The Useful Duck!

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two new holes in my belt

After carrying a leaf blower since September I've had to punch new holes in my belt!

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Beautiful Day At School

A collection of jumbled thoughts...
It was a beautiful morning and there was a promise of a beautiful day. The sun came up over the neighbor's big white barn, or as we call it, the movie screen, across the road.
There was a hint of frost on the grass but the promise of sun and the weatherman claiming highs in the 60's prompted me to button the liner in my leather jacket and ride my motorcycle to work.
It wouldn't start.
Well actually, it started and when I took the choke off it died.
I should have walked out to the shop and kicked over the Triumph. Two kicks, well... two really good kicks, would have brought that old girl to life. However, it was not properly polished and I do hate to ride a dirty Triumph.
I took the car.
I spent the day cleaning flower beds.
I really don't get my job.
I pruned a "weeping white pine" into an interesting shape. Actually, it looks like a scarecrow. I think I'll prop a face on it tomorrow.
I found a slightly flat basketball in the shrubbery.
I discovered you can make a basketball levitate with a really powerful leaf blower.
I discovered that if you buy low thread count leggings in the fall when you are skinny and then continue wearing them when you have put on a few extra pounds in the winter, people can tell if you are wearing underwear.
Finding out the girls were wearing underwear has been a great relief to me. I worry about things like good hygiene.
I watched kids go by with backpacks who looked like they were concentrating and I kept thinking of this song lyric.

"Jammin' our heads full of figures and angles and tellin' us stuff that we already know"

Two of my work study students went by and waved at me. I was wearing headphones and attempted to make a joke by "duckwalking" with my rake as a fake guitar but the guy turned away just as it did it so I just looked silly.

A girl who I don't know caught me throwing the basket ball in the air and trying to catch it with the air from my leaf blower. She thought this was hilarious.
I hope no one reports me.

I'm not very good at my job but I wave at everyone and am always happy help when I'm asked. I suspect this will be adequate. 

I read up on robbing banks at lunch time. I don't think I would make a good bank robber. I'd probably feel guilty and want to give the money back...

I came home and worked on the grain drill. I wish I made enough money I only needed to have one job. I would have really cool hobbies.

I would love to turn the pieces of the BSA 250 I bought years ago into a mini Cafe Racer. I won't.
I want to build a Plinth for my Dual 1019.
I figured out how to machine bearings for the old Fairchild tonearm I got from MuddyValley. I think I can cut down a tiny drill bit for the bearings and turn out a mounting spindle on the lathe. 
I'd hook the lathe I know how to use, back up to a line shaft.
I'd sell my grain drill out of state. Or give it to a young farmer.
I'd get rid of a lot of junk...
I'd eat the goats...
I'd ride my motorcycle...
Anyone with a spare 1.2 million dollars may contribute. This blog would be interesting!!!
(for a change)

Friday, February 5, 2016

3D Tractor progress

It is called a metal earth 3D laser cut model made by www.fascinations.com
It's a bit tedious.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A rainy day and I get un-jimpacted

A short post because my MacBook pro won't start up. I call it semi-pro, perhaps I should downgrade it to amateur
But I digress...
It is raining, actually pouring.
We discussed diversity for an hour at the morning meeting.
So far, every other grounder has either texted me or thanked me in person.
One hour out of the rain is taking happiness where you find it.
So... I'm working on a flower bed in the pouring rain. I get mixed up on a simple pruning situation. Because my brain is failing. So I get in the passenger side of my cart and attempt to look it up on the internet.
Of course the phone won't work because my fingers are wet.
I look to my right.
My supervisor has walked across the grass and around the building to ask me what I'm doing.
I show him my phone.
I say, this looks bad doesn't it...
He says yes, someone will complain to me later.
I look at him. He is soaking wet.
I think I am no longer "Jimpated"
Later I told the Hispanic guys who have been training me and they laughed at me, then the whole break room laughed at me and started giving me info on secret warm and dry places to play with my phone...

I could add that the plant I was looking up was Oregon Grape and it's a weed. I wanted to see if I could get it to go up and not out and if it would do bushy at the cuts. This is a dumb question and I did not want to reinforce my incompetence to other groundskeepers.

Now it will be brought up by the super in morning meeting and everyone will laugh at him for not knowing what to do with the plant.

The joys of a real job...

UPdate: and then I heard the blare of a car horn. I jumped. It was my wife with a metal water bottle of scalding hot coffee and chocolate. A handwarmer.

