Friday, April 15, 2016

I really just wanted to spray.

It is broken!

Chickens don't stick to the plan
Sunday was the day I was going to get caught up with the outside home chores.  Well not caught up, more like on schedule since there are always more chores than I have time to complete.  Annmarie and I had walked along the fields looking at water levels and grass height.  It is time to spray the upper prime field with 2-4-D.  I need to kill the broadleaf weeds and give the grass some room to fill in.  The field looks good just too many weeds.  My plan was to hook the sprayer up on the tractor and spray weeds!  A simple basic plan, hard for anything to go wrong. 
I was seriously mistaken.  Annmarie tells me I should plan better and anticipate the hiccups.  I like to think that I can just hop in on the tractor and do it!  I am all about doing it!  I love tasks and lists and things that can be accomplished in a day or less.  Probably one of the reasons I love working in the Emergency Room.  So, I ignore this sage advice every year. I did put the sprayer away into the machine shop this fall.  I did not stop the cows from going into said machine shop.  They broke the weed torch and may have injured the sprayer also. 
I backed the tractor into the shop and drug the sprayer tank over to the tractor.  I cannot use my quick connect on the tractor as the sprayer needs some welding modifications done for this to be possible.  So I got in place without too much difficulty.  The tank is pretty easy to move around when it is empty.  I noticed immediately that the power cord/switch wire was badly degraded in one place for about 8 inches.  I was storing the extra wire under the tractor seat.  It looks like the seat going up and down cut the wire and stripped off the insulator.  I had to wrap the individual wires with vulcanizing rubber tape then tape the two wires together with the same wrap and covered that with electrical tape.  It is sealed up well now and will tolerate moisture.  Once that was done I attempted to fill the tank with water but it kept running out the bottom.  So I lifted the tank up with the tractor and noticed that the filter I had installed underneath the tank was broken.  When I winterized the tank I forgot to unscrew the filter cap and empty the water out of the plastic cap.  It broke in the freeze. 

So I jumped into the car and buzzed into Pendleton, found what I wanted at the store and made it halfway to the checkout register when I realized I had left my wallet at home.  Now this was an actual decision I made first thing in the morning.  I have lost my wallet twice now while doing tractor work as it tends to ride up out of my back pocket after several hours on the tractor.  So I decided it would be safer to not carry it that day.  I had to hide my stash of stuff, drive home, get my wallet and drive back to pay for the needed supplies.  Once this was installed I turned on the spray pump and heard the pump kick on!  I then played with the recirculation line to get the pressure regulated.  Except I could not get any spray to come out of the wand or the three jets on the spray bar.  Nothing I did worked.  There is this fancy pressure regulating valve that I figured out was the most likely culprit.  I took it apart three times trying to figure it out.  I ended up back on the internet looking for an owners manual.  I found one that said I should have a plastic handle on the end of the valve that allows me to open the valve when I want to spray. I remembered this step in the spray process once I read about it.  On the off chance the store had this part, I bought the sprayer from them, I ran to town for a third time.  No go they did not have it.  I found it on the internet and ordered two.  I now order a spare of everything. 
I had to chase the hen off the nest.

I had wasted 6 hours trying to get the sprayer working.  The day was perfect, sunny with no wind it was ideal for spraying.  Instead I started installing two wires on top of our front fence, one would be a ground and the other one hot so we could keep Zeke, adult border collie, in the front yard.  I installed the wires and was working on Sprout proofing the side fence when I heard Sarah hollering.  She was out on the old house porch in flip flops doing some project painting.  She had fallen off the steps.  The middle one has been broken for over half a year.  The puppy chews on it incessantly and has worked it loose.  She reinjured her bad ankle.  There was a lot of speeches on the necessity of appropriate work attire.  I am not sure that the timeliness of my remarks is always good, but I seem to have trouble controlling myself when it comes to "teaching moments".

My parts should be here by the end of the week.  Sarah is back to using crutches and her ankle brace, and the fence works at keeping Zeke inside the yard.  More work is still needed to keep Sprout in the yard.