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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sundogs and Blowing Snow

 The title describes the day. It was quite scenic and almost looked like 3 suns in the sky. Folks in the South country usually question, "what is a sundog". They are actually frost crystals and usually indicate cold and windy weather. They were right on today. It was around 0F which is normally not a bad day for us but with the strong NW wind there was high wind chill factor and it was downright miserable out in the open spaces. Not a day goes by that I don't appreciate the hedges around my yard and the surviving bushes out in the fields. 

It was pretty cool carrying a couple of hay bales out to the feeders with the open Massey tractor. One feeder is located on the South side of a bush and is well sheltered. Comfortable feeding spot for the cattle on a Northwest windy day. 

I think we are a day away from the first day of winter and the longest night of the year. Hibernation is pretty attractive right now. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

What Is Killing Our Trees?

 Its a serious question. Most everywhere I look lately the trees are dead. Just bare sticks standing, or laying down. Like the bare bones of a long dead skeleton. Maybe the decade of extreme wet years we had killed some. Others I just don't know. A lot of my evergreens have dried out and dead lower branches that I have cut off. Needles all over the ground as the higher ones dry out and fall. Some are dead right to the top and only waiting to fall in the next big wind. 

Cutting dead poplars off where they have fallen on the fences is a yearly task. All summer and fall. The past few years have been very dry so maybe that killed some. 

Disease? Herbicide drift? I look back on photos I took ten years ago and marvel at the thick impenetrable walls of poplar bushes all over the farm. Now, a lot of dead sticks that are going to fall. I miss them. Will they grow back? Probably. Poplars are like a weed when you don't want them to grow. Hopefully soon. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

My Own "Firelog Channel"

Always looks a little funny seeing a channel on tv devoted to watching a fireplace burn but it seems to be popular with some. Not needed here though as I have my own outdoor channel. A stone's throw from the house where I have been piling dead wood all summer waiting til we have a little snow to make it safe to burn. Yesterday and today it worked well. Quiet with only the crackling fire and occasional squirrel scolding. Out in the sticks....as they say. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Another chapter in Les Goff's WWII memoirs


Now, to get back to our move and my first experience at driving a gun tower partly loaded with men, arms, and a three ton gun behind. We started off in late afternoon, raining of course. Everything was going well until for some reason we had to take a dirt road which was pretty well ploughed up by the traffic and it was narrow and muddy with trees on each side resembling our fir trees. Darkness is coming on so this makes it hard to see with no lights. Just follow the gun ahead of you and that little red light in a funnel on the gun muzzle. After following this light for a while it becomes hard to tell how close or far you are from it. Our man in charge is Jimmy Erwin standing up on passenger side where there is a door opening in the roof for observation. Everything is going ok for a while . We are moving but slowly when suddenly there is a burst of machine gun fire which sounded pretty close. Jim starts to holler “everybody out” which we did with out hesitation with rifles and crouched beside our tower expecting more fire. Nothing happened. Suddenly I noticed our tower was starting to move. I had not applied the hand brake. I jumped in but it had gone toward the shallow ditch and there didn’t seem to be any return. As it seemed to have quietened down we unhitched the gun and I thought it wouldn’t be any trouble to drive out. I had it in four wheel drive but it just continued straight ahead and followed that ditch. Two wheels on the road , two in the ditch and it was real mud. We ran out the winch cable, tied on to a tree. I pulled out three trees before I managed to get free of that stubborn ditch. There were a lot of words said that I won’t repeat. After re-hooking the gun we went not so merrily on our way, but very cautious. After a while it got so dark that Jim walked ahead of me with a white rag. Jim had a loud voice which was good. He said, “Goff , if you hear me shout, stop”. We were traveling in a convoy made up of our battery. I do not know who was leading. It might have been some of the infantry, however, it was slow going on account of the darkness. The only light being the little red light in the gun muzzle.

We had not gone far when I hear Jim roaring for me to stop. 

Stopping is quite common in a convoy. Especially at night. 

There gets to be a sort of accordion effect . Sometimes we get 

too close packed and have to space out a little. We continued 

on for some time passing through a small village where we 

stopped for a while. Our gun sergeants were shown where to 

put each and every gun in a defensive position. Finally Jim 

comes back and informs us a position had been located not far 

from where we are sitting waiting. The ground rises up to the 

east of the village about two or three hundred yards ahead. 

Our objective is to put our gun in position on the high ground. 

