Saturday, May 28, 2011

"So what ya been doin' ?"

Some questions you don't want to answer.  I guess our biggest accomplishment this week was helping some folks who couldn't help themselves.  That wouldn't be a bad epitaph : "He helped people who couldn't help themselves".  As I discussed on my personal blog ( I got a call Thursday morning:
"I'm up here at (oldest couple in church)'s house.  They really have a mess.  Could you bring up your bucket truck?"
What am I going to do, say no?

Friday morning Aman and I are, well, to be honest we are finishing up from Thursday.  The last load of limbs we decided not to unload in the rain.  We ran the truck in the shed and closed the door and unloaded them on Mom's brush pile Friday morning.  Phone rings, it was Mom:
"I'm over here at the cemetery.  We need the loader and your truck.  A tree limb blew off and hit some stones."
Actually, it wasn't a limb.  The top blew out of a cedar tree.
It came from the tree on the left in the photo.   The piece on the left hit the ground, dug a small trench, then blew another 20-30 feet

 This was the big piece.
 We had to cut it up in smaller pieces to get if off the stone.  Fortunately, just as we were getting started Brian, Tom, and ... I forget Brian's son's name ...  showed up to help.  We piled it on the flatbed and Art's old trailer and took it to Mom's brush pile.

Since we were building Mom's brush pile so well I added to it later in the afternoon.
 OK, maybe this shows it a bit better. It's been a long time since there were no trees between West Union and the York cemetery road. 
If you look closely you can see the tree being hauled up the road to Mom's. I hated to see it go, but I heard "You ought to get rid of that tree" enough I decided to do it. 

This week I also sold something we weren't using.  Aman's cousin and I had been negotiating for months over the 496 disk. We didn't use it enough to have it around, and it got to the place we needed the shed space more than we needed thew disk. I told him if the Ford would handle it we'd deliver it, otherwise he'd have to come after it  So it went for a drive.
That's pretty much our week.  Oh, other than trying to fix our planter hydraulic problem.
 Kelly from Casey JD spent 3 days not fixing it and telling us it was the tractor hydraulic pump. Farm Pride came down and checked it "Well ... it's a little low but I can't believe it won't do it". But on JD's recommendation we took the tractor to Farm Pride and had the hydraulic pump replaced.  $4400 later we brought it home, hooked it up, same problem.

I think the Service Manager knew I was irritated when I called.

JD at Ashmore came down and Terry spent most of a day working on it.  A  lot of that time was proving an assumption.  The assumption is all the parts and pieces are correct. We checked cylinders and plumbing and hose routing.  A lot of part numbers didn't match the serial number of the planter.  Terry thinks he has it narrowed down and will be here Saturday morning to rebuild a couple flow dividers.

Speaking of Terry, I better get going and meet him in a bit.  Later Ya'll

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Prust Farm update

Art called this evening asking how things were going this year?  My best answer is slow. Fields are not drying like usual.  Normally you know from experience which fields will dry first and which will be wetter.  The driest fields on the farm right now are the 2 we normally plant last! 

I've been working on a secure site for the farm, but it just does not work to suit me. So I'll post a few photos and some details here for now

The CRP along the highway was signed in the new program last year. 
Part of the requirements are we soil test, burn or mow, then spray and kill all existing vegetation, fertilize if needed, and reseed.  I took soil tests earlier this Spring.  Sure was glad I had the Mule because there was water standing on about half of it on the side of a hill!
In order to increase the "points" I agreed to plant 2 acres in "pollinators".  That's a $2 word for wildflowers.  I guess I should have looked a little longer at what they cost. I have a box setting under the desk about 14x14x16 with 6.5 pounds of wildflower seeds in it ... $1100 worth of wildflower seeds. I guess it will be pretty.  Here is a copy of the tag on the sack showing what is in it:
The pollinators are to be planted in a 109 foot wide strip next to the highway.

They need planted by June 15.  The rest of the reseeding needs done before May 15 or late summer. It will be late summer now.  I mowed the part along the highway this week.  I got the mowing tractor stuck on the top of the hill.  Not the bottom, the top. At least it was away from the highway so it wasn't so visible.  Aman fertilized it Thursday afternoon, and I proceeded to spray the 109 foot wide strip with glyphosate. If you look closely at the photo above you will see tire tracks halfway up the hill where I spun out pulling the sprayer.

