Mike in the swather

Despite scattered showers in the forecast, Mike has decided to make a couple of circuits of his south 40 -- mostly, I think, to make sure the swather is fully functional. He hasn't used it since this time last year, so this is in the nature of a seasonal shakedown cruise.

Farmers and ranchers around here, even the really big operators, tend to accumulate equipment and use it until it practically rusts out from under them. A lot of it is decades old, and still running.

Still, it requires much tender attention each year as each machine's season approaches to bring it back into full operating condition, with all the blades sharpened, the bearings lubricated, the chains adjusted, the belts checked, the oil changed, the tires inflated.

Agricultural equipment must operate in severe environments, particularly here in California where it's usually very dry. Dust can destroy even the most expensive machinery, and dust we have in quantity.

Freshly cut hay in a windrow

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