Monday, June 19, 2017

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

“Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1973. Also published by Counterpoint Press in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1999; The Mad Farmer Poems, 2008; New Collected Poems, 2012.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Farm Update: Replanting Soybeans + Birds in the Yard + Sickle Mower

The first planting of beans, about a month ago, didn't take, so we'll do about 38 acres again.  First dad (76 yrs old and works like crazy) re-tilled with the field cultivator, then we planted them with the drill.  Crop insurance will cover a percentage of the loss, not sure of the numbers.  Towards the end of the video we go a little off topic, but I don't really know how to edit these things. I'm also not interested in spending the time to learn.

Here's a short video of the birds as they move around outside. At about 8 weeks old they roam around looking for, and I'm hoping, eating ticks. There is a big problem up here with Lyme disease; I check myself constantly for ticks. I can occasionally feel them crawling on me but more often than not I lift up my shirt or pant leg to find nothing. Which is good, but it starts to play with my head after a while.

I got the sickle mower that I bought at auction hooked to the tractor and so far it's working. In a week or so I'll pull it 10 miles down Highway 63 and mow the 65 acres that are in clover. It's a slow process but given the equipment we have, the best option for getting rid of weeds ahead of next years corn.

Since I shot the pics, we took off the duals (the outside tires). They're good for added traction when you want to till, but when they're off its easier to mow. (They don't trample the grass ahead of part of the mower.)

Click on either of the images to make them bigger.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Moving the Birds Outside

My nephew George and my dad came to the farm to help move the birds from the brooder to the outdoor coop. Now that their feathers are in they can manage the cold nights. After getting acclimated to their new home they'll start wandering around the farm eating, I hope, ticks!

For some reason, to see a clearer image of any of the pictures below, you'll need to click on it --

Friday, May 26, 2017

Auction Buys

I bought a New Idea model 255 sickle bar mower and a 300 gallon diesel fuel tank.  After putting a new hydraulic cylinder on it and giving it a "tune up", I'll use the mower to cut weeds on the 65 acres that's in clover.  By cutting them before they go to seed, I'm hoping to reduce the amount of tillage I'll need to do next spring/summer.

The tank will get a coat of rust converter paint, a couple of new fuel filters, and a final coat of John Deere green.

Kind of amazing what you can move with ropes and chains.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Planting Corn

We hire out the corn planting, as right now we don't have a planter!

He is using a John Deere 12 row model 1770.

This has a been a very cold, wet spring and the corn is going in late. We'll see how that affects the yield.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trying to Dry Out a Field

We try to plant our corn by May 1st. This year has been wet and cold, but there was a small window last week and we missed it.  So, in between the rain, my dad (Gramps), is hoping that by running the field cultivator over this ground the wind will dry it out so we can plant it tomorrow.   The ground is sandy and well drained. It's supposed to rain in the afternoon, so we'll see. 

I had tilled this piece (roughly 30 acres) with the field cultivator almost three weeks ago. The soybean residue on it from last years crop was incorporated fairly easily into the soil.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Heavy Weather

The neighbor's rain gauge says we got 5" of rain.

I like the distorted images.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Baby Birds in Brooder

The birds - guinea fowl, chickens, ducks, geese and a lone turkey - are about a month old. In a week or two they'll have enough feathers to stay warm at night and I'll move them outside for the summer.  I'm counting on the guineas to eat enough ticks to spare me from Lyme disease.  I find myself checking twice a day for ticks; at this point I've only found 3, but I think there will be more as it warms up.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Farmhouse Construction Update #7

I said in the video that it was 0º.  Make that temp 32º (F).  My "mistake" means that my project of learning to think in degrees Celsius is working!  

I won't be able to work on the fireplace until June, when my friend Andy plans on coming up from Chicago to help me.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Repairs to the rotary hoe

The axles and shafts they spin in were fused together after decades of sitting outside and being exposed to the elements. I needed to get them apart and spinning freely.

By putting a piece of 3/4" x 1/8" strap in the slit I cut in the outer tube, the outside tube's diameter increased just enough to allow the rusty inner pipe to move freely.

I put some grease on the tire shafts and put them back in the sleeves. Now it's time to take the hoe up to the John Deere dealer and have them lift it off the trailer. Then I'll pull it, on the newly functioning tires, back to the farm.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

New Piece of Tillage Equipment - Rotary Hoe

Dad (Gramps?) found this piece at an auction and thought I'd be interested.  I brought it home yesterday.

Not sure where I read the thing weighs 3000 lbs. That seems a little on the high side.

In the video I mentioned a problem with the 7140 (the big red tractor). I found out what was wrong with the hinge - a connecting pin had sheared off! No idea how that happened, though the hinge on the other side of the hood had been repaired before with a bolt.  That's how I'll fix it. I drilled out the old 1/2" diameter shaft then, despite having piles of assorted fasteners here, I'm headed to the hardware store for the right bolt.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Back in Turtle Lake - Tour Time

¿Qué tal? I finally got a new camera, one that shoots clear movies.

Hope to start working on the farm projects soon. (Y continuo trabajando en mi español)