…or at least write a little more often. Not much happening in the Dim Technological Pleistocene or the Old Hippie’s Garage lately. Mainly that’s because we’ve been spending a lot of time working the farm, and the equipment hasn’t broken down. I managed to resurrect an old grading blade that I got as part of the deal that netted me Eminence Grease, a utility trailer, and the blade all for free. If you’ve paid attention you know how Eminence Grease worked out. The trailer is a real white elephant and I’ll give it away for free to anyone who drives up to get it. Hint. Email me.

The blade is another story. It looks homebuilt but it has a builder’s plate on it from a company I can’t remember off the top of my head. Very heavy steel mother. Fully reversible and tiltable — and all in pieces on the trailer with some other bits and bobs mixed in for a light-duty drawbar. Task One was sorting out the parts, then cleaning some of the rust off, giving the whole thing a spritz of WD-40 to protect the steel. I replaced some of the bolts and washers but in the main it’s used but not used up.

After getting it together, backed the JD 4320 up to the trailer and hooked up the draft links and centre link to the blade frame and mast. I ended up robbing a pair of retaining pins off the tiller to hook up the draft links. Good-working hydraulics make picking up heavy loads easy! Took it up to the shop, did some more fix-and-fettle on it, then propped it up next to the tiller in the equipment park and unhooked. The centre pivot bolt for the blade is seized with rust (though it pivots smoothly after shooting some grease under the baseplate), so I may have to get a neighbour to use his cutting torch or air-arc on it so I can replace with something from THIS century.

Next month I’ll run the tractor in for pre-winter service, which will also see the addition of hydraulics to turn and tilt the front plow blade. I *think* I’ll still be able to run a blade on the rear with part of the rear hydraulics diverted to the front plow, but we’ll see. It’d be nice but not critical.

This weekend I’ll be harvesting a bounty of well-aged manure from a neighbour’s sheep farm. People just throw this stuff away! Imagine! I’ll have to hook the tiller back up — which means a bit of grease here and there and some basic set-up and check-out. I’ll spend this weekend churning up the manure the sheep have packed into the ground and piling it up where they won’t be tempted to play King-of-the-Hill on it. You have to be smarter than the sheep — who may not be tops in the brainpower department but they have a low animal cunning that is hard to outguess some days. Then I’ll rent a dump trailer and move the pile down to our place. Next spring it will help us put another level of terrace into production.

The long-term weather outlook is for the current La Nina event to continue into January 2011. That means cooler than normal and more precipitation. Since the bulk of our snow hits in December and January, it’s an even bet at this point whether we’ll have above-normal snowfall. After the scanty snow last winter one can hope for some more moisture.

I’ll close by revealing my weather schizophrenia. As a farmer, ya just gotta love free water (as long as there isn’t too much of it!). Every drop that falls from the sky is a drop I don’t have to pay BC Hydro to pump outta the well. The old hippie who ran away to the desert would rather see it dry, however. The farmer reminds the old hippie that having food is a good thing, so quit bitching about the weather! In winter I just put my head down and get through it, knowing the sun and warmth will return eventually. February’s a hard month, though.

Cheers for now.