September Farm

The farm report comes to us from Ben.

We had some friends and their kids visit and we had a good time giving tractor rides and gator rides and collecting eggs and seeing cows. It’s always fun giving farm tours.

I finally got around to working on the brush mower. I had to order bigger sockets to get the nut off the broken spindle on the big spinny thing. (It’s 45mm by the way) And then trying to get the gear box off the mower deck, I didn’t have the right size sockets for that either. It’s 30mm. I am getting more and more metric tools, but I didn’t have anything that big. I have a 3/8” drive socket set that I use for a lot of things. And a 1/2” drive set for some of the bigger stuff. And then I started buying 3/4” drive stuff for the really big stuff. (I mean the size of the square on the head of the ratchet is 3/8” or 1/2” or 3/4”). Then I put a 3’ long pipe over the handle to get enough leverage to get the nuts loose. Took the gear box up to John Deere for them to fix.

How’s that go: Every job is an opportunity for a new tool. Worked here.

On the way home from John Deere I stopped at a farm stand and bought 4 dozen ears of sweet corn. A couple kids run this stand and it is really good corn. Got that frozen and it will be really good this winter.

My mom has a possible Covid exposure from one of her physical therapy people. I had seen her on Sunday, and she found that out on Monday. But she hasn’t tested positive herself yet and they all wear masks and mom is vaccinated and I’d think the PT person was too. So hopefully she stays good. She needs to isolate in her room, which she isn’t very happy about. And her food comes in a Styrofoam container with plastic cutlery and that’s her biggest complaint. We had a care conference Tuesday and there seems to be exceptions for everything so she’s gotten real plates now. Hope that keeps up.

Monday was Labor Day and I wondered if I should really take the day off or do some work. If I didn’t do anything I’d feel guilty. I took a nap first off. But then decided to clean up the swather and get that put away. I washed it off and oiled the chains, loosened some belts, and filled the gas tank and added some ‘Stabil’ to the fuel, and tucked it into the shed for winter.

Then decided it was a good day to burn a small brush pile behind the shed. Got that burning and cut some grass while keeping an eye on it.

We’re having a little experiment with the ducks. When they go into the pen at night, they can either walk up a ramp or they can hop up onto a block and then into the open door. Most of them seem to hop in. One day I had not put the ramp in the door, it was sitting down on the block. Everyone had gone in except one black duck and two brown ducks. They were very distressed to be outside on their own and I finally went down and put the ramp up and one brown duck went up the ramp and the other two hopped in from the block. Hmm, were the other two moral support for the ramp duck?

This is very curious, so the next night I also left the ramp down and everyone had gotten in except a black duck and a brown duck. I put the ramp back up and both ducks hopped in without using the ramp.
The third night I put the ramp in the door right away. About dusk everyone heads over to the door and the white ducks always go first and hop on the block and up into the door. Might take them two tries, but they make it. Eventually the ones waiting got tired of waiting in line and they all went and got a drink and then came back and some more hopped in, and again, the remaining few got tired of the queue, went and got another drink and then came back and no one used the ramp and everyone hopped in. Evidently the ramp is more emotional support or a guide? It’s very interesting.

FOURTH NIGHT! I had the ramp up and I watched closer; they seem to use the ramp as a guide rail. A few actually use it, some bump against the side while hopping in, and some jump up onto the ramp about 1/2 way up. Very curious. And when they come out in the morning, it’s last in, first out.

When I got home one day, all the ducks were out of their pen. We’d been talking about letting them out; they’re old enough and big enough, but being ‘adolescent’, they don’t always make the best choices and we lose a few to coyotes. That day they found a hole – or maybe ‘made’ a hole and they were all close, just on the wrong side of the fence. It wasn’t too hard to round them up, patch the hole, and get them all back inside. And then I noticed one of the white ones has a wound under one wing. Neither Kelly or I were working from home that day which makes me wonder; maybe a coyote came in the yard and caused a commotion which is what scared them out. Kelly says every day around noon there is some kind of commotion, and the dogs bark and guineas get upset so there’s something going on.

I showed Kelly how to fire the rifle and the next day, when the noon commotion began, she fired a shot. We never see anything, but we’re trying to scare it– whatever “it” is– away. Kelly really wants to shoot a coyote but she’s having trouble making the scope work for her. She is just hoping for plain, dumb luck. And she’s going to work on firing from the hip.

