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Saturday, January 31, 2015

A grumpy post but I do find my pocket knife!

Yesterday I planted for the farmer who has the farm where I once rented the old farm house.
It was one of the oldest houses in the county.
I was a pretty neat old house with little squares of colored glass around the windows and door.
There was an old oak mantel on the big fireplace. The mantel came from possibly and even older house that had been torn down. There was an old Youngstown metal sink and counter lots of windows and a huge upstairs perfect for permanent Lego villages.
But it was freezing cold in the winter. We shut all the doors and huddled around the old woodstove in the winter and built roaring fires in the fireplace.
Meth addicts and other scum have completely stripped the house.
Yesterday I looked in the barn. It has been completely vandalized.
In the papers strew across the floor I found a number of my books and papers. I had no idea I had left a box of personal effects in the garage. I worry if I left my two prize possessions behind as well.
My most prized possession which I have search high and low for and cannot find is my Grandfather's Bible which was a large KJV with margin notes stored in a leather case which he made himself.
My second possession, (laugh if you will) is my Audio Technica AT-155 LC cartridge, in the box, with packaging, instructions, graph of frequency response, which I saved my money and bought when I was in High School and is now worth real money.
But, I digress...
I stopped to read my resume.
I should have not quit my first job and went to Costa Rica for two Months and then wandered around the country to Minneapolis-Moline conventions. I should have stayed for four years and learned the trade. That was insane.
Second thought was about the boom bust cycles of farming and the stress of being self-employed.
The year before last was a good year. Straw prices were good, annual ryegrass was good, hay prices were excellent, and I was looking for success.
This past year was not so good for several reasons.
One of which is the boom bust cycle that has become the norm in agriculture. (witness corn and soy prices)
We will use hay for an example.
I depend on good hay prices, last year the price went too high. This year prices appear to be good but hay is not selling. Next year people are still going to expect high prices and everybody and their uncle will bale every scrap of pasture in the green part of the state. I'm thinking next year will be a hard sell now that I have lost my feed store customer.
Corn and Soy prices are low and now store bought feed prices have dropped so there goes "Sum Pig" feed sales and counseling service.
But what really upset me was letting the diesel overflow my tractor tank. It really made a mess. Now I have to look at it for two days until it rains...

But all is not gloom and doom! Me being forever the optimist and able to find happiness in even the darkest cloud rejoiced and exclaimed "oh fiddle!" (in a happy positive way) upon finding my pocket knife! I had been searching for it since working on the tractor earlier this week. I found it being used as a wedge to hold up the headliner. 
Earlier I had reglued some of the cab upholstery and also the headliner. I found some special 3-M brand spray mount which is pretty wonderful stuff and had used various found objects to hold things in place until the glue dried.

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! I found my knife!

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Get off my lawn," Clint Eastwood threatened to Shoot Michael Moore, (YES!) and I actually do work...

I love the Daily Mail. I it so trashy and their spelling and punctionatiol is worse than mine!
Michael Moore is seeking more publicity by keeping the American Sniper criticism going by giving out periodic quotes.
I have read a lot of war books including the book by Carlos Hathcock. I think I could not be a sniper. I think it might mess you up just a little bit.
I am not all that comfortable with the American Sniper movie. There is some controversy about it, you can look that up.
I just think it is pretty funny that Michael Moore is such a whiner.
(Quote is link to article and please note the quote is out of context with Moore's Sniper quote. The issue with Moore and Eastwood that this quote is from is several years old. Eastwood did not recently threaten to shoot Moore.)

Read more:  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook"

I had to laugh at the article. I could imagine Moore with a video camera outside Eastwood's house and Eastwood coming out with a Colt 1911 and telling him to get off his lawn.

In other news....
I actually planted 14 acres of oats yesterday.

