Thursday, May 28, 2009

Seeding Update

Yesterday and today have been relatively uneventful on the farm. The seeding continues with about 45ha sown yesterday at our block called Fountains, and that being the last of the wheat in.

So first thing this morning was a clean out morning. I had to clean out the seed compartment of the truck, then go reload with peas. We started on peas today, the variety being kaspa. Once the truck was all loaded up I headed down to Honiton and did the same clean out job on the air seeder box.

Then calibrated the air seeder for the peas. We planned to plant them at the rate of 100kg/ha, which would mean we would need 23tonne of seed. I'm not sure how much seed we actually have, and feel that we may not quite have 23tonne, so I dropped the rate a little down to about 95kg/ha. Then we were ready to roll. I did all the paddock called Correll's today. 59ha in total. The boom spray ran ahead of the air seeder with trifluralin and roundup. And then after the air seeder dad came back with the rubber tyre roller and John Deere 4440. He rolled the whole paddock. We do this to roll in as many stones as we can, and to get a good soil to seed contact.

Tomorrow the plan is to move back up to the home block and continue on sowing the peas.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Seeding Update

I got another couple of paddocks sown today. Number 12 and 13 at Bob's. About 42ha all up. It was quite a rough day as these two paddocks are the roughest (as in have the most rocks) that I'll put into crop this year. Here are a couple of pictures of the solid limestone that protrudes out of the ground. I know that it looks relatively innocent in the pictures, but believe me it's not.

No, they're very hard and working the machine over them does take its toll. So it was really slow going today. I was using lower gears in the tractor and alot of the time I was back to half the speed I would normally go. The tynes, points and boots (all the parts on the seeder bar involved with the digging and placing the seeds) copped quite a beating and I also spent a fair bit of time today repairing the damage - which was mainly the seeding boot snapping off. I finished in the dark so there probably still some damage that I'll have to sort out in the morning.

Today the boomspray went ahead of the air seeder with the paraquat/trifluralin mix. Then moved down to "Fountains" to run out a knock down. That's where I'll be seeding tomorrow.

I was able to get a little bit of video footage today from outside the tractor. I'm not sure what the quality is like, but there's only one way to find out... lets have a look.

Well this looks like one of the few smoother patches in the paddock.. trust me it wasn't all like that, but most other paddocks are.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Seeding Update

We had another lovely drop of rain yesterday afternoon and overnight. 10mm in all which is really nice. I'd noticed the last couple of paddocks I had sown were quite hard due to lack of moisture so the rain will really help that.

We need to keep a couple of days ahead during seeding to be organised with spraying and so this mornings job was to move a mob of sheep to make way for the boom spray tomorrow. We had a mob of wethers down on our Fountains block. The did manage to get out on the road on the weekend, so it was time for them to come back home. We moved them back up to "Goldsmiths" which is right next door to the home place. They probably wont stay there long because... either they'll need to be moved again to make way for more spraying... or (and this is the most likely) they will get out again because the fences in there are very ordinary.

Coming along the road towards home with the sheep. Andy's just enjoying a few of the puddles on the road from last nights rain.

We did a quick tidy up in the farm yard of a pile of... well junk, that we had laying around after that, while there was still a few showers around, but after that it was back to the seeding operation.

No actually... before the seeding operation (I almost forgot). The Supalux died the other day on the way home, and I had to be towed home (we've got great neighbours who, amazingly, know how to be in just the right place at the right time). Well the supalux was towed in and left in the yard. We put it away in the main shed before we got back to seeding.

So I was off to Bob's to load the truck with seed and super. In the picture above, that's loading the wheat seed. You can also see the division in the tipper and the super in the back section.

I got 2 paddocks done today. Number 15 at Bob's and number 20... not in that order. Dad sprayed paraquat and trifluralin out in front of the airseeder. Then went on to spray glysophate and oxyflurafen on Bob's 13. 12 and 13 will be the 2 paddocks in line for sowing tomorrow. It will be a long day. Not that the paddocks are that big, but they are the roughest paddocks we will put in this year, so it will be slow and rough.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Seeding Update

I know I've got a couple of days worth of blogging to catch up on... again, so I'll try and remember what I've been up to. Being seeding time we've covered quite a few paddocks in the last few days, and the problem I have is that I cant remember what my last blog actually said, so I cant remember what paddock I was up to.

Well we were coming to the end of the Correll wheat, and I know we finished off in the front east paddock here at home. I then went and emptied the airseeder box by sewing the "left overs" into a pasture paddock. I think I did mention all that.

Here is a picture inside the airseeder seed bin, with just the dregs left in the bottom ready for clean out. Actually I think I was actually part way through the clean out.

In there is the Correll Wheat seed. It has a pinkish colour to it because it was treated with a seed dressing when we cleaned the seed. It prevents the plants getting some diseases. Now what else can you see in the picture?... There is a baffle in there to stop the seed moving across to one side with the gentle vibration as it goes along. Attached to that is the white seed level sensor. This sets off an alarm in the tractor when the bin is almost empty. If you look closely you can see the "stars" that turn in the bottom of the bin to control the flow of the seed out to the hoses. And my knee is in there as well... Yes I was inside the bin with the air vacuum cleaning out the remaining seed.

And there is the bin all emptied out and cleaned up ready for the next variety of wheat which will be Kukri. (I say will be, but we have already started on that and done a couple of paddocks, so I should have said it is Kukri).

I finished the Correll Thurday night. Did the clean out Friday morning. Reloaded the tipper truck (which I also had to clean out that morning) that morning, calibrated the airseeder for the new seed and then started on the front west paddock. The boom spray has been working in front of the airseeder for each paddock so in that time Dad has been out there spraying the paraquat and trifluarlin. He's also being spraying the initial knock down on paddocks a day or so in front of the airseeder. So with that he's covered Glackens river gum paddock and back paddock, Bob's 20 and 15 and 12.

Late Friday afternoon I moved up to Glackens and sewed the back paddock and the river gum paddock there with Kukri Wheat. And that's as far as I've got with the airseeder.

The next day the wind had picked up to a point that using the boom spray would cause too much spray drift (although I did notice that a few of our neighbours still did a little bit), so we put that on hold until the wind dropped out a bit.. which it never did on Saturday.

Instead I headed down to Honiton to pick up the John Deere 4440 and prickle chain to bring them back home. I had 1 more paddock to do with the prickle chain, and that was at Wendelbournes, and that would have all the chaining done. So that's what I did, in the west paddock at Wendelbournes.

