Thursday, September 18, 2014

And the Answer Is...

For those of you who read my last post...
(Or for those of you who didn't)

I posted this picture...


...and asked what was missing.

There were 10 comments, and two of them were correct.  The anonymous comment (which was from my father in law Lloyd) and Robyn both noticed that the header was laying in the foreground, with no chopper attached. Good eyes!  :)

Soon after the east silo was full and they had begun filling the west silo, there was a breakdown.  Something went wrong with the transmission that runs the header.  So...the chopper (minus the header) headed to the shop for repairs.  They were up and running again by 5 pm and were able to finish before bed time.

We're thankful to have three silos full of nice corn silage.  Next comes 5th cutting of hay.

Stay tuned...


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Missing In This Picture?...

Yesterday morning the guys came to fill our silos, as planned.  What a beautiful day it was for chopping corn!

They started right around breakfast time, and had the first silo filled in what seemed like no time at all.  It takes about 12 loads to fill one of our 12' x 50' silos.

While they were chopping, I had a few errands to run, and when I came back I saw all the tractors and forage wagons lined up in the field.  I don't think they could have lined them up any more precisely if they'd tried...


However...there's something important missing from the picture.  What do you think it is?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Silo Filling 2014...

Last year at this time, our silos were all full, and fall was heading our way in a hurry.

This year we had a cool spring, so the corn was planted later than usual. So...we're about two weeks behind in harvesting, as compared to other years.  Usually it's the last week of August when the chopper pulls in. (here and here are some of last years' pics) We remember many times...waiting out front with the kids for the school bus, hearing the unmistakable whine of the chopper coming up the road.  We would hear him long before we saw him...


Last week we ran out of silage here at home.  We were expecting it, but it meant lining up the chopper to cut at least a couple of loads of corn so that the cows had some silage to eat.  Jim had been taking moisture samples, and the corn was borderline as far as being ready to chop.  (The ideal moisture for in our small silos is about 67%)  It's not always easy to get silage chopped at just the right time.  When using a custom harvester, you not only have to get the corn at the right time, but you also have to juggle around the schedules of several farmers, all who have the same goal in mind.

The plan was, since the moisture was borderline...to fill one silo and then pull out, planning to come back this week to fill the other silo here and also the one at the other farm.

*****

The chopper is a fascinating machine, at least to me.  It's quite intimidating, especially when you're this close in front of it!  You want to be sure that the guy in the cab knows you're there before getting close!

The sides are folded up here, for travel on the roads.

Jeff took some time to write out some bills while he sharpened the chopper blades...


In the center of the picture, you can see the knife sharpeners.  This was something new to me, and I can't explain how they work, but it was interesting to watch.  I climbed up in the cab and took this picture looking down from the top...


Once everyone was set up, they cut a couple of loads, taking off the outer rows of corn from this field.  I can finally see the neighbors again!  (This is something I look forward to every fall.  I don't like to feel isolated behind corn fields!)  Hmm...who left that mess of silage on the road?  Don't worry...we cleaned it up...


Still trying to decide if the corn was a little too green, Jim squeezed a handful of silage to see how much juice was there.  His hand came away pretty wet...


After much discussion, they decided to pull out and come back in a few days to finish up.  Too much moisture makes a lower quality silage, not to mention a lot of smelly, messy silo juice!  Gotta keep those ladies happy...good silage translates to more milk!  By waiting a few days, hopefully it will be just right going into the silo.

Those "few days" are almost past, and we're expecting to chop the rest of the corn tomorrow.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Good Fences #25...

The simple beauty of a foggy morning on the farm...


Joining up with Good Fences...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Three Weeks Later...

It's been three weeks since I last wrote a blog post, and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

...a lot of weeds have grown tall and strong.  (no pictures...it's too embarrassing!)

...the kids have started school.  We have a senior and a sophomore this year and they're both off to a great start in their cross country season.  I was able to get to their first meet on Wednesday.  Such a fun sport, and a great bunch of kids/parents to hang out with.

