Getting There

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

A little more snow came down, some rain too, which means a lotta mud. But a lot of snow has melted, and the Red Wing Blackbirds are back, and I’d expect to hear Killdeer anytime, and it could be spring any day now.

Will you smell it first or see it first?

There’s a road coming up out of Rochester that the old timers call ‘Guysinger Hill’. Must have been Guysingers living there at some point. It’s a 3/4-mile uphill curved road and one of the main routes out of the NE side of town. If you’ve been in Rochester less than 30 years, you probably don’t know it by that name.

Same with ‘Samples Hill’, ‘Signal Hill’, or the other colloquial names.

Back in 1983 or ‘84, I was coming home after a cast party and there had been 5” of wet snow and it was all I could manage to get up Guysinger in grandmas ‘67 Plymouth Valiant.

Rear wheel drive you know.
It was late at night, and I was going as fast as I dared when I hit the bottom of the hill. Lost speed the whole way up, and when I finally reached the top, the car was barely crawling, my white knuckles grasping the wheel. At the time there wasn’t a more direct route to our house. There were other roads several miles out of my way and those roads had their own hills. (Rochester was built in a bowl: that’s why the flooding can be so devastating.)

Now days there are several other routes home, but I still often take Guysinger hill. And on snowy days, usually when following someone in the snow driving slower than me as happen last week, I think about that scary night in 1983.

Last week I posted a photo of the junk drawers in the shed. I was in those drawers trying to find some hydraulic fittings.

I’m making some hoses to plug into the hydraulics from the loader, which are in the middle of the tractor, so that I can have a third hydraulic at the back of the tractor for the tilt function on my rear blade. I figured this would be easy. Couple 8-foot hoses, couple connectors, Budda Bing Budda Boom, Bobs your uncle.

Well first, Fleet Farm didn’t have two, 8-foot,1/2-inch hydraulic hoses. Nor did they have the right  combination of 1/2-inch couplers (The male and female end. There are different kinds of couplers too; pipe thread, and ‘O-ring’ and I think something else I don’t know what it’s called) They did have two, 3/8-inch, 6-foot hydraulic hoses and I decided maybe I could make that work. Found a couple 3/8-inch male and female ends that I needed and got home to discover 6 feet was too short. Back the next day to Fleet Farm, and got two, 2’ foot hydraulic hoses, and a couple unions to attach the two hoses together. Built the first hose and got it in place, the next day built the second hose and realized I put the wrong ends on the one end. A hydraulic hose, like an extension cord, typically has a male and a female end. But because this was special, and I was trying to make it do something unusual, I need two female ends. I was feeling pretty stupid about this point; it should have been obvious to me.

When I start back at the college in the fall, it always takes me a while to get back in the swing of things in the shop. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to cut a board. Measure four times, cut five.

That’s what I felt like here, I forgot how to farm. Plus I just felt dumb that I didn’t realize some of these things in the first place. The next day I was up at John Deere and I bought the 1/2-inch correct ends. Took the hoses back out, swapped the ends, got them back in place, hooked them up to the loader connections, went back to plug-in the blade and, I realize a 1/2-inch male plug on the blade will not plug into a 3/8-inch female connector on the hose.

You would think I’d know that.

You would think I would’ve realized, 3/8 is not the same as 1/2. I know this. I know that 3/8-inch is not 1/2-inch. Why that didn’t dawn on me sooner, I don’t know. I was just so excited that I was creating this. I was being inventive, and problem-solving. And blinded by my creativity.



So. I can buy a 3/8 to 1/2 adapter and use the 3/8-inch inch male ends I bought in the first place and change the half inch ends on the blade the 3/8, or I can buy two more female 1/2-inch ends and the 1/2 to 3/8 adapters and change the ends on the new hoses. Jeepers creepers. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to be a farmer yet.

This reminds me of replacing a window screen last summer. Took me three trips to the hardware store to get that mostly right. A friend kept telling me I could have taken it to the hardware store, and had them do it, and it would have cost less and been done right the first time. Right, but this way I learned something.

What I’m learning about hydraulic hoses on this project is that I really need to think it though more.

What have you overlooked lately? When’s the last time you were on a swing? Board, tire, or rope?

37 thoughts on “Getting There”

  1. I’ve had some lapses in judgment or memory lately, Ben, that remind me of your run-around. It is SO frustrating, and I feel your pain. : ) Everything unpacking groceries and realizing I didn’t get the most important item on my list… to misreading the directions for the new Shop-Vac…

    Last time on a swing – boy, maybe with my sister when she visited last summer with her granddaughter; I know we went to a park. This would probably be one with a flexible rubber strap – what do you call that? – as opposed to a wood board.

    If not then, it might have been our back yard in Robbinsdale before we moved, and that was a tire swing.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I love swings, but my favorite—a porch swing—is missing from the choices. I swing on a porch swing or a glider every chance I get. I find it soothing.

    This week I was overlooked as a volunteer. Each spring I participate in the Iowa State 4H Foundation scholarship screening. Apparently their system that operates automatically reverted back to an old email, so I did not get anything until yesterday when the director personally emailed with a nudge. Tomorrow I am visited my mom who mostly sleeps. I will do the project while she sleeps. These kids from 4H are the most wholesome kids ever. Each Spring when I finish this I feel the world will be in good hands in the future.

    PS, we may get a Corgi puppy. I find myself so excited about this! Of course in depends on the Corgi resident/family member accepting a puppy, which she may not want to do in her old age. I keep reminding myself of what living with a puppy is like, per Renee’s stories and my own memories of that. The chewing, the activity level, house training. And the cuteness.
    Stay tuned….

