Making Hay
Week of November 10th, 2002 | The weather was warming up.

Bedding the cleaned hoop building.

Bedding the cleaned hoop building.

It's November now, but the weather is warming up! Now since our corn harvest is done, we are busy catching up on other work.

Sunday, Dad, Sammy, and I sold 22 hogs. Sammy has been great help lately. She now has learned how to move all the sorted small hogs back into the hoop building by herself! Dad and I just stand back, let Sammy do her work, and close the gates. It is really amazing!

Monday night, Mom and Dad went to Parent-Teacher Conferences at school. I had good reports from all my teachers. I am doing well at school; of course, there's always room for improvement in some of my classes. Mom and Dad were pleased with my grades and the teacher's comments. I really like my school, the teachers, and I have some really great classes I'm taking this year. High school is fun. It snowed on Tuesday. After there was 2 inches on the ground, the weather warmed up and melted it all. This makes Dad happy. Dad wants November to be warm and sunny so he can keep sows out in the pasture longer. Dad doesn't want any snow because snow makes chores harder to do. Also on Tuesday, Dad sold 2 hogs to some friends for local market. They enjoy our meat.

Wednesday morning, Dad sold 5 hogs. He transported them to Charles City with the truck and livestock trailer. After that, Dad went to St. Ansgar to pick up premix. After Dad got back home, he and our custom operator shelled a few loads of ear corn. Remember last week when we finished our corn harvest with three extra loads of corn?

Wednesday evening, Dad went to a farm near St. Lucas, Iowa, to buy some young laying hens. These new chickens will replace our old ones. Dad placed the 15 chickens in an outdoor pen in the yard. Having these new pullets sure made Sammy excited and we had to see that she could not get into their pen. Dad will be replacing the floor to our chicken house next week. The floor in it is in need of replacement.

Thursday, Dad spent all day at a pork pool meeting at the Organic Valley home office in LaFarge, Wisconsin. The pork pool members discussed balancing the need for hogs, and the need for new pork pool members. Sales have improved this year. Dairy sales have had the greatest increase and the new Organic Valley Eggnog is being rationed due to the demand. Do you remember my comment about the eggnog last week?

I did not have school on Friday. There was a teacher in-service meeting plus the end of first quarter for school. Dad and I cleaned out a hoop building. We spread the manure on a harvested barley field. The manure spreader broke down. It took a few hours and only 24 dollars to fix it! Usually a break down can cost a lot of money. After the spreader was fixed, Dad and I finished cleaning the hoop building out. That evening, Dad chopped a load of cornstalks. After the corn is harvested, the field is full of the stalks, or the bottom part of the corn plant. We have a machine that chops the stalks off and throws it into a wagon being pulled behind the machine. The chopped stalks are dumped into a clean hoop building for hog bedding. The hogs really enjoy that! We use a lot of bedding in a year and the cornstalks boost our supply.

Saturday morning, I went to a 4-H meeting. The club and I discussed Christmas activities for our next meeting. Also, I became the new Alta Vista Aces 4-H Club Treasurer. I take care of all the bills and the money the club has. After the meeting, Dad and I built a wooden ladder. I added some design improvements that made the ladder safer and more comfortable for someone to use barefoot. Jolene needed one for her dorm room at University of Northern Iowa. This ladder will be used to get up to her loft bed. I like working with wood and found this project fun to do. This ladder was a great early Christmas present. We assembled the ladder up in her dorm room Saturday afternoon. While Mom, Dad, and I were down there with Jolene, we went to the UNI Panthers football game. The Panthers lost, 35-12. After the game, we went back home.

Farm Fact: When Dad and I were cleaning out the hoop building on Friday; we found dry corncobs on the bottom of the bedding pack. We put corncobs at the bottom when we bedded it up after last time's cleaning. This means that the bedding at the top sucked up all the manure and did not run down to the bottom. This also means that we are doing the right thing by adding so much bedding. If we did not bed the hoop building up, the manure will run all over and create a big mess. The hogs would have a wet sleeping area and that is not healthy for them.

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