This of course being dark we could not see much of anything so 

proceeded to spot with Jim leading on foot. We could not hear 

any shooting close by. There was a house near the top of the 

ridge and a little further along a big heap of fagots, small 

bundles of brush tied like a sheaf for heating. We decided to 

put our gun right next to it and use some of the bundles to 

camouflage the gun. Resting the gun muzzle on the ground, 

making it look like a part of the heap. While we were busy 

doing this there was a loud bang close by. Some one said that’s 

grenades. Knowing Jerry was close by made us work as fast as 

possible and dig a two man size trench beside the gun leaving 

two men on the gun. Jim and I took the tower back down to 

the village where it could be out of sight. Then back to the gun 

digging more trenches as there was six men in all. We 

managed to get one dug close to the house and by pulling

 some doors off 

the house to cover it. Four guys could squeeze into it. We threw 

dirt on top to make it a little more safe from air burst or 

mortars. We scrounged some bedding from the house. Nice and comfortable. Its nice and quiet for a change. The spud 

islander and myself go back to the gun to relieve our guard. We take our rifles and shovels.

 The soil was quite sandy, easy 

digging but also kept caving in . We decide to make it a little 

deeper. We take turns digging. Its starting to rain so we find 

some sticks in the pile of fagots, place them across the top, 

place some more fagots over our heads leaving the center 

open so as to be able to jump out. 

After a couple of hours we are relieved by two others of the 

crew. Its getting daylight and seems to be quiet for the time so 

we run back under the crest of the hill to our main diggings for 

a bit to eat. That is when I notice quite a concentration of 

Shermans behind us in the village. About this same time our 

officer Dave Heaps came along in a jeep, stopped behind a 

house and came running over to where we were. He had his 

thirty eight drawn and looked quite concerned as if he 

expected to find us in a grim situation. We assured him there 

wasn’t much happening , however he decided to leave his jeep 

in case we had to leave in a hurry. However, we were to learn a 

little later that Dave had reason to be alarmed. There was 

German infantry not more than a hundred yards away. Also our own infantry, the Essex Scottish were dug in on our right and 

the Jerries on the left. This was something we didn’t know 


we had made our way back to the gun again about noon. Still 

raining, we settle into our trench again by the gun not 

expecting much to happen when suddenly we are getting some 

shelling all around. Not a heavy concentration so we try to see 

where its coming from. We can not see much for fine rain. I 

saw a couple of infantry trenches get direct hits close by so we 

decide to keep our heads down. The spud is digging out more 

sand when suddenly something cleans my little shelter from 

over my head. It would seem to me that it was a dud as the

 others were all High Explosive. 

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Dead Wood

 Some nice weather for this time of year inspired me to get the old 730 Case and dozer blade going and clear up some of the dead, water killed trees on the farm. No, not joining the club of land clearing, progressive farmers that seem to be everywhere else. I like my trees but all this dead wood looks bad and will eventually fall into the field around the edges causing problems. 

The old Case is the tractor my uncle bought in 1964. I first got to drive it in the summer of 1970 and I guess I was pretty hard on it. A learning driver usually is. But it survived and now has a special parking spot in the shed out of the weather. Still up for any job I have for it. Clearing trees is dangerous for both man and machine but so far we are both ok. Second gear at idle speed. Slow and steady wins the race they say. I don't need to win, or even finish. I enjoy the work and thats all that matters. Steering is extremely heavy on the Case but it helps keep me warm later in the day when the temperatures drop..

A panoramic shot of the old Case parked for a rest. Hard to believe that is a creek bottom that is normally too wet to drive in. Its that dry this year. 

Friday, October 29, 2021

Today in History

 Just my own history, not the world. 7 years ago I hauled the old 52 Mercury out of the woods and began the long process of getting it back in driving condition. It has been a great 7 years and looking forward to at least that many more driving it. 

And 69 years ago today , my parents wedding anniversary. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

60 Years With The 52 Merc

Its a re-run but today marks 62 years ago that the 52 Merc came to be part of the family. Guess I should take it out for a drive to mark the occasion. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

October Leaves In The Valley

 I'd been meaning to take the Merc on another leaf scenery tour South into the valley for a while now but never seemed to get the proper opportunity. I figured it would be too late in another day or so as we are losing leaves every day. Sunshine, blue sky and 70 degrees with almost no wind. As good as it gets in Sask. A bit too dry and dusty but at least there was no mud to deal with like the last time I tried it .Everybody comments on my photos and videos how flat Sask. is but I was sure glad to have good brakes and low gear on the old Merc going into and then climbing out of the Jumping Deer valley. 

