Making Hay
Week of November 17th, 2002 | The weather was cooling down.

Spreading composted manure.

Spreading composted manure.

Now that the harvest is done, we continue to do fix up jobs and other work around the farm to prepare for the winter season. It is cooling down. Some flurries fell while I was working on Saturday.

Sunday, Dad and I picked up 24 bales of beanstalks that were baled last Saturday. This is using up the stalks that are still on the ground in the harvested soybean field. These bales are good for bedding. Sunday evening, Mom, Dad, and I went to the 4-H County Awards Banquet. After we ate a filling meal, awards were presented to 4-H members for completing their record books. Project awards were also presented. I received a few awards for project areas I was signed up for and for completing my record book.

Monday, Dad cleaned the cattle yard and spread manure on a harvested barley field. The manure is good fertilization for the soil. We hope that the manure will help with growing a good corn crop next year. Also, Dad cleaned out the chicken house. Dad moved the chicken house on Tuesday. That was quite a project to do. We moved it so we could put in a better floor. Meanwhile, our new chickens are in an outdoor pen. If it gets too cold, we'll have to move the chickens into the barn. Also on Tuesday, Dad chopped three loads of cornstalks. Like the beanstalks, the corn stalks are being used for hog bedding.

Wednesday, Dad got ready to pour a cement floor for the chicken house. When I got home from school, I helped pour the cement. We also used some more cement for other small projects around the yard. One of those projects was pouring footings for a new bulk bin that we are going to put up when we have time. We have to finish the chicken house first. Thursday Dad moved all of the sows and their pigs into the cleaned and bedded hoop building. They were in the pasture all fall and it was getting too cold for them to do well. Some of the pigs were weaned from their mother because they are getting older and need to go on their own diet. I think the sows and little pigs like the corn stalks and corncobs and straw for bedding! The hoop building protects them from the cold weather.

Friday, Dad spread composted manure on one of the harvested barley fields. Dad had several problems, including a flat tire! He had a rock get stuck in one of the spreaders, as well. These kinds of problems can turn an otherwise good day into a long day. The next day you have twice as much to do. After school, I hauled manure until it got dark. Mom and Dad went to a dinner at Cedar Falls Friday night after Mom got off work. The dinner included locally grown food. They attended in order to support a friend of theirs who has been working very hard to reach out to institutes and individuals to buy local food. He's been working very hard with city and county officials to encourage them to support this project. A slide show followed the dinner highlighting producers and local food systems across the country.

Saturday, Dad and I finished spreading manure on the field. Then, we took the loader off of the John Deere 7405 tractor and hitched the plow to that tractor. I plowed over half of the field. After that, I got pretty tired and cold. Then, Dad plowed the other half. He didn't quite get all of it done. We have about another hour worth of plowing to do in that field and it will be done. Dad also worked on the chicken building. Mom didn't have to work at the store Saturday, so she cleaned the garage all afternoon. It needed it!

Farm Fact: In the picture above, you can see a lot of gray smoke coming out of the manure spreader. That gray smoke is steam. We mix eggshells in our composted manure that we receive free from a local egg-breaking factory. The eggshells contain a high amount of nutrients and we are hoping for an even better corn crop next year, as a result.

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