Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

JM got out of school for the summer on Friday late morning.  After saying goodbye to his fantastic 3rd grade teacher, we made a trip to the local greenhouse and bought flowers for Memorial Day.  JM wanted to pick out the flower that we would take to the cemetery for his grandma.  He did a nice job of picking out a beautiful red geranium in a hanging basket.  It was raining when we returned home so we waited until yesterday to take it to the cemetery.  As we placed the basket on the shepherd's hook next to my mother's grave, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful the cemetery looked with all of the beautiful flowers and the U.S. Flags that lined the driveways.

JM is getting old enough now to appreciate what the "avenue of flags" actually means for us.  I explained to him that each flag that is flown at the the cemetery on Memorial Day is in honor of a U.S. Veteran that has passed away.  He was full of questions from that point on.  We discussed that they would some day fly flags for each of his grandpas since they both served in the military.

We also had a Memorial Day Tribute in church today.  They played a PowerPoint presentation showing pictures and information on each member of our that was a Veteran and is no longer with us.  JM had a lot of questions about the wars that these people served in.  We have one member who was lost in Afghanistan, and JM remembers the impact that had our our little town.

As you enjoy your holiday weekend, please take the time to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us as well as our Veteran's who have served our country, and the men and women who are currently serving to provide us with the freedoms that we enjoy.  Have a safe holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And the Planting Continues...

Home grown tomato plant.
Now the that the crops are in, it is time to get the garden planted!  In earlier posts, I showed how JM and I had started our tomato and pepper plants from seeds.  It actually worked amazingly well.  We had 12 pepper plants and 24 tomato plants anxiously awaiting their transplant opportunity.  Last night was the night to get that done!  We rounded up some plastic containers to protect the plants until they could get established in their new home.

 These plants have done really well for our first attempt.  We went into the project with the idea that if growing our own didn't pan out, we could still buy plants at the local greenhouse.  Surprisingly, all of the plants that we started have survived.  Assuming "project green thumb" keeps going as planned, we should have a bunch of tomatoes to can later in the summer.

JM and I finished planting the garden tonight since we ran out of protection for the plants last night.  We had to borrow some of my aunt's containers to finish the garden.  JM brought out the bag of seeds, and we got started digging in.  We put in a row of onions, radishes, lettuce, carrots and peas in addition to our tomato and pepper plants.  There is still room left in the garden so I think we will add some cucumbers and melons.  We also added some glad bulbs to the edges just to provide some beauty!  Now we can sit back and wait patiently for our plants to grow. 

We had some extra help with the garden too............last week I brought home a little souvenir from work.  While doing some work at the ethanol plant, they found 3 baby kittens tucked away under a very large fan motor.  Since I have a farm, I was elected to bring them home.  They love to follow us around the yard and think the dog is "mom".

Following "Mom"

 They are still pretty little.  We started out by feeding them milk replacer with a syringe, but they have moved up to eating from a bowl.  It is so cute to watch them follow either us or the dog around the yard.
The new babies!

 We have all kinds of wonderful things growing on our farm...........cattle, corn, the garden and kittens!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Growing Season

As I was driving home from work tonight, I couldn't help but take notice of all of the corn that is literally popping out of the ground.  Even with the cold weather we have just had, the corn is bursting through.  I stopped by our field south of our house to see if our corn was breaking through, and sure enough there it was.

I think every farmer breathes a sigh of relief when they see their crops emerging.  The worrying is far from over, but at least the growing season is off to a good start.

We put auto-steer in the planter tractor this year.  Looks like it worked.....the rows are straight. 

Now we just wait for warm weather and an occasional rain shower to nurture our new little corn plants past the plumule stage (which should be in just a few days.)  It is fun to watch the daily changes to the corn fields.  The plants can change dramatically just overnight.

As our crops are growing, so is the evolution of our farming equipment.  We put auto-steer in one tractor and another tractor moved on to make room for the new addition.  The MXU125 got traded in for a MX140.  Even though I have not had the pleasure of driving it yet, JM says it is AWESOME!

The New Addition!
JM said he would love to take me for a ride in his Big Red Tractor!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pioneer Sales Rep in Training

JM walked to our seed store on main street after school today to help his dad.  He loves to visit with the seed customers and help out as much as possible.  The Pro Boxes that our bulk seed corn and seed beans come in need to be "nested" after they are emptied to be sent back to the plant.  They each have 4 little plastic fasteners that hold the lid in place for transportation.  Those fasteners need to be cut off in order to remove the lid so the top half can be removed and flipped over to be nested.  JM loves to help remove the plastic fasteners to help out.

