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2014 Growing Season

2014 Growing Season
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  • Post #181 - October 22nd, 2014, 8:53 am
    Post #181 - October 22nd, 2014, 8:53 am Post #181 - October 22nd, 2014, 8:53 am
    Freezer Pig wrote: 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.


    Do tell! I've bought the popping ears and that's exactly what they told me to do with it!! Love to hear your method.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #182 - October 22nd, 2014, 11:02 am
    Post #182 - October 22nd, 2014, 11:02 am Post #182 - October 22nd, 2014, 11:02 am
    boudreaulicious wrote:........ Love to hear your method......


    You can use any pan with a lid, but this is our preferred method.

    Image

    Big glob of bacon grease in the pan over medium high heat, throw two kernals in. When the grease get hot enough and the first two kernals pop, throw in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of unpopped corn. Shake the pan or spin the crank on the popper until steady popping, reduce heat, continue to stir until popping slows, dump into pan, salt, eat.

    Oh yeah, you have to shell it off the cob first.

    Tim
  • Post #183 - October 22nd, 2014, 11:11 am
    Post #183 - October 22nd, 2014, 11:11 am Post #183 - October 22nd, 2014, 11:11 am
    Freezer Pig wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:........ Love to hear your method......


    You can use any pan with a lid, but this is our preferred method.

    Big glob of bacon grease in the pan over medium high heat, throw two kernals in. When the grease get hot enough and the first two kernals pop, throw in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of unpopped corn. Shake the pan or spin the crank on the popper until steady popping, reduce heat, continue to stir until popping slows, dump into pan, salt, eat.

    Oh yeah, you have to shell it off the cob first.

    Tim


    So, in other words, like normal popcorn, lol. Any tricks for getting it off the cob since I haven't done that part before, having just followed the farm's instructions and popping it as a whole cob in the microwave. Which, by the way, was interesting but not the best texture. I'm not sure I can bear to eat my little ears from the garden but if I do, I'd like to make sure they actually taste good :)
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #184 - October 22nd, 2014, 8:02 pm
    Post #184 - October 22nd, 2014, 8:02 pm Post #184 - October 22nd, 2014, 8:02 pm
    We may die of something this winter, but it won't be starvation.


    Now THAT is a banner quote! :D
  • Post #185 - October 22nd, 2014, 10:48 pm
    Post #185 - October 22nd, 2014, 10:48 pm Post #185 - October 22nd, 2014, 10:48 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:......So, in other words, like normal popcorn.......


    Whew!! I was worried you really didn't know how to make popcorn without a microwave. :shock:


    The neighbor opened up the corn field, across the road, yesterday afternoon.

    Image
    Image

    He finished it up this afternoon. He said it was yielding well above average, but it was a little higher moisture than he likes. With the weather being like it is, he doesn't want to wait any longer for nature to dry it down, he'll pay to do it. It's hard to think about paying for drying, with the price of grain as low as it is. The trouble is, if you leave it for nature, and we get some more rain and a big wind, you might lose half the crop or more to lodging (it breaks over and the ears fall on the ground). Getting it out of the field is the best option.

    I had to Run to the other end of the county this morning. Not a lot of wheat planted this fall, but what's out there looks really nice.

    Image

    There is still time to plant, maybe for another week or two, if the weather stays warm. It's getting pretty late though.

    That's it for the pictures today, looks like the good weather is here for a few more days. Everybody should be running 100% by Friday.

    Tim
  • Post #186 - October 29th, 2014, 12:02 am
    Post #186 - October 29th, 2014, 12:02 am Post #186 - October 29th, 2014, 12:02 am
    Busy busy busy...........

    Image


    We're still out here, no time for story tellin'..... :)


    Tim
  • Post #187 - November 1st, 2014, 12:08 am
    Post #187 - November 1st, 2014, 12:08 am Post #187 - November 1st, 2014, 12:08 am
    Time for a small quick update.

    I hope this isn't an indication of what is coming in the near future.

    What the yard looked like on the way to the barn an hour ago.....

    Image

    The pigs were pretty happy to stay snuggled up, instead of getting up to see what was going on tonight.

    Image

    Crops are getting harvested slowly. Seems like 2-3 good days of harvest between rains. Everybody's switching back and forth between corn and beans. I'd say most guys are over half done, but it's a long drawn out affair this year. Looks like a few nice days coming again, after this mess is over. Lots of mud tracked out on the roads this fall.

