April, Not Farming Yet

Today’s post comes from Ben.

It’s been a crazy busy week. But at least we’ve gotten some much needed rain. Monday, I got an implement deliver that I had ordered in December. (My new rear blade for moving snow, grading the road, or moving dirt) Plus, it is tech week at the college so rehearsals every night and busy during the day dealing with things. I wore my tool belt at the college one day and that felt great! (With my shoulder, I have not needed it or 5 months, nor have I been able to manipulate my arm to get it buckled.)
Mostly I feel like I am fighting with technology lately. Government websites, computer programs, helpful people that update things to make it “new and improved” and then it does not work like it used too. It is enough to make a person frustrated.  

Wednesday, we picked up baby chicks at the post office. The first thing we do is get them a drink of water. (See photos below. They look red because we have a red heat lamp on them.)

and I picked up the first of my seed; got oats and corn seed. Did a few things at home, felt like a newbie, and made stupid mistakes. Moved the snowblower out of the shed: I tied up the power take off shaft first. But I tied it too high, and it was in the way, and I could not get the tractor hooked up to the blower. Out of the tractor and tied the shaft different. Back in the tractor and got the blower hooked up on the first try, moved it outside, parked it, got out of the tractor, did a couple other things, back in the tractor and drove away without unhooking the blower. Broke the string holding the PTO shaft. Got out, tied that back up again. String broke. (It is a heavy shaft and I had frayed the string when it broke the first time). Tied it up a fourth time. Back in the tractor, re-park the blower, and the wood blocks shifted and the blower tipped forward. Out of the tractor, reset the blocks, hook it up again, back in the tractor and get it to stay this time, out of the tractor to get it unhooked. Man, twenty minutes later on a 5-minute job…  

I am adding a camera system to the tractor this spring. Built a bracket to hold the screen in the cab, and the two cameras are on magnets and will go back in the drill tanks, and now it is just cable management between cameras and monitor screen, plus power for the display and cell phone charger, and boy I’ll really be something. I hope it works. I told my mom that dad would think I was pretty lazy I couldn’t get off the tractor to see how much seed was left, but she didn’t think so; he would have thought it was kinda cool. Made me miss him a little bit.

Delivered more Straw, almost to the end of that. There was a dead animal in the yard one morning. Pretty sure it was a weasel, which, if it was, they are terrible to a flock of chickens so I’m sorry it’s dead but better it than my chickens. Another time I sure miss Steve so he could tell us about weasels. Duck numbers are holding steady. No losses this week.

I will be able to use the cameras on the baler, or anything that I cannot see from the cab.

Next week I should be able to get into the fields and get oats planted. I read that corn seed needs 48 hours of 50° soil temps to germinate. Plan accordingly.

Do you have a favorite string? I like twine. Plastic twine if it’s outside. Where would you put a camera?

54 thoughts on “April, Not Farming Yet”

  1. Being from Taiwan (at least, having spent nearly 40 years there), my favorite string is “Taiwan Red String”, which comes in several gages, including the thin stuff that is used to tie up bundles of papers, but which doesn’t break if you try to pull it apart (I’ve had the string cuts to show for it) and the heavy duty kind that is used for farming and construction use which can hold about anything, but which rots away after a couple years in the sun. I was presented with a ball of the heavy stuff around the time I retired, and use it sparingly now that I’m in Michigan. It’s great for holding down the car trunk lid when I have an oversize load, and I put some on the pull chain light switches in the basement of “this old house”.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. i stopped my car and picked up a roll of red plastic twine made for farm and construction use
      it was /is the side of a football or between soccer and basket ball
      i’ve had it 5 years and based on how much i’ve used so far i have a lifetime supply it’s great

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Chick boxes have not changed in 65-70 years I see. Loved the day the chicks came and we set them up in the homemade brooder.
    Twine of course. Used in oats binder on our farm and spools in various places like barn, back porch, and shop. Spools, the big kind that were used in balers and binders. Rigged in large lard cans with a hole in the lid to pull the twine through and keep it behaving on the spool.
    I need a dash cam. So much brazen and stupid driving in this town mixed with slow older drivers. Four times in last week I have had a car knowingly endanger me so they can get there faster or just not caring. Always over towards campus which I drive through to get the assisted living place. MSU-M done in two weeks. For that two weeks I will take the longer route and avoid the campus.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Now that’s really interesting. I guess I don’t know the history of cardboard boxes, but I didn’t know they were mailed (by train?) 65 years ago… I do recall hearing about picking them up from the co-op.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Early in my childhood they came by train. We shipped our train to Duluth by train. But then they came to the feed store in cardboard boxes like that. I don’t remember what they came in by train.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Directing Wells Fargo Wagon in Music Man brought back memories of going to depot to pick up stuff. Seeing all the other things in the room was exciting. We once ordered a large cattle watering tank which came that way. Wooden pieces and metal bands.

          Liked by 4 people

    2. I use bales of twine that are labeled “7200” as that’s how many feet in a bale of twine. It’s considered ‘kicker baler’ twine as it’s a little thicker to hold up to the bales being kicked into the wagon. Standard twine is 9000′, and round baler twine is 16,000′, thinner because it’s wrapped a dozen times around the bale. There is twine for the large square bales that is about the diameter of a pencil. That’s good heavy “string” if you need it.

