Making Hay
Week of July 28th, 2002 | The weather was weird all week .

Combining the barley.

Combining the barley.

What a weird week for weather! Wednesday and Thursday were very hard days to decide if we were going to bale hay and straw or not. That's because it looked like it was going to rain, but afterwards, the sun came out. Then it looked like rain again, and the sun came out! This happened all day long!

After I returned from the great Kickapoo Getaway (Organic Valley festival), my legs were VERY sunburned from canoeing down the Kickapoo River. It was very hard to even walk. By the end of the week I was better. I even used sunscreen, but it was a very hot day.

Sunday evening, our custom combine operator came to harvest the barley off of the stems. This is the time when we can unload the barley grain into the bin. The straw is repiled on another windrow to be baled into straw bales for livestock bedding on our farm. We even used some for Sammy's bedding for her doghouse, too!

We spent the first part of the week combining barley. Any free time I had, I was inside of the combine riding with the operator. There were two seats - one for the operator and one for an observer. It was VERY cozy in a brand new 9510 John Deere combine! The cab was big. There was air/heat, windshield wipers with washing fluid, many big lights for the night, radio, the many controllers and the steering wheel, cup holders, mirrors (to see the side and the behind of the combine), and lots more including Green Star. Green Star is a little computer inside of the cab that figures out the yield of the field (how many bushels you have per acre), the moisture of the grain, how many acres the combine has gone over, and the total number of how many bushels you've harvested. This is really helpful. The yield of our barley was about 80 bushels per acre - really good. This means that we had a successful year for the barley. We filled two grain bins with the barley that was harvested!

After we finished that on Wednesday, Dad and I tried to rake some hay we cut and the straw from the combine. We couldn't really bale because we didn't know if it was going to rain or not. Rain is not good on bales of hay and straw. Raking it would be a waste of time if it were going to rain. Our custom baler came out to try baling, but didn't like the weather either, so we quit baling until another day.

So in the spare time, Dad and I cut a doorway in our straw shed. Now, we have four doors, but will probably use the two on the west side. We can park wagons and machinery easier with two doors. We can store more bales of straw with two doors. We're not sure about building a door or a cover to the hole because we have many trees nearby to protect it from snow and rain. This new opening will be very helpful.

The crops are growing really well. The corn plant is about 7 feet tall, soybean plant is about 2-3 feet tall, hay is about the same as the soybeans, and the barley is cut! Before we cut it, it was about 3 feet tall. This is average height for barley before it gets cut. Before you know it, we will be out there harvesting more crops


Friday, we baled some of the straw (custom baled). I'm typing my journal on Friday because tonight we are leaving for a friend?s wedding in Wisconsin. We are traveling across the state and it is in a town that borders Lake Michigan. Mom, Dad, and I are planning on staying a few days for vacation. My friend is also invited to the wedding. He will join us for a few days and go back home with us. I'm looking forward to our vacation. We're coming back home Tuesday. I hope we get a chance to do some fishing!

Farm Fact: We have custom baling and custom combining because we run a small farm. It is not practical to invest in a combine for the amount of acres we own.

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