Making Hay
Week of September 8th, 2002 | The weather was cooling down.

Using the post driver with the loader.

Using the post driver with the loader.

Hello everyone! The weather has cooled down a little now. Not too hot or too cold, and not too windy. It's almost perfect, especially if you're busy working on repairs outside on the farm.

Sunday, my family and I attended our annual family reunion. We had a potluck lunch at noon and visited throughout the rest of the day with dad's uncles and aunts and cousins. Dad, Sammy, and I sorted and loaded 44 hogs in the morning, and we got the job done on time to make the family event. Dad and I took the pickup truck to town, so I could bring my bicycle. I rode my bike through the park during the day to get a little exercise.

Monday was Labor Day. I didn't have school. Dad and I took the day off and went up to St. Paul, Minnesota. In a park along the Mississippi River, we attended a Labor Day festival. Here, the Organic Valley Farm Friends tent was up with information about all the Organic Valley products and Farm Friends. The staff offered free samples of Organic Valley's milk, orange juice, and cheese. I find the milk and cheese very delicious. The tent was filled with interested people who learned about food alternatives as they sampled organic food. Thank you to the Organic Valley dairy farmers who take the time to do a good job of handling their dairy cows. I really appreciate that. I went around the tent asking people to become new Farm Friends members. About 30 people signed up. You can do this too by informing the public about their food and where it comes from. The Labor Day event was attended by thousands of people and Dad was asked to address the crowd giving the viewpoint of a farmer on this holiday. He encouraged the crowd to use their food dollars as a kind of a vote that can help create a food system that they approve of.

Dad and I also went there to see Jim Hightower. Jim is a famous speaker. He is traveling across America speaking at events Rolling Thunder informing the public about farming life and politics today. Jim is a true democrat and helps the family farmers in any way possible. We need your help, too. One way of helping is to boycott industrial manufactured food and purchase naturally grown or organic foods like Organic Valley products.

Tuesday, Dad cut hay. This hay is growing in a harvested barley field. When we plant barley, we also plant hay at the same time. After the grain is harvested the hay can grow to full height. This is called new seeding hay.

Last week, Dad and I filled the ditch by the hoop house buildings with dirt so we can sow grass seed and mow it regularly. This will look a lot better than the tall weeds that grow in it now and were unable to be mowed. Dad will build a nice barbwire fence along the west edge.

Thursday, Dad started a new project. We have a field split in half by a fence line. One side was barley, and the other side is hay. To make the two fields equal in acres, Dad is moving the fence. Also, Dad is building a fence in the same field, but around CRP land. This land is planted to trees. The trees are about 6 inches high. We need to get this fencing project done before the cowherd will be ready to move into the hay field.

We raked the cut hay on Saturday and will be baled soon. The hay crop wasn't too tall, so there should be about 20 bales that will be customed baled. We will store this in the hay shed, and that amount should make the building full.

Also on Saturday, I helped Dad work on the fencing project he started. Dad drove most of the large corner posts earlier in the week. I helped him measure and lay out the rest of the posts. All that we need to do now is put the posts in the ground with the loader. In the picture above, you see me pushing a corner posts in the ground with a special loader attachment. This is a cylinder full of poured concrete. It has a steel plate for the base. This cylinder can be handled with the pallet bucket on the loader. With this much weight, we drive a post in the ground very easily. We will finish placing the posts in the ground next week. We will have to string out the wire and fasten those wires to the wooden posts.

High school is fun. I have good classes. I am taking Plant Science. This class is about farming. It is more on plants and soil. Animal Science is about care for animals. I plan to take that next year. We are working on soils and different soil textures. I like it a lot. Band is fun, too. I play the trombone. Friday night, we had a football game. I was in the marching band. We played the school's song in the stadium. At half time, we marched out in the field to play a couple songs and the school song once again while the football team ran back out onto the field. I like marching band. We each have a uniform to wear. They are red, black, and white in color. There are 8 pieces to the uniform and you need to know what you are doing when putting it on and hanging it back up. We each have a hat, too. It is a black hat with a white feather on one side. I like the uniforms -especially the coats! They're really cool! The marching band played in the Annual Davis Rally motorcycle parade in New Hampton Saturday night, too.

Farm Fact: We only work on Sundays if we have to. This counts for chores, selling hogs, and any other necessary work. We sell hogs about 17 times a year. Sorting and loading hogs takes about 2 hours of work. Dad figured that we spend about a 40-hour workweek or less doing this each year. Like it or not, we have to ship hogs on Sundays so they can be at the processing plant first thing Monday mornings, by 6:00 AM.

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