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Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 in 8 Minutes

It seems to be the fashion to do year end reviews now so I thought I'd try it. Surprising how long it took to go through the numerous videos I shot all year. I didn't want to make it too long for today's short attention spans so I had to just try and pick out a few short but descriptive segments.

It was quite a year and a memorable harvest that never did get finished. I might have to start allowing ads on my youtube videos for extra income. :-)

Not a bad winter so far though. Just enough snow and not too cold.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Pouring Concrete

I did some more video transfer of old vhs tape from 1989. Nowadays we mostly call a redi-mix truck when we need a cement job done but back in 89 we still made a lot of our own. This was a footing for my brother's new garage we were mixing. My dad was almost 71 at the time and is doing a good job with that trowel.  It must have been a Saturday as three of those guys would have been at work otherwise. Thirty years later the garage stands straight and level on that concrete that will likely outlast us.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Cockshutt 50 Piling flax straw

More old video from the VHS tape collection I am gradually converting to digital. Saving family history. Although it does not seem like so very long ago to me, it is just over 20 years. Dad was always happy to run his old 50 and the blade whether it be pushing straw, snow, dirt or manure. That manual steering was heavy and the blade made it even heavier so you kept warm trying to steer the old 50. I guess he made 50 years on that tractor. Bought it in October of 1960 and I think he was still able to drive it in 2000.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Retro Harvest 89

Second in the series of home video conversions. I'm gradually picking out some of the best old home movies I recorded on VHS tape many years ago. Its a time consuming process that will hopefully get easier with practice. I've always been told that vhs tapes will degrade over time and become unusable so I better get it done before its too late.

After a night of -22F it was interesting to look at the harvest scenes in the August heat of 1989.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Its Official

Just read that our area has been declared a disaster zone due to the poor harvest conditions that left a lot of crop in the field for winter. I don't know if it will make much difference long tern as the days of government handouts seem to have ended and we are usually on our own to sink or swim. What grain is left in the field is , or will be, poor quality and not worth much. Adding the cost of drying that low value grain is hard to take.
I'll be ok but I can imagine those with big operating loans coming due might be a little stressed.
Its winter. The crop that is left I'll forget about til spring. It will be dry to harvest by then. What the deer don't eat anyway .
Harvest disaster in Sask.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Cold Start Loading Oats

I took advantage of the relatively mild weather yesterday to put a load of oats through the hammer mill for cattle feed. I had enough to last a few more weeks but knowing that it could be 40 below by then I figured this was a good option.

The old Wisconsin auger engine was a little reluctant to start without a little pre-heating, but then it is almost as old as me. I'd forgotten just how low the oats were in the bin. As it turned out I was able to load all that was in the bin onto the hopper wagon. Of course every bushel had to be shoveled but no big deal as the old six inch auger idled down is slow enough even for me to keep up to. A seven inch auger will work two men to death on shovels though. Speed costs.

Later in the afternoon I got to pail all those oats through the hammer mill. The old IH mill won't take it too fast though so I was barely working hard enough to keep warm. Managed to finish up just before dark after 3 hours on the mill. It was a good full throttle workout for the Cockshutt 50 tractor and that is the only exercise it gets these days.

The sound of the tractor and mill must have attracted the cattle to come home from the oat stubble field. So of course I gave them a sample of the new chop which they seemed to appreciate. They have been spending most of their time out in the oat field these past two weeks not even coming home for water. That will help shorten the winter feeding period .

Shoveling Oats

Friday, November 22, 2019

Rusty Buckets On The Merc

I was just thinking about how we used to get around all through a Saskatchewan winter in a two wheel  drive car. No four wheel drive pickups with traction control and anti lock brakes. Just a little good driving skill and a shovel in the trunk for when your luck ran out. I can't recall my dad ever having to pull the old Merc out of a snowbank with a tractor but maybe my memory is failing.

No steel belted studded winter radial tires. Just the same old ground grip tires that had been on the car all summer. It was too costly to have an extra set of rims or tires for winter.

New plastic frost shields installed on the inside of the windows to keep at least a partial view through the frosted glass. Times have changed.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Crop Checking Nov 17

We don't normally have crops to check on in the middle of November but that is how bizarre this year has been. This wheat won't likely get harvested til next spring now that it is snowed under and no decent drying weather to help out. Its already graded feed due to mildew, sprouts, fusarium, etc. and whatever else the grain buyers can find. So it can't grade any lower by laying out all winter. Might lose a little weight but at least (hopefully) it will be dry. I'd hate to have the wheat sitting in a bin at almost 19% moisture and have to worry about it heating all winter.

Deer and moose trails are obvious in the photos. They will have plenty to eat. Hopefully the hunters will stay on the trail I cut through the middle of the field.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Nov 14 working with 2140

This milder weather gave me a chance to get a few jobs done including winterizing the diesel fuel in two tractors. Picking up a couple of un=tied oat straw bales and hauling home for bedding in the cattle shelter. As well as cutting down some big dead trees that were going to fall on the fence line the next time the wind blows.
Still snow everywhere and I don't expect to get back to harvesting until next spring even if we do get a little melting in the next day or so.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Cooling Canola

I combined this canola almost a month ago, testing dry, but I was concerned it might not be cooling down safely. Decided to take a load out today to get a better look and temperature test. Turned out to be ok. It was a nice day compared to some we have had although the temp never got above 15F.

