Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hobbit Names

From here is a small diversion:, TGF's name is Togo Hamwich of Buckleberry Fern, which is really interesting because my name (using my maiden name) is Daisy Hamwich of Buckleberry Fern....How did they know we were married????

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve Dinner was hosted. It was successful yet again this year. 2 Bottles of wine consumed, "Thank you Uncle Bill" for giving Dick that wonderful bottle of Cab from Little Mary's winery, it was very, very, very good.

I don't have a family pic this year, we just didn't take one, but I do have a picture of MG on Christmas Eve.

This is an overview of the scene on Christmas morning.

From the bottom of TGF's little Republican heart, please accept our best wishes for a Merry Christmas.

P.S. I refuse to apolgize for wishing anyone Merry Christmas, we here at TGF are Christian, (Catholic to be specific) and we make no apologies for that, HOWEVER, We wish anyone who celebrates the best celebration of whatever sort you might celebrate.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And the rain, rain, rain, came down, down, down...

And Piglet started the song goes from the Winnie the Pooh movie. It has been raining here, not that we don't need it, but in typical fashion, we just don't need it right now. TGF is trying to haul out the bins and the roads are no longer frozen and the ground surrounding the bins is no longer frozen. We're talking ruts that are about 18 inches deep. Not a good thing near the bins nor on the gravel (yes, we still have gravel out here) roads. In short, no hauling, we're shut down.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oh My.....

Have I not posted since Thanksgiving? A quick peruse of the blog confims it. What have we been up to at TGF since Thanksgiving? Well, hauling grain mostly. Thank heavens the bins are full and we are in the process of trucking it to the river to trade the yellow grains for green backs. I often wonder why this must be done in the most frigid temps. I did ask TGF about this and he mumbled something about the ground has to be frozen to support the weight of the truck, contracts are due in December, yadda, yadda, yadda. It is a cold and miserable job although at first glance it looks as simple as pushing the green button (green=go, red=stop) on the unload auger. Sometimes it is that simple, other times things must be thawed with a torch (a BIG torch), tractors must be plugged in to warm them, rats have to be evacuated from the augers, there is a lot of outside work and most of the time it is fairly miserable even when one is well dressed for the work.

Speaking of weather, we received our first big snowstorm of Winter 2006 on December 1. It was only maybe 8 inches or so, but man did it blow. School was cancelled, I stayed home from work. I will refrain from relating the entire story here in the blog for fear of reprisal from TGF, but lets just say it began with no shovel. The temps were frigid for a week or so (see above paragraph), but today it is about 45 degrees outside which has brought the fog. Hopefully it will get rid of the snow and dry off before it freezes again and makes ice. The farm looks pretty bleak, I hate dirty snow.

I don't know if I'll get Christmas cards out in the mail this year, but I am enjoying receiving the cards, pictures and letters that we receive from friends far and near. A simple plea, however, please include mom and dad with the family picture. I love to see how the kids and dogs have grown, but want to see the whole family.

Speaking of pictures, TGF loves Eggnog, no one else here will even touch the stuff, so each holiday season he buys himself a carton and nurses it until it goes bad. Seems that we have a new EggNog drinker here at TGF. Michael Seems to think it's ok, so good that we call this..... GOT EGGNOG?

Friday, November 24, 2006


This is MG in her 'Indian Princess" vest and headband from school. The Kindergarteners were the Pilgrims and the 1st graders were the Indians. I made the vest from a brown paper grocery sack (Jack says I have MAD skills - whatever that is - he says it's good). The children feasted on chicken noodle soup. I guess a turkey sandwich was too much to ask...