    This will have to do until I can make a proper update......

    Tim
  • Post #188 - November 2nd, 2014, 6:47 pm
    Post #188 - November 2nd, 2014, 6:47 pm Post #188 - November 2nd, 2014, 6:47 pm
    We pop corn the old fashioned way too. A friend gave us one of those stove top poppers with the stirrer and we are hooked. We used to do it on the stove with a saucepan but it was hard cook all the kernels without burning the already popped. Of course we drizzle a lot of melted butter...
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #189 - November 5th, 2014, 8:39 am
    Post #189 - November 5th, 2014, 8:39 am Post #189 - November 5th, 2014, 8:39 am
    Tim:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/11/04/361411440/why-farmers-arent-cheering-this-years-monster-harvest?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=thesalt

    Thoughts?

    Best wishes,

    bean
  • Post #190 - November 5th, 2014, 11:52 pm
    Post #190 - November 5th, 2014, 11:52 pm Post #190 - November 5th, 2014, 11:52 pm
    Hopefully, I can answer before the site shuts down for maintenance.

    That article has a few facts in it. There is a record harvest this year and the prices are low. I don't think anybody is upset it's a record harvest, they are going to need the extra bushels to make up for the low price. Everybody knew this was going to happen eventually, it'll weed out a few guys that thought the prices would stay up forever, most everybody else will tighten their belts and go back to the way it was a few years ago.

    I think pretty much the whole cornbelt is damp, like us. If there is a silver lining, it's that it's slowed the flow, so the grain is getting moved away, without the outside piles being needed. If this was a normal flat out harvest, there would have been huge bottlenecks, it's not happening around here, and I haven't hear of it anyplace else (that doesn't mean it's not happening though, just not a huge problem that make it sound like).

    This quote: "You always hope your neighbor burns up, hails out, whatever, dries up, but you have a good crop," he says. "You know, that's just the way it works. But everybody had a good crop this year. "

    I can't stress enough how much this quote bothers me..... I just turned 50, I've been around/involved with agriculture from the time I hit the ground. I have never had, nor heard anybody else I've known, have this thought. The last thing in the world anybody hopes for is the ruin of a neighbor. Even the jugghead that said this, I honestly hope he survives the bad times, but I'm glad he's not my neighbor.

    Farmers are a tight group. It's not uncommon for neighbors to get together and plant or harvest a crop for an injured/sick/deceased neighbor. Many times, this happens before their own crops are taken care of, and it's done without the family asking...... it just gets organized and taken care of.

    The high grain prices made for a lot of shiney new equipment, big barns/shops and grain facilities, everybody is just going to have to settle down a little and go back to tightening things up, to keep making a profit. It won't be as fun as being flush with cash, but anybody that's been in the business for more than ten years will remember how to cope.

    Time to hit submit before I lose this post. Rain tomorrow, I'll try to add some pictures.....

    Tim
  • Post #191 - November 6th, 2014, 12:51 am
    Post #191 - November 6th, 2014, 12:51 am Post #191 - November 6th, 2014, 12:51 am
    I was just on a farm forum I visit once in a while. This was a story posted, it tells the story I described about neighbors.....

    Final Harvest

    Tim
  • Post #192 - November 6th, 2014, 8:46 am
    Post #192 - November 6th, 2014, 8:46 am Post #192 - November 6th, 2014, 8:46 am
    Excellent posts, as usual, Mr. Pig. :lol:

    Thanks for clearing the air and giving me something to grow on.

    sean
  • Post #193 - November 6th, 2014, 11:49 am
    Post #193 - November 6th, 2014, 11:49 am Post #193 - November 6th, 2014, 11:49 am
    Another wet day in NW Ohio. Harvest is dragging along. We only had 2 1/2" of rain in October, it was just that it gave us a dribble every 2 or 3 days, harvest has taken place in little spurts. Most of the soybeans are off around here now, there are still a couple of fields, but I'd guess beans are over 90% fininshed. A few guys are completely done, a week of no rain would pretty well finish everybody up.

    On with the pictures.....

    The garden is stripped. Looks like I won't get it plowed this fall. I put so much manure on it this summer, I'm afraid it will be June before it dries enough to work next Spring. It would have been nice to get it turned under so it could decompose better.

