Gathering Tools, Part 3

Finally got a chance to put some of the new (old) acquisitions through their paces this weekend:

1949 JI Case VAC tractor with mower

1949 JI Case VAC tractor with mower

And ya know what? It worked! For a while anyway - the mower finally gave out and a piece of the pulling arm for the sickle snapped off. Whether it was something I'd done wrong or whether it was just old and on it's last legs anyway remains to be discovered. But whatever: it can be repaired, here on the farm, with tools I already have. And with some new (or sharpened) blades, it'll cut as good as when it was new a hundred years ago.

But wait - there's more.

After we got everything going yesterday and got the majority of the front pasture actually cut, we took a break and drove down to see the fellow that sold us the mower last year. And then I remembered that there was usually some old equipment for sale west of Shannondale, so we decided to drive down there just for grins and giggles. And what did we see but a baler! Never seen one of these out there - they're pretty hard to come by. So we stopped and looked - sure enough, it was a IH 430 small square baler, circa the 1970's. And it looked in pretty good shape. Nobody was at home, so we wrote down the number and called them after we got back from town. I was expecting it's go for between $1500 and $2000 - that's what they seem to be running of the low end off of eBay and local auctions. I was shocked when the price was $500 - and a demo was given which showed the beast to be in perfect working order!

1970's vintage IH 430 baler

We now own a baler. And in the winter of 2012, our flock will be feasting on the same grass that feeds them so well through the rest of the year! No more banking on neighbors to find the time to cut our hay, or on the getting a good price at the auction, or finding a good supply at a reasonable price. We've been very lucky heretofore - but as of next year (it's too late to get anything usable out the pasture this year) we won't have to depend on luck.

21:31 /Home | 1 comment | permanent link

Sheep in the News: Mutton Busting

Who knew? I wonder if my granddaughter's opinion of Grandpa's Sheep Rodeo would improve if she'd had a chance for some mutton busting of her own?

Mutton busting, as the sport is known, is the pint-size equivalent of competitive bull riding. Children cling to the backs of sheep, and generally speaking, whoever stays on the longest wins. But just as in bull and bronco riding, even the most talented rider ends up on the arena floor.

(link) [New York Times]

19:25 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Dead Souls

It's virtually living - and dying ...

In a world of dwindling resources, where each person's share of the physical realm decreases over time, it is no wonder that physical reality fails to satisfy. But thanks to the new, intimate, glowing handheld mobile computing devices, the unsatisfactory real world can be blotted out, and replaced with a cleansed, bouncy, shiny version of society in which little avatars utter terse little messages. In the cyber-realm there are no sweaty bodies, no cacophony of voices to suffer through—just a smooth, polished, expertly branded user experience.

(link) [Club Orlov]

via Laudator Temporis Acti

08:53 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Legal Questions Raised by Success of Monkey Photographer

Monkey business... see also this followup.

Here's an excellent question (via the Legal Satyricon): if a monkey steals your camera and takes a bunch of pictures with it, who (if anyone) owns the rights to the pictures?

(link) [Lowering the Bar]

08:49 /Copywrongs | 2 comments | permanent link

For debt crisis lessons, look back 225 years

Those who do not learn from history ...

America's political leaders are paralyzed. The government is reeling from debt. Corrupt bankers foreclose on people's homes as a brutal recession sweeps the land.
We're talking, of course, about the great debt standoff of 1786: Shays' Rebellion.

(link) [CNN]

12:47 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Not Cool

From the National Weather Service:

Record daily highest minimum temperature set Friday...
The minimum temperature at Indianapolis on Friday July 22 2011 was only 79 degrees. This set a new record high minimum temperature for date. The previous record was 78 degrees... last reached in 1934.
Temperature records in Indianapolis began in 1871.

12:14 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Designing an 18k gold, $60,000 phone

Cellphone of the gods? (Look at the company name ...)

It's not every day that we’re asked to make a mobile device that strives to execute contemporary luxury design without compromise.