Thanksgiving is THE big holiday at TGF. Relatives from far and wide gather at the "Home place" for food and drink. The gathering can range anywhere from 35 - 20 give or take. As descendants of farmers, Thanksgiving is a day to relax and recoup from the year, revel in the successes and examine the not so successes and re-acquaint with non-farm relatives. We only see most of these relatives once a year and it is good to gather with them and catch up. Being from a small family myself, the dynamics of a large family are interesting to observe. It is good to have gathered again this year.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

National Honor Society

Last Wednesday, we had the honor of attending a blissfully short and sweet National Honor Society induction at our "friendly" high school. Yes, TGF DS#1 was inducted, he is the handsome one on the far left with the white tie. We here at TGF are exceedingly proud of him. Suffice it to say that it is hard to be the only Republican in a Democratic school system.

I can't believe that we will only have 1 more year of him here at home. Some days I know it will be a looong year, but I know it will go by in a flash and he will fly from the nest. Yikes, I'm not ready for that.

I will leave for another day the discussion of, "what are those girls thinking dressing like that" I am only to assume that there must have been a sale on dresses without tops or bottoms.

Friday, November 17, 2006

High Holy Day

Today is the opening day of Deer season, i.e. High Holy Day. It's funny, back oh, 17 years ago when I was a young-er bride. I rose early (4:30am) to cook breakfast for the assembled group of deer hunters, yes, hot breakfast for my men as they go forth to slay the dreaded White Tailed Deer. I haven't cooked breakfast for them in years. The cooking effort has dissolved to coffee and donuts. It used to be a group of about 8, TGF, his dad, the local priest, a friend from town, TGF brother #1 and #2, old high school friend, a bunch of coverall wearing, tall broad, manly men, everyone of them. My favorite SIL joined them one year. This morning, TGF left the kitchen alone, to slay the Bambi-dragon, everyone else is otherwise busy this year.

I love to complain about the High Holy Day, but in truth, I love it. It is the essense of survival that intrigues me. There have been and probably will be years when the product of the hunt was the majority of the meat on TGF's table for the year. Venison is healthy (nevermind that black tongue business and Chronic wasting disease talk) and is quite tasty if prepared properly, no it isn't beef, but it will do. TGF isn't a "Country Boy", but I keep hearing Hank Williams, Jr. singing "A Country Boy can survive". I don't know if TGF would appreciate that sentiment, but it's my blog. :)

Would I hunt deer? I have threatened to many times. I'd love an excuse to bundle up warmly and hide in the woods from my family for hours, take a day off work and do nothing but sit in the woods watching the going's on and thinking big thoughts. The deer eat an enormous amout of our corn and beans which makes them not only tasty, but a pest to the level of a lowly rodent and the less rodents the better. I've smacked a few of them with various cars and I know that is an expensive proposition. They are beautiful, majestic animals. Could I shoot one? You bet, however field dressing one of them would not be my cup of tea so for now, I go to work on the holy day and wish them luck with their hunting and safety in the hunt.

Update: I had hoped to have a picture to post but was too lazy to get out. Final count for 1st deer season, TGF and friends: 2

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sort of ...

Well, I posted that we were done, we did finish the harvest a week or so ago, but this year we have some additional field work.

TGF is "Strip Tilling" his Anhydrous on this year. Normally we hire a company to apply our anhydrous amonia (fertilizer) on in the fall, they come in with this big machinery any time of the day and night and we sit snuggly in the living room on the couch and watch them thinking, "Darn, I'm glad we're done". This year, however, TGF is doing it himself because this strip till business needs to be applied in a very precise manner and some things are best done ones self. The theory is.... Fertilizer applied in the fall, in the spring, TGF will plant as close to on top of the fertilizer application as humanly possible. There is a thing called auto-steer that is run by the satellites which makes this a little more accurate, but more about that later. The idea is that the sooner the little corn plant can get it's snout full of yummy fertilizer, the sooner it will get it's act together and start growing well and getting ready to produce us lots of little kernels of corn on it's little cob later in the year. In the past, the theory was that the corn would get burned by too much fertilizer too quickly, but evidently that wasn't exactly true. Anyway, the University of Illinois says it's ok, so we're a doin it. According to the U of I, this will increase our yields and we're all about increasing our yields.

