Making Hay
Week of December 1st, 2002 | The weather was cold. Temperatures continued to drop.

Experimental outdoor nursery.

Experimental outdoor nursery.

Hi! Our temperatures continued to drop through the week. Dad already put the heat houser on the John Deere 7405 tractor. A heat houser is like a winter coat for tractors. It covers the engine. The engine can keep the operator warm.

Sunday, Dad, Sammy, and I sold 35 hogs. Sammy, as always, was very helpful. After selling hogs, I gave her some dog treats. She gets treats when she does a good job.

We ran into a problem on Sunday. We had some sows that were ready to farrow. Dad said that we couldn't wait another day. Sunday, our day-off, turned into a workday. Dad and I moved 10 sows into the North-farrowing barn even though it was not ready for sows. The huts were in, but not bedded, the water fountain had to be fixed, and we had to put the electric hoovers in the huts. We got all these jobs done, accept the electric hoovers. Dad worked on them throughout the week. Dad and I put more huts and sows in another barn room that night, too. We're glad we did this because 19 sows farrowed by the end of the week. Monday, Dad went to a sale at a nearby sale yard. Dad didn't find anything he was interested in, so he went home. He then fixed a water fountain near the sow lot and where the silo used to be located. Dad had to get electricity to the water fountain so the heater will run. We don't want the fountain to freeze! This was quite a project because after selling the silo, we had no electric line left. Dad had to bury a new line. This took the next few days to complete.

Tuesday evening, Dad had to make a trip to Alta Vista for some parts. While Dad was gone we had an unexpected visitor. He is a Mennonite that lives near us and he has dairy cows. He ran out of protein when he ground feed and needed more right away. I loaded his wagon while Dad was away for parts. The milk he produces is sent to Organic Valley. He really likes Organic Valley because he gets a good price for his milk. The organic pay price helps his family stay on the land. He is the first dairy farmer in our community to send milk to Organic Valley. His milk goes to the Chaseburg butter factory. When we use organic butter we think of his farm.

Jess and Jolene came home during the week for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday night, Jess, Jolene, Mom, Dad, and I went to St. Lucas where my grandparents live. All my relatives and I ate supper at a restaurant. We were celebrating Grandpa and Grandma's 52nd wedding anniversary, Grandma's 75th birthday, and of course, Thanksgiving.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. Grandpa and Grandma came to our home to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. Mom made a great meal. I helped set the table. We had turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, cranberries, and baked bread. (The potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes were all grown in our garden this summer.) We even had a little bit of the Organic Valley Eggnog! Jess, Jolene, Grandpa and Grandma had not tried it yet, so they tasted it and really liked it! I can't wait until Christmas when we have a lot of eggnog to drink! For dessert we had pumpkin, pecan, and peach pie. What a day!!! I ate way too much! In the afternoon, after Grandpa and Grandma left, the five of us played a card game, which was fun. That night, my sisters and I went to a movie.

I didn't have school on Friday. Dad and I experimented in building an outdoor nursery pen for the pigs. The pen is layered with eggshells about a foot deep. Green chopped hay was placed on top of the packed shells and sow huts are placed on top of the hay. We need another pen that is warm for sows. Eggshells have a lot of energy in it. It should give off much heat. The hay is used for both heat and bedding and the sow huts are for shelter. The pigs are able to run outside where the water fountain is that Dad fixed earlier this week. I hope this heated pen will work.

Also on Friday, Dad and I moved 10 huts in our last empty barn room. We never had this many huts in the barn room before. Last winter, Dad built two new sow huts that are a little shorter so we could fit more huts in the barn. Dad and I moved 5 sows into the new heated pen on Saturday. Saturday night the five of us went to a Lorie Line concert in Rochester, Minnesota. It was really good.

Farm Fact: A dump truck load of eggshells maintains a temperature of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. We found the same temperature inside the huts the day after we placed them on the shells and wet hay. What we do not know is how long they will stay this warm.

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