for a month and wondered why it never caught anything. I really need to pay more attention to details.
Hilled my first row of potatoes already and they are looking great. Everything is a bit early this year so I should probably be hitching onto the haybine any day now.