Friday, January 13, 2012

A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Also known as wet corn harvest 2011.

We finally cut some wet corn. The crew putting up the wet corn needed to move on up the road, and it was day to day whether they would be taking any more wet corn at Feeder H. So we had to go now or wait to cut it dry. (More on why my corn was so late/2011 weather patterns in another post. Maybe.)

We got some mocking rain the next morning.

The green stalks made it pretty slow going.  The corn was also not threshing very well off of the cob.  We went ahead cutting this field anyways in part because of the droughtpocalypse. I wasn't about to drill any seed wheat on dryland with no subsoil moisture whatsoever-- a pretty costly experiment. So I wanted to get this corn out and wheat planted in a timely manner. Also my crop consultant was pretty worried about all the stalk rot he was seeing in the country. He encouraged us to get as much cut wet as possible.

When I sent dad to the house for the night, I discovered that we were about to lose the grate which protects the transmission hoses and wiring. "Whew!" I thought. "It sure is nice to have easy quick-fix break downs for a change!"

I thought too soon.

(Sigh.) On my walk home, I called and talked with Mom about it. She thought that prayer was in order. (I may have disputed the effectiveness of prayer in this particular situation. I was tired. And overwhelmed.)

(Double sigh.)

Keep in mind that at this point we had successfully operated the combine for less than two full days in the year 2011. (See here and here.)

And I was at about double my budget for machinery repair on the year-- on this machine alone. (See here and here.)

"Luckily" my (wonderful) local dealer had a new axle in stock, and even more "luckily," a couple of guys who had replaced an axle in the field before and knew just how to approach it, and even more "luckily," nothing else broke when the back end came down. Apparently it is quite common to have to replace the unloading auger after this kind of thing happens.

 All put back together in time for (a late) lunch!

There were two different hybrids in this field, though, and it didn't take us long to finish with the earlier of the two. As it was going to be impossible to finish up by Saturday night we decided to stop cutting for the weekend and take our chances that they would still be taking corn on Monday. 

So I headed over east to get some fertilizing done. We needed to break up the irrigated Wheat-Corn rotation Over East because of WAY too much cheat on the north circle. So it looks like we are going to be doing Wheat-Wheat-Corn-Corn for a few years. I would MUCH rather do Wheat-Wheat-Corn-Soybeans, but I'm not sure that will pencil out. Stay tuned, I guess.

So that's why the injecting of the fertilizer into the wheat stubble in September is going on.

And I called on Monday morning and Galen said they would still be taking corn while they packed up all the equipment and that we had until Tuesday afternoon. Perfect!

And then we lost the engine fan bearing Monday afternoon.  (Apparently I was done wasting time by taking pictures.) Mark came over and helped me change it out (which was surprisingly difficult. Having now worked on both, I can tell you that it is like CaseIH and Deere had a contest to see who could make their engine fan assembly harder to work on. They both won.)
So I got back to it around dusk on Monday evening.

And then the Auger slip clutch on the header broke (thank you green stalks of corn.) 

Luckily that is the simplest thing in the world to replace provided you follow two simple steps: Step One: Completely disassemble right hand header drive complex. Step two: replace slip clutch.  I did the dis-assembly under the cover of darkness and did the re-assembly first thing Tuesday morning.  This extra simple as the header drive runs in an oil bath and so there is much cleaning and sealing involved.  Somewhere in there I lost a washer. I found it soon after tightening the last bolt on the now obviously mis-assembled header drive complex. But the header ran... so I decided to fix it later.    

We did what we could the rest of Tuesday but we ran out of time.

But wait! I called on up to a feeder east of town on Wednesday morning and they were still taking wet corn.  I cut the final two loads in the morning and got them hauled in.  Feeder H, our preferred delivery location, is 5 miles away by road (2 as the crow flies.) Feeder F is about 25 miles away.  Add in the two separate constructering jobs on the highway, and each load took me about  2.5 hours to haul. Really. Good thing it was just two loads. I also didn't work up the nerve to take any pictures. I don't do well with strangers/change/new situations.

Meanwhile, at the circle of corn across the road, as if to intentionally mock our pitiful two man harvest crew (down to one man anytime someone is picking up seed wheat) and rapidly disintegrating combine, the big renters from down south had come in on Monday morning with their shiny equipment and had their circle harvested, disked, fertilized and planted to wheat by Tuesday afternoon. 

Say it with me... "Comparison is the thief of joy."

(Note to self: Re-find washer; fix corn header properly sometime before September 2012.)


Marion said...

So there were at least two answers to prayer. To God be the glory!!!

BFPAlbers said...

Well done Matthew.