The Pioneer Guy!
JM has enjoyed being a part of our busy Spring planting season.  He is a true farm boy!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's Good to Be a Farmer!!

As of 7:00 p.m. last night, the corn is officially in the ground!  We are 100% corn again this year so we can just sit back and wait for it to pop out of the ground.  Well it's almost like that......maybe more like check it every couple of days to make sure it is sprouting, and once it sprouts and comes up we can worry that it will all grow nicely and have a good stand.  Then we need to watch over the crop and worry all summer that we will get enough rain, and pray that the hail will stay away.  We will scout the fields to make sure we don't have too many weeds.  All of this care and worry is worth every second to be a part of growing a portion of our food and fuel supply.

Dave, who farms the land surrounding our acreage, worked hard yesterday to get the farm planted.  They were forecasting rain last night, and the area farmers put in a lot of extra hours this week to get their crops in the ground.

Loading the planter
There were numerous acres worked and planted after the sun went down.  The tractor lights served as a few extra hours of sunlight to get more work done.  We missed out on the rain last night.  By the weekend most of the area corn should be planted, and farmers are moving on to planting beans.  Bring on the sunshine and warm temperatures!!

The seed store has been extremely busy this week.  Most of the corn has gone out, and we are beginning to load out soybean seed.  There is no rest or break when we do not know exactly how many good planting days we will get.    Oh, and in the meantime, we still need to take extra time to give our animals the good care they need as well.  The next few days are supposed to be a little warmer - hopefully, the soil temperature will improve quickly.  Everything happens so quickly when we get a window of opportunity.   I am amazed at the changes every day from the time I go to work until the time I make it home.  Roger is happy to have his corn crop in the ground.  He only had one thing to say tonight..................

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

The sunshine creates some wonderful things!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Corn is being Planted!!!!!

Almost everywhere I look today there are planters going through the fields.  I really love this time of the year (even if it is very hectic for us.)  The ground has worked up very nicely for great planting conditions.  The temperature could be a little warmer, but we still need to get the corn planted as we are not sure how many dry days we will have to work with.

As I drove home from work today, I came by the field south of our house to see that it was completely planted.  It is amazing how fast they can get a field finished.  It is great to be able to go by this farm every day and see the progress.

I took supper to the guys in the field tonight.  We got there just before they were getting ready to load the planter.  Roger had enough seed to finish the field that they are in tonight.  He will change numbers when they go to the farm up north tomorrow.  We should get fertilizer on that field tonight or tomorrow, and it should be ready to plant by mid-morning tomorrow.

We are getting some help putting our crop in this year since Roger has to be accessible at the seed store.  The later planting date makes things kind of crunch together.  Everyone needs to get a lot done in a short amount of time.  Our equipment is not "Green", but it sure is fun to see this big planter go through the field.

Jacob, the guy who helps us, is leveling out the ground that we had spread manure on before they spread fertilizer on it.  This time tomorrow, this field will be planted.  With any luck our corn will all be in the ground by tomorrow night.  They are forecasting rain Wednesday night, and it would be great to have things planted by then.  The last farm that we will plant will be our silage corn.  We always plant that close to the farm that we keep the cattle at.  If we happen to miss the rain, most of the corn will be planted in our area by the weekend.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Seed Corn

Besides farming, my husband is also a Pioneer Seed Rep.  Therefore, Spring time is filled with a little extra activity for us.  One of us needs to be at the seed store, which is on main street in town, most of the time.  The majority of our farm work this time of the year is done by tractor lights or with some assistance since I work full time also.  After work today, I stopped at the seed store and was amazed at how much seed has gone out the last couple of days.  It is amazing what a little sunshine can do!!

The sun has dried out the ground, and the planters are rolling as quickly as they can.  The farmers have been patiently waiting for their opportunity to get their corn planted.  If the weather stays good, there won't be much corn left to plant in our area by the weekend.  Now Mother Nature just needs to turn up the thermostat!  It is supposed to be below freezing again tonight.

Empty corn boxes.
We had several empty corn boxes sitting in front of the seed store today.  These boxes could have 20, 30, 40 or even 50 bags of corn in them.  We lift them above the seed tenders with the forklift and empty the boxes into the tender wagon.  One of these boxes could have enough seed to cover anywhere from 50-125 acres of corn depending on the number of bags in the box.  You may see the red square labels on the boxes - those indicate that the seed is treated.  The corn seed has a treatment on it to protect the seed.

Spring and Fall are really great times of the year.  I love that everything is so busy, and we make a lot of progress in a short amount of time.  It also means that we will soon get to care for this wonderful new crop that is emerging.  We enjoy caring for the crops during the growing season and nurturing the land that the crops grow on.  Farming is a very rewarding lifestyle!!