Monday, November 29, 2010

I said I'd never do that again .... well ..........

The last time I went to a Groff Machinery Consigment Auction I said I'd not be back.  Well ... never say never.  I went with one specific purpose and a couple side interests if they went cheap enough.  Didn't come home with any of those.  I did come home with this
That is a 70 foot 10 inch diameter belt conveyor.  It was more in my price range than the 2 10" augers they had.  I kind of think the guy in the trees was bidding on it.  Maybe I should pause and explain that.

One of the things at Max's auctions that irritates the **** out of me is the guy up in the trees bidding. There has to be one, because too often the auctioneer is taking bids when nobody seems to be bidding. I know, some guys are masters at hiding their bid.  I watched one guy I know bid on something and if you were not watching him carefully you never knew it.  The ring man was standing right in front of him, and an almost imperceptible wink or nod and there was a bid.  But I was down on the far end of the lot when they sold an old Safety Klean box truck.  Ugly, theft resistant green.  There was me and two other guys there when the bidding started.  Everyone else had walked off to where the auctioneer would be next.  We were talking.  None of us bid.  But the truck sold for $3500.  The guy in the trees must have bought it.

OK, so I am standing there watching this conveyor sell.  It was cheap for what it was.  REALLY cheap.  But 2 guys kept bidding it up.  And then I noticed I was standing there all by myself, just me and 2 ring men.  And the price kept going up slowly.  One ring man came over trying to get me to bid.  Then both of them.  I finally said I would bid one time, a very small increment higher than the current bid.  And I won it.  I think the guy in the trees almost bought that as well.

Oh, and this:

Yes, I bought a semi tractor ... at Groff's.  THAT might cause the end to get kicked out of the coffin.  It was clean, but not too clean.  I heard a couple guys talking, one was a company employee, and it had been driven up from Florida.  Not hauled, driven.  300 Hp, 8 speed transmission, air conditioning, good looking.  The only problems I have found is a broken mirror, the air hose to the fifth wheel slider is leaking, a rear fender is missing, and the gear shift need a worn pivot pin replaced.  Ralph says that is common in this transmission.

So, for the next question, "Now what?"  Ralph has a set of twin screw tandems that will fit it, and gave me an estimate on switching the axles, lengthening the frame, and moving the bed and hoist off the Ford to it.  It was less than a trailer will probably cost.  So I told him to put me on the schedule and I was going to advertise the Ford as is.  If someone wanted it bad enough before he started we'd cancel and I'd go trailer shopping.  I figure I have a month or more to try and sell it.  Anyone want a good old Ford?

Do you know what a $500 disk looks like?

Yes, that brought $500! I would have hauled it home for it if I had a empty truck.  Not paying $25, you pay me to take it.  They also sold a really good M&W big red wagon with a seed auger on the side for $2500.  If I weren't trying to get away from wagons I would have been really interested.  Big orange is for sale, too.  Guess I need to take some pictures of it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

So what have you been doing this week?

Ever have one of those weeks where Friday you look back and ask yourself what you did that week?  In my defense, this was Thanksgiving week.  Aman was on vacation so I didn't have anyone pushing me to accomplish anything.  I took a couple mostly personal days ... but even then they are not entirely non-farm.  For instance, Sue and I went shopping.  Coming back I saw a seed tender for sale.  It's just what I want.

I called.  His price is actually pretty fair ... if it weren't for some of the other stuff I did this week.  I mentioned shopping. Sue bought some Christmas presents, I bought a combine ... yes, we signed papers on the Big Green Machine.

Yeah, I know, I should get some real photos of it.

I've been hoping to haul grain for the Prust Farm.  The grain has been sold, augers are in place, just waiting for Littlejohn's to come get it.  I called Wednesday and was told they were full and waiting on a train.  And I might be a couple weeks before they could come after it!

So not a lot happened on the farm this week.  Put the disk, roller, tandem axle trailer, and Soil Saver away away, moved the grain trucks to a different location, pushed a little dirt and modified a field entrance, cleared out some parts drawers, bought a combine, took the platform off the 2166 and put the corn head on ... "piddle jobs".  Also the thing I am worst at.

Dad did the piddle jobs.  Once field work was caught up I took off and hauled propane.  It's been a difficult task for me to master, the odd-job off-season stuff.  And now I am setting home waiting for a delivery.  I hate waiting.  Gotta go, someone just pulled in.

Later Y'all

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fixing the unloading auger

The last time we unloaded the Prust bean bin we weren't happy with how it worked, so we decided to pull the unloading auger out and check it before using it.  The screw wasn't totally worn out, but it was worn enough it wouldn't handle the volume it should.
An opportunity to use new toys!  We got a new screw from Dale Crumrin and used my new SawZall to cut the shaft and take the head off.  When we got it apart we found the tube was getting pretty thin,
so we repaired it.  Aman cut the old ring off,
  used the plasma cutter to cut a new piece, welded it in with the wire welder, cut a new opening with the plasma cutter,

and it was as good as new

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And end to life as we know it ?

