Sunday, September 26, 2010

I guess I'm not BTO material

BTO in the farm community is an acronym for Big Time Operator.  BTO's are the "industrial" farmers ... sort of the Wal-Mart's of agriculture.  They intend to take advantage of every opportunity. I guess I just don't think like them.

We had a pretty good Friday.  We expected to be rained out, but instead cut about 20 acres of beans, stopped for lunch with family, then in the afternoon shelled 30 acres of corn.  For us it was a pretty good day.

Saturday we didn't get started too quickly.  We had to catch up on some things we intended to do Friday after the rain (Don't get me started on the weather forecast / local TV weather persons).

Aman had just gotten rolling good, shelled about 10 ares, when a gathering chain broke.  Fortunately it stopped before going all the way through the combine, but in the process somehow it bent a "SUPPORT ASSEMBLY, right hand".  It looks like the one below circled in red, except it it left and we had problems with the right

It wasn't bent much.  In fact you really had to look to see it was bent.  But it threw the idler sprocket out of alignment just enough to throw the chain off and bind up things.  We don't know if this is cause (why the chain broke) or effect (the broken chain bent it).  I'm leaning toward cause.  If I had been a BTO my service vehicle would have pulled up with tools and air compressor and welder and torch and we would have repaired or at least attempted repair on the spot. We decided it was time to go to the shop.

So back to Mom's to the shop.   Took it apart, thought we fixed it, put it together, ran it, messed up again, took it apart again, and went to see Ralph.  Fortunately Ralph was there this Saturday afternoon.  I didn't think Ralph would do anything we couldn't do, but he has better equipment to do it with and (more importantly) he has a better "eye" than I do.  He looked at it and said "Oh, that needs to be like this", stuck it in his press and proceeded to (as Sharp used to say in the copier service manual) "shape to fit".

We put everything back together, tried it, and it worked.  So at 4:00 on Saturday evening with rain in the forecast ... we closed the doors and went home.

I'll never make it as a BTO.   I can live with that.

I went home, cleaned up, took my wife out for supper and spent the evening working on the Sunday School lesson I have to teach.  Some things are more important than being the first one done in the area.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Missing someone I never met

I got  a note from a lady in NW Wisconsin Tuesday.

"John passed away peacefully early this morning. He was only on hospice for 5 days, and deteriorated rapidly in those few days. His wish was to be at home, and was very worried about pain. Fortunately he had very little pain, and I was at his side in our home when he passed away. I know he's in a better place with no more suffering now"

John was a retired dairy farmer from NW Wisconsin.  He was one of many people I have met online but never known in person.   Barb and John have been friends online for quite some time. Not terribly close, but someone I always kind of watched for when they made comments to see what was going on in their lives.

Barb posted January 2 of 2009 that John's prostate cancer had spread and the Dr didn't think treatments were doing any good.  She asked we write John some words of encouragement.  He and I exchanged a few letters. Yes, actual hard copy mailing via USPS letters.  He sent me a photo of him on his "B" they had restored that was on a Renk Seed newsletter

I never have had much luck copying photos from a pdf file. If you download it's on page 6.  he commented in a letter "The story behind that little tractor is way too long to tell you about."  I kind of wish he had taken the time.

This is another one of those places I kind of kick myself.  I hadn't mentioned it to Sue or to them, but I kind of hoped we could go see Jim this summer and take a couple days to wonder north to see John and Barb. The way the summer worked out that didn't happen.

Well, I am waxing philosophical, and while a shiny philosophy is nice I think I'll just hit the "Publish Post" button and leave it needing a little work.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I know you're busy ...


"I know you're busy, but when you get time you need to look at the toilet in the front bathroom."


"Well, I discovered the wall and floor are wet behind it and I think it is leaking, so I turned the water off to it."

"OK ... I'm on top of a grain bin right now."

"Oh I understand.  But when you get time..."

Yes, it was leaking water.  Leaking through the tank, or more specifically through a crack in the back of the tank.  A crack running from top to bottom.  Or bottom to top depending on your vantage point.

So for our fun Sunday afternoon we went to Lowe's.  And there was a tank I could buy for $29.  But the bolt pattern was wrong.  So we decided to splurge for a new toilet.

Boy do we know how to live it up and blow money.

Do you know how  many choices there are of toilets?  Regular or chair height?  Round or elongated? One piece or two? Low volume or what now passes for normal? White or .... ?  American Standard, AquaFlush, Jacuzzi, on and on and on.

Yes, THAT Jacuzzi

"What do you think?"

"I don't care as long as it works.  Oh, and is white."

Any experienced husband knows those words "I don't care as long as..." mean you probably can't win.  So I made an executive decision.  We are now the proud owners of an American Standard Champion 4 RH EL toilet

" with the industry's widest outlet, largest flush valve and EverClean surface. It's virtually clog free and it helps keep itself clean."   Yeah, right.  The box says it will flush a bucket full of golf balls.  Don't mention that around Adam.

