Sunday, February 29, 2004

Well, it's been a lovely weekend and I spent almost all of it outside. I'm in the process of building fence right now, which oddly enough I actually enjoy now... mainly because I don't have to dig holes anymore (TC and I went in together last year on a post driver... best money ever spent)

The only flaw in the entire weekend was this morning. I had the Cat fired up to move a brushpile that was in the way of the new fence and slung a track because I wasn't paying attention. The Cat is a '64 933 loader and she's still got the original undercarriage, so needless to say, it's worn out. I used to have a lot of problems with the tracks until I learned the warning signs. After I figured that out, it's a simple matter to back up, twist and turn and basically roll them back on before they come off.

Well, that didn't happen this morning. I've got a lot of dirt encrusted on the undercarriage, so I didn't hear the little warning pops and cracks. Boy, I did it right... had it completely off the idler (on the front) and halfway off the drive sprocket (on the back). Fixing tracks is not really that difficult... if you have several big iron bars, 2 or 3 come-alongs, a sledgehammer and somebody to help! (there's usually a lot of cursing involved too) My problem this morning was the fact that I couldn't find but one come-along (didn't have any help either).

About an hour into the process I had the bright idea to use some off my chains and a couple of chain binders to hold everything in place so that I could move the come-along back and forth to whichever point I needed it at. This actually worked pretty well for a while. I got the track up on top of the idler, but I was having problems getting it around the front. There's a grease fitting on there that you can crack open to let the idler move back and I couldn't get the silly thing move back after I took the fitting off. About this time I moved one of my chain binders to the front. I had hooked the chain to the bucket and ran it it back to the track about waist high. I hooked the binder to it and pulled it to set it... it had quite a bit of tension on it and I let go of it at the wrong time and nailed myself just south of the belt buckle.

I had to go sit down for a while. Damn near swallowed a mouthful of skoal.

I finally got the bright idea to take a small bottle jack and use it to push the track rails forward. I almost had it back together when bigger brother showed up. His first words were "are you taking it off or putting it on?"

He's bad about those smartass comments.

With a little grunting and some judicious use of two big pry bars we got everything back in place shortly.

After that I was able to finish my clearing, pull up some posts that were in the wrong place and set four new ones, string part of my wire and set a bunch of T-posts. I finally quit when I ran out of daylight.

Long day, but the kind of day that makes it easier for me to spend all week in front of a computer at work.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Dairy's "Got Milk?" Campaign Found Unconstitutional

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that the checkoff-funded dairy marketing promotion program violates the First Amendment and "amounts to compelled speech." Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman said USDA "regards such programs, when properly administered, as effective tools for marketing enhancement." USDA is consulting with the Department of Justice on future action.

From Beef Cow/Calf weekly

I don't know that I have an opinion on this. For every producer in favor of checkoff programs there is another one who hates it. I'm all for it from a marketing standpoint, but on the other hand I can see not wanting to give a set percentage of your profits whether you wish to participate in the program or not...

Friday, February 27, 2004

Several North Georgia SCV camps are in trouble with the statewide organiztion over their support for the "new" state flag (aka Sonny's flag, as opposed to Roy's flag). The Georgia division claims to be neutral in this fight because they want to go back to the 1956 flag (St. Andrews cross, which is not on the ballot tuesday).

The way "King Roy" went about changing the old flag infuriated people more than actually changing it (the fact that Roy's rag was butt ugly didn't help either) and in my opinion cost him the election. I understand why he thought it needed to be done, but I think we could've fought off any boycotts and any other B.S. that the PCer's tried to throw at us. There is way too much money flowing through this state for a South Carolina style boycott to work. I believe Georgia could've weathered that storm without any difficulty at all.

I don't think we'll ever be able to go back to the '56 flag now that it's gone. I hate to say it, but I don't ever see the old flag coming back. Maybe it's for the best. I can't say for sure, because I've not walked in the shoes of those who find it offensive.

I actually kinda like the new one... not as much as the flag I grew up under, but I still like it.

