Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Well that was bizarre

DR, who I written much of, has lost his mind.

His ex-wife is evidently leaving the idiot she left him for and wants to move back in with him. This makes about six or seven times this has happened now. And of course, he's taking her back. The bizarre part is that he called asking to borrow my truck to move her. He's afraid to use his because he has no insurance at the moment. The reason he has no insurance is because of his ex-wife (indirectly). The boy has lost his marbles completely. I would have wrote her off after the first time she left me.

Yes, I did loan him my truck. I even cleaned it out for him (first time in nearly a year you could see the bedliner).

I guess a shrink would say I'm enabling his stupidity. Maybeso, but we've been friends for nearly thirty years and if he thinks this is what it takes to bring some joy into his life, I'm not going to try to talk him out of it.

Although I still think he's crazy as hell.

In other news, I still haven't managed to bale any hay. Popped about five shear pins and quit. Maybe it'll bale tomorrow, once again provided I can get away from the office. I don't think that will happen as one of our clients is trying to kiss up to Home Depot and I have to do a metric butt-ton of labels with a 1pm Friday deadline. Wouldn't be a problem, but they are all Illustrator files.

I did get everything here raked with the new tractor. It runs pretty fair, but smokes like a tar pit. I really, really like the foot throttle. That's a handy thing. I don't like the fact that seat won't adjust far enough back to keep my big ole belly out of the steering wheel though.

The Farmers Exchange came today, someone in middle Tennessee has a 551 Ford round baler in there for $1400. I didn't really get to use mine enough to decide whether I liked it, but $1400 for a field-ready belt baler is going to be hard to beat.

Not to beat a dead horse

or dead cat in this case.

Things I should have said when this first came up;

• Was that the black cat or the tabby you found?

• I've got four more in the other freezer, the Peking Moon pays big money for them around the holidays.

• I was planning on having it mounted.

• I'm trying to start a catsicle business.

Any of the above comments would have gotten me killed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

It's not all gloom and doom...

But I'm sure it will be again ere long.

My current plan is to win the lottery and move. Fiji is starting to sound better and better. I probably should buy a ticket for that plan to work.

On a somewhat lighter note, I did learn how to drive the Deutz over the weekend. The problem with this little jewel is that it has some electrical problems; therefore we have to roll it off to start it whenever we need to use it. That isn't a major problem, except for the fact I can't leave anything hooked up it.

Today I tried to start it so I could bring it up to the barn and fix the drawbar so that I can use it to rake hay tomorrow (provided I can escape from the office). I started off down the hill; let off the clutch... nothing happened. Rolled a little further... still nothing. Rode all the way down past where the dozer guy is working on Sweetie's arena... still nothing. I ended up a quarter mile from where I started without getting it to crank. I walked to the barn, got the truck & my bride and went back down to get her to pull me off. She dragged me around for twenty minutes without any success.

That's when I remembered to check the fuel shutoff.

It seems I had forgotten that little item. After I disengaged (not sure if that's the right word) it, it started within twenty feet.

Sweetie was not pleased with me. One of her more kind statements was "why don't you ever buy sh*t that runs?" Then she dissolved into laughter at the hangdog look I gave her.

Unfortunately, by this time it was nearly dark, so I was unable to do anything other than fix the drawbar today. I didn't have to right pin to fix it with, so I used what was handy, which was a hydraulic cylinder pin and a rusty nail. Not sure I want to take off down the road with that rig, but it should be fine for what I'm doing here on the farm.

Two pieces of good news, I got my truck back from the shop, where it has languished since Friday morning after that unfortunate little incident on the interstate... No, I didn't write about that, because it was overtaken by events, but it wasn't a big deal other than me being truckless for five days. That's hard on a redneck. It also left me stranded when I would have been better off traveling.

I think I may have figured out what’s wrong with the Nissan too. It seems to have a loose battery cable. That beats the heck out of buying a new alternator.

