Thursday, June 30, 2005

A depressing topic for a summer day

My mother called me the other day and asked if I thought she could get DR to do a little mowing job for her. I was a bit confused by this, as my brother-in-law mows her yard for her. She went on to explain that it wasn't her yard, but the cemetery that needed mowing. I guess this is what you'd call the family plot. It's behind a small church that they (mom's family) all attended in the early part of the last century. My grandparents on my mothers side are buried there. I have numerous great aunts and uncles there, along with more cousins that I ever knew I had.

My aunts have always taken care of it in the past, but they are all of an age where they are no longer able to. My mother isn't really able to do it either, so it looks like it will fall to me to keep it mowed now. I don't mind doing it. But I admit I'm probably not the best choice. I have cousins, who actually live closer than I do, whether or not they'll take it over is open for debate. I have my doubts.

So, unfortunately, I'm the only choice. I will probably take of things in a haphazard fashion the rest of my days and then there won't be anyone to do it.

As to why I think that, there is another plot close by that is never tended. The newest grave in it is from the thirties. I asked mother why that no one was taking care of it and she told me there wasn't anyone left. Everyone in that family (who are actually some sort of very distant relatives by marriage) had either died off or moved away. I took a few extra minutes and mowed that area while I was there.

Close by my grandparents graves there are three cinderblocks. They've been there as far back as I can remember. I finally asked mom why they were there and she told me that they were to mark the graves of three infant cousins. The blocks were placed there years ago when the wooden markers rotted away. At the time (1920's and 30's) no one had the money to buy proper markers. About thirty years ago someone from that branch of the family offered to put up headstones, but all the old folks had died by then and no one remembered the names of the children, so it was never done.
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Monday, June 27, 2005

Punkin's hay business

Punkin likes to eat and he likes to talk. I do believe he'd druther do either of those things than to fornicate... Unless he's talking about fornication, in which case the boy just gets real confused, but I am digressing just a wee lil' bit.

Last year Punkin and some of his cronies borrowed a baler from somebody and decided they'd go into the hay business. They even went so far as to have some ball caps made up with the name of their company on 'em.

They mowed a few acres and when the time came to bale it got out there and dropped about twenty-five bales. Then they stopped to BS for a while. Fellow came along and asked if they wanted to sell the hay. "Yeah, we'll sell it"

"Whatcha want fer it?"
"Aww, we'll take thirty dollars fer it."

The passerby duly paid Punkin his thirty dollars, loaded up his hay and went on about his business. Punkin and his cronies went back to BSing. One of 'em pops up and says "Hey! We got some money now... lets go t'Waffle House."

Off they go to the Awful Waffle to continue their BS session.

Couple of hours later they come back to the field and bale about forty bales before someone comes along asking if the they've got hay for sale. Punkin proceeds to sell these forty-odd bales for fifty dollars and another BS session commences.

In the course of this latest BS session, someone says "Hey! We gots some real money now, lets go t'Cracker Barrel." Punkin's eyes lit up at this suggestion so off they go to the Cracker Barrel.

After finishing their second big feed of the day, it finally occurred to Punkin that he still had hay to bale, his daylight was gone and his crew had done et up most of his profit.

I believe he's out of the hay business this year, moving on to less strenuous ventures, but I could be mistaken. He'll be back in it again before it's over with.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Overheard at the barbershop

"Punkin' wanted me t'come up thar an look at them pigs he's got. I went over yonder an went out to the pen an they was s'much mud in thar that all I seed was eight eyes acomin' towards me. I thought he had a bunch of alley-gators in that hawg pen.

I asked Punkin how them pigs got along in that much mud an he tole me that they had sumthin up inside of 'em that filtered out that mud.

I told 'im that they durn sure needed it."

If I'd been Junior, I would have asked Punkin how often he has to change their filters.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Mad cows and Mad Supreme Court Justices

Beef prices may very well take about a nosedive because of this.

This would probably be time for me to look at buying some calves if the price drops, because sooner or later it will come back up.

But then again, since the Supreme Court has decided that none of us have property rights anymore, what's the point in trying to get ahead?

I can foresee a lot of farm related problems in the very near future because of this ruling. Mostly in areas where creeping development is slowly swallowing the farms near mid-sized and larger cities. It seems to me that most local government types will always be in favor of a subdivision over a farm, because all they can see are dollar signs from the increased tax revenue without ever stopping to consider that in the long run sewers, roads, schools, water etc. will cancel out most if not all of their new revenue. But that will require the effort of actually thinking on their part, which rarely happens.

