The Rush Is Over

Today’s post comes from Ben.

The spring rush is over, at least on our farm. If you’ve got dairy cattle, it’s right into cutting hay and getting that first crop off. But here, we’re just cutting grass over and over again.

All the crops are out of the ground, they just need some heat to grow. Soybeans don’t grow quite as fast as corn, so even though I could see them coming, it takes a while to see the rows. That first field which had crusted and I finally dragged? It helped; they’re looking OK.

The last thing to plant was 2 acres of corn for a neighbor that he uses as a food plot so the deer are closer to his hunting stands. The next day my brother Ernie was out and we got extra seed cleaned out of the corn planter and got the power washer out and he washed the planter off and hosed off the back of my tractor and his tractor. The backs get very dirty; like your car back window, all the dust collects there. (Maybe that’s only us on gravel roads?) And the back is where the hydraulic hoses plug in, so it’s oily and attracts dust. I parked the planter back in the corner of the shed for next spring.

Next day we pulled the drill out, cleaned out the left-over seed, (We save extra seed for next year) and got the drill washed up and put away. I removed the cameras and cables and will work on getting them installed on the baler next.

We discovered that one tractor STILL has an oil leak. He fixed it last week; cost $1058. I’m hoping the repair guy just didn’t get something tight and it’s not a totally new issue.

And then I was cutting grass and the mower died. Just quit. No dash light, no hour meter, nothing. Well, that’s weird. I tried a few things (including the battery connections) and got nothing. Called John Deere and asked them to come and get the mower AND to come back for the tractor. The mower guy showed up; he changed a fuse and got it running, but it made noises. It made bad, expensive sounding noises. Sixteen years ago, when I was up for the college job, I had three goals if I got the job: New lawn mower, trade in grain drill, and there was a third thing I’ve forgotten, but I got them all.

We have a smaller, older mower and we got that out and running and I went back to cutting grass. Then I drove into a hole and got stuck. Harrumph. I was kinda fed up with the day by that point and I just went to the house and pouted.

Next day, I got a call my knee surgery has been postponed to August 1; need to get over all this other stuff first. (And I’m getting better. Kidney stone is gone, I’m almost walking unassisted again, cellulitis on my foot is cleared up, and PT is going well.) but we don’t want to risk any infections. I get that, but I’m still discouraged. Then I discovered one of the older tractors, a 2 cylinder John Deere 630, the crankcase is full of gas. Man ‘0 man; is there a black cloud over the house??

Sounds like just a shut off valve on the tank leaks, and the fuel leaks into the crankcase. Not the end of the tractor, just needs a fix.

I was pouty again. Went back to bed and figured I needed to just start this day over. Felt better after the nap.

Got the mower out of the hole and cut more grass. Next day made a deal on a different lawn mower.

The neighbors, Dave and Parm, have brought out some cattle.

The bulk oil truck came and refilled the oil containers. Still haven’t seen the price on that.

100 gallons engine oil on the left. 120 gallons trans / hydraulic oil on the right. Will last a couple years.

Kelly has been doing many of the chores while I deal with…. “all this”. 
I do chores because they need to be done; and I need to get through them in order to get on with something else. For Kelly, it’s a nice diversion from work and she enjoys being out there and spending time with the critters. My suggestions for more efficiency, “like I do it” are not always welcome. It’s nice we’ve figured out this difference and I wonder why it took 32 years of marriage to realize it.

Sadly, we’re out of the duckling business. It was quick. Friday morning there was 9 when we got them penned up. Saturday morning there was 8. Sunday morning there was 3 and we noticed them going outside the fence and wandering several feet from momma, who stayed inside the fence. We didn’t expect them to leave her so soon. And maybe she’s a first time Mom and didn’t have the hang of it all yet. Kelly created a smaller pen made of wire with smaller holes the duckling couldn’t get through. And Monday morning, they were all gone and the mom was out too. So, we’re thinking maybe owl? Never seen a hawk come down and the dogs wouldn’t have gone into the pen to get them. I’ve said, the real world is a cruel place. This was sure a learning opportunity.