No, I haven't changed religions.  No, I haven't become a Vulcan.
 I did agree to buy a combine.  Yes, a green combine. This isn't the actual combine, but it's just like it.
I hope Adam understands.

I didn't want a green combine.  It's kind of like speaking a foreign language.  But I survived the switch from Massey to IH.  It's not quite that big a change.  (Remember what they told us?  Just think about what you would do on the MF and do the opposite.  It usually worked!)

We traded our 2166 with a 20 ft platform and 6 row corn head for a 9660 with a 30 ft platform and 8 row corn head.  I said when I started looking I had 3 requirements.  It had to be 4WD, under a certain number of hours, and a specific maximum annual payment.  I didn't go to every dealer in the country searching for the absolute bottom dollar.  I did go to my local dealers (one in particular I bent over backwards trying to work with) as well as contacting others.  I told them what I had and what I wanted (4WD, hours, payment) and would consider most any suggestion. two dealerships have not gotten back to me at all.  One did send me an email with one combine late Monday after promising to email me several options the previous Wednesday.

It's obvious these guys never sold copiers.

OK, so what is this big green thing?  I won't give specs because they would just be numbers to you. Here is the bottom line: This machine will cut as much in one two rounds as the old combine did in 3.  In corn I don't know it will be 50% bigger but it will be at least 30%.

We've watched folks around here with red combines and 30 ft heads.  I don't know if it is the combine, the heads, or the operator, but unless you get to a BIG red combine they just don't seem to get a jump in productivity over the 2166.  We demo's a 9660 (not this one but one just like it) in double crop beans with green stems and it just walked through them.  It doesn't spread straw quite as perfect at the 2166 with a 20 ft head, but then again I haven't seen anything that was as even as it was.
Another thing it will allow us to do is switch back and forth quicker between corn and beans.  The head has a ... I forget JD's term for it but most folks call it single point hookup.  Instead of unplugging several hoses and an electrical connection then unlocking the header, you plug in one connection and latch it and the header is ready to go.

The other feature that really appealed to us is setting everything from in the cab.  With the 2166 to switch from beans to corn you disconnect 4 hoses, unplug the electrical connection, unhook the driveshafts, drop the safety latch, unhook the header locks, raise the safety latch, remove the platform, put on the cornhead, drop the safety latch, crawl under the header and lock it on, hook up the driveshafts, change the concave, sieve and shoe settings, change the chopper belt, move the chopper knives, adjust the fan speed, get back out of the cab and raise the safety latch you forgot, and if you were practiced up you could be going in half hour to 45 minutes.

I've not actually done this yet, but I've watched the neighbor do it on his Deere.  Unlatch the single point, drop the platform, pick up the cornhead, latch the single point, change one belt (from the ground, no crawling up inside the combine), touch the corn setting on the screen in the cab, and go.  He says "Yes, it is that easy".

One change that we asked for was the tires.  This one has rice tires and we asked they switch them for regular tread.  Neighbors had a lot of wheat a couple years ago and rented a combine identical to theirs with rice tires.  On wet sand they are too aggressive and dig a hole too quickly.  The rig with rice tires was stuck (more than once as I recall) and the regular tire combine just went around it.

I have a new black John Deere hat in the display cabinet.  I did wear it home, but decided to put it on display for now.  Boy ... 2 green planters, a green lawn mower, a green combine ... I'm not sure my heart can take this.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More non-field work

Earlier this week I mentioned working on a barn roof.  I don't know if it's finished but I worked on it until I ran down both cordless drill batteries.  I don't think they were fully charged.

It actually turned out pretty good.  I got the edges of the sheet back in place and shot a deck screw through the side of the rib. (Deck screws are just like drywall screws but coated to be used outside.)  Once I got done with that I got out the caulking gun and tube of silicone and covered the heads.

Well, to be honest, I got the ones I could reach off the ladder.  I guess this cold I've been fighting has affected my balance.  I got up on the roof pulling down loose roofing sheets when I got a bit off balance and decided those spots weren't nearly as loose as they looked.

I think this will be a good day to stay in the office an catch up on paperwork.  Actually I need to spend a week or so in here doing stuff like that.  I'd rather run a chain saw.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On to the non-fieldwork part of farming

There is more to farming than just working in the field.  It includes things like mowing roads, maintaining non-crop areas, etc.  Today we got to use the bucket truck and my new John Deere chain saw and do some tree trimming.

OK, so it was in Mom's yard.  She is one of our landowners, and we've done similar things for other landowners.  We do kind of limit how big a job we will tackle.  The persimmon tree had some broken branches, and the ash tree had split last summer and needed to come down. I forgot to get an "after" shot.

After Aman did the trimming I went up and did some repairs to the electric line where the branches had rubbed on it.