    Image

    The soybean field you watched grow all summer is off, along with all the crops between here and the next road, a mile south. We have a clear view of the neighbors again.

    Image

    There are still a few fields of corn in this section, east of here, but all the fields along our road are harvested.

    The pigs are growing, it's hard to get a picture, we have tamed these down so much, everytime we walk in the barn, they run to us to get their ears scratched, they won't pose in the distance for me anymore.

    Image

    Image

    Image

    Image

    One of the many projects I've been trying to get done ahead of winter, is getting the soffit and fascia on the chicken coop. I left the eaves open when I built it. Last winter, the sparrows started roosting in there at night and they were eating more feed than the chickens. I got it sealed up the other day.

    Image

    The sparrows can still fly in the open door in the daytime, but the kittens have discovered if they sit in the doorway, they can snag a low flying bird, as they fly through. They are knocking down the population.

    Speaking of kittens, they are growing too. We took them in a couple weeks ago and had all 5 fixed. We have never done that before, but we don't need anymore cats running around here. Our pig vet has a special in October for barn cats, it's less than half the regular price for neutering them, and they only give one vacination. I don't think he advertises it, but it's a service he does for his large animal customers. He understands farmers and barn cats. You just hate to put too much money in them, when they could get eaten buy a coyote or run away tomorrow. It won't help if another mother cat wonders in and gives us another littler, but at least these won't reproduce.

    Image

    The last picture is another sign that the 2014 growing season is about over

    Image

    The rain gauge is hanging upside down from a nail in the shop. Water freezing will break them, so everybody puts them away for the winter.

    I think that's it. I still have a couple of doors I want to replace on the polebarn before winter, I think that's about the end of my outdoor projects. We should have a few nice days left.

    Thanks for following along........

    Tim
  • Post #194 - November 6th, 2014, 12:19 pm
    Post #194 - November 6th, 2014, 12:19 pm Post #194 - November 6th, 2014, 12:19 pm
    This quote: "You always hope your neighbor burns up, hails out, whatever, dries up, but you have a good crop," he says. "You know, that's just the way it works. But everybody had a good crop this year. "


    That bothered me, too. Speak for yourself, pal! A few decades ago, when the Fox River Valley area was far more rural than it is now, I went to junior high and my first year in HS with a number of farm kids from out in Kane County here in IL, and I can't imagine any of their parents ever copping an attitude like the foregoing.

    I've never met a farmer who actively wanted another farmer to fail. (Or if he did, he sure as hell kept it to himself!)
  • Post #195 - November 6th, 2014, 2:53 pm
    Post #195 - November 6th, 2014, 2:53 pm Post #195 - November 6th, 2014, 2:53 pm
    I grew lemon grass for the first time this year and it really took off. Should I pull it up now as the weather is really turning? Has anyone had it come back the next year?
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #196 - November 6th, 2014, 6:22 pm
    Post #196 - November 6th, 2014, 6:22 pm Post #196 - November 6th, 2014, 6:22 pm
    Elfin wrote:I grew lemon grass for the first time this year and it really took off. Should I pull it up now as the weather is really turning? Has anyone had it come back the next year?


    I've only grown it in containers as a substitute for a 'spike'. I always pulled it when we had hard frost warnings. I doubt it would over-winter in Chicago's climate.

    I used to chop it finely and put it in the freezer until I could plant some more. I'm newly infatuated with a dehydrator (which I don't think would work well for this) and a dedicated spice grinder which makes great purees. I'd probably try and puree the soft bits.

    On the other hand, maybe leave some in the ground as an ornamental?
  • Post #197 - November 7th, 2014, 3:57 pm
    Post #197 - November 7th, 2014, 3:57 pm Post #197 - November 7th, 2014, 3:57 pm
    I can't get over how cute and affectionate your pigs are. I see both flat and curled tails. What does a curled tail mean?
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #198 - November 7th, 2014, 4:33 pm
    Post #198 - November 7th, 2014, 4:33 pm Post #198 - November 7th, 2014, 4:33 pm
    Freezer Pig wrote:Speaking of kittens, they are growing too. We took them in a couple weeks ago and had all 5 fixed. We have never done that before, but we don't need anymore cats running around here. Our pig vet has a special in October for barn cats, it's less than half the regular price for neutering them, and they only give one vacination. I don't think he advertises it, but it's a service he does for his large animal customers. He understands farmers and barn cats. You just hate to put too much money in them, when they could get eaten buy a coyote or run away tomorrow. It won't help if another mother cat wonders in and gives us another littler, but at least these won't reproduce.

