Monday, November 13, 2017

Random Farm Photos...

I recently took part in a Facebook challenge to post black and white photos of things that are a part of my normal, everyday life. 

Here's a sampling...

Empty wagons, waiting for Jim to fill them with baled corn fodder...


The old tile silo at the other farm...


Jolyn, just being herself, hanging out on the windowsill near the heifer pens...


The ladder leading to the hay mow at the other farm...


Dust Bunny, patiently waiting for milk drippings after morning milking...


Milkers, cleaned and waiting...


Goof ball Phoebe, who thinks she's part human.  After all, that little picnic table was made for sitting at on, wasn't it?


The barn cleaner elevator...


Thanks for humoring me with your time!  There's something unique about black and whites, I think!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Filling the Corn Crib...

Like I mentioned in one of last week's posts about combining corn, Jim left a few acres of standing corn to pick and fill the crib.

He had to figure out just how much to let standing in order to fill the crib full enough that the level of corn was at least above the roof line without having any left over.  He wanted to keep the rain and snow off the top of the corn so it could remain dry and mold free, just like it's supposed to be!

So here's why we all had to take math classes in school...

First figure out how many bushels of corn the crib holds...then figure out how many bushels of corn yield from an acre...then look at your field maps and look at the remaining corn and decided how many acres are remaining...then ask yourself if it will be enough or too much?

Then you start  picking...

Oh wait!  First you get the corn crib ready.  You set up the elevator so that the corn goes inside the crib and not out over the roof!



Then you start picking and unloading.

Jim's friend Phil came on Saturday morning and unloaded wagons for about 4 1/2 hours!  Thanks Phil!  (I can move a two wheeled cart like the cow trailer just fine, but haven't ever practiced on a four wheeled wagon, so I was a bit helpless here)

After Phil left, I unloaded a couple of wagons that were set up for me.  This is Jim unloading one of the last bin wagons, just before milking time.





When I was a girl, I remember climbing up into the wagon on top of the corn, pushing it down towards the open door with my feet to help my Dad unload faster.  Our kids did the same, years ago!

Coming down the home stretch!  I love it when I can see the road again!  That's a two row picker pulled by the 170, which is hidden by the corn.  One complete round, up and back, filled a bin wagon...


One of the last loads going into the crib.  How do you think Jim's estimate was?


I'd say it was just about perfect!  There was only enough room remaining under the peak of the roof for a partial load.

It pays to pay attention in math class!  :)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Soybean Harvest 2017...

Two posts in two days...it's a recent record!  Ha!

Yesterday after the corn was finished, the headers were switched and they combined the soybeans.  I hope none of the neighbors had wash hanging out...or had just washed their windows!

(actually, I deed peek at the wash lines, and they were all empty!)


Phoebe watched intently from the barn hill...


See what I mean...a cloud of dust!  The beans were definitely dry enough...


And off they go.  The loaded truck heads east around the corner to the mill...the combine heads to the next farm, trailing his grain header behind...and the tractor and grain cart bring up the rear...

(a note of interest here...that huge grain cart holds 1000-1100 bushels, which when full, is about the same as a tractor trailer load of grain!)


The bean yield wasn't quite as spectacular as the corn yield was this year, but "mid-seventies" bushels per acre is still good!

Now it's time to bale 6th cutting hay this afternoon...pick the rest of the standing corn...shred  corn stalks and bale fodder...and clean out heifer pens, now that there's a place to spread the manure.  Fall is definitely our busiest time of year!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Corn Harvest 2017...

It's been a terrific growing season for the corn this year...plenty of rain just when necessary, and just about the right amount of heat.  Some would say the corn could've used a bit more heat, but the humans are happy with what we had (or didn't!!)...

This was my view from upstairs last night around 9 pm, as the truck arrived and soon after, the combine...


They ran for an hour or so, until the truck was full, and then quit for the night. 

The combine and full grain cart were waiting in the field this morning.  When the truck arrived, the driver emptied the full cart, preparing it for the next load...


This is one huge machine! 



...a twelve row corn head...


...and no, it's not ours!

Jim and I rode in the combine for the last field.  What a fun view!


Looking behind the driver's seat, into the hopper, which is filling with shelled corn...


There was a little bit of downed corn along the edge of this field that plugged up the head for just a little, but it was no problem to get going again...


These machines are fascinating to me...sensors, cameras and computers are everywhere!  When this beacon light above the cab begins to flash, it indicates to the grain cart driver that the hopper is almost full...


...and he shows up just in time, driving along side the combine as we continue through the field, emptying our load into his cart...


Here's a shot of the computer in the cab which shows the yield, the moisture, the area of the field (the colors indicate the yields in different parts of the field), the weight and the bushels...

All the corn is now shelled, except for a few acres that Jim plans to pick to fill the corn crib again this year.  The corn here at home was still a little high in moisture.  We're docked (or not) according to those numbers, so by picking and filling the crib, we can wait until next to sell it, when it's dried out completely.

We're very happy with the corn yields this year...over 200 bushels per acre is great!  Some fields were close to 250 bpa, and we're thrilled with that! 

Next is the soybeans...

When Jim and I hopped out of the combine this morning on that last field, the plan was to switch to the grain header and begin on them.  That will take a little while...they'll show up here at home in a few hours and then I'll have an idea how they're yielding. 

The word from the combine driver is that they've been doing will this year.  We'll see!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Freshening Up the Chicken Pen...

It's a dirty, dusty job, but it's got to be done...and it's got numerous benefits!

