Making Hay
Week of July 27th, 2003 | The weather was really hot.

Working on the flooring of the grain bin.

Working on the flooring of the grain bin.

Hello to all! It has been a very busy week. It was really hot the end of the week, especially Saturday.

The week started out with a windstorm on Sunday night. It rained and we also had a little bit of hail. Our wooden bridge that I built two years ago got blown out of the ground and landed upside down from the winds. The railing on one side broke. We were very surprised that this happened. We had to repair the damage this week. We also had a few tree branches in the yard from Sunday nights' storm. At least nothing else got damaged!

We had to finish repairing the grain bin the first part of the week to prepare for storing the barley crop. We tore the old flooring out, and cleaned the foundation under it. Then, we put the good old cement blocks in, and new cement blocks on top - that makes the flooring higher so we will not have problems with flooding. We put in new flooring (in the picture above) and the good pieces out of the old flooring. We also put in new flashings - part of the flooring.

Throughout the whole week, Dad and I worked on barley harvest. The first step of harvesting barley is to cut it with a windrower (see glossary of farm terms) when the barley is dry and ripe. We started cutting barley on Wednesday and finished on Friday. The windrower is a machine that cuts the barley and lays it in a windrow. A windrow is a row where cut hay, or other small grains (barley, wheat, oats) are laid after being cut. The row is dried by wind. After the barley was dried, we hired a guy to come in with his John Deere 9510 combine to harvest the barley grain from the stems. This combine is very big!!! It is a lot of fun to ride inside the cab. It has a heater/air conditioner, radio, yield monitor, comfortable seats, windshield wipers, cup holders, arm rests, and lots of room to stretch your feet! I wish that I could operate that machine!!! The combine separates the barley from the stems. The barley is stored in a tank. When the tank is full, the operator unloads it with an auger into our grain truck or grain wagons. The stems and everything else is removed from the combine and piled in a windrow behind the machine. The stems, or straw, is raked and baled. We use the large rectangle bales of straw for livestock bedding. The straw soaks up manure and is moved to a compost pile later on in the year. Next spring, the compost pile will be spread out in the fields for fertilizer. The grain is hauled home and is moved into a grain bin for storage. We had about 56 acres and ended up with 4300 bushels. That's 21,5000 pounds of barley this year! We are planning on selling some of the barley since the price is good. The barley grain is fed to livestock.

The grain truck was very handy for barley harvest. The grain truck can hold 800 bushels. The combine tank can hold over 200 bushels of grain at a time. We also used grain wagons. It took two days to combine the barley. The combining was done on Friday and Saturday. All but 35 acres of the barley straw is baled. The rest will be done this coming week.

We have a few new chickens from an organic chicken farmer. These chickens are rare breed and very expensive, but produce good eggs. The hens are different colored. Some are a reddish-brown, some are very dark bluish and black, and some are speckled in color. They also have long feathers growing at the bottom of their legs, which is rare amongst poultry.

Farm Fact: 1/4 of our barley was lodged this year. Lodged is a term for a crop that is growing but is not standing erect. Small grains can easily fall down due to heavy rains, wind, or hail. Historically, barley is a good standing crop. Barley can fall down if the grain is too heavy for the stems. The windrower was able to get under the plants and save the lodged crop.

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