Doesy Doates

Today’s post comes from Ben.

When last we left the farm the swather was standing on one tire and a jack.

Mechanic Nick came out from John Deere and fixed it up in no time. Now that was a good decision to call them. And $637 later I’m moving through the field again. I was estimating $500. “Labor” was $500… bearing, flanges, locking collar, service call, misc and …. Just put it on my tab. But it’s fixed and I finished cutting oats and the swather is back home in the shed.

I spend a lot of time thinking of ‘what if’s’. What if the machine breaks down? What will I do if I can’t fix it? Who can I call that would know people to come and cut oats? And then, as I near the end it becomes ‘I would just leave this part’, or ‘who has a sickle mower I could use’, or ‘I wonder if the bean head could do this’? This year I learned something. I learned I call John Deere and they can fix some of it. Course it depends what, exactly, has broken. 

And what do I think about all day just going round and round? I have music in my head. Last week I had the ‘Mairsey Dotes’ song in there for a while… that annoyed me. Had to work real hard to get something else in there. The first day it was a Pink Floyd song. Got some Led Zepplin going, there was probably a show tune in there somewhere… I can’t remember what finally settled in.

No cab or radio, and I’m wearing hearing protection, long sleeves, and a dust mask.

I observe the direction the oats was planted versus the direction I’m cutting it and I wonder if it matters because of how it sits on the stubble; is sitting sideways better than sitting in line? When going the same direction, in line, does it fall down between the stubble more? Hmmm. (It depends how heavy the windrow is). And I leave some stubble so it sits on top of that in case it does get rained on it’s not flat on the ground.  

I observe how whenever I stop with the planter, I leaves a gap of a few feet and weeds grow wherever there isn’t grain growing.

Which is kind of amazing when you think about it.

I look at the damage the deer cause and I curse them out a little more.

When the combine (we should clarify the pronunciation of this if you’re not familiar. It’s not com-BINE, like adding things, it’s COM-bine. I don’t know where that came from. Subject for another day). The combine has to pick up the oat windrow the same direction it was cut. And that means from the head end. As the swather cuts it, all the heads fall to the back and it’s usually pretty easy to tell. Trying to go the wrong way, it just doesn’t feed into the combine as well.

When cutting, it’s best to make about 4 or 5 rounds all around the field, so there’s room on the ends for the combine to turn around, (and that goes for any crop; corn or beans or anything); we call those the ‘headlands’.  And then it can just be cut going back and forth. Corners are tough so we avoid those when we can. Tough in that the machinery doesn’t make 90 degree corners very well, it doesn’t plant well in corners, hard to stay on the row in a corners.

OK, so now it’s Saturday and the combine is here and harvesting and I don’t have any trucks yet. I can’t get the truck guy on the phone. I call another guy from the farm, but he’s over in Wisconsin and he can’t get anyone on the phone either. Finally, we just go to the farm and get a semi and drive it back here ourselves. And, of course, there’s a summer shower and the harvesting is done for the day. Next day he’s back and finishes that field. And a few days later gets the last of it.

I don’t have the final numbers yet, but it looks like a real good crop.

As I write this, I’ve got some straw baled, got another show ready to open, ducklings moved to a bigger pen,

and I’m going to cut the grass!

Talk about when you had to do something yourself. Why is good help so hard to find?

66 thoughts on “Doesy Doates”

  1. Crop update: the oats did really well averaging 88 bushels per acre. (Many years I only average 60 or 70. Some guys this year managed 120+ bushels / acre. But they don’t have as many deer as we do).
    Test weight was really good at 38 lbs. price is based on the standard of oats weighing 32 pounds per bushel.