      I have used plastic twine on straw, but no one likes it; it doesn’t decompose and it wraps up around everything. The point of it was that mice often chew through one string on a straw bale (looking for grains of oats. Why just one string is a mystery) and theory was they wouldn’t chew through the plastic. yes, they still do.
      So back to sisal twine.
      I keep a bale of old sisal twine in a 5 gallon bucket with a hole in the lid. And I have a spool of plastic twine too.
      Looks like a bale of sisal twine (two spools) is $52 at Fleet Farm. Plastic is cheaper depending on the size.

      At the theater I have a 3000′ spool of black cotton tieline, and a 3000′ spool of white cotton tieline. We use more black than white. It’s great for tying up anything. The proper length of a piece of tieline is the circumference of a 5 gallon bucket. That’s long enough to secure a couple electric cables to a pipe, wrap it twice, and make a good knot. Which knot is at the discretion of the technical director. I just do a bow knot. Some guys prefer clove hitches. It needs to be knot that can be untied. NOT square knots.
      ” If you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot.”

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I realized as I thought about string, that I no longer have a ball of string in the junk drawer(s). Where did that go over the years? I don’t use string much. If needed, I usually use rubber bands or dental floss. And if those fail me, I go get some knitting yarn and use that. In the spirit of farmers who can make do with anything, I improvise.

    I am headed out to visit my mother. She has recovered from her UTI and the resulting psychosis that landed her in the hospital. However, she is so diminished. I probably won’t be back here til tomorrow.

    Baby chicks are so cute. But then baby anything is cute. The exception to that was the baby turkey vulture we got to watch in SE Minnesota years ago. That one gets the ugly baby prize. Tall and scrawny, with a tiny head, it was covered in thin down. The downy feathers were falling out, as the feathers were developing. I was wondering if almost naked birdies can get sunburns. Like Ben said, I miss Steve when I have these nature questions. Steve, if you are out there, send us an emissary with the answer. Maybe in the form of a bird.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Here’s another tune that has nothing to do with rope or string, but which is inextricably tied to Wheels in my mind. They’re about the same vintage, and were both immense popular at the time – 1961 I think.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Love the chick photos, and this understatement at end of paragraph two: “It is enough to make a person frustrated.”

    I like cotton string or jute (is that what it’s called?) twine, which we keep in a coffee can kind of like Ben’s, We need to re-string the rotary type clothes line, so plastic rope will be needed for that.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. And I would like a camera out back, where I’ve been leaving some stale walnuts for the squirrels or whoever – do they eat them right there, or take them somewhere else? Would also like one trained on the tree by the garage, under which I’ve found half a tiny white shell of an egg…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I probably use more bakers twine than anything else. I have many colors of it in my studio. Downstairs there is plain white string and fishing line that I use for assorted things. I know you said there were no duck losses this week but I’m hoping the pool there’s still one more poofy duck? The one with his head out of the frame?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I always have a roll of butcher’s twine in the kitchen drawer next to the stove. That, and a package of cheese cloth.

    As an old girl scout, and the daughter of a sailor, I’ve always loved twine and rope of various thicknesses, and I much prefer natural ropes over synthetic fibers though I can see the advantages of those. My granny – mom’s mother – was a weaver and worked most of her life in a linen factory in Drogheda. She took great pride in being able to tie weaver’s knots for various purposes, a skill that she taught my mother though she never got near a loom of any kind. I’m not sure that the huge machines my granny worked on – think machines like the ones seen in the film Norma Rae – can actually be called looms? Which somehow brought this song to mind:

    Liked by 5 people

  8. They are not yet farming back home, either. We are having a blizzard there, and the roads are closing. Her in NOLA,it is balmy and in the 80’s.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. And here on St. Paul’s West Side we’re having a terrific thunder/rain and lightning storm. It’s been balmy with a high humidity all day, and right now, at 8:00 PM, it’s still 71º F.

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Yes, here too… yikes! We tried to have an outdoor birthday party for friend W, and just about got blown away – nothing would stay on the table, we needed extra jackets and a blanket for W, hats were blown hither and yon…

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Today is day one of straw bale conditioning. And I have to say the wind and the chilliness is making it hard to imagine planting it in a couple of weeks.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. Too bad I cannot share a picture of Mr. Tuxedo in his tuxedo at the prom. Not with his date, not an item but friends, but with a four year old girl. She was there because a cousin was in the grand march. She was upset she could not find him after march to have picture taken. Mr. Tuxedo is loved by small children

    Liked by 5 people

  10. i like the rope the sell at fleet farm on the spools the soft stuff the size of you pointer finger, the rope in like 100 foot lengths for rock climbing and pencil sized stuff for everyday tie downs on trailers and such
    begin my sailing life this summer as therapy
    i’ll learn rope and knots
    camera on my forehead would be great
    thought of eyeglasses with iphone quality camera in frame always on
    edit later

    Liked by 2 people

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