Making Hay
Week of June 29th, 2003 | The weather was hot with heavy rains.

Welding a wheel spoke.

Welding a wheel spoke.

Hello everyone! For me, it was 4-H (Get My Projects Done) Week!! I spent this past week working on all of my 4-H projects and write-ups for the 4-H and FFA Achievement Show (the fair), which is coming up real soon.

I am taking 13 projects to the fair this year. These projects are out of 6 project areas: Field Crops, Leadership, Pet, Tractor, Welding, and Woodworking.

Field Crops: For Field Crops, I am taking two varieties of barley, one variety of corn, and a variety of forage (hay). Heavy rains have knocked some of the barley down this past week. It's only half way down- not even touching the ground, so if we have good weather, it should come back up. It is about waist high, mostly green with white color heads. The corn is about two feet high right now. Corn has a very strong stalk, so it can easily stand heavy rains and winds. The corn has long velvet-like leaves and can grow very fast if we have the right weather now. The hay is re-growing from first crop. Right now, it is approximately a foot high. It is going to become second-crop hay. Even though I am not taking soybeans to the fair, they are about 8 inches tall now.

Leadership: Last fall, a couple of my friends and I created the Alta Vista Aces Club Handbook for the 4-H year. I am taking the handbook to the fair as a project. I do a lot of leadership activities throughout the year, not just in 4-H, but also at school and in the community.

Pet: I'm sure you can just guess what I'm taking in this project area! No, not Sammy, but Noel, our housecat!! Noel is so cuddly and very pretty. I decided to take him to the fair again this year. He did well with being judged last year. Everybody at the Pet Show enjoyed seeing Noel. Right now, Noel weighs 13 1/2 pounds and has a lot of fluffy hair! As I am writing this journal entry, I see Noel using his tongue and paw to wash his face. It's really cute when he does that!!

Tractor: For this area, I am doing a booklet explaining all the main steps and procedures when maintaining a tractor. It is about changing oil, checking lights, battery, fuel, tires, keeping the tractor clean, warning flashers and slow moving vehicle signs (SMV), and more.

Welding: For welding, I spent a lot of time this past week building a decorative lawn covered wagon for Mom. This is a big project. It's her belated Mother's Day gift. It's taken me quite awhile to finish it. In the picture above, you see me welding spokes on a wheel. To do that, I used sand to hold the spokes while I 'tacked' them in place. Then, I set the wheel in the shop vice and finished welding the spokes. After weeks of working on it in my spare time, by Saturday, I began painting it.

I also built a cart for the welder and for some welding equipment. I painted this on Saturday, too. This past spring, I made a model of the Statue of Liberty out of a railroad spike at school. I will be taking all three of these projects to the fair.

Woodworking: At school, I built a bird feeder and a 'bird bed & breakfast' (birdhouse and bird feeder all in one!!) this past year out of wood. I had a lot of fun building those projects and decided to take them to the fair. I didn't quite finish them at school this spring, so I had to finish them at home. Also at school, I built a magazine rack. That is varnished and looks really nice, so I'm taking that to the fair, as well. I had to do all of my write-ups for each project. They have to include: my goal, steps I took to complete my goal for the project, likes and dislikes and what I learned, and future plans for this project area or the project itself. I had a lot of fun doing all of these projects and I hope that I will do well at the fair. My favorite project areas have been woodworking and welding. I have learned a lot.

On the flip side of things, recently, Dad and I have seen many animals around the farm. We have observed a duck in the hay field- NOT EVEN IN THE POND!, kittens, cats, skunk, wild turkeys, deer, baby deer, a possum in the farmyard, a turtle in the corn field, a raccoon in the creek, a badger by the hay shed, fox, rabbits, and lots more! It is fun observing all these animals on the farm.

Sunday, Dad and Mom went to their friends' 50th Wedding Anniversary party. While they were gone, I had a visitor stop at our farm. She was from Australia. She wanted to visit our farm because she is researching organic farming in the United States. Australia has a lot of organic beef production and is now starting to get into the organic hog production. She was particularly interested in the sow huts out in the pasture. She was going to visit with Organic Valley on Monday.

Also on Sunday, my cousin, uncle, and aunt stopped in for a visit. My cousin is in the United States Army. Mom and Dad were upset that they missed him because they haven't seen him for a long time. He will be leaving to go to Germany, June 30th.

Dad kept busy cultivating all week. We had some warm temperatures, as well as some heavy rains toward the end of the week. On Tuesday, the temperature reached about 92 degrees! That's hot for us. Also that day, Dad and I drove the grain truck down to Hudson, Iowa, just south of Waterloo, to haul some soybeans that we purchased for the feed business. It was a lot of fun. While we were in Waterloo, my sister, Jolene, and my aunt met us. The four of us had lunch together.

Farm Fact: The second cultivation of corn has to be completed before the corn becomes so tall that the tractor and cultivator will not break off the rapidly growing plants. When the corn is waist high it is too tall for cultivation.

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