Thursday, March 31, 2011

Learning how not to do something

I've heard it said learning how not to do something is as much success as doing it correctly.

Well, in that case I'd say Thursday was a success.

I started out taking care of some Fire Dept stuff. Took care of some paperwork, ordered some batteries, etc.  Did a little research on DeeZee nerf bars.  I moved the Mayrath auger to Gramp's, we'll be needing space in the yard at Husi's.  Put the radio mount together for the 550.  The concept is pretty good, the finish is kind of lacking
I didn't have to drill any holes and it's off the floor.  Mounted the antenna on the fender instead of drilling a hole in the roof
At least I finished something.

The pump on the hoist wasn't working. Ralph looked at it and said the relay needed replaced.  So I replaced it
The relay works now.  Motor still doesn't.

I decided to try and mount the nerf bars Aman brought down.   From my looking online it appears they are for a Chevy.  F550 brackets are a lot different.  I looked and measured, made a template, cut a plate, didn't like it and made another.  Cutting, drilling, bolts, tools, wrenches, Adam would have loved it. I got the front mount on one tube, then ut some weight on it to try it out.  It flexed too much. So I took everything off, put it back in a pile and did something else.
Maybe Friday will be more productive.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday 3-30-2011

I'll be posting a little more often for the next week or two so some folks can keep track of what's happening down here on the farm.  Today Aman and I investigated an opportunity.  We have been asked to farm a little piece of land that we were not very familiar with.  It's basically a high spot in the low river bottoms. It has wheat on it now.  In exchange for farming it we would have to plant some wildlife food plots.   We took a ride on the Mule to look at it.  Snowing, blowing, cold, windy, winter weather.   Unfortunately, we were unable to look at the food plots o see what is involved.  We decided to try it for this year and then decide before next year whether to continue or not.

I worked on the F550 off an on all day.  I mounted a 2-way antenna on the fender, ran the coax, and then started figuring out how to mount the radio. I had to built a bracjket for the radio, them build a mount for the bracket to the dash.  It involved hammering and cutting and drilling and grinding and welding ... Adam would have loved it.  It is currently hanging in the tool room letting the paint dry.  About 1/4 inch of paint makes even my welding look passable.

Sue and I ran to Marshall for lunch .. I had never driven the 550!  After lunch I had t swing past the insurance office and sign some papers, went to Wal-Mart and had a key made for the 550. One key. That is all they had in stock!

While waiting for the paint to dry I made the Mule into an official Fire Dept vehicle.  I clamped a piece of scrap steel to the roll bar and stuck the magnetic blue rotating light on it.  We had a controlled burn of some CRP scheduled for this afternoon.

It got set back a little bit but turned out to be a near perfect day.   Warm, very slight breeze, sunshine ... Yes, this lovely Spring day was the same day as the lousy winter weather in the morning.  I love Illinois weather.

That is about all that happened here today ... so far.
Later Y'all

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You bought WHAT ?

I mentioned in my blog (see Wonderings from Walnut Prairie) that Aman and I had been truck shopping last week.  We looked at everything from Rangers to Hummers but nothing really jumped out and said to me  "I can do things for the farm that are not being done".  Until Saturday.  Saturday I went to Shannon's auction.    I was kind of interested in his truck.
2006 GMC Sierra 2500HD w/ SLT pkg, Black 4-dr, 4WD, Duramax/Allison, tires 95%, short bed, leather int., 5th  wheel hitch, alum wheels,  90,xxx miles, Bose stereo, capt. chairs, console, rear bench seat, all power ... a really nice truck.  I just checked, retail Blue Book on it is $32,000.

I'd said all along the only way I'd buy a black truck was if it was a REALLY good deal.   I bid it to $19,000  It went for just a little more than that.  A REALLY good deal.  Just one I wasn't comfortable with.

There was also some consignment equipment.  2002 Ford F-550, Corn Pro gooseneck trailer, Cat D-4 dozer.  I'd looked at them ... not too seriously but they were setting there and I looked them over.  And the more I looked at the truck and trailer the more I thought "This could do some things for us we can't do right now."  I got an idea in my head of my top dollar amount ... and got both of them.

