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Picturesque rocky cone Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Br. Machine Gun of Mild Reason" journal:

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August 26th, 2016
10:23 am

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Last Friday in August, 2016 Journaling
Today: gray & damp, no rye harvesting till it dries out again. I gave the horses breakfast, did my gardening, now I'll doff my shirt, turn the attic fans on and clean up my model RR.

Yesterday: Loaded the 20" wood into the '51 truck, gardening, errands. Finished off by biking to Hodgies & back, then dinner. Big Bike is more comfortable with the nose of the seat turned a little farther down, and rolls better with 80 lb. in the tires. But one of the cable ties I used to attach the water bottle holder broke, so it's waiting for me to pick it up at the farmstand.

Wednesday: To Seashore for conductor/motorman training. Ran TCRT 1267 and Conn. Co. 303. The breeze was welcome in my long pants and cop shoes. Home in time for my meeting.

Tuesday: Civic got the last part it needed. I started repairing the Insight's interior trim panels. They're now better than they have been in years, but I had to order a few parts. Also found the Honda shop manual, which I've wanted since we got the car.

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August 23rd, 2016
08:23 pm

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My Own Sweet Corn and journaling
Tonight I found four small-to-medium ears and steamed/ate them. Only one had reached the maturity I like, but none were pale and fragile. Two had lost some kernels to something that had gnawed through the husk. I'll probably have some more next week, but the drought has left me with a lot of plants which may not get past the 'baby corn' stage.

The last field of winter rye is still harvestable, and the farmers have gotten more of the sling bags, so I'll take a shot at it Thursday. But soon it will be time to clean out the combine & store it till next year.

3.5 cm of rain Sunday night - hardly any wind here, so I didn't get up to close windows. We're still short enough that watering just sinks into the garden, though that and dew from cool nights is greening up my lawn. The seedless grapes are pretty much done, so back to tomatoes as the 'fruit' part of my diet.

Several days of work on the paddock fence has it back to decent shape. The bees didn't mind people working a few yards from their hives and a lot of wild honeysuckle, poison ivy and bittersweet has been yanked out. And I did a little blacksmithing today so a gate could be properly secured.

I've attempted to order my new battery bank from a quote, but nobody at the distributor has gotten back to me; I'll call the manufacturer in Canada if I don't get an answer this week.

I spent Monday practicing to be an operator at Seashore, and was asked to go up again Wednesday, as there will be several bus tours plus a children's reading event. If I drive up in a hurry, I pay NH $2 for ~12 mi. of I-95 and ME $3 ($4 SB) for ~17 mi. But I've found a fairly direct toll-free alternative that uses only 300 m. of Rt. 1. And it might even be faster during peak weekend vacation travel.

The Mass Pike's new open road tolls appear to up the cost of I-290 - I-291 from $1.50 to $2.65 if I don't sign up for an EZPass. And per today's Globe, they're spending ~$130M rebuilding the exits w/o tollbooths, but only saving about $5M/year, much less than promised when the project was proposed.

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August 17th, 2016
08:17 am

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Military fat-headedness & journaling
My sleep was interrupted last night, but not by a thunderstorm making me close the windows. The USAF and Air National Guard use an old bomber base 25 km northeast of me. Last night they flew four heavy jets out starting at 0230. They are exempt from sound control rules; their engines are easy to recognize because of how loud they are, and they don't bother to go out over the ocean to climb to cruising altitude.

Maybe it was the ANG trying to keep planes clear of a thunderstorm. Maybe something secret. This isn't the first time. Someday it'll matter how conspicuous this cowboy behaviour makes them; at night I would have needed binoculars to know the plane type, but 100,000 people knew how many and anyone who stepped to a window knew the course.

Tomatoes doing well. First ear of corn is imminent. ~2 CM of rain over the weekend, maybe 2 MM yesterday evening. Weight is about 94 kg. on mostly corn as my starch. Clearing the paddock required finishing the elm & maple firewood in not-ideal weather.

Good to see Bill at NOFA. Now I know more about cucurbit pests and diseases. I'm going to try sheet composting. And I did some railfanning on the trips out and back. Foldy Bike gave good service, even when my skin was slick with sweat. Amherst Motel's WiFi didn't work in my room, so IMO it was overpriced.