Friday, November 1, 2019

November Cold Starts

It looks like winter is here to stay so, even though there is still crop to harvest, I'm putting the headers and combine away for winter. Did a quick partial clean up and parked everything back in place. Now if the snow goes away unexpectedly I can still pull it all back out and combine.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

October Snow

Looks like its going to be an early winter. At least the sun came out today and it looked nice. Still pretty cold on the fingers when I had to operate the drone tablet controls. I think it was about +12F. Well below normal for late October and its not likely the snow will leave as long as it stays this cool. Harvest not complete but it might be over for now.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

67 Years Ago

Today, October 29, they tell me was a pretty nice day in 1952. A photo of my parent's wedding day.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Some Harvest Progress

Its been a busy week with finally getting into the field to harvest some wheat. Not dry by any means but I think it will be safe enough to store in the bin for a while. Hope the grain buyers will take it at 17%+ moisture. It just refuses to dry down any lower and I can't take the chance of getting more drying weather this late in the season. Possible, but a slim chance.
Only been stuck once with the combine so far and it was not too dramatic or time consuming getting pulled out. Had a neighbour wanting to bale my hailed oat crop so that saved me 60 acres of combining plus will make a little cash on the bales.
Only 65 acres wheat left to go now so there is still hope. Even though it is freezing and trying to sleet/snow this morning.
Biggest problem has been the wheat, and oats, laying flat on the ground for most of the field making it necessary to scrape the ground with the combine header to get most of the crop. That would be fine if we didn't have moles and badgers leaving hidden mounds of dirt for the header to scoop up. Many trips up and down the combine ladder to shovel wet dirt out of the header. One morning the stone trap was even froze up with dirt from the night before.
Dryers and propane trucks are running day and night as those who have dryers are pushing it to the limit. Hard to have to spend more money drying a crop that has already down graded to feed quality in some cases.
I'm lucky to have my support crew keeping me going in this stressful time.
Youtube videos to follow when I've got time to catch up on editing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

60 Year Mercury

Tomorrow, October 16th, will be the 60th anniversary of my dad buying the 52 Mercury that shows up so often in my videos. Guess I was too young to remember the day but I certainly remember the many trips in the ensuing ten years that it was the main transportation for the family. Year round through mud and snow the old Merc always got us where we needed to be. Finally in October of 69 it became impossible to start. The accumulated miles and years had dropped the compression on the old flathead so low that it would not fire up. Being an automatic transmission we did not have the time honoured method of pull  starting with a tractor. So it sat for another decade or so until my brother took on the project of getting it running again. New pistons and a valve grind put it back in great running order. Only a few miles were put on it before it was parked again as other interests came along. It was moved from one parking spot to another to eventually a spot in the woods where it was in danger of being overgrown by poplars. Finally by 2014 my interest revived in seeing if it would still run. It did! With a little work.
Got some video put together of mostly still photos from the 1960s. Including the original bill of sale.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Slight Harvest Delay

If I had actually got started harvesting this year this would be considered a delay. In reality it just pushes the start date further towards winter since I never got started yet. We got away lucky compared to SW Sask. where there are literally snow drifts and deep snow from what I hear. This snow can't make the grain any wetter as it was already thoroughly soaked but it will add a little water to the already dangerously muddy ground. Stuck combines and swathers will be the norm, unless the ground freezes up first! Grain quality suffers a little with every rain on ripe crop. At this point I wish I'd had 100% hail damage in that last big storm.
This morning's view out the window.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Final Garden Update 2019

Still too wet to do any harvesting in the field but I was able to finish digging potatoes today. Pretty fair crop and should be more than I need. Possible snow in the forecast inspired me to get busy and get it done a little early. Hope the snow stays away but rain is a guarantee according to the forecast. Just more of the same old thing.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Last Day Of Summer

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Last Day Of Summer

Since Monday was the first day of Autumn I guess I will call Sunday the last day of summer. I took a drive in the Merc along one of the scenic creekside roads for a few pictures. Looked like a great harvest day. And it would have been if the grain in the fields was not still recovering from numerous rain soakings. The sample I tested later that afternoon was almost 20% moisture which is well above safe storage levels. Fine if you have a dryer to deal with it. But does a dryer even pay now? Propane fuels a lot of them and our new carbon tax applies to it increasing the cost up to 8% according to some. The grain is already below last year's prices and now, downgraded by rain damage (sprouting) it will be worth even less. Likely feed grade. So increase our "carbon footprint" to dry grain that is barely profitable already? At this point I would have been better off to get 100% hail damage to all my crops and collect the insurance.

You guessed , it rained again this morning.

So now blogger only allows photos to be added from online storage? Guess that means no picture today. Here is a video of Sunday's drive. More satisfying than harvesting damp grain.

Last Day Of Summer

Since Monday was the first day of Autumn I guess I will call Sunday the last day of summer. I took a drive in the Merc along one of the scenic creekside roads for a few pictures. Looked like a great harvest day. And it would have been if the grain in the fields was not still recovering from numerous rain soakings. The sample I tested later that afternoon was almost 20% moisture which is well above safe storage levels. Fine if you have a dryer to deal with it. But does a dryer even pay now? Propane fuels a lot of them and our new carbon tax applies to it increasing the cost up to 8% according to some. The grain is already below last year's prices and now, downgraded by rain damage (sprouting) it will be worth even less. Likely feed grade. So increase our "carbon footprint" to dry grain that is barely profitable already? At this point I would have been better off to get 100% hail damage to all my crops and collect the insurance.

You guessed , it rained again this morning.

