Fall is in the Air

This weekend’s farm report comes to us from Ben.

Fall is in the air this week. It’s good weather for sleeping; I love it. The soybeans are starting to turn yellow, and they’ll be losing their leaves soon. And with the recent rains the pastures have greened up again. Another inch of nice, slow, steady rain here recently.

Remember a few months ago I left the top lid open on the feed bin and had to spend an afternoon clearing out the rotten corn and gunk. And it was almost empty, thankfully, and there was still a bit of rotten corn stuck to the sides at the bottom. Since I needed to order more feed, now was the time to clean it all out. I wanted to knock loose a little more good corn so I’d have enough to feed the chickens and ducks for a couple days.

First thing I did was drop my long stick into the auger and jam it up. Belt squealing and I’m 15’ feet up the bin so I carefully, hurriedly, scramble down and turn off the breaker. Then I turn the auger backwards, back up the bin to remove the stick, back down to turn on the breaker again, and back up to finish knocking some corn down.

The bin has an 18” opening at the bottom and then a transition angle attached to that which turns it vertical, and then the auger attaches to that. I removed a clamp and the auger attachment, and the auger slid down and out of place. That’s going to be a problem when I get to putting it all back together. The auger is 4” diameter and about 10’ long and goes up through the wall of the feed room with the electric motor attached to the end of the auger in there. I removed the clamp and transition attachment, and then I put a tarp under the opening and climb back up the bin with my stick and start knocking corn off the walls. I’d knock some loose, pull the tarp out and dump it in the loader bucket, then put the tarp back down and knock more corn off. Took 4 cycles.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. But getting it all put back together took two people, a strap, some C-clamps, a stick, some muscle, and some time.  It might be the first time I’ve cleaned the bin out in 20 or 30 years. Good for another 30 years.

Kelly helped me get the seed cup put back on the grain drill and the 44 bolts reinstalled, so that part is ready to go. I still have some other work to do on the drill, but I can manage that on my own. The 44 bolts took two people with one inside holding the wrench on the head, and me outside tightening the nut. Replacing the seed cup means I don’t have an excuse for leaving gaps in the field anymore. Next year if there’s a gap between the rows it’s my fault for not driving straight.

The next thing to repair is the ‘big spinny thing’ under the brush mower. I got the blades and broken shaft off the spinny part. Now I need Kelly’s help again to get the 8 bolts off the gearbox and take that off the mower itself. Maybe this weekend.

The former oat fields are getting a lot of weeds growing in them now. Bailey and I got them dug up. It needs to be done before they get too big (and before they go to seed) or they will plug up the digger. I try not to go the same way across the field every time I work it up. My fields are not square, and while I’m still trying to follow the contours, it helps to start on the opposite end of the field sometimes and just break up those ridges underneath the soil.

I had the co-op come and take soil samples off the oat fields. Normally you need to do that either in the spring or the fall after the crop is off. Can’t test during the growing season of course but since the oats is done, it was a good time to do those fields. I haven’t seen the results yet.

The remodeling work at one of the local theaters continues and there’s been a good crew in helping with that. If we ever get the flooring done (Thanks to Wes for advice), the bathroom stalls will be the next major job. They came in two dozen pieces and multiple bags of bolts.

In class this week the lab was on topographical maps and reading the contours and an online test on seafloor spreading and continental plates. I learned about Earthquakes, Volcanos, and the Earth’s magnetic field being generated in the core of the earth and that the magnetic field has changed polarity multiple times over the years. The last change was about 1 million years ago.

The only thing we are managing to produce out of our garden is cucumbers.  I make a lot of refrigerator pickles. Neither Kelly or I learned how to can things or preserve things and it’s probably not hard, but it is hard to find the time. At least I can grow cucumbers. Something has gotten in the garden and ate all the potatoes and kohlrabi. All summer something has been in there and I can’t find a hole in the fence, but they leave the cucumbers alone.

And the ducks. They’re getting real nice ‘poofs’ on their heads and some are off to the side like a jaunty little chapeau. I spend a lot of time just watching the ducks play in the water. They are good jumpers being able to hop into one of the water containers. I spend a lot of time watching the ducks.

Got any stories about magnets? Our son stuck one on the TV and messed up the picture and we had to buy a new TV.

Have you been in an Earthquake or seen an active Volcano?

