Further Work on the 1940 Farmall A

Since we have had pretty dry weather here in New York, my field hasn't needed a lot of mowing. It seems like a good time to undertake some more serious tractor work. Since I want to get everything looking sharp for, hopefully, a parade (I keep hoping this year!), I wanted to dive into the operator's area to do some painting. Since I already have one fender off and painted, I though I could pretty easily tackle the other fender and some of the main chassis. As it turns out, these 76-year old bolts don't turn so easily.

Removed: seat, toolbox, and the Woods belt guard

First, I removed the seat which was not too difficult as the seat springs had been replaced in the not-to-distant past. The seat, as is typical for tractors of this age, has some rust in it, but is not critical - especially with a good seat cover, which I have. The toolbox was a little harder to remove, just by virtue of being difficult to get a wrench around the seat springs.

Taking it all apart...

The seat and toolbox removed, I also sought to remove the operator's platform. This involved moving the cover on the underside of the pedals. It was so badly corroded, I opted to replace it. Several of the bolts holding the pedals to the platform were too badly rusted, so I had to cut them out. Two of the three pedal tension springs were also rusted through and useless.

New parts!

With dismantling finally complete, it was time to start scraping and painting. And scraping. And painting. Lots of dirt, old paint, and rust needed to be cleared off in order to make a new paint job stick and look fairly decent. I think it does - it's not as good as a shop might do, but that fact is this is still a working tractor, and I don't have unlimited time to have it in pieces.

Painting the seat bolsters

Priming the operator's platform

Scraping, cleaning, painting, the accessible portions of the main chassis

Sanding and painting the fender

It was a lot of work, but I feel like it's been worth it. Hopefully I don't have to take this section apart again anytime soon! Copper based anti-seize went on most of the bolts and threads, though, so if I do, it should be a lot easier to disassembler if I have to.

Hazards of Free Range Chickens

It has been a fun summer, overall, with the chickens. They've started providing us with an excellent number of eggs. We had one chicken disappear, unexpectedly, and sadly we're fairly sure it was nabbed by a predator.

The remaining chickens are happy and healthy, and have been free-ranging around on the days when someone is home. The Isa Brown breed seems to have a high percentage of mammoth double-yolker eggs which provide no end of amusement for us. As shown in the picture, we have an egg that topped out at 3.2 ounces, while a typical 'jumbo' grade egg runs around 2.5 ounces. We have been blessed to be able to give away a couple of dozen eggs a week.

However, yesterday, we were confronted by one of the prime dangers to small time chicken farming - predators. In the late morning, Sarah called out to me that there was a dog in the yard going after the chickens. Indeed, she had seen the dog with one of the chickens in its mouth. Having already had our seven hens reduced to six, we have been acutely aware of the possibility of something coming after the hens. A mid-size dog, colored like a boxer, but with the face of a Dobermann was running around the house menacing the hens. Sarah and I both tried to catch it, to no avail. Whenever I got close enough to grab at its collar (it had a collar, but no tags), it would leap back and then just stand there. So, Sarah called animal control, and I tracked the dog along the road through several neighboring properties

I felt the dog must be caught by all means in order to have peace for our animals, so I texted Sarah updates as to where I was in order to allow her to direct the animal control officer when he arrived. Soon, he came, and tried to catch the dog - which took awhile. I watched for a bit, but sensed I was stressing the dog out a lot so I opted to head home (in my bare feet!) in order to see which of our chickens were still alive.

I rounded up five, and with Sarah and Jemimah's help, put them in the coop. We then started hunting for the sixth, which we feared was dead. I made a loop of the house, and was checking by some trees out by the garden, when I heard Sarah calling from the north side of the house. I joined her, and she pointed to the last hen, coming along the roadside and bridge over the stream!

So, all six survived, and the menace was caught. Our chickens have been blessed by tremendous mercies to survive this affair.

In all this, we had thought about getting a German Shepherd dog to help with security...but as it happens they might eat chickens. So...we're considering a guard goose!

Book Review - Oil Painting Essentials - Gregg Keutz - 2016

I received this book free for an honest review.

Oil Painting Essentials covers the concepts and procedural essentials for several different genres of oil painting. It covers several genres: still life, interior, landscapes, portraits, figures, while also incorporating a section on plein air painting (painting 'on location', which is necessarily a different style).

In each section Keutz provides pictoral examples of his own work that exemplifies the conceptual and process essentials he is expounding. This is done to good effect, especially with regular use of in-progress examples showing the progression of a work from start to completion.

Of course, given that the discourse and examples come from one artist, these essentials are geared toward his style of painting, which may not necessarily bring fulfillment to all aspiring oil painters. That said, many of the general concepts carry through to any style, especially the light/dark near/far concepts that are presented throughout the various sections of the book. Discourse on perspective is also a universal concept, unless of course you aspire to be the next Picasso.

This is not a 'how-to-paint' book. There is no technical discourse on the use of oil paints, mixing, fattening of paint with oil for higher layers, etc. are not covered here. This book exemplifies artistic concepts that can help those who know the basics to better grasp the principles that will enable their painting to be more believable and catching to the eye. 

While I do not have a lot of time to pursue oil painting, I will be hanging onto this book so that I can, hopefully, pursue the hobby and have a head start with the principles laid out in this work.