And that's just the misguided amongst our politicians. We aren't even taking into account the crooks...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The durnedest thing

One of my cousins who just recently acquired a computer has been going hog-wild with the genealogy thing. He's ran one of the family branches back to 1645... Scotland of all places. Galloway to be a bit more precise. But that isn't the weird part. I have a Scottish peer in my ancestry, at least according to what he's found. I'm not positive about this, because some of the birth/death dates don't jibe with what I've found in my digging (ain't google a wonderful thang?) the past couple of days, but still it's 300 years ago.

At any rate, I'll admit I thought it was funny as hell.

And all this time I thought we'uns was poor white trash.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Tractor breakdowns: 0
Tedder breakdowns: 2 (plus spending nearly a $150 on parts for one that doesn't even belong to me)
Baler problems: 0 (other than breaking 5 shear pins in a row before figuring out there was half a tedder tine in the bale chamber)
Number of times a tractor/baler/wagon or combination thereof got stuck: 2
Number of flat tires: 1
Gallons of salt water I sweated out: at least 50

Total # of bales in the barn: 298 (for this week, actual total is something like 700+)
Total # of bales in someone elses barn: 100
Amount of hay still in the field: Good question, probably 75-100 squares or 10-15 rolls. Rolls look good right now. My flunkies are playing Cellars and Lizards* tomorrow and can't be bothered to do any physical labor.

My blood pressure/aggravation level: Outta sight.

It is time, past time really, to get something new. As much as I love Fords, I am seriously leaning towards a Massey 471 (4wd of course... no more getting stuck for me) mostly because it is in the hp range I need and it has a live pto, as opposed to an indepentant pto. That makes life easier when baling small squares because you can bump the flywell if you clog the baler up, instead of having to clean the baler out.

I had been interested in a 281/481, but after reading up on the specs I've discovered it is the same machine as the 471. Same engine, same weight, same size. The only difference is that the fuel is turned up to generate 10 more hp. Hopefully next spring I will have some money saved up for a down payment, between that and trading in the Deutz I hope to be on a brand new machine for a fairly reasonable payment.

*Dungeons and Dragons

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Andrews Raid

I meant to talk about this a couple of weeks ago when I first saw Harper Harris on the History Channel talking about it.

For those folks not from the South (or who've never seen the Disney movie), you may not know the story, the Andrews raid was the brainchild of a civilian named James Andrews. He had the bright idea of cutting the Confederate supply line to Chattanooga by stealing a train in Atlanta and burning the bridges 'twixt here and there. So he and about twenty or so volunteers from the 21st Ohio Infantry traveled from Nashville to Atlanta, got on a train (the General) and stole it when the train stopped at Big Shanty (Kennesaw) for breakfast.

They would have most likely gotten away with it were it not for the tenacity of the conductor and the train crew, who pursued the train on foot until they were able to obtain a push cart, then a switch locomotive and finally another locomotive.

I've heard the stories about the General all my life, read about it in school, seen the Disney movie (which actually is fair to middlin' accurate) probably twenty times, and traveled down to Kennesaw to see the General a few times, so I thought I had a pretty fair knowledge of the Andrews raid, but I did learn a couple of new things that made me think.

Couple of things struck me. When Fuller (the conductor) took off running up the tracks after the train, the people on the platform laughed at him. Did he stop? Hell no he didn't stop. He wasn't worried about what all of the hecklers and onlookers thought, he wanted his train back. The man (along with the engineer and another man) ran for something like two miles before they ran across the guys with the push cart, which they used to continue their pursuit. I would liken this to pursuing (afoot) a car up the interstate today.

The other thing I thought interesting was that although they (Andrews and his men) stopped and acquired tools to wreck the rails with at Moon Station, they did not obtain the proper crowbar for pulling rails, they were only able get a simple prybar (one which lacked a claw on the end), which made it difficult to pull more than a few rails at a time because they had to pull the spikes out by hand.

They needed one of these.
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By the time they got serious about wrecking rails, Fuller was too close for those yankee boys to do anything with the tools they had. It's a interesting thing to me that something as simple as a crowbar may have caused their downfall... if they'd had the right crowbar, things may very well have turned out differently in spite of Fuller.

