I finished picking corn Thursday about dusk. And went straight to bed. I’d been up since five am for I don’t know how many days, working till near ten pm each evening. On Wednesday night at a quarter to ten the feeder house disintegrated. Where it attaches to the combine on one side was splitting apart stopping the rattle chain where it would jam up in the pinch. Looked like an old wound that had been welded by the previous owner. Or his blacksmith. The greater part of Thursday was spent wrenching another feeder house off the parts combine onto the “new” one.
I was ready to roll by mid afternoon. Afternoons are very short this time of year. We are what, a week away from the shortest days of the year? Sun stands still. Our little Indian Fall was just the window of opportunity I needed to finish up combining corn and get a drill full of homegrown rye planted on the headlands for a cover crop. Or another rye crop depending on when it germinates. Quite possibly the last day this crop year to run in the soil. It was none too dry as it was. Winter Rye only needs a minimum 35 degree soil to germinate, and a following freeze to give the berries viability.
It rained all Saturday night , Sunday, and Sunday night with a whitening of snow to finish it off this morning. Had to be a couple inches. By afternoon the snow was melted and the sidewalks dry. The creeks were half way up their banks and many fields were puddled along them when my daughter and I went for a short drive around sundown this evening to snoop on the other farmers who’d been picking as I was. Damn it’s good to be done. It’ll take a hard freeze to get back into the fields now. But I’m sure that’ll come. It’s darn near winter.
Now, where’s that bottle of rye?
We loaded the last semi load of beans for the crush plant last evening just as it was getting dark. The load was going in today sometime. We cracked open a twelve pack and drank us up a storm. By midnight the rain was over. We received a good soaking. I’d say up to an inch fell. The perfect ending for the bean run. By noon today it had cleared back off and the sun was shining bright. I took a nap this afternoon after I had moved the cows out on the last patch of now fresh bean stubble. While they took their first few mouthfuls I ran down witrh a few buckets and cleaned up the beans we’d spilled on the road loading trucks. A trap wasn’t quite closed once on the rear hopper and a few beans dribbled out onto the gravel. Another time the truck pulled too far forward as he switched to the rear hopper and some ran over the back onto the same pile.
We finished before the rain but about five hours before it started I never thought I was going to make it. As I was cutting beans around two or three in the afternoon the cutter bar suddenly stopped. When I got off to see if the drive belt had broke I discovered the wobble box that drives the sickle had all but fallen clean off. The four bolts that held it in place were still all there but the two front ones had been the only ones holding it on since the piece of plate steel that the rear two bolts were bolted to had broken off with the piece still firmly attached to the wobble box to no avail. Those two front bolts had shaken half off and allowed the box to move rearward enough to slacken the drive belt stopping the sickle from traveling back and forth.
So I needed two new bolts with lock nuts and a welder. That meant running up to get my borrowed welder back from the guy that borrowed it. I sent the stay at gone mom after the bolts over to the Titan IH machinery dealer a couple towns over. She had just enough time before having to go pick up the kids from school. By Five I had it back together and was out finishing the last couple acres. I called the trucker and the rest you know.
Now, for the corn …….
And already recuperated. I actually took a nap. Two days in a row! It may be hell to get old but a little rest is heavenly. Before you get too judgmental I am over fifty. You know, old? As a certified hayseed a nap is not anathema. It’s highly recommended. Call it a power nap if you must to satisfy the illusion of a work ethic. Call it siesta if your Mediterranean. I’m calling it over now that I’ve woken up.
Now, on to cattle. Or more specifically away with cattle. If it’s a bull it’s time to pull. The same with cull. Hamburger calls. Which brings up something I’ve wanted to talk about ever since I heard on the news about it. A-1 Steak Sauce. According to the report A1 Steak Sauce is dropping the word Steak from their name. From now on they will simply be A1 Sauce, like they were when they first came out. A1 Original Sauce. Beats the heck out of ketchup. And a notch or two above the lowly salsa. For your steak burrito. Or was that burrow steak?
The company is trying to put a positive spin on the decision to drop the word steak. They will play it like the sauce is good on everything. They’re expanding their market reach. That America has this divergent amalgam of exotic foods and they must extend their appeal to the variance of tastes. Not the true reality that the sauce makes the dogfood poor Americans can afford palatable and they’re sensitive to the customer’s feelings of downward mobility. They may be shooting themselves in the foot though. Having that word steak on the bottle may have been some sort of ghetto status symbol around the hoods. Many may have thought the sauce was made out of steak, it was steak brown in color.
Fifty years ago they had added the word steak to appeal to an American market back when America was affluent enough to afford to eat steak. Back when I was a child. Back when a country’s wealth was measured in protein units available to eat. No wait, it still is. According to what they are writing about China and other developing nations. Today they are becoming more affluent. Today we are not. Today Americans are considered fortunate if they can afford hamburger. Let alone expensive cuts of butcher’s beef. A chicken in every pot is all you can aspire to here in the land of former opportunity. Maybe a crawdad or a catfish if you have the skill. Devolution. We have once again become the tired and hungry. We have reverted to the huddled masses yearning to breath free. We thought we were change but the spots have leoparded back on. The steady decline of the American Reich. Fries with that?
In a word, Done.
Then, there …….
As of sundown last evening. The rain was minimal. Around five o’clock as I drove up north to see how dry it was getting everybody and there dog was out planting something. The next door neighbor was planting in the cornstalks. I should say both next door neighbors. One up north and one down home. The one up north was planting beans but the other next door neighbor up north running a grain drill was running in bean stubble. Beans on beans? The third next door neighbor was still planting corn in bean stubble. CO-OP was just finishing up there too as I headed home. The two youngest daughters were along for the ride so we stopped in town at the park to let them play a while.
It doesn’t look like the tile line guys work on Saturdays. The welder guy does. He was over west hiding from a shower in his truck cab when I pulled up. The Vacuum’s ready to roll. The CO-OP boys were applying the corn weed and feed there as we finished up welding the guy wires (chains) to the auger tube bracket. That’s my patent to reenforce the self supporting auger better. I’ve seldom met a machine that didn’t need a tweak here and there. It should be good to go for another hundred thousand bushels. Given a little duct tape and baling wire. My older brother is planting corn for the guy that sold me the vacuum so as long as they get along it sounds like I can have used parts cheap.
If I don’t log on tomorrow have a happy Mom’s day.
See you then, see you there.