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Monday, October 13, 2014

Harvest Day 16: Rain Is a Good Thing...

Well, maybe not if you have too much, but this rain delay is allowing me to catch up on the rest of my life after spending a good part of the past 4 days in a combine.  Let's review what happened:


Well, our girls tried their hardest.  They won the first tournament; actually, both 6th AND 5th grade girls won trophies...... Woo # 18

....but the county tourney did not see the same outcome.  They played very hard, and we are so proud of them, but the crappy thing about playing a game is that in order to have a winner, the opponent has to lose.  On a fun side, my little great nephew and his folks came to watch!

Do you see any resemblance in these two faces?  Miss Bear and Miss A.  Bear reminds me of my niece all the time~! The team was  sad a day or two, but now we are on to basketball practices.  First game is November 12.

Here are some views from the field.  We worked all week on a 360 acre corn field, and as of last night there might be 30 acres left.  It really does take a long time to pick corn, especially when there is a lot of it.  In an average year, one acre of corn should produce around 180 bushel to the acre.  An average acre of soy beans will produce 55 bushel of beans.  So a hopper, grain cart, and semi fill up three times faster with corn than with beans.  

This corn is crazy tall!  I'm  5'4", and the ear is above my head!

Playing with the setting on my new camera/phone!
The sky changed so much this past week.  Here a few views out the combine window:

Oh, and just so I didn't forget how to cook, Tall Guy wanted me to get as much of the food prep done as possible so it would be easier for him to put our lunches together.......REALLY!?!?!?!?!  YEP!

I did have some company in the combine:

And I added a few more skills to my resume by driving the automatic semi and the tractor/grain cart/ auger wagon!

Today has been spent trying to put the house back in order, catch up on laundry, and I still need to reconcile my bank account.  

I also might have spent just a wee bit of my day reading Voyager (Outlander).  This series of books are great reading despite the many pages.  I'm totally sucked in to the lives of Jaime and Claire!  Have you read or are you reading The Outlanders series????

Oops!  Time to help with science homework!  Hope you all stay safe out there.  We might be having a nasty weather event tonight or tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Harvest Day 12: Raining and I'm OK with That.

Whew!  Can't believe we are on day eleven of harvest.  We started across the road in corn, and we just opened up the field, taking out all the "early" corn.  Now we are in our west fields, about 5 miles away, and we are closer to getting our half section done, but there is still more corn out there.

Early corn?  I can hear you thinking what is that?  When farmers plant the corn, they usually have 3-4 different types of corn, with the variable of maturity being one of the differences.  If all of our corn was ready at the same time, and we have 900+ acres of it, we would not be able to harvest it all in a day or two.  As the corn gets past it's maturity, it starts to lose its ability to stand up.  One good wind/ weather front passing, and a lot of it could go down.  Then we would be back to harvesting "horizontal corn" like we did a couple of years ago.  NOT fun!

This year our corn yields are very good but the corn is "wet", which leads to a problem we haven't had in a while, we have to dry all the corn we are picking right now.  Drying each semi load of corn slows down the process.  The last few years the corn has come out at or around 17% moisture, which is fine to dump straight in to a storage bin, and maybe let a bit of air run through it to keep it cool as it settles.

Wet corn?  Like in it rained on the corn and now it's wet?  Nope.  You know how juicy and yummy sweet corn is right?  Well field corn needs all of that juice to dry up so it came stored and not go bad. Have you ever put a load of wet clothes in the drier and then forgot to dry them for a few days? Yeah, me neither, but let's just say we did it.  After a few days the wet clothes will start to smell musty, and you either need to turn the drier on or rewash and try the whole process again.  If we leave wet corn in the bin, it will become musty, start to mold, and that could mess up the whole bin of corn.

Here is one of our drier set ups.  The corn is augered in to the back bin, in fed in to the drier, housed under the slanted roof, dried, and then augered out to another bin, the one of the left, for storage until it is sold. So it's corn to combine to grain cart to semi to holding bin to drier to storage bin.  That's a lot of handling so you see that drying the corn slows the harvest pace a bit.  If the corn was dry, we could go from semi straight to storage.

