Making Hay
Week of May 11th, 2003 | The weather was a lot of rain & winds.

Bulk bin for more feed storage.

Bulk bin for more feed storage.

What a week! We had poor weather all week- had a lot of rain, winds, and cold temperatures. Dad is still feeding the cows hay. Most years the grass is growing and we can stop feeding hay by now.

Sunday, it rained all day. It was a great time to catch up on my sleep. Dad took a good nap, too. Mom, on the other hand, was busy all day. She is on the committee for the annual Alta Vista Day celebration, which is June 7th. A lot of plans and preparations are involved with putting on a celebration for the community. In the afternoon, she helped with painting signs for advertising and for the parade. They also had a committee meeting. In the evening, the three of us played a couple of games of Scrabble. Mom won both times. She loves the game and is good at it. She always wins!

On Monday and Tuesday, Dad repaired and installed a bulk bin that can hold seven and a half tons. You can see this bulk bin in the picture. We bought this storage bin last year. We need more bulk bins for feed storage since our feed business is now offering more different kinds of products. I helped Dad after school on Monday with this project.

A reader e-mailed me a question a couple of weeks ago. The reader asked how I could keep up with helping Dad on the farm, yet keep up with my homework and other school related activities. Well, it is very hard to do. I do not have specific chores that I have to do everyday. Dad does all of the chores during the week and I help him out whenever I have time to do so. I stay busy during study halls at school, (use my time wisely) and I do a lot of homework after school or on weekends. I help Dad on Saturdays and do my homework and write my weekly journal on Sundays. I usually watch only about an hour of television each day and that includes the news. I do not have that much free time. I do not have much time to play computer games or watch movies. We do not believe in working on Sundays, but sometimes we are forced to do some work, for example, sort and sell hogs for market. I wake up at 6:30 each morning and go to bed about 10:00 each night. I often read for a short while before going to sleep. With my long, active days, I sleep well each night! I have more time to help on the farm when there is no school or during the summer. That's when I really help a lot with fieldwork, chores, and other yard work. I still manage to have time to do other activities like 4-H, FFA, band, etc. I wonder what life is like to live in a town or even a big city. I bet someone my age, living in town, has a lot different list of activities that he or she does in a day than I.

Also on Tuesday, Dad put four sows and about 50 piglets in a pasture. These sows and pigs came from the neighbor's farm where we had taken them before they farrowed. Ten of those piglets were weaned and are on their own pig starter feed now.

Dad, my dog Sammy, and I sorted and sold 5 market hogs and 2 old sows on Wednesday. I was able to help Dad that morning because I had a late start for school due to teacher in-service.

Thursday, Dad worked on chores, including, taking care of newly born calves. We have many new calves now and some of the calves need extra attention. The weather lately has not helped with trying to raise calves. They don't like the cold, wet weather. Some of the calves needed help to teach them to nurse from their mothers. We have not had this problem for years. Also on Thursday, Dad took five hogs to a local locker to supply pork for some neighboring pork customers and for our own use. Some of these hogs had poor legs and they were living in a separate pen.

Friday, Dad started digging and forming a foundation for another bulk bin that we are putting up for more feed storage. I helped Dad after school getting the cement guide walls laid out so we can pour cement for the foundation. We dug the holes for pillars on Saturday. This bin will hold the contents of an entire straight truck. None of our other bins come close to this in capacity.

On Saturday morning, I had my first driver's education class. I am taking the summer course so I can have a school permit for this fall. After the class, Dad drove me to the 4-H meeting. I was a little late and after the meeting, my club and I cleaned ditches for Adopt-A-Highway project our club does twice a year.

In the afternoon, Dad and I rearranged the grainary. It was a mess because the high-speed winds blew rain inside of the door and that created a lot of mud. Also, I helped Dad rearrange the pallets of bagged feed. We can now fit eight pallets of feed inside of the grainary instead of four. Pallets are wooden frames that are used for shipping and moving heavy items. We place tote bags and stack 50-pound bags of feed on pallets for our feed business. Pallets are usually 40 inches by 48 inches wide, and 4 inches tall. Also, on Saturday, we purchased seven new sows. They will be bred in late May and will have their pigs this September.

Farm Fact: Organic farmers, like ourselves, have to wait for the right conditions to plant their row crops. We do not have the use of chemicals to control weeds and the soil must be right before we can plant. Most of the chemical corn was planted two weeks ago and the only way that those crops are protected from weeds with all of the wet weather we have had is with chemical herbicides. We hope and pray that a good time to plant organic row crops will come in the next week.

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