    ImageTim


    Can't tell you have much I appreciate hearing about the neutering! I was involved many years with a major rescue/adoption operation in Chicago and have a soft spot for wee kitties. There are just too many.
  • Post #199 - November 7th, 2014, 6:16 pm
    Post #199 - November 7th, 2014, 6:16 pm Post #199 - November 7th, 2014, 6:16 pm
    Those cats are FAT--life is good in that barn!!
    Last edited by boudreaulicious on November 8th, 2014, 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #200 - November 8th, 2014, 1:50 am
    Post #200 - November 8th, 2014, 1:50 am Post #200 - November 8th, 2014, 1:50 am
    Elfin wrote:........What does a curled tail mean?


    They all have curled tails, but sometimes, they relax and the tail straightens out. I just happened to catch one with it straightened out. With that being said, a curled tail is a sign of a healthy pig. One of the first indication of sickness is a straight tail, combined with droopy ears and dull eyes, and just a look of listlessness. I assure you, the straight tails in the pictures were curled back up soon after the flash went off.

    Rick T. wrote:.....Can't tell you have much I appreciate hearing about the neutering!....


    I really commend our vet for offering the reduced price service. All the vets preach about neutering, but they want $100 for males and $150 for females, plus a whole battery of shots before they will let you have them back. If we had a cat in the house, I might not baulk at the $200, but I'm not putting a thousand dollars in 5 barn cats, that come and go as they please.

    boudreaulicious wrote:Those cats are FAT--life is good I'm that barn!!


    They aren't fat, but they are fed better than usual. After the trip to the vet, we were afraid they might not feel good enough to hunt, so we fed them a little extra. Normally, we feed them enough to keep them around, but they need to hunt mice/rats/birds to keep themselves full.... and they do. We don't have room for freeloaders around here, unless you are old and feeble, and earned your keep in your younger years.....

    I hope none of this is read as neglect/harsh treatment. We give the cats a dry safe place to live. They get rubbed if they want , but we don't chase them down to pick them up. We don't abuse or torment them, but if they want to be wild, that's fine too. Cats are cats, I think there will always be enough of them wandering through........

    Tim
  • Post #201 - November 8th, 2014, 1:28 pm
    Post #201 - November 8th, 2014, 1:28 pm Post #201 - November 8th, 2014, 1:28 pm
    Freezer Pig wrote:Farmers are a tight group. It's not uncommon for neighbors to get together and plant or harvest a crop for an injured/sick/deceased neighbor. Many times, this happens before their own crops are taken care of, and it's done without the family asking...... it just gets organized and taken care of.

    Freezer Pig wrote:I was just on a farm forum I visit once in a while. This was a story posted, it tells the story I described about neighbors.....
    Final Harvest

    Tim, I want to thank you for your wonderful Growing Season posts. My folks lived in rural Wisconsin for decades. It was a woodlands area, not farm country, but the kindest and most generous neighbors were usually retired farmers, or former farmers or folks who had grown up on a farm. Thank you for your posts and for rekindling some great memories. mrsm
  • Post #202 - November 10th, 2014, 12:17 pm
    Post #202 - November 10th, 2014, 12:17 pm Post #202 - November 10th, 2014, 12:17 pm
    Well, this thread started with working up the garden last spring, this will be a good finish.....

    I hooked up the plow this morning, to turn the garden over. It's a little to wet, but I had such a layer of manure on it, I was afraid it would be next July before it dried out. Hopefully, whatever damage I did will freeze out this winter. I intended on waiting until tomorrow, to give it one more day of sunshine before the next rain, but everything went so well hooking up the plow, I thought I better keep the good luck flowing.

    Ready to strike out the lands.

    Image

    In a big field, this is a land, once down and back throwing the dirt in on itself. This leaves a furrow open on each edge. You would strike out the whole field like this, every 200 feet or so, then come back and plow around each one and in between.

    After the first round

    Image

    After the land is struck, you just keep going in circles

    Image

    Eventually, everything is done....

