Category Archives: Automotive

Another Week, Another Snowstorm

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

We got a good 6 to 8 inches Wednesday night into Thursday. They were predicting that, so I unhooked the rear blade and hooked the snowblower on the tractor on Tuesday. I hadn’t used the blower this year, so I had to put the hydraulic cylinder on it to rotate the spout, check the oil, grease the power takeoff shaft, and I was fairly impressed with myself that I could get in amongst the linkage and frame and get the power takeoff shift connected to the tractor. I would not have been able to do that last summer. BULLY FOR ME!  

It was kind of fun to blow snow again, I do things a little different with the blower than I do with the blade and it’s just been the last few years that I started using a blade for snow, so the skills for this came back pretty quick. I remembered it would be slower, but I forgot how much it makes my neck hurt because I’m looking over my right shoulder to do it. The seat swivels a bit, and I sit as sideways as I can, but it’s still looking over my shoulder. My next tractor will have heated mirrors so they stay clean. Or maybe my next tractor will have a blower on the front!

Kelly took some video of me, and I put my first video on YouTube.

One day I had to stop at Fleet Farm as I was looking for insulated winter boots. I found them over in the ice fishing section. You all know I’m not much of a sportsman so I don’t think I’ve ever walked through that area before. It was a little bit fascinating!

I found some boots; they’re keeping my feet much warmer than the plain rubber boots I had been wearing.

Then I went to Menards and walked around there for a while. After that, I had a meeting on the far end of the college campus, and by the time I got home I was pooped out. Nothing hurt! Just pooped out.

Kelly counted 17 pheasants in the yard one morning. The most we’ve ever had, and I love seeing them. I have one neighbor that always asks if he can pheasant hunt and I always tell him no.

My chickens from last spring are just coming into their peak. It’s not unusual to get 16 or 20 eggs a day lately. If anybody was up for a road trip again for eggs, this would be a good time. Although we should wait for the driveway to get better than glare ice.

After that rain we got on Monday, our yard and driveway became pretty slick. It’s been packed snow all winter, not thick, just a half-inch maybe, but that’s what rain does to it. I went to a meeting Monday night. I was impressed that I was even able to get out. Years of practice I told Kelly. After I got home, I used the loader and tried to scrape the ice on the hills and corners on the driveway. It didn’t do much, but it did rough it up a bit and that helps.

I went out to do chores while it was raining on Monday, I tried Kelly‘s yak traks, but they didn’t fit my boots, and I lost them on about the third step. Again, I’ve been doing this for years, I know how to aim for the gravel or bare ground or walk through the snow. Once I got to the feed room, I threw out a bunch of corn, and that gives some traction. Then I carried a bucket with me and scattered corn in front of me to make a path to walk on. A win for the crows and chickens and ducks, and a win for me.

I remember an old movie called Angel In My Pocket, Andy Griffith and a host of character actors that you would recognize. It came out in 1969, and a gentleman playing the church caretaker, Parker Fennelly, reminds me of my grandfather Hain. That was the only movie I was able to watch this week. I couldn’t find it online anywhere so I ordered the movie off eBay and it came from Australia. Spent a week in customs in Chicago. It a long way for some entertainment, but I really enjoy this movie and it makes me think of Grandpa.

I was filling the birdfeeders one day, and I love the fact that the chickadees don’t even wait for me to finish, and they don’t appear to be very scared. I was standing right there filling things and they just come and sit on the birdfeeder.

And here’s Humphrey breaking the corn cob into bits.  PHOTOS

Do you, or did your family do home movies?

January

The first Farm Report of 2023 comes to us from Ben.

I’m happy to report my 1940’s radio station is back on XM radio, thank goodness.

We seem to have picked up some extra ducks; there’s 14 now. And there’s more either female or younger pheasants coming in for chicken corn. I sure wish Steve was here to clarify those things for me. One day I watched our dog Bailey walk right past a pheasant and neither one paid any attention to the other. I understand Bailey ignoring the pheasant, I’m surprised the pheasant ignored Bailey. 

