Friday, October 11, 2013

It's Gonna Happen...

It's said "Few things are certain in life but taxes and death," and when you work on a farm you can add in break downs....

Which usually come in the middle of harvest or planting season...probably because that when everything is being use really hard.

Caleb always hates break downs cause it slows him down from going 100 mph....but honestly what farmer doesn't hate breakdowns? 

The other day when I posted about Sunday Drives my friend Carrie (if you haven't checked her blog out you should, she takes some wonderful pics!!)...well she made the comment that their harvest has been going slow due to break downs. Well that's not the reason our harvest is going slow, but we have had a few and they sure don't help things! 

Well about 10 minutes into our first field this happens...

There is suppose to another snout on the end of that header. This is the brand new header and this was the first time that it was ever used and...

Caleb was the one driving...ouch!

The automatic header height wasn't working just right and Caleb was unloading on the go and going really fast and was going over a terrace (the only one in the field)....oops.

The only good thing about it was that I was actually at the parts store getting Chester's birthday present when this happened so I didn't have to make a special trip for it. ;)

As you can see Caleb had some "good help" when fixing it.

Caleb has complained to me that Chester sometimes gets in his way and things take longer when he is around....hmmm really I didn't know that. ;)  But he does love having him around.

Thankfully it didn't take them to terribly long to fix this and they were going again.

Well this wasn't the only mishap that we have had, yesterday I was taking Caleb lunch to the field and this happened.

Look closely at the front window.

Caleb was on the phone when it happened, so he's not really sure what happened. It wasn't muddy so the tires weren't throwing anything so it's kind of a mystery as to why this happened.

There was tons of small bits of glass that needed to be cleaned up.

 Since the corn was too wet to pick just yet, Caleb was hoping to get a lot of ground worked really fast so he could drill some wheat. 

Caleb's dad was able to get a new piece of glass ordered and on it's way and until it get's here they went and got a piece of plexiglass cut to fit and put it in there for now....really it will probably stay until the glass gets in and we get a rainy day to work on it. 

Breakdowns and accidents are boud to happen on farms, but as long as no one is hurt that's all that really matters! 

*all the combine pics were taken with my phone that's why they aren't as good of pics.

Hope ya'll have a GREAT weekend!!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

What's the Point

Our good truck....

also known as my truck...

Well it gets treated an awful lot like a farm truck.  I drive it everywhere. It's a 1/2 ton truck, so it's not really built for hard work like our other trucks, but it's got 4-wheel drive so I'm not afraid to take it places.

Ya see this piece here, well it belongs on the front of my truck. The point of it is unclear to me but that's where it goes.

Evidently it got ripped off some time last week and it took Caleb about 2-3 days before he noticed it was gone. I'm not sure that I ever would. When we did discover it was gone I knew which field it had to be in...there was a corn field I did a lot of driving through last week and sure enough I went back to look for it and there it was. A corn stalk had finally gotten a hold of it and ripped it off. 

For a short period I think Caleb was thinking about putting it back on if we found it, but I said there's no need. I like it better without it and if you put it back on it's just gonna get ripped off again. 

Truck aren't just for looks around here! 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sunday Drives

Almost every Sunday after we get our afternoon naps Caleb, Chester and I all load up and go look at the cattle and along the way we will stop at the crop fields and see how they are doing.

Chester loves these drives, cause he get to get out and be part of the action.

At this point in the year the corn has made, but the beans are still going, so Caleb is checking to see how the plants are doing and if there are any bugs that are causing problems and determine if we need to spray for them....Thankfully it's cooled down and the bugs aren't a problem.

Our little helper is bring us a sample of what he found while he was out looking at the beans. As long as he picking the beans in the field and staying away from mine that are in my garden then I don't care!

If you look close at these two pods you will notice 4 little bumps, those are the beans. We don't often find a lot of 4 bean pods on our beans, but Caleb was finding a bunch in this field and that made one farmer very happy.  

Caleb is showing Chester what the beans actually look like. They are tiny here but they have grown a lot since then and the longer the freeze holds off the bigger they will get and the more bushels they will produce!