I felt loved...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I 've been "Jimpacked"

Personal Development day has arrived at last and my life has been changed for the better!
There has been excited talk in the break room about this event for weeks. Everyone wants to be challenged, encouraged, and just generally feel really good about the school and the whole core values concept that we all support and care about.
Sustainablity and diversity are much better than tired old catch phrases like "Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity" or "Give me Liberty or Give me death," or even "Old Tippacanoe and Tyler Too," although I do have a soft spot for 52-40 or was that "54-40 or fight,"  or was it "if I were 52 I'd be a deck?"
But I digress...
This is a year of no raises, short budgets, and no field trips so it was a wonderful break to get Mr. Jim Smith Jr. as a motivational speaker. 
Mr. Jim, who claim's "Energy" is his middle name, gave us a rousing pep talk and encouraged us to broaden our horizons.
The "if you are afraid of height's then jump out of a plane," school of motivational speaking has long been a favorite of mine.
It is a lot better than that old 1948 book, "How to stop worrying and start living," by Dale Carnegie that I've listened to on MP3 three times but then lost when iTunes upgraded and I can't find again...
See, I'm kind of negative guy and being told four times (after three close family members died in two months) that bereavement time is not vacation time, I may have been just a little on the peckish side.
But, just knowing that the college was spending top dollars to make us all feel good about ourselves (and reinforce core values of Diversity and Sustainability) made me forget my woes and shake everyone's hand that I could find.
I even did a couple hi-fives. I tried to hug a couple co-workers but they said they were not quite ready for that one yet. I said, push your horizons and show vulnerabilty and I'm thinking they will come around soon.
I'll trying hugging more people tomorrow.
But I was challenged. I'd even go as far as to say I've been "Jimpacted," (unless that phrase is trademarked
Here I was thinking that if I would have wanted to take risks and challenge myself I would have taken a high paying sales position, or driven truck, or done any number of jobs that would have given me more stress and higher pay. Frankly, I could have stayed a farmer and just borrowed more money.
But no, I opted out, I wanted a steady paycheck, free tuition for my daughter, insurance, retirement and a simple job close to home. I expected to work hard and to learn what it takes to do a good job as a groundskeeper. I wasn't thinking about getting much of a raise, I never expected the opportunity to be in management (even if I wanted to) and I thought I really don't need to talk to anyone outside my fellow groundskeeping crew members.
Now, I know that I've been holding myself back... The sky is the limit baby! In fact, that is even wrong, why set a ceiling? To Infinity and beyond. Heck, I'm ready to sell AmWay, Conklin, and Metaluka (or whatever the vitamin sale company is)
I picked up a lot of great catch-phrases like "Jimpacted," and a little bit of that watered down American Christianity with a faint hint of evangelicalism that we all do love. AND I got to hear him mention each one of his books which were of course, "on sale at the back table..."
As he ran around the room and challenged us to share our goals and dreams and be part of a team I just felt my whole world expand. I see my job in a new light.
I don't see weeds and leave blowing and lawn mowing as job, a task, a drudgery, NO! it is an opportunity, today grad green tomorrow the world!
I was able to reveal hopes and dreams to random strangers because being vulnerable and sharing and I do feel special, and boy howdy! we all are special.
The day was capped by the individual training classes. I had a good one one on conflict management which I needed to rationalize myself though the next JIMmpacted session and avoid another trip to HR. I wish I would have saved the speaker's handout but I drew rude cartoons on it and had to throw it away. He had a good acronym which gave rules for presenting and communicating about conflict. I am kind of frustrated that I can't remember half of it cause it was useful.
Lunch was healthy sandwiches with not much meat. I sure hope it was all non-GMO. I should have looked more closely. I got to meet a few more people which was nice because I wasn't required to talk about anything awkward and I could just get to know them in a natural manner.
After lunch we got diversity programming.
I'm so inspired by that section that it requires a whole separate blog post. Perhaps I will have calmed down a bit by then.
I tell you what...
I thought that being a groundskeeper and spending the day with full ear protection would just give me a little peace and quiet and give me a break from interacting with annoying people. After all, the secret to happiness is not telling all your personal information to every Tom, Dick and Harry you run into on the street but rather, CONTROLLED ACCESS...
But, I have been re-educated.
(I'm so not ready for the corporate world...)
(Another stream of consciousness post. You can proof read it yourself)

Here is a link so you can buy a book for yourself or for a friend, or get the whole set!!!

And now for some depressing news. I'm pretty sure my very favorite inspirational speaker has died. Click on my Zig Ziglar link and cry.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tractor progress

I only have the patience to work on it for  a half hour at a time.
It occupies me ar Lunch.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Another successful engine swap

Here is the second Hercules military engine converted to White tractor Hercules.
Actually this was a Continental. But they appear to be identical.
This one was more difficult as the cam gear was pressed on instead of threaded.
Seems to have a slight miss at low rpm when cold.
The first swap appears to have gained noticeable horsepower increase.
This engine now runs at 2500 rpm. We got the injector pump rebuilt and they set the pump up a bit. I think I will set the throttle stop down to 2200 or 2300 rpm.

Note: I'm having trouble replying to comments again. I'm back to using my phone.

I also have trouble keeping up with other people's blogs. I apologize. Im Too cheap to upgrade laptop.