That's what the prickle chain looks like all folded out behind the John Deere. It has a chain laid out in a diamond shape that has spikes... or "prickles" and the chains roll as it moves along. It moves the soil levelling it all out and covering the furrows that are left by the air seeder bar. We wouldn't normally use it, but we did this so the chemical we are using to try and control barley from growing with the wheat, will be controlled.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Seeding Update

Isn't it funny how little motivation there is to blog after working all day on the tractor. Actually today wasn't all day on the tractor, I actually had a couple of other jobs to do as well. But for a start I was basically on the tractor.

First thing is though, to load the Ford tipper with seed and super. So I headed over to Bob's to do that. I got there, untarped the truck (which has the "old fashioned" tarps where I actually have to get up on the truck to roll it forward - not like the lovely modern ones, roll tarps, that can be opened and closed from the ground) and first loaded the Correll wheat seed into the front section. Then took it over close to the super shed and then used Bob's old Massey front end loader and loaded the super into the back section of the truck. This is what happens every time I load her up.

Back to the paddock I went with it where I then had to load the air seeder, as I ran out of seed last night with only a little bit left in the paddock. So loaded up and finished the hectare or so I had left to do there and then moved onto the next paddock. About 10ha in the main rd paddock at Wendelbournes. Needless to say that paddock didn't take long. I did have to refill just before I finished that paddock and that's when I noticed I had broken a tyne (well actually lost a tyne - that's what happens when the pin that it pivots on breaks. A short time later I was lucky enough to find the broken tyne (I should really say missing not broken, cause it was only the pin that was broken) so I found the MISSING tyne and as it happened I had a spare pin with me. So it wasn't too much of a task to replace it and get going again. In fact it would be more of a task to actually describe to you how I replaced it.

I started on the next paddock, and as we are coming to the end of the Correll seed I was working towards finishing the seed off, and working in the truck loading and field bin emptying and all. So when I was half way through the northeast paddock I was off to Bob's again, and did empty out the Correll bin, so it was all in the truck. I had also emptied 1 of the 2 super bays in Bob's super shed. As I still had a load of fertilizer in the semi-tipper I got that out and backed it into the almost empty bay and tipped it up and unloaded that, and also cleaned it out. So I was over there for a while.

When I eventually made it back to the paddock I finished off that one, just before dark. It was just over 22ha. Then onto the last paddock of Correll wheat. The front east paddock here on the home place. That one's nearly 9ha and in that time I emptied the seed section of the tipper ready for cleaning out tomorrow so I can move onto a new variety of wheat. Any seed I had left in the air seeder after I finished that paddock I drilled into the pasture paddock next to it. Just to run it out. The air seeder also empty now and back home ready for a clean out tomorrow.

Dad's been busy on the boom spray as well. We use a "double knock" method of weed control - well we are for the current paddocks anyway. We didn't for most of the Correll wheat, where we used Logran, but will for the rest of the cereals. So that means that a day or so before seeding we spray a glysophate knock down, and now I remember that I have told you all this, because of my "glysophate/glyphosate" dilemma. Anyway he's been doing that. Glysophate with oxyflurafen 240 a day or so earlier, then trifluralin and paraquat in front of the seeding operation. Today he did the "1st knock" on the front east paddock (and front west I think - that's where I'll start with the next variety tomorrow), the middle and back paddocks at Glackens and number 20 on Bob's.

He did the 2nd knock on the paddocks on Wendelbourne's that I drilled and the front east paddock. I think the spraying has basically been incident free, besides the usual trouble that everyone has sucking glysophate out of envirodrums in the cold mornings, and he also cracked a boom line late this afternoon. He ended up taping it up to bet by but did also buy a new one that he will install in the morning. The boom line is what carries the chemcal down to each nozzle. The nozzles are connected to the boom lines.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Seeding Update

Another day on the tractor today, although it was a short day due to other commitments in town.

I had meetings from 10am ish but before that I had time to duck over to Bob's to reload the seed & super truck ready for when I got back to the tractor and air seeder.

It turns out that it was 3:30 in the afternoon before that happened so it ended up being a bit of a rush to get the paddock finished I was in before dark so I could bring the unit back home along the road. (It's illegal to drive oversize vehicles on public roads after sunset in South Australia).

I did manage to get the paddock done in time, so that was Granny's Nth West at Honiton done, from there I moved back up to the block across the road from our home place. The block is called Wendelbournes and I started on the west paddock. It's 26ha and I almost got it all done before I ran out of seed (there's that small seed & super unit problem again). Turns out that I have about 1.5ha to go.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Seeding Update

Got a couple more paddocks done today. First finished of number 10 at Bob's. Then juggled loading the airseeder and truck and then moved on down to Honiton, with a quick fuel stop in at home for the tractor. Got the nth east paddock at granny's done by late afternoon, and then got about half way through the nth west paddock before I ran out of seed in the truck. The big draw back about using the Ford tipper as a seed and super unit is that it doesn't carry enough seed to last for a full day. I know that I could have come back to Bob's to load up again, but that would have been at around 7:30 at night, and it's a fair way to go, so I decided to call it a day and I'll finish off down there tomorrow.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Seeding Update

Got started today by replacing 2 broken springs on the tynes of the air seeder bar. I had a couple of spare ones laying around so it wasn't too much of a hassle to replace the broken ones... that is until I found I had 3 broken springs, but only 2 spares. While Dad was at the main farm filling the boomspray he had a look and found 3 more spares stored with the spare complete tynes. So a bit later on when he brought them over I got the chance to change another 1.

I finished 3 paddocks today, all at Bobs. Number 5 - about 12ha, 7 - about 18ha, and 6 - about 15ha. And I got started on number 14. Still planting Correll wheat.

All relatively uneventful although I have noticed that my new seeding boots I made may have a weak point. All the paddocks I've done so far have been quite stony in places and the closing plates must hit down on the rock when the tynes are recoiling. The mounting bracket have broken in the same place on 3 or 4 of them now. Which isn't a really good average seeing as I only put about 15 of them on, and they've only lasted 3 or 4 days. Hopefully they'll be ok.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Seeding is in full swing now. I just started slowly with a few shorter days, but as of tomorrow the long hours will start in order to get all our crops in.

Here are a couple of pictures from inside the tractor cab.