I am finally driving again. I park my car over in the old machine shed and there’s a lot of sparrows in there. A night or two isn’t bad. But I parked for two weeks, I had bought a tarp and some cheap bungee cords back in January when I knew I was having shoulder surgery, but the car actually sat out that whole time. This time, when we got it out, it was evident I should’ve had a bigger tarp. The hood, front windshield, and most of the roof was OK, the back window and sides were pretty disgusting. And they were really cheap bungee cords, there’s no stretch left in them. The tarp will still be good… once it’s cleaned off.

I’m back in the tractor! There was a minor mishap trying to move snow one day. It was wet and heavy, and we were trying to go the other direction and, well, one thing led to another, and pretty soon we were in the fence. I told Kelly, I’ve run into a lot of things, broken some fences, dented some steel siding, and broke some stuff; that’s just how you learn. Didn’t damage anything on the tractor, and the fence can be fixed. A few days later trying to cut down the snowbanks, I snagged the fence a couple more times with the blade. Just loosened the fence a little bit. There’s a bit of a learning curve to this that I’m still getting back. I move a lot of sod before the ground freezes. (For the record, Kelly hardly picked up any sod. Somehow, I’m still picking up sod.) And I may have re-arranged our fire pit a little bit. Oops.  

We have some pretty good banks on the sides of the road.

That’s the issue with using a blade and not a blower. If I’m up to it, one of these days I’ll hook the blower up and use that to cut the banks down. Unless they melt first. On the township level we have the county Highway Department clear our snow. After the first couple snows and the county trucks clearing the roads, we get some complaints about road rock being thrown into people’s yards. Well, that’s pretty hard to avoid on these first snowfalls. The next complaint is about the snow – or the plow- hitting mailboxes. To avoid those mishaps, a few years ago the county replaced all the mailboxes on county roads with swiveling pipe stands. When the plow or heavy snow hits the mailbox, it swivels out of the way. Seems like a good plan. Except when there’s mail in the box. Then it’s like ‘Crack-the-whip’ and the door pops open and the mail sails off into the ditch. I stood on the edge of the road looking at the open mailboxes (both ours and our neighbors) and looked at the mail down there by the pine tree and thought, “maybe, I can get down there.” Nope, one step into the deep snow and I knew my knew knee wasn’t up to it. Kelly had to go rescue it. And it turned out it was all our neighbors mail.

It was 2 1/2 weeks before I put real pants on again, and three weeks to the day before I wore real shoes again. I’m doing stairs, and I can just barely get the left foot up on my right knee to put my socks on! Making progress!

Movies this week have been Monty Python and the Holy Grail, (because it showed up on Netflix so how could I not?) So many quotable lines! The one I use on daughter often is when trying to wake her up in the mornings. I tell her I’ll come back and “…taunt you a second a-time-a!”

And Ferris Buellers Day Off. And The Big Lebowski. I saw part of The English Patient on TV one night. Thumbs up or down for that one? I remember liking the book. 

I got the book ‘Wild Pork and Watercress’ by Barry Crump for Christmas; read that in 2 days. Saw the movie adaptation last summer, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and liked that. Then the book. As usual, the book was better. 

Kelly’s car had more miles last year. Probably from driving me around all summer. My car and truck had less miles of course, and all the tractors had less hours. I didn’t do my own fertilizer last year so that accounted for some less. And I only had half as much straw to bale as usual, so that was less hours. The big tractor, doing the heavy tillage, had 37 hours. My other one, the one I use for planting, baling, blowing snow, and mowing, that one had 113 hours. The gator, being our first full year with it, had 468 hours and 455 miles. Since that was my main mode of transportation for a couple months, it did add up. 

Speaking of airplanes and deserts, (The English Patient), Anyone seen ‘The Little Prince’ at the Guthrie? How is it?

Did you play Dodge Ball in School? What was the most terrifying playground equipments?

The Rental

When we were planning our trip to Hawaii, we were using “award credits” from our company.  YA had quite a few and I had a small fortune, all of which had to be used within a certain amount of time after my retirement before I would lose them.  This made it easy to plan things that would have seemed atrociously expensive if it were coming out of my checking account (and have I mentioned how expensive everything is in Hawaii).  