So now blogger only allows photos to be added from online storage? Guess that means no picture today. Here is a video of Sunday's drive. More satisfying than harvesting damp grain.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

On The Positive Side

Well, last night's storm created a bit more bin space as some humorous farmer used to say. My oat field has hardly any oats left in the heads. Most threshed out on the ground by the heavy rain and hail. So there will be less trucking to do through the mud. Less dusty oats to handle.
Canola? Not sure if theres any positives in that. There will be less grain but the same amount of straw to handle. By some miracle the swaths did not blow apart in the strong wind that flattened all the grass.
 Wheat? Again, the only positive there is that the crop was not beaten into the ground. A bad hail storm can do that. Most of mine will still be able to be cut and go through the combine. Reduced yield of course and we won't even talk about quality. It was suffering already before this last big rain and will likely downgrade to feed now. (Less than $5 a bushel).
No broken windows which is almost a miracle the way it was hammering on the glass.
Could always be worse. We could get frost to further downgrade the grain quality. Or snow to lay it flat on the ground so as to be impossible to pick up. Guess it is a good year to have some kind of crop insurance.
More rain in the forecast so the combines staying in the shed.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Short Drive In the Merc Fall 19

Though I've lived in this country all my life it still amazes me the extremes we get in weather. Last week so cold I needed jacket, toque, coveralls working outside. Even had the furnace running in the mornings and evenings. Now today it was almost too hot to work. Temp well over 80 degrees by noon. We sure need the heat though. That oat hay I cut the end of August is still absolutely soaked. The ground under it is mud and in places there is water standing. True its a creek but it was dry enough to seed this spring. I need to turn those swaths or the under side will never dry. But that ground won't support a tractor. Canola swaths are still wet and showing mold inside from all the rain they've had on them. Standing wheat looks almost harvest ready until you look closer and see the green heads. By this date last year most of that wheat was in the bin and dry. No green.

Oats I have only observed from a distance but they are sure to be too green to  harvest yet. Lucky I didn't swath them or they would be soaked like the hay swaths.

Much as I don't like the heat, we need another week or two of it if there is any hope for harvesting. Sounds like we only get a few days before the next rain.

On the positive side, here is a couple of minutes of rear bumper video on my old favourite 52 Mercury from yesterday. Autumn colours are starting to show.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Lets Try Some Baling

The day after turning the oat swaths I had to try baling as it was supposed to rain the next day. It baled easy but that hay was so damp I didn't dare bale anymore as it would surely heat. I've done it before and had some bales get pretty hot with no significant damage but one of these times I'm thinking its going to backfire and spoil the feed. So today the swaths have another inch of rain on them. They can't get any wetter.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Raking With 2140

Strange weather continues and crops very slow to ripen. The oats I swathed over a week ago got an inch or more of rain on them and I thought maybe if I turned them over with the rake it would help dry so I could bale. It was tough going at times with the rake wheels plugging up on the wet straw but I managed to get it mostly turned. They needed a good wind and heat to dry down enough to safely bale but I guess it won't happen. I tried a couple of bales this evening but they came out damp and I quit. Figured it was no point baling wet hay and having it spoil so I'll take a chance the swaths will eventually get some drying weather before winter sets in and I can bale them.

The standing wheat? Forget about it. Still way too many green heads in it. More rain forecast for this coming week so its still a waiting game.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Canola Swathing 2019

Its a cold windy day trying to rain. Turn on the lights and furnace and do a little video editing. This time yesterday I was swathing canola with the AC on to keep the cab cool enough. Typical Saskatchewan. Freeze one day and sweat the next.

Good to have the canola all done as a lot of it was over ripe and shelling out on the reel as I worked. As usual a day late for the job.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (Not)

I'm talking about that annoying stupid "back to school" ad in which the parents are so glad their kids are going back to school. Hard to believe but those back to school ads still bother me even after all these years away from it. To me it meant the end of summer and freedom. Back to resume the twelve year sentence, five days a week. I survived it.
In other news "climate change" continues to slow down crop development and harvest thanks to too cold temperatures and rain now that we don't need it anymore. August daytime highs in the 60s?!?
I better stop complaining. Next week it could be in the 90s knowing this country.
Glad I got some grain hauled out and summerfallow worked a week or so ago when the weather was closer to normal. Some video of it here. And remember, watching on a screen tends to flatten out the terrain making Saskatchewan look flat as a pancake. Maybe some parts but not here.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

New technology vs old technology

I am still typing this on my two old damaged keyboards of the ten year old laptop. The new one I got last week works very well, when it decides it wants to. Sometimes it refuses to recognize the wireless internet stick and becomes useless so its back to the old ones. I guess it will get sorted out eventually, or go back to the store. At least I can still blame any spelling errors on the keyboards with the missing letters.
My old tech machinery worked well today swathing a field of canola with the 30+ year old swather. Later, when I decided to haul a load of bales with the 55 year old tractor, it fired up on the first of the starter after "hibernating" since mid May. No frustrating computer controlled functions on these old timers and sometimes I'm glad there isn't.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Dysart Museum 2019

Well I made it to the 2019 car show with one car anyway. 4 tenths of rain the night before meant 12 miles of muddy gravel road to get there so I gave up the idea initially, But the sun came out by noon and began drying enough that I decided to risk taking the Chevy II, Not that either car would be a problem to drive but I know the massive task it is to clean mud off the rusting undersides and frames of these cars. I've done it once and don't want to do it again. There were only about half the number of cars that normally show up so I was glad I was able to increase their numbers by one.