We wonder if Mom has noticed her tree is missing yet?  She was gone when we did it.

The bucket truck was one of Dad's "toys".  He always wanted one.  A business in Terre Haute bought a sign business and put this one came with the deal.  It isn't a good sign truck, so they pulled it out front and put a For Sale sign on it.  Dad saw it, and they'd go past it every week or two on the way to a Dr visit.  He finally stopped one day and asked about it.  The guy there shot him a price, which Dad declined.  He told Dad "Well, leave me your name and number and I'll have the boss call you".

When the boss called Dad told him he just couldn't justify giving what they were asking for it.  The boss asked Dad what he'd give?  Dad shot him a number about half what they were asking.  Boss thought about it a second then said "Well, I've had it for sale for a couple months and nobody has bought it ... OK, you got a truck"

We've used it to work on Gramp's barn, put a ladder on a grain bin, trim trees, work on wiring, change light bulbs in security lights, work on irrigators, etc.  But because Dad put farm plates on it we just can't go do too much off the farm with it.  Plus Dad always said that once the boom goes off the cradle we don't have any insurance.  I don't guarantee that is true, but knowing insurance companies I wouldn't be surprised.

Tomorrow we need to secure some sheet metal on a barn roof on a place we farm.  More stuff that doesn't make us any money, but is just part of renting the farm.  We've learned trying to nail down old roofing is a waste of effort.  We have much better success using drywall screws and cordless drill, then dabbing some silicone over them.  Generally on an old barn the roofing is pulled loose on the old boards  don't take or hold nails very well.  A drywall screw is much more secure.

And I still need to mow a road or two.  I know, in November?  It's on some ground  I own, so it gets done last after everything else.  I think I have the Bush Hog repaired again.  Maybe this time I can finish without backing off into a washout and breaking the linkage, or hitting a culvert and tearing the wheels off it, or hitting a rock and bending the shields under the deck so much the blades hit ... I just love running a Bush Hog (listen closely to the sarcastic tone in my voice).  But it makes thing look better, and if I mow late in the season the grass is low enough along the roads it doesn't catch drifting snow so bad.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Done ?

Our long time fall operating plan has always been finish harvest by November 1, finish fall tillage by November 15.  Well, actually finish fall tillage by deer shotgun season.  This fall has went so quickly that by October 29 we were down to a day or so of tillage and we'd be done.  Sue and I both didn't have to teach the next Sunday, so we did something we'd never considered.  We went to East Tennessee in October to see Jill.  We told Aman he was in charge, loaded up some things Jill had been storing at our house and took off.  One thing we noticed was an almost total lack of anyone in the field.  The entire trip we saw maybe a half dozen tractors and even fewer combines.  It was nice to get totally away from the farm for a few days.  See a few photos at

Today we didn't get a lot done but took all day doing it.  We did a few things at Mom's, then headed west.  Aman had taken a friend's truck for a safety test ... and it failed.  So he left it and I went after him.  Today it was supposed to be done so we went after it.  We combined about 3 trips in one.

First we went to Casey and checked on the truck .... not done yet.  We stopped by Farm Pride and talked to Stan about what it might cost to work over the combine.  After we discussed a few options he ran us up front to talk to Cary a little.

We ate lunch at the Oilfield Store then ran over near Lerna and looked at a forklift that had been listed on Craig's List and in AutoRV Trader.
Not a bad looking forklift, but Aman suggested we would be better off putting that money into ours instead of just buying another. I wouldn't mind having another forklift, but it was a bit more money than I need to be spending for a spare.

We came back through Casey.  On the way Cary called with a used combine for us to look at.  It wasn't this one, but looks just like this one
It's closer to my budget than anything else red we have been shown.  We stopped by Schillings's for a minute and stumbled across a deal on a chain saw ... or two.
 Dad's big old Homelite won't run, and after a talk with a chainsaw mechanic I'm not sure it is worth trying to get it to run.  He said the common thing they find with the old Homelites is this: first we'll have a minimum shop charge ... probably around $50 depending upon the shop.  And what they are most likely going to do is put a few parts on it ... plugs, etc, and  find is it needs a part no longer available.  So then we have a saw that is not running and cost us to find out it was not fixable.

John Deere has made an arrangement with Stihl for all its dealers to be able to sell Stihl , so they are closing out the John Deere chainsaw line.  I bought 2 chainsaws for the price of 1.  It isn't quite the saw the old blue Homelite was when it was new, but surprisingly close. I was looking through the owner's manual (GASP!  People do that?!!!) and noted the engine idles at 2800 RPM and working speed is 12,500 to 13,000 RPM.  WOW!

I found my handheld radio was missing when I got home, so Sue and I ran BACK to Casey to see if we could find it.  She found it waiting patiently in the combine cab.  So to celebrate we ate supper at Pizza Hut

Big spenders, huh?