Adding a rental car on Maui was a no-brainer.  It’s a 45-minute drive from the airport area to the two major resorts areas (Lahaina/Ka’anapali in one direction, Wailea in the other).  Even getting around once you are in the resort areas isn’t all that easy.  No sidewalks, no buses, a few rare shuttles and extremely expensive Ubers. As YA was scrolling through rental cars on the award credit site, she was looking for small, inexpensive models.  When I said “get a convertible” she just about fell off the bed.  When did her mother EVER advocate for something more expensive?  But there is backstory.

I’ve been is the islands many times over the past 30 years for work.  Yes, work.  And my job, even in paradisical places like Maui, was work.  Early on, I decided that one of the ways I would take care of myself was a convertible.  Usually it turned out to be cheaper than private transfers but while I used that as my “excuse”, the main reason was that for the day or so that I had on my own before clients showed up, I had the sun on my face and the wind in my hair.  In addition, Maui (and the Big Island) are fabulous for someone who is directionally challenged… so few roads!

When we got to the rental car center at the Maui airport, they sent us down to the big parking lot, saying “turn right and pick your convertible”.  There were three to choose from, all three white Ford Mustangs.  Easy peasy, right?  The two gals who had met us, helped get the luggage into the first car and said their goodbyes.  YA was hanging back as I got into the driver’s seat and then suggested that we “look at the other cars”.  I’m not at my best on travel days and I certainly didn’t see what there was to look at; they all looked identical to me.  She was adamant however and after poking through all three models, she announced that the farthest one was bigger inside and had leather seats.  Despite some whining on my part, I let her move the luggage to the bigger/leather interior.  I figured if the rental car company didn’t care which one we took, I shouldn’t care either.

I can’t tell you if this was a better car but it made YA happy and as we rounded the first hill on the West Maui Mountain Highway, coming upon the sun shining on the water, it made me happy as well.  This is why you want a convertible on Maui:

How do you keep your hair from getting mussed with the windows open or the top down?

Who Knew?

People ask me a lot about my opinion of Hawaii. I suppose I do know more about our 50th state that the average person.   By luck of the draw I had almost 25 programs to Hawaii during my years in the travel industry.  I didn’t travel on all these programs but I have been to the islands a whooping 17 times, most of those times to Maui. 

What I tell people about Hawaii is that every island has a different topography and a different personality.  I usually talk about the difference between Hawai’I (the Big Island) and Kauai.  The Big Island is the largest, the youngest and the most volcanic.  If you haven’t been to Hawaii, then the picture you probably have in your mind is Kauai.  It is much older and encompasses the lush green image we all carry around.

But I don’t talk about Oahu very much; Unbelievably with all my Hawaii programs, I never had a program on Oahu.  No particular reason, just luck of the draw.  This means that almost every time I have been on Oahu, it’s because I’m in the Honolulu Airport, transferring to an interisland flight.  While my brain knows what Honolulu and Oahu are about, it was still a surprise to be there for three days.

We stayed in the Waikiki area because we didn’t have a car so needed to be in a walkable part of the city.  This is part of Oahu that has earned the name “concrete jungle”.  It is block after block of tall buildings, very high end shops and restaurants and traffic.  It could almost be any big city IF you can ignore the beautiful blue sky and warm weather as well as the folks on the streets.  It’s an amazing amalgam of business folks, obvious tourist (YA and I) and the huge number of surfers and counter-culture types.  Waikiki is right on the water so you can walk along the main thoroughfare and look right onto sandy beach and blue waters.  There is even a zoo (who knew)… we were actually able to walk there as well. 

One fun thing we saw in Honolulu that I’ve never seen on other islands – people putting leis on statues.  Most of the statues along Kalakaua Avenue and Beach each have at least 10-12 leis placed around their necks; all the leis are in various stages of decay, so it’s clear that people are adding them, not some program of prettification by the city.

So now I have good experience to describe Oahu and Honolulu the next time someone asked me about the islands.

Tell me about a place that surprised you.