Coming up on 62 years the old Merc has been here on the farm. It should know it's way around without me by now. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Final Day Harvest 21

 Its done. Seems like the whole month of September went by in a blur of every day either in the tractor or swather cab. Couldn't have done it without my wonderful support crew that kept the grain trucked away from the combine, helped with mechanical problems, many miles of moving machinery between farms  and worked long overtime into the early morning hours one night. 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Got Cats

 For quite some time I have been down to one lonely tomcat on the farm. Coyotes got the rest of them. Saves money on cat food but I need a few more cats for rodent control. I had a black female cat donated to me this spring. Wild as a raccoon and I never saw her for weeks after. Finally she showed up from under the chop bin with a kitten or two. Actually 4. Still as wild and fierce as ever but she would allow me to put cat food in the dish which she ate ravenously. Growling and hissing at the same time. There is hope for the kittens as they seem a little less wild and crazy. 

I thought is might make for some good video but its only mediocre. I finished off with a few seconds of calves drinking at the water trough. 

Yes, we finally have the rain that we needed so badly all summer. Bad timing as it is holding up the harvest and down grading the cereal grains waiting in the field. So we wait...

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Its Hot, what else is new?

 Its 90 degrees, or 31C now. July in Sask is traditionally hot. Combined with a real shortage of rain is what makes it worse. Cattle guys are hurting for hay and pasture. Glad I only have a hobby herd to feed. 

Got up for some drone video to see how the crops look. Surprisingly good considering its a drought. Better than 1988, our last serious drought. 

Caught the Co-op fuel truck leaving the yard in the drone video and it turned out well. That truck looks huge on my narrow driveway. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Hawks At Winstanley Grove

 Raking hay yesterday morning in the vicinity of the hundred acre woods and Winstanley Grove. Trying to pull several of the skimpy little swaths together into one decent sized swath that would keep the baler relatively full fed without having to drive like a mad man on the rough ground. 

Yes it is continuing dry and extremely hot. So far less than half the normal amount of hay. 

Took a break from riding the open 2140 and rake to relax in the shade of some of great uncle Arthur's maple and carraganna hedge. The 85 degree heat was a little less intense there but of course no cooling breezes penetrated the deep woods. I happened to spot this nest of little hawks about 12 feet up in a maple tree. No amount of zoom photos on the cell phone camera would give me a clear image. Since no adult hawks were around I ventured up the leaning branches of the old maple tree nearby for a better look. I guess they did not know enough to fear the first human they had ever seen so I was able to shoot some video and slightly better pictures. A bird guy later identified them as probably Coopers Hawks. 

Late that evening I was able to bale up the hay in the air conditioned comfort of the 2090 Case when the humidity was up enough to promote good baling. 4 more hay bales to add to the winter's supply. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

It Rained

We needed it and at last it came. Cold enough that some was snow and then layered everything up in ice. Devastation on a lot of the big old trees as the weight broke off a lot of branches. 

I think it has rained at least a bit each of the last five days. 

Can hardly believe my air seeder has been parked for a week now. I like to be done with wheat and canola by May 24 but at this point I still have a couple of hundred acres canola to plant. Lucky to get the first field done a week ago and now hoping it is not yet out of the ground as there is frost predicted for tonight. Tiny canola plants do not handle frost well so I'm glad mine is a little late. 

Early potatoes are up and survived the freezing rain fine.  

I know I should not complain about the high prices we are getting for our canola lately but I do have one small one. Cargill left 8 tonnes of my canola sitting in the terminal unpriced for a week. The price was dropping every day. I had left a message to sell the day it was trucked in but apparently that message went missing. By the time I phoned almost a week later it had lost well over $1000. Thanks Cargill.. I'll remember this next time I'm considering who to sell my grain to. And lets not even talk about the excess ($202) drying charges they tacked onto my wheat when one load was half a percentage point above dry. 

Its rainy, windy and cold again this morning but the grass is growing and the cows are not complaining. And neither am I. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Trying To Make It Rain

 Only a few years ago we had so much rain, mud, problems, that I was complaining about it. Now we have gone the other extreme. Been way short on precipitation for almost a year now. We survived on timely showers last growing season and the crops did ok. Lately it seems that predicted showers never happen. The ground is dry enough to be seeding but its been cold and dry and kind of uninspiring to get out in the field. I can't do much yet until the cleaning plant calls for my oats to clean. Hopefully next week. Grain contract to haul out also coming up next week. Plus the anhydrous tank should arrive so I should be able to start putting that on the canola stubble. I see my records indicate I didn't do much before mid May last year so I will take some consolation from that. 

If we don't get good rains after seeding it won't matter much if I'm late or early. I think its almost as dry as the driest year I ever knew, 1988. 

