Making Hay
Week of July 21st, 2002 | The weather was becoming hotter everyday.

Dad cutting barley.

Dad cutting barley.

Hello everyone! The weather is becoming hotter everyday. I wonder how hot it will be next week! The barley is about to be harvested!

Dad and I started the week out by fixing the windrower. We got the parts back from a local repair shop that was off of the drive transmission. We put this drive in the windrower and finished repairing the other parts that were in need of attention. Dad and I also raked hay Monday morning, too.

Tuesday, the hay was baled while Dad and I built a canopy, or an umbrella, on the windrower. This will keep the operator in the shade. That evening, Dad and I tried out the windrower. We cut a small field of barley (about 2 acres). We thought it worked nice. Hopefully, we can get all of the barley cut without any problems.

Dad cut barley with the windrower on Wednesday after we sent 5 hogs to market. We finished on Thursday. If the conditions are good, we can cut 4 acres of barley in one hour. We had a little over 60 acres of barley to cut! That takes a long time! While Dad was cutting barley, I cleaned the shop up (it was a mess after fixing the windrower!).

Friday was inspection day. Every year, an organic inspector comes to our farm to look at the records and make sure that the farm is on track and complying with the many rules and regulations. Usually, it takes the whole day to get inspected. Friday, Dad had a different inspector and it took only about 2 1/2 hours! We were better prepared for this inspection and that saved some time. With the spare time in the afternoon, Dad and I cleaned and prepared the grain bin for the barley.

Saturday, Dad unloaded hulless oats and sold corn. The hulless oats was mixed together with corn and wheat. This is in one bin and will be a great mixture to grind up for hog feed.

I went with a couple of friends to the Organic Valley's annual festival- the Kickapoo Getaway on Saturday and Sunday (July 20-21). This was at LaFarge, Wisconsin, the home of Organic Valley. Dad and Mom couldn't come along because they had to sell hogs over the weekend. Saturday, the large group attending went on a field trip to an organic egg farm and an organic dairy farm. I learned a lot on both farms. I learned how the eggs are brought in from the chickens and I loved how the chickens were housed, yet still had an area free to run and be outdoors. At the dairy farm we viewed the cows in their stalls inside the barn. The cows are well behaved because of proper treatment given by the farmer. He explained how the cows are milked using organic standards. It was a very fun and educational day. I was very impressed.

That night, we went to a dance. There was a tent set up where the future home of the Organic Valley offices will be located. Right now, Organic Valley has offices all over LaFarge, Wisconsin, and they want it to be all together in one building. It's a very pretty place. At the dance, we had a delicious supper. There were 7 tables full of salads, pork (probably off of our farm), chicken, bread, fruits, vegetables, and much more! A lot of great tasting organic food! After the supper, we listened to the keynote speaker, Jim Hightower. Jim is very famous. He was a GREAT speaker. He even had his books for sale which he autographed. I had a lot of fun that night! The next days plans included breakfast and going canoeing down the famous Kickapoo River!

Farm Fact: Oats, wheat and barley are the main crops that are windrowed before they are combined. The cutting and lying of the plants in the field allows the grain to dry down to a moisture level so that when this grain is placed in storage it will not spoil. Soybeans will dry in the field on the plant and corn is dried in bins or on our farm in cribs after they are harvested.

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