Thursday, October 30, 2014

Harvest: Day....Uhm.... I'm Not Sure!?!?!

Ok if I get my calendar out, I could tell you we started on October 5, and today is the 30th, so I guess it's only been 25 days.  That's 600 hours, and there were about four days we were out of the field due to weather.

It still doesn't seem like that much time....unless you have been putting in 10-16 hours a day seat time in tractors, trucks, combines, and in the chaotic time spent keeping everything running and moving augers and machinery.

I'm kind of pooped.  My Wonderful Neighbor Wannie and I were just talking on our phones yesterday.  She was in a tractor at the elevator waiting to unload grain, and I was sitting in the tractor that pulls our auger cart out in the field.  Our conversation went like this:

Me:  How are you doing?
W:  Good
(chatter chatter chatter)
W: Have you lost any weight doing this all day this long?"
Me: "Don't I wish!  If brain activity could burn calories I would be the skinniest girl in the world! The reality is I've spent most of my field time sitting on my butt, and it hasn't shrunk any that I would notice."
W: "Me neither!"

If only it was that simple!  We are officially into Day 25, and there are two large corn fields (like 180+ acres) and two bean fields (about 200+ acres) left to pick, cut, harvest....Whatever you want to call it.

Here are some pics from harvest, just in case you have been missing them on Instagram:

When I've been in the tractor, I've had a bit of time to read and play with my pictures, so you will see a couple of before and after pics using the Snapseed App. Next rain day I will chat more about harvest, but right now I need to may hay while the sun shines!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Harvest Day 16: Rain Is a Good Thing...

Well, maybe not if you have too much, but this rain delay is allowing me to catch up on the rest of my life after spending a good part of the past 4 days in a combine.  Let's review what happened:


Well, our girls tried their hardest.  They won the first tournament; actually, both 6th AND 5th grade girls won trophies...... Woo # 18

....but the county tourney did not see the same outcome.  They played very hard, and we are so proud of them, but the crappy thing about playing a game is that in order to have a winner, the opponent has to lose.  On a fun side, my little great nephew and his folks came to watch!

Do you see any resemblance in these two faces?  Miss Bear and Miss A.  Bear reminds me of my niece all the time~! The team was  sad a day or two, but now we are on to basketball practices.  First game is November 12.

Here are some views from the field.  We worked all week on a 360 acre corn field, and as of last night there might be 30 acres left.  It really does take a long time to pick corn, especially when there is a lot of it.  In an average year, one acre of corn should produce around 180 bushel to the acre.  An average acre of soy beans will produce 55 bushel of beans.  So a hopper, grain cart, and semi fill up three times faster with corn than with beans.  

This corn is crazy tall!  I'm  5'4", and the ear is above my head!

Playing with the setting on my new camera/phone!
The sky changed so much this past week.  Here a few views out the combine window:

Oh, and just so I didn't forget how to cook, Tall Guy wanted me to get as much of the food prep done as possible so it would be easier for him to put our lunches together.......REALLY!?!?!?!?!  YEP!

I did have some company in the combine:

And I added a few more skills to my resume by driving the automatic semi and the tractor/grain cart/ auger wagon!

Today has been spent trying to put the house back in order, catch up on laundry, and I still need to reconcile my bank account.  

I also might have spent just a wee bit of my day reading Voyager (Outlander).  This series of books are great reading despite the many pages.  I'm totally sucked in to the lives of Jaime and Claire!  Have you read or are you reading The Outlanders series????

Oops!  Time to help with science homework!  Hope you all stay safe out there.  We might be having a nasty weather event tonight or tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Harvest Day 12: Raining and I'm OK with That.

Whew!  Can't believe we are on day eleven of harvest.  We started across the road in corn, and we just opened up the field, taking out all the "early" corn.  Now we are in our west fields, about 5 miles away, and we are closer to getting our half section done, but there is still more corn out there.

Early corn?  I can hear you thinking what is that?  When farmers plant the corn, they usually have 3-4 different types of corn, with the variable of maturity being one of the differences.  If all of our corn was ready at the same time, and we have 900+ acres of it, we would not be able to harvest it all in a day or two.  As the corn gets past it's maturity, it starts to lose its ability to stand up.  One good wind/ weather front passing, and a lot of it could go down.  Then we would be back to harvesting "horizontal corn" like we did a couple of years ago.  NOT fun!

This year our corn yields are very good but the corn is "wet", which leads to a problem we haven't had in a while, we have to dry all the corn we are picking right now.  Drying each semi load of corn slows down the process.  The last few years the corn has come out at or around 17% moisture, which is fine to dump straight in to a storage bin, and maybe let a bit of air run through it to keep it cool as it settles.

Wet corn?  Like in it rained on the corn and now it's wet?  Nope.  You know how juicy and yummy sweet corn is right?  Well field corn needs all of that juice to dry up so it came stored and not go bad. Have you ever put a load of wet clothes in the drier and then forgot to dry them for a few days? Yeah, me neither, but let's just say we did it.  After a few days the wet clothes will start to smell musty, and you either need to turn the drier on or rewash and try the whole process again.  If we leave wet corn in the bin, it will become musty, start to mold, and that could mess up the whole bin of corn.

Here is one of our drier set ups.  The corn is augered in to the back bin, in fed in to the drier, housed under the slanted roof, dried, and then augered out to another bin, the one of the left, for storage until it is sold. So it's corn to combine to grain cart to semi to holding bin to drier to storage bin.  That's a lot of handling so you see that drying the corn slows the harvest pace a bit.  If the corn was dry, we could go from semi straight to storage.

Well, now it's 11:30, and I have more laundry to catch up on, bills to pay, and cleaning around here to do so that we are somewhat go to go when the weather clears and we all head back out to the fields.

Happy Thursday!