The way I see it, the only good thing to come out of all this mess is to change it from a pissing contest between us and people from out of state who want to tell us what to do and turned it into a debate amongst ourselves.

(that was a crappy sentence, but I don't another way to say it)

More than you ever wanted to know about hay rakes....

This months Progressive Farmer has a little two paragraph blurb about an Ohio State field test to see what if any effect, hay rake design has on drying efficiency and nutritional value. They tested what we call wheel rakes (they're called finger rakes in some parts of the country), bar rakes(this is the traditional type of rake where I live) and rotary rakes.

Bar rakes have been around for close to a hundred years now and are pretty much the most common type of rake here. Wheel rakes are not quite as old, but they are gaining in popularity primarily (in my opinion) because they are pretty inexpensive (you can get an 8 or 10 wheel V-rake for less than 4k), they're also popular because the V-rakes will make a windrow in one pass, instead of two passes with a bar rake. Rotary rakes are very uncommon around here. I have one neighbor that has one. He got it last year and loves it. He says it's the only rake he's ever had that can stay ahead of him when he's baling. (When he makes hay, he makes hay! He put up nearly 1500 tons of hay last year. I play at it compared to this guy)

I'm getting a bit sidetracked here...

The folks at Ohio State determined that rake type doesn't make any difference in drying time (there was a nutritional issue with alfalfa hay because of leaf loss, but that doesn't effect me since I'm out of the alfalfa business).

That may be true in Ohio, but I have to disagree with them as far as we're concerned down here. From what I've seen, wheel rakes help with drying in the humidity down here. They make a very loose, airy windrow (which is HARD to square bale behind) that lets the wind and sun get down into the windrow to help it dry out fast.

A bar rake can make a windrow like that if you're only raking one swath. If you double rake (rake two swathes together), which is what most folks around here do, it tends to rope the hay, which makes it feed into my square baler better, but it doesn't help with drying. In extremely thick hay, a bar rake will rope hay on a single pass. My PTO driven bar rakes (MF model 25's) are very bad about this. They make a very tight windrow, which is great for square baling, but only if the hay is dry enough to bale when I rake. It will not dry out in the windrow when I use the pickup rakes. My Hesston ground-driven rake isn't that bad about it, but bigger brother complains about my windrows when I rake with it. Last time he gripped about it, I told him to bale behind BP's (idiot neighbor) wheel rake with our baler, then come talk to me about my raking abilities.

I have never used a rotary rake, I've had several opportunities to buy one, but shied away from them, simply because I didn't know anyone who had any experience with one. After my neighbors success with his, I'm getting interested in one. One thing I noticed last year when they were in the field was the fact that the windrows were perfectly consistent throughout. No slugs, not thick spots and no roping. The problem is cost with a new one... I could buy a used tractor for the price of a new Kuhn rotary rake. I got way too many things that are a higher priority than that.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

We gots snow!

Only about 2-3 inches though.

But it's the best kind of snow; enough to be pretty, but not enough to knock the power out.

It was kind of amusing to watch Sunny out in the paddock this morning. She's only three and has never seen snow. She was gingerly walking around and I'm sure she was wondering what in the hell all this white stuff is.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

When I got to the office this morning I had an email from some guy who professed to be a producer with the Daily Show. I correctly assumed this was related to the Possum man's almost-brush with fame from yesterday.

I emailed the guy back and told that since I didn't live in Birmingham, I was not a suitable interviewee for him. Didn't hear anything else, so I guess I'm off the hook too.

It took a little while to figure out how this yokel got my work email address. Terry finally figured out he'd got it from the comments on that particular post.

DR was over at the house the other day to help me do a little bit of barn maintenance. I was down on the ground holding the ladder and he was about 12 feet up in the air when he looks down and says "y'know that cartoon y'like s'well?"

"which one?"

"The one that's got Hank and Boomhauer and that Dale feller."

"Oh, you mean King of the Hill."

"Yup, I've figgered sumthin' out."

"What's that?"

"Y'know that feller on thar, not Dale or Boomhauer, the other'un."

