Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Farm Sale...

Today was the auction of "the other farm"...the farm that has been in Jim's family for many many years.  It's the place where Jim's dad and his siblings were born...it's where Jim was brought home as a baby...it's where the cousins spent countless hours of fun together at Grandma D's house...it's where Jim and I lived when we were first married twenty five years ago...and where we've worked ground and housed our bred heifers and dry cows for just as long.

It was a beautiful day today...temps somewhere around the 40's perhaps...I didn't look, but it was pleasant to be outside visiting with family, friends and neighbors at an auction.

I took some pictures to capture the events of the day...

People came via various modes of transportation...




Looking out the kitchen window from what used to be our upstairs apartment when we were first married!  The auctioneer set up his truck in front of the barn...


There were a lot of family members, friends and neighbors who came to the auction.  Some were there for moral support, some for curiosity, and several who came to bid...






A bunch of the cousins were there...


The heifers were non the wiser, but were content to munch away on the feed.  They have no idea that in a few months, they'll have a new home.


It was a little bittersweet today.  It was time...but there are a lot of memories of "the other farm"...many more for Jim than for me, of course, but still, memories.  Memories of playing scrabble with Grandma D on winter evenings when we lived in the upstairs apartment.  Memories of the kids helping to pick up rocks in the fields before Jim would seed alfalfa...riding on the back of the grain drill...taking lunch and cold drinks (or coffee!) to him when he was baling hay or cleaning out pens.  We all helped on occasion to feed the animals or bed up the heifer pens...we pulled hay wagons back and forth between the farms...took dry cows over and brought springers back home...and the list goes on.

Now there are new owners, and it will take some getting used to, not making the daily dog-leg turn across Rt 896 and in the driveway!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Crow Damage...

Was it crows?  Or was it the eagles Jim saw flying around recently?  Was it both?

Either way, I spent part of the afternoon taping up bird damage to the ag bags.  The balage (hay that was baled before it was dry) inside needs to remain completely sealed to the air in order to ferment and not mold.  Even the tiniest holes can cause damage...


You might have to enlarge the picture (just click on it) to see, but all around the top edge of this bale, there are small holes that have been pecked through to the balage. There are a lot of layers of plastic around the bales, so you know it takes persistence to make these holes. We're pretty sure it's the pesky crows!


This was one of the medium sized holes...only about 1/4" in diameter, but the birds had begun to pull the balage out, and there will probably be some mold inside when we open this bale up for feeding.  That part will have to go in the gutter.  Thankfully most of the holes were tiny, and only a couple were larger...


THIS...it's hard to see, (here again, enlarge it to see it more clearly) but I see muddy paw prints and claw marks on the side of this bale.  A raccoon perhaps?


This bale was damaged at perfect head height for a crow as it sat on the ground...


Through the eyes of the ag bag tape...


My helpers may be old in dog years, but they still like to go out in the fields with me.  As soon as I head out behind the barn they're right beside me!  Phoebe had been out with us earlier, but decided that lounging in the barn was too hard to resist...


Just another adventure on a beautiful December day!  Several days straight without any rain!  Unheard of here lately!

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Tales of a Hot Water Heater...

Once upon a time, there was a hot water heater in a milk house.  It was used hard for several years, and then it began to leak.  It's water was still pretty hot, but the floor in it's corner of the milk house was constantly wet.  This alerted the farmer to a problem, and a new hot water heater was ordered.

When the new water heater arrived, the old one was removed, stripped of it's heating elements and thermostats (because they were still in good working order and you never know if they might be needed sometime!) and delegated to the hot water heater graveyard...



The new one was installed into it's corner, and it began doing it's duty like a champ...


The hot water temperature in the milk house needs to be steadily between 170 - 180 degrees F to properly sanitize the milking equipment and pipeline.  The proper temperature was confirmed, and the new hot water was deemed to be in good working order...


But as we warn people who aren't familiar...be careful when you wash your hands!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

First Snowfall of 2018...

It had to happen eventually...

Obviously by that comment,you can tell that I am not a fan of cold weather. I will admit though, that the first snowfall of the season is beautiful!

These first few pictures were taken mid morning...




...and this was mid afternoon...


Most of our trees seem to be late in dropping their leaves this year, so the snow is now scattered with beautiful yellow leaves!


