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2014 Growing Season

2014 Growing Season
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  • Post #151 - September 18th, 2014, 9:45 am
    Post #151 - September 18th, 2014, 9:45 am Post #151 - September 18th, 2014, 9:45 am
    Is there a point of diminishing returns where you are adding fat and not meat? Given that the processor charges per pound. Would a 325 live weight animal really end up costing more per pound for the meat than say…270?
  • Post #152 - September 19th, 2014, 9:23 am
    Post #152 - September 19th, 2014, 9:23 am Post #152 - September 19th, 2014, 9:23 am
    There is absolutely a point, for me the producer, of diminishing returns. A 270 lb hog @ $.95/lb is worth $256.50 to me. A 285 lb hog is docked $.10/lb and I get .$85, that's $242.25. I'm taking in less per head and it may have cost me an extra $15 per head to put those 15 pounds on.

    As far as the packer goes, he probably isn't losing money since he's paying less for the heavier pigs. They have the advantage of setting the price, so they never lose.

    This is a good time to pass along an old saying I've been hearing my whole life.... "Farming is the only business that buys retail, sells wholesale and pays shipping both ways."

    On with the update, this has been a busy week. Wednesday, a buddy and I jumped in the truck at 7 am, and headed 150 miles southeast to London, OH (Outside Columbus), for the Ohio State Farm Science Review.

    It is a huge tradeshow for everything agriculture. There are over 40 acres of vendors set up at the actual show area. They range from Accounting software to John Deere, showing off the biggest newest equipment.

    This isn't the best picture, but it shows the trade show area, coming back on the wagon, from the field demonstrations.

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    The field demo's are the best part, for me. Every color of tractor and combine and every piece of new equipment are being used to show them off. Being in the dust and dirt is much better than looking at a shiney piece, sitting in a spotless display.

    Tillage equipment as far as the eye can see:

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    After they run them, you can walk right up and see the results:

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    New planters, they ran these earlier, but we didn't get to see them move, when we were there:

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    Combines harvesting corn and beans:

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    Almost everybody had a baler, rolling up cornstalks for bedding, to show them working too:

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    Check out this guys hands inside the cab, the combine is moving, but GPS is steering it. Not brand new technology, but I managed to get a picture.....

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    After they shut down the combines, the fields are swarmed by farmers, looking to see how much grain was missed or thrown out the back of the combine. It's nice to be able to walk along and look at all the different makes, side by side, in the same conditions, for comparison.

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    The sales reps will walk right into the fields with the farmers, so they get the brunt of it, if there is too much grain laying on the ground behind the combine. It's kind of fun to listen to them talk their way out of a bad showing.

    We got back home about 9 o'clock Wednesday evening. It was a long day of walking, to see everything. It's hard get pictures of the size of this show. Last year, 130,000 people attended the three day show. We usually go every two years, this was the biggest one we had ever been to.

    I'll post pictures of yesterdays project, later tonight.

    Tim
  • Post #153 - September 19th, 2014, 10:55 pm
    Post #153 - September 19th, 2014, 10:55 pm Post #153 - September 19th, 2014, 10:55 pm
    OK, part two of the two day odyssey. We've been planning on running a new waterline to the barn. The neighbor does backhoe work, as a sideline to farming. That means he works these jobs in, between farming jobs, that really need done. Thursday it was my turn.

    We started out bright and early, he had about 320 ft to dig......

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    ....... and done digging, still work to be done.....

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    New hydrant is in, almost ready to backfill

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    No leaks, so we cover up the new line

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    Pretty much made a mess of the back barnyard, but it needed to be done. We now have plenty of water at the barn. New automatic waterers will be installed next year. They are in the barn, but it is going to be a little bigger project, installing them, that putting in the water line.

    I have a bulk feed bin and auger system I'd still like to get set up this year. That will take me out of handling bags of feed. The older I get, I seem to enjoy less back breaking labor.

    We will decide in the morning if we are putting in another batch of pigs yet this year. If they go in, all the rest of the projects will stop. Wish I knew what the weather was going to do.....

    That's it, I'm all rested up after two days of craziness.

    I still need to get a new roof on the shop yet this fall too.......

    Thanks for looking,

    Tim
  • Post #154 - September 20th, 2014, 8:51 am
    Post #154 - September 20th, 2014, 8:51 am Post #154 - September 20th, 2014, 8:51 am
    Freezer Pig wrote: Wish I knew what the weather was going to do.....