I got some roof repair done on the "century shack" this week. Planted another row of potatoes too. Theres more but its late and I'm falling asleep here waiting for a video to upload to yt. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Eldorado Sundown


Couldn't resist another sunset drive in the Eldorado today. After spending many hours with a toothbrush, towel and sunlight detergent I have the interior looking (and smelling) much better. Sitting in the shed with the windows and trunk lid open seems to be helping dry the carpets and reduce the mildew smell. 

I built a spark plug boot puller yesterday to get the stubbornly stuck boots off the spark plugs. I guess it worked about as good as one I could buy. Plugs were not bad. I hoped by cleaning them up I might cure the slight "miss" the engine has but after tonight's test drive its still there. Hoping its not a stuck valve. Planning to do a compression test next time I have some help handy.  The 425 still has impressive power even with one cylinder missing. I don't dare use the brakes except in case of emergency as I don't want the front caliper to lock up and drag again. Should have the new front brake hoses soon and once they are installed be back to normal brakes. Thats if I'm right in assuming the caliper is still ok.

Seems to be electrical problems too as none of the dash lights work. No high beams. Reverse lights are on in neutral. Power seats are inoperative. 

Weather has been so cold and below normal the past few days that I'm working in full winter wear in the shop. Spring has been reluctant to stay with us. Forecast is better for tomorrow.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Boss Hogg

 Those that watched tv in the seventies will recall the Boss Hogg character on the Dukes of Hazzard series. He drove a big Cadillac convertible with a set of Texas longhorns on the hood. I've already had a couple of references to that since adopting a 78 Eldorado yesterday. I'll keep it original, thanks anyway. I wasn't looking for one but this Eldo found me and needed a new home so here we are. Its pretty good mechanically and relatively rust free compared to some of the stuff I have. It's biggest problem is the mildewed interior. Coming from a damp climate it has a few water leaks that allowed the carpets to stay wet. It should do better in old dry Saskatchewan but first I need to get the mildew out of the leather seats. I can still smell it many hours after driving the car. 

I guess its my usual style of being a little off the beaten track getting a huge thirsty, carbon producing car when all the rest of the world is going green. But the way I see it my hundreds of acres of trees are a huge carbon sink that will provide an "offset" to the few miles I drive the Caddy. 

Just waiting for the day when Justin starts paying those of us that keep a few trees for carbon sequestration like they do in other countries. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Spring 2021

 I am really slipping on this blog updating. Just so everybody knows, I'm still alive and business as usual in spite of covid precautions. 

We are currently still in the drought that started last year. Some real concern starting to be heard as we approach planting time. Field went into winter dry and there has not been much snow to recharge the moisture situation. The grass is trying to grow  as the warmer spring days have arrived. Its going to have a hard time producing much hay or cattle feed if we don't rain soon. 

Seems not many years ago I was complaining about too much rain and ground too wet to  plant.  Maybe this is going to be another 1961 or 1988. 

Snow conditions now are almost non existent and that is almost a month ahead of normal for us. As the old timers used to say, "We've never lost a crop in April yet". 

I got the old yellow International out of hibernation for some yard clean up today. 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Drone Jan 31

Driving through and flying over the hundred acre woods today. I'd opened up the trail to get some grain hauled out so figured I'd make use of it before it filled with snow again. Being a rare sunny day I took the opportunity to do a lot of experimenting to figure out why the drone would not track me as I drove but eventually got it to work. With a little help from watching youtube videos by people who knew what they were doing. 
We finally got through the cold spell of last week with extreme low temps. Had a calf born one -25F morning. Luckily in the cattle shelter although it was still way too frosty for a new born calf to last long. I was able to drag it into the barn and apply plenty of heat with the space heater to dry it off. After getting the cow persuaded to come inside as well they eventually figured out what they needed to do with only a little help from me. I kept them indoors for the next 4 days of cold weather before releasing them to join the herd. Looking good now in the great outdoors. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Didn't See The Moose

 I was amazed when somebody commented on my latest youtube video asking about the animals in it. The ones I had not seen. Going back to closely examine the video I was able to see the three moose standing in the bush as the drone flew over it. Easy enough to see once you know they are there. I had only been looking for my cattle and once I found them I guess I sort of fast forwarded the drone back home to the yard. 

Stormy day here but not cold for January. Cold is coming in the next day or so. Been planning to haul grain for a week but something always comes up to stop it. Hard to make plans when the weather is the determining factor. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Roosty6 movie channel trailer

Just to show I'm still around. I don't seem to get around to blogging much anymore. Keeping busy with the facebook groups like Old Saskatchewan and Fort San Memories. Its great to finally have a place to share a lot of the old junk I"ve saved over the years. Surprising how many people find it interesting.