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.