madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

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State of the Artist, State of the Art, Meanwhile Back At the Ranch

I aim to misbehave here. Besides that being a touch to one of my favourite science fiction shows, it's also the case and I even fore-warned a couple people that I would be doing so. There will be a bit of talk about what the Artist is doing, because it's supposed to be my art blog and all. However, and because artists (at least this Artist) don't only make art. Believe it or not, there are a lot of Activities of Daily Living that get in the way, and other things. And when the Artist in Question also owns a small Ranch, well, it means there are things that go along with being able to say Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

State of the Artist, State of the Art

What I am doing is re-learning how to print. Most of my photographic printing experience is in a black-and-white darkroom, so silver reduction processes, and it is some time out of date as well. Silver possesses antibiotic properties, and thus dumping silver into a septic tank system is a Bad Idea. This is one thing involved with being able to say Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch. The Ranch uses septic tanks. Septic tanks rely on microbes to break down the solid waste deposited therein. Don't want to kill those tanks, eh.

Digital printing doesn't put anything into septic tanks. Well, maybe it could, if the waste paper and ink were shredded and then flushed down a toilet. However, that's not the usual course of events for a multitude of reasons. I am re-learning how to print because I am learning digital printing, and it is proving a touch of a challenge. Some of the things to keep in mind are that inks produced for a particular manufacturer printer (I'm avoiding brand names at this point, because this is something of an overall point) are designed to work with certain paper types. There will be papers marketed by the printer manufacturer, and those are the easiest means to get a print to look good, because the paper/ink profile is already available to the human printer.

I've seen examples of this recently. We own some paper types purchased at nearby office supply business, not marketed by the printer manufacturer for the printer we own (henceforth to be known as Mr. Printy) and am currently using. I've run some prints on that paper, using a 'direct' print route from Gimp. Gimp still ports the printing out to Mr. Printy, so it's the same printer driver that gets the image out there that the company uses through their app.

OK, time to name some names. Mr. Printy is an Epson Artisan 50 Series® . The app is Epson Easy Photo Print® . Printer driver is the same whether using their app or printing from the image processing software (as in same would be true if I were still using Photoshop® rather than Gimp). And I am getting better results using the Epson paper, because (most likely) the profile is in my system for that paper specifically.

I need to do a lot more playing with this, and play is the word I use despite the fact this also qualifies as work. I'm working on producing quality prints for sale. Happens to be fun work so also somewhat play. In the short term now, this week, I'm going to use the Epson paper for another couple of prints, different images, because they are commissions and there is a due date. Which is Real Soon. And I still need to get at least one of these mounted, matted, and framed plus another mounted, matted and sleeved by that due date. The other commission needs to be delivered soon, however, not Real Soon.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

All of that fun work needs to be fit in between other work, sometimes also fun, sometimes just hot and sweaty and dirty because we are now, Officially, in Summer. The Solstice took place last Friday and now on this half of the globe we are leaning over more close to the Sun than folks on the other half of the globe, which is why for them it's Winter. So. Hot. Humid.

It's been hot and humid for a few weeks, actually, and simply reaching the point in the Earths orbit that marks that Solstice didn't change much. There are still Chicken Tillers to make, and maintain. There is feed to store, some of which requires moving from point of receipt to point of distribution. Kuma's Playpen Ranch is the small ranch in the neighborhood at a mere 16 hectare (next door neighbor Ms. P has 48.5 hectare, new neighbors who bought Old Doc P's place [rest his soul] have 57, other places around run about the same); it is still spread out a bit. The Bovines live on half of the place other then when they are allowed to graze the Park, and their supplemental feed is stored over closer to their spot.

Plus, there are branches broke off of trees (or whole trees cut down by guys working for neighbors that land on the fence, eh), fencing and building supplies to move around as needed, and this time of year grass just grows like crazy weeds. Now that's a whole different subject, weeds, because one persons weeds are another persons wildflowers, and we don't spend a lot of time weeding except in Herself's actual garden zone (which is about a half hectare for ya). But grass gets tall, and tall grass is uncomfortable to walk in wearing shorts and sandals an no socks, so portions of the Park get mowed.

Portions that get mowed include the private road (seems too long to call a driveway), plus pathways over to the Cows and around to the House going thataway, and around the Garden plus over by the workshed and kuras. Herself had been using her yard tractor mower we call Ell Toe Roe and his .9 metre mower deck, which she had been using before Harrison Ford 8N Tractor went into a tractor coma to mow simply around the garden and the House. And that's one of the reason for needing a working tractor, because LittleJon Deere Tractor and his 1.5 metre mower deck does the same amount of mowing in about 30 minutes, whereas Ell Toe Roe takes a few hours.

