Making Hay
Week of April 21st, 2002 | The weather was 90 degrees.

I am plowing the hay field.

I am plowing the hay field.

Hello! The temperatures were above normal at the beginning of the week. It reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit! What a turn around though! We ended up with cold temperatures at the end of the week with cold weather predicted over the weekend and into this coming week. Even a bit of snow predicted!

Monday, Dad spread manure in a hay field that will be plowed up for corn this year. The manure came out of the compost pile. It is spread for fertilizer. We haul about two large loads per acre. I helped after school. Since we now have two spreaders, the hauling goes a lot faster with two people. We finished this operation on Tuesday. When we work together we can haul 8 loads per hour. Some of the manure from the compost pile dad put in the garden for mom.

Wednesday, Dad plowed that hay field we just finished spreading manure on. I plowed after school. Plowing can be a long, boring job, but it is fun with a four-wheel-drive tractor!

After Dad finished plowing the hay field on Thursday, he had to do maintenance work on the plow. I came outside to help. Dad taught me how to do something different in the shop I had never done before. Since Dad recently purchased a welding helmet, he taught me how to weld! It is fun! That night, I welded together my very first two pieces of metal! I have learned how to weld the alphabet on a piece of metal! You can learn enough of the very basic skills of welding in a few hours. Who knows what crazy looking thing I may weld someday? I sure am looking forward to doing more!

Friday, Dad weaned 10 sows from their pigs and moved them to a different hog floor. That night, I went to the middle school junior high dance.

Saturday, I participated in a speech contest at school. I didn't receive the outstanding award, but I still had fun. The eighth graders held a bake sale for our class trip. After the bake sale, Dad picked me up. My friend came with me to stay for the weekend. Saturday afternoon, Dad, my friend, and I picked rock in about 45 acres of barley. This is about 2/3 of the barley crop.

Saturday night, Mom, Dad, my friend, and I went to Jolene's last play at high school. This play was with a cast of about a dozen people. It was really good.

During the day on Saturday, we had three new calves. This makes a total of 6 calves for the year. It is a little early, but the calves will survive.

Since we spread manure earlier this week, I thought I'd share some differences between our manure handling and large confinement manure handling. Some factory farms haul manure 20-30 miles away from the site! We don't go over 1 mile from our hog floors or hoop buildings. Large confinement liquid spreaders, when loaded, can weigh as much as 100,000 lbs. and can destroy roads. Our spreader, at the most, would weigh 18,000 lbs. This does not include the weights of the tractors that pull it. Liquid manure has a much stronger and putrid odor than composted manure.

New Hampton residents are still protesting about the proposed factory farm. There have been meetings, more signs hung up, and a lot of discussion. Concerned citizens met with the County Board of Health and they refused to do anything. I think that's awful.

Farm Fact: Do you know when and why Earth Day was started? April 22, 1970 was the first year Earth Day was celebrated. On Earth Day thousands of people marched in big parades and carried signs, chanting about saving the earth. Many of the problems that existed back in the '70's came down to one thing - pollution. There was concern about industrial pollution, car exhausts, paints, global warming, garbage thrown away, acid rain, and so much more. Since Monday is Earth Day, I thought I would share with you some ways to help protect the Earth. We have always been planting and taking care of trees. Trees can help give oxygen to the environment. Plant a tree in your yard. Another way to help is to recycle. Recycle as much plastic or any recyclable as possible. This helps very much. Clean up ditches or participate in the Adopt-A-Highway program. Save as much water, electricity, paper, heat, food, fuel, or any source of power or energy. Saving water is a major part because you need water to live. Electricity and heat saving cuts down on your cost. Saving paper saves trees. Save fuel to pollute less. Walk or ride a bicycle, if possible. Maybe car-pooling is an alternative. If you farm, be concerned about how you care for your land and animals. What kind of farm chemicals are you using? Are you contaminating your water streams near your fields? Are you raising your animals properly with distributing their manure correctly? All of these ideas do not have to be done just on Earth Day, but every day. Visit your local extension office to find out more information about Earth Day.

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