Making Hay
Week of April 28th, 2002 | The weather was cold with heavy winds.

Loading compost to be spread in field.

Loading compost to be spread in field.

I hope the weather will become warmer soon. It rained all day on Saturday. We received about 1inch of rain. We had cold temperatures and high winds all week. It is a nuisance!

Sunday, we got 1 inch of snow! We didn't worry much because it melted right away. Monday was Earth Day. We celebrated Earth Day by cleaning up the yard. Mom picked up branches off the lawn. Mom is waiting for a couple of apricot trees to plant that she ordered to go in the back yard with our other fruit trees. We also will plant other trees soon in our existing windbreaks in the field as replacements for some that did not grow from previous plantings.

Tuesday, Mom and I planted potatoes after school in our garden. I like to work in the garden as well as working in the field. Tuesday night, Dad and I went to a neighborhood meeting. This meeting is about the factory farm situation. As you may have read, a factory hog farm may be moving in our area and concerned citizens all around are protesting. They are putting up signs, signing petitions, discussing this with friends, meeting with our county supervisors and Board of Health, and taking other actions to prevent the building of this hog confinement. I have not seen anyone in our neighborhood saying yes to factory farms. Instead, I see them saying "No to Factory Farms. They are not welcomed." We are planning on making a sign and putting it up along the roadside in our yard.

Wednesday, Dad sold 2 sows and 5 hogs. After taking these hogs to Charles City, Iowa, he went to St. Ansgar, Iowa, to purchase 2 tons of premix. After he unloaded the premix at home, he moved 11 sows and their pigs from the north-farrowing barn to a hog floor. This is the last group in the farrowing barns.

On Thursday and Friday, Dad and I spread manure to a hay field. This hay field will be plowed up and planted to corn this year. After I got home from school Friday evening (about 4:00 PM), Dad and I hauled 36 loads of compost in 4 hours! We never were able to do that much, but now, we have two manure spreaders and a good loading tractor. We each loaded and hauled our own spreader loads.

Since it was raining on Saturday, Dad and I decided to work in the barn. We moved the last of the sow huts out of the farrowing barn. Then, we used a garden hose to wet the floor. We let the hose run for a few hours until the cement floor was really soaked. Then, we left it soak over the weekend. Next week we will clean out the last of the straw bedded manure. This is the easiest and best way of cleaning a cement floor in a barn.

Saturday morning, Mom drove out to Storm Lake, Iowa to visit Jess at Buena Vista University, where she goes to college, and attend an Academic Awards Banquet that evening. Jess was recognized for being in the Honors Program. Mom stayed overnight and will come home on Sunday. Saturday night, Dad and I attended a local concert that Jolene participated in. The local "Don't Quit Your Day Job" big band performed a variety of jazz, blues, and swing music. They also had a special guest performer as a part of the concert. It was really good!

Farm Fact: As you have read, we hauled a lot of compost this past week. Compost is the resulting product of the decaying of animal manures and plant materials. Our compost is made from a mixture of cow and hog manure and the straw we use for the bedding. We pile it up when we clean out the hoop building and the floors and let it decompose for about a year. We do not have to worry about any spills since the materials are all handled in a solid form. We have been doing this ever since our straw bedded facilities were built.

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