Making Hay
Week of January 18th, 2004 | The weather was icy .

Meeting Howard Dean.

Meeting Howard Dean.

Hi. The temperatures rose this week, but on Saturday, we woke up with very icy conditions.

I recently met presidential candidate Howard Dean at a restaurant in New Hampton. He was campaigning prior to the Iowa Caucus. I asked him a few questions and shook hands with him. He shared his concerns and interests about the working middle class people, organic food, and family farms. Our family even had a photo taken with him!

I was busy at school this past week with semester tests and after school practices for Readers Theater. I am involved with this for Large Group Speech Competition, which will be held Saturday, January 24th. Parent's Night is this coming Thursday night.

This past week, Dad used a grain vacuum to load our grain truck with barley. The barley was rejected at the processing plant for having too much moisture in it. It had 14.3%, and the plant will only take 13.5% or below. You should have 14% or below moisture for storage in bins. We are having this organic barley dried at a farm near the processing plant.

Grain vacuums are used to clean out bins, granaries, or other storage places. Here is an example of how a grain vacuum works:

james journal pic

Diagram of a grain vacuum.

The arrows show the way that the grain flows. To the right, is the intake pipe. This pipe comes from the inside of the storage unit. It can even have a floor sweeper (in front of the grain vacuum in the picture). It is designed to clean floors. In the middle, is the turbine. This is like a giant fan. It sucks the air out of the intake pipes, which sucks material into those pipes. The grain falls to the bottom of the large barrel and is transported by auger into a wagon or truck. In order for the grain to fall into the auger, the vacuum has to have a chamber.

Like a vacuum cleaner in your house, this grain vacuum makes noise. Not a small, quiet noise, but a loud humming high-pitched noise. It is so loud that you have to use hand signals as communication. When working with this grain vacuum, it is VERY important to use hearing protection.

We rented this grain vacuum from our local elevator. A grain vacuum can cost about $25,000. (Photo and definition of grain vacuum is now in the glossary. Scroll to the top of this page and click on "Glossary of Farm Terms".)

On Saturday, my friend Ben, Dad, and I installed clearance lights on one of our feed trailers for the feed business. This modification was very similar to the lights we placed on the new trailer we built last summer. (Refer to journal entry 11/30/2003) At least the weather was warm on Saturday because most of the work requires no gloves!

A few weeks ago, we worked on the same trailer. We made it about ten inches taller than what it was.

Farm Fact: When air is removed from a unit of space, it is replaced by another substance. For example, liquid fills the place of air in a straw when drinking a soda. This same principle applies in a grain vacuum.

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