This first one I took to send to a mate because we have this ongoing joke about how rough the country is that we try to sew crops in. What you can see there is a pile of stones about a foot high, so I sent him the picture with the message that this was in fact prime cropping country. In reality there was an old fence running through there dividing the paddock into two. This year we decided to remove the old wire and actually work through the old fence line.

The view from inside the tractor cab.

Loading the seed wheat into the front section of the Ford tipper. We use this truck as our seed and super unit.. seed in the front, super in the back.

Since the last blog I have only finished 1 more paddock. That's the pentonvale paddock at Oldlands. I only worked half days both Saturday, and today. Actually today was only a couple of hours this afternoon just to get the paddock finished.

On Saturday, while I was finishing off Jolly's Trees paddock at Oldlands, I recorded a video with a commentary to give you a little bit of an idea of what happens inside the tractor cab during seeding. Here is the disclaimer... It is quite difficult to make a video using a mobile phone and drive a tractor, following a GPS unit, at the same time, so I apologise for the quality of the filming. I can't guarantee that I followed the GPS perfectly while filming. No animals, or trees, where harmed during the filming... Now you can watch it.

So that's basically how it all happens.

Today I finished off at Oldlands, and moved the unit up to Bob's farm. I also loaded the seed/super truck ready for an early start tomorrow. Number 5 (paddock 5) and 7 have been sprayed with the same brew we used at oldlands, so that's where I'll be starting.

Oldlands is some of our rougher country (not that Bob's is much... actually any better) and it has taken it's toll on the seeder bar. I discovered 1 tyne has a broken spring, and another tyne's spring is missing all together. So first thing will be to take a couple of spare springs over there and replace (or put) them on the bar.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Seeding time

Yesterday was the day that I actually got started with the seeding. It was a pretty busy day to get that far though. There was quite a few "organization" jobs to do to get going. Things like making sure I had all the tools I would/could need, fuel for the small motors etc. I hadn't had a chance to put my new seeding boots on the bar yet either, so I started that yesterday morning. After I'd put about 15 on I thought I'd leave it at that and move onto something else, otherwise I'd never get started with seeding.

I also had to completely clean out the Ford tipper, the truck I'd been using to load up the sheep feeder, and so it still had barley grains in it. So I spent the rest of the morning cleaning it out to avoid contamination in the wheat seed I was going to be sowing.

Then it was up to the "real" jobs related to seeding... as opposed to the "getting organised with everything" jobs for seeding. So I headed off to load the truck (the Ford tipper - we use that as our seed and super unit. It had a division in the middle of the tipper, with seed going in the front section and super (another name for fertilizer) in the rear). The seed bins and fertilizer are over at bob's so I headed over there to load up.

Then off to the paddock, and I started on the paddock that I sprayed first at Oldlands, the point paddock. Loaded the air seeder, using the same elevator I used when loading the sheepfeeder on the ute. Then calibrate the air seeder. This is a process of running the air seeder in different gears so it will dispense seed or fertilizer (which ever is being calibrated) the product is collected and weighed and the rate per hectare can be calculated. With our old seeder box it's a bit of a procedure of testing several gears until I get the one that gives me the right rate. My target rates are...

  1. Correll Wheat - 100kg/ha
  2. DAP fertilizer - 70kg/ha

In past years we usually run heavier fertilizer rates, but as we've had a run of bad years we needed to cost cut, and so we've come down to minimum on the fertilizer.

I eventually got started with seeding at about 3:30ish in the afternoon, and just took it easy and got 10ha done.

Today seeding continued. First job was to go and top up the truck with seed and super, then straight back over to Oldlands to finish off the point paddock. I only had minor hiccups with the air seeder, mainly with nuts working loose on the seeding boots that I just put on. I have to admit that with the design of the mounting bracket on the boots, it is hard to get a spanner onto the nut and really tighten them up. In hindsight where I used 1" angle iron I probably should have used bigger to allow room to get a spanner firmly on the nut. Still I could get them pretty tight, and with a spring washer, and some lock tight, most of them are still good.

I finished the point paddock, 29.7ha and got most of the way through the next paddock... Jolly's trees. It was drizzling on and off all afternoon, with some showers getting quite heavy, so I didn't push to do any more than I did.

Dad took over with the spraying today. He usually does the spraying at seeding time. So he loaded up the boom spray with the same brew I used on the other Oldlands paddocks, and he started on the pentonvale paddock at Oldlands. He had a breakdown with it though. There's a couple of sheer bolts in the wing pivots... and on one side they sheered off. It took quite a while to fix it up, because not only do you have to replace the bolts, but when they break the boom wing swings around to the folded position and breaks off nozzles when it hits so hard. So he didn't get much more than a lap around the outside of the paddock done. I mentioned earlier that we had drizzle basically all afternoon. Actually it was more like a shower every 15 mins. So once the boom spray was fixed he couldn't do anymore because of the rain. For the chemicals to work they cant have rain on them for a certain amount of time afterwards.

So that was it for today. Tomorrow I'll finish the Jolly's trees paddock, and Dad will go on with pentonvale.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If all goes to plan seeding will start tomorrow

There are still a few jobs to get sorted out before we get started with seeding, so I got a couple of them out of them out of the way this morning. The first thing I did was to make up a couple of... um... things... I'm not sure if they've got a name or not. I'm sure they would have, but I'm not sure what it is. They are for the boom spray, the foam dispensers for the foam marker. I wanted to make cloth ones, the old plastic ones had worn out. So I chopped up a plastic lined canvas shopping bag and pulled the old sewing machine out and sewed it into a tube shape.

And there we have the finished product - well 1 of them anyway, there's one on the the other end of the boom as well.

Ok, another job to finish off this morning was the service on bob's old massey front end loader. I took some oil over there from home and topped her up. To tell the truth we probably actually put too much in, but ya get that. Hopefully it'll be alright. We also changed the fuel filters (they looked like they hadn't been done in... well quite a while) and topped up the power steering.

Now the power steering, there's a story about that. We've been using bob's loader each seeding for the 9 years we've been leasing his farm. For the first few years I didn't even realise it had power steering. Then bob mentioned something about adjusting the power steering, and that he'd do it. And he did, and it kinda improved it a bit, but it was just like really old power steering that only sort of made a bit of difference. It's been like that since then. Well today we (as in Dad & me) discovered there was hardly any oil in the reservoir. In fact there was probably more water than oil in there. So we completely drained the oil. Cleaned the filter as best we could. At the same time I got busy with the grease gun and greased all the steering linkage (and the rest of the tractor - the grease nipples I found anyway). We filled up the power steering reservoir with oil. It just takes normal engine oil, and then gave it a test run. And I nearly fell out of the tractor cab (see I would have said fell over there, but I couldn't do that.. I was in the tractor cab). It was the smoothest, easiest power steering I have ever used (besides a 1964 Chev Belair). Loading the fertilizer into the seed and super truck will be a breeze from now on.

