Tuesday, November 08, 2016

#203. or, Adversity (not the most upbeat post)

  I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

  I have no frickin clue, what I'm doing.

  Day to day, in this job that I do.

  Sure, I know what needs to be done, and I'm reasonably good at coordinating those "things that need to be done," with general times of the year. But there are times when I feel woefully inadequate in my ability to steer this ship.

  Now is one of those times.

  I'm just going to put myself out on a limb here and say it, Mother Nature is a bit of a bitch. Particularly this fall, no scratch that, this whole past spring, summer, and fall. From making decisions on planting crops in what was looking to be the driest year ever, to trying to make hay and harvest in what has become a fall so wet that even the old boys having morning coffee at the CO-OP don't have relatable tales of days gone by.

  I am pretty sure, that I hold the dubious distinction of being the only farmer in the whole damned Province that hasn't harvested a single bushel of crop.





  To put that into perspective, lets just say that you have a 9 to 5 sorta job. Bills to pay, standard of living to maintain, insurances, life sorta stuff. But you get paid seasonally, so you work all year to fulfill those obligations, and it turns out, you don't get paid. Yet, all those things that cost money remain. If that doesn't twist your guts and make your morning bowel movements unpleasant, you're even more laid back than I am.

  Honestly, I don't know if my decisions were bad. I did get all my hay up, so that's a positive. But I don't know if pursuing that instead of harvesting dry grain for 3 or 4 days in the end of September was the right decision or not. I don't know if choosing not to attempt to tow my combine through the mud to take off grain that's 6 points above dry and probably won't keep until I can market, or get it dried, is the right choice either.

  I just want it all to be done, but I haven't even begun.

  I'm not the driven person my father was. I try to be patient and wait things out, and as a rule, that's generally served me well. I don't have the ulcers or take the daily heart or blood pressure medication that he took. But right now, I think I'd trade some of that to have something in the bin.

  This post was supposed to start gloomy and I was going to try to take it into a more positive place. But, here I am nearing the end of it, and it all went pretty much in one direction.

  Perhaps, I'll have to write a follow up post where I try to find some positives. Which isn't a bad thing on multiple levels. And maybe, given enough time, I'll actually get to start my harvest.

 Or, maybe not.

  ................I think I'll just combine twice next year.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

#202. or, Mellow Yellow Combine

  I wonder if you can train a mongoose?

  So, you know that story about the guy who buys a long forgotten mint Corvette, covered with a tarp, tucked away in the corner of an old barn, for really cheap because the lady selling it doesn't really know what she actually has?

  Well I did that.


  Except it was a combine. Driven haphazardly into the corner of a shed and instead of being covered with a tarp, imagine an inch of pigeon shit. And rather than being mint, imagine it being used for the last nine years without having any kind of regular maintenance or servicing.

  And it was yellow.

  Under all the pigeon shit, I mean.

  And it sticks out like a sore thumb in a yard that is primarily green as far as equipment goes.

  So, not so much a long forgotten mint Corvette, covered with a tarp, tucked away in the corner of an old barn, being sold by an old lady who didn't really know what she had. But more, a Dodge Caravan, with enough electrical wiring, and moving parts to rival the International Space Station, sold not by a sweet little old lady, but a combine salesman who knew exactly what he was selling.

  Still, the hours were low, and it had potential. Even if it was yellow.

  Honestly, the actual guts of the thing aren't terrible. Other than a few items regular maintenance on a near twenty year old combine should have nipped in the bud about eight years or so ago. I'm quite certain, if it could, with every pump of grease into a fitting, that yellow combine would make the same sound I make when I settle into my hot tub after twelve hours twisted to the right, cutting feed with my pull-type silage chopper.

  The biggest issue has been trying to evict the families of mice that have made the cab home since I don't even know how long. Add to that, their overpowering smell that threatened to blow me backward off the catwalk every time I opened the door.

  When you pull the headliner down to remove it, and a family of hairless pink mouse babies roll out onto you, you know you've got a bit of an problem. One that has involved completely removing the top to the cab to clean out old nests, repair vent ducting, and disinfect EVERYTHING possible. Then spray-foaming every cab post, and wire or cable access to the cab I could find, because apparently, twenty years ago, mouse proofing the cab of a combine wasn't high priority if you were a yellow combine engineer.

  So now, even though I'm not quite finished, instead of overpowering mouse odor when I open the door, I get a combination of silicone sealant, Lysol, and fiberglass resin, which I'm finding is unsettlingly pleasant.

  I really doubt that I've found all the mouse holes and plugged them off, or that the mice will give up and move on to someone else's yellow combine all that easily. So, I think my next option is to get a combine cab snake to slither around through all the venting and eat all the mice that I haven't been able to capture.

  .............of course, there's no way I'm getting into the cab of a combine if there's a snake in there, which means I'm going to need a mongoose to kill the snake. I wonder if you can train a mongoose?