43 thoughts on “The Rush Is Over”

  1. I used to think I was quite efficient at most things, but as the years go by, I seem to take more time to do the same chores/tasks. One task that stands out is packing for one of my BWCA trips. I’ll bet I walk twice as far as I used to while packing, going back and forth from office, to basement, to garage, collecting and checking all my gear, making sure it’s in working order and in my staging area.

    Even then, a few years ago I left for a trip only to discover AFTER I’d arrived at my first night’s campsite that i forgot my sleeping bag and toothbrush! *GRRRRR* That turned out to be the trip from hell, although it was also the trip where I’m 99% sure I saw a cougar swimming across a lake about 100 yds in front of me. One of life’s thrills–seeing a wild cat in the wild.

    Clouds: I used to lay on the grass outside as a kid and look up at the clouds on one of those partly cloudy, NW winds days that ushers in a cold front after a summer storm. I’d daydream about what various clouds looked like and imagine animals or ships or mountains or piles of whipped cream. Has any kid in the last 40 years done that?? I weep for mankind. 😉

    I still look at interesting cloud formations now and then, often awed by the towering size of thunderheads–we get a great view of the sky to the southeast so I often see storms heading for Rochester or Ben’s neck of the woods. And the other cloud formations are interesting to look at, but alas, I don’t daydream much anymore. Probably too hard to lie down on the lawn and then get up again. 😉

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is really interesting to see animals swimming,when we do not think of them swimming. When we lived on the isolated lake in N MN I saw a deer swimming across the lake,as well as mice swimming. The mice were taking a chance because the Northern fed on them. But a cougar. That would be a thrill.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I love looking at clouds. I don’t recall imagining what they looked like, just watching them. Because we live down in a valley, it’s hard to see them very long, but sometimes when I’m up on a hill and you can watch those thunderheads morph and change shape, well, that’s always fun.
      Kelly says she misses seeing the sunsets down here; where she grew up, on the flats of western MN, she enjoyed the sunsets.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Our farm sat up the side of a wide sweeping valley, Knife River Valley. We had a big view of they sky for exactly 90°. I watched lots of clouds. We put all fowl inside at night for exactly that reason and our border collie true to his breed protected all our animals. Twice a hawk tried to take a chicken but failed. Too heavy for one and Boots attacked it once and my dad chased it off once. Both birds were bloodied but were quickly back to laying.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Man, that sounds like one rough day, Ben. Hope you got everything sorted out, as the British would say.

    I am pretty darned efficient – I sometimes spend time figuring out the most efficient way to do things, which of course slows me down for the moment but may pay off in the long run.
    I’d like for “everyone” to do it my very efficient way, thank you very much, but he pretty much just does it his way.

    Clouds – it’s finally nice enough to sit outside and watch the clouds, which have been beautiful this week, but today we’re just in one great grey cloud…

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Thanks for this report, Ben. I so admire your resilience. Being able to find the lessons and opportunities in the set-backs, failures, and the things that don’t work out as planned, really is the secret for making it through life whole, isn’t it? I am sorry about your ducks, though; how disappointing. Sorry, too, that your knee surgery has been postponed, especially since I know it’s causing you pain. I suppose that means your recovery period will be pushed into harvest time, but at least you’ll have some time to figure out a plan B. Don’t know that a bunch of old, city slicker baboons would be of much help, but I can assure you they’d lift your spirits.

    I love this weeks photos; what a beautiful place. So bucolic, all of the pitfalls notwithstanding.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks-
      I’m not too worried about fall harvest; the neighbors take care of all that. I just do fieldwork / tillage, and I still expect to be able to get into the tractor. 🙂
      But it messes up the college schedule more; I should be building a set in September. I’ve already given my student worker, April, a heads up. And my boss Jerry has said he’d find another easy show to build. So we’ll see. I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets pushed back to December, because then I’m through everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rise and Patch Yourself Together, Baboons,

    The ortho surgeons go to great lengths to avoid infection, Ben. I learned that in the course of my joint replacements. Once there is an infection, all recovery is delayed and endangered according to my surgeon. I cannot even get my third COVID booster nor go to the dentist without profalactic antibiotics for 9 months due to the risk of infection.