    Image

    I had to go around the new strawberry patch

    Image

    I like this view better, that shiny dirt is a sign it was too wet

    Image

    A sign the soil is healthy. The chickens were chasing me around picking up big worms.....

    Image

    The plow, all shined up and ready to put away. I'll grease the bottoms up so they don't rust over the winter, and take it off tomorrow. Time to put on the blade and get the tractor ready for winter.

    Image

    Thanks for following along, all season. I'll still be around, if anybody has a question, and I'll post a picture or two someplace, if anything earth shaking happens.

    It'll be odd not posting updates every week..... hopefully I'm not filling my time plowing snow.

    TTFN

    Tim
  • Post #203 - November 10th, 2014, 12:33 pm
    Post #203 - November 10th, 2014, 12:33 pm Post #203 - November 10th, 2014, 12:33 pm
    Thanks so much once again, Tim! Fascinating, educational, and thoughtful all the way.
    “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 #204 - November 10th, 2014, 1:01 pm
    Post #204 - November 10th, 2014, 1:01 pm Post #204 - November 10th, 2014, 1:01 pm
    Yes, Tim, thanks! Hopefully you'll keep us up to date with what you do in your 'down' time: Read?, sleep?, escape to Florida? I think we still need to follow the pigs to market?
  • Post #205 - November 12th, 2014, 10:19 pm
    Post #205 - November 12th, 2014, 10:19 pm Post #205 - November 12th, 2014, 10:19 pm
    Tim, I am so happy that you will continue to post this winter. I know you will have a million things to do as a farmer's work is never done. I always wondered what goes on at a farm when it is winter. Again, thank you for all of your effort, patience and kindness in posting.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #206 - November 13th, 2014, 12:55 am
    Post #206 - November 13th, 2014, 12:55 am Post #206 - November 13th, 2014, 12:55 am
    Obviously, livestock producers have things to do all winter. Maintaining equipment in the cold, like keeping waterers thawed in old barns, and heat and ventilation in more modern barns is an everyday part of chores. We spend more time bedding and making sure pens are as clean & dry as possible, so the porkers don't burn up too many calories staying comfortable, they need to turn corn into bacon as efficiently as possible.

    Crop guys spend the winter months working on equipment. Regular maintenance, like oil changes, brakes & tires, etc usually get done inthe cold months, if they have a heated shop. Working parts of equipment that wear, get replaced, like disk blades and cultivator shovels. It's a good time to shop and buy new equipment and sell the old ones.

    Continous education usually takes place in the winter. Anyone who applies their own herbicide/pesticde, needs a license to buy certain chemicals, this license needs renewed every couple of years. Since farmers were blamed for turning Lake Erie green last summer, now there is a certification needed to buy fertilizer in farm quantities.

    Pork Quality Assurance & Beef Quality Assurance (PQA & BQA) were established to make sure everyone is up to date on medication usage and animal care/treatment. There are packers, Hormel for one, that won't buy pigs unless they come from a farm that is PQA certified. These classes are held in the winter time.

    A lot of the farmland is owned by older, retired farmers that rent it to active farmers. Many times, the farmer makes sure their landlords drives are kept snowplowed all winter. It's kind of an unwritten rule part of the deal. It's also a good time to visit with the landlords, and make sure all the lines of communication are open, about how things are going and how the land is being treated.

    Farm organizations, like Farm Bureau, County Pork Producers, Beef Producers, etc all have banquets and meetings in the winter months. Feed, seed and chemical companies usually have appreciation meetings/dinners, to unveil new products and show results from last years production cycle.

    Many farmers collect and restore old equipment, winter is the best time for that hobby, if they have a heated shop. Vacations to warmer places are taken by a few guys. Usually that is a perk for parents, in the process of passing on the operation to the next generation. They are still around for the seasonal work, but can skip out on the off season stuff.

    Lastly, and my personal least favorite part of agriculture...... paperwork. Books need brought up to date and closed out. Financials need to be gone over. I am a lucky man, my wife is a book keeper by trade and announced she wanted to do it, for us, before we were married. She still makes me sit down, and go over everything with her, before she closes the books out for the year. I'd rather shovel snow so I could go to the dentist, than sit at the desk looking at numbers, but it's a necessary evil.....

    .... she probably needs a raise, but I'm a prick to work for...... :twisted:

    Last winter, I spent every spare moment keeping our driveway open, I hope this winter doesn't repeat itself.

    Tim

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