Double the Fun

Renee’s question a few days ago about things piling up made me think about YA and I heading off on our trip two weeks ago.

We got to the airport a little early; we were expecting the traffic to be much worse as it had started to snow.  Check-in and security went pretty quickly.  TSA has some new equipment so you don’t to take your laptop out any longer, but thanks to the shoe bomber (anybody remember that – I do as I was out of the country when it happened and security had seriously ramped up on my way home), I think we’ll always have to take our shoes off.

We loaded on time then sat for a bit on the tarmac waiting for our turn.  Then the captain said we had to get de-iced and so we waited some more for that.  Then we waited our turn again.  Then the captain said we had sat around too long and needed gas.  As we turned back to the gate we heard the news that the airport was closing down.  Since we were now just one of many planes returning to their gates, the airport was short on snowplows, so we sat some more.  By the time we actually got to the gate, it had been 3 hours since our initial departure.  I had a sinking feeling but it was a direct flight and when they de-planed us, they said we could leave our stuff on the plane.  I wasn’t too worried and now we had time for a decent lunch.

After another hour, the gate agent made an announcement that the airport was re-opening and they were going to board us soon and quickly so we could get ahead of the line.  Another hour goes by (no rush boarding) and then the announcement is about how long the pilots are allowed to be on schedule; they have to either new pilots or perhaps get a new flight plane that shaves off some time.  Another hour goes by and then suddenly an entirely new flight crew shows up at the gate and gets on the plane, followed by a quick departure of the original flight crew.  Just the crews, no pilots.

Finally they put us back on the plane, but surprise surprise… by the time we pushed back from the gate, they said we had to be de-iced again.  It seems as if just about everything but mechanical problems had happened and the cynic in me was expected an announcement about that as well.  But we did eventually get de-iced (I’ve never been de-iced on the same plane twice in one day) and 7+ hours after our scheduled departure, we were wheels in the air.  My inner cynic hadn’t quieted down yet so I was kind of expecting a turbulent fight, but it was very calm and uneventful, with no further surprise announcements from the cockpit.   Instead of a 4:30 p.m. arrival in Honolulu, we were off the plane at 11:45 p.m.

Window or aisle?  Pretzels or cookies?

That’s a Wrap!

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Wrapped up another growing season on the farm.

Got my corn harvested last weekend. Best yields I’ve ever had plus a decent price so that’s all nice. Inputs costs were exceptionally high, which cuts into the profits, but all in all, it ended up being a good year. Was it the weather? (It was a later spring than we like) Was it the lime applied last fall? Was it the co-op applying custom rates of fertilizer? Was it the fungicide applied to the soybeans? Was it some of everything??

They finished the corn harvest on Saturday, I finished chisel plowing on Sunday, and Tuesday, the co-op spread lime on the fields we didn’t do last year.  I plow at about 6.5 MPH. I was doing about an acre every 15 minutes. Something I think about while I’m out there, it works up pretty rough. And that’s intentional because we want it to hold snow and prevent wind erosion. So driving across the field is really rough in the tractors. 50 years ago, when doing traditional plowing, it turned over all the residue, and if the conditions were good, left the field fairly smooth. And with the smaller tractors and smaller tires, that wasn’t a problem. It was probably in the mid 1980’s that we started doing conservation tillage, meaning we quit using the old traditional ‘moldboard’ plow and started using a chisel plow. One of the rules of the chisel plow is that you need to keep your speed up when plowing because the shovel is only 3” wide, and you want it to physically throw the dirt as it moves through the soil. The shovel is twisted to one side or the other, so my machine has 11 shovels; 5 throw dirt left, and 6 throw the dirt right. The whole thing is about 15 feet wide. Not burying all the residue also meant the machine has to be built to allow more trash to pass through it without plugging up in the shanks of the shovels.

The first chisel plow we got only had 7 shovels. And the tractor was not front wheel assist, meaning it had small tires on the front, and boy, it was really rough going across the worked ground. My tractor now, with MFWD (Mechanical Front Wheel Drive) and the larger front tires, makes it slightly less rough.

Course I had my tractor buddy Bailey with me the whole time.