    Said every farmer on a daily basis...

    :D

    Good luck with the pigs or projects this fall.
  • Post #155 - September 22nd, 2014, 10:13 am
    Post #155 - September 22nd, 2014, 10:13 am Post #155 - September 22nd, 2014, 10:13 am
    mhill95149 wrote:
    Freezer Pig wrote: Wish I knew what the weather was going to do.....


    Said every farmer on a daily basis...


    Funny how that leaks out, even when I don't intend it....... :o


    I'm going to update early this week. It's cool and wet from dew this morning, so this looks like a good project. We will probably be getting new pigs in Wednesday, so the rest of the week will be busy, I'll use my spare time wisely.

    Field across the road is getting closer to harvest. The cool wet weather has really slowed things down. A few upper 70 degree days would really bring this on;

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    The soybeans that you have been watching grow, really changed in the last week. The leaves will start dropping soon. A little heat and dry breeze would help these along too;

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    One of the only good parts of getting over an inch of rain this weekend, the new waterline trench is settling in;

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    One of this years kittens (not so kittenish anymore) was following me around. Meet JR;

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    I caught him eating a mouse in front of the barn a few days ago, so at least they are earning their keep.

    This years garden is about tapped out. The popcorn will be ready to pick soon;

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    The squash vines are dying fast;

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    The straberry patch is really going to town. I was going to save the old patch for one more year, but this one already looks better than the old one. I think the old patch will be plowed up when I work the garden this fall.

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    We are trying to stay ahead of the runners, and keep them trained into a little bit of a row(s). This will make picking and weeding easier. The old patch was out of control, and you stepped on as many as uyou picked, when you went in.

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    Oooops, clicked submit instead of preview.......

    Last picture is an experiment. The old neighbors, down the road, have been telling us for years, about letting their green beans go until they dry out. Then then shell out the beans and can them. They use them like soup (navy) beans, but they tell us these have a better taste.

    What the heck, we'll try anything once. Hopefully they dry out before we need to tear up the garden. This is what they look like;

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    The neighbors did tell us that the soup will look dirty, since the beans are darker than the usual white navy beans. I'll report back how this works out, once we actually try it.

    That's it, as usual, thanks for looking.

    Tim
  • Post #156 - September 26th, 2014, 12:11 am
    Post #156 - September 26th, 2014, 12:11 am Post #156 - September 26th, 2014, 12:11 am
    New pigs coming in the morning. Just got the pen bedded. This is the last time it will be this clean for about 3 1/2 months......

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    I'm excited to get new pigs, but worried about when winter will arrive.

    New pig pictures in the morning......

    Tim
  • Post #157 - September 26th, 2014, 10:31 am
    Post #157 - September 26th, 2014, 10:31 am Post #157 - September 26th, 2014, 10:31 am
    They have arrived!! Lets hope the worst of winter holds off until the middle of January. I hope this doesn't turn into a bad decision......

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    Usually, they wander around the pen and explore, these went right back and laid down. I guess they didn't get too hungry or thirsty on the trip.

    Tim
  • Post #158 - September 26th, 2014, 10:34 am
    Post #158 - September 26th, 2014, 10:34 am Post #158 - September 26th, 2014, 10:34 am
    They look larger than your previous batch.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #159 - September 26th, 2014, 10:54 am
    Post #159 - September 26th, 2014, 10:54 am Post #159 - September 26th, 2014, 10:54 am
    I thought they were smaller. LOL I think it's all in the camera angle. These weren't real jumpy, so I could get closer and crouch down to their level.

    They are about 55 lbs, so they are the usual size. When all I see are growing pigs for 3 months, they always look small when they first get here.
  • Post #160 - September 26th, 2014, 11:06 am
    Post #160 - September 26th, 2014, 11:06 am Post #160 - September 26th, 2014, 11:06 am
    Freezer Pig wrote:I thought they were smaller. LOL I think it's all in the camera angle. These weren't real jumpy, so I could get closer and crouch down to their level.

    They are about 55 lbs, so they are the usual size. When all I see are growing pigs for 3 months, they always look small when they first get here.



    LOL. Perspective always puts things in perspective.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #161 - September 26th, 2014, 11:12 pm
    Post #161 - September 26th, 2014, 11:12 pm Post #161 - September 26th, 2014, 11:12 pm
    Tonight's group picture:

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    I closed all the windows and doors for the night. They are big enough to take a little coolness, but we'll be careful that they are extra comfortable for the first week or so. They are under enough stress right now, getting used to a new barn, we'll try to eliminate all the other stuff we can.