Well, now it's 11:30, and I have more laundry to catch up on, bills to pay, and cleaning around here to do so that we are somewhat go to go when the weather clears and we all head back out to the fields.

Happy Thursday!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Harvest: The First Few Days.

I am unashamedly borrowing this blog post idea from Brian Scott over at The Farmer's Life.  He captures a week's worth of pictures from his harvest and shares them with his readers.  Do you follow Brian?  You really should because he does an outstanding job of explaining how we farm while he's actually doing it.

Now me?  Well I still have a few "Mom Chores" left on my plate that includes seeing Miss Tink through the last few day of volleyball season.  They are still undefeated, AND they won the first game of our county tourney!  The winner will be decided Saturday night AFTER we play in tournament in Lafayette during the day Saturday.

Miss Bear took this one with my phone; I haven't had time to go back and look on the big camera for pics.

So besides being gym rats, we started harvest on Sunday with a test run across the road.  The beans are no where near ready.  Here are my pics from harvest so far.

Only YOU can prevent field fires!  See how the truck is away from the higher stalks?  If you have to park a vehicle in the field, try to keep it far away from any material that might easily burn.  Starting a truck/van/car in the field could throw a spark, and then you have trouble!

Hoping these jeans make it through harvest.....this isn't the only spot that is frayed :-(

I haven't had time to tell you, but we have had visitors in the cattle pen!

 Panels in the combine I need to remember and check!

Harvest: Day 5 is going the way of Day 4.  Lots of rain out there, everything is wet, so it's time to play catch up inside and out.  

Oh!  Today is also Pet Blessing Day!  I have to head out to the barn and corral two kittens!  Click here to see this day in a sunnier year. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Search is On!

I have been telling Tall Guy that we need to try and take advantage of these last days before harvest to spend time with the girls in a fun activity or two.  Last weekend, he and the girls spent in the tool shed doing this

The girls DID have fun climbing all over the tractors and helping TG wax them to a brilliant green glow, but I was thinking so something a bit lighter on the work side and more along the lines of ....well, of an outing for lack of a better term.  And today we did it!

Our friend Mr. Kirk invited us to go look at 4-H calves after soccer last week.

Just have to stop here and mention that a certain Tink scored the winning goal for her team in the last minutes of her game!  Woot!  Miss Bear also had an awesome day and played very good defense!

Ok, back to the search.....

Tall Guy started coaching the girls as we drove to meet up with Mr. Kirk.

"Now, what do we want to look for in a 4-H calf?"

I was really proud of the girls for their answers:

"We want one that won't run away."
"We want one with a flat back, no swaybacks."
"We want one that will walk right"

What?  What is that last qualification all about?   One sign of a good show calf is its ability to walk by tracking.

Have you ever been in a cow lot or pasture?  After cows have been in a pasture for a time, you will begin to see paths worn into the ground.  Cattle are creatures of habit, and these worn paths are proof. When they walk at a leisurely pace, the back feet should go where the front feet were....

Huh?  When a calf steps forward with its right foot, the back right foot should step into the spot where the right foot was. Hmmm...... I should have video taped this part, but when you watch them walk, the back feet should look like they are kicking the front feet forward.  LIke the calf out front in the picture below.... Her right front hoof is back and just about to come up while her back right hoof is just about to step in the spot where the right front hoof was.

Anywho..... We saw some very nice calves this day at our first stop.

We stopped at one other spot, but the calves were too bunched up for me to get any good shots. There were a couple of nice steers or soon-to-be-steers in that group.

Cut to this weekend:  Tall Guy, Bear, and Mr. Kirk went to an auction, and some of these calves now have a new home, or they will once we go up and get them.  Stay tuned!  I haven't even told you about the new residents in our tool shed.  Some are just visiting, and some are permanent.  Hopefully, I can tell you the rest of the story soon.  Today, however, we finally went out to the field and picked some corn!  That made Grandpa very happy, and I have to say me too!  I have a plan to give you daily updates from the farm this harvest.  Tune in to my instagram pics @ibcfarmgirl.  They should also be popping up on my Facebook page so pop over HERE for a peek from the combine and other harvesty places!

~Have a great week, and be safe out there in the fields!


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