If it got too bumpy she’d sit up and lean against my leg and I’d rub her head, then she’d lay back down again. It was tough going with some frost in the ground. Some places were frozen more than others; maybe different soil types caused that? There was a few minutes I was working in a snow squall. Weird.

My brother made the comment, “Thank goodness for heated cabs.” I agreed, and said I had thought about that too. I have spent time planting or doing fieldwork wearing a coat and gloves on open tractors. I also said I would have had to quit sooner because the lights weren’t so good back then.

With my bad foot, I generally get a new pair of shoes every fall because I’ve worn one of them sideways. After getting the soybean check is generally when I go shoe shopping. I only want steel or composite toe shoes. I move a lot of heavy stuff and I got enough problems without smashing a toe as well. And safety toe shoes are expensive to begin with.  With the brace I wear on my right foot, I take out the insert and need a size 11 for that foot. I have a custom insert for the left foot, which is 9.5, but since I have size 11, I add my custom one on top of the original and I get along OK. Yet It seems silly to pay so much money for shoes and then I’m taking out some of the main thing. And they have to be built right to fit the brace in the first place. This year I’m trying a pair of Keen boots. $170 at Fleet Farm. Gosh. I’ve been wearing a pair of Sketchers that have been good. These are the shoes I wear every day. I’ve also got a pair of Red Wing work boots I wear when farming. I think I can get another year out of them.

There are a few places that deal in mismatched shoe sizes for amputee’s or other issues with the feet. One place says, “Find your ‘sole mate’.” I’ve never tried them, but I think it’s a wonderful idea.

ANYTHING MISMATCHED ABOUT YOU?

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT THAT YOU COULD EXCHANGE WITH SOMEONE?  

Could Be Worse

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

At least it’s not ‘Lake Effect’ snow.

I’m kinda grumpy about this weather. It feels like January and it’s only November.

I was feeding the ducks the other morning and while I was in the feed room getting another bucket of corn, I noticed a couple of them fly up to where I had spread the corn. Of our 10 ducks, only a couple are actual mallards that can fly, the black and white ones, (The Swedish breed) and the poufy one can’t fly. And then I saw Rosie, the new black duck fly in! I didn’t notice if Guildy can fly too, but Rosie sure did. And they do have a sleeker look than the other non-flying ducks. What interesting cross breeding is what I thought. And good for them! Can’t you just imagine their delight and surprise when they figured out they could fly too?? How cool.

Driving around town the other day I saw a car with a headlight out. And I thought to myself ‘PI-DIDLE!’ only I was alone and didn’t have anyone to kiss, so it had to wait until I got home. Are you familiar with the term ‘Pi-didle’? Meaning a car with one headlight? And then you kiss your date. Or that’s how I heard it. When I googled the term, I got a few other definitions, including some not suitable for this website. Most include touching the ceiling of your car and / or punching someone.

I thought that was only when you saw a ‘slug-bug’.

This (clean) site has some official rules for the pi-didle game:

https://www.angelfire.com/pa4/mjr300psu/pididle.html

Got any other local colloquialisms about cars?

They are just starting to harvest my corn as I write this on Friday. The corn would have been out earlier this week if the weather wasn’t so crappy. (Sweeping generalization on the weather) Because mine goes to the elevator and theirs they take home, they plan to do mine during the day when the elevator is open, then work on theirs in the evening. Couple days they’ll be done. When he and I spoke earlier this week I was optimistic I might yet be able to get some fieldwork done. With the temps the last few days, I’ve kinda given up on that. Although I just put a couple driveway markers in around the yard and the ground wasn’t frozen here. So…. Maybe?? I’ll give it a try tomorrow.

The corn kernels themselves are not sensitive to picking up moisture like soybeans or other crops are. But the snow on the leaves gets inside the combine harvester and makes everything wet and then things plug up and it just makes a mess. So we either need warmer weather to melt the snow off, or colder weather to reduce the moisture in the snow. I guess we opted for colder.