As usual I shot a huge amount of video while walking around viewing the vehicles and talking to some of the owners. Interesting to meet one of my youtube channel followers there as well as an ag talk forum member. Also as usual, a lot of the video was sideways or looking at the ground but I managed to put together a few minutes of good clips.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Where the Buffalo Roam

Watching the bison follow along the fence line while I was cutting some of the new growth poplars. They don't seem to mind the noise of the mower and tractor.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Nice day for a drive

Not mine but so familiar hearing that Mercury flathead and Mercomatic travelling the winding road.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Heat, And AC

Its been a hot week. We actually hit 90 degrees yesterday so I was pretty relieved to get the new fan finally connected and in working condition in the Magnum tractor. It took a real mechanic to get the wiring figured out. Plus 4 extra hands to get the cab roof back in place. A&I really could have been a little more clear in their instructions how to hook up the wiring the right way so it doesn't melt down the resistor.
Seems like I've been trying to cut hay all week but really only got started yesterday. Weather, breakdowns, etc. all conspired to drag this job out a little longer. Hopefully the grass will have grown a little longer too. Some patches are just not worth cutting.
Looks like it might be time to empty the bins of last year's grain to make room for the new crop. Poor timing and I gambled and lost on the price of canola going up. It is now down to 1990s levels. That does not go well with 2019 crop input expenses. Last year $11 per bushel. This year, $9 if we are lucky. Government assistance =$0.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Roosty6 Repairs

40 years of rust made for some serious difficulty removing the broken axle from the Old Holland haybine. Working in the 80 degree heat was hot so I took the afternoon off. Had some much appreciated assistance in the evening and we finally got it apart ready for the new axle that should arrive later this week. Chance of thunder storms tomorrow afternoon just in time to soak the hay swaths that will be almost ready to bale.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

52 Years Ago

This old Atlas oil change sticker is still on the driver's door frame of the 52 Mercury, Maybe it is my imagination but I seem to remember putting it there in 1967, being a helpful kid while my dad changed motor oil in the Merc . Printed in pencil I think it says July 7 1967. Oil was BA 10w-30.
I doubt I could have looked 52 years into the future and seen myself driving that car today. But here I am.
In other news, typing has become difficult and annoying since I spilled  a cup o water on my keyboard. I bought this keyboard  a few years ago because my laptop had lost function of the "r" and "d" keys. Well now the replacement keyboard has lost function of the "a,f,j, as well as the comma and period keys. No doubt due to water spill. So I am constantly shifting back and forth between keyboards to type anything. Very frustrating as I am used to rattling away full speed with all fingers and thumbs on the keyboard Typing class was one of the few useful skills that I retained from high school days
I see  a new keyboard (or laptop) in my future.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Spraying Oats June 26

Finally got unhitched from the sprayer yesterday. Crop spraying season used to be a lot shorter it seems. Now, with pre or post seeding burn off, chem fallow, roundup ready canola, then in crop weed control, the sprayer is one of the busiest machines on the farm. And thats not even considering fungicides or insecticides like a lot of farmers us. I don't get into that stuff myself.

Crops are actually looking pretty good now that it finally rained for the first time since winter ended.  A few of the reclaimed low spots that I was able to seed are now flooded and likely won't produce much but that is the chance we take on those areas.

Friday, June 21, 2019

More Rain And A Garden Update

More rain fell yesterday so there is time for a video edit and update on how the garden is growing. The last two rains (in a week) have literally been life savers for the garden, crops, and maybe some people. I could hardly believe the early potatoes were big enough to need hilling yesterday so I went ahead and got it done, just before the rain hit. Should be some new potatoes within a month.
Crops are looking pretty good considering their dry start. Wheat very good. Canola, patchy due to poor emergence and flea beetle damage but it is a real fighter and should fill in and produce a decent crop. Some canola fields are still a bit hard to identify from the road as they have a lot of bare ground. They will likely fill in now that the rain soaked in but it will be a multi stage crop presenting some difficult harvest decisions. And an early frost will be a disaster for the late stuff.
More showers for today and tomorrow.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Canola Spraying In The Mud

A few days ago I was complaining about the lack of rain and how dry it was. The weekend's 2 inch or more of rain took care of that for a while. I'd been holding off spraying the canola as the herbicide does not work too well when the crop and weeds are drought stressed. So I pushed it a bit early this morning getting out there in the field while it was still a bit muddy. No four wheel drive or even duals on the tractor this time but I got by without getting stuck. No wheel spinning or big ruts but I did have to use the turning brakes a time or two. Sure is nice to get a break from the drought and have some hope of growing a crop again.

Now I need to get going on the wheat that is also overdue for weed spraying. More rain predicted for tomorrow night.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Rain At Last

It was looking like we were headed for disaster this crop year. Rain just refused to fall here. Somehow the crops hung on til we finally got it on Friday and Saturday. I guess I had lost hope and never even had a rain gauge out. I hear reports of around 2 inches. It is literally a life saver for crops and maybe people too. Rain was such an event that I had to take a picture of it.
Fathers day today and I guess we see a lot of mention and photos to mark the occasion. Hardly a day passes that I am not reminded of my dad and the good times working with him.

Monday, June 10, 2019

2090 and Rangler 2019

This video is actually from a couple of weeks (or more) ago. I forgot it was in the camera but better late than never. It shows the interesting process of getting ready and actually harrow packing a field of oats.

Today those oats are up and growing reasonably well considering the almost zero rain we have had this spring. No doubt due to the now obsolete practice of summerfallowing this field will have moisture reserves that should allow it to at least produce some kind of a crop if it continues to "not rain". Cattle producers are really concerned as pastures fail to keep up and feed is expensive or impossible to buy.