"You mean Bill Dohtery?"

"Yeah... I'm him."

I was sort of suprised at this statement... I've made that very same observation to my bride. It's not entirely true though and I told DR that.

"Now, I wouldn't say that... you've got a healthy dose of Dale Gribble in you too."

Well, if he's made this connection, maybe he does realize he's a complete idiot when it comes to the fair sex. I'm vaguely distrubed by the fact that he's discovered the local singles lines... I shudder to think what he might drag home....

Sunday, February 22, 2004

I've made noises before about upgrading so I can post pictures, but I've been too lazy to do so. I think this drivel would probably be a bit more entertaining with pictures... so, what's the best bargain-basement digital camera to get? I'm talking el-cheapo because although I'd like to have a nice one, I need a DVD burner (for archiving) worse.

Probably wouldn't hurt to get an external firewire drive to load OS X on so that I can fix the mess I made a couple of weeks ago.

I did something earlier today that I haven't done in nearly three years. I dragged my fat ass up on a horse.

Not just any horse either, but my little unbroke three year old.

She was good as gold, didn't even offer to buck.

I had spent most of the day expanding the round pen so sweetie can work a couple of youngsters she has. I saw that she had one saddled, but didn't pay attention to who it was until she brought Sunny up to the corral. I wanted to climb on her first, but the boss wouldn't let me. She rode her around for about five minutes and climbed off, so I climbed on on rode for about ten or fifteen minutes. That may not seem like much, but since this was her first time we wanted to take it easy. I expect I'll probably be riding quite a bit in the coming months.

It may have been three years since I've rode, but it's been nearly twenty years since l've ridden a green horse. Hopefully between now and hay season I'll be able to get her finshed so that anyone can ride her. That shouldn't be a problem as she has the best dispostion of any mare I've ever owned (including her mother, who was one of the best horses ever foaled).

Saturday, February 21, 2004

I've mentioned that I went a couple of weeks ago and bought 50 2x8s for rafters; I called the lumberyard yesterday to order some 2x12s for stringers... $14.95 each (I hate to think what Lowes or Home Depot would cost) and since I need 32 of 'em I was not happy. The stringers were going to cost me close to $500 and I still have to buy something for lathing and metal for the roof.

I went this morning and looked at some lumber that a fellow had advertised in the Market Bulletin a couple of weeks ago. 2x8s for $3 each. I bought a hundred of 'em. I figure I can double 'em and rip the rest of them into 2x4s for my lathing.

I'm almost ready to start my sheds now, I've just got to order my posts and I'll be ready to start.

That took up part of the day, I spent the rest of it riding around with TC looking at some junk tractors and jacking up our roadgrader so that we can fix two flats on it (TC "found" an old spike tooth drag harrow in his pasture when he was knocking out some terraces).

So my big payday from my freelance job is pretty well spent now (did I mention I paid off my Lowes card? That damn thing is getting cut up and canceled shortly). I did squander forty bucks to get Open Range and Secondhand Lions on DVD.

Tomorrow I'm going to clean up around the barn so that I'll be able to start my construction next weekend (depending on the weather).

Well, I finally got paid for a big free-lance job I did a couple of months ago. It was mostly Photoshop work and I have to say it's some of the best work I've ever done. The designer who did the book (this was a catalog piece) was tickled with everything I did for her, so I ended up making quite a bit more than I originally anticipated. The printed piece looked great (mainly due to the talent of the designer) and I was very pleased to add it to the ole portfolio. Actually, this is probably the only thing I've added in 5 or 6 years. I'm feeling very pleased with myself right now.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I had to make the Fed-Ex run tonight. We normally don't have to worry about that, because Fed-Ex makes a pick up at our office every day at 5:00. The problem comes in when a client (who is at a trade show) calls in at 4:55 and wants two hundred copies of their circular sent to them overnight. This is problematic because we didn't do their circular, another agency did it and for some odd reason, they just can't seem to be able to output these flyers.

The client says ok, send me a pdf and we'll get Kinko's to do it.