    Tim
  • Post #162 - September 30th, 2014, 10:36 pm
    Post #162 - September 30th, 2014, 10:36 pm Post #162 - September 30th, 2014, 10:36 pm
    Quick update this time. I'm trying to get a new roof on my shop. I started Saturday, the forecast was two weeks of nice weather, by Sunday evening, we had 80% chance for Thursday & Friday. I hope I can get it covered up tomorrow, it'll be another long day.

    I worked until dark tonight, it drizzled around until noon, so I got a late start today. After I got tools and stuff put away, I checked the porkers. They are oblivious to weather or deadlines, just happy to have a warm dry place to sleep......

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    That's a small pile of comfortable pigs right there, just in case you wanted to know what that might look like.

    Tim
  • Post #163 - October 3rd, 2014, 10:27 am
    Post #163 - October 3rd, 2014, 10:27 am Post #163 - October 3rd, 2014, 10:27 am
    I'll do a better update, since it's raining this morning. We got the shop roof pretty well on. I finished what I could, last night, in the rain. Denise spent two afternoons on the roof, screwing down the sheets of steel, while I got the next piece ready to go. We got the north side pretty well on Wednesday, got the south side done Thursday, and like I said, I screwed on the ridge cap last evening in the rain. I have two small strips to do yet, but at least most of the shop is dry, and it looks like the uncovered parts aren't leaking. I did throw a couple tarps over some things just to make sure.

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    You can't tell how hard it's raining in this picture, but I couldn't have been any wetter, when I crawled down for the last time .

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    After everything was picked up and put away last night... in the rain....

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    New pigs, they've been here just a week. They have grown a little bit.

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    One of them is getting pretty tame, he lured the others over to chew on my boot

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    The kittens are growing, this is all 5 and Krazy Kat, at the cat bowl this morning.

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    This years chicks are just about ready to start laying. The rooster is getting more rooster traits everyday. Denise has decided she likes hearing him crow in the morning, so he gets to stay as long as he doesn't get mean. He has the white wings in the picture.

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    The cornfield across the road is drying down, I've seen a couple of fields harvested, but I think it was guys with livestock, that were probably getting low on feed.

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    The popcorn is just about ready to pick. As soon as we get a couple of dry days, I'll harvest it.

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    The soybeans you've watch grow all summer are about ready. This rain really stripped the leaves.

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    They will just be stalks and pods when they are ready to harvest.

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    I think that's it. I'm glad I got to spend the day in the dry today......

    Tim
  • Post #164 - October 3rd, 2014, 9:52 pm
    Post #164 - October 3rd, 2014, 9:52 pm Post #164 - October 3rd, 2014, 9:52 pm
    Hi,

    I have some friends who are soy-corn farmers in western Illinois. The husband claims by chewing on a soybean if it has reached the proper level of moisture. If I recall correctly, it is something like 15% moisture was what he was aiming at.

    When you harvest the soy bean and bring them to sell, what is the criteria for the final purchase price? If not weight alone, what are the other variables affecting your sale price?

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #165 - October 7th, 2014, 12:31 am
    Post #165 - October 7th, 2014, 12:31 am Post #165 - October 7th, 2014, 12:31 am
    Sorry I didn't answer sooner, that roof job really set me behind. What started out as an easy two week project, turned into a rushed 3 day job, everything else got ignored, and I'm just catching up.

    You friend is not pulling your leg. You can absolutely tell, by biting a soybean or kernal of corn (or wheat), what the moisture is. I'll bet you $100, if I had a coffee can full of soybeans (or corn or wheat), and held it out to a farmer, or group of farmers, the first thing they will do is grab 4 or 5 seeds and pop them in their mouth. Then they would tell you the moisture content.

    I can't describe it, but you can tell by the hardness, what the moisture is. When I was more involved in grain farming, I could tell within a half percentage point. I'll bet I'm still within one point. It's funny, Thursday afternoon, when we were working on the roof, the neighbor stopped in with gallon paint can half full of beans. He was on his way home from the elevator, getting them tested. He held the bucket out and I popped them in my mouth, I guessed 15%, they were 14%. I guessed high because of the humidity that afternoon, should have trusted my gut. LOL

    13 to 15 percent is the ideal moisture for selling grain without getting docked. Other things they look at are craked/split beans/kernals. When the crop gets too dry, or the combine is adjusted wrong, it tends to split. Split seeds don't store well, so they hammer you for it.