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August 10th, 2016
03:15 pm

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Most, maybe all of the winter rye is harvested 2nd week of August 2016 journaling
I got a bin of grain a week ago, but one original wood bearing in the straw rack died and its mate was almost gone. Both of the parts combine's bearings were also on the way out. I didn't know anything about wood bearings when this happened, but that didn't last long. Looked around and found replacements, but as the weekend had arrived it was faster to make my own. And I finally know why I saved that chunk of maple from 1995's kitchen counter project.

In the process the milling machine's motor starter crapped out; it's hotwired while I decide whether I really need one for a 1/2 HP motor that runs maybe 5 hr. in a busy year. I had to dig out the lathe's boring bar to arrive at a hole bigger than 5/8" but less than 13/16", but the two I made have run 6 hours without problem. And then yesterday morning I had to make a new hinge pin: cut 5/16" rod, drill two 1/16" holes for cotters. I used the Walker-Turner drill press. One drill broke as it started to exit, but I was able to punch the fragments out leaving a usable hole.

The two fields J planted produced about 6 tons. The one across the state line was thinner and less consistently seeded, but still worthwhile. The current Google Maps image is from this spring and the crop is visible, south and SE of her paddocks.

There is a 3rd field, but I don't have a shelter for the combine near it. I will look at it before leaving for the NOFA conference and see if there's hope for next week. Today's 1.5 CM of rain will accelerate weed growth and once they're too tall it becomes very difficult to keep unwanted seeds out of the grain.

I did get to the beach with J and M last week. My garden has survived with attention from both me and M. I got the body work done on the Civic. Next month Youngest will be attending www.sspc18.com. I got a call from Middle and his fiancee Sunday AM, made from their camp on Signal Ridge south of Mt. Carrigain.

My house and barn have undergone considerable cleaning and organizing, in part because Youngest's horse needs 2 months of reduced turnout rest and my barn has empty stalls. More field cleanup remains, as there were a couple of trees cut last year but no appropriate time for brush burning with the winter's limited snow.

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August 2nd, 2016
11:08 pm

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More early August journaling
Last week I noticed one apple on the Beacon tree, but when I looked Sunday it was on the ground with a rotten core and a hole eaten in one side. So I got some of it, but I'm not spotting any others.

There are likely to be chestnuts on both trees. The resident squirrels have found the hazelberts before they're really ripe and are leaving remains here and there on the lawn. I need to follow a few of them to their nests.

The weekend's hike appears to have reset my weight to about 206, which pleases me. Saw the Dr. this afternoon about a spot on my arm, which was pronounced harmless. BP & pulse also satisfactory a few minutes after running up the stairs.

M planted two of the rhubarb seedlings, which seem to be doing well. Several of the small tomatoes are producing, but there are also signs of infection in a couple.

Thinking my next hike should be North Weeks via the York Pond and Kilkenny Ridge trails. But that will have to wait for progress on the rye. Which will be attempted tomorrow.

There's been some progress on the battery replacement, and I've dealt with reservations and organization for the major September activities. But Town issues remain unopened. And I still haven't been in the Atlantic this year. Hi ho, no rest for the wicked...

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August 1st, 2016
07:05 pm

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July/Aug. 2016 Journal
Wed. & Thu. got the combine fixed again, but late in the afternoon. I got another 3/4 bin off the field before thunderstorms arrived. Parked till it dries out, maybe by Wed 8/3?

Over the weekend I spent time with old friends on lakes in Maine, with a hike up Moat Mtn. on Saturday. The trail was as hot, dry and unrelenting in its ascent over the ledges as I remembered from decades ago, but I didn't meet any others till I started back from Middle Moat and the views and the blueberries were excellent. I beat book time going up, but not coming down. I'm not sure a full 2 MPH is realistic on that rocky downgrade.

Sunday I drove home, badgered by traffic on NH 16. Happily, I had pleasant visits to three museums that aren't (quite) on Rt. 16.

Today started out well: To complete the New England 4000-footers, I only need to climb the Horn on Saddleback and Mt. Abraham (near each other in Maine). I can do them alone, but company would be nicer. Alas, neither is a starter hike.

The Civic is at the body shop; postponing work on the rusting door saves more than $1K!

It got somewhat worse: I had to prod my Dr.'s bureaucrats for a checkup, which won't be till October. But they'll see me for a spot on my arm tomorrow.

