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State of the Ranch, State of the Artist

Thursday

The day after the new tractor arrived, a couple things happened. More than a couple, however not many more, and one of the things affected a Change of Plans as far as things to do and get done is concerned.

First of all, we name our motor vehicles here on KP Ranch (in case you've not noticed my referencing Sydney Subaru Outback or Forrest Nissan Pickup or Harrison Ford 8N...) and while I made morning coffee the old hind-mind percolated up the name for our new compact tractor (that being the more industry accurate description of what Herself calls an estate tractor). Pretty obvious, actually, as was Harrison's name. New tractor is LittleJon Deere.

Second of all, while we kept the Border Collie Bros occupied with watering the Dirty Yard Birds and incidental Water Sports, the Tree Guys working on next door neighbor's north paddock … Right. Next door neighbor Ms. P is clearing some of the trees on her north paddock (right next door to us) so as to both provide more light for grass and grazing for her cows, and to re-direct the right of way that Cater-Corner Neighbor is granted across her paddock to access their property. Neighbor wants to move that right of way track closer to the fence line. Long story, involves the Cater-Corner Neighbor as well. Anyway, she's hired the Tree Guys to do this.
And they proceeded to drop a big old laurel oak across our fenceline in Goat Paddock.

Herself and I got part way walking up there, saw the mess, and said pretty much simultaneously to each other: We need the tractor/I'm getting the tractor.

And we proceeded to pull branches away from the fenceline which the Tree Guys trimmed off that old laurel oak. Some fairly good sized (20 cm or so diameter where cut, several metres long). Took a few hours, and we determined that none of the fence posts were broken, just wire pushed down. Reset the wire, goats enjoyed the leaves off the branches (Oak Leaves! Goat Candy!). Wrapping that up, Herself asked me if we should take some of the lighter stuff over to the bucklings in their pen.

Sure.

So she walked to one of the bunches of branches and started pulling out some rather small ones. Meanwhile, I looked at that, then drove LittleJon over to one of the smaller piles of branches, which were also much smaller (5 – 10 cm or so diameter), bundled them with the work rope I'd been using to the front-end loader, lifted them, and headed off toward the Buckling Pen.
Herself looked up as I got closer, and waved her arms at me palms up, sort of, What?

Well, you did say bring some of the lighter stuff for the Bucklings, didn't you?

Yes. Quite delightful, owning a functioning tractor again. And that front-end loader brings a whole new definition of 'lighter stuff' to the game, as well.

However, we also lead into...

Saturday: Notes To Self About New Tractor

Always remember to turn the ignition switch to Off on Littlejon Deere. On Thursday, when I got off the saddle without putting the transmission into neutral the safety cut-off turned the engine off. Apparently I neglected to come back to turn the switch off (I think I planned on re-starting however that didn't happen). Saw the instrument lights on on Friday morning on my way out, turned switch off then. Littlejon would not start yesterday. Low battery. Will need to get the battery out to charge it up; do-able, a bit of work. Getting jumper cable clips on, not so much easy, so couldn't get a jump-start.

Herself kindly blamed the local raccoons for playing with the key, which is on a fishing lure fob. So Rocky Raccoon turned the ignition on, but couldn't get the beast started (still in gear, eh), got bored and left. Did run the battery down though.

Also, I think one portion of the three-point category one hitch is missing, the center bar (by whatever name). May not be necessary for the auger attachment, as that may constitute the center bar. Will need to take a closer look. If it is totally missing, will need to replace it.

Front end loader will accept alternate attachments. Three different sized buckets, and two pallet tine accessories will fit this front end loader. Not sure we need the other buckets, however a pallet tine set could be very useful.

Sunday, More Notes to Self About New Tractor

Took a good hard look at the post hole tool on Saturday afternoon. Herself was off to an SCA event. I was supposed to be cutting wire fabric for chicken tillers. After watering and feeding everyone, the Bros and I took a hard look at the post hole tool.

The pivot connection point, that end is bent slightly. The guard around the PTO connection at the gearbox, majorly bent out of shape. The u-joint for that end of the PTO shaft is broken off, in that guard, and won't turn completely around. The PTO shaft itself is both bent and torqued. So is the 15 cm (six inch) auger. Called the fellow we purchased it from, asked him if he'd used any of the attachments (worked into the call as a friendly question; mostly made it a 'Thank You' kind of call).

No, he hadn't. Mentioned to him that the large auger is a 30 cm (12 inch) auger. He said he hadn't ever measured it, just assumed it was a nine inch. We're all good on this as is, mind you, so we've got this big bit which, well.

There is a warning label on the bar of the tool itself, "designed for up to 9” auger bits". So that auger is too big, and I won't use it. The model number is on there somewhere, make a note, do some shopping for a replacement. I figure the original owner got the smaller bit tied up in some limerock, easy to do hereabouts, bound up the bit and that torqued off the drive shaft, braking the u-joint and battering the shield about.

Took the shaft over to S NotOnLJ's shop. He's going to work on it tomorrow (which is today, I wrote some of this yesterday). We may get it straightened out, but if it is torqued indeed, the grooves upon which the two portions of the shaft slide... will not line up. Worst case scenario, I need to purchase a replacement PTO shaft. The tongue at the connection end, we can probably straighten that out.

Fairly easy, turns out, to get the front grill off, and a bit easy to get the battery out. Looks like it may be a 'proprietary' battery. It is at least a 'type 51'. More to be learned. Put it on the charger a while. Turned charger off while I went to Steve's. Still off. Probably leave it off overnight, start charging again tomorrow morning.

Overnight

Herself got home a bit earlier than I expected, though possibly not as I didn't start filling the tub until a touch after 21:00. She enjoyed a good visit and accomplished her business. Nor did she express much upset on the news about the tractor implements and not getting started on chicken tillers. Like me, she looks at the larger auger bit as either a re-sell item or see if we get a heavier duty post hole tool for the 8N. I think though we will wind up selling it. S e-mailed me with the news that he got the broken portion of the u-joint off, and on further inspection yes, that drive shaft is toast. It may be only half the shaft, we'll see. I've got a few lines on replacement PTO drive shafts, far far less expensive than the whole tool attachment.

More Gimp Learning

Reading a tutorial on making a simple watermark in GIMP. Will bookmark in both Safari & Chrome. I'm leaning toward a simpler answer, which is going to be two-part, for my problem of bringing all the 'chop' work I did in Photoshop into Gimp. Use the simple chop, kanji only, not the © year in vertical plus (that one I could edit the year text in Photoshop, can't yet in Gimp). Place name & © year in text also. Mind you, this is probably for on-line versions, not necessarily print versions. Now, just to experiment and learn.

To that end, I've also printed to PDF the web page which is the tutorial for adding a simple watermark in Gimp. Plus a couple others.

But not right now. Cut that wire fabric for Chicken Tillers today, put the battery back into LittleJon, started him up, used him for some other big chores. Like mowing a big swath, taking the last of the cattle feed over to them, things like that. Now it's time for dinner and more beer. Already started on the beer, yashuryoubetcha, eh!

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