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Last time I was on a swing was last August with a young man with multiple disabilities and autism. When I was full-time, he used to beg to go to a park where there was a swing that you could put a wheelchair in, lock it in place, then push from a seat. The home used his covid benefit checks to purchase him one of these swings for the backyard. It was such a wonderful idea. You wheel him back there on a concrete walkway to the swing which has been installed and secured to a concrete pad. You push the wheelchair into the metal swing and lock it down so it can’t move. There is a bench seat on the swing, facing him, with handles at both sides that you pull to begin the rocking or swinging motion. For this mostly nonverbal young man, it brought out a constant stream of words and memories. He would say all kinds of things which were clearly remembered phrases from various phases of his life. Some nursery rhymes, some singing, some talk about “Let’s go to Missouri!” Or “Let’s go to Vegas and get a martini!” (He was in foster care before being placed in “our” home and that foster home was closed by the State for serious violations.) He’d just go on and on. He loved singing, especially nursery rhymes or Jimmy Buffett. I love singing too so I taught him “On Top of Spaghetti,” “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain,” “Fish and Whistle,” and others. Swinging is very calming for people with autism. It just opened him right up and made him a different guy. Once we went back inside, he would resume his usual nonverbal self. I could get him to sing and some other staff could get him to talk a little in phrases but mostly he would be silent or just screech when he wanted something. That swing is a great thing for him.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Krista. I can only imagine how exciting, and rewarding, it would be to discover ways of breaking through the various barriers faced by your clients in the home where you worked. That young man was fortunate to end up in a facility with such a caring and perceptive staff.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. What a wonderful think, Krista – makes me wish they could figure out how to do an indoor version…

      Winona’s Lions Club fundraised and built a handicap-accessible park a couple of years ago, also down by the lake. It’s amazing, and all kinds of kids play there, and the kind you described is part of it.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. We did have an indoor swing for him. I think it’s in storage. It needed two heavy screws mounted in the ceiling and had to be taken down after each use. It took up a lot of his play space in a corner of the living room and he couldn’t be in the space with the swing hanging up or he’d clobber himself with it. There was one staff who was almost intolerable for both him and for me (and others). She was a mean-spirited person, very unhappy, who clearly was in the wrong line of work. The indoor swing made her furious, as did many other things, and she tried to throw it (and other things) away. So it was taken down, stored, and the outdoor swing was purchased. I think the indoor one is still there but it doesn’t get used. It was bright lime green plastic, very heavy, was suspended with chains from very large eye hooks in the ceiling. We had to take him out of his wheelchair and lift him into the swing and then strap him in. Then stand there and push. He loved that too and babbled away in his peculiar sing-song language. I just enjoyed his happiness and the change in his personality. After 20-30 minutes of swinging, his behavior would stay calm all day. I thought it was very beneficial. I guess my crabby coworker preferred listening to him screech and scream. I don’t know, never will.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I agree, BiR, I can’t imagine that very many such facilities are staffed to accommodate that kind of attention to each individual within the home. I admire people who have the compassion, temperament, and skill needed to function well in such an environment, especially for a prolonged period of time. I know for a fact that they’re not compensated very well, so unless they’re doing it for purely humanitarian, altruistic reasons, there isn’t much incentive for that line of work.

          Over the past several years I’ve seen the lack of qualifications, compassion, and commitment to doing a good job by an ever revolving cast of PCAs for my friend, Philip. Had it not been for the long-term commitment by a few friends, he would have been institutionalized a long time ago. That said, his current living situation is far from ideal, and very fragile, at best. I don’t know how much longer it can continue as his health continues to decline.

          Liked by 4 people

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    How do you like to go up in a swing,
    Up in the air so blue?
    Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
    Ever a child can do!

    Up in the air and over the wall,
    Till I can see so wide,
    Rivers and trees and cattle and all
    Over the countryside—

    Till I look down on the garden green,
    Down on the roof so brown—
    Up in the air I go flying again,
    Up in the air and down!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. The question “What have you overlooked lately?” kind provokes anxiety for me. What have I overlooked lately? Probably something. But if I knew what it was, I wouldn’t have overlooked it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Amazing post
    Great post, Ben! Your story about Guysinger Hill was very engaging. My question is, how do you think the flooding in Rochester can be prevented or mitigated in the future? Great post, Ben! Your story about Guysinger Hill was very engaging. My question is, how do you think the flooding in Rochester can be prevented or mitigated in the future?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have overlooked current rap music. I enjoyed some of the earlier material as my son introduced me to it. Soul/R&B has long been a favorite of mine. Call me “woke” but I’ll try to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, wes. I have to make a concerted effort to listen to rap. Some of it I find challenging but worth the effort, but a lot of it I just find unlistenable (if that’s a word) or downright offensive.

      I consider myself pretty eclectic in my musical tastes, so I’ll often make the effort to listen to something outside of the musical realms where I feel most comfortable. Still, there are times when I have to admit, I just don’t get it.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I watched some of the Grammy’s, but couldn’t make it through the whole thing. Many of the nominated artists I’m not familiar with, some I’ve never heard of.

          I was glad to see Bonnie Raitt win song of the year for “Just Like That”; well deserved recognition after so many years. Somehow it didn’t seem like it was company she was comfortable in. Lizzo, on the other hand, fit right in. I love that one of Minnesota’s new snowplows is named after her, and that she acknowledged it as a great “honor.” She’s such a breath of outrageously fresh air; love her.

          Liked by 2 people

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