Yeah, right.

The Kinko's printouts don't look right, so what do they do? They forward the file to us.

So it falls in my lap. The client says "oh, by the way, can you fix our logo? It looks low-res on the Kinko's printout."

Sure, no problem, just open it up in Illustrator and drop in a clean logo. Nope, that doesn't work either. The idiots at the other agency did their page layout in Photoshop, then placed it in a Freehand Document and then made a pdf file. An RGB, 72 dpi pdf to be exact. Gee, I wonder why the printouts look low-res?

I, along with everyone who has ever worked in pre-press, hate people who do things like this. Yes, I can edit the file, but it's an aggravating process that takes much longer to do than it would if the layout were done properly from the beginning. And in the end, the print job still looks like crap. Garbage in, garbage out.

There are days like today that I want to climb up on a rooftop and scream. Photoshop is NOT for page layout. Freehand is NOT what you need to use for multi-page document layout ( I don't give a rat's ass what Macromedia says, I'm the one who has to fix crap like this).

Quark, Indesign and Heaven forbid, Ragemaker are a hundred times easier to work with when you get ready to go to press. Freehand and Illustrator are great for doing single page layouts, but don't send me a four page layout done in Freehand and expect me not to curse loudly and profanely while describing the ancestary of the desginer for the past fifty generations.

I have make this stuff work in the real world. I honestly think that every print designer should have to spend at least two years working in pre-press before they go to work for an agency. Then they would have a far better idea of what works and what doesn't and wouldn't dump crap on their printer to fix at the last minute. One of the best reasons in the world to be nice to your printer is because they can save your ass. If you send them good clean files that they can USE, they are much more likely to call you and say "hey, we've got a problem with this file, are you sure you want to run it like that?" That beats the daylights out of them saying "oh well, they signed off on the proof. run it." On a big print run, say a 100,000 copies, that can cost you your job.

Ok, the proper sequence for this job to have worked properly. Do the funky background image in Photoshop (this is NOT the time to place logos), drop it into a Quark (or Indesign or Ragemaker) layout, import vector logos (Illustrator, Freehand) set the type, write a postscript file (including all fonts, setting it to create a generic cmyk file), make a pdf with Distiller 4.0 or newer with maximum jpeg compression, then email the damn thing to me so that I can't print it out without having to spend two hours fixing screwups... and if there are screwups, well, if the file is set up like this, then I can open it in Illustrator (or Freehand) and fix it.

I'm through with my rant... for now.

On a different note, if you're a web designer who's taken offense at this, you have my apologies, 99% of what I'm talking about doesn't apply to you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

On a somewhat related note, Tyson just lost a class action lawsuit in Federal Court to cattle producers that claimed their subsidary, IBP, had depressed beef prices in the Southeast. Needless to say Tyson is appealing this...

the jury found that Tyson's "conduct in manipulating and controlling the price it paid for cattle was in violation of an 80-year-old law…This should be considered an extraordinary day for cattle producers in this country."

10:30 and I've just made it home... this is starting to wear on me just a little bit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Some bright soul in Washington has decided that our government needs a national animal identification system. They're using the recent BSE scare to push this forward. It's going before the house as H.R. 3787. Anyhow, they want to be able to identify within 48 hours where a sick animal came from and what other livestock it's been in contact with. Now, how they're going to accomplish this what what I don't understand.

Maybe they're going to implant a GPS device in every cow in the nation?

From what I've read the USDA is throwing about 200 million dollars at this.

They're also wanting to do this with sheep, goats, pigs and horses... along with just about every other kind of domestic critter in the country. I can understand WHY they're wanting to this, but this has got to be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of. They couldn't even get Country of Origin labeling (which I favor) passed, so they have to come up with something has the makings of being a clusterf%*k of epic proportions?

I forsee an expanded USDA to oversee this... a lot of excess paperwork for small operators... a lot of small operators getting out of the cattle business... worst of all, I see the cattle business going to vertical integration, much like poultry. That bothers me more than anything...