We ended up with about six inches of snow by milking time...just enough that Jim cleared the driveway with the skid loader, as the milk truck is expected in the morning. The temperature is hovering just above freezing right now, so any precipitation is in the form of light rain at the moment. The snow may melt away, or the roads might be an icy mess in the morning.  We'll see what happens over night!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

DIY When You Can...

One of the things that I enjoy is Do It Yourself (DIY) projects.  Or maybe I shouldn't say I enjoy them so much as that I get great satisfaction out of taking a problem and fixing it without spending a ton of money.  I attribute this in part to my parents, who with a family of girls on the farm, taught my sisters and I some practical skills that I wouldn't trade for anything!

So...when my dryer wouldn't start spinning until I took half of the wet load out, I knew it was time to do something.  Having dealt with something like this years ago, Jim and I assumed it was a worn out belt.  I got some professional advice first, and then I googled the part I needed and ordered a replacement on Amazon.  (with free shipping because I ordered something for my Dad at the same time that put me over the free shipping amount!)

Yesterday afternoon I did some more research on good old Google, and set out to replace the belt.  In case you've never seen inside your dryer, this is what it looks like with the top open.  That black band that circles the drum about 3/4 of the way to the back, is the belt that turns the drum.  Sure enough, a section several inches long was damaged...


I cut the old belt, which was about to tear anyway, and pulled it out of the dryer...


Before I did that however, I stood on my head (almost) and looked inside, underneath the drum, to see how the belt was routed around the idler sprocket, etc.  It wouldn't do any good to have a new belt without a plan!


After a bit of trial and error, the new belt was in place...


I replaced the front panel (after cleaning out a whole lot of lint!!) closed the top, plugged it back in and pushed it back into place against the wall...


I turned on the power, and...wait for it...it sounded awful!

What a let down!  I didn't know what I had done wrong, but it was not even close to operable.  It was milking time though, and I was tired.  There was no way I was going to tackle it again before bed.

This morning, I put a call into a local appliance store, and talked to someone in the appliance repair department.  He without hesitation, suggested that I had perhaps not seated the drum properly on the gliders inside the front panel.  Of course he was right, and in about 20 minutes the dryer was running quietly!

This is not the first time that this man has helped talk us through a problem with a dryer, washer or dishwasher, in order to avoid a service call.  They know that happy customers are repeat customers!  Thanks to Ron at Martin's Appliance, another project was successfully completed!  Total cost? $6.00.  Total time?  Give or take 1 hour.  I'd say that was well worth it!

Oh wait...I found a quarter and a dime buried in the lint, so the total cost was only $5.65!


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Finishing Up Corn Harvest 2018...

Apparently Phoebe found something interesting to watch...



(and yes, she's looking a little rough.  She's being treated for allergies...a farm dog allergic to things on the farm. Hmmmmmmm....)

But more importantly, here's what she was watching...


Yesterday and today we had our corn shelled out and sold, except for what Jim used to fill the crib.  It looks like we averaged close to 180 bushels per acre, which we are pleased with, considering  the weather challenges we had this year!  Although the wet weather definitely affected the crops, we didn't have some of the problems that we anticipated.

We're very thankful for this stretch of beautiful dry fall weather to get in the fields.  Everyone and their brother is either combining, picking corn, baling corn fodder or seeding cover crops.

Next up are the beans...hopefully this weekend, before the rain returns!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Picking Corn 2018...

The corn in the fields is drying down, and it's time for picking and combining. 

Jim spent time over the weekend setting up the corn elevator at the empty corn crib.  It's challenging to get it set up perfectly, so that the corn goes directly through the small hole at the top of the corn crib, and not down over the sides and on to the ground.



This is the hole at the top of the corn crib.  The metal disc you see hanging below it, is a spreader.  When the corn falls into the crib, it first hits the spreader and does just that...spreads around so that the crib fills up evenly.


For example...



It's a fabulous day today.  Beautiful.  Perfect.  What more can I say, but that we finally have a beautiful fall day with little breeze, no rain, blue sky and perfect temperatures for working outside without breaking a sweat or freezing your fingers!  Yay!


The ears are of varying sizes.  These were from the edge of the field, in a low, wet spot. Hopefully the majority of the ears, which are from prime soil, are of the larger variety!


It's days like this that make farming fun!