This was not as successful as I would have hoped. The ground was a little on the wet side and when I would actually open up the throttle to get some work done the solenoid that turns on power to the cab would fail because White decided to mount it three inches from the exhaust manifold so every three years it melts.
And, despite all my wiring efforts, the automatic run/hold doesn't work. After some effort I figured out that the control panel switch had failed on one side, the automatic side. It was ok, I was planting in circles.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I fix electrical stuff I wired myself

I am blogging this morning with my iBook G4.
This is the last Motorola G4 and thus the last real of the real Apple computers.
I used to care about Apple in much the same way that local folks who have never been to U of O and are probably not degenerates care about the Oregon Ducks.
It was somewhat of a philosophic debate, reduced instruction processors vs super clock speed. I liked the idea of reduced instruction, the computer knew how to do things on its own. Thus free will vs legalism, democracy vs totalitariansim.
However, as all great freedom movements tend to do, Apple has become a closed minded system and where it once provided helpful interface to those of us who didn't understand computers it now restricts us with planned obsolescence, pointless layers of copyright protection, and focuses on form over function.
In the meantime, the other systems which we Apple fanatics saw as restrictive, have improved greatly, or rather Apple has become so much more restrictive and less innovative that the competition has caught up. Or perhaps it is this... I hate Windows so much that I use a Mac, and that is really not a good reason to buy a car or an operating system.
But, this was not the point of my morning blog post.
I got onto this topic because I was using my Windows XP tablet yesterday when I was working on my tractor GPS wiring. It kept losing the connection to the GPS and I would have to do a search for the USB to RS 232 converter. I really want a new Windows tablet with a touch screen and outdoor viewable screen and a flash drive as the vibration of the mighty Hercules engine tends to kill hard drives.
The point of my blog post was that I have spent three (3) days working on my home built run/hold system that puts the FamerGPS, Microtrak Acre Counter and Micro-trak SprayMate II on hold when the drill is lifted.
It is overly complicated...
The way it works is as follows: When the drill is lowered for planting, a magnet switch completes a circuit which sends power back to a KC HiLights headlight relay in the tractor cab.
The relay energizes and completes a circuit where a signal coming from the positive battery terminal goes to the switchbox provided by FarmerGPS which makes the little tractor on the computer screen start painting a swath.
But, then it got a little more complicated...
I decided to hook up my Micro-Trak acre counter. I just added another KC HiLights switch.
Then the control switch for the Smucker Landmark foam marker melted in the cab filling the confined space with acrid fumes.
So, I decided to use a KC Hilites relay to keep the 30 amps of power drawn by an electric air pump and a water pump running at the same time, out of the cab.
And then I got to thinking, I could use a windshield wiper delay timer to run the foamer wide open for 5 seconds and shut it off for 15 seconds and I'd get piles of foam instead of a drip every two inches and perhaps I would not use so much expensive foam conentrate.
So this added another switch and two relays to my already crowed control box which was just an electrical junction box I got from the local large hardware store.
Then the foamer quite again and I got tired of working on it so I took it off and my little helper bottomed the seat out on the 12v relay box.
And there was that short circuit that melted the main power cord all they way back to the non functioning circuit breaker.
So, I decided to rewire...
It was way more work than expected.
I should have color coded the wire.
I should have drawn a wiring diagram.
This is what it looks like now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I suppose this is dangerous

I needed 800lbs of peas. This goes slow with a four inch auger and a slipping belt and a grain bin tipped over on one side.

I made 5,500lbs of pig feed yesterday.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I just need a couple Apps not in the App Store

My iPhone kind of amazes me.
It could be really useful but it just never really does what I want it to do.
I suspect that the people who design smartphones have never done anything productive in their short lives. I suspect that because there are five million stupid games at the App Store but only one app remotely related to feed ration formulation. Or an invoicing program that is not impossible to use or missing important functions.
AND, why can you butt-dial everyone in your address book randomly but you CAN'T answer the phone with gloves on.
Yesterday I was attempting to make pig feed. I had four ingredients. I have a rough idea of the weights and percentages. All I needed to do was to enter the weights and percent protein and get then figure a round percentage of total protein. I didn't need DM or anything complicated.
I used a new App for invoicing called Invoice Asap to calculate the price per ton. I figured out that you could put percent protein into the price per unit it would figure total lbs protein and total lbs and then do the total percent but that was a big awkward.
I think I will discuss Invoice ASAP in the future as it is free and easier/more useful than the $10 app Invoice Manager.
A SIMPLE feed ration app would not be hard to make, you could do it with a spread sheet in the numbers app, if you were not mentally impaired like myself.
Apparently the "land grant" Universities and their accompanying extension services don't really do anything useful anymore. We really do need more promotions for hazelnuts and wine and organic kale.
I think I'm going to have to take a class in Excell before our Dear Leader makes community college free for morons and classes are taught by diploma mill bozos and over-run with dumb-asses.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I once had a website

