Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Planting is Done. Time for a Few Repairs

I'm pretty proud of my repair on the 4020 lift link (the arm that lifts the 3 pt hitch).It was bent many years ago,which made it very hard to remove from the tractor. I had to lengthen it in place by turning a threaded casting, but it was frozen. A combination of hardened grease and dirt. Plus 50 years. I soaked it with brake/parts cleaner then made an improvised vise to hold the shaft while I put a big wrench with cheater bar/pipe on the casting. It slowly turned. Now I can set both lift arms to the same height, ensuring that future passes with the rotary hoe and row cultivator will be done with the implement level (and the implement will dig down to an even depth across its entire width.)

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I also had to fix the rotary hoe stand, which slipped through its mount on the hoe while I was using it a few days ago. (When not attached to a tractor the stand has the flat plate on the ground. When using it behind a tractor, I invert it and put it in the same sleeve.) I didn't hear a thing, and am lucky that it didn't wipe out entire rows of corn. Fortunately it bent in such a way that it didn't hit the implement either. The culprit was a faulty cotter pin, which came off allowing the hitch pin to work itself out. Then the stand hit the ground.






I took the bent stand off the rotary hoe and made, then installed, a new one.


Dad and I got all the grass waterways and buffer zones, around 8 acres in total, planted on June 1st. A handful different types of grass, either alfalfa or clover, with oats to act as a nurse crop.

My 61 acres of organic corn is up, it looks like I've got good germination. The rows are pretty, the little plants are 1-3 inches tall, and the weeds are almost non-existent.  I'll rotary hoe it 2 more times in the coming weeks, timing my field work as the rain and weed pressure dictate.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Brillion "Sure Stand" Seeder

We need to seed grass waterways, about five acres of alfalfa/hay, and some grass border strips. Our friend and neighbor, Jeff, said we could use his Brillion Seeder. I hadn't seen it until I picked it up, but it was in pretty rough shape. As Jeff said, it works, but I guess I like fixing stuff.

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 I think they'd backed over the tongue with a tractor. It made it almost impossible to get attached to my tractor/truck and more importantly changed the angle that it rode on the ground. The back cultipacker wasn't really doing much.



Tonge and wheels off. 


I made a new tongue out of 4" steel channel. Drilled holes in the right places and painted it. 



The axle bearings were bad in both wheels. Two bearings, two races and one seal. To transport the seeder you jack it up off the ground and put the axle stubs in each end. Because the bearings were bad, when we got it the wheels were stuck (at a slight angle) in the seeder hubs. Took some pounding to get them out. 



The pin through the axle, nothing more than a 3/8" bolt, holds the axle in the seeder.


We've seeded about an acre and it works great. I had to make some adjustments to the seed meter, but I think the rest of the grass seeding will go smoothly. As a side note, I love using those fiberglass lunch trays to hold parts and tools while I do repairs. Most of the time its done in dirt or grass and its very easy to lose vital bits. Thanks to Art and H2 for giving them to me!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Test Runs With Rotary Hoe and 6 Row Cultivator

Just a quick note to say that I got all the various linkages to work and took both for a test run in an untilled field. They seemed to be running smoothly, with the fine tuning to be done when I'm closer to using these two pieces. That'll be after planting, in about two weeks.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Repairing the M&W Model 1815 Rotary Hoe

It was in need of work - the spoons on the wheels were worn away; 7 of the torsion springs that provide downpressure on the wheels were broken off; one arm/row was missing.  I bought 18 new wheels (at $42 each), new springs, and made a spacer for the missing arm after I couldn't find another one (new or used).

To put the new parts on I had to take off a section, which is held in place by the springs pushing the cast arms up against the bottom of the 4"x4" steel toolbar.

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The spring cups around the back of the curved arm, while the top of the curved arm presses against the bottom of the red steel toolbar. The other end of the spring is vertical against the face of the toolbar, effectively pinning the arm, under tension, in place. The effect is to allow the wheel/arm to bounce up and down while maintaining downward pressure on the soil.


I still need to bolt on the new wheels, as well as replace bearings on a few of the old wheels. That is relatively easy now that I got the hoe back together.  Once all the parts are in place I'll take it out for a test spin.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Two Day Old Chicks, Poults, Goslings, and Ducklings + Machine Shed Tour

At 6am this morning I got a call from the Post Office asking me to come pick them up. They're from McMurray Hatchery, what they call a Homesteader's Delight. They mix and match their leftovers; I get to watch them run around for the next 6 months.

I ordered 30 guinea fowl to help eat the deer ticks (Lyme!) but they won't get here until the first week in June.