Hopefully tomorrow I can rake and bale some hay. If the rain holds off and I get the fields I mowed Saturday I may be done for the year... maybe. I've got a field that might mow towards the end of October if I have some decent weather.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

An older gentleman came into the tractor place not too long ago and made the observation that his father had been right about something he'd told him a long time ago.

"ever' woman on earth is crazy as hell, 'cept for your Mama. And if you ask your Daddy, he'll tell ya she is too."

Monday, September 20, 2004

Practical Jokes

Now I'll admit I'm a bit of a practical joker, but this is one of the best mean jokes I've ever run across.

The ole' boy we bought the Deutz off of is an Ironworker, since bigger brother is a Millwright, they know a lot of the same people, so I got to listen to a couple of hours worth of tale-telling. The best story I heard had nothing to do with Ironworkers or Millwrights, but with Bobby's son. His son worked at the John Deere place in Scottsboro several years ago and while working there he pulled one of the best "get even" stunts I've ever heard of.

There was a fellow from over in there that had a construction business and he tended to have a lot of free time in the afternoons, so he'd come by the tractor place and aggravate the boys who worked there. One of his most annoying habits was going through everybody's lunchbox and eating the leftovers every time he dropped by. One day he came in and was hoo-rawing the boys and somehow or another came up with an electric cattle prod. I don't think this idiot realized just how much those things hurt when you hit somebody with it. He slipped up behind Bobby's boy and touched him on the leg with that cattle prod. The boy just about jumped out of his skin and drawed back to hit him but caught himself before he did. He was so pissed he just gathered his stuff and left. I can't say that I blame the boy, I'd be pissed too.

Well, he went home and told his daddy what happened and asked how to get him back.. Bobby told his boy he'd study on it and they'd come up with something. A few days passed before he had a thought. An evil, wicked, downright mean thought...

Bobby's wife grows hot peppers. usually jalapenos, but this particular year she'd got a wild hair and planted some habaneros. Bobby had horses at the time, so he was well equipped with large syringes and horse needles. He took some of those habaneros and put 'em in the blender and pureed 'em down to a liquid state. Then he took a big syringe and filled it with that pepper juice and injected it into a Twinkie through the wrapper. He gave it to his boy and told him to put it in his lunchbox and make damn sure that he didn't eat it by mistake.

The next day the fellow came into the John Deere place and started in about being hungry. He hit the lunchboxes and directly he came across that Twinkie. He grabbed it and pulled the wrapper off and took a bite (y'know how with a Twinkie, you don't just take a normal bite, you get about half the Twinkie?) and commenced to chewing. He worked his jaw about three times before it hit him. He turned bright red and then white as the blood drained out of his face. He let out a squall that shook the building and spewed Twinkie all over the floor. He ran for the door and of course, everyone followed to see what he was doing. They found him outside with a waterhose stuck in his mouth going full blast.

For some reason, he stayed out of everybody's lunchbox after that.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

TC is calling me names

We rode over to Alabama yesterday and picked up the Deutz, so now I have three tractors. Well, technically I have two and a half since the Ford is down right now. I had intended to use the Deutz today, but big brother took off with the manual and I've never driven one, so it stayed parked today. I had the boys up to help me with barn cleanup. We managed to get most of the mess cleaned up, but there is still more to do than I care to think about before we can in there with a dozer. I think the worst part will be tearing down the rest of the shed, which wouldn't be so bad in and of itself if not for all of the freaking engine blocks, transmissions and assorted junk my brother had piled in there the last thirty years.

I have a clear stretch of weather and no hay to cut. I think I am going to take tomorrow off to bushhog.

Did stop in Stevenson and look at a 430 JD round baler, but I think he's a little high on it. $4500. It might be worth calling about if he'll come off that about a thousand or so.

