Wednesday, November 30, 2011

...always the first thing you buy after getting an STS combine - A Bigger Truck

Aman posted a picture of the Freightliner on the farm's Facebook page, to which a cousin said "always the first thing you buy after getting an STS combine - A Bigger Truck"

The only problem with that truck is by itself it's just a large lawn ornament.  However, when you add this 38 ft Mauer hopper bottom trailer it becomes something usable.
So we've upgraded out fleet from a 37 year old 10 gas engine Ford wheeler
and a 31 year old  gas engine Chevrolet 10 wheeler
to a '99 FL112 Freightliner with an '02 38 foot Mauer trailer.
Plus we have the '97 IH 8100 tractor and '04 22 foot Jet
and of course the Big Blue '90 Kenworth tandem.
 Technically we still have the Chevy, but there is a buyer coming Friday  And if he doesn't buy it the plates are good until June 30.

So we have upgraded from 2 trucks over 30 years old to one 12 years old, the oldest in the fleet being 21, stayed about the same capacity, and lowered our license plates expense about $500.
I think Dad would approve.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Look what followed us home ..

OK, so we were inside.  After a lot of pondering and contemplating we traded the white beast
for a new white beast
The old Ford was a good truck, we just needed something a bit more road worthy.  We're hoping to sell the Chevy as well
and replace both with one.

Now to find a trailer

Monday, November 21, 2011

Been setting here thinking of Lyman

Later today we're going to a friend's funeral.  Friend probably isn't an adequate description. Lyman Shawler was a friend, family member, business associate, pillar of the community for many many years.  His health as been failing, and we knew he was mortal just like the rest of us.  But that doesn't make losing him any less painful. His obituary is online on the Prust-Hosch web site

Lyman's Mom and my Grandfather were brother and sister, so he was one of those folks I can't remember not knowing.  When Sue and I returned from college to the farm the first house we lived in was his Mom's house.  I've been trying to remember ... I think we were the first folks outside the Shawler family to live there.

Lyman was always "progressive", but in a different manner than most people. He didn't seem too interested in farming big, but wanted to do a good job with what he had.  Lyman had one of the firsts irrigators in the country, and one of the first center pivots.  My mistress (as my wife came to think of it) was a water drive single tower pivot.  Every 9 hours you could move it.  After over 30 years of service there were parts on the drive system that are no longer available.  So 4 years ago Lyman had the old dual piston water drive replaced with a new style
He commented he would rather watch that system run rather than watch fireworks.
He had other "funny" ideas. For instance, he didn't want his irigator engine setting out in the weather.  So he built a little building for it
 When t go to the place of needing replacement he bought a small carport and put over it
Lyman had other "funny" ideas.  That is why he was a charter member of the West Union Ruritan Club, a community service organization.  And why he served for 16 years as a member of the Mill Creek Conservancy District, helping to build eight flood control structures.
Lyman helped Clark County form the first county wide park district in the state of Illinois, and was the first president of the park board. The Clark County Park District Board worked with the Soil Conservation Service to build Mill Creek Lake and Park .

In 1966 Lyman received the Illinois Soil Conservation Award from the National Wildlife Federation and the Sears Foundation for “outstanding contribution to the wise use and management of the nation’s natural resources.” In 1971, he received the 14th annual “Raindrop” award from the Wabash Valley Association, where he was a charter member.

Lyman was always  planting something.  Trees, turnips, alfalfa, he was always planting something. It was joked (not without reason) Lyman could plant alfalfa in the middle of a blacktop road and it would grow.   He also planted people.  Lyman did a lot more quietly behind the scenes than many folks knew about.

When my son was going to college I know Lyman did his best to encourage him.  There was a little 2 acre patch north of the pond that floods every year. After several years of losing the crop to flooding I told him I wasn't too interested in planting it any more. The next year it dried up early and he had us plant it to soybeans.  I had some seed left over so I donated it to the project.  He paid to have it sprayed.  When we combined it I put it in the truck and took it to the elevator all in his name.  He looked at the ticket and said "just have them make the check out in Jim Bob's name"

I finished this, but had to come back with one more thought.  You can't talk about Lyman very long with Doris coming up. I though I should maybe include a photo of Doris. This is the typical photo of Doris
Just like Lyman, you can't get her to slow down long enough for a photo

I could go on quite a while, but I have to get around. This setting reminiscing isn't getting the work done, and Lyman wouldn't have liked that.