So the tractor servicing took till midday. Moving closer to seeding and the next job was to get the boom spray up and running to get a few paddocks done before I come in with the air seeder. But still there was a couple of jobs to do before that happened. Like get the tractor started again for one. You remember how I told you we got a band new battery for the Ford8401.. a couple of weeks ago, well I left the isolator switch on. And that's just like leaving the head lights on. There's something in the tractor that drains the battery. So the brand new battery was dead flat. I had to find another one that would work. First one... which came off the Ford tipper truck.. didn't. Second one, out of the John Deere 4440 did. And the new battery from the tractor went on the charger. Next thing... months ago the pull rope on the water pump broke (the pull rope is what you use to start the pump). So I put a new rope on the pump and loaded the boom spray up to go.

First thing we are going to plant is Correll wheat, and the recommended chemical use for that is:

  1. Ammonium sulphate - 1 bag per 2000l of water to soften the water to help glysophate work.
  2. Lonestar - another name for Logran, which gets incorporated in the soil to prevent new weeds growing. We wouldn't normally use Logran but chose to this year as it will provide some control of barley in wheat, and our Correll seed had some barley in it.
  3. Ox240 - or oxyflurafen240, gives the glysophate a little more bite
  4. Powermax - I think its powermax 680 which is glysophate 680 which is a general knock down herbicide. Glysophate with oxyflurafen will kill most weeds that have already germinated.

Quick apologies now... I often get confused whether it's actually "glysophate" or "glyphosate". So I may have it backward. Now I could go out to the chemical shed... or even into the business computer and check the active ingredient of powermax... but... I'll just put in an apology instead, in case I have it wrong. (I'm sure I wouldn't be the only person who gets confused with this one).

I should have listed the rates above too. Ok here they are...

  1. Ammonium sulphate - 1 bag/2000l water. I think 1 bag is 25kg
  2. Lonestar - 35g/ha
  3. Ox240 - 75ml/ha
  4. Powermax - .8l/ha

I filled up a full tank (4100l) and headed up to our block we call Oldlands. There are 3 paddocks there. I started in the point paddock, which is 29.5ha I think I clocked. For the first paddock of the season It went pretty smoothly. I just had 1 nozzle a little blocked at the start, and the foam marker pump played up a few times, but just needed a tap to start pumping again. I moved to the next paddock, Jolly's trees, after that and emptied the tank as I finished the paddock. It was just over 28ha. I used a water rate of 70l/ha.

These pictures are on the first lap of the Jolly's trees paddock. In there you can see the Ford 8401 tractor, the Hardi 4228b boom spray (4100 ltr tank and 28m boom) and on the end of the wing you can see the new foam marker... "sock" I'll call it, even with foam coming out. It leaves a trail of blue foam at the wing tips as I go along spraying so I know what ground I have already covered. The next pass I line up the end of the boom with the foam trail. When the paddock is all done there are lots of lovely blue foam trails all over it. The foam eventually disappears after anything from an hour to.... well a few hours depending on the wind etc.

I did a quick welding job on the frame of the air seeder box when I got home. Which involved completely unhooking the tractor off the front. That's done so the electronics on the tractor aren't damaged by power surges from the welding. The welds were in a bit of a tight spot on the frame. I had a vertical weld to do, a weld on the underside of the frame, and one along the top, but that one was hindered a bit by the actually air seeder box. But in the end the top weld turned out ok. I cant say the same for the vertical weld. I was too busy dodging hot flux that was spitting everywhere while I was lying under the machine to do the weld. And the underside weld wasn't much better, but at least that one does have a coupla spots where the weld looks good.

So only a couple more things to organise in the morning before I actually can pull into the paddock and officially start our seeding for 2009.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fertilizer pick up day today

Was an early start this morning to head up country in the Kenworth and tipper to pick up an early load of fertilizer (DAP). I had 3 loads booked in to pick up today so the first one had to be an early one at 8pm and I actually ended up getting in just after 7:30 for the pick-up so that wasn't too bad. So I was able to pick up the 3 loads no problems. 68tonne all together. We had a shower of rain while unloading the 2nd load which made it a little difficult, but we never complain about rain. We need ever drop we can get.

We looked at, and started, servicing Bob's front end loader, the old massey, later in the day. Drained the oil and changed the filter. So tomorrow I'll take some engine oil over there, and check on fuel filters, power steering etc.

Now that we've got the fertilizer it'll be all systems go for seeding. I'll probably start with some spraying, probably as soon as tomorrow. And the air seeder will roll not far behind that.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I got my truck back today

After nearly a week of repairs to my semi tipper I finally got it back today and she's good as new and all ready to roll. In fact I've booked in up country to pick up my fertilizer tomorrow. 3 loads starting bright and early... actually it wont be bright then, the sun wont even be up. (Yes I know it'll be a bit of a shock to this lazy farmer who likes to sleep in).

This morning I finished of making up my new seeding boots. Now I have a full set of 53 (that's how many I need on the air seeder bar... that's how many tynes it has) and I recon I've even got a couple of spares. Hopefully I've counted them correctly... guess I'll find out when I go to put them on the machine. The last few I welded up today are slightly different to the others in that they are made with tubing that has a bend in it. So the top of the boot lays back off the tyne. This will be good for a few of the tynes where the hose leading down to the boot has a long reach.

I finished servicing the Tractors. Well I finished the John Deere 4440 anyway. I had to refill the grease gun. Then I greased both the John Deeres and the air seeder. I also blew out the engine air filter on the 4440 (this is all I have left to do on the 8200) and by the look of it it had been quite a while since I'd done that. A lot of dust and dirt come out of it!

So then I hooked the 4440 onto our prickle chain (shoulda taken a photo cause if ya don't know what a prickle chain is... it's way to hard to explain). Now that unit is all ready to go. Oh I also checked the tyre pressures on tractor and prickle chain and pumped up where they were a bit down... which happened to be every tyre. And now that unit is all ready to go.

