Making Hay
Week of July 7th, 2002 | The weather was HOT.

Welcoming Sammy back home.

Welcoming Sammy back home.

Hello everyone! As the summer proceeds, more work is done. Dad and I stay busy with yard jobs as well as a few field jobs. We had a scare with one of our pets. I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July!

Sunday, Dad, Sammy, and I sold 44 hogs. This is more hogs sold then usual. And it was a hot day as well. We could not load the truck until 11 AM. We had to water down the animals to keep them cool. Sammy was really dirty after selling hogs because she works so hard. Sammy likes the job, even if she gets wet!

This year for 4-H county fair, I signed up to take field crops for a project. Monday morning, the judge and 4-H supervisor for Field Crops area came out to our place. I went with them to the fields where the varieties I will be taking to fair are growing. I had the first part of my judging right out in the fields. I was asked different questions about each field and about the growing crop. It was fun. The rest of the judging will be next Monday at the fair. I will have to bring samples of the corn and the barley for display.

Later in the morning, Dad and I started cleaning up the backyard a little by the barn. Some of our old machinery and unused equipment sits back there and it's time to get rid of unwanted and unnecessary equipment. So, we tore apart an old planter that we no longer use. We kept some of the parts, but most of it will go to a metal recycling yard in Le Roy, Minnesota. When we finished that, Dad and I started cutting apart an old windrower, too. We finished the job the next day. A windrower is a machine designed to cut wheat, barley, or oats and stack that on a row (technically called a windrow) behind the machine. Dad just purchased one this year. We use to hire a friend to do the job for us. We saved a lot of parts because this windrower is just like our newer one, but a little smaller. We may need those parts some day.

We received two semi truckloads of grain this week. These were loads of organic wheat and organic hulless oats. We placed this grain in a grain bin with corn in it, too. Then, with a stirring machine, all three grains were stirred up into one big mixture. This will make the hogs really happy since it will be used for hog feed!

Also on Wednesday, Dad and I picked rock in our bean fields. Picking rock means to drive through a field with a tractor and trailer and pick any rock up and put it in the trailer. This way, machines like a combine would have a lesser chance of being damaged. One year a guy was harvesting beans when a small rock flew up in the combine and it started a fire. The whole machine was destroyed!

Fourth of July was on Thursday! Mom grilled chicken for dinner. We also had sweet corn, watermelon, a salad, and a 4th of July flag cake for dessert. What a great meal! I worked on finishing up my 4-H projects for the fair that's coming up next week! I am taking three woodworking projects (the birdhouse, garden bench, and garden trellis that I built), conservation (about the many trees on our farm), photography (a write up about learning to use my digital camera), four field crops (I have two varieties of corn and two varieties of barley), and of course, Noel!!! I have a write up and many pictures of Noel in a booklet. He will be judged on a different day than my other projects. I hope I will receive a good ribbon for him!

Thursday night, Mom, Dad, and I went to Spillville, Iowa, to watch a really good fireworks display. We usually have a cookout in the back of our truck, but this year, my relatives were having a big party with their friends. They had a lot of food, too. So, we sat and ate with them. The fireworks were really good, like always! Of course, there were so many people there, that we didn't leave until about 11:30 that night! Even when we left, there were still many people in the park that stayed for the dance that followed. I had a good Fourth of July!

Friday, we shelled corn. This time, we didn't really need much corn; only about 500 bushels. Our whole corncrib can hold about 4000 bushels! This filled up about two grain wagons. After we shelled corn, we couldn't find Sammy! Dad said that she wasn't here for morning chores, either! Sammy ran away! How are we supposed to sell hogs when we don't have Sammy to help? Even Noel was so worried, that he wanted to go outside and look for her! So, we looked around the farm and neighborhood. While I was coming back home from our neighbors place to the south, I saw Dad driving the truck home from the north and I found a cute little brown head sticking out the window! I was so happy that Dad found Sammy. We missed her a lot. Our neighbor found the dog running around the night before. We think she ran off because of the fireworks noise the night at our neighbors while they entertained visiting family, or otherwise the family's dogs that were barking because of the noise. Sammy has never ran off like this before. She must have really been upset. When dad found her at another neighbors place he found out that Sammy was given a bath! Sammy is really clean now. But like a good working farm dog, it probably won't last very long. She'll get dirty again!

Friday evening and Saturday morning, Dad and I cleaned out a hoop building. We hauled all of the composted manure down to the compost pile. Here, the compost will stay until the next spring when we need it in the fields for a good source of fertilizer.

Saturday afternoon, Mom and Dad went to Dad's aunt's 70th birthday party. After that, Dad's brothers and sisters and spouses had a family get-together in Decorah. They all stayed overnight, including mom and dad. With them being gone over night, I did chores Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Farm Fact: Losing a pet like Sammy is not fun. It is scary and you become worried. A good precautionary measure is to place an identification tag on the pet's collar. We had one, but it broke off and got lost. We would have been contacted much sooner if we would have had one on Sammy. We were lucky we found her. Mom and Dad will get a new one for Sammy soon. We also have one for Noel. After finding Sammy, Dad and I agreed to chain her up to the doghouse I built for her (even though she doesn't use it!) the first night. Since finding her, we haven't had a problem with Sammy. I think she missed not being in her own home and in her own yard. We learned a good lesson, too. Always have identification on your pet! For more tips on caring for your pet, contact the Humane Society of the United States. You can also find much information at your local library or on the Internet.

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