Grading on a Curve

Today’s post comes from Ben

After last week’s blog title, “April, Not Farming Yet”, I got to thinking, I really am “farming” every day. I could say I’m not “planting” yet or not “doing field work” yet, but it’s a bit of a misnomer to say I’m not “farming”.
And this week, I’m still not out in the field and I still haven’t planted anything. The co-op spread oat fertilizer Thursday afternoon and while the fields weren’t very dry, I was going to try Friday morning to get them worked up and then plant Friday afternoon. Then we got an inch of rain Thursday night. Again. I don’t wanna complain about it raining, but I would like to get something planted. 

I have been getting things greased up and ready to go: checked tires, pulled the drill from the shed to the barn and back again to be sure all the chains were moving and it appears to be working.

I pulled a muscle in my lower back while clambering under the soil finisher checking tires. Every year that job gets harder. Kneeling on the gravel is no fun either. And trying not to use the one shoulder too much. And the one knee hurts anyway. It was kinda funny all the noises I made under there.

Got the camera’s working in the drill box, just need to finish securing cables. It sure is something to think it takes a week for a letter to go across town, but I can order rubber grommets from Amazon and get them from Louisiana the next day. Or the extension cable from Ohio the next day.

I took the new rear blade out to grade our driveway. There is a real skill and art involved in maintaining gravel roads and my hats off to the grader operators who can do it well. I can’t. I know how you’re supposed to do it and I understand the principle of the thing…but I sure can make a mess of it.

OK, the first grading of the spring is never good anyway. Some of that is my fault, some is just the way it is. This first grading, even on our township roads, one of the things is to cut down the edge, so rain water will run off the sides and not down the road. Plus, that pulls back in some of the gravel that got moved off the road by the snow plow. However this also brings a lot of dirt and grass onto the road. Typically, the good grader guys will leave this mess off to one side, and in a couple weeks it will have broken down and it can all be graded back into the road.

I got this new rear blade that can offset, angle, and tilt up and down. All by hydraulics. Three functions! I only have two hydraulics. (I’m hoping to add a third hydraulic to this tractor.) Plus it’s much heavier and cuts much better than my old blade. It sure did cut the edges down! And drag it into the middle of the road. And raising the right edge angled this way, is backwards when angled the other way and watching the left edge. I had my hands full. And it’s all behind me. And I sure made a mess of the road.

It will be better when I grade it again in a couple weeks. Fingers crossed. Kudos to Parm, our township grader operator.

New chicks are doing well. Growing and eating a lot. Duck numbers are holding. Had a concert at the college and prepping for commencement in two weeks.

This photo is the ‘patch’ for the lighting we’ll be using for commencement.

This right here is about the most important information I will use all week. It tells me everything about the lights and how to hook them up and make them work.

Made a mess of anything lately? What’s the most important thing in your life this week?

60 thoughts on “Grading on a Curve”

  1. My ground bison and broccoli was a mess. Too much Italian dressing.
    Cinco de Mayo to bust elements of my carb/salt/alcohol diet. The restaurant is within walking distance. Prudent.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Ben, your post this morning made me think of Lou’s Great-Grandmother’s diaries of the 20s, 30s, and 1940s. She was a first generation Norwegian living on a farm in rural NE Iowa where dirt roads were the ways in and out of the farm. This woman was lonely, especially in the Spring with melting snow, then rain. Day after day she wrote: “I want to go to town but the roads are muddy and rutted. We can’t go to town. Berge got the team (horses) stuck.” All your grading work on the roads to your house allow you to get in and out freely, something we now take for granted. When Berge and Margherite retired from farming they moved to town where she could freely socialize in all seasons. I did not know this lady, but I did meet her son, Lou’s Grandpa John, who also left the farm and moved to town with great pleasure. They loved having electricity and an oil furnace, items only available following the New Deal Rural Electrification. Keeping roads passable is a lot of work.

    The most important thing in my life this week is my hip replacement surgery. I am busy preparing and making soup to freeze. In the first 2 weeks my appetite will diminish, I suspect. The soup will go down easily. If there has been anything good coming out of this COVID experience, it is the way medical institutions have used digital technology to facilitate education regarding such procedures. In the two years since my knee replacement, all the nurse education and physical therapy is provided via medical websites and MyChart. It is pretty wonderful. Yesterday I did have to physically present myself for a COVID test, but the rest of the preparation is occurring through prompts on my iPad. I have the Cadillac of walkers for this recovery. We bought my mother a new walker for Christmas a few years ago. She is now wheelchair bound, so I borrowed it.

    Messes? Lots of those. My garden remains unprepared due to the rain and cold. Several family relationships are in shreds, and I am kind of OK with that mess. Really, I tried. Time to let go. Two Diagnostic Assessments at work remain unfinished until I return to work.

    Safe travels, Renee.

    Liked by 10 people

      1. My woods are a mess of blown in trash but high winds don’t let up. Now muddy. From where do all these big loose pieces of plastic and paper come from?
        Important item of week to protect Sandy from man down the hallway from invading her room again. In 18 days have latest pancreas cyst MRI. Still 88 days from seeing neurologist re my brain. Am looking forward to 5/30 when Moondogs open season, summer college players team. Daughter bought me a season ticket next to theirs.
        Had upsetting memory glitch yesterday which happens with what I and a dr. Friend think is going on in my brain.