I checked grain prices on the net. We still have some grain warehoused at the local storage facilities and are looking at the possibility of selling some soon. The prices are down at the moment though, and no body is really interested in buying mainly because the value of the Australian dollar is relatively high and only increasing. That means prices are decreasing as overseas buyers would have to pay more for us to get the same, but what happens is they pay the same... and we get less. Unfortunately with grain marketing and selling, there are times when you have to sell because you need the cashflow rather than holding off and selling when the prices are better.

I picked up the truck in the afternoon. Yep she was already, and me and a mate brought her home. He wanted to borrow a set of harrows from us, and I said "No problems at all... I wont be using them". We don't use harrows anymore as they're not suited to trash farming where all stubbles are retained. We haven't used them for years. The were superseded by the prickle chain, which can handle the trash, but even that doesn't get much use now that we use minimum tillage. This year I am planning to use it on our Correll wheat crops. Just a pass with it after the seeding bar to spread the herbicide we are using, so we get a good even coverage with the Logran. We found there is barley seeds in our Correll wheat seeds. Logran is a good chemical (or a chemical that can... maybe not good) prevent the barley growing, but it needs to be incorporated in the soil evenly to prevent the barley in the rows (ie planted barley) from growing.

It was then that I did all my tyre pumping up etc. because I checked all the tyres on the truck. While I was on a roll I also did both John Deere's and the prickle chain. Then Moved things out of the workshop yard ready for use. The truck got moved out front ready for me to leave with it in the morning. I plan to leave with it at around 6:30.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Last round of sheep feeding today

With seeding fast approaching and the greenfeed now coming on in the pastures today's sheep feeding was the last I will do for the year. As it worked out the truck that I have been using to load the feeder with emptied out today and we'll need it as a seed and super unit when we start seeding (which will happen mid this week if all goes to plan). So the afternoon job today was to empty out the truck fully, and feed out the grain. As it was only 2 of the mobs got fed, the other 2 are on good pastures anyway. So nice quick job, the most difficult part was having to get up in the truck to scrape out the last few bags of grain.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More welding today

I spent most of the day in the workshop today, thought I'd have a go at welding up the new seeding boots I'm making. Actually I didn't plan to do that, just that when it was sheep feeding time it was also raining so I thought I'd play around with a little bit of welding until the rain cleared. Well the rain did clear. In fact I don't think it rained for long at all, but once I got started with the welding I kinda got on a roll and just kept going.

So here is the parts laid out on the back of a tyne (that is in the vice) as they would sit on the actual machine. Here I was trying to work out in my mind how it would all come together and I ended up making a jig (hope that's the correct spelling??) so I could weld the parts together in that.

The jig was pretty simple, just a few nails in a board with a sheet of metal to protect the wood a bit, and stop it from catching on fire. I'm not sure if the tin was successful or not. Was good for clamping the earth clamp to though. The nails held the 2 parts together firmly at just the right angle so I could weld them together. I just put the nails in when I did the first assembly and then after that all I had to do was slip the 2 parts into the jig between the nails. Below you can see the first weld - or at least where it is, between the mounting bracket (the angle iron with the hole in it) and the closing plate, right in the tight "V" there. And look, the earth clamp there on the bottom.

And then turn the whole jig over and weld the second weld between the two plates. It's easier to see the nails holding the parts in this picture.

Once that was done I just pulled the new mounting assembly out (that's what I'll call it) with the chipping hammer in the bolt hole, and the earth clamp and then check the angles and position of the welds against another assembly that was already completed. That way I made sure that they were all relatively uniform.

Here's 2 I prepared earlier (I just wanted to say that)

So I did about 55 of them this morning. And no the poor old sheep missed out on being fed. There is alot of green grass and other weeds coming up in the pastures now so the sheep feeding isn't quite as vital.

I went into town again today (another excuse for the bakery) 1 because I'd used up all the welding rods, and 2 because I wanted to check on the progress with the repairs on the semi tipper. Well the bakery was lovely - beautiful vegetarian pastie and a Farmers Union Iced Coffee. I had no problem dropping into the rural supply shop and getting another box of welding rods (or electrodes - all the welding I do at home is electric arc welding by the way). But when it came to the semi tipper repairs... they're going slowly. I was hoping I'd have the truck back this afternoon so I could collect some of our fertilizer, but It wasn't going to be done today. So hopefully sometime Monday. By then we'll be desperate as we'll want to kick into gear with seeding... and we cant do that without fertilizer. At the same time let me just say that the guys are doing a fantastic job with the repairs and I'm glad they're taking their time to do a top notch job. I know I wont have any problems with it in the future.

Armed with my new box of welding rods I decided to get stuck into welding the boots up. What you see above is a prototype we ran last year on the air seeder bar. It seemed to work well so the new batch of boots are based on this one with only a slight change. Below is a new boot - freshly made today - and you can see that I've used a 90 degree angle plate as a mounting bracket rather than a straight piece of plate as you can see above. This will make it easier to get the nuts on and off (which doesn't have to be done often once they're on there) and to keep them tightened up (they can work loose).

The steel tubing I used is actually exhaust tubing (inch and a quarter I think - no it might be inch - not sure but it's rare to find this smaller size on cars any more apparently). All the pieces of tubing are actually recycled from a previous design boot that we used on this bar - unsuccessfully, so you can see remnants of the old mounting brackets still on there. But that wont affect the operation of this new design at all.

So what you can see above there is the finished product. I did about 45 of these this afternoon. I couldn't do all 55 because I actually ran out of tubing. A few of the old ones have either gone missing somewhere, or were destroyed when we had them on the bar originally. The pictures below show the steps in welding the boot tubing to the mounting assembly. I'll talk you through them.

Ok so there is a piece of tubing clamped tight in the vice. I even squashed the end in a bit to narrow down the seed/fertilizer's exit from the boot for a more accurate fall into the furrow. That was the theory anyway. In reality I didn't really squash them much at all, this one just looks like it.

From there I tack welded the mounting assembly on. This is the one step that I don't have a picture for but you can just imagine it if you like, on the bottom end of the tubing you can see above. Then I did a full weld on the top side of the bracket.

Then move it in the vice so I can weld one side.

And turn it over again so I could weld the other side.

Then pull it out. Chip off the slag with the chipping hammer (I hope you know what that is - if you know anything about welding you would - but I've already had to explain it once today to my son, which took a while, so it would probably take longer to explain it here).

And that was it. All done!