My friend, we will miss you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"You're doing what?" "Mowing roads" "IN NOVEMBER?"

I admit it. I mowed roads yesterday. And if the rain goes around (which I doubt) I'll probably do it again tomorrow. Which begs the question "Why on earth would you mow roads in November?"  Actually the answer is quite simple.

Drifting snow.

Now, I know that I can't stop all the snow from drifting. But I spent enough years driving a propane truck in the winter to know that a clean road ditch can often make quite a difference in how a road holds snow. Yes, we try and keep things mowed.  Don't always get it done, but we try.  But during harvest season very few people have the free time to mow roads and they get just alittle uneven.  Not bad for the most part, but not even and smooth.

I plan (as in I actually intend to do it!) to if the weather permits mow roads after we finish fall tillage. Just a quick pass to mow off stragglers and provide as little place as we can for snow to catch.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. 

But if my choice is this
 or this,
I'll mow roads

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another one of those work all week and "What did you really do?" weeks

I mean, Yes, we did accomplish something this week.  But I have to think about it to realize it.  We caught up with fall field work ... sort of.  Aman may have some more fall plowing on some ground he rented for next year if everything works out.
We have 80 acres we have run the Soil Savers across we hoped to Tilloll, but the rains mid week pretty much stopped that.  Aman got the new roof built for the pump house we raised this fall.  Dad said repeatedly "I don't know why I made it like that".  Instead of building an above ground structure he put the pump for the shop in an inground concrete box with a removable top.  That was fine at Gramp's, but the river gets too high at Mom's for that to be a good idea.  The top got to the point of needing replaced, so we raised the pump to ground level and built a 4 concrete block high wall around it. Then Aman built the new top.
(imagine this is a photo)
Aman signed the contracts renting the "County Ground" this week.  That includes some ground at Darwin and a field near Marshall.

Thursday we finally got the injection pump back for the little 4WD.  The service manager said there was nothing that wrong with it to keep the tractor from starting.
The Bosch pump uses a non-keyed shaft for the drive gear.  He speculates the gear may have slipped slightly on the shaft, throwing the timing off.  The symptoms sound just like what happened.

No, this isn't my office
My monitor is black, not white.  But it gives an idea of what I need to spend several days doing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Almost done with fall tillage

It's sort of been "one of those" days.  That part started yesterday afternoon, actually.  I'm taking a First Responder class (technically now called Emergency Medical Responder).  The schedule wasn't set by a farmer.  It started in early October with classes Tuesday and Thursday evenings ... at 6 PM ... 25 miles away.  I had committed myself to doing it, so I am trying to follow through.  The T/Th schedule is REALLY inconvenient for me.

So anyway, I tell Aman I HAVE to quit rather early.  Like 4:00 - 4:30 early. Pup gets out of school and comes down to drive Aman's tractor while he takes over what I was doing.
Yes, moldboard plowing.

I am getting cleaned up when I hear Pup holler on the radio the tractor seems to be losing power.  We had trouble with crud in the fuel tank last year, so Aman takes his tractor in, grabs a set of fuel filters and heads for Pup's tractor.

Didn't fix it.

So a little after 7 this morning I call Biernbaum's to come look at it.  Eric looked, said "Yep, it's broke"  He said more, but that is the summary.
We decided to tow it out of the field so if it DOES rain we aren't knee deep in mud.
Aman wants this framed for his Dodge friends.
 Eric removes the injector pump and Aman heads for Terre Haute, where Schied Diesel's shop is.

I'm back to moldboard plowing.  When Aman gets back (We said tractor was down in the middle of the field, service manager said they would rush it ... "should be ready first of the week") he hooks the little Soil Saver onto the little Magnum and keeps going.

But the end of the day, when it is all said and done, we have caught up with all but about a day's worth of the fall tillage.