    The other big thing is foreign matter, too many stems or dirt, or grasshopper legs or whatever and they start to dock you. This is usually a combine adjustment too.

    Some years, in corn, they check for mycotoxins. These are molds that affect the quality of livestock feed. This is usually during extreme dry or wet years.

    So, as you can see, there is always something wrong with the crop you bring in. The grain prices you hear on the radio, are for top quality grain. Chances are you are getting docked a few cents for every bushel you bring in.

    It's all part of the game.......

    If it was easy, everybody would do it.

    Tim
  • Post #166 - October 7th, 2014, 2:03 am
    Post #166 - October 7th, 2014, 2:03 am Post #166 - October 7th, 2014, 2:03 am
    Tim:

    Love you, love your posts. Thanks.

    bean
  • Post #167 - October 7th, 2014, 10:17 am
    Post #167 - October 7th, 2014, 10:17 am Post #167 - October 7th, 2014, 10:17 am
    Cool, damp, misty, October update. We are just getting enough rain to keep everybody out of the fields. It's not really wet, just too wet to harvest. If we got 3 or 4 days of sunshine, these fields would be harvested faster than you could keep up. One of the bad things about the delayed harvest, there hasn't been much wheat planted yet. Oh well, like the old neighbor always tells me..... "It'll work out, it always does".

    On with the pictures......

    Got the shop roof finished up Saturday morning, there is still some trim to be done, but at least everything inside is dry. It'll get resided next year.

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    Soybeans keep dropping leaves, everybody is hoping the sunshine predicted for the end of the week actually materializes.

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    One thing the damp weather has done, we have a carpet of new Dill growing in the garden. Denise has been picking these tender little ferns and freezing them for use this winter.

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    The pigs are growing, it's been so cool and wet the last few days, we've kept the barn closed up. They'd probably like to get a sunny day too, so they could get some new scenery.

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    More boot chewing

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    Last picture, we ran out of popcorn about a month ago. I picked some sunday afternoon, it's still too wet to pop, so I hung it in the basement to start drying. The rest will saty on the stalk until it's closer to being ready, probably another couple weeks.

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    I think that's it, hopefully the next update will have some harvest pictures included.

    Tim
  • Post #168 - October 10th, 2014, 7:16 pm
    Post #168 - October 10th, 2014, 7:16 pm Post #168 - October 10th, 2014, 7:16 pm
    Tim, I am so honored to be a fellow LTH'er with you. I love your posts and learn from them each day. Your pictures are great and really capture your posts. I have such a tiny garden compared to yours and I can not imagine the amount of work you all must do, all day- everyday even when the weather does not cooperate. You are a Jack of all Trades to maintain a farm-from knowing the moisture content of a soy bean by taste to putting up a new roof and raising pigs to harvesting new shoots. WOW! Now when I drive by I farm I think I know a little more about that farmer and his family. Thank you- and keep posting.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #169 - October 13th, 2014, 10:11 am
    Post #169 - October 13th, 2014, 10:11 am Post #169 - October 13th, 2014, 10:11 am
    Elfin wrote:......... Now when I drive by (a) farm I think I know a little more about that farmer and his family......


    Thanks Elfin, That sentence has made all the time I spend here worthwhile. Thanks to everyone who follows along, and maybe takes an extra second to think, when they hear a story about agriculture, either good or bad. It's my pleasure to share with such an eager group.

    It's another rainy day, so I'll add some pictures. We had 4 nice days, so a lot of beans and some corn got harvested, but there is way over half still left in the field. We aren't so wet, yet, that guys have to worry about getting stuck, but it's wet enough that compaction will rear it's ugly head next year. I guess we are making up for the dry July we had, it always averages out.

    We spent yesterday afternoon cleaning up the garden. We had light frost Friday and Sunday morning, so it's time. Other that weeds and cabbage (and maybe a brussel sprout), the 2014 crop is pretty much harvested. I should have picked the popcorn yesterday, but I ran out of time. I'll get it the next sunny day, it's OK to stay on the stalk for a little while longer.

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    I wanted to get the garden plowed before winter, but I don't think it will ever be fit enough for that, I'll have to do all my tillage in the spring.