Things can always be worse but man it is discouraging to have put money in the ground and then nature fails to co-operate with rain.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Finally, Some Rain

It was not much but a thunderstorm last night showed that maybe it can still rain. Maybe a tenth or so. Still don't have my rain guages out. Not that they would have caught much so far. In the spirit of optimism I planted another row of potatoes this morning. I'm still not up to my usual number but its been so dry and uninspiring that I have been holding off planting. Some  of the early ones are up and looking fairly good.
The daily watering I have been doing on  the single row of beans appears to have paid off as I see some emerging from the ground.
Field crops are doing better than expected considering how little rain we have had this spring. I see some bare patches in the canola field that might be flea beetle damage. Guess I should spray them out but I hate working with insecticides. I noticed the first tiny grasshoppers showing up in the yard grass yesterday. I actually took the lawn tractor out and cut the few patches of grass that had grown  tall enough to need it. What a dusty and dirty job!
Its not quite as hot as 1988 but we have had less rain than 88. That was the driest year ever in my history. So here is a video update of my crops as of June 6.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Harrowing Macdonald Hills Farm

Got done early this afternoon and seeing as it is Sunday, and the May long weekend I figured I'd take some time to put a video together showing what I was doing today. Popular myths will have you believe that Saskatchewan is all flat as a table. So as I was working at the farm in the Macdonald Hills area I figured I'd use that in the title of the video. Hills are hard to portray in the two dimensiional world of photos and video but trust me, they are hills. You can hear the tractor engine working a little harder on the steep one.

Another in the seeming endless days of sun, wind, and no rain. Plenty of dust all around me and it would have been cold sitting on an open tractor. If I had to do this job out on an open tractor I'd be retiring pretty quick. Today I just turned on the AC as needed and worked in dust free comfort listening to CBC propaganda and talk shows.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Plant Preview 2019

Time sure flies lately. I think I've been in the tractor(s) every day the past couple of weeks. Between anhydrousing, seeding, picking  rocks and harrowing, and no "rainy day breaks" it keeps me busy. Not to mention a few minor breakdowns that used up a lot of time. I mean 3 days to plant a 120 acre field is a bit much. I could have done that in a day even with the old 22 foot Seedrites in a good day. Flat tractor tire, blown hydraulic hoses and intermittent electric clutch failures on the air seeder kept things interesting. Plenty of video shot either in the cab or outside but no time to do much editing. And I refuse to upload raw, unedited video to youtube.

Still no rain and it gets drier every day. Well we did get that little spit on Wednesday that laid the dust and messed up the cab windows but it didn't do a thing for soil moisture. Lots of money going into the ground in hopes of rain.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

First Day Seeding 2019

I finally started seeding some wheat today. The day was warm compared to what we have been getting lately so it was a little more inspiring to put seed and fertilizer in the ground. Lots of dust off the dry surface but there is some moisture down in the seeding level so it should germinate. But after that we are going to need rain and quite a bit.

The getting ready took most of the day. Loading fertilizer and seed on the truck. Then filling the air seeder. Calibrating the air seeder. Took 3 attempts before I hit the right rate on fertilizer. I'm cutting back a bit on wheat seed but still giving it a good shot of granular fertilizer.

Today's forecast for scattered showers was wrong as usual. No doubt tomorrow's forecast of general rain will also amount to nothing significant either.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Newer Coopers For The Merc

I should be out seeding the crop. Maybe. Its been so unseasonably cold and miserable that I can't get inspired to actually do that yet. The meltdown in grain prices due to this political standoff with China makes summerfallow look like the best crop option for 2019. Putting seed and expensive fertilizer into cold ground might not  be the best option just yet as I doubt anything will grow til it warms up some. So I'm getting some routine  maintenance and inspections done  on  the machinery while  the weather makes up it's mind.  Keeping warm working in the shop installing a "new to me" pair of tires on the back of the Mercury. They are looking good. Time for a test drive. Soon.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Cold But Scenic

If it was in the old days of riding open tractors I'd be sitting here in the house trying to thaw out. That strong NW wind and temps around 50 would chill you to the bone after a few hours on an open tractor.  I know from experience and don't miss those days. Sitting in the scenic greenhouse of the old Magnum today was quite comfortable. I got tired of waiting on rain (or snow) to alleviate the dry conditions and started on applying anhydrous today.
I don't remember when anhydrous has ever been this expensive, pushing the $1000 per tonne mark. Or when I've put it on in such dry conditions either. But I'm giving it a good shot and hoping we get enough rain to grow some wheat on that ground.
Its a nice change being able to drive without concern of mud and getting stuck. Working through sloughs that have not been worked in years or maybe ever seeded.
Even with  late start and not really pushing too hard I finished the field by 9:00 with 112 acres done. That 1985 Peterbilt pulling the anhydrous refill tank would fit right in with my old machinery.
I'm currently uploading a video of some of today's work to youtube and its taking forever. Oh well, gives me time to catch up on washing dishes and checking email.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Slow Spring

Slow progress on the spring warm up here. True, we had temps in the 70s back on Good Friday but then we have also had overnight temps well below freezing. Days when I need to wear parka and toque working out in the yard. Furnace still runs every day at some point just to keep the house at a reasonably comfortable temp.
So no great incentive to get out in the fields putting expensive inputs to the cold ground. On the positive side at least not many weeds are growing. We missed out on the snow that fell in some parts giving much needed moisture.
Yesterday was nice enough to get out on the open tractor and clean up the worst rocks on a small 60 acre field. Started out with the parka but soon had to remove it. (And yes, I need a new parka). No wind made all the difference. Quiet days seem rare here lately and are a welcome respite from the wind.
So I recorded some of the rock picking fun. Similar to the way I was introduced to it some 50 years ago. Back then we not only had to load the rocks by hand but also had to unload them by hand. I think of that every time I'm near those old rock piles built by hand years ago.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

On The Road With Roosty6

Trying to snow here today. Not enough to do any good. We really need the moisture and much as I don't like snow in May, I'd take it now. The little field I worked yesterday was surprisingly dry. And it was summerfallow. Stubble fields will be even drier.