Chickens; they get into the ducks pen, but they can’t ever figure out how to get back out…

BONUS! Two Sandhill Cranes standing in the field when I left for work the other day.

There has been a pair here all summer, we don’t see them, we only hear them. I’m guessing this is another pair passing through.

Can you fire from the hip? And accomplish what you are trying to accomplish?

49 thoughts on “September Farm”

  1. Ben, first off. When I come fir the scrap metal, I’ll call ahead, and it WON’T be any time around noon. Three blasts on the horn – it’s me, right, not a coyote. Make sure Kelly knows that.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. And I lost my three quarter drive socket, that would fit the front wheel hub on a Fordson. It was big, you’ll have to find a Fordson and measure it, I’ve forgotten the size. Any Fordson, or Fordson Major, with the cast front wheel.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Making magazines changed me forever. Before I accepted responsibility for putting out a magazine once a month, I always had a plan when I started writing an article. I began each new article with a smile because I had already thought it through, which is the opposite of shooting from the hip.

    But thinking it through turns out to be a luxury. The biggest and ugliest discovery you encounter in the magazine business is that the need for new material is never-ending. No matter how good your work was on the September issue, by the time it hits the newsstands you better be almost done with October and November isn’t far behind.

    What this means, in practical terms, is that you are forced to shoot from the hip because the demand for new material is so urgent. So you rush to create something as quickly as you can. Of course, it will almost surely be ugly and stupid, but don’t panic. You just need to edit and improve it. And then do more of that. And then more. It turns out to be nearly impossible to sit down to create something wonderful. What is possible is sitting down to create something awful that you slowly turn into something beautiful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It suddenly occurs to me, Steve. I haven’t known you that long, but I haven’t seen you say an awful lot about guns. Apart from that story you sent me the other day, it’s true.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It suddenly occurs to me, Steve. I haven’t known you that long, but I haven’t seen you say an awful lot about guns. Apart from that story you sent me the other day, it’s true.


        1. Actually, Fenton, guns are a painful topic with me. When I was an outdoor writer (and card-holding member of the Outdoor Writer’s Association) I was a pariah because I opposed the paranoia of the NRA (National Rifle Association). I was far more committed to defending the environment than defending the rights of gun owners. That, with many sportsman, was heresy.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Thoreau said young men should take guns into the woods and hunt. (This upsets a lot of people today.) he said if they kept going they would respond to nature and the hunt would lose its appeal and they would put down the gun. I know a few people who have followed that path. Not most hunters I know.
          There is a Jeep ad that talks about and shows a Jew in the supposed wild nature. Oh, how we want it both ways.

          Liked by 4 people

      1. I never thought about it this way, but I guess we could consider ourselves in the publishing business. Perhaps a viewing of “The Front Page” is in order!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    When I was very young (4-6 years) and living in my fantasy world of Annie Oakley, I rode around town on my stick horse shooting from the hip with my toy six shooters every day. I was usually rescuing victims from Bad Guys, just like Annie did on TV. This entire scenario took up a lot of space in my brain in those days. And I never missed while shooting from the hip. I always rescued those in need of rescue and I always scared away the bad guys. 100%.

    Fantasy is great.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. If you don’t mind, here is a bit of information about Annie. She was born in 1860 in Ohio and grew up in extreme poverty. She began hunting to help her family by putting food on the table. Her shooting skill allowed Annie to sell some of the game she shot, so at 15 she paid off the mortgage on the family home. A handsome man named Jack Butler used to do trick shooting, often challenging local hunters to shooting contests. Annie beat him. Frank and Annie married. She began her trick shooting in public as Frank’s assistant, but they moved her into the spotlight when it was clear she was a better marksman. She toured with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show for any years and was a special friend to Chief Sitting Bull when he toured with the show. Annie vehemently denied being a feminist concerned with advancing women’s lot. She was a traditional person who was proud to do what she did so well. Offstage she was Mrs. Butler, not Annie Oakley, and the couple enjoyed 50 years of happy marriage.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. I did go through a Dale Evans phase when I was five or six but it never included a toy gun. My parents were both very against the idea of guns, even as toys