This is the finished product (possibly before slag chipping - I cant remember from when I took the photo, but it looks like the slag is still there).

And there is the finished product on the back of a tyne on the air seeder bar all ready to go. The rusty looking angled down part on the front of the tyne (the tyne is the bendy diggery thing the connects to the top of the bar) is the point. It's a knife point, meaning it's really thin for minimum tillage, with a tungsten tip, so it doesn't wear out. That's the bit that does the digging.

So it's all very technical, but the important thing is it does the job. Before I put the rest of the boots on I'll just clean up on the inside of the tubing where I've cut the pieces or weld has dropped into the inside of the tube. That way the seed and fertilizer will have an uninterrupted flow through the boot. I'll just use either a round file to do this or a die grinder if it's too much for the file. I need 53 boots all up for the bar, and I'll probably want a few spares, but as you know I only made about 45, so I need to make another 9 (that's how many mounting assemblies I have) and I plan to used the same exhaust tubing for them, but this time the other end of what was the old boots. They will have an angle in them (cause they were on the bottom originally) which will be ok as some of the hoses the seed etc runs down stretch a fair way and would benefit from having a "laid back" kind of boot. I'll show you the pics when they're done.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chemical pick up day

The preparations for seeding continued on the farm today. I got stuck into a few more maintenance jobs, and Dad finished cleaning down his header. It's almost a race to get everything done now, cause as soon as it's done we can get started. But it's happening slower than I would like. 1 of the big hold ups at the moment is the repairs to the cracks in the semi-tipper. I'm waiting on that to be done so I can go and collect fertilizer that needs to be planted with the seed to feed the crop as it grows. It doesn't look like I'm going to have my tipper back now in time to get any fertilizer before Monday. I'll probably get it back tomorrow but wont be able to book in in time to collect fertilizer. And I'm sure the plant wont be open on the weekend. There's a good chance I'll have enough to keep me busy until then anyway, but don't worry, there isn't that much more to do.

First job I did this morning was to head into town and pick up all the chemical I'd need for weed control during seeding. After the agronomist came around yesterday I calculated what we'd need of each chemical, and took into account what we already had on hand, and made a little shopping list. It took two trips into town actually to get it all, and here's the pick-up of the first load. (Actually the ute was loaded too, but I didn't show that).

And there we are, the whole lot unloaded, with the 110ltr envirodrums outside and all the 20ltr drums, and ammonium sulphate 25kg bags, inside. I would give you a list of everything I bought, but I don't have a copy with me... and I cant remember. But amongst them are:

  • Powermax, which is glysophate for knockdown weed kill,
  • Ox240 or oxyflurafen 240 - helps with the knockdown
  • Paraquat - a 2nd knockdown herbicide used as a"double knock" to stop resistant rye grass
  • Trifluralin
  • Logran
  • little bit of boxer gold
  • strada - I'm not sure what that does, but it's funny how we listen to what our agronomist says, and just do it.
  • and I told you I couldn't remember everything I got.

Amongst other jobs I attended to today was a quick service to the John Deere 4440. That included an oil change and oil filter change.

    There's the new oil filter. You can see on there how I've scratched the date and the engine hours on there so I'll now when it's due for it's next service. I also need to grease the... well everything that need greasing on it, but that will happen tomorrow. I still have to do that on the John Deere 8200 as well. I did adjust the stop cable on the 4440 as well. That's kinda just above the filter. It is in the photo, but if you don't know what it looks like you may not recognise it. Anyway the clamp holding it at the fuel pump end (the back of the fuel pump is in the picture just in front of the oil filter). So it didn't work. It's supposed to stop the engine when you pull the stop button in the cab. So I fixed it. Pulled the cable into position and tightened up the clamp, believe me there was no way it was going to move now. Only problem was it worked too well. I could barely get the tractor to even run. Pulled it in too tight. So I let it back again and re tightened. It still didn't work quite right, so after a little bit more fiddling I decided that it's a real touchy little cable that has to be in just the right position. And you'll be happy to know that I did eventually find that perfect position. It'll work just fine now... until the first time we need to use it.

    And there's the 2 Johny's side by side, just waiting to be all greased up and then they'll be ready for action.

    Back last year sometime I managed to break the bottom elbow, and the anti-vortex in the bottom of the Granni pot on the boom spray. Here's another moment where I wished I'd taken a picture... it would be much easier to describe that way. Firstly I'll let you know that the Granni pot is a mixing pot mounted to the side of the boom spray and all the chemical is loaded into the main boom tank using the granni pot. It works using vacuum pressure generated by water flowing through a venturi, and it's a strong enough vacuum to draw chemical out of envirodrums. Chemical in smaller drums, such as 20ltr can also be measured into the granni pot, then drawn into the main tank. It can also be used to dissolve granular chemicals that need to be dissolved. So as you can imagine an essential part for the operation of the boom spray.

    Well when I broke it last year (by leaving it in the folded down position while spraying - it lasts alot longer when you remember to put it up) and replace the essential parts, but at the time I couldn't get a "lifting stirrup", but I could survive without that. So I put it together and I was up and going again. The new lifting stirrup (the old one got lost somewhere in the paddock where the thing broke - I drove for quite some time before I noticed. Guess I'll find it out there some day) came a week or so later. Now the reason I'm telling you all this is because today I finally got around to putting the new lifting stirrup on. When I did I found the rubber seal in the bottom of the Granni pot was stretched so I replaced that while I was at it. If it wasn't in perfect condition then there's a chance that the Granni pot wouldn't seal down airtight, and so it would not only leak, but also wouldn't be able to hold a vacuum and hence wouldn't be able to draw chemical out of envirodrums. So that was a good maintenance job out the way.

    And that was the day.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    It's hard to weld when you've had a few welding flashes

    Ok so today I had the agronomist coming to check out what weeds have germinated in the paddocks, and what spraying program we should use to control them. He wasn't due til mid morning (which ended up being late morning - but that didn't matter, I found something else to do).

    And that something else was to work on making new seeding boots for the air seeder bar. I think I've mentioned the new boots before, but just in case I haven't... I decided to make up new boots with closing plates to prevent the seeds dropping down too deep in the furrow. The last couple of years I've notice alot of volunteer barley growing up in the pasture paddocks (we plant maritime barley before a pasture in our rotations) and growing mainly in rows, the furrows from the previous year. So my thought is that the germination from the previous years may not have been as good as it should have been (I know I should have done germination counts and all that but the agronomist could have done that... maybe I don't pay him enough). So new boots with closing plates so the seed is all dropped at the same level and not too deep. That's the theory anyway, we'll see if it works.