    The soybeans have lost all their leaves. These are ready as soon as the neighbor gets to this field. It all depends on the weather now.

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    The pigs are growing, It's getting hard to get a group shot, they are getting tame enough, they run to us to get their backs scratched, instaed of posing at a distance.

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    Last set of pictures, welcome to the inside of a hog feeder.......

    This is the pan, where the pigs eat the food.

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    That inner ring, right in front of the pigs head, is part of an agitator. The pig wiggles that with his nose, and more feed works it's way into the pan.

    This is the top end. That ring is hooked to rods that attach to this adjustment crank. Turn it one way or the other, and the opening in the pan gets bigger or smaller. This aallows more or less feed into the pan.

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    If too much feed gets in the pan, the pis will get a big mouthful, then turn away to chew and they'll lose most of it on the floor. They'll keep going back to the pan for the easy food, and what's on the floor will go to waste. As the pigs get bigger and the feeder gets emptier, the adgitator get's easier to move, and more feed is worked out. It's an almost daily job to climb in and adjust the feeder to keep them from wasting feed.

    In that last picture, the feed is hollowed out around the agitator rods, this makes them easier to move too. One of the things I do, when I crawl in the pen, is keep that feed pushed down so this doesn't happen. I was slacking this weekend (we had family here). At least my poor management didn't cause them to waste feed yet, it wouldn't have taken much longer though.

    In more modern barns, that use an auger to keep the feeders filled, they user smaller feeders and keep them topped off. Keeping the feeder full eliminates this, so they just have to adjust for the pigs gettting bigger. It probably only hasd to be done once a week or so. It's still part of the management that is easily neglected though.

    Before you think we are keeping the pigs hungry by not letting them get a mouth full of food, this is their natural instinct. In the wild, they would spend most of their time rooting around looking for food. They get just enough in the pan that they get their bellys full without giving up and laying down hungry, they don't get to get filled up in two minutes though.

    It's all part of keeping them happy, without costing us too much money in wasted feed. It's all part of proper management/care, and it's one of the things that's the same in our little operation, right up to the biggest barns. Somebody is in there more than a couple times a day, making sure everything is working right and all the critters are content.

    That's it, now you know more about hog feeders than the guy living next door to you. Sorry if I bored you, I kinda got into the weeds there......

    Tim
  • Post #170 - October 13th, 2014, 10:54 am
    Post #170 - October 13th, 2014, 10:54 am Post #170 - October 13th, 2014, 10:54 am
    Not bored at all! Thank you!
    “Assuredly it is a great accomplishment to be a novelist, but it is no mediocre glory to be a cook.” -- Alexandre Dumas

    "I give you Chicago. It is no London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from tail to snout." -- H.L. Mencken
  • Post #171 - October 13th, 2014, 8:19 pm
    Post #171 - October 13th, 2014, 8:19 pm Post #171 - October 13th, 2014, 8:19 pm
    The misty shot of the soybean field is just gorgeous. Love that lonely tree as the focal point.
  • Post #172 - October 13th, 2014, 10:05 pm
    Post #172 - October 13th, 2014, 10:05 pm Post #172 - October 13th, 2014, 10:05 pm
    Freezer Pig wrote:
    Elfin wrote:......... Now when I drive by (a) farm I think I know a little more about that farmer and his family......


    Thanks Elfin, That sentence has made all the time I spend here worthwhile. Thanks to everyone who follows along, and maybe takes an extra second to think, when they hear a story about agriculture, either good or bad. It's my pleasure to share with such an eager group.
    Tim

    I love your posts,Tim. It's the intricacies of your profession like the hog feeder and the work you have to put into it,that fascinate this city boy. I learn something from every one of your posts
    Artie
  • Post #173 - October 15th, 2014, 10:21 am
    Post #173 - October 15th, 2014, 10:21 am Post #173 - October 15th, 2014, 10:21 am
    Wooo Hoooo!!!! Sunshine & blue sky (kind of)!!!!

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    I know it was only 2 days of rain, but it seems like forever since we saw the sun. We really lucked out. With up to 3 inches of rain predicted, depending on who you listened to, we ended up with 7/10" right here. I think they got a lot more, not far from here. The storms kept splitting just as they got here, and the heaavy stuff would go around.

    The weather patterns that make you grimace during the growing season, now seem like a blessing. There is an old saying; "a dry year will starve you to death and a wet year will worry you to death". Although this hasn't been a particularly wet or dry year, a wet harvest instills a little worry.