(link) [DesignFax]

a tip of the hat to Karl

19:16 /Humor | 1 comment | permanent link

North Carolina to Seize Speeding Cars That Fail to Pull Over

Back to our roots, I guess:

"The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner." - Albert Jay Nock

Beginning December 1, North Carolina will join Australia in having laws on the book mandating the seizure of vehicles for certain speeding offenses. On June 23, Governor Bev Perdue (D) signed the "Run and You're Done" bill into law which authorizes a county sheriff to take and hold the car of anyone accused -- not convicted -- of speeding away from a police officer. The state House and Senate passed the measure unanimously.

(link) [The Newspaper]

19:13 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Too Hot to Hoot ...

Air temp at 5pm was 102.4°F. Heat index was 124°F. Un-freaking-believable.

19:04 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Mass psychosis in the US

Isn't it interesting that one of the most common side effects of these drugs is weight gain, and we've suddenly discovered we're having an "obesity epidemic"? It would make for an interesting study to plot the regional use of these drugs alongside BMI data.

On the other hand, given the current crop of presidential hopefuls, the rise of the Religious Right and the Tea Party, and the recent behavior of both Congress and the Administration while facing bankruptcy, perhaps there's really something to the whole "nation of psychotics" thing after all...

Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux.

(link) [Aljazeera]

21:38 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Driven off the Road by M.B.A.s

This guy gets it ...

There are, and will be for the foreseeable future, a lot more bean counters than engineers in this country. But the same may soon be true in China, where the state plans to open 40 new graduate schools of business in the next few years. As Lutz puts it, "That's the best news I've heard in years."

(link) [Time]

06:24 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

'Tick mops' hailed as good news for landowners and ramblers

Yet another use for our woolly friends!

A scheme that uses sheep to control the numbers of ticks on Scottish moorlands has been welcomed by landowners and charities.

(link) [STV]

21:01 /Agriculture | 4 comments | permanent link

Rep. Ryan Tastes The Grapes Of Wrath

Tone deaf doesn't begin to describe this dude...

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leading advocate of shrinking entitlement spending and the architect of the plan to privatize Medicare, spent Wednesday evening sipping $350 wine with two like-minded conservative economists at the swanky Capitol Hill eatery Bistro Bis.

(link) [Talking Points Memo]

19:49 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Michigan Woman Faces 93 Days in Jail for Planting a Vegetable Garden

Ah, the joys of private property ownership in the land of the free...

It just doesn't get more ridiculous than this. Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan -- a mother of 6, law-abiding citizen, and gardener -- is facing 93 days in jail after being charged with a misdemeanor. Her crime? Planting a vegetable garden in the front yard.

(link) [TreeHugger]

19:47 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Gathering Tools, Part 2

1949 JI Case VAC tractor

It's been almost a year since we purchased our mower - I'm pleased to say that we've now added the next (and in some ways the biggest) piece to our tool collection: a 1949 Case VAC tractor. For the record, the actual purchase date was the 8th, and the photo above was taken yesterday evening, after I'd rewired some things, installed a kill switch (that's why the hood is off) and took it for a spin around the yard. It runs great, but it's been (literally) 40 years since I've driven a tractor of any sort, and that's going to take some getting used to.

This guy has had some serious "redneck engineering" applied - the radiator is out of a junk car and has an overflow reservoir, and the exhaust has been extended a bit. The hood won't go on or off with the gas cap in place, and the gauges don't work at all. The seat is from a Ford Focus! That's gotta be replaced just to cure the dorky look! It does have a standard three point hitch, however, and the PTO is in great shape. The hydraulics to lower and raise the hitch are down, though, because somebody tried replacing the cylinder with a more modern one. That's OK, though, as we can swap the brand new one that's on it now for the correct style at no cost. Just a bunch of work. Until then we'll be pulling pins to set the hitch, but we won't be using any three point attachments until next year anyway, so it's a wash. And believe me, the price was right on this baby! I can deal with the quirks over time.

Incredibly useful equipment to be sure, but also incredibly dangerous. We'll get the hang of it, though. And next year, when we add a baler, we'll be getting our own hay, from our own pasture. That will be a truly wonderful feeling come November when the snow flies. Lorraine has already changed the sign on our egg money jar from "tractor fund" to "baler fund"!

09:04 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link