I've found a website for the Haymaster accumulator that I looked at down at Sunbelt. I would love to try one out this summer, unfortunately the company is located in Florida, so I doubt I'd be able to get a demo unit to try.

Talked to some folks up in middle Tennessee that have a rugged looking old Farmall 856 for sale. It's actually close to my price range, but I'd probably have to spend another thousand on it to get it usable. It needs new tires and the original flattop fenders are GONE.

Fenders are important as I don't like the idea of being six feet off the ground with nothing betwixt me and the tires. On a smaller tractor, that wouldn't bother me. Fenders were an option on the letter series Farmalls, you will rarely find one in the south with fenders.

I could possibly go to a boneyard and find an old Excel or Hiniker Cab to go on it... TC is pretty good with air conditioning... That would be pure bliss to mow with climate control....

Still, it's a 100 pto HP machine. I could hook the mower to it in the spring and free up the Ferguson for the rest of the summer.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Once upon a time, I owned a Henry rifle (still do, but it's a different one) and I went to reenactments with some guys who did an East Tennessee Unionist impression (lots of stupid politics in the Confederate units in those days, which is why I played yankee). Anyhow, that's neither here nor there as far as the present story is concerned.

I went to the event at Jonesboro in a about '88 or '89 carrying this particular rifle. It was an early production Navy Arms rifle (SN # 490 I think) and it had a few problems, mainly with the magazine, but also the barrel had a bad habit of rotating just a little bit, which meant when I'd load it that the cartridges would sometimes hang on the frame.

The Henry has a strange loading method; to load (with the rifle empty) you place the rifle butt on the ground with the lever facing you, pull the cartridge follower up towards the end of the barrel, compressing the magazine spring as you go. The end of the barrel swivels to one side after you get the spring and follower pulled up (I once got my horse tangled up with another guys and lost the whole assembly, never did find all of it) you then proceed to drop cartridges in.

Well, I was running around in the woods at Jonesboro with a bunch of guys with the 21st and 52nd Ohio and we were retreating in relatively decent order towards a prepared line of entrenchments to our rear. I paused to reload, not noticing that my barrel was slighty askew. While I was still in the reloading process the Confederates facing us made a rush at our postition, getting to within about 40 feet in all the smoke and confusion.

I hurriedly finished loading and turned to face the advancing Confederates... and comitted a great no-no with a Henry. Instead of lowering the cartridge follower gently, I simply released it... and had a chainfire. It knocked down the guy who was kneeling in front of me, made a horrendous boom, blew out the sides of the magazine and caused the advancing Confederates to fall back...

They thought we'd dragged a field gun down into the woods. The guy that got knocked down was a retired Marine Sergeant. Luckily he wasn't hurt (nothing was hurt but my rifle and my pride) but he gave me a serious cussing after we put out his smouldering jacket.

The most fun I ever had with that rifle was at the 125th anniversery of Chickamauga. I fell in with four or five other guys with Henrys out on the Skrimish line. We found yourselves a (relatively) dry streambed about five feet deep and fifteen feet wide and we hunkered down. We left mounds of empty cartridges in that ditch. We finally had to go back to our lines when we got outflanked on each side (kinda like Wilder?) The Confederates just advanced around us like the water in a creek parting around a big rock. We had a worm's eye view of of this massive advance (about four or five thousand Confederates).

One of the most impressive things I've seen was at the 125th of Gettysburg. I got lost (really!) and wound up between the lines the first day. I took shelter in a copse of trees beside a small stream and watched the Confederate Cavalry come pounding accross that stream in a column of fours at a dead gallop... and no, I didn't have a camera with me.

I have no idea where that came from, it has nothing to do with my Henry rifle...

I realize this was kind of a weak effort, but we are extremely busy at the salt mines right now. I haven't been in the mood to do much in the way of writing lately. I'll try to catch up in the near future.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

whew! almost finished with the catalog from hell... finished the index tonight.

I've just got home (8.45pm) and I'm raht tarrd.