    The corn across the road will be ready for harvest, as soon as they can get to it. The stalks are dry and the ears are starting to tilt down. The husks are loosening and you can see the ends of the ripe ears.

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    Just in case all you've ever seen are ears of sweet corn, this is what field corn (dent) and popcorn (flint) look like:

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    I didn't have any sweetcorn left on the ear, but this is what the shelled kernals look like:

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    The mature sweetcorn in the upper right is actually seed, the pink tint is treatment that's put on to help keep it from rotting in the ground, before it sprouts. I wanted to show how it shrivels up when it's mature, but the treatment kind of makes it hard to see.

    One of my favorite color combos in nature. The dark red ear of field corn, next to the bright yellow kernels:

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    Before you ask, yes I did put a couple kernels of corn in my mouth and bite them. I'm guessing it was about 16-17% moisture, but it was still damp from rain and dew, so it will lose a couple of points pretty quick, when the sun comes out and the breeze picks up.

    That's it, the neighbor asked me if I'd run the grain cart for him, when he gets back in the field, so this might be the last update for a while. I'll be back eventually.

    Tim
  • Post #174 - October 15th, 2014, 2:54 pm
    Post #174 - October 15th, 2014, 2:54 pm Post #174 - October 15th, 2014, 2:54 pm
    Hi,

    I was awake around 5:00 am this morning. I heard Oriel Samuelson of WGN radio report on the harvest. He indicated soybeans were 43% harvested, though the average harvest on this date is 56%. Wet weather was blamed for slowing the harvest.

    If I have the numbers slightly goofed up, he also reported on the corn harvest as well. In both cases, they were behind the average harvest to date.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #175 - October 16th, 2014, 10:53 am
    Post #175 - October 16th, 2014, 10:53 am Post #175 - October 16th, 2014, 10:53 am
    I've been listening to Orion Samuelson ever since my dad listened to WGN, first thing in the morning, in the milk barn. I can remember that voice when I was 4 or 5 years old, and it's still the same today.

    Anyhow, I think you are right, on the numbers he gave. I heard them last Friday morning, and it was a little less than that.

    Those stats are for the entire corn belt. I think they are a little better off in the western corn belt, than Chicago and east. I would guess we are about 15 - 20% harvested in beans, and maybe 10 - 15% corn.

    It's another sunny day today, there will be a few guys starting to go this afternoon, on the better drained ground. Tomorrow will be better, if they can wait.

    Tim
  • Post #176 - October 20th, 2014, 10:47 am
    Post #176 - October 20th, 2014, 10:47 am Post #176 - October 20th, 2014, 10:47 am
    I'll try to wedge in a quick update. We got a little drizzle earlier today, but the sun is shining now, so hopefully harvest will continue this afternoon. Friday was nice, Beans were getting combined on the better drained ground. Some guys were running corn, waiting for the bean ground to dry a little bit.

    In soybeans, the header slides along the ground, cutting the stalk as close as you can get. If it's too muddy, the head will ball up with mud, and prevent you from getting a close clean cut. In corn, the head just needs to be below the ears, so you can run about a foot off the ground. As long as you aren't getting stuck, you can usually go. Dryer is always better though, Wet ground and heavy combines make compaction, this leads to stunted crops or more tillage in the spring.

    The neighbor pulled into the soybeans you watched grow all summer, Friday afternoon. He got the field opened up and about half done before it got damp.

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    Saturday drizzled off and on all day, a few guys were running corn, but the guys cutting beans were parked for the day.

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    We spent Saturday cleaning up the garden, between the raindrops, I cleaned my shop a little bit when it wasn't fit to be outside.

    I picked a few ears of popcorn a couple of weeks ago. It's still too wet to pop good, so I threw 3 ears in the oven to speed the drying process. I've never done it like that before, so we were kind of flying by the seat of our pants. After getting driven inside Saturday afternoon, I got out the popper and gave it a shot.

    Ta-da!!

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    It popped good, but it was a little bit tough. I think it needs to lose another point of moisture.

    We had our first killing frost Sunday morning. The rest of the day was sunny and breezy. They neighbor got back into the beans about 1 o'clock. He got this field finished and ran after dark, to get another field accross the section pretty well knocked out.

