Friday, December 24, 2010

I can't believe my mom and sister. They are still out shopping. That'd be ok if there was drinking involved, but really?! Do we all need that extra gift that badly? I ended up doing all my shopping at one local shop this year, and walked out very happy, albeit with a lighter wallet. But they are still out there. She should have just stayed in Kansas instead of flying all the way here just to shop our local Walmart...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

No. 7

My grandfather about 6 weeks ago picked up a Mccormick Deering Model 7 when we made a Craigslist run to Rochestor. We had a blast, fun trip, but he definitely got the steal of the day- a mower in great shape for $100. I picked up a pair of horse drawn harrows, which had been on my wish list for the longest time.

But of course- I have been jealous. So below is proudly presented my very own #7.

The story doesn't begin here, but rather with my digging the wheels out of the frozen ground earlier this week. A guy down my street had this parked in his yard. It belonged to his late cousin Dick. At first he thought I was a scrapper, and after some lengthy talks, and helping him split wood, he decided to sell me the mower. I gave him what he got for a cord of wood, plus $25 extra for plenty of new in box knives. The only missing part is the outer shoe.

The story actually begins much earlier. His brother? used to live in the house below my great grandmothers, and my great uncle BD used to babysit them. These are old machines. There is a lot of history with each piece. You can even have an idea of the terrain they mowed by the condition of the machine. Oh the scars..

Here is my grandfather's machine. It is in pieces. Except for a missing footpedal and the two axel bearings worn out, the machine is in great shape. Just to tease my grandfather....Mine's not missing a foot pedal and my bearings aren't worn out. hehe

Here is the push bar, yolk, inner shoe and cutter bar seperated from the machine. I needed my brother to help disengage a pin while I lifted the piece off the machine. Notice the push bar is still attached. This was threaded out about 10 minutes later.

Every piece being taken off is getting a pink ribbon. Helps discern pieces from the two machines. I am mildly heating up the half moon and draft bar. These need to be threaded apart. All the pieces are being taken off for two reasons. #1. Most importantly, pieces like the one below are used to adjust lead, timing etc. when cutting. So the seized threads need to be loosened. Two- going to sand down and paint everthing. So apart they come. Rebuild- grandpa and Zac and Two #7's.
She kisses the snow. The sun comes up. She kisses the snow. I can see edges of trees now. She's bent over kissing the snow.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A yard is a dangerous place for
Between the picket fence, and the peering windows of
I once heard of a child who got lost in the
He was playing along a stream;
lost in some silly little dreams.
We never saw him again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Still a Bit Drafty on Breezy Days

This isn't the most up to date shot. The front of the house is completely sheathed, the east side is done up the the header, and the South side is framed and sheathed to header. Need to get going and get the whole darn thing covered up for the winter. It's just getting on...

I must have missed the joke?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cow on the Cob

I have given this rant a couple times, but am always amazed at how interested and hooked people are to the content. The last time I talked about the corn-cow marriage it was with a group of students who were doing a virtual tour of the farm. This isn't a newly discovered subject of course, just a clear way to make a description.

Why corn is good for the cattle industry.

When you feed corn to cows, whether it is in the form of a grain or silage, you're supporting a whole array of industries. First to get corn you have to set aside acreage for the corn. This is going to take up an allotment of land from May until it is harvested in the fall. So your cows can't graze that area. When old man winter gets tired around here our snow melts away and our grass begins to grow, but if you're growing corn then you're going to get out there when the soil is workable and disc the piece in, and plant. So you have to purchase in your corn seed. Now you're supporting a seed company-Pioneer, Monsanto, Latham, etc. Now if you are going to raise corn, you are going to raise a lot of it. And you're not going to have the time to stoop over with a hoe and take care of the weeds. Instead you'll go and get an applicators license from your state authority, and buy in Atrazine, RoundUp, 2-4,D, whatever. So now to get your cow feed you've supported a large seed company (because you're running a large dairy now and you don't have time to be messing around with saving seed. Would you really want to risk next year's crop on your frugility?) and you're supporting a chem company. But if you're going to be feeding your cows corn, and taking up your fields and pasture with corn, then you're going to be keeping them corralled or housed all the time. Feeding corn and penning up your animals you are probably going to have more sick animals than you are used to, so we're going to go ahead and pick up some antibiotics just to be on the safe side. Now half the antibiotics in this country go to animals and not humans. With the milk cows we have now you can see why they might need a little help now and again. The average milk cow in a dairy operation lasts 4.5 years. That means she's born and bred to calf at two years of age. She has one full lactation, and calves again at three years, and four years, but at some time before her next lactation she didn't make the cut. She became sick, wore down from being such a high producer, her teet might have been split from being stepped on by another cow, or barn ridden mastitis or pneumonia might have got to her. Now if you're going to keep your cows in a barn or corral, then you might as well pack them a little tighter than you'd normally expect since you have the overhead of a building, fans, the concrete, the automatic waterers. We are here to mak as much milk per acre as possible. Milk is equal to money. In the 1950's a 20 cow dairy was considered large enough to provide a good living for a full family and a retirement. Today farmers with a herd of 200 are wondering where their next paycheck will come from. In the last three years good milk prices have been fleeting amid lengthy lulls. But what can you expect from an industry which will take all of the product produced, whenever. So to produce a gallon of milk from cows fed on corn and roughage, you need to support a seed industry, a chem industry, a pharmaceutical industry to make a single gallon. Now if you take a grass based farm.....that 1950's grass based dairy- you have cows that can sustain longer because they are larger assets on the farm, and are treated as such. They are consuming a diet fit for them. But the real problem is that grass is a farmer's asset. It comes up in the spring. There is no distribution of costs. The industry is largely self supported, and that is where corn comes in. Now support your local grass farmer- its like eating sunshine.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Look Me Haz Maked Pretty

There was no point to this post.