Making Hay
Week of August 29th, 2004 | The weather was cool and rainy.

Our fifth hoop building.

Our fifth hoop building.

Hello friends! In August we had record cold temperatures. We need a good warm September and October so the corn can finish growing.

This past month, Dad and I continued working on the hoop-building project. We finished pouring all the cement walls and pads. After the cementing job was done, we finished one of the walls and put on the mounting plates. These mounting plates are part of the hoop-building package. They hold the framing to the posts. The day after all the mounting plates were installed, Dad, Jolene, and I put the framing up. This framing consists of many curved pipes, pipe connectors, and small, short straight pipes. It takes a lot of work to put this up. I spent a few hours in the loader bucket assembling the top, while Jolene and Dad were assembling the sides. (Even though Jolene was working all summer on campus in Cedar Falls, she was able to come home when needed to help out with different projects, including the hoop building. Classes have started for her now. Dad will miss her help.)

The framework took almost a whole day. The next day, we had some more help to put the canvas top on. First, we had to slide the pipes in the pockets that hold the tarp to the posts. Then, we threw ropes over the pipe frame to pull the tarp over. It took six people to pull this over (Dad, Mom, Jolene, myself, and two of my friends). Once the tarp was over, we had to straighten it and latch it tight. Next, we had to attach the arched ends. All of the lacing and tying of the tarp took about two hours to complete.

Dad has been working on the doors of the hoop building the past week. Now that school has started, I'm not able to help as much with the project and other activities on the farm.

This year, I am in eleventh grade. I am taking a variety of different classes, including, Agricultural Mechanics, Theater, Advanced Algebra, Religion, American History, American Literature, Construction & Carpentry, and Band. I am also involved with FFA, Chieftain school newspaper editor, and other extra curricular activities at school.

Prior to school starting, Mom, Dad, and I took a few days off from our busy schedule to vacation at Wisconsin Dells. It was really nice to get away from the work and enjoy a little relaxation. My favorite was riding in the duck boats and getting splashed in the water. We had a boat tour of the Upper Dells, played some miniature golf, went to a Water Show, and done some swimming. On the way home we went to the new building site of Organic Valley headquarters. Mom couldn't join us at the Grand Opening on July 31st, so we wanted to show her what it looks like so far. Construction workers were busy working in the interior. It looks great so far.

With all of our rains this past month, we have not yet finished second crop hay. Hopefully the weather will straighten out, and the hay will get baled by the end of the week.

Farm Fact: The new hoop building is designed to feed sows and house them in a humane fashion. The sows will live in a bedded pen but they will be in separate pens when they eat. This will ensure that each sow gets the correct amount of feed each day.

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