Saturday, December 14, 2013

For the want of a bolt

For the want of a bolt, the linkage would not work.
For the want of linkage, the 3-point would not work.
For the want of the 3-point, the plow would not work.
For the want of the plow, the crop would not work.
For the want of a crop, the farmer would starve.
And all for the want of a bolt.

Ok, maybe that is a little dramatic. But my latest busted knuckle project made me think of this poem:

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

This last year the hitch on the back of the tractor started acting goofy.  I would not raise right, it wouldn't hardly let down, and it wouldn't ever stay where you put the lever.  After some diagnosis, I decided there was something wrong up inside the tractor.  No way around it, had to knuckle down, buckle down, and do it, do it, do it.

Turned out to not be that bad of a job.  First thing was squeezing the tractor in our little shop.  Man I wish Papaw had built it 2' taller!  Oh, well, still a nice place to work.  Just have to take the lights down, and let some air out of the tires!

Then pull out the PTO unit.

Ah HA!  Just as I suspected. Little bolt had loosened off and fallen out of the linkage, where the red arrow is pointing.

 As far as breakdowns go this is about as simple as they come.  Put the little bugger back in and tightened it a little extra.  Now to put some expensive new oil in and we will be back in business.

Since I have it in the shop anyway, going to work on adding some fans to the A/C as it does not blow enough air.  Also I need to look at the exhaust pipe under the hood as it is leaking.  And something really important, the radio needs changed.  Probably put in a nice new CD with USB unit.  Heh heh.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Women go crazy over a sharp dressed man

Daniel got a new pastel blue shirt (not pictured) with a clip on tie recently.  He was excited about it and wanted to wear it to school on Monday.  

Amanda: "Are you sure you want to wear a tie to school?"

Daniel: "Yeah, if I start looking too good I can take it off."

(he wasn't wearing it when he got home from school)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Green eggs and ham, green bean "fort", sweet corn canning

How is that for covering everything?

First day of school.  Amanda made green eggs and ham.  Daniel actually did not want to eat the green eggs. He would not eat them in a box, he would not eat them wearing socks.  He would not eat them in the house, nor sitting with a mouse.  So I ended up eating them.

Ready for Kindergarten. I have a video of them getting on the bus, but I have not uploaded it yet.

The thing I hate about preserving garden stuff is it makes such a mess.

 I am trying something different this year.  Usually we freeze all our corn.  But I wanted to try canning some.  It turned out very good.  This stuff is like candy.  We've done probably 15-20 quart bags of corn in the freezer.  A couple dozen ears frozen, and about 15 pint jars of corn.

We planted a climbing green bean in the corner of the garden where it can climb the fence.  With the intention of making a little cool bean fort.  Overall our beans have not done very well.  I am beginning to suspect some herbicide carryover in the soil.  They came up but stayed sick, or eventually died.  We got about one mop bucket full of potatoes.  A few cantaloupes, and some squash and pumpkins.  2 watermelons.  Pretty good for the lack of attention it got.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Back to school shopping, now for two.

Who says that school shopping for kids is expensive?  Today was the start of New Mexico's sales tax holiday for clothes and supplies.  We wanted to get some shopping done before the big rush on Saturday.  We always go by second-hand stores first, before trying for new clothing.  Goodwill is hit and miss on what you will find.  Today it was a hit for clothes for Daniel, somewhat of a miss for Mikali.  We got everything pictured here for $27.  It was a bonanza!  3 pairs of really good pants, and 3 shirts, nice off brand shoes (a little big) for Daniel.  One pair of good jeans and a couple shirts for Mikali.  Plus a little thermos for sack lunches.  

Contrast that with the new we had to buy for Mikali.  Two pair of jeans, one pair of shoes $55.  Ouch!  And the jeans were pretty much 50% off their regular price too.  That stung after the Goodwill treasures.  

Meanwhile back at the ranch....  Cooling off in the big big swimming pool Nana gave them.  It has been pretty hot the past couple days.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Busy summer time

I don't have any really good pictures of the kids.  We have been VERY busy the past few weeks.  I had a chance to get some manure from a local dairy, so I hauled it with my truck.  I hammered away at that as hard as I could for a week because I was renting a trailer by the day, so any wasted time was wasted rent.  Anyway, the big story is we got some big rains around the 1st of July.  We got 3" at our house and about 2" other places.  So then I had to hustle to get some plowing done, and plant some haygrazer.  Seemed like I just couldn't get enough done each day.  And we are getting ready to go to Black Mesa Bible Camp this next week, so I wanted all the farm work caught up before we go.  And to top everything off Amanda's brother got married, and Amanda has also been babysitting a couple of the neighbor kids 3-4 days a week.  A 9 year old boy and 3 year old girl.  They are pretty easy to work with, but on top of our 3 it makes for a long day for her.  The neighbors really appreciate it, and seem to like the way the kids are doing with her.  Their kids are always anxious to come over.  So that is a good sign.

Getting the "black gold" spread.  It took me a week to haul 1200 tons, it took these guys about 6 hours to fling it on the field.  Snnnnniiiiiffff, smell that Miracle Grow.

Ready for the wedding!

Amanda with her 4 kids on this particular day.

I wanted the kids to experience Mr. Rogers like I did growing up, and thanks to Youtube we can watch it on demand.  The kids like it, especially Fenton.  I didn't really notice growing up of course, but Mr. Rogers has some very good Christian messages constantly put forward.  Appreciating your neighbors especially is emphasised a lot.  Here they are "plugged into" the program.

I found some tadpoles in a pool of water by a neighbor's leaking irrigation pipe.  They were about 1/4 inch across when I caught them.  Now they are about 1 inch long and starting to get little legs.  Amanda feeds them slimy water out of the goat tank, and cooked lettuce. 
 Fenton likes to watch them. 