    I baled 612 small square bales and got them unloaded yesterday. And had 11 round bales made. That was also done yesterday. And now it’s raining.
    Perfect.
    I think I’ll take a nap.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. So glad your yield was good this year. I was concerned that the drought might have wiped out all of your hard work. I’d say you’ve earned yourself a good nap. Go for it.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Ben, Congratulations on the abundant oats crop, and then the rain. You are owed a nap. And I am glad to know that you help supply my oatmeal habit. I awoke to lightening and thunder at about 5:00am. I fell back asleep, then awoke to more around 6am. I opened the bedroom window and laid there listening to the rain. AAAAHHHH. Now I am sitting on the porch with every window wide open, savoring the rain. Yesterday morning we had .7 inches and so far this morning, .3 has fallen. Man, do we need it.

    RE: help. Right now good help seems to be scarce. Yesterday while touring the garden of another Master Gardener, she said she could not find anyone to rebuild her deck. So I gave her the name of our contractor who remodeled the kitchen. I do not know why this is occurring, except to say that the COVID isolation seemed to start something fear related that leads to more isolation.

    I have been reading about the movement and changes in COVID. It appears we will need to learn to live with this virus, which leads me to think that we have to stop socially isolating. That is as dangerous to peoples’ welfare as the virus. Professionally, I am quite concerned about the fact that some people cannot stop isolating as our first line defense to COVID. I have encountered people, some friends and colleagues, who have taken on the mien of peeking out from under the rock under which they are hiding, awaiting a return to “normal.” I don’t think “normal” is returning. It seems that the other responses (masks, vaccines, hand washing, meeting outside, etc) might be better for us overall. And it might make good help easier to find.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Jacque, on the issue of “help” being hard to find, I have a guess. This is just a guess, but I’ve been pondering this. Covid interrupted and altered the world of work, particularly by denying employment to many folks slugging away at low paying jobs. It is my sense that a lot of people took the time they couldn’t work to assess their lives. They now don’t want to go back to the kind of life they previously accepted. Businesses–for the first time in a long time–are offering better salaries, more benefits and other inducements. To me, this feels like a big change, something like the sea change we experienced in the 1980s when Reagan faced down the air controller’s union. To me, this seems a welcome change.

      Liked by 5 people

        1. Worker anger about employment is also the main theme of the current edition of Time magazine. When one is living through an epochal event like the pandemic it is hard to see which of many changes will persist long afterward. I think history will record the pandemic as one of the reasons many folks radically revised their thinking about work.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a friend who has not yet gone back to work because it also means finding child care again – which is also hard… so until both her kiddos are back in school, in person full time, she is not working. (When they were doing “hybrid” learning this spring she had to be with them at all times – they are young and need an adult with them to keep on task…) So as much as it is pay, it is also the dominoes of child care availability, etc.

        Liked by 5 people

    2. With the availability of unemployment compensation, a lot of people had an opportunity to find out what it would be like to be able to prioritize their own well-being instead of their employment. It’s a bit of a blessing for introverts. I don’t see it as fear-related.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I know why I am sound so tight. I spent my childhood driving a tractor in ever tightening circles.
    56 years today. I mentioned it to her 2 days ago. She had no response. Celebrating by sitting alone on patio with rain falling all around me.
    Have to go out in a bit and plan to drive on the left. I refuse to let government impinge on my right to drive how I want. And it is science that says two bodies cannot be in the same space at the same time.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Happy anniversary, Clyde, bittersweet as it is. May you find some comfort in knowing that it was disease that altered your beloved Sandy’s mind. Let the devotion and love the two of you have shared for such a long time carry you through this painful and difficult stretch.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Yes, Clyde, Happy Anniversary. As sad as it is to see Sandy be so ill, I am so glad you found your life partner in her and that you have had a good life together.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Her thyroid is dead, killed off when she was 14 because it was out of control. Probably why her hair is so thin. She takes synthetic thyroid medicine. Tests showed the dosage was too low. I a few times in the past figured that out but I missed it that time. She has been on the new dosage for three days. She seems more alort. Hope it continues/

        Liked by 7 people

  4. Spent Thursday and Friday getting ready to deal with legal issues such as how to get her into care (not yet, hopefully not soon, just to be ready) getting right to be involved in her medical issues (although most places were letting me be involved already) , etc. remembered car title. Then remembered what financial person said when we bought the car 11 years ago. So checked and it does say OR not AND between our names. Good on her.