Normally I’d wait for the corn to be out, then mow the roadsides down so they’re clean and won’t catch snow, then we get the driveway markers installed. Always a fun day when daughter and I ride in the gator or 4-wheeler and she pounds the fiberglass markers in. Every time, as she readies the hammer, she quotes Homer Simpson, “Steady…. Steady…” You’ll have to google that if you’re not familiar with it. Anyway, all that is more fun when it’s 40°F than it is when it’s 20°F. I may be doing it myself at 20°.

There’s a local guy named ‘Machinery Pete’.  He’s been reporting on farm auctions since 1989 and he’s very well respected for that. His name is Greg Petersen and evidently he’s a pretty good golfer too.

https://www.machinerypete.com

On his facebook page, it seems this year every post starts with “New record high price” for that particular piece of machinery. Should we blame Covid for that too? Well, sort of. The usual material sourcing issues led to shortages on new equipment, which led to demand for good quality used equipment, which lead to higher prices. Plus crop prices are high, land values are high, so…everything is high. But I have to laugh that there’s always a new high price. “Fourth record high price on 1992 tractor!” Is fourth record high a thing?

I haven’t filled my diesel barrel yet. I order 500 gallons which will last a year for me. I read of a large dairy farm out in New York, he said they got 7000 gallons delivered on Sunday and that would last them 25 days. Yikes!

Today, I took the day off ‘work’ work to get a few things done here at home. I’m gonna go mow the roadsides. Maybe that will blow the snow off the road too. Or I’ll hook the blade up and scrape off this couple inches on the road. Time to get it in the shed I guess.

I stopped at one of the local theaters today to check on some things. Someone used an orange extension cord to plug in an artificial tree onstage. It’s an unwritten rule that you only use black or dark green cords onstage. Orange cords on the stage drive me bonkers. Why doesn’t everyone know this!!?? How many times do I have to tell you this??

I know what I’ll be doing Saturday. Fieldwork.

WHAT WILL YOU DO THIS WEEKEND?

All Aboard

Yesterday Bill mentioned the disappointment that Botticelli’s Venus isn’t shown to it’s best advantage in its home in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  I know someone who was disappointed at seeing the David by Michelangelo in that same city; she thought that many fewer people should be allowed into the gallery at any given time so that it is quiet while you are observing the statue.  I also know several folks who were underwhelmed by Stonehenge; they feel it is too close to the highway (technically the highway is too close to Stonehenge) and there is a chain link fence along the road that runs up to it.  And of course I did have a client once who just didn’t love Paris the way he thought he should. He couldn’t explain it at all and felt a little sheepish about it.

One of the days I was visiting Pat in Nashville, we drove down to Chattanooga for a day.  After we’d gone all through the huge aquarium there, I told Pat I wanted to see the Chattanooga Choo Choo.  After all – why not.  I’m guessing if it took me 66 years to get to Chattanooga the first time, I probably won’t get another chance!

We turned on the GPS… we were only about 3 miles away but it was downtown traffic so we wanted to be sure.  A left turn took us to the back of a hotel where there were some older trains but there wasn’t an entrance so we turned back.  A right turn after the hotel was the same… train cars but no entrance.  The front of the hotel has mostly pay parking and there was no signage whatsoever for the CCC.  We finally parked in a questionable spot and I called the hotel itself.  The gal who answered the phone said you had to go through the hotel lobby to get there.  Hmmmm.  We left the car in our questionable space and traipsed into the hotel.  It became clear immediately that this hotel had been the train station at one point but these days it is in sad shape and most of the retail spots in the big open atrium are dark.

If you walk all the way through, you do indeed come out to the train yard and the CCC is right there but that’s about all there is to say.  Not clean, not spiffed up, no signage, no speakers playing the famous song.  No little café serving coffee with cute names and no gift shop with magnet and postcards.  All the other train cars in the yard are in very sad shape; a few look like there might be some refurbishing going on, but I wouldn’t bet any money on when it will actually be finished.  As long as we were there, Pat snapped a photo of me in front of the engine, proof that we had actually found it!  Truly, the model of the CCC in the hotel lobby was more impressive than the actual train itself.