While we are out and about we also do some checking to see if the corn is ready as well.  How we do that is go out and pick a few ears and shell all the corn off of it. 

You can tell a lot by just hand shelling the corn. The easier it shells off the cob the drier it is and the closer to being ready to harvest.  The more accurate way is by using a moisture's that little thing there by Caleb's hands.


How it works is you take the lid off and fill it with a sample of corn...if your lucky you will have a good helper for this part!

Then the lid is replaced...

And then you just choose what type of crop you are testing and let it do the rest.  

On this day the moisture was around 17-18% and dry corn is considered around 15%. You don't want to harvest it too wet because if you take it to the local elevator then you will get docked on the amount of money you get when you sell and if you put it into your own bin then you have to run fans to dry it down so it doesn't spoil.

Since harvest is so late this year we have been harvesting some wetter corn and taking the dock, because we need to get it out so we can get the ground worked back up and wheat planted.

These pics were from a few weeks ago and since then the corn has dried down between we have done some harvesting.

They were back at it again yesterday and they will be going today so I will give you some more harvest up-dates later.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Choppin' Silage

So usually my excuse for not getting a new post up is because I haven't had time to go through the pictures....

Well that wasn't the case here, I had these photos picked out and up-loaded on a post here for about a month now, I just never took the time to finish the post....grrrr

So about 4 weeks 5 weeks ago now, we harvested our first little bit of corn, but not how we usually do. We chopped this corn for silage that we feed to our calves.

It's not economical for most farmers to own their own silage chopping machine and trucks to haul it away with so this is something that we along with other farmers in the area hire done.

The guys that we have do our chopping are from northern Kansas but they travel from Texas to at least Nebraska....they may make it to the Dakota's but I can't remember. 

The way it works is you have this machine that is known as a chopper and it takes the whole corn plant...stalk, cob and all and chops it up into really small pieces.

Then it shoot's it into the silage truck.

And the haul it away to be bagged.  To keep from having much down time they have at least two trucks to each chopper.  This keeps the choppers moving and the truck drivers moving all the time.

When they are starting out they have the auger pointed strait back and shoot it into the trucks that way.

It's really just kinda luck if they actually get any into the truck when they do this.

Here's what the front of the machine looks like....those teeth are really mean looking.

So you take ears that look like this along with the corn stalks and leaves....pretty much every part of the plant above about 6 inches off the ground and it is chopped up.....

and ends up looking like this when it's done.

These two boys could ride with these guys all day!

And since they go so fast Caleb actually did stay with them so he could show them where they needed to go....Chester had to go home and eat dinner and take a nap other wise he would have stayed there too!

I don't remember what I was doing to say about this weed patch, but this is a low area in the field where the down pour of rains in the spring drowned out the corn seed and it wasn't able to germinate and grow so instead of corn we go this nasty looking mess.

Chester sat and did some watching of the choppers with Papa for a while, before he got to load up and ride.

Once the silage has been bagged, then it is sealed up to keep out any more oxygen from getting in and left alone for about a month to ensile....which means it ferments and becomes all yummy and delicious (at least to the cattle and that's all that matters!) 

The key to a good ensile is making sure no oxygen can get into the bag cause if it does then it will spoil and rot you silage. Also when you are having you corn (or whatever you are turning into silage) chopped you have to make sure it's not too wet or to dry cause neither of those are good for the silage making process either. 

There is very much a science to making silage.

This is what the bags of silage look like when they are done. 

They make fun slides. 

Every once in a while you will find this guy having fun too!

This is what it looks like when it has been fully ensiled and is ready to feed to the cattle.

It usually takes about a week for the calves to get use to eating it, but once they do the love it and gobble it up very quickly.

Silage makes a great feed and it's a way to get some good out of corn that wasn't going to produce....but the better silage has big ears of corn chopped up in it too.

If you have any questions feel free to ask. I will try and do another post about feeding silage this winter when we are feeding it to our calves.