The cover goes on press Monday morning; I'm hoping they'll let me go up there for the press check, but I'll not hold my breath. Even with this project winding down, I'm still busier that I've been since... oh, um I guess the last catalog.

It may be a short-term blessing that we've lost a couple of clients recently, I doubt we could handle the work without having to farm a lot of it out. I dislike it when they do that, I'd rather do it myself rather than have to worry about whether someone on the outside has done the job right. I hate having to go behind someone and fix everything... that was part of the attraction of an agency, I get to cause problems instead of fixing them!

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Well, I didn't go to look at the Case today, I would've liked to, but since I really can't afford it right now I decided not to go... 'sides I didn't have anybody to ride with me. Road trips are kindly dull without company.

My freelance work has probably dried up for a good while now, maybe permanently. The photography studio that I was doing a lot of image work for has hired a fellow to do their stuff in-house. They've not gotten around to informing me of this yet, but that is the case. I actually saw him Friday with I stopped by to pick up a 1099. He looks like a clone of me... scary.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

I guess the "corn likker" title to the previous post is a tad misleading, I should have just named it "Road Trip."

Tractors, loafing and corn likker

I've done a months worth of loafing all in one day today. I was supposed to ride up to Meigs county with TC to look at that 1394 Case (bigger brother is out of town), but the owner is a truck driver and he had to make a run to Arkansas today. He asked if I could come up there Sunday after church, so I figure that'll take care of my day tomorrow.

TC called me early this morning and said it was too damn cold to do anything today (other than feed the stock), so we went loafing. We were undecided on where to go, I kindly wanted to ride over to Henegar and look at those two Hesston 540 round balers, but we took a notion to go the other way. Neither one of us had been over to the dealer in Blue Ridge, so we went over to Mason New Holland(they're a McCormick dealer too). We looked around, kicked some tires, picked up some literature from the sales rep and decided that since we were already most of the way there that we'd ride up to Blairsville to the John Deere dealer.

We got up to Nelson Tractor (John Deere, New Holland and Kubota) and I said dang, we're way over here, let's just ride up north a ways, hit 64 and come back through Cleveland and see what-all Lewisco's got on the lot for the auction next weekend (not much).

It was snowing pretty good most of the day. It commenced to laying pretty good when we came through North Carolina, I was starting to think this wasn't such a good idea after all, but it wasn't sticking to the road, so we didn't have any problems.

So we drove about a 100 miles or so, looked at tractors in three states and just generally spent the day riding around.

The bargain of the day was a 175 Ferguson with two flat tires for $4100. I did get to look at a 7810 Ford MFWD at Nelson, but the only guy left up there was a mechanic and he had no idea whether it was a customer tractor or one they had for sale. It was most likely far, far out of my price range. TC found a JD grain drill at Lewisco, but we didn't price it. Didn't see any round balers that I liked or could afford a'tall.

The neatest thing I saw today was these little buttons on the back of the fenders of the McCormick CX series tractors. They allow you to raise and lower the lift arms while standing beside the implement at the rear of the tractor. That takes a tremendous amount of aggravation out of hooking up implements (especially heavy things like disc mowers...). I'm not fond of electronic gizmo's on my tractors, but that is a dandy idea. How long these little buttons will work under field conditions is the $64 question.

Conversation with TC about the lack of any flat ground up in the mountains:
"I bet the only crop folks ever fooled with up here in these little fields was corn"
"Yeah, but they counted the harvest in gallons instead of bushels"

All in all, a pretty good way to waste a day.

Friday, February 06, 2004

I hate to admit this, but I've always been a seat-of-the-pants computer user. Tonight I got a wild hair and loaded OSX... bad, bad idea. I quickly discovered that the video card for my palette monitor isn't OSX compatible, nor is my scsi card (which means I can't use my zip, jazz or scanner) and I lost all of my email.

Luckily you can do the dual boot thing, so I can play with OSX for a while before I try this again. I'm thinking that I really need to wait until the time rolls around for new mac and make the switch then. I'm getting out of my comfort zone with OSX... it's almost like a bizarre version of NT. It seems to run a tad slower too, that's not good considering what I use it for.

