Monday, August 30, 2010

2010 Air Tour

(Before I start let me apologize.  For some reason what I see when I make my post and what gets published are not quite agreeing. I don't know if it is the laptop or blogspot.  Maybe I can correct it with a later edit.)

The Clark County Soil and Water Conservation District holds an annual air tour, where you pay a fair amount to go for a plane ride over your farm.  We try to do it every year and take lots of photos while we are up.   Between the two of us Sue and I took over 100 photos this time.  They did not turn out as clear as they have in the past. The windows had some kind of coating which tended to confuse the camera focus.  And the ride was rough enough we didn't get very low. Here are a few:

These two amaze me because so much of what we farm can be captured in a couple photos.  I did a little playing with Paint to outline some fields we farm.
Yes, that is Grandpa Neal's

Here is Mom's from almost straight overhead
And of course South of Walnut Prairie
These next 3 are not ours
Tthat is Baughman Woods at the top with one of those government sponsored man-made duck ponds.  So is this next one is.  The patch of trees at the top right corner is Mildred Morris's place
This is what Steve would know as "Grandma Wernz's"
I think it is a duck pond in progress.
One more I want to include that has nothing to do with the farm.  This is the Wabash River north of York, a spot known commonly as "Griffith's Ripple".  This shows 2 things, one how low the river is (that sandbar is about 3/4 mile long) and how the river is moving.  Note the layering effect of the trees.  The river has moved enough that I suspect much of the sandbar is now in  Indiana.
The photo above would fit at the bottom left corner of this shot
Like I said, we took over 100 photos.  Maybe I can post a few more at a later date.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Harvest has started.

OK, just barely.

Harvest has started, Syngenta picked our seed production this week.  Sunday afternoon I put the head on the combine and cut the milo on the end rows where they were going to pick.  We had about 40 bushels in the truck.

It handled the weight pretty well
(that's a joke Mom)

. Dave thought it was a bit wet, but it wasn't very many bushels
So we have 280 acres of seed corn picked.  I'm getting reports of people across the state trying corn, some running hot and heavy.  We'll check some corn next week.  Actually, if it stays like this we may try some milo next week.  Dave really thought 22% was a bit wet.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Harvest is near

The week got better.  I still have the feeling I'm not getting things done as quickly as I would like. But we did make a few accomplishments done this week.  As I said in an earlier post, the sleeper finally headed for Texas.  And later in the week the red truck headed for Missouri.

Oh, and Rick sent me a photo of it at its new home next to the donor truck

And then we cleaned up the shop.

Yes, actually found the floor!

They are supposed to start picking our seed production tomorrow.  So this afternoon I I put the head on the combine and cut the milo along the end rows.  It was a bit wet ... like 22% or better.  But it was going to be knocked down by the picker so I decided to cut it and spread iy out in the truck to (hopefully) dry.

I mentioned on my personal blog ( I had been interviewed for Successful Farming's Radio Magazine  It will air August 31.  You can download the audio file at

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And the week begins

EDIT: So how has Tuesday gone so far?  I posted this on the site by mistake.  But we got it fixed ... I hope.

The week didn't start out bad, just a challenge at times.  Glen from Houston FINALLY came after the sleeper off the KW.  He sent me the money back in March! We loaded it on his trailer and he went on down the road.

As we were finishing that up a bin painter pulls in.  Not Eddie, the other one.  The one who left the empty buckets in the corn crib.  Whosse paint cracked. Who Dad didn't want on the place again.  His price was good ... but we still declined his offer.

OK, next project.  Started on the red truck, getting it ready to load.  First Aman and I removed the exhaust system (that's not nearly as complicated as it sounds. With the engine removed there were only 2 bolts left holding it in place) Then he chained up the transmission (with the engine removed it only has one mounting point and the rear of it was setting on a jack stand under the truck) While he was doing that I jumped on the little forklift and moved the parts bin setting behind the truck.  More on that later.  I jumped in Mom's truck to pull the seed tender from behind it.

Yes, you guessed correctly.  The radio was still on from the trip home from reunion.  I knew it was on because the switch was in the on position.  Nothing lighted up, buzzed, anything.  SO I got out the battery charger and let it charge a while.

While that charging we fired up the loader and pulled the seed tender out, then picked up a few parts and pieces.  Enough time had passed we tried Mom's truck and it started.  Didn't run too well because the computer had totally reset, but it ran.  Se we aired up the brakes on red and pulled it outside.  We were trying to decided if our forklift had enough height to reach over the side, so Aman brought the Allis Chalmers forklift out.  Nope, not enough.  So I start removing the tailgate.  We have never had that tailgate out. I'm not sure the previous owner had either.  Finally got it out, Aman jumps on the old Allis, starts it up ... and nothing happens.  No hydraulics.