Got the January wheat contract hauled out this past week. It took a while to get grain cars at the terminal but once they arrived it did not take long to move about 7000 bushels.

I put together a few video clips from the week showing some of the scenery. Thursday was impressive with sunshine, then clouds, showers, even a big of snow, then back to sun. All in the space of an hour.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Bondo For The Merc

Beautiful warm weather for Easter weekend. Up to 73F on Friday which is well above normal. Still hardly any rain but somehow the grass is starting to grow. Cows are happy to get out and forage for what they can find but they always come back to fill up at the bale feeder.

Finally got a picture of the little new calf that is now two days old. Looks to be doing alright. First one for the year. I was planning to add a photo of it but it seems google or blogger has come up with some new way to confuse me and I can't figure it out. Maybe later. Ok, I got it.

Fields drying up early but I've only seen one tractor out harrowing so far. I'm  in no hurry as its not late. Been practicing my body repair skills (car body, not human) and its going well. Got the spare fender for the Mercury patched up and looking 100% better. Even sprayed a bit of red primer paint to cover it up. Amazing how good a match red primer is for the faded red of the car. Or else I'm that colour blind.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Bison In The Hundred Acre Woods

Nice sunny days lately inspire me to get out and get something done. That new ground where the cats cleared a bit of bush for the new bison fence last fall was left way too rough for my liking. So I spent a good part of the afternoon with the tractor and blade pushing and dragging dirt around to level it off. Of course the curious bison came along to see what I was up to. My own spooky cows would have taken off on the run in the opposite direction but not these.

The ground looks better now but needs the stumps and sticks gathered up and hauled away.
I got a little sand blasting done on the "new to me" fender skirts for the 52 Mercury that were mailed to me by a facebook friend. Some people rant on about the evils of facebook but I'd have to say its been all good for me. Met some good people there.
The sand blasting went well but I got side tracked (as usual) and attempted to weld the crack in the original hood from the 52 Merc. Yes, the one  that I cracked in the process of straightening and repairing the dent. I'm still a real amateur with wire welding but managed to get it welded up and looking half decent. In spite of burning a hole through it in the process. Nice thing about welding is you can usually repair the damage you create accidentally.
Not sure if I'm going to tackle actually cutting out the rusted portion of the replacement fender and welding in a new patch. It looks so easy on youtube but I might just fall back on my old standby (Bondo filler).
Got a little renovation done on the vintage barn in my yard replacing a big window with one half the size. I was able to find some almost matching vintage drop siding to fill in the hole. I'm no carpenter, more what my dad used to call a "wood butcher" but it looks good enough for me.
Kind of sad to watch great Uncle Jack's old barn being salvaged for barn boards for decorative purposes I guess. Its getting weaker as boards are removed and our strong winds will take it down flat one of these days. Its been a great background for a lot of my photos over the years. But its not my barn or my property so...

Sunday, March 31, 2019


No, not the weather, just  a lousy head cold that hit me a couple of days ago.  I've had worse but its still miserable enough. Glad it waited til I finished the grain trucking. Although I 've got a bin of canola I need to transfer this week, weather permitting. I'll try not to think about that $1.50 or so per bushel I have lost on it since this time last year. Thanks to the political problems with China
So heres the latest video showing my Rube Goldberg repair on the rear axle of the 52 Merc. Its a nice new bearing but the problem was the housing that the bearing sits in had a bit of wear so the bearing was not tight in it. I used my old standby, J.B. Weld to build up the worn area. A different formulation this time. It did not look too inspiring as I applied it and bolted it all together. But I guess time will tell how well it worked. Its entirely possible the new bearing might have worked just fine without any assistance from me.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Wheat Cleaning

A good day's work getting the wheat hauled to the cleaning plant. Still a month to go til it goes in the ground but its good to know the job is done. Weather was nice and the ground mostly dry. The one stretch of mud was not a big problem and won't be a big deal to smooth out with the blade once it dries out some.

The new residents of the hundred acre woods came out to watch me work. The bison herd has been there a bit over a week and seem to be enjoying their new home. They are the first livestock on that farm since my uncle went out of cattle over 20 years ago.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Hauling Wheat March 2019

I'm not normally a morning person but I've been up well before the sun the past 3 days. Wheat contract needed to be filled now that the terminal finally had rail cars but we had to do it "on the frost" to avoid tearing up my yard and driveway while it was thawed. Saturday morning was a false alarm as it barely froze the surface overnight but Sunday was a go. 18F overnight and the mud was hard as concrete. So even a loaded semi did not leave a track.

This morning was the same and with an extra truck on the job it was all done by dinner before the ground turned to mud.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Bison In The Hundred Acre Woods

Fence went up last November in preparation and this week in March the bison herd arrived. The hundred acre woods now has a small herd of bison roaming in it. Probably for the first time in 150 years. My grandfather and uncles would be amazed to see them on the land they used to farm. I only gave up about 20 acres of farmland. The rest was poplar woods and uncultivated grassland but that gives the herd about 80 acres to live on. Hopefully the rain falls and the grass grows to keep them fed.
Just a quick drive by photo as I passed the farm yesterday. Hopefully more and better pictures to follow.