49 thoughts on “Fall is in the Air”

  1. Saturday! Tractor time!
    No, seriously.
    Ben, you talk about sleep occasionally. I think it’s because you’re trying to remember a time when you got any.
    Magnets, no good stories. I use alternator rotors off late fifties /sixties British motorcycles. Mostly I use them for sorting metal for the scrap yard. Iron or ally? Mostly, a glance, or knowledge of where it came from, is enough. Any doubt, the magnet’s the quickest way. You CAN get caught out by non magnetic stainless steel. It can look like shiny aluminum. In England, non magnetic and magnetic stainless are different grades. I separated the little stainless I have into the two groups, intending to find out if it matters here. I meant to call ahead, but forgot. It’s Saturday, and the scrap yard is shut. Now the van’s loaded till Monday, a nuisance, but never mind.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a good use for magnets. I have a few magnets off the backs of old speakers; these are usually pretty good sized and strong. I use a lot of the magnetic clips in my office… and in the home shop I have magnetic 90 degree brackets to hold things for welding.
      The other day I could have used a 6″ magnetic level for a project, but I managed without…

      I have piles of scrap iron I need to get hauled in… old rotary hoes, old machinery, old parts… just need to do it. When you’re over here Fenton, maybe you can… might need the trailer though.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Several times, I’ve cleared out all the metal I can find, thinking, now we’re tidy. I realise now, I’m just someone who attracts scrap metal. I have a biggish van, and occasionally do removals, and it slowly gets around. “Fenton, could you take away -” “YES!!!! Uh, what is it?” Even the Spanish people have started giving me their crap. Small portions of it are useful, or worth a tiny bit of money.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There’s a 300lb minimum at the scrap yard here.

      Story: It used to only be ‘Jennings’ scrap yard. And the lady that ran it was … well, she was something alright. Man was she grumpy! But theirs was the only place. There was another place that took aluminum cans and maybe a little scrap iron, but they were so small they didn’t even count. Watsons.
      Well, Watsons moved and expanded and started taking iron and 90% of the people started taking scrap to them rather than the grumpy lady. (Myself included). And it is impressive how fast Watsons grew and the sheer volume of scrap iron and junk is impressive. Huge piles and acres of junk!
      Copper, old batteries, bulk aluminum, and scrap. It’s quite the business.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The recently reopened place I go to in Ontinyent is run by an unusual type of scrap dealer. He actually told me that I’d let a couple of bits of copper go into the iron pile, and paid me the difference. This is not the reputation that these guys have, and he’s proved since that it wasn’t exceptioal behaviour. I appreciate it, and any time I find his price has maybe slipped behind another yard, I will stay with him, and one day will tell him how another guy swindled me, and will never see me again. But it’s the smallest scrap yard I’ve been in, in a building in fact. Never come across that before. I’ve never been to a yard with a minimum weight, either.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ray Penfold used to pay top price for scrap in North Devon. He’d look at it and sum it up immediately. “How’s the legal side of it?” “Brilliant!” “Twelve pound for the lead.” He never weighed it. I don’t know how we knew he paid top price for metal nobody had weighed, but everyone said he did.
        I was away, and he died. Ray Junior, who I’d seen in pubs with his Dad when he was little, took on the business he’d already started expanding. Last I heard they’d bought everyone else out. They’ve got a weighbridge, and you stop on it going in and going out. I was going to say, like anywhere else. But there isn’t anywhere else now.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. YA and I are big on refrigerator magnets. Whenever we travel somewhere together, he likes to pick one out and if I travel on my own, she always reminds me to bring one back. So we have magnets from all over. We’re serious enough about this that when we got our new refrigerator 10 years ago, one of the requirements was that it couldn’t be stainless steel because that wouldn’t hold our magnets.

    I’ve had other magnets over the years – poetry magnets, Shakespeare insult magnets, (WordPress keeps typing in “maggots”). .I even had a King Tut set but I did eventually give it away to a young friend of mine. I do still have my David magnets with all of his pieces of clothing (although I’ve lost most of his shoes over the years). This is a collectors item now so I’m not getting rid of it. It is however on the side of the fridge raider in case he loses his shorts, I don’t want to offend people.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Back in 2011, an earthquake in Virginia rattled Ohio. I was in my car and it felt as though someone had the bass on their car audio system cranked up to 11. Just a vibration.
    Vesuvius is “active” but not visibly. Touring Pompeii led me to de-select southern Italy as a place to live.
    Birds have proteins within the eye that help them “see” the earth’s magnetic field. It’s not iron alone in their beaks (spell check wanted ‘beers’) that directs migration.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I had a magnetic toy in 1954. It was a plastic King Tut mummy who would lie peacefully in his plastic sarcophagus. But when I handed Tut to a friend, the mummy would suddenly refuse to lie down. The kid would push him down over and over, but he would keep floating away.