We have some corn planted.  Lenore would not have liked it.  We no-tilled the field east of the house, and minimum tilled the field north of the house.  That means we worked it once last fall and no-tilled it this Spring.   No, she would not have liked how this looks
But it protects the soil better and (we hope) helps conserve moisture better.  The corn is up and looking pretty good.
North of the house was planted a week later, so it isn't quite a far along.  I was able to work the north field on the Bradbury Place today
It is a little wetter than I like to work ground, but drier than a lot of fields I see being planted around here.  A neighbor and I discussed that yesterday.   He said of it keep raining these mudded in fields will be OK, but if it quits they will be in trouble.  I'm trying to be patient and timely. With the Tilloll you can go from green to ready too plant quickly
If it doesn't rain Saturday night we should be dry enough to plant it Sunday afternoon or Monday morning.  I tried the east 80 and the south field on Bradbury, but they just aren't dry enough.  The knob on the west 80 is fairly dry, but the rest of the field around it is very wet.  I also go the field across from the Silver Moon worked Saturday
Again, a surprise.  Last year we couldn't even drive across the northwest side until August.  I worked up all but one small piece.  I even worked up the field behind Atwood's.  The ditch work we had done a couple years ago helped immensely. 

So the quick summary is we have about 100 acres of corn planted, about 140 to go, and no beans planted.  If the rains miss us this week we should get most of that planted by the end of the week.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"When the neighbors on two sides have things all planted and my ground is still too wet, am I being to particular?"

I stopped and talked to a neighbor today.  He was greasing his planter, which hasn't been in the ground this year.  I was going to pick up limbs along a tree row.I asked him something along the line of "When the neighbors on two sides have things all planted and my ground is still too wet, am I being to particular?"

His response was along the lines of "No, you're just using the good judgment your Dad and Grandpa taught you.  Working ground wet is fine as long as it keep raining.  One of the days the Big Man is going to turn it off."

I've spent most of my day in the field.  Picking up limbs, spraying Poison Hemlock, looking at a problem requiring heavy equipment with a contractor, just looking.  My driest field is one I usually plant last. It is driest ... except for where you pull into it.  There is no other way in  I almost got my 4WD Mule stuck there.
I have a couple others I could work, but only the high spots.  I looked at a couple fields that have been planted and the neighbor is right.  If they don't get rain this weekend it won't be pretty.

So I'll ask this of other farmers on here:  How do you handle waiting for the ground to get "right"?  How do you decide?

Friday, May 6, 2011

New additions to the fleet

I'm tired of talking about rain and flooding and not being in the field. How about an update on changes to our fleet this winter?  Our first change was replacing the 74 Ford tandem
 with a single axle semi.
The Ford is a good truck ... for a 35 year old truck.  We still have the Ford setting around, but it has a For Sale sign on it and is listed in a couple classifieds.  I took it to Knowles consignment auction, but all that was bid was $3000 and I said I'd take it home and part it out before I'd take that.  I have it priced at $10,000 but I am VERY negotiable.

Our next move was replacing a couple older pickups, the flatbed and Old Blue (you can see both the flatbed and Old Blue in this photo)
 We really didn't use either much.  The flat bed doesn't like me.  Aman can get in and it starts and runs and smiles at him.  I get in and it won't start, doesn't run good when it does start, and I end up frowning.  I raised my hand at an auction when I should have said I was waving at someone and bought a Ford F500 and gooseneck trailer.
Old Blue was a good truck, we just didn't use it.  After we decided to sell it I got it out to clean it up.  It had been driven once in 3 months. I sold it to one of Aman's seed customers and bought a Jeep Wrangler.

Paul Wilson had used it as his winter project.  He went through the engine, overhauled it, replaced some key parts, cleaned up the wiring, and ended up with a pretty nice rig.  It's just a 4 cylinder, but should get reasonable mileage, be great for working with irrigators, carrying a few bags of seed corn or some tools.  I think it will be Aman's farm vehicle.  It should get around the fields a lot better than Old Blue.

Speaking of blue, I also replaced 2 ATV's with a new blue Mule UTV
I pondered on this more than all the rest together. We had the Kawasaki 220 Dad bought about 15 years ago and the Polaris 330 I got last year through Beck's.  Both were OK little bikes, but not really what we needed.  I went to trade them for a used, bigger 4WD ATV, but decided that really wasn't what we needed either.  We needed to be able to carry 2 people, tools, cargo, etc anyplace we needed to go.  So far the Mule has lived up to all that.  I started spot spraying Hemlock this week.
 It handles the 15 gallon sprayer a LOT better than either of the old ones.  I actually feel safe spraying with this.  With the others the bike was overloaded, unstable, and actually unsafe.

I think I'm done buying for a while.  I've spent more on the fleet this winter than I EVER have.  But we also have things in a lot better shape and are much more usable and hopefully reliable.