Monday, March 11, 2019

A Little Late

Late to install the snow blower on the 11th of March but I figured it would be easier to park back in it's storage corner of the shed if it was connected to the tractor. So its on and I'm ready now in case we get a late winter snowstorm. Always a possibility here.

Its finally warmed up after a record cold February and beginning of March. We nearly hit the thawing mark today.
Its been a low snow winter adding to the concerns we are in a continuing dry spell. Somehow we grew an excellent crop last year on the minimal amounts of rain we got. I can't see it happening two years in a row.
Our most profitable crop, canola, has taken a serious hit thanks to China rejecting imports from Richardson Grain. Politics. Using the farmer as bargaining chips as usual. That represented about 40 percent of our export market. Prices had been mediocre prior to that and took a drop after the news hit. So its 1990s prices for our canola. Yet the seed companies are expecting us to pay 4 times what we paid for seed in the 1990s.
Got the 4 yearling calves hauled out last week so cattle feeding is a little slower here now with only 4 cows and the bull  left. They seem a little quiet and depressed. Missing the young ones I guess.
The recent warm weather gave me the opportunity to take the drone up for a short flight over the yard. And of course I shot a bit of video.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Not sure what to title this one. I'd been dreading and stressing about this day for weeks. A mix of sadness and relief that the yearlings went away on the cattle trailer this morning. Glad to see those two little horn headed yearling bulls go as they were getting to be a problem. The two heifers, I could have kept as replacements at least one anyway. I kind of regret letting the best one go.  Maybe next year.
It went surprisingly well. I was out at the shelter in the dark shortly after 6:00 am. Could not sleep anyway so might as well get to work. Luckily it had warmed up to -5F or so and the relentless wind had dropped.
I got lucky, the four I wanted were still in the shelter/confinement area. Wearing my trusty headlight and throwing down some hay to occupy them, I was able to pull the steel gates in place to pen them up. Then wait til the extra cow and bull were ready to walk out and let them out of the gate. So far-so good. Now to clear the snow away so the truck and cattle trailer can get around. The 2090 started fine seeing as the block heater had been plugged in almost 24 hours. My half mile riveway was heavy going with hard packed snow drifts but they reluctantly yielded to the mighty 8 foot Cancade dozer blade. The yard took a little longer as I needed to clear a big "turn around area" for the truck and trailer. That goes slow with an angle blade pushing less than 8 feet. But not bad work with the heater blowing warm air and CBC radio to entertain and inform me what is happening in the rest of the world.
The trucker showed up in good time considering I was ready about 3 hours before the appointed time. No great drama or excitement with the loading. Only one of the four remaining cows seems to be concerned about her missing calf but its for the best he is gone. The last thing that old decrepit cow needed was to keep feeding a big calf. Now she can concentrate on getting herself back in good shape maybe.
No video from today. I just could not bother with a camera this time. Later in the afternoon these cats were sure enjoying the sun on the sheltered side of the barn so I took this shot.

Friday, March 1, 2019

March In Like a Lion

Once again the first of March has rolled around and we get to decide whether it is "in like a Lion" or a lamb. I was leaning toward the lamb this morning but by noon we had reduced visibility and cold NW wind. The temp had climbed to at least +10F but then started dropping making it decidedly uncomfortable.

Still, since I had planned a trip to town and the Blazer had been heating up with the block heater for a few hours ready to go, I figured give it a try. I soon decided it wasn't worth all the spinning and reversing it was going to take, even with 4 winter tires chewing up the snow. I was able to reverse back to the yard and call it off. Nothing I needed that badly in town that can't wait for another day or two. Looks like I might finally have to use a tractor on the driveway.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rant About Rabbits

No, I don't have a problem with rabbits but listening to the interviews and comments on the radio this morning did make me a little angry. Apparently jack rabbits are moving into the city and damaging people's trees. So opinions are divided as to whether it is best to trap and destroy or just live with it and wrap the trees. I would not complain if they wanted to release a few here as I have not seen a jack rabbit in a long time. We do have a few "bush rabbits" but the jacks seem to be at the low point in their population cycle.
What really annoyed me was a few comments stating that the jack rabbits have been wiped out in the country by "farmers" spraying pesticides on the fields. What a stupid comment. Farmers have been spraying their crops for longer than I have been around and we used to have plenty of jack rabbits. It was not uncommon to see road kill after they became mesmerized by vehicle lights at night and would do their broken field run down the road ahead of the vehicle sometimes resulting in their demise.
But it is the typical type of comment I hear more and more as the general population becomes ever further removed from their farming roots. All they hear are the extreme groups shouting about our pesticide laden grains and terrible gmo products. Not to forget the antibiotic laden beef and chicken we produce. In case you missed it the last paragraph was sarcasm. Our food is safe. If I didn't believe it I wouldn't be eating it.
Its been a long cold winter and I guess my tolerance for b.s. is dropping as time passes. There are far bigger concerns out there than this "first world problem".
Scenic but its the kind of day I really appreciate the protection of my trees.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Out And About In The Cold

I must be getting used to this below normal cold. Went out for a walk to the threshing machine on the hill after finishing cattle chores. Even at -30 it felt ok because the sun was shining and no wind blowing. Of course I am wearing my usual multiple layers of clothes. My hands got a little cold working with the straw fork but that is not unusual. Cattle were content to stay out by the far hay feeder and did not come to the yard for grain or water until late in the afternoon. They seem to handle this cold just fine. Guess its all the grain they are eating.
I wore the Gopro camera for some action video while I was doing all this so I had some new content for youtube. Not that I am making any money on youtube. They don't approve of me using somebody else's copyrighted music on a few of my videos and I don't want to give up the music so...