Here I was getting ready to move, and I took my handy little Suzuki with me to get back to the house.  Wooden pallet to park it on, ramps to drive up and down, strap to tie it down.  

Well, off to BMBC for the 6th year now!  Looks like the forecast is going to be very nice.  Cooler, chances of rain.  Sure beats 100 degrees like it has been before. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Last Phase Mobile App

I put a fuel tank in the back of my portable shop.  It is only 100 gal. and I would like it to be bigger, but bigger tanks are more expensive and heavier when full.  I generally don't burn 100 gal. in a day, except for really long days with hard plowing.  So, it should be enough to top up a tractor each evening.  I will keep more fuel in a bigger storage tank at the house.
(cutting torch, fuel tank, air compressor)

By the WAY! Stupid EPA is putting more regulations in effect for farmers and their fuel storage.  If you store more than 1350 gallons on a farm you have to have an expensive spill prevention plan, and spill containment measures in place.  What is so stupid about it is if you have 14 separate tanks scattered all over the farm and they all add up to 1350 gallons, you have to have this prevention plan.  Now how likely is it that all 14 tanks spill at the same time?

I am fine with spill prevention plans in place for large fuel storage tanks.  I have heard of some doozies over the years where a whole truckload of fuel went on the ground.  But this new regulation is so nitpicky, it is impossible.  Anyway I am not going to meet the 1350 gallon limit, but it is a foot in the door we will all roll over and take, the next will be a bigger more expensive encroachment.

I digress. I plumbed the tank to a cabinet on the trailer where the fuel pump will sit.  A couple of reasons:  One, limited access to hopefully prevent fuel theft.  Two, keep the hose and pump cleaner.  That is if all my pipe fittings are sealed up good and don't seep.  Fuel plumbing is hard to keep clean.  It seems every little joint seeps just enough to catch dust and make a mess.  I also had to weld a fitting in the tank so it would custom fit my trailer.  I'm anxious to put fuel in it to try it out, but I'm not anxious to buy $350 of fuel right now!

(this has been a really good pump considering I bought it as a refurbished unit when I started farming 15 years ago! Pipe is screwed into tank fitting through wall of trailer cabinet.)

(Hose and electric cord fit nicely. This cabinet has holes in the floor and I can wash it out if it gets messy.)

Now if we could get rain and the weeds started to grow, I would gladly shell out the dough to buy fuel if I had a bunch of plowing needed done.

Hard to believe not too many years ago we were using a 55 gallon barrel and a hand crank pump to have a little extra fuel for the combine from time to time.

Now for my latest busted knuckle project.  And this was a typical messy, difficult, greasy, stinky, messy, messy, oily, slimy, project.  If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing gearbox lubricant, you have really missed out when it comes to greasy stinky messes.

I have some CRP grass that needs shredded down in some spots.  It is more government busy work where we are going to mow down some grass, to eventually kill it out, so we can sow more grass back!  Isn't that a worthwhile sounding project!  That is how government works.

I was just getting started mowing the other day when I found a big wad of fence wire with the shredder.  It wrapped around the main set of blades on the mower.  I had to open up the gearbox to get the blade swinger arm and shaft out.  I did not get any pictures of the project when I had it scattered all over the shop.  Only pictures of the wad of wire.

 It wrecked the oil seal in the gearbox when the wire wrapped around the shaft, so the stinky nasty oil drained out all over everything.  Here is the gearbox after I got it loose from the deck of the shredder.  I had to park the shredder over the ditch so I could have room to work on the parts underneath.

 Here I have the box back on and so far no leaks.  I ran it for about 10 minutes to get it all warmed up and everything seems a OK. Now if we would get some rain to get the weeds growing I would have something else to mow.

I enjoy my mechanic projects from time to time as it is a way to save money so I feel like my time is not entirely wasted fixing stuff all the time.  But it seems like that is all I have been doing the last 12 months.  I don't feel like I have been doing any real "farming".  This drought just goes on and on and on.  I wish all this mechanic-ing would pay off with some long trouble free days plowing weedy ground and planting some crops.  Right now it seems I am more of a "tinkerer" like an old retired farmer.  

That is enough about my projects for a while.  I'll try to blog about the kids next time.......

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Mobile App

Everything is a mobile version or app today.  So I am going to call this "The Busted Knuckle Mobile Garage App"

It is always a pain farming out of two pickups, and even with a pickup, I can't carry all my tools and service equipment in the back all the time.  I just don't have enough toolbox space.  So for a while now I have been watching for a "service bed" like you see on utility company pickups, and such.  I found this little jewel on Craigslist, and it was a huge bargain for what it was.  The guy already had it set up like a trailer, just like I had in mind.

It is made out of fiberglass and the doors seal up tight and lock.  Hopefully no more dirt covering my tools like in my old toolbox on my pickup.  Now the fun of packing my tools in there all organized.  It has been lots of fun!  Yes, I have fun organizing my tools.  Sad, I know, but when I need to fix something I can lay my hand on what I need in an instant.

I mounted my welder on the front.  I plan to get a bbq grill tarp to cover it up.  Pretty much every tool I have is now in there, or will be in there.  Hope nobody steals it!  I think as long as I keep it hitched up to my pickup, or in the barn with the doors closed it should be pretty safe.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Baby Chickens

We haven't had chickens in several years, and Amanda was wanting some.  So we bought a few, and a few more for my folks.  We will raise them until they are big enough to turn loose at their place.  It is amazing how fast they grow.  They are supposed to be sorted by gender and these are all hens.  So we should have lots of eggs this summer.