    The trick was done with a magnet. Tapping the sarcophagus slightly would move a magnet so Tut would refuse to lie in place. I loved that toy.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. In 1987, we lived in Southern Indiana, in Columbus, and we had about 5 seconds of an earthquake. I saw the bookcases waver a little. The quake was centered father south, in the Kentucky-Missouri border region. I guess a major quake there would be really devastating.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Bill probably knows more about this but in the mid 1800s, there was a serious New Madrid quake. I remember reading somewhere that the river ran backward because of it. But I don’t remember which river.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. You have machinery to move stuff that we did by hand, not in very large volumes. Our oats that far north and with 70 year old varieties were harvested in September so no weed issues. And we always planted an undercrop of clover. We rotated through four fields each planted in oats and clover every four years. Was amazing after cutting oats to see the wimpy little clover plants, which the next year would explode into a lush perfumery hay crop. I used to lie in the crop and watch bees and hummingbirds flit from blossom to blossom, almost too much for them to choose from.
    Maps are fascinating in so many ways.
    I have been there for many quakes it seems but way below level you can feel. My son lived through a few that other could feel but not him.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Just occurred to me to be careful how I word this. A recently widowed lady I worked for, for a little while here, was always saying about how the earth moves here. Literally, that is. She said there)was a weakness right across from there(opposite side of the Vall d’Albaida), through here (her olive grove), over to there (our side of the Vall d’Albaida). And cracks would appear in the ground, for instance one which her she and her late husband had filled with imported topsoil from another parish. I can explain that one with the activities of rabbits, who can tunnel away a surprising amount, before a rainstorm can suddenly cause a large collapse. The water can get in one end of the tunnel, wash downhill, and come back up where digging has gone on nearly up to ground level. Making a big hole.
    And she kept on abouther sliding gate, how the concrete kept shifting, and that was why the gate wouldn’t want to move. She was pretty dogmatic, so I left her to her theory. That concrete was unusual for round here. Solid as a rock. If it had moved it would have cracked, unless it moved en masse, taking the gate with it. It just wasn’t put in straight.
    Nevertheless, I gather we did have a little tremor a while ago, but not enough to crack the ground or move a gate.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Ben, you need to practice your Irish accent in order to make this excuse for gaps in a seedbed: “Sure, a maighty wind sprang up and mai seed blew awayand away, and ai could not catch ut.”

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I’ve only been in one earthquake. Didn’t realize at the time that it was one; we thought there had been a huge explosion somewhere in the neighborhood. There was a loud BOOM, and our whole house shook so violently that canned goods on the open shelving in the kitchen rattled to the floor. It happened on a Saturday morning in early November of 1968, during my first quarter at SIU. Pretty soon everyone was out of their houses, in bare feet, and all stages of undress. This was, of course, long before the advent of cellphones and the internet, so it took a while for us to realize that we had just experienced the largest earthquake in Illinois history. To the best of my knowledge, there was no serious damage, or injury to anyone in Carbondale.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. I recently participated in a Zoom session that the St. Paul library did on electromagnets, with the Bakken Museum. They provided kits, and we built electromagnets from batteries, wires, and nails.

    The presenter from the Bakken Museum talked about the history of magnets. Fun fact: at one point, people believed that if you exposed a magnet to garlic, it would stop working. The French had a rule for at least a hundred years that ships could not transport garlic, because it was feared that their compasses would not work and the ships would be lost. Eventually a scientist named William Gilbert disproved the garlic theory. Since then ships have been safely transporting garlic without getting lost.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. We all need to grow our own garlic. The huge wordwide movements of garlic are fouling up the container ports, and are a major contribution to global warming.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. Today is pepper day, as we are harvesting our Doux D’espagne, or Spanish Giant red peppers, and our Joe Parker Hatch chilis and Chimayo Chilis. All three varieties are bright red. We will make enchilada sauce from the chilis, and stuff the giants with a corn/black bean mixture. Husband may roast them, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve been roasting peppers lately, too. Just a few at a time, otherwise the fumes become overwhelming. Last week I roasted some giant red peppers, some poblanos and jalapeños. I did them over the open flame on my stove. The following morning I woke up with a painful rash all over my neck and front of my chest, the only thing I can think of that might have caused it was the fumes from the peppers. I’ll be roasting some more either this PM or tomorrow, and I think I’ll do them on the outdoor grill. Probably makes more sense anyway.

      Liked by 5 people

  13. OT – Just returned home from my weekly dinner with Philip. While I was gone, Eva called. Eva is married to our friend, Ken, who has FTD. He passed away this afternoon. As most of you know, Ken has been in a memory care unit for several years now, and in hospice care for the last six months. Sad as his passing is, his three daughters (who live in Seattle, Montreal, and NYC) and Eva were all able to be with him as he transitioned into what’s next, for that we’re all grateful. This has been an incredibly long and sad decline to witness, I’m relieved that journey has finally ended. May he rest in peace.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. sorry to miss the weekend
    no magnet stories
    small earthquake in southern california
    volcanos in hawaii and somewhere else can’t remember
    glad ken found peace
    thanks ben for the weekly update

    Liked by 3 people

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