    We spent yesterday afternoon finishing in the garden. We got the last of the popcorn picked and taken care of. Most of it, we pulled the husks back and tied them together, so we can hang them up to dry. This was what the clothesline looked like when we were done

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    We have about a half bushel, that we husked completely. We'll just lay that out, on a table, in the basement until we give it away or use it. The ones on the line came into the garage last night. We'll put them back out, the next sunny day we get. It should all be ready to pop by the middle of December, if we don't give it the oven treatment.

    Saturday afternoon, Denise found the first egg from one of this years hen's. It's about a month earlier than we were expecting. She found it on teh floor and it was cracked, so the instincts haven't kicked in to go in the nest box yet. They'll figure it out. We could tell it was one of the new ones, because the egg was smaller.......

    .....and it was blue......

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    This one shows the color better, but it's still not as bright as in real life.

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    It's a nice change of pace, after nothing but brown eggs for a couple of years.

    The new pigs are eating and growing, watching them is probably getting to be old hat for all of you.

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    Looks like after today, we should have a few days of nice weather again, hopefully everybody can get back in the field and keep the harvest moving along.

    I think that's all the pictures I have, I'll be back when I can.

    Thanks for looking,

    Tim
  • Post #177 - October 21st, 2014, 12:16 pm
    Post #177 - October 21st, 2014, 12:16 pm Post #177 - October 21st, 2014, 12:16 pm
    Tim:

    Your 'old hat' is a shiny new fedora for us city folks here. Thanks for sharing.

    They're telling us it's gong to hit 70 by the end of the week. I've got one cherry tomato plant that refuses to die, a couple of tomatillo plants that haven't yet given up the ghost, and a few hot pepper plants that must think they're living elsewhere. Hopefully, by the end of the week, I'll be able to put together a freezer full of salsa.
  • Post #178 - October 21st, 2014, 1:56 pm
    Post #178 - October 21st, 2014, 1:56 pm Post #178 - October 21st, 2014, 1:56 pm
    Yeah--I heard 70s and sunny both Saturday and Sunday as well--looks like my excuse to miss the kid's baseball tournament (YES, we are STILL playing baseball in OCTOBER--ain't high school great :() won't hold up. Or maybe I'll use "cleaning out the garden" as an excuse since pretty much everything but the tomatoes and the corn are still going!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #179 - October 21st, 2014, 5:17 pm
    Post #179 - October 21st, 2014, 5:17 pm Post #179 - October 21st, 2014, 5:17 pm
    We still have a couple of tomatoes and green peppers left on the vines. The lemon grass is growing like a weed. Basil is done but the Italian and regular parsley are thriving. Sage of course is beautiful. We have a lot of cauliflower and cabbage leaves but alas no heads. The asparagus fern is huge and still green. Sad to see the garden come to an end but glad to compost it over too for next year.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #180 - October 22nd, 2014, 12:05 am
    Post #180 - October 22nd, 2014, 12:05 am Post #180 - October 22nd, 2014, 12:05 am
    We still had a few things producing, I don't think it was the garden that quit as much as we did. Our pantry and freezer are full, we've canned until our eyes bulged. We gave away extra produce to family and friends, it's just time for it to be over.

    It looks like we'll have at least a week of nice weather, hopefully it will dry enough I can get the garden plowed this fall. I always like to roll it over now, so the hard spots can freeze out, and the weed seeds will get buried deep enough to not cause trouble for a while. Plus, I just like to look out the kitchen window at clean bare ground all winter.

    One of the best parts of cleaning up the garden is we talk about what worked and what didn't. We will probably plant fewer tomato's next year, and maybe a little less sweetcorn. We may grow more popcorn, and have a sale at church, to benefit, Foods Resource Bank. People seem to be intrigued by popcorn, still on the ear. We may have to give a popping demo, to show you don't need a paper bag and a microwave, to get a quick snack.

    Just like the 2 best days in a boat owners life are the day he buys his first boat and the day he sells it, the two best days of gardening are the first seed into the ground and the final tillage that puts an end to it.

    We put a half a pig in the freezer, from the last batch, plus a quarter steer a week later. It's a nice, comfortable feeling, going into winter, knowing there is enough food to carry us through. Even in todays world of a fully stocked grocery store, 20 minutes away, it feels good to be prepared. I can't explain it, it must be a genetic link to my ancestors, who didn't have a grocery store 20 minutes away.

    We may die of something this winter, but it won't be starvation.

    Tim

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