Saturday, June 09, 2007

Rocks, hills, planes, and flat tires

My father and I are trying to finish up planting soybeans. As of today we have 100 acres left at two farms, so about 2 days worth of work left. The farm we've been working on has been a challenge, however. It's about 160 acres tillable acres out of 240 acres total, if that gives you an idea of how many ditches, trees, etc there is on this place.
Here's an aerial photo of the farm - not quite the nice quarter sections of north central Iowa, eh?
Don't get me wrong - I'm thankful to be able to rent any land, but this farm would not be considered "choice" by any means. It has a plentitude of rocks on it. We find more and more every year. Dad picked up some for my mother's outdoor garden railroad display.
I found I had a flat tire on the front of my JD 4450 last night. Knowing that the tire shop was closed at that time, and I might have a hard time convincing the owner to open up on Saturday morning (although he probably would have, I don't want to ask too many favors), Dad's solution was to take a tire off a M+W wagon and put it on the tractor. It did the job, although it is smaller than the original. Planted 75 acres that way without any problems due to the tire.
It's been an ordeal.
On a more interesting note, when we moved equipment yesterday from one farm to this, we noticed a crop spraying plane flying over my home farm. I was following Dad in the truck, so I went over there while he drove on with his tractor and planter.
A crop duster had started spraying on my neighbor's to the north, as I found out as I got closer. He's been having trouble with cutworms, and he's not the only one in the neighborhood with them, unfortunately.
I was totally fascinated by the spray plane and the pilot - this guy was probably going 200 mph about 12 feet off the ground (or at least it appeared). At one point, I stopped the truck on the road at the end of one of his swaths and watched him buzz over me. That probably wasn't smart, as I would have been the first thing he would have hit had he lost control, but it was great seeing (and hearing) the plane.
I left and headed back over a few miles to catch up with Dad. As luck would have it, the crop duster had another field to spray, and it happened to be near where I was going. Again, he made a pass and flew right over me as I was driving down the road! I even had a few drops of spray hit the truck (although nothing major).
So there you have it - rocks, hills, planes, and flat tires. Such is my life these days.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neighbors down south of us were having some air spraying done a week or so back. One of the guys around here just has a plane and like to play I've been told. Other times it's done for legitimate reasons. We've had it done on our ground a few times when the weather was bad and you couldn't get equipment into the fields. We've also done it on one of my fields where access can be a real pain.

Back when I was working my old job and going to school on my commute I use to stop and watch a crop duster with a bi-plane who was really extraordinary. I've been around a lot of pilots as my uncles, brother and cousins were pilots and I've been around aviation quite a bit but this guy was something else.

He would spray a very narrow, long series of fields separated by trees. This wasn't too challenging but all of these were bounded by a bluff on one end and on the other end a fence, a powerline and road.

He would look for traffic coming down the road, powerdive down the bluff, spray the field at a ridiculous speed, manage to pull up just high enough to get his gear over the fence but not quite high enough to snag his tail or top wing on the power line, squeezing his aircraft between the fence and the powerlines. He'd tear out across the road hopefully missing any cars and have to pull up quickly to dodge a windbreak and/or silos on the other side of the road depending.

It was just a thing of beauty to watch that man handle that aircraft. I'd have payed the spray bill for that field just to have been able to fly with him.

12:27 AM, June 10, 2007  

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