In related news, since I've tried NH stack wagons and accumulators and wasn't too pleased, we are talking about finding a bale buggy. A bale buggy is a large, odd looking two-wheeled cart that trails along behind a square baler. The bales go up a slide and dump into the buggy and when it's full you open the back door and dump everything on the ground. The biggest advantage to this is that you can dump everything in one place for loading, which beats the heck out of driving all over the field to pick them up.

And since I never finished the story about my heading for this post, here it is...

I realized about the time we got to Chattanooga yesterday (which was far too late to back out) that we shouldn't have bought the Deutz. I told my brother this and he asked why? So I had to tell him that TC was already calling me "little Farrell" because I have been having so many problems with the weather these past two years. For anyone who has been reading this, Farrell is my neighbor that I've written about as "FG." This poor guy used to drink a lot and kept all of his equipment tore all to hell, all the time. Farrell has two Deutz tractors, an 90.06 and a 60.06 just like the one we just bought. I had to listen to my yahoos all day talking about that damn tractor. They wanted to know where I kept my whiskey bottles when I was driving it. So far I've had two of the nieghbors stop and ask if I'd bought it from Farrell.

And of course, now that we've bought it, bigger brother found a big Ford tractor with a cab for not much more money...

I think we'll be happy with it, but I do wish it were a Ford.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Cuss Words

I watched part of Smokey and the Bandit last night. I haven't seen it in years and thus had forgotten some of the funnier Jackie Gleason one-liners and insults in it. "Tick-turd" would have to be my favorite forgotten insult.

One thing I noticed (even back in the seventies when I saw it at the theater) was Jackie Gleason's use of "sumbitch" instead of "sonovabitch" which is how I've always heard it pronounced. I've traveled through most (but not all) of the South and I can safely say I've never heard a Southerner pronounce it "sumbitch." Now, I have heard yankees who were trying to sound like hicks say it that way, but never a Southerner. Whether there are places in the South were "sumbitch" is the pronunciation is the question then. I think I've seen Rob Smith write it, but writing it is one thing, using it in speech is another. It is shorter than spelling all three words... and it does convey a certain flavor to the written word.

My dad was a truck driver when I was growing up and he would sometimes take me with him on trips, so I was exposed to a wide variety of cuss words at an early age. Not so much from my dad as from the people one meets in truck stops. Because of a youth spent around farmers, mechanics, truck drivers, farriers, horse traders and mill workers I considered myself well versed in the art of cussing...

That was before I met the loggers. That's "Loggers," not "Bloggers."

I had never in my life been around anybody else that could cut loose with such an unadulterated profanity as I heard from these guys. And it wasn't just that every third word was a four letter one, it was the combinations that they used. I saw the boss shut down the loader he was running, climb up on top of it and pour forth such a stream of invective on to a truck driver that I wished I had a tape recorder, or at least a notebook. I don't think the man paused to draw breath for at least five minutes. I had a couple of buddies in the Marines at the time who could have gained some valuble knowledge from this guy. I doubt if R. Lee Ermey could compete with this fellow.

I saw him a few months ago, he's still in the timber business, but he's settled down considerably since he got married and had kids.

Monday, September 13, 2004

I have a friend who is running for a local public office right now. I stopped by her house yesterday to pick up a couple of signs to put up for her and got to talking with her about her campaign. We ended up with me going home with a flyer that she had printed but isn't happy with to see if I could do anything with it. After all, I've been in Advertising for lo these many years, you'd think I may have learned something. Anyway, I'm just doing a few tweaks to make her handouts more readable. As I left, I did have to ask her "...are you sure you want to entrust your political future to typographer wearing bibb overalls?"

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Antique Tractor Porn

Since I'm too lazy to write anything today, I offer up a couple of machines I saw at Sunbelt last year.

An Allis G. The G's are very interesting to me as they were the only tractors ever built in the deep South by one of the big manufacturers. They were built from 1948-55 in Gadsden Alabama and were extremely popular with truck farmers.

