Wednesday, October 5, 2011

You know the spreader that USED to be in the TOP of the corn bin?

Text message to Steve and Bob:
"You know the spreader that USED to be in the TOP of the corn bin?"

"Uh oh"

"Now is not?"

"Nope, is not anymore"

Which sort of explains this poor photo
That was taken inside a grain bin full to the bottom of the door with corn. After dark.  Holding a flashlight in one hand and phone in the other. With a Band-Aid on one finger.  In a bad mood.

Maybe I should explain how we got to that point.

Some background:  Dad put this (or one just like it) in the bin when he built it.  I have unkind memories from the mid 70's of being in top of this bin when it was -40F outside and 150F inside with 130% humidity scooping corn from one side of a 27 ft bin to the other because the spreader didn't spread it evenly. You think I am exaggerating?  You obviously weren't there.

We started on corn Tuesday
and I was using a Mayrath auger I had bought at an auction earlier this year.   It's a bit different than our Feterl's, but seems OK.  It was rusty so I wasn't pushing it too hard ... especially after pushing it too hard and spending a half hour with a pipe wrench unplugging the swing-away.  I decided after a couple loads to push a little harder.  At which point the door on top popped open and a half a pickup load of corn ran off the bin onto the ground before I got it shut down.  For those who don't deal with augers much, most augers have a door of some kind that acts as a sort of "relief valve" if the output gets blocked. 

The auger had settled just enough the spout was too close to the motor in the spreader and the corn backed up. Great.  So I climbed up to the top of the bin, shut the door, checked everything out, climbed back down, unhooked the hydraulics and hooked up the raise cylinder and raised the auger just a little.  Hooked everything back, restarted and began unloading.

It seems to be OK, so I am walking toward the pile on the ground to scoop some corn when I realize it is sprinkling corn.  Not raining, just a sprinkle. I suspect I know the problem, the auger is now just a little too high and corn is bouncing out.  So I climb back up the bin.

Yes, the spout is just a little high and corn is hitting the bracket holding the spreader and bouncing out.  Seems like the spreader is making a funny noise, so I'm looking at the spreader, listening to this noise, and trying to figure a good way to pull the spout about an inch so it is right in the middle of the spreader ... when the spreader starts bouncing up and down.

I am assuming everyone knows what a grain spreader is.  Let me pause and explain.  For the purpose of drying and storing grain it is best if the grain is level in the bin.  Naturally, it falls in a pile.  There are various mechanical devices to spread the grain evenly as it is put in the bin. (It's a good theory)  Most of ours look similar to this
(I got that from a web site with a used one for sale ... and someone bought it!)

You can see how it is mounted.  There are 3 arms bolted to the funnel that hang over the edge of the bracing in the hole in the top of the bin. It is designed to put a bolt in each arm to help keep it in place.  Dad said it didn't need them.  He was right, it just sets there.  Has for 30+ years.  Until now.

It starts bouncing up and down, one arm waving above the brace it is supposed to be setting on. And silly me tries to put the arm back in place.  What I am going to do when I get it there I haven't thought about.  On top of the bin, auger running a pretty good stream of corn, by myself.

These are the things that make a 911 call with a poor outcome.  

I was unsuccessful.  The arm comes back down, misses the brace, and starts to fall inside the bin.  With me holding onto it. For a VERY short time. I realize this is a bad idea and let it go.  While I begin the scramble down the bin to shut the door on the truck and turn off the auger it is falling inside the bin with corn trying to bury it.

So I am setting there catching my breath and send the above mentioned text message. And realize my finger is bleeding.  Note to self:  There WILL be First Aid Kits  in ALL the trucks ASAP.  ( I thought there were but apparently I was mistaken) I go to the shed and look in both the medicine cabinets Dad put in the tool room. Note to everyone:  If a container says Band-Aid on there WILL be Band-Aids in it.
Not tip cleaners or little tools or small parts.

I find a Band-Aid, clean my finger and apply it, take a Band-Aid box full of tip cleaners and a can of paint out in the shop, paint the former Band-Aid box black, then go back to the bin.

Then I go find a flashlight and see what I can do. By the time I figure out what to do and get started, Aman has caught up with the dry corn, brought the combine in, walked back, got a truck and put it in the shed, then comes down to check on me. He gets there about the time I'm taking the poor picture at the top.

The spreader may not go back in this bin.

But we have time Wednesday to ponder on it, because we not only have caught the dry beans, we have caught up with the dry corn as well.

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