    I have shot a gun once in my life, on a jeep tour in Arizona. I did actually hit the pop can. For some reason I brought this trophy home and I kept it on the shelf in the kitchen for a long time but then at some point, back when I used to have someone come in and clean the house every now and then, she tossed it. And of course I didn’t notice it in time to retrieve it from the recycling. Oh well.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We always had an old broken rifle of my grandfather’s in the basement, and We.Would.Play.With.It! Although it did not work and we had no ammunition, it was a terrible practice to allow us to think it was a toy. It makes me shudder, 50 years on.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. When we moved into the farm cottage, at the job where we met the sheepdog, Nell, there was an air rifle leaning against the wall by the front door. We used to roll up tiny bits of paper and fire them all over the place. I suppose Mum turned a blind eye to it. And I have only just realised the irony of that expression. It was wet one day, and we were crammed into the front room, with a couple of friends. David Clark was holding the rifle and was fiddling, he claimed later, with the bent nail, which according to memory, the trigger pivoted on. There was definitely a bent nail (it was pivotal to the story!) If any of us was going to be standing in the way when the gun went off, it was going to be Angus, and to prove it, it was. Angus was rushed to Exeter Eye Infirmary, and bits of paper were taken out of his eye, and his sight was saved. I don’t know how close he was to losing it in that eye, but we were all scared and worried. We’ll never know if David pulled the trigger or not. He said he didn’t. Meanwhile, we searched for that gun, but somehow it disappeared.

        Liked by 4 people

  5. In a metaphorical sense, my work during much of my employment history required shooting from the hip. I was reasonably good at it.

    As for handling actual guns, I went to a pistol range out near Shakopee once with an old boyfriend. As it turned out, I was pretty good at target shooting (beat him in accuracy), but I didn’t care for the noise or the general vibe of the place, so I never went back. Archery is much more fun, and a lot quieter.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Of course, shooting from the hip is a metaphor.
    In reality, I have rarely triggered a gun, hip or aimed. Never even owned a gun. Not gonna do that.
    I did see that “shooting from the hip” has an urban definition related to male posture at a urinal. Not gonna do that.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I inherited several socket sets from my father, some are metric, I think. My dad just loved buying tools. I don’t keep them as organized as he did, I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love buying tools, too, but don’t like modern ones. In England, I’d find old tools on msrket stalls sometimes. And I bought masses at the recycling centre that I worked at for a while. I still have the case for the Elora socket set I bought new in 1969,but all the original sockets were stolen.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Sticking to the metaphoric sense of shooting from the hip, it occurs to me that my whole working life, once I was supporting a family, amounted to shooting from the hip. When I started in the advertising business, I had been a fine arts major with something like a minor in English, but no training or experience in advertising concept or layout or directing photographers or filmmakers. I might have been intimidated except that so many of my coworkers were so unremarkable. I was working at one of the biggest agencies in town, a national agency, but because I had never heard of it before they hired me, I took it in stride. I moved from agency to agency, as ad people often do, and finally ended up at a hybrid sort of publisher/ad company/graphic design firm for the last part of my corporate working life. There I designed packaging for national brands, designed and produced books, wrote and produced both television and radio ads, and did some illustration and some copywriting. This was the point at which, as a sideline, I started building props for commercial photographers. If there ever was a shoot-from-the-hip business, it’s prop making. Usually the thing you agree to make is something you’ve never made before and you have to make it on a deadline for an agreed-upon amount of money. Failure is not an option. Since I was working full time, that meant I was prop making at night after the kids were in bed. Ultimately it was just too much and I let that go.

    When I went freelance, that meant that I was in a position to take on just about any job offered. The first book I designed and produced as a freelancer was the first book I had ever physically designed and produced in that I was the one putting all the elements together on the computer and preparing the files to go directly to the printer. I really had no formal training in any of that and just had to reason it out.

    It seems sometimes like my work career amounted to saying yes to anything that came along and figuring it out along the way. Somehow I got away with it. You might expect that I would have struggled with imposter syndrome but, in a formal sense, I was untrained- an imposter.

    With the present day hiring practices, I doubt that an imposter like me could ever gain a foothold and I think that’s a net loss.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. These is a chance Sandy is coming back to Mankato next week, to end my 90 mile round-trip drive to St. James. She would be five miles from me and two blocks from a billionaire.

    Liked by 6 people

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