Some day when I have more time, I will put together a post on "Farming isn't the same today as it used to be". I have seen so many advances in technology and farming practices just for the 17 years I have been involved as Mrs. TGF. Farmers are not hayseed, un-intelligent, backward looking, bib overall wearing folk (Well at least not ALL of them). Farming is every bit similar to running one's own company, except that you must rely on the kindness of mother nature to give you rain and warmth and gentle breezes. We watch our inputs carefully, there is no benefit to applying more fertilizer than we absolutely need to, fertilizer is expensive. We need return on our investment, just like the big CEO's. Anyway, this is getting out of hand. I'll compose myself and begin again some day soon.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Stick a Fork in it - We're DONE!

FINALLY, FINALLY!!! The combine is safely tucked in the machine shed, it still needs to be cleaned up, but he is tucked safely into the shed. Mrs. TGF is thankful again this year. We are fortunate to be blessed with an abundant harvest and so far prices are very good, Of course we can always hang on until the prices is at rock bottom (don't laugh - it has happened), but for the first time in quite a few years, we got the enviable combination of good yields, good price. Not that I want to support the notion that Farmers are "rich farmers", the running joke at TGF this year is that we had such a good year, TGF bought Mrs. TGF a Cadillac. Well, close, but not QUITE the way it happened. Mrs. TGF bought herself a 9 year old Cadillac at an estate auction. Yes, folks 9 years old, 44,000 miles on it. It is a beautiful, luxurious car, to be sure, but not exactly what you picture when TGF says he bought his wife a new Cadillac. The proof is in the pictures.

Almost done...

Harvest is sliding into home plate here at TGF. I was out last week and took some pics of TGF unloading that I thought I would share.

The first is the line-up at the unload auger, the second is the yellow gold streaming from the wagons into the unload auger, then we have some random shots of TGF and DS#2 to add to the cuteness factor.

this one is Yellow Gold streaming from the wagons into the unload auger...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Are we DONE yet?

Well, October 22....we want to be done, we should be done, we could have been done...but we aren't. Not even really close at this point. We have been blessed with the rain here this fall, and for no-till farmers this is better than conventional till farmers, but still it is getting annoying. We have about 40 acres of beans yet to finish, the weather isn't cooperating on that. They are working on the corn, but the fields are wet and what is the word TGF uses? Greasy on top, meaning, believe it or not, that that great big powerful tractor is spinning its tires hauling the 2 wagons. They are reduced to 3 combine dumps per wagon (not even 1/2 full) and pulling 1 half full wagon at a time rather than 2 full wagons, makes for greater fuel usage (read more costly) and more trips to town with the wagons(again read more costly). Not good, but far better than sitting still.

TGF will likely miss the well deserved Pheasant Hunting trip next week, he deserves a nice man vacation. Perhaps I can persuade him to mount his own expedition and go with a different group of guys.

Gloom and doom.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Rainy Day

Today the rain rolled in. What does TGF do on rain days? Well, usually he gathers his strength, takes a good well deserved nap in the easy chair, repairs the things he has duct taped and safety pinned together when the weather is good, generally re-groups to begin again when the crop is again fit to harvest.

My Grumpy Farmer is amazing, I swear to you, he can fix ANYTHING, anything that he wants to fix that is. He does all of our own maintenance (let's just not revisit the combine check-over fiasco of earlier in the year) and when things break down in the fields, he fixes them. Most recently, he told me that he fixed a hole in the grain tank in the combine with duct tape and a Miller Lite beer can - Look out McGiver - TGF is out for your job, but really seriously, he did fix it with a beer can and duct tape.

I hope to have some pictures up soon. On Monday, a co-worker brought her sons to visit and ride the combine, a good time was had by all, I'd venture, did I remember my camera..No, knucklehead that I am.

