Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not So Wordless Wednesday

As we "patiently" await the arrival of Spring in our area of the Corn Belt, we are making preparations to the equipment to get ready for planting, spraying, etc. We have auto-steer installed in the planter tractor.  Roger has the planter ready to go and is scanning the remaining equipment and deciding to upgrade an item or two.  This week he traded our pull behind sprayer for a more updated version.  Although it is not new, the sprayer is in excellent shape and should work well for us this Spring.  Since Dad acquired a newer piece of farm equipment, JM thought his collection needed one as well.

The New Sprayer!

JM hooked his new piece of equipment up to the MX125 and proceeded to spray the tomato and pepper plants we are growing.  I guess like father, like son!  Now.....I think we can safely say that we own a miniature version of EVERY piece of farm equipment.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Fun

 Our Easter weekend was filled with all kinds of "Easter Fun."  We started out the 3 day weekend by making some goodies for the Day Care Bake Sale that was going on in our hometown.  It was great to see all of the colorful baked goods that were donated for the fundraiser.  JM and I each picked out something to bring back home as well.

Fun Bake Sale Finds
JM and I also colored Easter eggs.  We bought a different kit this year.....less mess (or so I imagined.)  This kit just had droppers to put the pearlized coloring on the eggs and then you worked the color around with a plastic glove.  Hmmmm....sounds simple, right?  Except for the kit came with plastic bags instead of gloves, and the colored eggs didn't exactly look like the pretty ones on the box when we were finished.

Even though our "project"  was different than we anticipated, JM and I had fun coloring the eggs.  As always, it is a new adventure every year.  The eggs still turned out pretty neat.

JM and I helped with the Easter Egg Hunt in Hartley on Saturday morning.  There were about 150 kids there to gather eggs.  It was a lot of fun watching the little ones gather their eggs and bring them up for the prizes that we had for them.  Too bad it was only 40 degrees.  The poor Easter Bunny needed his coat.

We spent the afternoon preparing food for our two Easter dinners.  We made dinner rolls, cheesecake, 2 egg bakes and a salad.  A very busy afternoon for us.  Plus we had time to do chores and care for our animals.  JM took Harley his Easter treats, and Copper received his as well.

JM was very excited to wake up this morning and see that the Easter Bunny had indeed filled his basket with treats, a book and a new Wii game.

Early morning Easter surprise!
Our other Easter surprise was actually seeing the sun this morning!  And it stuck with us ALL day.  It was a beautiful Easter day!  We had some wonderful time with family and got to enjoy some outdoor time on the farm.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Reaching for the Sun!!!
 We finally got a chance to see that big, bright ball in the sky this afternoon - a.k.a. the Sun!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April Snow Showers????

You know how they say "April showers bring May flowers."  Well......I'm pretty sure that does not include SNOW showers.  Our spring weather is turning out to be much cooler than normal.

Saturday morning wake up call!
We woke up Saturday morning to a light dusting of snow.  Needless to say, we were less than excited to see this white stuff adorning the landscape.  Normally by the 16th of April, we are getting into some serious field work and starting to plant corn.  As of today, the 19th of April, there is very little field work done, and I have only heard of a couple of area fields that have been planted.  With the soil temperature still in the upper 30's, the corn seed will take in the water that is in the soil but will take a long time to emerge.  We hope that we get some warm temperatures and dryer conditions that will favor getting our crops planted!

Sunday morning???
Sunday morning added a little more snow to the landscape, and this morning had even more to add.  We have had snow/rain showers off and on for the majority of the day today.  We welcome the moisture, but would rather it not come in the form of snow.  Mother Nature will hopefully have some good things in store for us soon!  On the bright side, the snow is very pretty and white just like the first snow fall of the year.  It is hard to believe that two weekends ago we had tornadoes in the area and this weekend snow.  That's why we live in Iowa.....for the love of farming and the ever changing weather.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Even though the weather was not what we had hoped for today, we decided to bundle up (in the spring sense of bundling up) and do some yard work.  JM and I had a very busy afternoon.  First, we baked sugar cookies - check out the recipe page to see the recipe and pictures.  Then, we dug into picking up the yard.  We got the 4 wheeler out of the shed and hooked up the yard wagon.  I got busy picking up sticks and anything else that may be on the yard or stuck in the bushes.  JM was working hard with a bucket picking up all of the rocks that were transplanted when the snow was piled up this winter. you want to switch jobs???
I had two wagon loads of sticks just from the yard around the house.  The grove is a whole other project that will take a whole weekend.  JM had several buckets of rocks.  I think they were multiplying as we moved across the lawn.  We would rake a pile of rocks together, pick them up, and JM would carry them back to the driveway or rock pile (whichever was closer.)  We both worked hard today, but I think all of rock carrying completely wore JM out!  He was sleeping shortly after he hit his pillow tonight. 

