Saturday, August 31, 2013

#166. or, I Don't Know if I Can Fix That?

  Sometimes, it's a bit disheartening when you think all of your equipment is in pretty good shape, then you head out with the intent to be productive, and all you end up doing is fixing.

  Don't get me wrong. I know that the only way to completely avoid having to do any repairs is to not turn on the key. I expect repairs. It would just be nice to have at least a couple consecutive days without any.

  In the old days, (ya, I'm going to be THAT guy) when something wore out or broke, you could tell what it was by the noise it made, or perhaps a vibration. Things wouldn't "feel" right , and it usually wasn't too hard to track down the problem. Because tractors were relatively simple machines, and in turn, a simple mind like the one I have could readily resolve the issue.

  But today, tractors are more wiring and hydraulics, that they are gears and grease. They have computers that tell all that plumbing how to run more efficiently for optimum performance. Which is nice when it all works, but a bit of a nightmare when there's a ghost in the machine.

  Right now, we're making silage to feed our cows over the winter. Sometimes we make hay bales, sometimes we make silage. Silage, is pretty much sauerkraut for cattle. About 1500 tons of it. It requires a lot more equipment and in turn, more people to run that equipment. As there is usually more than one tractor in the field at the same time, it's a good opportunity for my niece and nephew to learn how to cut hay. The tractor we use to cut hay with is the one with the issues, so lately, my day has consisted of trying to drive a different tractor, with the manual from the hay cutting tractor on the seat beside me, so when they send me texts of the pictures of error codes that keep coming up, I can try to track down the issue.

  And because a whole dash full of icons with tiny tractor related hieroglyphics is a little too easy to diagnose, each icon has multiple meanings. That way, even though there's a picture an engine pre-heater flashing at you in all of its bright orangey wonderfulness,  it might also mean there's water in the fuel, or the filters need to be changed. So you know there's a problem, but it's probably going to be easier to call the dealership and have them come out and plug their computer into it at $120 per hour, than try to track it down yourself.

  I know computers are a wonderful addition to life. I couldn't be Ken-inatractor, writing here without them. They just have the ability to cause me grief because I don't know how to fix them. Like when our ancient desk top computer crashed last week and I lost all of my header pictures. So, you're stuck with the baling hay picture until I decide to pay somebody else to attempt to dig into our old computer and retrieve them.

 On a more positive note, I'm fixing the transmission on an older tractor that is more nuts and bolts than wiring, so I get to use my wrenches and have greasy hands. And also, I was able to crack open my cell phone and replace the loud speaker with a new one I bought off of ebay.

   .........but, that actually means those things were broken as well, so that's not so positive. I think you know what I mean though.

Monday, August 19, 2013

#165. or, Elusive

  4:45 a.m., and I'm nowhere closer to that all elusive, peaceful sleep, than I was at 3:45.

  Except, I'm aware that I've failed at my attempt, with the small percentage of my brain I've allotted to ignoring the mosquito bite on my right middle toe, and inadvertently used it to scratch the heel of my left foot, unleashing a flood of euphoria that will most likely end up with my right middle toe being scratched into a bloody mess.

  I didn't actually want to get out of bed, on the off chance I accidently missed catching hold of the sleep that's been dancing playfully on the periphery of my brain. My brain, that seems instead to be content with racing through my great list of unfinished jobs at 100 miles per hour, since around 2:45 this morning.

  Yet, I've begun to string together a mix of words that are too good to ignore, and I know if I don't write them down, and I do happen to fall asleep again, they'll be lost forever. So that's why, at 5:45, I was sitting in the bathroom, scribbling words into my notebook, that have become sentences, which have in turn become paragraphs, and by 6:00 a.m., I've moved to the computer, because I need to write them down.

  Write them down.

  I've noticed the words have pushed all of the other noise out of my head, and it's now quiet enough in my brain, I could probably fall back to sleep. But now, it's the words that need to get out.

  Like I'm some sort of writer or something?

  The thing is, I don't really call myself a writer. I say, "I'm someone who likes to write." Which is sort of the same, but not quite. It's about as close as I can come to calling myself a writer, without actually saying the words. Sitting right there, dancing playfully on the periphery of my brain, like elusive sleep at 3 in the morning.

  I wonder if sitting on the toilet in the middle of the night, jotting words into a 3x5 notebook with a pencil, because you don't want to let them get away makes you a writer? Hopefully it does. I think I'd like to be a writer.

  Maybe I am a writer.

  .........a writer with a crazy itchy, right middle toe.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

#164. or, City Cousin, Country Cousin

  Over the long weekend, we attended the 2nd annual camping/casual family reunion held by my mom's side of the family. This year my cousin, who lives in Vancouver, and his son were able to attend.

  It occurred to me, over the course of the weekend, that my city cousin lives a bit of a different life than I, his country cousin does.

 City cousin jetted in from Vancouver, country cousin arrived by pickup truck. Granted, his flight happened as the result of saved up air miles, routed him through various airports, and included multiple planes, and a rental car. I realize he probably had to jump through way more hoops than I did to get there, but he's a seasoned traveler. I've been to 3 destinations by airplane in my life and whenever I have to go somewhere far flung, my first thought is still, "wonder if I could drive there?"

  City cousins favorite coffee comes from Starbucks and has a title five words long, none of which happen to actually be the word "coffee". Country cousin drinks whatever is in the tin can his wife brings home with the groceries.

  City cousin likes to sample various hard liquors, on the rocks, can detect subtle nuances and flavours, then instantly devise a list of  possible drink combinations out of his head. Country cousin needs a beer. And maybe, after this weekend, a Gin & Tonic.

  City cousin knows the proper pronunciation of all of the cigars that country cousin has in his humidor. The ones that country cousin chose because he liked the way they looked when he was buying them.

  City cousin, will occasionally take a job editing a book, is schooled in proper punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure, yet doesn't write. Country cousin writes, yet is dismal at proper punctuation, grammar, and  sentence structure.

  City cousin, while unusually pale, has exceptional skin and looks much younger than the years he has under his belt. Country cousins skin looks like a belt.

  You would think, with all of those differences, my city cousin and I would have nothing in common and would be hard pressed to find something to actually chat about. Yet, it's quite the opposite. We spent more than one evening, talking long into the night. Which goes to show you, it doesn't really matter where you come from, or what life you happen to be living, there's connections to be made everywhere. You just have to let them happen.

  He's quite supportive of me toward compiling some of these ridiculous posts into some sort of a book or something. Who knows? But I won't say it's never crossed my mind.

  I suspect, that if I were to visit the city, in my pickup truck, I may not blend in so well. I don't know how many good 'ol boys they have in Vancouver. Or, maybe I'd do fine? As long as I didn't draw any attention to myself by trying to get into the backseat of  a pickup by crawling over the front seat, instead of just using the back door.

  ............don't worry, Roland, I won't tell anybody about that, your secrets safe with me.

elleroy was here