I think there should be a murky moral about having the right tool for the job, but it's not like Andrews and his men had much choice. They did what they could with what they had.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Mowing hay again.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Some photos from the North Georgia tractor show

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JD BO. In the old letter series, B was the size/horsepower and any other letters than went with signified its use, in this case "O," meaning it's an Orchard tractor. They generally are more narrow and sit lower to the ground.

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One of three beautifully restored "D" model JDs that were there. The "D" was JDs' "big" tractor for about twenty-odd years.

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Now we're getting into more oddball things. This is a Massey-Harris "Pacer," the next size up from a "Pony" if I'm not mistaken.

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Riding mowers/garden tractors were well represented. I'd never heard of this brand before. I doubt you could name a product something like this (Panzer) in our politically correct climate of today. That would be like naming a car a "scud." Naturally somebody would find a way to complain about it.

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And the Red(IH) vs. Green(JD) wars continue. I thought this was pretty damn funny. That's a 1/64th scale 4020JD toy tractor in the precleaner bowl (air filter) of a Farmall. And yes, that is a little mason jar. A lot of the old gas-burners used common mason jars for a precleaner bowl, since that glass bowl was really about the only truly fragile item on an old tractor, this made life easier for a farmer doing repairs at home. It's a shame the manufacturers don't have that attitude anymore.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I never knew

Where the phrase "Tell it to the Marines!" came from, but I have located a dandy little anecdote regarding its origin from Colonel John W. Thomason's book "Fix Bayonets."

They relate of Charles the Second that at Whitehall a certain sea-captian, newly returned from the Western Ocean, told the king of flying fish, a thing never heard of in old England. The king and the court were vastly amused. But, the naval fellow persisting, the Merry Monarch beckoned to a lean, dry colonel of the sea regiment, with a seamed mahogany face, and said, in effect: "Colonel, this tarry-breeks here makes sport with us stay-at-homes. He tells us of a miraculous fish that forsakes its element and flies like a bird over the water!" "Sire," said the colonel of Marines, "he tells a true thing. I myself have often seen those fish in your Majesty's seas around Barbados–" "Well," decided Charles, "such evidence cannot be disputed. And hereafter, when we hear a strange thing, we will tell it to the Marines, for the Marines go everywhere and see everything, and if they say it is so, we will believe it!"

An Observation

I have seen three different versions of King Soloman's Mines in my lifetime and nary a one of them bear much resemblence to H. Rider Haggard's story.

Regular lack of blogging will continue now.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Got the radiator pulled on the dozer. Wasn't near as bad as I thought it'd be, about eight bolts, two oil lines and the upper and lower hoses. Everything dropped down, tilted back and came out through the front. Took about two hours, which ain't bad. I figure it will take twice that long to put it back together though. Some sort of rule 'bout that.

Lots of caked greae and mudd around the front, so much in fact, that I looked like a coal miner by the time I was done.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Sticks and Stones

Ran a #$%#%^* stick through the radiator of the Case Saturday. I dread having to pull that thing. It'll probably be worse than pulling a Ferguson radiator. I'm going to put a post on the Crawler forum at Yesterdays Tractors and see if anyone has any advice. It looks almost like the whole thing will come out through the front if I pull the grille.

Speaking of Fergusons, the 285 ran extremely well the whole time I had it in the field (except for the steering, which I'm accustomed to now).

This frightens me.


It makes me wonder if this is the prelude to the engine blowing up.

Friday, June 03, 2005

My truck has had issues with running hot since I've owned it. A couple of weeks ago I finally broke down and ordered a new heavy-duty radiator to go in it. Yes, I know I could've had the old one cleaned out, but there really wasn't that much difference in price. After we got it changed out we were able to determine that pretty much the whole bottom end was stopped up.

The interesting by-product of this exercise has been my oil pressure... as in it actually has oil pressure now. This threw a little bit of skeer into me. I've owned Fords for twenty years and I've never had one that actually had oil pressure. At least not one with a 302 in it, but come to think of it, I've never owned a Ford that didn't have a 302. I'm used to engines that leak like the Exxon Valdez, so you can understand why this caused concern to me...

Anyhoo, as far as running hot goes, I've had a nary a problem since, even when dragging trailers and wagons loaded with three tons of hay up and down the road.

Got some new chain today to replace the one I broke in the Gehl last Sunday, if the sun will shine tomorrow I'm going to try and roll the rest of what's in the field tomorrow afternoon or Sunday. I need to finish this up so I can get into maintenance mode before the next go-around.