Saturday was a good day. I had Bubba helping me and we went and picked up the last load of purchased hay first thing. I was a about 30 minutes late picking him up and just told his mother I was on farmer time! This is a real thing! Serious! There are times you just need to get a job done and are sure it will only take another 15 minutes to complete so you tell the wife you are headed in. 90 minutes later, two phone calls and you only give up to come inside because it is getting dark. I would like to say this doesn’t happen very often but that would be a lie. I can easily get sucked into something and just want to get it done! It is immaterial that the project will take three weeks to complete. I have set a goal for work to be completed at this time and must finish.
So Bubba and I hand loaded the last 2.5 tons onto the trailer and came home and unloaded it into the barn. It was a lot easier to put onto the trailer than it was to stack it up on top of the hay pile. The easy portion of unloading is the bottom three levels of bales, after that it is all work. Hay elevator next year! As I was explaining to Bubba how next year we would be storing round bales it occurred to me that I need to put some rails on the inside of the barn so the bales don’t push on the siding and I may even need to put a cable tightener at the top of the barn to keep it from spreading out from the pressure of all that hay. One more thing to do in the Spring of next year. This came to me as an epiphany while waving my hands in the air and talking. This is good, I can plan ahead and have things ready.
After we stacked it all Bubba took a lunch. I drank water and thought about the next task we were going to do. In all reality, I was resting in the shade, but saying you are planning sounds better. You cannot let them sense weakness, teenagers will exploit it.
Before I could show Bubba how to pick up rocks we needed to empty out the rest of the tractor bucket. We set two more posts for the Bull enclosure and then I had him drive the mistress. I walked alongside giving him pointers. Most of the rocks are going to come from the back hillside. I only have about three buckets worth laying around the barn lot. So Bubba needs to know how to safely pick rocks from the hillside. There is a technique to this as the tractor is small and can easily get over balanced. He is to go straight up and back down the hillside once loaded. This allows you to keep the bucket low to the ground and drop it on the ground if tractor tires start lifting off the ground. He must always wear the seatbelt. He is good at this already. It is a must and something that I harp on everyone about. I wear it faithfully. He can loosen the rocks out of the ground with the front bucket but he has to hand load each and every rock. I don’t think he expected it. I suspect he thought he could scoop them up like gravel from the pile. So he hopped off the mistress and we started to load the bucket. Next thing I know he is screaming “snake!” He landed five feet away with a panicked expression on his face. I asked where and started to dig around in the grass to see it. I pointed out that he was getting rocks from a rocky hot hillside and he was going to find lots of snakes. If he doesn’t bother them, they won’t bother him. We got back to work. He managed to back down and got stuck in the dry creek bed. He had popped the mistress out of four wheel drive. When you have that much weight in the bucket you need four wheel drive and positrack to get over slippery surfaces. He was able to drop the rock load into the first rock crib and then I turned him loose. There are five rock cribs to fill currently and each one will take a minimum of two hours each.
After getting cleaned up Annmarie and I headed into town to get me new work boots. One of the local stores has a one day sale and clothing and shoes are 20% off so I try and buy foot wear on this day. I had spotted an add for an estate sale on facebook during Bubba’s lunch time and it was on the way to town so I asked the wife if she was interested in stopping. She was game, we like to do these but most of them are not true estate sales, just glorified yard sales. We like to yard sale but usually on days where we can visit 10+ sales in a single day. I had seen the signs for this sale on Friday while doing the supply run but had not stopped. Big mistake! It was a true liquidation of everything from a man over 90 years old. There was still a lot of stuff left and we went on day three. We found a few odds and ends but the real find was a DOG TAG MACHINE from World War 2! The thing is a beast and weighs around 250#. I just kept coming back to it and finally made the best offer of the day for it. A couple of people were holding out and hoping that no one would want it. I spotted one of these years ago and coveted it then but it was really expensive. They go for $500-1000 depending on how old they are. Most of the ones I have seen are not this old. Once I get it into the house and onto the breeze porch I will start cleaning it up. The thing is sold metal and just has surface rust. Its a light coating from being stored outside in a shed. I will get that cleaned off and lube the machine up with some WD-40 and I will be set! Annmarie asked me what I was going to do with it. I am gonna make tags! I have no idea what for but I am gonna make some. I hunted around and finally found blank tags for 18 cents a piece if I buy 1000. It seems like a nice round number. I figure it will take me 50-100 tags just to get it right and see how many lines I can put on the dog tag. I need to create a postcard with information on the machine and process so I can include it with any tags made. I am pretty stoked about this find! Now I just need two more hardy souls to help me unload it and carry it upstairs and onto the breezeporch. I have it wrapped in a tarp in the the back of our pickup now. I also need to print up the instruction manual.
As an added bonus I spotted this internal gear stacked over against some discarded stuff when we went back to pickup our Graphotype. I was gonna trade it with a couple of buddies. One does metal work and the other does woodwork custom tables. I figured that surely one could use this unique item. Well after talking to Annmarie on the way home we are going to use it! We have been talking about getting a custom metal sign for the farm and we can have someone cut us a pattern using their CNC machine and I could weld it after taking the class this fall. But today as I was staring at the picture it dawned on me that we could just have the CNC machine cut the shape to just barely under the circumference of the gear and I could just drill holes through it and bolt it to the ring! No welding necessary therefore no waiting needed. Annmarie just needs to design it and I need to get two metal posts from the scrap yard. Once I have those posts I can set them in concrete and we will be ready! I really like this idea. Annmarie can do all the design work and just have the CNC machine do its duty. I want to make it out of 1/4″ or 3/16″ plate steel, with the price of steel currently I will probably go for the 3/16″. If we use steel then I can create the rust patina on the new piece easily with a chemical spray.
I did get some new leather boots and some slip on leather shoes!