Minnesota Farmer


Three year old harvest logic
October 23, 2014, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Ag education, Corn, Fall, family, Farm, harvest, machines | Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s harvest and we love having visitors at this time of year.  Usually that means our son and his family come visit so he can help with harvest and the others can see what we are doing.  Miss Purple and Miss Pink are three now and not so afraid of the machinery as they were in their younger years.  We also had  a visit last weekend from my sisters daughter’s families and their three-year old Miss W.  Six month old Baby I stayed in the house while the others went “farming.”  All the three-year olds got to ride in the combine as did many of the adults.

Miss Pink and Miss Purple really liked it when one rode with me and the other with their dad in different machines.  To see the harvest process and the unloading of the combine “on-the go” was really fun for them.

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While unloading on the end Miss Purple looked down at the red cobs on the ground and said, “The red ones are not ripe yet.”  Wow!  What a really interesting way to look at it.  It really is simple three-year old logic.

100_3055Now these three-year olds know corn.  They know this is not the corn you eat but the corn that goes into animal feed.  They have watched the ears being stripped off of the corn stalk by the combine and seen the kernels in the hopper on the combine.  I realized then that they had not seen the inside of an ear of corn.  Grampy to the rescue, It’s lesson time!

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My first step was to grab an ear of corn and break it in half.  Then I showed them how the kernels shell off of the ears.  Now they know how the process works.  Of course they wanted to do some shelling themselves.  Lesson learned.

There are so many things that we take for granted as “common knowledge” here on the farm, but that knowledge is not very common if you do not learn it on the farm.  These three-year olds have been there and are learning so much about where food comes from.  We’ve dug potatoes and picked squash and pumpkins this fall and they have their own garden in town.  Still the big garden that is Grampy’s farm is full of new things to learn.  I cannot wait for the next lesson.



Little leak
October 22, 2014, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Farm, harvest, machines, repairs | Tags: , , , ,

Little did I know when I stopped the combine last night that there was a little oil leak underneath on the hydraulic drive.

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That little leak left a big oil puddle where the machine had been parked.100_3054

That meant spending a large part of the morning getting parts and fixing the leak.

At least the combine was parked in the yard.  Fixing in the field is always harder.



The dust of a million combines
October 18, 2014, 8:28 pm
Filed under: agriculture, combines, Corn, dust, harvest, trucks | Tags: , , , , ,

The dust of a million combines fills the air during harvest season.  More dust rises behind trucks scurrying from field to bin site where the grain will be stored.  With little wind today it hung in the air for quite a while before settling back to earth.

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Corn driers howl as they remove moisture so the grain can be safely stored.

Augers rattle as grain is moved from trucks to bins.

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Every step adds more dust to the air.  Dust is a fact of harvest.



Beaver Work
October 10, 2014, 8:08 am
Filed under: Farm, pond, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , ,

We rent a farm that has a creek running through it.  Usually at this time of year it is dry or just a trickle of water in it.  With all of the rain in August this year it is still running strong.  This has attracted some unwanted attention from a beaver.

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Normally I would not pay much attention to his work.  The water is not backing up onto crop land, but his placement of the dam was unfortunate.  He put it just right to cause trouble for drainage tile.  Now when I get time I go out and drag out part of the dam so the water can empty from that tile line.  For now that is all I will do.  Come trapping season, he’ll have other worries.

If we can catch him, then I will get more serious about dam removal.  The obstruction he has placed will divert the water and create erosion on a bank we want to keep stable.  His digging has removed grass and roots that keep the bank from eroding away.  That damage will have to be repaired.  Not all of his work will be bad.  The widened channel will provide a new opportunity for other plants and animals to access water.  It will be interesting to see what becomes of his old pond.



Hedge row

This morning it was hedge planting time.100_3048

The hedge on the west side of the building site needs to be replaced says wife.  I never did mind the mix of hedge plants, a few red twig dogwood and lilac with a few others thrown in randomly, but wife did not like it.  Lately the dogwood had been looking a bit scruffy and the lilac had been showing dying branches so the old hedge went out.  I did get to keep the bush on the corner, I’m not sure what it is, and a few lilac on the south side but that was it.  So now what to replace it with.

A call to the nursery and the suggestion came back with something unexpected.  They suggested 4 flowering crabs and a grouping of spruce on each end.  We talked it over, looked at the space we had and decided on a group of three crab on the south corner with a Back Hills spruce at the south end of a row of Chinese lilac with 3 more spruce on the north end.

It was chilly outside, 30 degrees, when we ventured out to plant.  The north wind chilled us for a bit, but as we worked the coat came off and the plants went in the ground.  By noon the job was done.

We ended up a few lilacs short of a complete hedge, but the next time the nurseryman comes by he will drop them off.  The lilac may even be tall enough to catch some snow this winter, but I’ll put up a snow fence to help them.  In a few years they will not need help.  Can’t wait to see how they turn out when warmer weather comes back.100_3049



Waiting for soybean harvest
October 2, 2014, 11:47 am
Filed under: Farm, harvest, rain, Soybeans | Tags: , , , , ,

Today it is raining, but that’s alright, I have nothing ready for harvest anyway.

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Here’s one of my soybean fields.  Although it is mostly brown, it is not yet ready for harvest.

I’ve been watching the neighbors.  Some have soybeans that have matured and they have those fields out.  Some have soybeans that are over a week away from ready.  Most in our area are like me, we’ll be harvesting in just few days.

Right now a little rain is not a bad thing.  It helps keep the soybeans that are ready in the pod.  The rain will give those soybeans that are not yet ready a chance to catch up and mature so they can be harvested at the same time.

Soybean seeds form in a thin pod that will open if conditions are too dry and hot.  Too much rain will damage the pods also, so we run a fine line between too much and too little.  There are so many ways to lose a crop it’s amazing that we succeed so often.  In the mean time, I’m just waiting for my crops to mature so I can start harvest.



Good-Bye Old Friend
September 30, 2014, 8:45 am
Filed under: machines, School bus | Tags: , , ,

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Today I will say good-bye to an old friend.  Bus 11, now bus 1, will be leaving the fleet today.

The bus is a 1996 AMTRAN Genesis 66 passenger, short of wheel base and quick to turn, a bit under powered and COLD in the winter, but still a good old bus.

We’ve been through a lot together.  There have been repairs both major and minor.  Lots of children have ridden lots of miles on that bus, over 300,000 miles of country roads.

I had been assigned a newer bus for the start of the season, but the computer went out on that bus during route friday morning.  The replacement bus I was to drive had a wheel alignment problem and was unsafe to drive since the front end bounced so much.  So they dug into the “ready to head down the road” list, and I got my old 11 back.

My foot still knows just where to go to hold the speed at 50 mph.  The seat belt still wants to hold me a little too tight so I cannot reach some of the controls.  The interior lights still turn off by themselves after about 5 minutes. I knew just how much to press the foot feed to keep from sliding around snow-covered corners, since I had over done it so many times.  I know everything that she can do.  I have joked many a time about fixing this bus with a stick of dynamite, but I never meant it.  So despite her problems, I’ll miss the old girl.

Bus 11, like several other buses in the fleet, was not inspected this past week and thus cannot legally haul school children after the end of the month.  The safety inspection makes sure that at least once a year school buses are fit to drive.

I’ve had several other buses through out my years of driving, ‘The Duce,”  bus 20, and a host of replacement and out-of-town trip buses, but old 11 was special.  I got to know her better than any other bus I ever drove.

So good-bye old friend.  I have no idea where you will go from here, but you left me lots of memories.  Now it’s off to make new memories with another of your kin.

Michael




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