I hope you had a nice Easter! The weather has brought us spring conditions. It has warmed up, but we still have our March winds. It blew hard Friday and Saturday. As you read on, you'll find that we had a busy week in the fields. This is what I've been waiting for all winter!
Monday, Dad and Mom went to Albert Lea, Minnesota, to purchase barley, grass, and corn seeds at the Albert Lea Seed House. We purchase a lot of our seed there every year. This seed will be used for our organic crops. Mom also bought some garden seed and seed potatoes to plant in the garden. When Dad arrived home, he had a feed emergency! Dad bought a semi-truck load of soybean meal a month ago from Virginia and was suppose to be delivered in March. They had problems at the plant and the shipment was delayed for weeks. He bought soybean meal from another plant and he expected it here when he came home with the seed Monday evening. No meal was delivered during the day when they were gone. Dad tried to contact the plant, but they were closed! This was unimaginable! He couldn't believe it! Dad contacted our organic certification agency about this. They said NOT to use any non-organic soybean meal. Even though this is an important feed ingredient! Well, that's what we had to do. We ground feed without the protein so the hogs were not hungry. Tuesday afternoon the plant was reopened and we got a shipment of meal. This was the first time that we had such an outage.
Tuesday, Dad moved 17 sows and their litters of pigs out of the barn and into the hog floors. Having pigs in the barn for too long can cause health problems. They need to be outside in the fresh air.
Wednesday, Dad worked on chores all day long. Since we didn't have any snow days from school this winter, Jolene and I got out of school Wednesday and we will be on Spring Break until next Wednesday! After school that day, Dad and I went to our local sports shop and picked up our new ATV. We purchased it with a trade from last year's ATV. There's no difference with this ATV from the last one, except it's a 2002 model. I really like it and look forward to using it this summer.
Thursday, I plowed a field of cornstalks. This will be worked up and planted into barley. While I was plowing, Dad was assembling our drag harrow. He bought this a while ago from a sale yard. It came in pieces, so it had to be put together. After Dad and I were finished with chores, we took the John Deere 740 loader off of the John Deere 7405 tractor. Then, I worked ground in a past bean field with the tractor and the field cultivator. This will also go into barley.
Friday, I worked ground all day, but in other bean fields. These will also have barley planted in them. I woke up at 5:15 AM, ate breakfast, and went straight into the field and worked ground to prepare for planting all day. With the exception of coming home to eat dinner and supper, I was in the fields all day until 9:30 PM! That's 12 1/2 hours if you take two hours out for dinner and supper! While I was working ground, Dad got the grain drill ready for use. He started planting grass and barley Friday afternoon. As night grew nearer and I was still out in the fields, I turned my face to the East and saw something so spectacular rising up that I didn't know what it was! It was very large, and as orange as a real orange! Do you know what it was??!! I found out it was the moon! It usually isn't THIS orange, so I was going to get my camera, but then, it turned into a yellow orange and the picture wouldn't be as good. But for a short while, as the moon started rising above the horizon, it was so beautiful! I've never seen the moon that orange before. Dad saw it too. Dad had something very strange happen to him out in the field just as it was getting dark. As he drove across the field with the tractor, something fell down on him from above. It came down from the sky and brushed him over the top of his head and in front of his face. Dad wasn't sure what it was. He caught it as he drove the tractor. It was a helium balloon on a tied string! The message on the balloon was " you will be missed". This startled him! After a moment, he laughed and wondered how long and how far that traveled in the air! Noel sure loves playing with the balloon!
Dad and I did the same thing Saturday. Got up, ate breakfast, and headed for the fields. We worked all day. After the fields were cultivated with the field cultivator, I had to drag them to smooth the ground out. Then, Dad would plant. After he planted the whole field, I would go over it again with the drag. The second pass with the drag firms the soil around the seeds.
We are having more trouble with factory farms moving nearby. It was the cover story, front page, in our local newspaper this past week (more next week on this issue).
Farm Fact: One acre of barley produces enough grain to plant 35 acres. An acre of oats will plant 25 acres. One soybean acre can produce enough seed to plant 35 acres. An acre of seed corn will plant 60 acres.