        Liked by 4 people

  3. Most important thing in my life this week is Daughter’s college decision. We have one, but I am sworn to secrecy until we sit down later today and click the “accept” button (I can go so far as to say it’s a college in WI, has an engineering school, and is not in the UW system…). After that, there is a work presentation to be given on Wednesday, but that should be relatively easy – plus, since it will be May 4th, we will have light sabers (May the 4th be with you…).

    As for messes – oh yes, a few. Gardens are purposefully a mess until it warms up and I can trust the pollinators are done using my leaves. I am hoping my roses come back okay. I have no memory of trimming them, but it looks like someone did. (And if it was me, I wouldn’t have trimmed them that way… but who on earth would do a drive-by shrub rose trimming?) Crossing my fingers that the back gardens don’t wind up being an all-summer mess – I have trees marked for emerald ash borer that need to come out, but don’t have a date yet from the arborists who are supposed to deal with them. Ick.

    Today is Independent Bookstore Day – so I am off to a friend’s bookstore with a few advance copies of “Meander” (Postcards Volume 2). Should be fun – though how she is rationalizing that my book fits into her STEM-themed store, I am not sure… probably a stretch to say it includes nature. 🙂 And Renee – with the promise of a puppy visit, maybe I do need to hand deliver yours…

    Liked by 8 people

        1. Had the thought it might be rabbits (we have lots), but would rabbits go after something with thorns? And go after it neatly?… Maybe I have gardener rabbits and should be nicer to them.

          Liked by 3 people

    1. My daughter who only toured one campus, and mother of daughter who only toured one, is bribing Mr. Tuxedo to tour 5, starting with Winona State last week. He is very seriously considering becoming an English teacher. Education is in my family genes. So many cousins have gone that route. My sister and her daughter, too. But I would urge him otherwise if I said anything, and he will not ask. He has his mind set on The U. I should take that tour with him. I cannot imagine all the changes in last 53 years.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You don’t have to have been away from the U that long to be amazed at the expansion and changes. Truly amazing and somewhat disconcerting to an old codger like me.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, Anna, are you going to tell us? I’m sure baboons are waiting with bated breath to hear what the decision is. (I did see it on FB, but we have some baboons who don’t travel there.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She is off to Marquette in Milwaukee this fall. Possible transfer to Boston University for Fall of 2023 (she was admitted there as a “guaranteed transfer” starting her sophomore year). Planned major is biomedical engineering. To say that I am proud is an understatement.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. If I knew how to do a bunch of clapping hands emojis, I’d post them here.
          Congratulations to you both. I can only imagine both your pride and your ambivalence about sending her off into the world, Anna. Good luck to you both.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. milwaukee is a wonderful restaurant town she’ll love it the lake is nearby and marquette is even a wonderful school to top it off
          how nice
          and i love boston

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Most of the messes here are to do with things I’m not getting to – and the list is long. I really need to sort through all the files in my life – both paper and electronic – to make way for newer, updated systems. and there is a list of people to whom I’d like to write, send a note card (and steer Husband to send to his family) – rainy day today, maybe that will get started.

    But apparently none of these things are urgent, or they would have “risen to the top.”

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Messes in my studio and messes in the bedroom and of course in the kitchen for sure. But the biggest messes up the ones I make when I am out gardening or working on projects around the house. I can get dirty just thinking about gardening. And of course I think I’m still washing sand out of my hair from when tim and I sandblasted last summer.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Like everything in this old house, the paint had been covering up some problems. The stucco guy is actually coming next week.

        I also ended getting the not-up-to-code electrical fixed, a new light fixture and I replaced the broken glass panes.

        So the sandblasting was a much needed first step!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Big items this week are a visit from a Mpls friend (who bought our house) tomorrow she-ll be here for Winona’s Mid-west Music Fest that’s been going on this weekend. And then the year’s last UU Board meeting is mid-week. Will be nice to have a couple of months off from that responsibility.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. While in the Army (1960 to 72) I ran a big earthmover, and considered the guys who did “graders” to be lightweights. But one day when there was nothing to haul and dump, a friend offered to tutor me on the grader he operated. It didn’t take more than 5 minutes for me to learn that he was an artist, and I was an ape. I have held grader operators in the highest esteem ever since.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. OT – Naomi Judd, part of the Grammy-award winning country music duo The Judds, is dead at 76.

    Judd’s daughters, country singer Wynonna and actress Ashley Judd, confirmed the artist’s death in a statement on Saturday. “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” they wrote in a statement. “We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. An interesting set of three women. I have never been suicidal, but I feel for all who walk the dark side. Since about age 70 I have avoided most of the darkness. But I cannot cope well with complexity. In September I have to do a whole bunch of complex paperwork for Sandy and I am dreading it already. Is that just aging?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We are in Salina, KS for the night. I ran across the absolutely weirdest thing in a truck stop in York, NE. The women’s bathroom was newly remodeled and had stalls with heavy doors that went all the way to the floor. The toilets were electric, and had a panel of buttons that, if you wanted, would magically convert the toilet into a bidet. I can’t imagine ever doing that. Isn’t that strange?

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Cincinnati Reds are a mess.
    3-18 about to be 3-19.
    I check in just see if their pitchers strike out 11. That gets me a chance to win a pizza. Last year I got 3 freebies.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. love your posts ben
    look forward every week
    i know what you mean about never not working
    even if you are not physically doing a thing you are always engaged in one of the 47 required caps that need to be accessible at all times x

    have i screwed up lately
    this decade and the last one

    but i’m working on the upcoming one

    keep plugging away


    Liked by 1 person

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