So just having the mower on LittleJon is a necessity. The other three implements are gravy, as it were and is. Now, some of that gravy is still cooking. The post hole auger story is part of that, a Work In Progress to use an Artists term. Previous Owner by Two (as in the Original Owner) likely got that auger bit jammed in some of our fine North Central Baja Jorja limestone, bent the auger bit, torqued and broke the PTO drive shaft for the auger tool and bashed up the shield where that drive shaft connects to the auger gearbox. Drive shaft is now replaced, working on pulling the shield at the gearbox to straighten that out, and when that shield is off pulling the rest of the u-joint connection that stayed on the gearbox when the shaft torqued. And broke.

The sod-buster plow attachment needs the third arm for the Category One three-point hitch. Researching that, confident will be able to purchase the correct size from someplace other than a John Deere dealership. May well be true, as the company says, that 'Nothing runs like a Deere.' Considering the energy he's putting out, LittleJon Deere Tractor is also fairly quiet. At RPM just up enough to roll around the Ranch, I don't even worry about ear protection (not the case when mowing; 3 K RPM is a tad loud even with a 'quiet' tractor). That running comes with an interesting price for brand new equipment and some OEM replacement parts. One reason the PTO drive shaft for the auger wasn't too greatly expensive is the auger tool is a different manufacturer.

But Category One hitch parts are the same, regardless of OEM or other manufacturer replacement, so that's the way I'm going. Which pretty much wraps up the discussion about two of the other three attachment tools because hey, WIP, eh? And that brings us to the one that's going to get me in trouble with one distant friend as I aim to misbehave by singing the praises of the other attachment we've been using. A lot.

Now, the friends I'm going to get in trouble with (well, with half of) are Bear and Anita. These are some nice people I know only through correspondence because they live on the Other Half of this Globe, the half which is currently leaning away from the Sun so they are just past the Winter Solstice. Back in my elementary school days, we did an exercise in our language classes of writing a letter to children in some other country, or some other part of this country. Exercise was called Pen Pals, purpose to help us develop our language skills and penmanship. The Internet changed a lot of that, and yet this whole knowing Bear and Anita reminds me a lot of that old Pen Pal exercise, because that's the only way we know each other.

And the way I'm getting in trouble (with Anita) is because Bear commented to Anita, back when I first posted something about acquiring LittleJon, that they needed one of these too. Tractor that is, with attachments. Doesn't have to be a Deere, really, and I mean that quite sincerely because my Other Tractor is a Ford. Harrison Ford 8N Tractor may be in a tractor coma, but he's getting better, and when he's up and running again he and LittleJon can share two of the four attachments. Harrison doesn't need the belly mower deck that LittleJon sports because he's got a 2 metre behinder deck, mounts on that Category One hitch, runs off Harrison's PTO. The auger and the sod-buster can be shared.

But there is one tool that LittleJon keeps to himself. No sharing. And that's the Front End Loader. And Bear, you need one of those, too. I mean, I've moved fencing wire, chicken tiller wire (welded wire fabric, bit lighter than fencing wire), fence posts, cut-off and broke-off branches around using that Front End Loader. I've moved Big Buckets of Poop off the back of Forrest Nissan Pickup (courtesy of friends and partners in the Ranch Booth, Dave & Beth, and Dave mucking out their goat barn) and it took all of ten minutes, where the last time Herself came home from Caprihaven with goat barn poop it took her a half day to empty the truck.

There've been a couple sad trips too, old goats who passed away of old age, needed to be moved to the corner of the Ranch where we offer such back to Mother Nature, just slide their earthly remains into the bucket and lift and drive. And other dead things, though I killed those things because I cut those grape vines climbing in our wonderful Old Twin Oak off. Then tied the vines off to the Front End Loader and backed away from Old Twin Oak, pulling those vines out of the branches.

So this Front End Loader is one incredibly handy tool to have around, and I ain't even started digging holes with it yet!

Yes, Bear, you need one of these. Doesn't have to be a Deere. Lots of other good companies out there. Might even could get by without the post-hole auger, after all we did for quite a while. I think, though, it's gotta have a Front End Loader. Oh, my yes.

Some details, just so's ya knows.

Harrison Ford 8N (Nowadays likely a Light Tractor; used to be the Tractor):
1951, 23 horse flat-head 4 cylinder gasoline, 4 forward speeds, one reverse, clutch-driven active PTO on the rear of the tractor with Category One three-point hitch. Fuel capacity 10 US gallons.
LittleJon John Deere 2210 (Compact Tractor) (Herself calls him an Estate Tractor):
2006 (?) 23 horse 3 cylinder diesel, four wheel drive (selective), hydrostatic transimission (one forward, one reverse, selected by pedal), active PTO to rear with Category One three-point hitch and to belly for mower, selectable to run either/both/neither. Fuel capacity 5 US gallons.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: art, life the universe and everything, photography, ranch, studio

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