Luckily since we hadn’t thought about looking for the CCC until that morning, neither of us had any great expectations so it wasn’t nearly as disappointing as it could have been.  I think it’s the big build up in our expectations that causes most of our disappointments – at least it is for me.

What would you call a coffee drink at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Coffee Shop?

Which Came First?

Today’s post comes from Ben.

There was supposed to be a hard freeze Thursday night. Only got to 35°.  We’re down in a valley so whatever the TV says the low will be, we’re going to be about 10° colder. It’s coming. Sooner or later. Minor cold spells, I unhook the hoses and put the pressure washer in the barn. Once it gets seriously cold, I’ll have to get more things picked up and put somewhere warm.

Driving to Plainview for parts last week showed a lot of farmers harvesting soybeans. Sounds like they might get to mine in the next few days. Good to hear. It was fun to see all the different combines. Some John Deere’s, some Case IH, even one Claas. You don’t see many of them in this area. I’m not even sure who the dealer is for Claas. That’s a big thing when buying equipment; who’s going to support it when needed. I really liked the Deutz tractor I bought back in 1986. But eventually it was hard to find mechanics or parts locally. There was a shop over in Wells MN that did good work on Deutz tractors, but 86 miles is a long ways to go for parts or service.  

I’m bummed all the sweetcorn froze last week so that’s done for the season. What a shame; one cold night and that’s it. Glad we got some froze a month ago. It felt early when we did it, but this is why I guess.

We drove to Plainview so I could pick up some oil filters for the lawn mower and gator. My local dealer has most of my equipment in their records, but they didn’t have the gator for some reason, and I have a hard time remembering all the equipment model numbers. I knew it was an 835, but was it an “E”, “M” or “R”? And there’s a serial number break that uses different oil filters… shucks. I don’t remember. Eventually I found an email on my phone from the insurance company that had the VIN number so we got the right one. I wrote it down. In my phone where I have a file of oil changes on equipment.

All the tractors and machinery have model numbers. I know a lot of them but sometimes I forget. Is the soil finisher a 714 or 716? Wait, it’s a 724. The chisel plow is a 714. Or 716… Know there’s a 7 in there. Maybe this weekend I can get the oil and fuel filters changed in the truck too.

We quit filling the bird feeders this summer when the avian flu was going around. I filled them again this week, but so far nothing has come back.

Rosie and Guildy are still fine. The chickens seem to think those two have better food than they do. It’s all the same food, but it’s inside a pen so it must be better. One of those ‘grass is greener’ things. Right up until this happens.

See what happens when you do things you shouldn’t be doing? You get hung up and need to be rescued. She wasn’t there long. Kelly and I were out picking pears and then having a gator date when we spotted her. Once rescued she ran off to the pen and didn’t even appear too dizzy.

I haven’t seen anyone harvesting corn yet. The kernels are probably a little too wet yet and it’s early enough no one wants to pay for drying the corn yet if they don’t have too. Shelled corn (really, any crop) must be 15% or less moisture to store without spoiling. I’m guessing most corn is still upper 20’s. The ears are mostly still standing upright. The old timers used to wait until the ear had tipped down, then it was ready to harvest. I was just reading that corn on the stalk loses about .5% moisture / day. Course that depends on the weather. It dries a lot more at 70° than it does at 40° of course.

This is a good looking ear because of how it’s filled all the way to the tip. If the plant had any stress it would abort the kernels at the upper end. And there are some ears in the field that are not filled. But it’s neat to see this ear and know the crop had everything it needed to make good ears. Enough rain, the right nutrients, and no stresses. Think about how we could all do if we had no stresses and everything we needed to prosper?

DRUMSTICK OR BREAST?

GunDel?

Photo credit: Fernhern A/S

I see in the news that they are building what will be the world’s longest immersed tunnel.  Linking Germany and Denmark under the waters of the Baltic, construction actually began in 2020 and is expected to be complete by 2029

I’m sure lots of folks are excited about this but not me.  I don’t even like driving through the I94 tunnel downtown and last month when folks got stuck in The Chunnel for several hours, I almost had a panic attack just reading the news story about it. 

Any phobias you’ll admit to?