We look at it dumb for a while.  The only  thing we see wrong is the hydraulic tank is low.  We pour 5 gallons of hydraulic oil in it and try again.  Nothing.  There is a sticker on the side of a lift truck company in Indy, so I call.  They'd be GLAD to work on it.  $74 per hour from the time he leaves the shop until he gets back.  Service guy says we might remove the grill and small counterbalance weight and check the coupler on the hydraulic pump.  My description sounds like it is that coupler.

We take that all off and feel and poke.  Can't detect a problem.  I decide we need to pull the pump so we can check the coupler.  Remember that 5 gallons of hydraulic oil I mentioned?  So do I.  So we get some cardboard and jugs to try and catch it.  I break the fitting loose going into the pump and ... nothing comes out.  We ponder on it, we call ROC and talk to Ralph and Curt, finally figure out this pumps sets high enough it pulls the oil to it instead of gravity feeding.

Decide to see if it has any suction.  I fire the engine up while Aman checks and ... did I mention I blew all the dirt and dust off the pump and lines before I started?  And the radiator since I was there?  And that this blows air out the back of the forklift instead of forward?

Aman figured all that out quickly.  He wasn't too happy with me when he did.

We also figured out we had suction.

Hmmm...  ponder, think, and struggle.  Maybe it just needs more oil.  We put the line back on, fill the oil tank until it overflows, start the engine and everything works!  Back to getting stuff around.

I decide we should put the engine on a small pallet we have.  So I take a piece of an old planter and drill a couple holes and use the torch to cut it in two.

It was a small fire.  I put it out before it spread or did any damage.

About this time Sue calls. "You know that diesel powered lawnmower you have me using? Does the fuel gauge work?"  And it isn't even noon yet.

By the end of the day the battery is charged, the red truck is ready to be loaded,

the sleeper is on its way to Texas, Sue's lawn mower has fuel, 2 irrigators are running, the shop is cleaner and emptier ... and when I get home Sue goes "You're taking me out for supper!  That Cub Cadet ...  I had to put an ice pack in my knee from how you have to push down on that pedal to run it"

Yep, why do you think Mom likes her zero turn so much?  But I got SF coconut creme pie for desert anyway.

And Tuesday I go to the eye doctor for my annual checkup and eye dilation.

Oh Joy!

And there is the edit note at the top of the page.   Now if I could just stand to be out in the sun so I could get something done.  I hate getting my eyes dilated.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Must be nice to be a farmer ... only work 6 weeks a year

Whoever said that didn't have irrigators.  That was always one of Dad's big irritations, people ... especially farmers ... who didn't understand the time constraints on us this time of year.  I'm trying to free up time to go to the family reunion. I have one system running right now and hopefully will be caught up enough I can leave them off this weekend.

Got a rain Wednesday night.  I was moving the towable and saw this moving in.

I knew Sue was at church.  I called Mom ... no answer.  Called Becky ...  no answer.  So I called Bob in Memphis "This is going to sound really dumb since you are in Memphis and I'm in Illinois, but could you check the radar for me?" Something just sounds wrong about that.

Had .1" at the shed.  Mom had .46"  At home I had a damp sidewalk

Aman and I moved the towable late this afternoon.
 It should be around first thing in the morning.  Had trouble with the JD engine this week, the oil pressure gauge went bad.  Normally that would be "Hmmm... interesting" but the Murphy Switch shuts down the engine if there is no oil pressure indicated.

Fortunately Carlisle Valley irrigation had one.  They were $28 online if I bought 10. Schumaker has them for $60.  I haven't got the bill for this one yet.

Went to start Lyman's pump.  Nothing. Just a click. Removed the starter
This isn't it, but it looks just like it.  Stopped by ROC to see if Ralph had any better suggestion than BC Electric. He pondered a minute, pulled the end off the starter motor, sandpapered the contacts and put it back together.  It worked!  By the way, the "engineer" who put the bolt on the back side of that starter should have been beaten severely ... and if he had been around would have been.

Went to start the electric drive we buy water from on Teeters (that's the one in the photo currently at the top of this page).  Had to replace 2 fuses
I REALLY don't understand 3 phase electricity.  Had 3 fuses.  check voltage at top, all showed same voltage.  Checked voltage at bottom, all showed same voltage.  But one was blown. I was getting the voltage backfeeding through the motor. Finally pulled the fuses and checked with ohm meter.  One bad. Ran up to Mom's, got a spare, put it in, system started ... and blew another one.  Run to Mom's, get ALL the spares, got it going.

So now we are one circle away from being caught up for the week.

The only thing worse than having an irrigator is needing an irrigator.