...the weather cooperated, and Jim was able to get all of 4th cutting hay baled into dry bales.  That's the first time in a long while that he hasn't baled some of it into high moisture round bales.  We're glad to have all the dry hay we can get.  We think it's better for the cows, and it's much easier to feed than balage.



...I turned another year older

...The corn has started to dry down.  Silo filling might begin this coming week, and that's good, because our silos are both almost completely empty!


...It's been a great year for crops around here.  We've had just the right amount of rain, and we couldn't have asked for a more pleasant summer, weather wise.  I think the past few days have been the most uncomfortable yet...but it's to cool off tomorrow...yay!

The beans look great, and are just beginning lose their deep green color.  Soon they'll turn yellow, and then brown...



Each day my back is feeling better, and hopefully I'll soon be back into the full swing of things.  I'm able to do what I need to take care of my family, but have to be really careful with lifting and twisting.  I've had to swallow my pride and allow others to do things for me/us.  Even though that is hard, we are so grateful for good friends and family who stepped in and cared for us!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When Things Don"t Go As Planned...

I've been looking forward to this week all summer long...a week of visiting with my sister's family, enjoying the last week of summer before sending the kids back to school, one of them for the last time!

All that changed on Thursday evening.  All I did was bend over to snap a cow's chain to her collar, when something "flew into" my back.  If I didn't know what that meant before, I sure do now!  By Friday morning I was unable to sit or walk at all, and on Friday evening was diagnosed with a herniated disk in my lower back, and another one bulging, pressing on a nerve that I'd rather not even know I had!

It's a helpless and humbling experience, to be laying on a mattress in the middle of the living room floor while someone else does the dishes, cooks the meals, does the laundry, gathers and washes the eggs, sweeps the floor, and basically does everything for me.

I am SO VERY THANKFUL for my family, who have been really good sports so far.  Jim has had to rely on others to help in the barn...Jenna has taken over the laundry...Eric's been getting up extra early to help before cross country practice...my sister who lives nearby spent Friday with me, cleaning, and even picked, shelled and froze my lima beans...my visiting sister's family (on their vacation) has taken over the daily tasks that we take for granted!  My Mom mopped my kitchen floor and went for groceries...my Father in law mowed the yard...my Mother in law brought us a whole lot of yummy food... (Olive Garden!!) and the list goes on.

I am SO VERY THANKFUL for all the people who have cared for us by providing meals!  My refrigerator is FULL and overflowing.

I am SO VERY THANKFUL for pain meds!

I have no idea how long this will go on, but after only five days, I'm going crazy!  I really want to just get up and go!  The earliest I could get an appointment with a specialist is next week.

I'm going to take a break from blogging until I'm on my feet again, or at least until I'm able to sit for longer periods of time.

What do you do when things don't go as planned?


Friday, August 8, 2014

Filling in the Big Hole...

Last week I posted about the new drain field aka the big hole that we had in our yard.

This week, the excavator finished his work.

Yesterday we had the old septic tank pumped out and he destroyed the old one by tapping on it with the bucket of his track hoe and smashing it to pieces...


He then dug out a larger, deeper hole for the new tank, which is three times the size of the old one.  It was fun watching him...that bucket just seemed like an extension of his hand!

Early this morning the new tank arrived on a crane truck...


It was lowered into the hole...


...and centered to line up with the existing pipe from the house and the new pipe into the drain field...
(the crane operator has a nifty remote control in his hand that he used to maneuver the tank)


Once it was in place, the excavator hooked up all the plumbing and began covering the tank. It was only a short time that we couldn't run any water from the house.  I put notes on the faucets and we put books on the toilet lids as reminders.  I'm sure it wouldn't have been fun to be hooking things up, only to have some "not so clean" water come shooting out the pipe!


Everything has now been covered up, and we have a lovely dirt yard to play in...


Jim just finished going over it with the disc to get out the large clumps, and the landscaper has already been here to take a look at it and give an estimate for reseeding!  He was only a mile or so away when he got my email that we were ready for him...how's that for quick service?

We aren't sure when all that will happen yet, because the dirt needs to settle around the tank for a while. Regardless of how long that takes, it sure is nice to be able to do laundry, take showers, wash dishes and know that we should be in good shape for many years to come!