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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Losing Our Snow


Not that we had a lot to begin with but these 40 degree days are slowly taking the snow away. Its nice working conditions but not normal for this time of year and makes you wonder if it is going to stay this "hot and dry" for the rest of the year. That could be trouble for growing crops but on the positive side, it will dry up some of the many flooded acres that have been growing nothing but bulrushes for the past 7 years or so.
We have had practically no hoar frost and fog this winter. The old saying was that you expect precipitation 90 days from when you see the frost and fog. If its true we can't expect much for the next 90 days or so.
Too wet and muddy to take the Merc out for a spin now but last weekend I took a drive and did a fly-along video  with the drone which worked pretty well. I only forgot to hit the record switch once.
My latest complaint is "Chinese Junk". Not the old sailing ships but the machine parts that used to be quality American built parts but are now made in China and sometimes of questionable quality. One of the made in China gearboxes on the big grain auger was leaking oil so bad after only 2 and a half harvests that I removed it only to find bad news. It appears that whoever assembled it at the factory did not have a snap ring properly in place and that allowed a bearing to slip out of alignment and the shaft to flop around so much it damaged the seal and the gear. Pretty disgusting on a $300 gear box. I can patch it up with a new seal but don't like the idea of having it fail in the middle of unloading an expensive load of granular fertilizer here this spring.
Income tax figures all tallied up and calculated this week. The only thing more amazing than how much money I made is how much I spent!. As farmers we sure do contribute to the economy.
Not that I'm complaining.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

See Me On Google Earth

Of course everybody is on google earth. Some visible, some not. Some on street view and some in their vehicles. I am in a "vehicle", actually tractor. I noticed an unusual pattern on one of the fields of Winstanley Grove from 2000 feet up. The field was obviously in the process of being worked so I only had to look a little closer to see my tractor and cultivator at work. That would put it at about 2:00 pm in the afternoon of August 21 of 2012.
Of course hardly anybody works summerfallow anymore as it is considered an inefficient and outdated practice these days. Wasting fuel, eroding  the soil and  releasing  the dreaded carbon to the atmosphere that  will  eventually destroy the world.  I  figure I'm pretty well  balanced  though when you zoom out and  see the huge "carbon  sink" on the rest of the 800 acre patch. Those poplar bushes,  according to what  I have read, absorb  a  lot  of carbon.  So I would  hope I am at least  carbon neutral and can continue my summerfallowing  if  I choose to.  
If you zoom out a bit  on google earth you can see the rest of the hundred acre woods that starts just to the left of this photo. 
Readers of the other blog, Nevardblog, will recognize the name Winstanley Grove as the homestead of great uncle Arthur Nevard.  That little clearing in the trees at lower left of the photo was his yard where  only the remains of the cellar  hole containing the collapsed walls of his log house remain. 
What would the great uncles and grandfathers say seeing a picture like this? Just shake their heads in amazement I'd say. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sunrise Sunset

No, I was not thinking of the tune from "Fiddler on the Roof". It just occurred to me that I watched both the sunrise and the sun setting from the seat of the tractor for the first time in quite a while.

It was grain hauling day and I was clearing snow in the yard well before the sun came up. Not a lot of snow compared to a normal winter but it still takes time to do a decent job and make room enough for the big trucks to get around without getting stuck.
Then off to the hundred acre woods with the blade and grain vac to spend an hour or so clearing a path and turn around area for the trucks there.
Although it started out cold at -5F it turned out to be one of the nicer days of the week. Sunshine and no wind. That grain vac sucked up a couple thousand bushels of wheat in short order and with a whole lot less exertion than an auger and shovel used to take. Even so it was a good workout for my aching back but have to say it feels better tonight than it has all week. I think I overdid it lifting that heavy cast pto off the tractor last week. I should have known.
By the time I'd done a little more snow clearing in the yard after the trucks left, it was past sundown. Cats and cattle were looking for their feed and water.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Follow Me

Follow me is the name of the program that allows the Autel drone to follow (or lead) as I walk, drive or whatever. Tried it out today on a drive through the snow covered trails of the hundred acre woods. I did not get lost or crash into the trees with either vehicle so I'll call it a success.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Quirks and Quarks

Yes, its a well known CBC radio program that I often listen to. But every now and then they really annoy me with some ridiculous statement or claim. Like today in this segment about Monarch Butterflies .
His theory is that the population of Monarchs has taken a huge drop since the early 90s when agriculture started growing GMO crops. Soon as I heard that he lost most of any credibility I might have given him. Apparently the Monarchs only feed on milkweed plants. Commonly known as a weed when they appear in crops. Yes, we use chemical herbicides to control weeds in our crops since there is no profit in growing weeds. And GM crops have nothing to do with it. We were using herbicides to control weeds 40 years before GM crops were even dreamed of. And apparently the Monarch butterfly was doing just fine up til the 1990s.  And they were usually more hazardous chemicals than the widely used glyphosate that everybody likes to demonize today.
No, I don't work for Monsanto, but I do try to make a living growing their herbicide tolerant crops.

Multiple Crashes

This laptop has been ailing off and on all week it seems. Crash dumps every day and sometimes several times. Startup repair can't seem to fix itself so I usually end up going to system restore to an earlier date. Seems to work until today when even that would not work. Tried the mirror image (I think thats what they called it) and it reset the whole thing back to some date in 2015 which seemed to get things back to more or less normal.
The down side of that is any video or photo I had saved since that date in 2015 is now gone, or at least not visible on the laptop. Many of the videos were already on youtube but I know I had a few new edited versions ready to upload that are now gone. Some I can retrieve from the camera cards but I know some are gone. I can't remember for sure what they were but maybe its best I don't.
Our above normal temperatures have lasted all week so I've been taking advantage of getting in some good flying time. Not much worry about air traffic here unless it has feathers. I took a few shots of the thriving metropolis of Lipton yesterday about sunset.
 Got a load of oats put through the hammer mill for cattle feed giving the old Cockshutt 50 it's regular exercise. After that I removed the pto for what I thought was a simple clutch adjustment but turned out to be more serious. Going to need some expensive parts. That dis assembly operation was one of the lost videos come to think of it. Oh well, guess I get a chance to do it over again.
Drone photo here from earlier this week reminded of my dad's old saying of "fog in the hollow means a fine day to follow". It was true.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sunset Drive and More

Its way late to be posting videos but I lost a couple of hours due to a "crash dump" of the laptop and it took a bunch of system restore, spybot,crap cleaner, etc to get started again.

I wanted to post an example of my first attempt at the follow me feature of the drone. After figuring out what I had been doing wrong I find it works quite well now. Warmer weather helps too. Frozen fingers do not work well on the control panel. No crashes or actual frostbite yet. More to come.