Making Hay
Week of April 13th, 2003 | The weather was a freak snowstorm.

A welder at work

A welder at work

Hello everyone. What a week to remember. The media has kept us very informed of day-to-day happenings with the Iraq War. I pray for peace and that our troops will be home soon.

In last week's journal, I reported how the weather started out really nice. By the end of the week it started to change. Well, on Monday, we had a freak 8-inch snowstorm! School was cancelled for that day.

I was supposed to go down to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa State FFA Convention, but we could not make it down there. Instead, I helped Dad. We started fixing a cattle feeder since the cowherd moved home last week. The cows can break many things!

Also that day, I worked on a welding project in the shop. In the picture above, you can see me welding a little four-wheel cart together. I built a welding cart so we can move the welder around the shop easily. I also built an extended end on the front so you can store the cables. Since two of the wheels are smaller than the other two, the cart has a little angle to it. Even though it has an angle, it is much easier to read the amperage on the front of the welder because it is tipped upward. I enjoyed doing this project.

Tuesday, our weather started improving. At least the roads were clear enough for traveling. Some of the members from the New Hampton FFA Chapter and I went to Ames for the remainder of the two-day State FFA Convention. At the convention, I viewed exhibits that other FFA chapters from around the state brought to share. They were large exhibit boards with pictures and information of major activities that the chapter had done during the past year. There were also some exhibits that were about scientific experiments they conducted. Our school exhibit was on Safety Day Camp that our chapter hosted. There were over four thousand Iowa FFA Members in attendance. We all participated in sessions listening to guest speakers from across the state and watched the 2003-2004 Iowa State FFA Officers conduct a meeting using Parliamentary Procedure. I was very impressed. The whole day was fun! I can't wait until next year!

While I was gone all day at the convention, Dad sold 5 hogs and 3 old sows. The three sows that we sold will be replaced with new ones so our sow herd won't go down in numbers.

Dad finished fixing the cattle feeder on Wednesday. He also repaired some gates on the hog floors. During the day, ten graduate college students from UNI (University of Northern Iowa) visited our farm. They wanted a lot of information about Organic Valley and the food our coop produces. They were very interested in our livestock farm.

Dad moved sows out of a hoop building on Thursday. He left their piglets in the building because it was time to wean them (separate from the mother). They can live on their own now. After school that day, I helped Dad sort a hoop building of pigs. We sorted out the small ones. This way, the big pigs won't fight with the little ones. We sorted about 240 small pigs.

The organic feed business has been growing. Dad spent all day Friday hauling and grinding material for feed. That night, Mom and I went to the high school's Night of One-Acts. There were four one-act plays presented. They were really good and very funny! I had a good time.

Mom, Dad, and I went to Viroqua, Wisconsin, on Saturday, for the Organic Valley Annual Meeting. At the meeting, we found out information of how much Organic Valley accomplished last year in sales, profit, marketing, etc. Organic Valley hit a record level of sales. They also reached many goals and we are proud of what they all did. We had a delicious lunch with Organic Valley food. After the meeting, we went to the home office in LaFarge to purchase some Organic Valley products and to pick up a very special gift. In the 12/29/2002 journal entry, I mentioned about receiving a Christmas present from Organic Valley. On Saturday, we picked up my present - a Mac computer and a digital camcorder. With these tools, I plan to make short movies for my journal. Soon, you will be able to view these short movies and learn how we do things around the farm. Can't wait until you see them! Thank you, Organic Valley!!!!

Farm Fact: Two-thirds of the barley that we are planting this spring is our own organic seed.

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