    Having said all that I realise now that I must have mentioned them before, because it wasn't that long ago that I cut all the plates and brackets for them. Well my quick job before the agronomist got there was to weld a line of hard facing on the bottom of the closing plates.

    This will become a closing plate

    Clamped ready for welding

    Just after welding. I put some hard facing up the sides of the plate as well. I was hoping this shot would show it glowing red... but by the time I got the picture it had cooled

    I finished off just before the agronomist arrived. It was kinda perfect timing really. All I have to do now is weld the boots all together, and then take the old ones off the bar and put the new ones on.. could still take some time, but once I get on a roll I'll get it done pretty quickly.

    So now time for weed inspections, and we found that because we'd had such a good opening rain, all at once, the weeds had all germinated at the same time and are all small. It's better this way than if we'd had dribs and drabs of rain which gets some weeds going early and some not starting til later, making some of them really big by now. So the spraying program is going to be relatively simple with mainly powermax and ox240 being used as a knockdown with trifluralin being incorporated with the air seeder bar (it gets dug in when we plant the crop - it needs to be in the soil to work - it stops new weeds germinating). On certain paddocks we are going to use a "double knock" where 2 spray applications are used. The first is powermax and ox240, and then the second pass is a few days later, right in front of the air seeder with paraquat and trifluralin.

    We have 47 paddocks (don't worry their not all huge, there's quite a few that would be under 20ha - I should work out what the average size paddock is) and so it took a while to drive around and check them all out.

    Today was sheep feeding day as well, yep I've had a big day. Needless to say, they got done pretty late. There are still lambs coming, I saw another new one today. And I didn't find any problems with the sheep feeding.

    The other job that I noted was being done, Dad has pulled his header, the newholland TR88, out of the shed and got a fair way through cleaning it down. This gets all the grain, and straw, and chaff, and whatever else there is left on, or in, the header after harvest. It makes the header less attractive to rats, that tend to chew through anything. Not that anyone can clean off all the grain etc.

    Still waiting on the semi tipper repairs to be done. As soon as they are I'll organise to go up and pick up my fertilizer. Once that is done we are very close to starting seeding.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009


    So let me think.. what did I get up to today. It's terrible when you cant even remember what you did in the morning. That's right, serviced the tractor.

    Yeah the John Deere 8200 was due for an oil filter change (although the oil wasn't due yet - cant have changed the filter last time I changed the oil). So first job was to run the tractor for 15 mins or so at a high idle, then take out the sump plug and drain the oil. While it was draining I slipped the filter off and put the new one on, and to keep track of the service hours, even though the tractors computer does store it, we scratch the date and hours on the filter.

    I also had a chance to tighten up the drive chain (well actually all the chains) on the air seeder box. This involved loosening off the bolts and sliding the gear box back a little bit. They're lovely and tight now, should work like a dream. I also oiled up the chains with chain bar oil and put the guard back on that I took off a coupla weeks ago so I could put my clutch switches in.

    With that all done I put the sump plug back in the Johny and filled her up with oil again. I would have greased, well, both the tractor and the seeder box.. but my grease gun is empty and the bulk grease happened to be at Dad's place. I contacted him to see if he had it and to bring it over, and at the same time he could give me a hand to get the John Deere 4440 to move. It seemed like the transmission had locked in park, and hence... it wasn't going anywhere. All I wanted to do was put it in the shed - rather than having it sitting out there in the big blue shed like it has been for the last... very long time.

    Quick trip to the Bakery for lunch. Today's excuse was that I needed to check on the welding progress on my aluminium tipper. And the progress is... slow. It'll be another coupla days yet. And they found more hairline cracks that are very interesting, at intervals all the way along the tipper. I think they were just going to leave them for now and see what happens. The cheese and bacon pasty and iced coffee was lovely.

    Couple more maintenance jobs after lunch. I finally got around to taking the battery out of my courier ute and put it on the charger. I'm going to change the battery over with the one that I've been jump starting the ute with for a few weeks now. (Yeah that's right I've been carrying around a spare battery and jumper leads for weeks and quite often have had to use them - the leads are long enough that I don't even have to get the battery off the back. I was really getting it down to a fine art... that's why I've been too slack to do anything about it). Also slipped a new exhaust manifold gasket into the Ford 8401 tractor. I cant remember If I told you that I''d been working on this a coupla times with no success. I've got an old motor for spare parts and it still had the manifold gasket on it. So first time I used that... actually no first time I tightened up the studs... which were so loose I could easily move them (2 of them on the front cylinder outlet). Needless to say she had a nasty exhaust leak. Tightening the studs didn't make much difference. Putting on the second had gasket off the old motor made no difference. And today I put on the brand new gasket which also made no difference. But that's how it's going to stay now.

    Also fixed up a little thingy on the boom spray... should I go into that any more. Ok. One of the spring thingys on the wings of the boom that hangs down to stop the thing ploughing into the ground, fell off last year. I happened to find it and just had to make a stronger clamp bracket for it and bolt it back on. I did that.

    Then Dad rolled up with the grease. We went and looked at the tractor. Funnily enough it didn't fix itself overnight, but luckily we found the transmission hadn't locked up. The linkage was just very VERY stiff and it hadn't moved at all when I thought it had. So basically I was trying to move the tractor while it was in park. We ended up forcing the linkage (after trying to pull the tractor - both forwards and backwards - trying to free up the transmission). That when we thought it could be linkage, and yep forcing it did move it. I could then select which range I wanted to. The 4440 Johnys with a quad box (transmission) have 2 gear levers. 1 selects the gear, just like an ordinary manual transmission (basically) and the 2nd one selects which range the gear box will work in. It has 4 ranges, A, B, C and D and also park. That's the lever that was jammed. Once we got it moving relatively freely we could also move the tractor and I put it away in the shed.

    Here's the big sidetrack of the day. There's a few box thorn bushes around the shed (which is the old hay shed that I decided to put tractors in) and while dad was there with drag chains we decided to clean a few of them up. We a few turned into quite a few. There were a lot more bushes hidden under the old pepper tree in there than we thought. The rest of the afternoon was taken up pulling boxthorns and the whole yard is now boxthorn free... and we've got a big pile to burn sometime.

