Sunday, September 16, 2012
What a day I had today. Met Larry and Dave for breakfast. Then went to Dave farm(ette) to feed the horse and maybe unload two hayracks into the haymow. While we were feeding the horse, Dave pointed out the bumble bee nest he had that morning poured about a quart of gasoline down to kill the bees. After all, they were very near human habitation and passage. I was telling him about the bumble bee nest I destroyed several years ago with a "snuffed out neutral acetylene flame". Then we noticed a number of adult bumble bees crawling around, half drugged. He told me the cutting torch was not far away and I pulled it over. I ignited the cutting torch and snuffed the flame out on the ground. Then I pumped the mixed oxygen/acetylene down the bumble bee hole in the ground. Since I knew there was gasoline down there too, I also hit the oxygen lever for about 10 seconds or so too. After about 1 minute I relit the torch and, reaching way off to my side with the torch head and ignited the hole. WOW! WHAT A BLAST! I think the gasoline gave it a little extra bark! hahahah
Then we spent about 30 minutes observing the many juvenile bumble, and a few adult, bees searching the area for what we could only assume was the hole to their home. Thinking there might be a "back door" we just spent a glorious half hour observing them and commenting on their behavior.
Dave started up his Gehl skidsteer to push the burn pile together a bit tighter and Larry told me that the hydraulics wouldn't work. We diagnosed it, and finally remove the pump, disassembled it, and search the internet and local stores for parts or another pump. We took that project as far as we could on a Saturday (I can't believe how many stores and businesses are not open on Saturdays any more!)
Then Larry's daughter, son-in-law, and granddaugther showed up to help unload the hay racks. We started up the elevator into the hay mow and about worked Dave to death for 15 minutes. Every once in a while I would yell out, "Hey, Hay, we want some hay!" I don't think Dave or Larry thought it was funny at all. Then the son-in-law climbed into the mow with Dave while Larry, his granddaughter (about 6 years old), and I fed the elevator. After a while Larry's son showed up and the two of them went into the hay mow to fill it up to the roof at the rear. I realized they knew nothing about what they were doing. So I went to help them. OMG, I almost fell about 10 feet down inside a hole in the hay they has just mowed. I really decided they needed someone to teach them how to pack it in tightly. I guess I worked in there about 20 minutes or so. I get winded quite easily now days. And the heat and chaff did not make it easier. But it was thrilling to do some mindless hard work again!
Dave has an automated hay bale dispenser to feed his horses. When he tried to cycle it to load more bales on it, it failed to operate properly. I decided to pump up a tank of air and blow out the electronics. He went to get the blow gun and I tried to pump a tank of air. But the air compressor wouldn't start. I bled off the pressure and it finally started. Dave had not returned so Larry and I walked over to the garage where Dave said the lights were going crazy . The flourescents would ignite, then shut off, then cycle over again. About then the barn air compressor shut off and the lights came on and stabilized.
Well, about an hour or two with two industrial electricians and one electronics engineer finally located the problem. The feed cable from the power disconnect ran up the pole and then split to the garage and the barn. Water had gotten inside the insulation coating of that cable and the aluminum ground cable just rotten off, leaving a very highly resistant ground lead. When just the lights were running, the circuits balanced out enough to seemingly operate normally. But when a high current load on the 120 volt line could not find a good neutral lead back to the source, it fed back on the other leg and raised the voltage on that leg as high as 170 volts. A trip to town for a new cable, a good installation by the electricians, and everything was fine again.
By that time it was about 6:30. I dropped Larry off at his house, went on home and ate 1/2 a pizza left over from last night. (Did I ever tell you that if it wasn't for left-overs, I would only weigh 160 pounds! hahaha)
What a terrific day of fun things and helping a friend that just happened to need it. It was just thrilling to work with hay bales again, spend some time "mechanicing", build a nice little bomb to wipe out a threat to humanity, and just observe and admire the ones that searched the area for their tunnel home. I thought to myself several times, "No wonder people liked working on the farm!"