Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Swisher Predator Update... FAIL

So I may have spoken too soon about the ol' Swisher a few posts ago. Everything was working great, then...

I've had several maintenance issues since then. First off, the blade would not engage every time. My buddy Dan and I figured it was probably a worn belt or that little spring thing that pulls the switch that engages the blade.

PROBLEM #1: Swisher Parts Line.
I called the Swisher parts people, because it was impossible to get the correct part number from the manual. I told them my model number, and said I needed the belts and this spring. The one the engages the blade. And of course, they send me the wrong spring. I was willing to pay the excess price to guarantee I got the right belts and where else was I going to find this spring. So to get the wrong spring in the mail was quite disappointing.

We switched the belt, and were trying to go through grass about this high, and the blade would bog down as the tall grass wrapped around the shaft. This is exactly the stuff that my John Deere Riding Mower has problems with. Grass like this is the main reason I bought the Swisher in the first place. So now I need to pay for service.

PROBLEM #2: Where do you service a Swisher? I thought it would be pretty straight forward to get this thing fixed. It's just a lawn mower on steroids, right? Well not so fast there buddy. You need to have an authorized service provider. So I call Swisher for the second time to get the ones nearest me, and that's were we stand right now.

My industrial mower got clogged on thick grass. My initial enthusiasm has waned a bit. I'll keep you posted on how much it cost to get it back up and running.

See You Next Time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finally Got My Beekeeping DVD Finished...

For over a year I've been working on a DVD for beginning beekeepers. When I started Beekeeping, it was hard to find a DVD that just covered the basics... so I decided to make my own.

You can check out some previews (and buy it if you want) at www.beehelp.com

I've also got it on Amazon for purchase or you can stream it for $1.99.

I just figured out how to place an ad on Google, and so far I've got 2 sales... So far, so good.

See you next time.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Review: Swisher Predator 24 - 11hp Brush Mower

Well, I got a new piece of gear for the ranch. A Swisher Predator 24 - 11 hp brush mower. I needed something to handle the tall grass in the fields and small saplings around the property. In a perfect world, I'd have a big 5 foot brush hog and a tractor big enough to pull it for the main part of the field, and this brush mower for the areas where the brush hog doesn't fit. But until I can afford to get a new tractor (my little tractor didn't seem to have enough juice to power a brush hog that I borrowed a while back) I thought this will be a good stop gap. It takes a lot longer to cover a big area than a brush hog, but is a lot less than a new tractor.

Swisher Brush Mower Review from R. Upshaw on Vimeo.

I've used it much more now, and for the most part I'm pleased. If you can pull out the saplings, it makes things much easier. I actually got a Brush Grubber (that I'll review later) to do this part of the job.

The problem with going over it with Swisher is that you leave a little stump behind. It works as advertised, but I don't like all the little stumps. If you're OK with that, then full steam ahead. I've been much happier to pull out the saplings, and be able to mow without the little knobby stumps. I feel like it's a losing battle at this point... It's hard to keep up with everything. I keep telling myself that once I get all these saplings/stumps out, it will be easy to mow! But for now, I'm pushing that rock up the hill.

See you next time!

From City Boy Starts Farmin'

Coyote on the loose.

We've got a couple of coyotes on the loose out on the ranch. I was startled by one in the back of our property when I was doing some work...
I caught it on video the other day when the dogs were going nuts.

Coyote on the Loose. from R. Upshaw on Vimeo.

They were coming in so close to the house that I went and got a pellet gun to try and scare the coyotes off.
I haven't had the chance to get a shot off yet, and they are showing up less and less. I think since we have two dogs, and the next door neighbors have two pit mixes... maybe that scared them away.

I'm hoping they don't get the cats or the neighbors chickens.

I'll keep you posted on any new action.

See you next time.
From City Boy Starts Farmin'

Why did you not use the birdhouse?

So last year I made a few birdhouses for the property. So obviously, the birds this year make their nest inside the barn resting on the plastic vapor barrier. Oh, and thanks for ripping the screen that's suppose to keep birds out of the barn.

What Bird House? from R. Upshaw on Vimeo.

So I guess I'll wait till they are gone, and repair that screen. I wish they would have used the birdhouse...

Maybe I made the wrong style?

See you next time...
From City Boy Starts Farmin'

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Very Sad Day...

I want to dedicate today's blog to a good man who died suddenly last week.

His name was Loren Elliott. He mentored me as a beginning bee keeper, and then became my friend. Loren was always there to help you when you needed it. He was kind, honest, and decent. He always knew more about most things than I did, but always approached with humility.

Loren served in the Air Force, and was given a full Military Funeral today at Tahoma National Cemetery.

Two weeks ago we got together to film a basic beekeeping video, and now he's gone. A lot of people are going to miss him.

Rest In Peace Loren Elliott


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hello World, I'm LuLu...

So do you want the good news, or the bad news? I guess we'll start things out with the bad news first. We had to put Frank the Dog down right before Christmas. Franky was a lucky dog. The Cowgirl found him abandoned in Mississippi right before Hurricane Katrina. He was starving, had about 40 giant ticks, lime disease, heart worms, and the vet down there told her to put him down immediately. She thought we could nurse Frank back to health, and she was right. (Expensive, but right.) I always looked at every day as a bonus day for Frank. He lived almost 5 years after that first vet said he was a goner. We're going to miss you buddy.

So that left our other dog Gerty by herself. We could tell that she was pretty lonely. She started digging out of the gate, something the Gert never did before. So we decided she needed a pal.

And that brings us to the good news. We went to the King County Animal Shelter and looked at the dogs up for adoption. We took it as a sign that there happened to be one dog that was a Catahoula breed. The same as Frank. It's not a very common breed up here in Washington, so we figured this was the one. She is a little younger than we wanted (10 months) but she seemed to get along great with Gerty.

So here's the new mutt: we call her LuLu

Hello World, I'm LuLu from ron upshaw on Vimeo.

Losing a pet is always hard, but I know that we gave Franky the best 5 years of his life. Now if we can train Lu to not bark under our window at 2am, it'll be all good!

See you next time.

From City Boy Starts Farmin'