    Liked by 6 people

        1. Wish you lived here. I need somebody to mess with the cable in my studio. Haven’t had the willpower to call customer service yet.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. Lol. In my old cube, pre-fire, I had a little tiny Post-it note stuck up that read “PEBCAK “. Problem exists between chair and keyboard.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Ben – If you keep this up, you’re going to be able to publish a book called, i.e., Ben’s Intro to Farming.. These essays are so good to read for us non-farmers.

    When Husband came home from hospital 7 days after mid-June stroke, I was NOT prepared, but had to do everything. (I did have help in the way of meals coming in, and volunteers to stay with him if I had to go out.) In retrospect he really needed just a little rehab, but he had passed the hospital’s PT and OT “tests”, so was just assigned Speech Therapy. Now that I’ve seen what PT and OT can accomplish in a fairly short time, I am really hopeful that when he comes home) possibly next week, he’ll be able to be more independent. I will also require much more of him, and not try to do everything myself.

    Sometimes to find the help you need, you have to know exactly what to ask for. Often you don’t know that until halfway through a task.

    Liked by 10 people

        1. Ah, Clyde, we are just glad to have you back on the Trail. If your fingers are clumsy and there is an extra too, nobody minds. After all we read tim’s entries which are way more complicated.

          Liked by 4 people

    1. When the first therapist came to visit Nonny in June when I was there, one of the things she said right away was that I should do less and Nonny should do more.

      Liked by 5 people

  6. It is hard to find professionals who want to work here, even in places like Bismarck. I am the only psychologist at my agency. There is only one other psychologist in town working full time. She is in private practice. I think that there are fewer people growing up in rural areas, and thus fewer rural people going to graduate school, and, thus fewer people returning to rural areas to practice.

    The clinical director at the State Hospital teamed up with their new HR person and wrote a different kind of job ad for a forensic psychologist position that garnered 16 applicants. That kind of response is unheard of here, and I suggested our director take a look at it to see how we could use it to fill our empty positions.

    I am pretty accustomed to doing things by myself at work, and a week doesn’t go by when some coworker or another says “what are we going to do when you retire?” Well, they had better start doing some planning. After one of the nurses reties this winter, I will be the oldest person at my agency. That is strange for me to contemplate.

    Liked by 7 people

  7. I never understand farmers here who try to grow corn. There is a large field near town, now all firing at the bottom of the stalks. There is an ethanol plant nearby, but I don’t know how mature corn needs to be to use it for ethanol.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Today we are climbing out from under our COVID rock by going to the Twin Buttes powwow to meet up with dear friends. We will wear masks as necessary. We are all vaccinated.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. OT: Renee, we just completed cleaning our garage for the first time in….well, I can’t remember. It was really cluttered and dirty. There is a big pile of garbage and things to donate. I used your music suggestions from “setting the mood” yesterday to get myself (and Lou. He really did not want to do this) going. I started with the 1812 Overture. YOu were correct that the cannons help with cleaning. Then next in the music list was (this is not PC) “March of the Slaves” for Lou.

      It was most successful. Awful job completed. I feel very self-righteous.

      Liked by 6 people

  9. A recent task I could likely have attempted but chose not to wound up being a good one to have someone else do: replacing the cartridge and seals in the bathtub spigot handle. I loathe replacing cartridges – I inevitably get them set just a little off and have to re-do it a couple of times. The tub had been dripping for awhile, steadily getting worse. Finally was able to get my handyman in and it took him the better part of an afternoon to get the thing dealt with. Calcium and crud had built up, requiring a lot of banging and brute force to get the old one out. And then even he got the thing seated slightly off, so I had a few days of warm (not hot) showers until he could get back again. Next up: do I tackle replacing the lawn mower blade myself or get help?… (it’s not happening today at least – rain is a good excuse to ignore that for another few days…)

    Liked by 8 people

        1. Nothing that I’ve noticed. We got 2″ of rain – only came down hard for a few minutes yesterday so washed a little rock off the roadsides, but nothing serious.