It's been a while since I've cleaned out the chickens' shed, but I'm down to seven six chickens now (Phoebe was a very bad dog last week!) so right now they don't make a very big mess.  After I rototilled the garden, it took me only about fifteen minutes to clean out the chicken litter and toss it around.  (benefit #1)


My helper and I loaded up the wagon with straw and the rest of a bag of chicken feed...


(I told her that we were going to the chickens, and she took off like she was shot out of a cannon!  Can you see her?)



...and in about five minutes, the chickens had fresh bedding. (benefit #2)  They don't use the nesting boxes right now, but prefer to lay their eggs in a nest on the floor, so I spread out most of the straw in the back of the shed...


They scratched around, looking for treasures food...


...while Phoebe wished desperately to get into the pen...



Sorry Phebes...no chicken for your dinner tonight!

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Applesauce Experiment...

I've been making applesauce for a long time, but I'm far from a pro. I can never remember what combination of apples makes the best tasting and prettiest sauce!  I don't like to add sugar, so I need to start out with apples that aren't too tart and have plenty of flavor.

Yesterday I went to a local fruit farm that has bargain bin apples in lots of different varieties. I filled three bags with different combinations of apples, and today I experimented.

Here we go.  Batch number one.

Smokehouse and Crimson Crisp...


This combination was tasty, but I prefer a pink looking sauce!  (it's the lighting...this sauce truly was very light in color and not at all pink!) Nit picky, I know...but hey, it's important!

Batch number two was a mixture of Rome and Jonamac.  By the looks of the skins, I would expect a pinker looking sauce...




It might be kind of hard to tell on these pictures...once again, it's the lighting in the pictures...but the sauce from this second batch was definitely much more pink!  But...not as tasty.

The third batch was what I call a medley...


That's what you call it when you can't remember what kind of apples you put in your bag!  

It's especially a bummer when this batch was the most tasty!

Do you have a certain variety of apples that you think makes tasty sauce?

Friday, October 6, 2017

My Friday Afternoon Project...

Ever since I messed up my back a couple of years ago, I've tried to find ways to do things "smarter", and to make things less stressful on all of our aging ?!? bodies.

When we milk, we have two buckets that follow us around the cow stable. One has steaming hot water in it, and the other holds our biodegradable paper towels, a cow thermometer, a scissors, extra milk tubes, etc.  We also each use a sprayer filled with an iodine spray, used to spray the cows' teats after we take off the milkers.

The way we used to do it...carry the buckets over from the milk house...bend over each time we wet a paper towel...pick up the buckets and move them ten feet...repeat over and over until we're finished milking. Believe it or not, seemingly innocently bending over like that, time after time, day after day, year after year is hard on your back.  (Imagine bending something over and over in the same direction.  Eventually it weakens and can break) So...a simple solution was to put those buckets on a wagon, getting them up off the ground.

The wagon we had been using rusted out, so I found a replacement online.  It was delivered yesterday, and this was my project for this afternoon...


I enjoy projects like this...



My helpers slept through almost the whole process...


It took about 30-45 minutes, and it's all finished and ready to go!


The wagon came with removable sides, but the jury is still out on whether or not we use them.  I put them on for tonight, and we'll see how it goes.  You know...I had to take pictures of this, because it's the absolute cleanest that this wagon will ever be!

More likely than not, it'll be splattered with pazutski inside of five minutes!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Bullies...

Yesterday we moved some heifer calves around, which can sometimes be quite a circus! Thankfully they cooperated pretty well.

However...picture some "middle schoolers" that are used to relative freedom, and try putting them into a room with kids they've never met before.  A pecking order is going to be established pretty quickly!

I know it's not a great quality picture, with the evening sun blazing in the west windows, but I don't think it's too hard to figure out who the newbies are!  The two calves standing sideways blocking the feed trough have been together alone in the pen for a while now, and they are not about to let the new kids get first pickings!  They stood that way for a very long time...


Fortunately it doesn't usually take too long for them to tolerate each other.

Bullies!

Friday, September 29, 2017

A "Finishing" Day...

It was a "finishing" day today...

We finished filling silo for the year...Jim finished baling and wrapping fifth cutting hay...and it was the final day of the fair...

Each year we chop corn to fill the silos, and a few weeks later we top them off with "late corn".  Late corn is corn that has intentionally been planted later than the rest...usually after wheat or barley has been harvested...for the purpose of refilling, or topping off the silos.  It's a way to make sure that we have enough corn silage to make it through the winter and until next summer when we chop again.

A forage wagon full of corn silage...


Unloading silage into the blower at the bottom of the silo...


What is he looking at?



He's looking at Jim who is at the top of the ladder, watching to see when the first silo is full.  Jim will wave at him, and he will stop unloading until Jim can swing the gooseneck at the top over into the other silo.  Rather him than me, up there at the top!


It didn't take them long here at home.  Then they unhooked the blower and took it over to the other farm to chop a little more corn over there for the heifers and dry cows...


It's a great feeling to have this job finished for the year.  Tomorrow, Jim will level off the silage in both silos, and we'll get the unloaders set up.  That sure will be a lot nicer to feed silage using an unloader rather than a pitch fork!

I made it over to the fair tonight for the livestock sale and to pick up a few things that I had entered.  Jim finished up wrapping the hay that he baled this afternoon.  Fifth cutting is now history, and as I walked in the door from the fair tonight, it started drizzling.  We could use a little moisture again!

What kind of things are you finishing up?