Then I heard that a young person I know, and see a bit of myself in, had a setback in tests. IMO his schools are trying to do far too much with 8 year-olds, but not my culture.

Then I tried to buy detachable link chain, only to find the manual doesn't give the size of one that needs replacement.

Then I tried to buy new solar batteries. Hours trolling around web sites, trying to get dimensions, capacity and terminal layouts. One major US manufacturer has completely fact-proofed their site, even using Google to search it. My FB query collected a little useful info, but the rest of the FB stream is dismaying to say the least.

Corn grows, tomatoes ripen, the horse chestnut I thought was dead has put out leaves. Good, because the builder's crew has cut off all the seedlings I hoped to save from Nbpt.

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July 26th, 2016
09:49 am

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July 2016 harvest begins journaling
I got less than 1 cm of rain from Saturday's thunderstorms, but lots of spectacular views of late afternoon sun on the clouds as I drove back from Auburn.

Sunday I repaired B-69872's broken cradle hanger with the 2nd from the parts combine. Today I ordered the 29/64" drill rod to make several more. I must figure out why the Scour-Kleen's tailings auger chain broke rather than just replace it and hit the field again. But I haven't found time to take it apart yet. Maybe this AM.

Monday I worked on landscaping at my parents' house, ending the day at sunset having rigged up a hose to water a rhododendron we decided to move. The soil there was powder-dry, and I haven't gotten that dirty below the knees since the last time I stepped in a mud hole barefoot.

A bit more rain finally came Monday night, in two quiet showers. Not even 1 cm here. But plants with leaves above ground stayed wet till morning, which helps. I put the Boston Ferns outside under an elm the other day. I started cleaning their home in the dining room today, but I really shouldn't put them back till the wall is cleaned & their table given some furniture polish etc.

[afterthought] I'm losing weight by substituting 4 ears of sweet corn and a big chunk of a non-marketable tomato for the pasta I usually cook for dinner: 208-ish this morning, down from 211 or so when I got home from Indianapolis.

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July 24th, 2016
08:22 am

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First tomato!
Still weeks till corn, though.

Harvested 1.5 tons of rye Friday, now I have to fix the combine - this cradle hanger can come from the parts combine, but the next one I'll have to make.

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July 21st, 2016
01:21 pm

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A change in the July 2016 weather
Tuesday I found the sweet corn planted on the 14th was up, likely helped by Monday's rain. And I finished fixing the mountain bike Eldest had left here, and rode it to the Town Offices and the farmstand (different trips). I also found I'd underestimated how much water the new inverter's charge cycles were boiling out of my batteries, so the tops of all their plates got dry. They were due for replacement, but now I need to get it done before Labor Day. The overnight temperature was 58F, so blanket & bedspread were reinstalled.

Wednesday I made landscaping decisions in Nbpt. and got my modules back from Marlboro. Rush hour on 495 stank, but I didn't have anything better to do out that way, so I stayed in it to get home earlier.

Today: blueberries are gone. Black raspberries and mulberries are fading, leaving me fruitless till the Pawpaws come in October. But I should have at least cherry tomatoes before the end of the month.

The rye is about ready, so it's 'work on the combine day'. This morning saw it all together, this afternoon should see it greased and turned over, initially by hand, then by the tractor. I don't want to take it on the road when commuters would get tense, so it might not head for the field till tomorrow.

Back to clambering around it & getting greasy...

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July 19th, 2016
12:50 am

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Another day of trolleys and thunderstorms
The Insight got me up there at 78.9 MPG in the hot, humid morning. I learned to run Wheeling curve-side #639, and made three round trips with passengers. Then we got Connecticut Co. #1160 out and I ran it out and back with just my conductor and the Asst. Superintendent. I made a few minor mistakes hurrying back to put the cars away before the thunderstorms arrived. We did get a bit wet. Several more days like this might get me my license, break the drought, or both at once.

Shopped on the way home, so dinner waited till after Planning Board. But now I have enough distilled water to do the batteries tomorrow. And parts to finish fixing W's bike. And the combine to assemble. And the Civic to take to the body shop, if I can get a ride back.

2 cm of rain at home, cooler for a while, but most of the humidity came back. Many windows open cooling off the house. I expect it will be a couple of days before the rye dries out.

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