The fact is is red didn't hurt.
You know how you always see scantily clad models in car magazine photos.  Well ... we didn't have models or the weather to be scantily clad.  But we do have Mom standing on the bed.

Aman had truck trouble this morning, so we ran his truck up on the trailer then dollied it off and he used the truck to deliver seed corn
The long term strategy now is when the Dodge turns all 4 wheels in the air and dies to replace it with a gas mileage truck.  I'm in the process of cleaning out old Blue so we can sell it, as well as a couple flat bed trailers we probably won't need now.

Oh, I think Aman is really glad we have the forklift, too  Here is one of the varieties he was delivering
Yes, 68 pounds per bag.
Hope I didn't order any of that

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sometimes its good to be an ***-hole

I have an online reputation concerning one issue.  Using PVC pipe for air lines is quick, easy, inexpensive, and very, very dangerous.  The problem is when (not if, but when) it bursts it doesn't just split open  like steel or copper.  When PVC fails it shatters into very sharp shards, kind of like shrapnel. If you happen to be in range when it fails the results can be at least devastating if not deadly.

This is an ongoing topic on AgTalk.  About every 6 month it somehow comes up. We had a heated discussion last June about this (see in which I ... I can't say I was wrong but I will admit to not conducting myself diplomatically.  Sunday someone posted a new response to that thread saying

"Just visited a shop where their pvc air line exploded. There is a good chance it will fail and it will do it when you least expect it just hope know one gets hurt."

So I decided it was time to reopen the subject

I was more polite this time.  The interesting thing is the different responses between then and now.  Back in June I had people wanting to argue with me.  This time I had several responses similar to this:

"Thanks Mike SE IL I will be taking the PVC pipe I use for air lines out of my shop you my have saved someones life Thanks again"

Kind of makes being an ***-hole worth it

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The first sale is over

Shannon's land auction was Saturday.  I bought a couple smaller fields but the others brought more than I could wrap my feeble mind around. At some point the prices just become numbers.

I was able to purchase the ground between Route 1 and the blacktop.
Most I ever gave for ground.

Here is how it went:

The total at the end of the sale was $1,079,650, but there was a 6% buyer's premium to add in to get the purchaser's actual cost:

Tract     description     price     buyer

1 House     $37,220     (deer hunter)

2 Around house          $174,900 Macke Farms
  $4976 per tillable acre

3,4 between highway and blacktop combined $47700
   $3,207 per tillable acre

5 west of highway south of pond $503,589  Andy Huffington
   $5,542 per tillable acre (typo corrected)

6, 7, 8, 9 Pond and north combined     $379,109   Mike Huffington
   $4467 per tillable acre

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sometimes it's what you don't see

Look closely.  What  don't  you see ?

 Oh! Now I don't see it !
 We've talked about it for a couple years.  Wednesday we took a deep breath and removed a landmark.  The old grain bin we called the oil shed.  I don't recall it ever being use as a grain bin.  Storage for feed, seed, chemicals, motor oil, but never grain.
And a show of hands:
How many of us have bumped our head walking in or out of the door on that bin?
 We talked about trying to move it someplace else, but in the process of emptying it I found something I had never seen in that bin before ... mice.
Mice had finally found a way in.   Aman may take some of fill under it home for the boys sand box.  I think Gramps would approve of that.  It is the smallest size pea gravel I have ever seen. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Look what followed us home ...

Aman and I took a drive Tuesday. A pretty good used sprayer followed us home. It's not everything we might want, but it is paid for.  It has hydraulic booms, a radar controller
A rinse tank
and some other interesting features.
If we get busy and need something sprayed we can afford to call our local custom applicator and tell them to have at it.
It's a 60 ft boom Hardi.  It's kind of interesting, It started life as a pickup sprayer. So it is pretty much self-contained including a Honda engine to run it.
  The guys who had it put it on a frame and made a pull type out of it.  You really have to look to tell it isn't factory.  One other thing we liked is the wheels follow the tractor tracks.
When I called and talked to Steve (the guy selling it) about it I asked where he was.  Turns out they weren't very far from Hamm's Grove Church.  In fact, one of the brother's in-laws farmed Grandpa Robert's farm a long time ago. When we came home we drove out the drive, turned right and stayed on the blacktop all the way to Belle Rive.