And a Massey Harris Pony. I wouldn't mind having one of these with a full set of cultivators, side dresser and other assorted implements.

Friday, September 10, 2004

I still feel lousy, but the crud seems to be going away.

If my nose were blowing money but its not.

Say that real fast.

Anyway, I've got some much to do I don't know where to start. I may just decide to not do anything and go to the equipment auction tomorrow. The Tunnel Hill Reenactment is this weekend too, but I've pretty much lost interest in that. I'd be more inclined to go if I could ride. Maybe next year, provided I've got Sunny shot broke by then.

Sweetie just called, she's on her way back from B'ham with a mare that she took to a Vet down there to get digital x-rays of the mares feet and legs. The mare, which she is selling for a friend didn't Vet out up here, which is why she took her down there. Unfortunately she didn't vet out down there either because of some past ankle trauma. She's not lame, but there is a question on whether she will come up lame under saddle. This stinks because we have (had) a buyer who was interested in her.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I feel like I've been run over by a snot truck

That is, provided there was such a thing as a snot truck. I'm taking a shotgun dosage of of Sudafed, Tylenol Allegry, Nyquil and Contact, so I cannot be held responsible for anything I type today.

Today marks an entire week since I've drank a Coca Cola. Big deal huh? It is for me, because I usually drink at least two a day along with sweet tea at every meal. Haven't drank any sweet tea in a week either. I'm trying to wean myself off this crap before I keel over dead. Salt is next on my hit list... well, the amount of salt is next. Whenever I finally get used to this.

Things are dead at the saltmine today, so I'm archiving. Since I can burn CDs in the background I decided to type out some hogwash for my two faithful readers to be bored by. I think I'll start with my Alabama expedition.

I found an ad in the Farmers exchange for a 65hp Deutz tractor and a NH 273 square baler last week. I called the guy and found out it was fairly close by in Skyline Alabama, which is not too far us on the other side of Scottsboro. Bigger Brother and I decided to ride over there Saturday morning and come back accross Sand Mountain and look at equipment up there while we were over there.

Found the place without too much difficulty and looked the tractor over. It was a little beat up, but it ran well. We did have to pull it off, but a hot battery should take care of that. After a lot of disscussion, we decided to buy it, because I highly doubt we'll find a better deal. This would be great if it were, say March or April, but at least we'll have it for next season. It will make life a lot easier to have a third machine. Since this tractor is between the two that we already have (size and hp-wise) I can use the smaller implements with it, but it's still big enough to handle the mowers.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Loooong weekend

So much going on that I'm at a loss where to begin, so I'll do a brief rundown of everything now and try to go into more detail later this week.

Adventures in tractor shopping in Northern Alabama with stops in Scottsboro and Skyline, complete with side trip across Sand Mountain. Quick observation; the thriving metropolis of Hollywood Alabama has a "Town Limits" sign rather than a "City Limits" sign. Good to see some folks who aren't pretentious.

The Hesston dealer in Henegar claims that the high capacity inline baler will bale 400 bales an hour. I personally think that's horseshit and would like to see one in action.

Elvis has a new playmate. A splendid looking Bluetick that Bigger Brother came dragging down here Friday. This poor dog has been a house dog all his life, so this should be interesting how he adapts.

We've finally started on the barn addition. Got the holes dug Friday evening, still working on setting posts. Further proof that I am an idiot comes from the fact that I didn't buy enough posts (or concrete) and the posts I bought are too long. Not a problem as they can be cut off, but I paid a lot more for them than I would've paid for the proper length to begin with. I hope to have everything boxed in and start setting rafters by the weekend. We'll see. None of my plans seem to working out in a timely fashion of late.

Baby, the little mare that Sweetie came dragging home from the sale two months ago, is in bad shape. I am afraid she will have to be put down. We'll know more about her tomorrow when the vet gets some blood samples.