I know you are suitably impressed.  It is now installed ... sort of.  Seems it sets taller than the old one so the water supply hose is too short.  After some discussion of going to Wal-Mart tonight we decided to live with it tonight.  Installation was a breeze except for a problem with the anchor bolts.  Which meant I had to pick it up after the wax seal was in place.  So we'll see how that turns out.

I've been registering it online.  Seems the flush valve has a 10 year warranty.  Way too many hoops to jump through to register it.  In the process I had to go through a list of American Standard toilets to find the right model number. They show some $1,228 toilets!  I best not comment.  You doubt me?  Go to and look yourself.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You're what ?

(9:00 PM)
Just thought I'd check in.  I'm on the way to see if I need to start an irrigator.
(silence, then)
You're what ?
(You can't get the correct tonal accent from the written word)
I'm checking to see if I need to start an irrigator.
What needs irrigated this time of year?
(again the limitations of the written word)
Lyman's double crop beans.
Well, I'm almost there so I may as well.
OK .... be careful.

And folks wonder why I say the only thing worse than having an irrigator is needing one.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

it really wasn't a big deal...

It rained Friday night so Saturday was not a work in the field day ... which caused me to be involved with doing something I'd never done before.

A bit of background.

I have this nasty habit.  I enjoy yard sales.  Sue has this equally nasty affliction.  She (as a rule) hates going to yard sales.  There are exceptions, such as going with 2-3 ladies to some town wide sale day or something, but that is more the going than the yard sales.  Anyway, I stopped by a neighbor's yard sale this summer and ended up bringing home a dining room set.  Table, chairs, china cabinet ... pretty nice set.  It wasn't Tell City but it was OK.  It had some experience showing but not too bad.  I had to work on a table leg but other than that is was pretty good , except for the chair cushions.  They showed some wear, so Sue decided they needed reupholstered.
This looks better in the photo than it did in person.

She found the fabric she wanted (and I avoided going "How Much?") and purchased it anticipating a rainy day for her hubby to help.

Remember I mentioned Friday night?

So Saturday morning we started in reupholstering the chairs.  First you remove the seats.  They were attached with phillips head screws, so I got to use power tools.  Then we removed 416 staples from the bottom of each seat.  That is an estimate but it seemed pretty accurate.  Sue used the old material as a pattern and cut out the fabric

at $XXXX a yard (no, I'm not telling) she was a bit nervous about making an error.  She wasn't really that green but as nervous as she was she might have been.  There is a bit of the china cabinet in the corner of the photo.

Anyway, we then set the cushion and base on the fabric, pulled it tight and stapled it.  Oh, did I mention I do not have an air stapler like the factory does?   We only got 250 staples in each one ... or so it seemed.

Anyway, when we got done it looked pretty good.
Pay no attention to the color.  My phone camera sometimes has trouble with shades of red.
Notice the bright red Milwaukee drill box  in the photo?  Compare it to the before photo above.

I'm sure a professional would have done better, but we're more likely to live in this old house than be on This Old House.  We finished by lunch and I must say it looks pretty good for a couple inexperienced amateurs.  Even got the dragon flies all pointing the same direction.

Oh, BTW if you are a guy taking notes be warned.  New upholstery causes other problems. I had to go to Harbor Freight Sunday afternoon with a battery charger to exchange under warranty.

"Since we're close, let's stop by Menard's to pick up paint chips".
Might have been cheaper to got to Rural King and buy a new charger.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7 ... September 7 ...

September 7 ...  September 7 ...  seems like an important date for some reason ....
 Oh yeah, Jill and I went visiting that day

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'm stuck in Effingham again

Reminds me of a CCR song.  We had been having problems with a fire truck.  It was not running well, losing power, just generally acting weird.  Since we only have 3 trucks it is kind of important.

We took it to Beirnbaum's. They said it needed to see a shop with the correct computer.

  I called Effingham Truck Sales and found their shop is open 24 hours a day.  They said if we could get it there by 10 PM Thursday they would look at it overnight.  So it was off to Effingham and ETS.  We dropped it off and went to Neimerg's for supper

Bad job but someone has to do it.  They called Friday afternoon and said it was ready.  Steve had been over, so I hitched a ride on his way back to Vandalia. They had replaced an injection control module of some kind.  A bit after 6 I headed east.

But I had not gotten out of town when the warn engine light came on again.  Back to ETS.  They poked and prodded and decided it needed another sensor replaced.  Then after a test drive they decided it needed the high pressure oil pump replaced. By now it was late enough I didn't want to ask Sue to come after me and there were no loaner cars available.  So I went to the driver's lounge and slept through most of a movie.  About 1PM I headed east.  Old #3 was running better than it ever did.

But I did sleep in Saturday morning.

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