Making Hay
Week of December 12th, 2004 | The weather was cold and sunny.

Combine with a four-row head.

Combine with a four-row head.

Hello, farm friends!
This week I have a story from Lindy, who lives on an Organic Valley farm in Nebraska.
Merry Christmas! Sincerely, James

Hi Farm Friends, Lindy here.

Fall is always a busy time on our organic farm. We harvest corn and beans during the fall, using our New Holland combine (in the photo). My Dad and brothers do most of the combining and hauling. Soybeans are harvested first, using a small-grain head on the combine. Then, for the corn harvest, we put a four-row head on the front of the combine. This process takes a while, so it's important to get an early start. This year we are truly blessed with a safe and plentiful harvest.

We also cut and pick up wood in the fall, to fuel the wood furnace we use to heat the house. Heating with wood saves us about $100 a month. I love the smell of wood fire, and the puffs of smoke in the winter air are cute!

We usually think of planting as springtime work, but here on the farm we plant rye in the fall. The method we use to plant the rye is called "drilling." Rye is a small grain, which people eat in cereals and breads. The rye plant also makes a great cover crop, protecting the ground so the wind does not blow the sandy soil away. This year, I did my share of planting rye.

By late fall, Mom and I have all our canning and freezing done. We have three gardens in the growing season, and we try to stock up as much food as we can for the winter. This provides us with tasty fruit and vegetables in the winter, and saves us money, because we don't have to buy much. We can beets, green beans, tomato juice, sauerkraut, pickles, salsa, and fruit jam. We freeze beets, corn, celery, red peppers, cabbage, green beans, and greens. We also put some foods in the root cellar. Potatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes keep well in the cool cellar. Of course, all these foods are grown organically and are the best of foods. Since we grow organic crops, it only makes sense for us to eat organically. We are blessed with good food all year - and good health! I very rarely get sick, and I've never had a cavity in my teeth.

Another big job for the fall is cleaning the house. We wash windows and clean the rooms up for winter. We have a big house, and we like to do a thorough cleaning to welcome the new year.

Farm Fact: Rye is used as winter cover crop because it quickly covers the ground to hold the soil in place. The deep roots of the rye plant help to keep the soil loose and help the plant find and recover nutrients in the soil that other plants can't reach. Cover cropping with rye is also a natural way to help control weeds.

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