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Cold In Saskatchewan

Its no big news being cold in February in Saskatchewan but this spell is going on for a while. Well below normal. I've been putting off a trip to town for a week now thinking tomorrow will be better. But each day seems to get a little colder. If it ever warms up to zero degrees (farenheit) it will feel like spring I think. At least the sun shines and the wind stays down (today). More to come. So its a bit cold to shoot video and my latest is brief.
The old Woody Woodpecker clock is likely almost as old as me and still works. Some of the time.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Weather Rant

I'm re-posting this weather rant here. I can't take credit for creating it but thought it was good enough I wanted to save it. Originally it was an audio clip from some unhappy Sask. guy on a CBC radio show a few years ago. The language gets pretty strong for those that aren't used to it but in this context it seems appropriate. This guy tells it like it is about some of our severe winter weather days. To some extent he is right. The weather folks read the forecast off a page and make it sound pretty nice some days. Meanwhile, those of us outdoors can tell a little different story. I can still remember the original audio and the sound of his voice.
please please please,
don't tell us how nice it's gonna be this weekend, because it's going to go up to -1.
please. because it's not gonna be nice.
because the frickin' wind is just gonna HOWL, ok?
every time it warms up, the w-, the hot air rises and the wind just howls.
so it ain't gonna be nice.
and being a person that lives rurally?
i can tell ya that when it's 30 below, ok. celsius.
you can take your mitts off for half an hour and do things outside.
ok. when there's no wind blowing, at 30 below.
but when it is zero or -5 even, ok.
you take your mitts off and your hands freeze instantly.
so i can tell ya ok, this weekend is going to be the physical shits, ok, because the winds going to be howlin, and then it's going to be only -1, so then it's going to melt and cause a bunch of hog slop, so knock off how nice it's going to be, please.
ok, it's just sickening, ok, this province is the ass-hole of the world and it will suck the life out of ya, ok, it will suck the will to live out of ya, ok, cause it's just a piece of crap with wind howlin' every day, and you're not hikin' or bikin or skiin' and you're not doing anything, ok, it's the a-hole of the world. and we pay to live here, we PAY to live here! super high taxes.
so please knock off the nice ok? i got, i get the funny feeling that you guys are just saying that so that people just won't end it, ok, cause then of course we wouldn't be able to pay their taxes to these lechers, right?
you know people go hang themselves in a god damned closet, ok, because this fuckin' place is a piece of shit, ok, so please please please knock off the how nice it's gonna be, because it ain't.
because the wind's gonna be howlin' ok,
thank you...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Irish Sweepstakes

I guess it was a time when lotteries and gambling was illegal in this part of Canada, Saskatchewan. Nowadays they are a big source of revenue for the government but not so in the 1960s. My dad dreamed of winning "the Irish Sweepstakes" and would occasionally refer to something he needed to buy when he won the sweepstakes.
I don't know the procedure it took to acquire these tickets buy my aunt worked in the big city and had access to them. So my dad gambled a little in hopes of winning a lot. I thought of that recently while sifting through boxes of old papers (the kind of stuff most people throw away) and I found these sweepstakes ticket stubs that my dad had saved. Cost was one pound sterling each which I think was about $3 at the time. And that was quite a bit of money in the 1960s on a small farm.
I wonder if our lives would have changed  a little, or a lot, if dad had got lucky on the sweepstakes?
Most likely a new(er) car and a good line of farm equipment instead of the old "mechanics specials" he could afford to buy at the time.
Update: after a little research it appears the Irish Sweepstakes was a bit of a scam. Less than ten percent of the ticket sales went to hospitals. The majority seems to have gone to make rich people richer. Irish Sweepstakes

Saturday, January 26, 2019

De-Cluttering? Not me.

The "de-cluttering" fad keeps cropping up in interviews and articles I was thinking about it today as I was building a shelf to hold more clutter. Building out of salvaged 2x4 studs that I had saved by the way. Even the construction screws were second hand.  I guess I am far out from the trend as usual. I have no intention of de-cluttering. I need all that junk around me. Keep it long enough and everything has a purpose. If not for me then for someone else.
I don't think I have reached hoarder status yet but I'm always open to looking at more items :-)
So many times I have heard someone comment, " I used to have one of those and wish I'd never sold, gave, or thrown it away. I've only said that a few times and usually its a large item of machinery that I simply could not afford to keep around. Needed the trade in value.
New shelf from old material.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Messy Desk = Creative

Just listened to a review of this book http://timharford.com/books/messy/ and from the brief summary I read, I should be a lot more creative. Apparently messy desks indicate a creative , responsive and resilient personality.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Roosty6 Works On The Merc

Doing a little more cooling system maintenance while the weather stays mild enough to work in the workshop without turning on the furnace. Its still plenty cold on bare hands touching cold cast iron but could be a whole lot worse this time of year.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Bells Of Peace

It was a dark and stormy November 11, 2018 in our little village when the old Anglican Church bell rang out to mark the hundredth anniversary of the end of the first world war.

I was there for the morning session but it was even colder when this sunset version was recorded and I stayed in a more comfortable place.  Even colder than it is now on January 3rd. It took a lot of work to put it all together so the weather could not stop it.