Friday, October 06, 2006

And today we harvest beans

Soybeans that is for all who aren't familiar with our particular brand of farming. Yes, the very same beans of which Tofu is made, but not our beans because they are usually genetically engineered, but that is a rant for another day.

For those who may be non farmers, soybeans are picky and unpredictable. They can only be combined if the moisture is just right because honestly, that great big strong combine simply can't cut throught their little pencil thin dried up stalks..yup, believe it or not, it is the truth. Soybeans are a civilized crop. You can't usually start on them until around 10am, or when the dew is gone from the plants and usually as soon as the sun starts to set and the dew comes up from the ground, you are forced to quit because the beans are too tough to cut. When harvesting beans, a farmer can plan to spend the hours between 10am and say 8pm in the combine seat. The other hours are spent delivering beans to the local elevator (we have very little on farm storage for soybeans) repairing things, checking the corn in the grain bins, maintencing the grain bins, they certainly don't sit around this time of year.

Bean yields are unpredictable, a farmer could have the most beautiful looking field of beans, big, strong, strapping healthy beans and they might not yield as well as the shrimpy, short, whimpy beans, believe it, I've seen it happen. In the State of Illinois, national average is between 40-43 bushels per acre. Current price for beans delivered to the local elevator straight from the combine is $5.09 per bushel.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Here we go again...

Well, just when you think you've got the bases covered....Day 1 of harvest 2006 went not too well. Probably about a 1 on the scale of great days. Seems there were 2 or 3 trips to the implement dealership for parts that should have been found when the combine was inspected/washed by the aforementioned dealership, good news on that is that they probably won't charge us for the inspection, batteries were dead, tires were flat (they were aired up the day prior), a host of "challenges" as they say in the corporate world. According to The Grumpy Farmer (TGF), about a whole acre was harvested on 9/29/06...not a good day. Sooooo...

What happened on Day #2 of Harvest 2006. Seems fun and games were again in store for TGF. Some sort of seal failed in some flinky do...The Grumpy Farmer contends that it failed because the system was overgreased by the dealership at the annual check-up. I wasn't there, but I can tell you that I seriously hope that someone at the dealership was wearing their kelvar undies. Another trip to dealership, some repair time and they did get to the fields on September 29. Had a good run after that, TGF ran the combine and DS#1 hauled in. I asked if I could haul in, I bet I could get a lot of knitting time in while waiting to fill the wagons, but my resume doesn't list any qualifications for that job except the knitting experience and so my idea was rejected.

Friday, September 29, 2006

First Day of Harvest 2006

Well, Today's the day (9/29/2006) , first field day of 2006. Will the beans be as good as the neighbors say they are, will the corn stand, will we make it through the season without a breakdown? These are just a few of the questions that will be answered for Harvest 2006 (H06). The tires are all aired up, the tractor windshields are all cleaned off, the fuel tanks are filled. Let's think good thoughts for a safe harvest for all our friends and neighbors.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

No Grumpy Farmers Here today

Today was the day that the "new" tractor arrived here at TGF. Yes, believe it folks, we have actually gone red. The Green ones were as usual, more expensive than they should have been and we have a Case dealer now in the neighborhood. This is a 200 hp tractor, front wheel assist, to pull an 8 knife tool bar for strip tilling. Yep, he says we're going to try it this year. Next year I bet it will be the Auto-steer, who knows. I greet this beauty with a little trepidation. Strip till means fall tillage and Mrs. GF likes her hubby to be HOME at the end of the haulin' in, and this means more work after the crop is in. I actually got to drive this one. 17 years and this is the first tractor I have driven...It is pretty big, here is a picture of Michael for some scale, he is about 24" tall.
The neighbors are tearing up the crops, but the ground is still awfully wet, our late season crops are still maturing in the fields, no need to be in a hurry, but the season of harvest is upon us. Please watch for large, slow machinery, drive and harvest carefully.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

Rained last night, that will put harvest off yet again. However, the wind is howling, perhaps that will dry it back out.

A recent pic of the smallest one.