Saw a JD 4020 on Sand Mountain that was an LPG. That's the first one I've ever seen down here. They were popular in the Midwest and Texas but it's a strange sight in the South.

Someone bushhogged my big field down the road, so I may be out of the hay business this year. I haven't talked to the owner yet, so I have no idea what the deal is with that. I do know that I am in deep doo-doo, because I'm going to come up very short now.

And finally, I seem to be coming down with some sort of creeping crud. I'll undoubtedly feel like crap for the next few days until this passes.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Are you unhappy with your job?

It could be worse. A lot worse.

First, let me backtrack a bit. The other day I said something about telling Sweetie that getting cable was a bad idea, well here is one of the reasons why.

I came in from work Wednesday and flipped on the idiot box to check the weather. I have a tendency to do that Spring/Summer/Fall whether I have hay on the ground or not. After looking at the forecast, I decided to drink a glass of tea and see what was on the History Channel before going to the barn. There was a show on called Modern Marvels and they were talking about the Cattle Business, so I settled down to watch. They had all kinds of stuff on there and talked a lot about how its not Cowboys on horseback anymore.

Then they got to the part about AI... and by AI I don't mean Artifical Intellingence, but Artificial Insemination. I am a bit familair with this process in horses, but not at all about how they do it with cows.

First of all let me say I feel sorry for these high priced bulls. They're never allowed near a cow because of STD risks. But I feel even more sorry for the steer they use as a teaser to get the bull ready for action.

Let that sink in for a minute and I'll continue.

They lead this poor steer out and bring him around in front of the bull, who having never been near a cow is so excited he'd mount a Volkswagon. The bull starts following the steer around and soon mounts him .

Now we get to the crappy job part.

When the bull climbs on board, this guy runs over and grabs the bull's ahh, equipment and places a baggie on the end of it and holds it until the bull does his business. This guy is called a "collector" and of the the three, Bull, Steer and Collector, I'm not sure which has the worst job. The guy doing the collecting was smiling and seemed to have a good attitude. I'd say he's got a sense of humor too. You'd have to with a job like that.

Now, I have no idea if that's the way its done everywhere, but that is a short version of what was on the show.

The point is, no matter had obnoxious the soap opera is at the saltmine, at least I'm not working as a "Collector" on a Angus Farm.

But once again, this proves that cable is a bad thing. Why? because I see things like this and inflict useless information upon my friends of course.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The fates are conspiring against me and my barn addition plans. I had really hoped to get the posts in the ground and get it framed up this weekend, but it doesn't look like it will happen.

On the plus side, I'm going over the Alabama Saturday to kick tires. I've run up on a deal on a Deutz 60-06 tractor and another NH 273 Baler. The Deutz tractors are pretty neat in the sense that they have an air-cooled diesel engine. They are ugly machines but they are some of the best built machines ever made. I also found a Ford 7610 4x4 for 13k... if I can just figure out those wining lottery numbers. Or have a rich uncle that I've never met croak and leave me a mess o' yankee greenbacks.

But speaking of equipment, there is a thread over at Yestersdays Tractors about hay tedders going right now with much going to and fro about which tedder is best. I found this gem and thought it was worth swiping to put here.

My tedder is the most valuable piece of hay equip I have and I've yet to find one that suits me. Seems like every one had something done by an engineer whose spouse left him for an equipment mechanic.

There are days I think that about everything I own.

A question

This is really stupid, but it's been bugging me since I saw the film at the theatre fourteen years agone.

What is the name engraved on the big flintlock horse pistol the alien handed to Danny Glover at the end of Predator 2?

I haven't thought about this in years, but for some reason it popped into my head today and it will drive me bonkers until something else comes up to drive me mad.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Evil Cannon

This came up in comments over at Possumblog, so I thought I'd tell the tale of the Evil Cannon.