    Re: efficiency. I can be efficient, but in my dotage I don’t care as much as I used to because I don’t have as much pressure. My grandmother was efficient. She could get more accomplished in a day than anyone else I ever knew: eggs collected, washed and stored, 3 meals all cooked by her, house clean and tidy, mending done. The only time we saw her sit still was when she watched Lawrence Welk on the color TV set with the green and pink colors that bled all over the screen.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I’m usually very efficient. I find that careful planning, thinking through all of the steps sequentially, can save a lot of time and frustration.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I agree, and to think that she wrote it at the tender age of 22 or 23 is just amazing. She has said that it was inspired by a passage in Saul Bellow’s novel “Henderson the Rain King” that she read on a plane to a gig somewhere.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. OT – I trust that most baboons have seen Clyde’s response to my question yesterday about the hint in one of the photos of his mother’s thrift and the family’s precarious financial footing.

    The coat Clyde is wearing in the photo is a hand-me-down from his older sister, and thus buttoned on the “wrong” side. I know that my sister hated my hand-me-downs, but at least she didn’t have to contend with anything buttoned on the wrong side. The fact that Clyde mentions that he didn’t have to wear the coat to school tells me that he was pretty self conscious about it, and we all know kids can be cruel. Where did this tyranny start?

    This raised the question in my mind, where did this “custom” or “rule” originate and why? Is there a logical explanation for it? I can’t think of one, except as a way for the “fashion industry” to shame or guilt people into buying unnecessary clothes. Of course, the “rule” doesn’t end with children’s clothing but persists into men’s and women’s clothing, although I think there’s a lot more leeway these days.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. I don’t either. Makes me wonder how many other “conventions” there really are no logical explanations for, particularly as things have changed over time. I’m thinking here of the story about the young woman who asked her mother why she always cut the end of the ham before baking it. Her mother answered that she didn’t know; she was just doing what her mother had told her to do and had always done. When the grandmother was asked why she had cut the end of the ham she replied: “So that it would fit in the pan.”

          Liked by 3 people

        2. i heard noblewomen had dressers who buttoned you their garments for then and the opposite side buttons were normal if you are buttoning someone else
          never questioned it just plugged it in as i so with much useless information

          Liked by 2 people

        3. The dressers, also women, would be accustomed to the buttons being on the left, unless noblewomen’s garments were opposite from everyone else. Even so. I can’t see that the different orientation would be helpful enough to merit the difference.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I had forgotten about the hand-me- downs from her. It was the flair on the coat that reminded me. The only people who saw me wearing it were my family so I am sure I did not care in that context. I just ordered a lightweight summer rain jacket for men & women. Until then I did not realize this translates into zippers. Took me a bit to catch on.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Just heard cowboy poet, Baxter Black has died.

    A Baxter proverb from last year:

    “Because farmers and ranchers choose to work directly with God, we get a closer look at life. We’re not insulated from its precarious nature. In return we’re exposed to the beautiful sunrise, the smell of rain, the quiet snow and satisfaction of saving a life now and then.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In my experience, speed does not always translate to efficiency. Nor does it necessarily yield quality results. That does, of course, not mean that being slow assures both. It all depends.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. my efficiency is amusing even to me
    i fiddle around get sidetracked in preparation and when i finally proclaim myself set i have a maniac attention to streamline no wasted effort process
    I had already out in the backyard the other day and he was doing something and I called him over to sit with me and look up at the sky and see what we could find in the clouds it was a day when the clouds were kind of puffy but with the wind blowing them around so that you had to describe what you were saying quickly because it was only there for a minute but the beauty was you could watch it turn into other things and talk about what it was becoming we had dragons and giraffes and flowers
    it was great

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hey all. I’m having a frustrating weekend with a lot of travel issues on my program that begins tomorrow. So have been too crabby to be on the trail. I always felt like the phrase multitasking was coined for me. I am very consistent in doing as much as possible and thinking two or three steps ahead about what will be the best route to take or the best way to do some thing or what to do first and second and third.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Efficiency: not my strong suit. On a scale of one to ten, ten being super efficient and one being hopelessly ineffectual, I aspire to fall into the 4 to 6 range. 6 is only achievable with adequate doses of coffee.

    Liked by 4 people

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