Just like last week, the weather is cooling down a bit. More repair projects continue. Our neighbors are starting to harvest their soybeans and corn, but since we planted our crops later than they, we won't be in the field harvesting for about another week or two.
A few weeks ago Dad sold our silo. On Monday a crew came and began to dismantle the structure. They finished on Tuesday. A silo is a vertical cement building to store forages or grains. We haven't used the silo since 1994 and do not plan on using it in the future. It is better to sell it now before its value goes down. In the picture above, you can see the silo coming apart. On Monday, they removed the ladder going up to the top, the roof, the weather vane, the doors, electrical outlets and lights. They installed a scaffold inside the silo to work on. On Tuesday, they took the wall down. The wall is made of cement blocks. The crew poured sand around the silo 2-3 feet deep. Then, a guy at the top of the silo wiggles the cement block loose and drops it into the sand pile. The sand can take the block's impact. This keeps the block from cracking. When the sand pile is full of fallen blocks, the crew at the bottom starts taking the blocks and stacking them on piles. These piles were than loaded on a trailer with our tractor and loader. It is fun to watch the blocks fall and hit the sand. Sometimes, the sand will splatter. Some blocks will fall into the sand vertical- like a tombstone! It was fun to watch them take the silo down. I learned one thing! If a guy at the top of the silo yells, don't look up. RUN!!! This means that he is going to drop something down. You don't want to get hit down below! You have to be very careful around a silo when it is being torn down. It sure made the farm look different with the silo gone!
Through out the whole week, Dad has been preparing the ear-corn-picker for harvest. I have helped when I could after school. We washed the windows on the cab, fixed the lights, cleaned the inside of the cab, and fixed anything that was broken. One of the major jobs was replacing the rubber cleaning rollers. These rubber-cleaning rollers remove the outside husks from the ears after they are removed from the plants.
Wednesday, Dad sold 5 hogs. Also on Wednesday, I took a field trip to Alleman, Iowa, for school. Here, my classmates and I saw the Farm Progress Show. This is a major farm show showing farmers and other viewers what's new and best for them. I wasn't really impressed with the show because it was more geared toward the large-scale farmers, not small family farmers like Dad and I. It didn't even have anything on livestock. The show highlighted large-scale grain farm equipment. When I first walked in to the large park with many demo tents, I thought it would be like a State Fair. I found a lot of tents with cars, trucks, ATV's, tractors, and field implements- like discs, field cultivators, etc. I expected a lot more than that. I still had some fun because there was a lot of food stands! Even popcorn and water was given out for free!
Thursday, Dad went up to LaFarge, Wisconsin, (home of the Organic Valley offices) for an Organic Valley Meat Pool meeting. Here, Dad and the rest of the Organic Valley Pork farmers discuss the sales and management strategies for the coop.
It was Homecoming Week at school. We had dress-up days (like pajama day, dress-up day, Armed Forces day, patriotic day, school's colors day). We also had many activities, pep rallies, and contests to celebrate homecoming. Friday night was the homecoming football game. I was in the band playing songs. For every touchdown, we played the school song. We won our game, 40-0! I also played in the band while the Homecoming King and Queen was crowned.
Saturday, Dad and I fixed some fences on our farm. We also built a new fence. Remember a couple weeks ago when Dad and I filled the ditch next to our hoop buildings? Well, Dad and I built a nice fence along the side of that ditch so we can have livestock graze the grass near the hoop buildings. We constructed a barbwire fence to protect our stock.
Farm Fact: About 20 years ago, the farm was mostly planted to corn. At that time we used the silo to store the grain. Since we've been organic, with a crop rotation and a cowherd as part of our livestock, we have diverse crops planted. Today, the farm is planted to less than 20% corn. We do not need as much storage for grains.