Monday, February 22, 2010

The Great Corn Watch Days 9, 10.

So as not to make the corn think I was overly anxious, I took Swheatie up to Boots's to pick up a load of screenings.

It was really unfortunate to see how slow business was for Chris. I wonder how he is going to make it.
Then that afternoon I test cut some of the corn Over East.
It was... well, it was perfect. Except that Galen told me that they couldn't take it. And I was like "You're joking, right!" because experience has taught me that 99 percent of the time Galen is, in fact, joking. Except that Galen was not joking. They weren't accepting ANY additional wet corn contract. And neither was anyone else. But he did say I could go ahead and bring him a load in the morning, since I already had some on the combine. So the next morning we cut a load...

...and brought it down, and I promised the panicked girl at the scale that Galen had said it was OK and that I wasn't bringing any more in. J.T. and Galen (who had gone to a funeral) had told her in no uncertain terms not to let anybody not on the list deliver any wet corn.
And so that was the end of wet corn harvest.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Great Corn Watch Days 6-8

My anemometer quit on me, but Anna was quite pleased to have her own "camera."

And I found this friend under an auger hopper. I liked his pretty red color especially.

On day 7 I again tried Rod's corn...
...and went down to Hugoton for a load of seed.
And returned to find Anna entertaining Mark.

On day 8 I went to look at some secondary hail damage (exacerbated by the wet weather,) like sprouting...
...and aflotoxins...
...and more sprouting...
...and more mold.
I was really impressed with the late plant health, all things considered.
And a little surprised to find that the corn had reached physiological maturity. This is the point where the corn kernels are done putting on weight. You can tell this has happened quite easily because of the "black layer" formation at the base of the kernel (see below.) This layer seals off the kernel from the plant. This is a pretty good indication that I need to pull the combine over and see if this corn is ready for 'wet' harvest. Often times we harvest wet corn before it has reached black layer. Could the Great Corn Watch be over so soon? (Hint: I probably wouldn't have given it a name if this were the case.)

Jim came over later to pick up the seed I had brought from Hugoton.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Great Corn Watch Day 4.

As exciting as watching corn dry is, we still felt under-entertained, and so we (Dad (not pictured), Betsy, Anna and I) decided to go to the State Fair for the day.

Betsy and Anna enjoyed the trip there.

And we rode on the parking shuttle trailer, which added at least 20 minutes to our trip.

Once inside the fair we did all the regular fair things, like collecting bags and sitting in farm equipment and eating horrible yet quite tasty foods(not pictured).

She's getting so big.

We met up with Mom and Frances, who were already at the fair, working in the Kansas wheat booth.

Anna enjoyed her time at the kid's art building. It is a cat mask, as if you couldn't tell.

We finished the day with a trip to the pig races.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Some September Randomness.

Betsy was horrified... HORRIFIED at what I had done, but I figure someone should get some joy out of a trip to Wal-Mart.

09-09-09 went something like this:
Work in office until appropriate time to snap photo.

Ensure corn is STILL being watered. On September 9! I've had my corn cut by this day before!

Try some of Rod's dryland...

It was a little bit too wet. Pretty pretty corn, but too wet. And so began the Great Corn Watch of '09.

Go to church band practice, followed by a trip to the grocery store. I took a chance and ignored this warning label.

A final thought, from September 10...
People who don't control their volunteer wheat should be fined. People who graze their volunteer wheat should be shot. (well maybe just kicked real hard.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Good and Faithful Servant.

Clifford R. Hope, Jr.
12-21-1923 to 2-11-2010

Obituary here.

Article here.

Here is a StoryCorps featuring Cliff and Dolores.

He will be missed.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

September Fixes.

September is generally a good month, chiefly because it means the end of cleaning seed. To start off the month though, there were a few nagging problems which I finally had time to address.
To start, I noticed this water stain on the inside of the Puma. Now how did that get there?

Two nice holes in the roof courtesy of the April 29th tornado/hailstorm. Apparently I wasn't quite thorough enough in my post storm inspection. "Luckily," since we had passed our insurance deductible on that storm 5 figures ago (hello new roof), I was able to get both the roof and the liner replaced at no additional cost.Then there was the manure loading zone on Thompson's. This is where they piled the manure and loaded the trucks. Step one, break up the compaction:

And step two, break up the clods and more importantly mix in that manure residue:
If I didn't do this step nothing would grow on this spot for a couple of years. I know this because I had tried doing nothing in the past a couple of different times on a couple different locations. It still makes me unhappy to have to till any ground, especially without rain in the forecast. This spot now has the potential to dry out and really start blowing.

Then there was the combine unloading auger grain saver:
The grain saver is just a little spring loaded door that is supposed to keep whatever grain is left in the auger when it is shut off from spilling. The door got bent up after coming into contact with the grain cart during wheat harvest.

It looks like the new one will do a little bit better job...

Then there were the trailer brake lights. They had also stopped working during wheat harvest. I suspected the trailer brake light pressure switch. First I had to find it.

Here it is. at the top of the picture behind the red hose.I then tried to take it out so I could get a new one. I tried for a long time. I tried many different approaches. Then I decided to let a professional try. That is, after I was able to get the stupid red hose pictured above reattached. This (reattaching the red hose) took about two days worth of trial and error and thinking and purchasing of funny wrenches (in vain) and borrowing of a wrench from a neighbor (in vain) and very scratched up, sore, and cramped hands. Once in the shop in town the professional quickly determined that it was not the pressure switch, and then spent several hours worth of money testing and thinking and testing and thinking until Eureka! he decided to check the... wait for it... turn signal lever. Apparently Frieghtliner routes the brake lights through the turn signal lever. So the actual repair (replacing the turn signal lever) took all of five minutes and was accomplished with 1 screwdriver.

When I got the truck home I decided to fix the problem of chaff getting into the trucks air conditioning. Here is the factory installed mesh:
I stole some mesh from a window on the barn and tucked it in there like so:
And then I (and by "I" I mean "Dad") had to fix my seed auger. It has plastic flighting which is a little more gentle on seed (especially important for soybean seed). This works great for loading seed into a drill, its intended purpose. It does not work for unloading wheat chaff, which a certain person with the initials CL attempted.

"I" also replaced the original two piece tube on my auger (the black part) with this handy three piece tube. This made loading my drill this fall way way easier.