Making Hay
Week of September 22nd, 2002 | The weather was cooler. The fall is around the corner.

Harvesting our first hazelnut crop

Harvesting our first hazelnut crop

The week has gone by fast. The days are shorter and nights are longer. This gives us less time to work. The weather has been getting cooler, especially on Saturday. Fall is just around the corner. The last few nights, the moon has been just beautiful. We have been enjoying the harvest moon.

I've got some great news to share!!!! We had an article written about our organic pork production in Newsweek! The writer for the article was here on Friday the 13th, interviewing us all day. I stayed home from school because they wanted to visit with me, too. The next two days we had photo shoots on the farm. The photographer shot 20 rolls of film- about 700 pictures of Dad, Sammy, our hogs, and me. Some of the photography was done with him in our crate that fits in our loader bucket. I raised him 14 feet in the air and he took pictures of dad and Sammy doing chores. He and his assistant flew in from California just for this work. They also took a couple of pictures with Dad, Mom, and I, along with Sammy and Noel. Of course they didn't use all of the pictures. We were very excited about doing the article and very surprised when they asked us to be a part of this. The story is titled "The Tale of Two Hogs". There is a picture of hogs living in a factory farm building. They cannot move around because of how they are housed. Opposite of that page is a picture of me enjoying the sight of happy hogs in a deep-bedded facility on our family farm. If you read the article and look at the pictures, you can see what I mean when hogs are happy and not happy. You can also find out more information about how the two differently raised hogs are treated. The factory farm raises 250,000 hogs a year- all in confinement. We raise about 1000.

Monday, Dad fixed a fence in the pasture that the cowherd is in. This fence had to be fixed, or the cows could walk right into our bean field! The fence was damaged when a portable building of ours blew through it in a windstorm this past year.

Monday evening, Mom and Dad were picking hazelnuts south of our farm. We have about 500-600 hazel bushes that we planted in 1993. This is the first year that we picked the hazelnuts off of these bushes that are growing in the field. We have to clean them, too. Mom's been busy doing that. I also have been helping her. While mom and dad were picking, Dad happened to look up to the north and saw orange flames from a distance shooting up into the air. He yelled at Mom and pointed to the North. There was a fire! Mom first thought that it was our house on fire! After realizing it wasn't our house, they knew than that it was our neighbor's barn on fire. They quickly drove home and Mom came rushing into the house and told me. I was doing my homework. I was pretty shocked about it. Our neighbor had a crew redoing the roof of the barn that day. Luckily, no one was injured. After the local fire departments did what they could do, mainly control the fire from burning other nearby buildings, they asked us to drive our tractor with the loader up to the yard and help tear down part of the barn that was still standing and smoldering. This way, they could take the fire out quicker. Dad and I smelled like smoke for the next few days because of the intense fire. The barn burned completely down. There was no way they could save the barn. The neighbor had a lot of old hay stored in the barn, so the fire was very hot and spread fast. It is very scary to have a fire because you do not have any warnings and it happens very quickly. I thank the fire departments and all fire departments in the country for doing such a good service for us. Our local and area fire departments are all volunteer help and they did a good job and were very quick to respond, according to our neighbors. Tuesday, Dad finished fixing the fence he started on Monday. The fence is really nice and strong now. Also, dad fixed the John Deere 4020 tractor. There was an oil leak in it. Luckily, Dad found the leak before the tractor ran out of oil!

Wednesday, Dad fixed the manure spreader. The drive train was broken. The drive train is a conveyor that moves the manure to the back end of the spreader so it will go through the beaters and out on the land or compost pile. Also on Wednesday, Dad drove the John Deere 7405 tractor to our neighbor's place to help unload fence posts. Our neighbor does not have a good enough loader to do it himself.

While Dad was fixing the manure spreader on Thursday, my grandparents came to visit us. They were in the area and decided to stop by. We told them about our neighbor's barn fire and showed them our garden and pond. They were impressed with everything we did this summer to add to our landscaping of the yard and garden. They hadn't been here since Father's Day, so it was nice to see them. Grandma even brought treats for me. It's always great to get treats from Grandma


Friday, Dad finished fixing the manure spreader. Then, Dad and I started cleaning out an empty hoop building. On the average, it takes about 5 hours to clean out one hoop building and to re-bed it with corncobs, cornhusks, or straw and make a good pen for the hogs.

After Dad and I finished this project on Saturday, we moved about 175 hogs into the building from the hog floors. This makes the hog floor chores a lot easier to do. These hogs are about 2-3 months in age. They sure enjoyed their new nest of fresh barley straw.

Farm Fact: Have you ever thought about how farm animals sleep? Cows like to sleep standing up. We think that if a predator comes to attack, the cow is already standing and ready to escape. (Cows are prey - other animals hunt them). Pigs cuddle together and sleep in straw nests in groups. They like to keep themselves warm and comfortable. Chickens lie down and bury their head into their body. They naturally came from the jungle and are prey, just like cows. Sammy (our dog) just lies down and sleeps. Noel (our house cat) has many ways of sleeping! When it is hot out, he rolls over on his back so his belly cools off. When it is cold out, he cuddles together to keep warm. Sometimes, we place a blanket over him when it is really cold outside. Dad and I like to observe Noel's sleeping habits! He can be very funny to watch!

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