          Liked by 2 people

  10. Dentistry is my attempt at do -it myself.
    Pain. Rubbing the ouch area. Cold. Aspirin. Rum alcohol rub at the ouch area. Rum at the whole body. Appointment made.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. A toothache is the worst, especially when it occurs on a weekend when most of us don’t have access to our dentist. Hope you’ve found some relief.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. When YA started at my company in May, I gave her a list of names of people that she should be especially nice too. These are people who make the wheels of the company go (no management types of course) and the list included all the tech people, the two facilities administrators, and the logistics expert who works in HR. Gotta have them on your side.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. We had such a good time at the powwow, just sitting with our friends in the shade by their camper and visiting all afternoon with them and the various family members who showed up. Had a big “feed” with them for supper, then headed home.

    Our friend’s niece is a teacher and just published a children’s book called “Bear’s Braid”, about a Natve boy teased by classmates because he wore his hair in a braid, and the ways his family and his school positively dealt with the problem. We bought a copy for our grandson.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Just wondering what the vaccination status is of the Natives on the reservation. Do you know? One of my Native friends, a Menominee musician who lives on a reservation in Wisconsin, caught the virus in June of last year, and was sick for several months. He’s slowly gaining strength, but has lost his voice. He’s a respected member of his community and has been instrumental in getting people on his reservation vaccinated.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I am not sure about the MHA Nation as a whole. There were folks from all over the country there, from all sorts of tribes. Hard to tell. Lots of masks.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. OT – Just thought I’d let you all know that yesterday’s fundraising Zoom meeting and video about Aaron raised a lot of money toward his accessible van. The total raised is now $18,690. Still a way to go before they reach their goal of $45,000, but they’re well on their way. Go Aaron. Dale did an admirable job of hosting the event. No surprise there.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. To go back to the original question—Why is good help hard to find?—I can’t answer from personal experience since I rarely seek help and I have no doubt that the pandemic exacerbated the problem but I think the shortage of skilled workers preceded the pandemic. I would conjecture that there are fewer people now who know how to do things and fewer things that can be fixed, as opposed to replaced.

    In my parent’s generation, a great many people had a variety of practical competencies. I would attribute that in part to the fact that a lot more people grew up on farms and farms were a primary training ground for self sufficiency. Ben’s upbringing is an example of that. Manual and manufacturing jobs were rewarded with a living wage, making them feasible career paths. During the last few decades, cerebral employments have been the more rewarding ones, leaving the physical ones unfilled.

    In many instances, the people who possess the widest range of practical skills are the recent immigrants. As public policy has restrained immigration and hampered the contribution of new arrivals, many of those needed roles have gone unfilled.

    Liked by 6 people

  15. I try lots of stuff that I shouldn’t and my go to expression is that you’re an expert the second time you do something unfortunately somethings you never get around to a second time and you wallow in trying to figure it out the first time through

    I think about changing engines on cars I had a heckuva time changing an axle one time I’ve done a lot of do it yourself repair kind of stuff or you learn as you go along my daughter and son-in-law just bought a new house and we’re cutting some walls out to open up some space and I warned them that they need to be careful cutting through the walls because they’re going to run into some electrical stuff that will need to be rerouted and they learned the hard way and didn’t call me in to help them because I’m an expert because that is not the first time I’ve done it

    good help is hard to find because good people that are willing to make a change in their lives are hard to find and when you find them you need to be willing to pay them and have that be the last obstacle to stand in their way and making a big life-changing decision like going to work for you instead of going to work for anybody else

    Cultures in workplaces are a big deal I’ve always said in my business stuff they’re working with a new company is like marrying into a new dysfunctional family and needing to find out what the rules are before you go forward I’m sure that’s true and any type of arrangement you get into but there are some that are wonderful and some that are horrible and you just need to find one that works for you and it’s not about $15 an hour and then you can go ahead and inflict a horrible work environment and someone there’s a lot more to it than that

    Liked by 4 people

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