Well, I've found a nifty little crawler tractor that I'd love to bring home... problem is that it's in Wisconsin.

'sides, I don't know where I'd be able to find a new barrell for the gun...

In light of the Possum man's recent traffic problems, I think he's the one who needs it, so's he won't get stuck in traffic no more...

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I've mentioned the Grumbling Bear (one of my co-workers) in passing before. He used have some sort of job with the Yankee Guv-mit in Warshintin. I regularly accuse him of being some sort of junior cypher clerk for the spooks at Langley, which pisses him off to no end, which is why I do it. I dearly love to poke him with a stick. He's also an Über-dimocrat which makes it that much more fun.

Yesterday being Groundhog day, I yelled at him when I came in, "Hey! Karl Rove saw his shadow this morning, you know what that means?"

"rahhrahrawreah* what?"

"Fo' mo' years of W!"

"raaarrh rea raaah!"

*he makes these sounds quite often, hence his name, "Grumbling Bear".
I told him it could be worse, we could have named him the "Constipated Bear".

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Sweetie's got some friends who fox hunt, y'know red coats, hounds and all that. She was invited to a Hunter Pace back in the fall, which is sort of a practice run for a real fox hunt.

She had a really good time and expressed interest to her friend in joining the hunt club. She was taken aback that the dues are a Thousand dollars a year.... She has since found out that's cheap compared to some clubs.

When she got home and started telling me about it she complained about the dues being so high and didn't understand why.

I knew why...

And I told her why. She didn't believe me at first and she's still not positive I'm right, but I am.

It's to keep out the riffraff.

People like me, who would bring their own dogs (why cain't my Bluetick run foxes? hell, he runs everything else in the valley), people like my Vet, who used to take a mule to the fox hunts when he was a student at Mississipi State...

They'd call the law if I showed up at one of them things. I'd carry a buffalo rifle and bring every coon dog I could find. Either that or go in Safari attire, complete with pith helmet and gun bearer.

I like the first idea better, but dangit, what's the point in going if ya cain't run yer own dogs?

Thing is, the folks that I know that belong to these clubs know better than to invite me.

I spent four hours today trying to get the Cat started. When I finally did get it going it was so late in the day that wasn't able to do much with it, which is a shame. The ground is dry enough for good traction, but still wet enough to pop scrub brush and small trees right out of the ground without a lot of effort.

The new Farmers Exchange came yesterday, it's a paper I get that has equipment for sale in middle Tennessee and north Alabama. I always look forward to getting it because it's about the only paper I get that has any bargins in it.
I've been looking around a bit for a round baler, haven't had a lot of luck. I need to get another tractor, but I don't want to lay out a lot of money right now. I figure I can probably spend 3K on a baler without putting myself into money troubles, whereas another tractor would set me back at least 5K.

So, guess what's in the Exchange? No balers in my range, but a 970 Case w/ Cab ($4250), a 175 MF ($4500), a 1085 MF w/cab ($5250), another 1085 MF w/cab AND AIR! ($4900), a 1086 International (130+ hp, $5500) and an International 856 ($3500)... on top of that, bigger brother has found a 4x4 1394 Case with a loader for $6500.

The 1394 is probably the best deal of the lot, but as it stands now I'd be tickled pink to be able to drag any of 'em home. The 175 would be the one I'm least interested in because it's the smallest (62hp) followed by the 856 ('late '60s model in rough condition, but runs well) One of the 1085's would be nice, I'm not adverse to the 970 Case, but a 1085 has the same Perkins engine that my 285 has and most of the filters will interchange (plus I've got a neighbor with a junked one sitting in his pasture). The 1086 would be great simply because it's so damn big. It would pull my heavy equipment without having to work so hard.

Well, maybe I get some more overtime or some more side jobs in the near future. I would say hit the lottery, but ya' gots to buy a ticket first... and really, if I hit the lottery, do you really think I'd be looking at this used stuff?

As a matter of fact, I would.