The Evil Cannon was my first Blackpowder Military Rifle. It had began it's life as a Zouave and somewhere along the line someone had converted it over to a Mississippi rifle. I think I paid a hundred and twenty dollars for it at the gunshop. Scutter and at least three or four other guys in the old 29th Georgia had owned it before me. It was an ugly rifle, beat up and scratched up and had a tight spot in the bore which made it aggravating as hell to shoot with live ammunition. I kept it for a couple of years, burning much powder and carrying it at several events before I sold it to another guy in the unit, but there was an understanding that if he wanted to sell it that it should "stay in the family," simply because of it's history.

The Evil Cannon got it's name from Big John. Big john is a good fellow, but he ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer. Hmm, on a semi-related note, he figures prominently in the Port-a-Let story I mentioned several posts ago.

Anyway, we were on a Cowboy kick (long before the current Cowboy action shooting craze) and would go around and stage mock gunfights at local festivals and suchlike. Well, one Saturday night we were at a racetrack (I have no idea who's idea that was, but they paid us to do it) and getting ready to stage a shootout in front of the stands between races.

Well John, rather than loading his own rifle, hands it to someone else to load for him. I'm sure you can see where this is going... Whoever loaded it (who must remain nameless as Big John doesn't know to this day who did it) didn't bother with cartridges, nor did he bother with a flask. He poured about half a pound of triple F powder straight out of the can into it, then tore a Kroger bag in half and rammed it down on top.

Although John ain't bright, he's not completely stupid. He figured the gun was overloaded so when we got down in front of the crowd to stage our little shootout, he fired from the hip. We're standing there in front of a couple of hundred people banging away at each other with pistols and scatterguns when all the sudden we hear WOOOOOOOOOOOM! You'd have thought somebody had set off a small nuke, because like a flash of lightning, night was turned to day.

The people who were supposed to get shot "took their hits" and laid down on the ground. I glanced over at John, who is also on the ground, but he ain't playing dead. He was rolling around like Curly in a Three Stooges routine and screaming to the top of his lungs. I'm sure the crowd thought we were pretty damn authentic! Hobbit came out with his tape measure and did his Undertaker impression and we got up to head back to the parking lot when we realized that John was still laying on the ground squalling.

He'd got some unburned powder in his eye. Somewhere along the line some bright soul had decided to make sure the Evil Cannon never misfired, so they had drilled out the nipple (where the percussion cap goes). When John fired, the recoil almost knocked him down. There was flame coming out of the nipple with enough force to cock the hammer all the way back to full cock and throw powder all over John's face.

We took him up the hill to the ambulance, where they proceeded to flush his eye out. Fortunately there was no permanent damage to John or the Rifle. Now chillins', the moral of this story is "don't let somebody else load your guns for you."

Shortly thereafter, this innocent piece of fine machinery began to be referred to as "The Evil Cannon."

I called Freaky Frankie (the guy I sold it to) a couple of years ago to buy it back, because I was flush and wanted to reclaim it since he'd moved away to Nashville. Sadly, he'd gotten in a monetary tight and sold it outside the family. I may run across it again someday, if I do I hope I'll have the money to buy it back again.


I was never overly fond of Zell when he was Governer, but I've been more than a little pleased with him since he went to Washington. I've never really listened to him speak before, so I have no idea if he always sounds like this, but tonight he spoke with such ferocity that Cheney's first words were "I'm glad Zell Miller is on our side." Hells bells, after hearing him tonight, I'd vote for him if he were to run for something again, even though he is still a Democrat.

His delivery was interesting. The way his voice rose and fell reminded me of an evangelist at a tent revival. I wonder if the talking heads or the yankees in the audience picked up on that? He sounded perfectly natural to me, but the Bride didn't care for it. I think there was a little Rebel in Zell that rose to the surface briefly when he was talking about the two Senators from Massachusetts.

That was probably the most forceful speech I've ever heard and if there are any Democrats left who didn't hate Zell, I'm sure they do now.