Tractor Pulling


Pulling trees with a chain and the 856. Actually it’s four chains hooked to the bale stabber on the three point hitch on the back of the 856. Once the engine warms up the oil quits gushing out of the leaking o ring on a bypass pipe. The parts swell up with heat and a trickle slows down to a drip. It may take a half pint to get it warmed up enough. I tried to replace the silicone I had fixed it with last time but I think I may have made it worse.

I’m using four chains because the trees are small enough to pull four at a time. Only once have I had the front wheels off the ground while pulling. But I had seven trees hooked up that time. I’ve learned how to loop it around one and get the excess chain to loop around a second and even a third if the trees are close enough together. All in all it’s going better than I thought. A vast majority of the trees are too small to pull with my fat chains. On them I’ll use a lopper.

What amazes me is how fast these trees grew. They are all Chinese elm that were self seeded by air from the nearby building site’s original Chinese elm windbreak. Growing alongside my headlands and turn areas a couple years ago they became too large to drive through with the equipment. Had it been mowed for brome hay every year the trees wouldn’t have stood a chance. I had been grazing it over winter with the stalks though and the cows don’t eat barren trees, only trees with leaves. As it is they are already making a nice windbreak.

They are prolific growers but they are a dirty tree in that they die as fast as they grow. A lot of times on the same trunk. There will be four or five dead branches for every four or five live ones. Always breaking off and coming down from the wind. It is good for the wood peckers but not very attractive to look at. The tree is best when planted thick and harvested early. They could quite plausibly be a good alternative crop for fuel or fiber here in southwest Iowa on some of our poorer soils. Cc


G Rain

I took the leftover soybean frankenseed back to Monsatan yesterday. Or should I say their agents. They can have back what didn’t get safely buried. I wouldn’t want the liability of having the feared seed around. Plus with every other acre losing money this year on soybeans (which is better than every acre like corn) I can’t afford the money I have to spend let alone any extra. We made it by with little to no real repair expense for the planting season. If I play my cards right I should be able to repeat that performance again for the harvest. For the second harvest in a row.

I drug out the ladders and went after some of the branches growing up against the house this morning. I plan to spend the most part of the next month cutting trees and finishing tearing out fences. I still have a mile of re-bar posted smooth galvanized hot wire fences that gotta go. Maybe another mile of barbed wire fence also needing to be gone. I have young wild trees to cut about everywhere. They would take over entirely as a forest if left to themselves to dictate. I think sans man Iowa would be in one of it’s forested periods about now. Rain makes more than just grain. It makes wood grain too.

It’s not that lack of rain can’t make grain. It just doesn’t make as much as rain falling can. What lack of rain can make is it easier to find a grain of sand. Ask California. I’d say ask Texas but it seems they’ve gone to the other extreme now. Their grains of sand will be building berms and bars along the now flooded waterways. A grain not made by rain but a grain highly manipulated by rain. Or the lack there of. For us here in southwestern Iowa it’s been far from lack of rain. More like prescription rains. We couldn’t do better if we had irrigation. At least so far. Maybe we can have a grain of good fortune for a change.



Done Again

Finished the last farm last evening. Sat, May 23rd. Just in time for another shower. An all night long light shower. The kind a crop farmer prays for. I’m going to rest a few days after hell week. Working five to ten gets very tiring. That’s five am to ten pm. Sorry to be so brief but I limped through the bean run with a lot of worn out parts. Note to self, both the planter and the drill need at least one “lift” wheel’s bearings replaced. On the planter it’s a real lift wheel, on the drill it’s the tire that caries it while it’s in the ground planting. The planter’s missing the left marker disk & hub. I know where but couldn’t find it. The drill’s right marker has the bearings locking up and I lost one complete coulter, shaft and all. In addition the openers have many disks and their bearings needing replaced.

But I managed.

All in all a good run. Glad to be done. Again.



Uncivil War

Inner city civil wars. The pawns versus the knights. There may be more pawns but the knights have armor. Up on their high horses the knights have deep pockets for holding gold. Clasps, clips, rings, necklaces and other bling lifted from the fallen? No, grants, funding programs for military equipment, and “forfeitures” of the “ill gotten gains of crime”. Along with hefty merit pay and other employee union mandated benefits packages too numerous to have complete funding from current fiscal flows. Like most civil wars the partisans hold the night with the forces of control taking back the burning streets at dawn as the natives and inter city mercs regroup to ready another night of “festivities”. The knights rule the days. Urban renewal American style. One city at a time please.