Ten years ago I set up a website for the family farm.
I used a hosting service which now has become iPower. Over the years I have had problems updating the website. Finding a person who does web design and who is interested in what you are doing and who wants to do a website and make it work are far and few between.
People who want to impress you with their computer skill, show that their system is superior to yours, and like to work in windowless room surrounded by action figures are pretty common as are girls who know all about design but do not care enough to learn anything about your product are pretty common also.
Of course you then have to pay for something that is really not quite right.
What this world does not have are people who listen to you and then turn your idea into a reality. As in making it work... If you can do this you can be a writer, a designer, a welder, a machinist, a webdesigner, what ever you want to do, because nobody listens anymore.
So it is back to the concept that if you want something done you must do it yourself.
The problem with iPower is that they decided that they could make more money if they just made it impossible for you to cancel your account with them and to bill you a year in advance.
The only way to stop their service is to go through multiple layers of passwords and screens and a toll free number that puts you on hold, or to cancel your credit card.
The down side is that I lost the domain name.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I load straw and have a discussion and rewire things I built myself.

I think I have to have an employee so that I can just continue my life of doing weird random stuff and I can have someone else do ordinary jobs which have a beginning and an end.
Yesterday I loaded 53 bales of hay. The actual loading took perhaps fifteen minutes. 
I was an hour late to the barn where the straw is stored as someone was at the shop buying sprayer parts. He was explaining to we how to plumb your sprayer with a three-way electric valve and we discussed the merits of a hydraulic power sprayer pump hooked to an auto-rate controller vs a three-way valve. This was very useful information and all would have been well but...
The squeeze loader died in front of the stack and that took an hour to bleed diesel lines and wonder why the pump lost its prime to begin with. 
It took another hour to restack the stack as I lost four bales out of the bottom of the stack when I picked it up. Understand? The bottom of the stack. You pick it up by the bottom. So, you see this is a problem. You really have to restack the whole stack to get to the bottom.
Then it took an hour of conversation with the owner of the building's little helper. This was valuable as I found out they did not have the money to pay for the screenings I sold them and now I'm going to have to just pay my neighbor that I bought the screenings from and now my quick cash has turned to naught... (Like that? I used an archaic expression!)
I came home and fixed myself a pretty awesome ham and cheese omelette. Lunch went really well.
But, after lunch I had to go to the shop where the scrap man wanted to talk. He really likes to talk. This would not be so bad but he smells like cat poop. 
Then a young farmer showed up who wants me to plant for him which led to a no-till discussion. Then the battery guy showed up and we got into a long discussion about Florida vs Hawaii and what you do on cruise ships. 
Then another farmer showed up to buy a grain density scale and this gave me the break to move outside and discuss no-till planting closer to the no-till drill.
I should be changing disc opener bushings and no-till coulter bearings but I instead tackled the rats nest of wiring that is my home built switch box for the run/hold part of the acre and GPS.
It is quite a clever design.
I have a magnet switch which connects a circuit breaker when the drill is lowered and I'm planting. I used KC HiLites (headlight relays) relays as they are in stock at NAPA and CarQuest stores everywhere.
I have an on/off/manual switch so I can turn the acre counter off if I wish. There is also a double pole double throw switch for reversing an electric valve that controls the return line on my liquid fertilizer setup.
The complicated part is that the acre counter and sprayer monitor supply their own power for the run/hold switch so I have to isolate the circuits. I can't just plug them into one magnet switch. Also, the FarmerGPS takes a 12v signal and I did have that on a relay as well.
I took out one relay and changed the wiring so there was nothing outside of the switch box. People who are not me and are running my tractor don't care about my wiring and squish things under the seat if they are heavier than I.
Here is a photo of the wiring.