The other excitement on our farm today was.......putting new disc openers on the planter and getting all things checked over to head to the field.  Now if we can just get the weather to warm up, the planter will be headed out to plant corn.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Testing out our Green Thumb

We have a serious case of Spring Fever on our farm.  JM and I are getting very anxious to get going on our garden.  We are going to start a new garden spot at our farm this year instead of trying to maintain one at the other farm.  I thought maybe I would get more help in the garden this year if I made JM an "active participant" in the process.  So......we decided to start our plants from seeds.  Today was planting day!  We had orginally planned to do yard work today, but instead woke up to mist and fog.  Therefore, plan B was put into place.

We started with this miniature greenhouse kit that we bought a few weeks ago.  We also bought seeds for 3 different kinds of tomatoes, jalepeno peppers, and bell peppers.

To expand our little pods we had to add about 5 cups of water to the tray and wait for them to soak it up.  Then we had to take each pod and work them around to loosen up the peat and prepare for planting the seeds.

JM took 2-3 seeds and planted them in the pods.  I followed up with a covering tool - a.k.a. a toothpick - to make sure that our seeds were sown in the proper place.  We planted 18 pods of regular tomatoes, 6 pods of Roma tomatoes, 6 pods of jalepeno peppers and 6 pods of bell peppers.  If all goes as planned, we will be planting these new plants in our garden in about 6 weeks.  If things don't go so well, we will be making a trip to the local greenhouse to buy the plants to plant in the garden.  Either way, it will be a learning experience for JM and I on growing plants.

We are growing our own garden this year because we like to can tomato juice, and have fresh carrots, peas, lettuce and radishes.  JM also wants to plant some Indian corn and pumpkins.  I usually get my fresh produce from my generouse aunts and uncle, but we thought it would be nice to have our own project.

The Greenhouse!

Later this afternoon we got a chance to work on the perrenial flower beds too.  We attempted to burn off the last years dried up plants, but it was too damp from the weather today.  Hopefully we will be able to do that soon in order for the emerging plants to come through.  JM and I can't wait for it to get warm enough to plant some flowers.  We walked through one of the local greenhouses today which just enhanced our excitement.  The beautiful colors were amazing.  Hopefully, JM was born with the green thumb that his mother was not, and we will have a succussful gardening season.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Soak up the Sun!

It has been just wonderful to see the sun all weekend!  The sun was even radiating some warmth to enjoy.  We enjoyed having the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the weekend.  I am beginning to think that winter may finally be ending, and we can move on to the excitement and busy times of Spring season.  We were out in the yard this weekend picking up sticks and rocks from the lawn.  We still have a little ways to go as this is the joy of having a large yard.  I can't wait for the lawn to green up, and the mowing can begin. 

  We still have a rather large snow pile in the grove that needs to melt.  It has gotten considerably smaller this weekend, but we could use a warm week to completely have it disappear.  This large snow drift also happens to be in the summer horse pen.  I am anxious for it to melt in order to get the fence fixed up and ready for Harley to be moved up there. 

As we were outside enjoying the day, we wandered around the yard to see what the animals were up to.  They all seemed to be enjoying the sunshine as well.  What better way to spend a warm Sunday afternoon than taking a nap in the sun.

Soak up the Sun!

Our local neighborhood barn cat was also taking advantage of nap time.  As it seems, we humans were the only ones who weren't taking a nap today.  It looks like we have a nice weather week ahead of us which will give us the opportunity to get the planter out of the shed and start thinking about getting into the field.  I can't wait to smell the fresh dirt when we work the fields.  The tile guy is coming tomorrow to put a little extra tile in one of our fields.  The frost is disappearing, and the water is quickly soaking in.

As I walked around the yard this afternoon, I noticed that the trees and plants are readying themselves for upcoming season as well.  The trees are budding and starting to open.  The perennial plants in the landscaping are starting to come through.  I have staked out the spot in the yard for my garden also.  JM and I are going to again try to manage a garden this year.  Hopefully, we will be able to keep up with the work and not end up mowing it at the end of the summer.  We are also going to attempt growing our own plants for the garden.  We have seeds to plant for 3 different kinds of tomatoes, green peppers, and jalepeno peppers.  We will also plant peas, carrots, and radishes in our garden spot.

Spring buds.
We also enjoyed a little time away from the farm late yesterday after we had our work done.  The family made a trip to Sioux Falls to pick up some new baseball items for JM.  He also picked out some new clothes as he keeps growing at a very rapid pace.  I think he is going to pass his mother's height shortly.  It was nice to take in a little family time since we know those family moments will be much less when field work starts.