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Another Day on the Farm

    First job today was to take the semi-tipper into town to get the cracks in the tipper welded up. So just a quick drop off there. I also had to pick up a few pipe fittings while I was in town... yep more leaky pipes.

    Actually this time was a broken T-piece, so you would classify this one as a considerable leak... or maybe even flood. So picked up the parts, but before I actually did the necessary repairs I fed a couple of the mobs of sheep. I thought that the lambing was basically all over and done with now, but did happen to see 2 new lambs (from separate mothers) today. I was held up a little bit with feeding one of the mobs as the ute battery is now that bad that it wouldn't run the feeder long enough to get enough grain out for them.

    The "tool man" also turned up while I was over mum n dad's place. He brings his van full of all sorts of farm tools and things around and you can pick up all sorts of goodies. We picked up a few things, got a good deal on air driven drills, basically 2 for the price of one. Plus a few other bits and pieces.

    After that I had a look at the pipe repair and I had all sorts of trouble getting it back together. I couldn't get one of the connectors to do up. I had a closer look and worked out that is wasn't the same sort of pipe as the other 2 pieces (it's a T connector where a pipe running to a trough is connected to the main line). I know I've mentioned before my confusion when it comes to pipe sizes, well it was compounded today. I cut a small piece off and headed into town with it to see what class it was. The main line is D-class (3/4") and I assumed the line to the trough was the same. Sorry no. Perhaps C-class or B-class. Sorry no. Not that I would know what the difference is, but this one really threw me. It was 3/4" polypro. Well I think that's what it was called anyway. It's not used for general pipe work, it usually gets thread cut on the end and used as a riser, or down wells on a windmill. And so there aren't any connectors for it unless it had a thread. But don't worry, the good man in at the rural supply shop worked something out for me, not that I'm sure what, and I was on my way. It went together nicely, and didn't leak at all when the water was turned on again.

    Saturday, May 2, 2009

    A Water Leak

    Just had a coupla jobs to do today. The usual sheep feeding run. That was fairly uneventful. Seems most of the lambing is done now, so haven't had any problems with the ewes for a while. 2 of the mobs where moved a couple of days ago onto fresh stubbles and they weren't quite as interested in the grain feeding. The other 2 mobs where still pretty keen. With the rain that we've had over the last week or so a germination has started and the green grass is starting to come up, including in the pastures. So the sheep will have more pasture feed now as it grows.

    I found a water leak while feeding over at Wendelbournes. The main pipeline from the water mains comes from over there and in 1 section it is only old B-class 1" pipe. It's poly pipe and it's so thin it gets leaks all the time. There is sharp limestone in the ground (everywhere around here - but also where the pipe is buried) and over time they punch small holes in the pipe. To fix I just cut out the section with the hole and put in a 1" B-class joiner. I actually had 2 holes today... so I had to put in 2 joiners. It's advisable to turn off the water at the water meter when cutting into the pipe... as you can get VERY wet if you don't. This time I did turn the water off.

    We're getting even more rain

    A lovely follow up rain today. The forecast was for showers, but we really had rain periods. What a great start to the season.

    Ok well yesterday was sheep feeding day and for a change it was a little different. That's because we moved 2 of the mobs of ewes onto fresh stubbles. The mob that was up at the 5 roads paddock, and since then was moved onto the windmill and sheepyard paddocks, has now been moved across the road to Wendlebournes (that's the name of the property/block). They now have the run of a wheat stubble there, and a pea stubble. And because of the move they weren't actually grain fed.

    The other mob to move was the mob on the southern paddocks at Glackens. They were moved onto the middle paddocks there, also fresh wheat stubbles. They still were grain fed. And the mobs at dad's and on bob's were fed as normal. I'm not sure if I mentioned in an earlier blog that the ewes over on bob's have been good enough to let themselves through to neighbouring paddocks there, so they are also running on number 2 and 3 as well as 4, where they're supposed to be (naughty sheep!).

    Today, having previously organised registration for the truck I took it into the engineering place in town to see about getting the cracks in the aluminium tipper welded/fixed up. Looks like it will be a slightly bigger job than I first thought, there's a few more cracks than I'd noticed, and a few of them are more serious. The semi tipper trailer is made of aluminium which naturally moves and flexes under the weight of a load, and if the stresses are too much it starts cracking... and that's what's happened. If it's any consolation the guy did say that's she was looking good for a tipper that old (it's a 1980 model). The prime mover is a 1987 Kenworth K120. Monday morning it's going back in to get the work done. It might take a coupla days.

    That's a view of the tipper from the rear with it tipped right up. This picture was taken last year when I was unloading the fertilizer. That's where the cracks are, in there.

    I'm working on making new seeding boots for the air seeder bar. The boots are the bits that bolt onto the tynes (the diggers) that the seed and fertilizer drops out of and is placed in the ground. I'll have to get a photo of one, cause like they say... a picture says a thousand words. Actually now I think of it I have got a picture of one set of seeding boots we used.

    Well they are old ones I put on when we first got the bar a few years back. They didn't work. I actually think it was the design of the points. They are 2" shares but as you can see angle along way forward. We have a lot of limestone in our country, real solid stuff, and as the tynes move back over the rocks and then spring forward they tended to hit the bottom of the boots bending them and snapping the mounts off. Hence they were scrapped for old rubber ones I had. The new ones I'm making will have a closing plate that will ensure the seed wont fall too deep into the furrow, and all the seed will fall to a uniform depth. I trailed one I made up last year and it's seed placement looked good. So this year I'm working on making up a full set for the whole bar. Actually using the old ones I took off, but with comprehensive alterations. Once again when I get a few finished I'll take a picture. This afternoon I was cutting out the closing plates, the mounting brackets and chopping up the old boots ready to be made into new boots. So all the bits are ready I just have to weld them together now.

    What you can see here is the manufacturing of the mounting brackets for the new boots. I started by centre punching and drilling holes (5/8" holes I think they are) at 1" spacings in a piece of 25mm angle iron (or 1" if ya like... I really shouldn't mix my units should I). Then cut them into 1" pieces with the angle grinder, as seen above.

    I have to make an admission here. See I was quite paranoid, and very careful in taking these pictures. The reason is, and if I just come out with it and admit it now then I wont ever have to worry again, that my workshop is extremely messy. I really needs a good clean out. I tried not to include any mess in the photo's, and I didn't do too bad. There is some mess in the pics... but nothing compared to the rest of the shed.