Crimson Clover Harvest is starting….and is over!

We didn’t have much crimson clover this year, 42 acres. So this two day harvesting job was going to be a breeze. And the way that you can tell you’re a farmer right now is if you read that and started to giggle, because there is little about harvest of any crop that ever turns out to be a “breeze”. This year our crimson crop was no different.

It started out great. Round 1 around the field was was dull at best. But then came round 2 and some surprise “slugs” that were left behind from the swather. When you cut (or swath) it’s usually at night when there is more moisture. Great to keep the seed on the stem of the crop before you harvest it, but if the cutter gets plugged it causes a huge dense wet area that will rarely dry out on its own.

Grabbing those last few piles at the end. Even after performing them out and three days later the combine was growling!

So as we started in round two of the field the growling and terrible noises coming from inside the harvester were hard to ignore. After a few plugs that caused us all want to itch our skin off (unplugging a clover harvester is dusty and dirty and super itchy), we decided to skip those areas and come back to pitchfork them out to help get the drying process started.

But then the wind started to blow the exact direction we were headed on one side. And for 1500 feet we could see nothing, nada, zilch. The best (worst) part was that it was also the side of the field that had all those surprise slugs. I’ve never paid so much attention to combining in my life! It was unnerving.

This should be a picture of a header feeding the crop into the combine. Instead we were completely blind!

So move to day two and all is looking good. Until I jumped out to check the sieves (cleaning area) at the back of the combine and smelled smoke! A bearing had gotten packed with dust and caused so much friction that it actually ignited. Crimson dust is especially flammable. Then when we had made the corner, the smoldering dust on the back of the harvester had shifted onto the ground and started the stumble on fire.

We caught it early. Had a water tank all ready to go, got the fire out and all was fine. Just a few new bearings later and we were back at it. So while it only added a day or so to our harvest, I think we are all a little glad to be saying goodbye to the extremely dusty, itchy and challenging year of harvesting crimson clover! Next up, grass seed harvest!!

Kicking off July 2022 with Irrigation!

After record breaking rain in the Pacific Northwest this spring, yesterday was the day, we finally turned on our first irrigation pump of the year.

We got everything set up to water our newly planted green beans, turned the linear on, and turned the pump on. Then I turned to Matt, “You know what’s really nice? Watering on our own terms! I mean God, you’ve been great and all, but time for us to make a few water decisions around here for a change!”

Just for a comparison, in a normal year, we are hitting start on our pumps around April 15th and they pretty much don’t turn off for months. As farmers we are always thankful for water that comes free, but we are also thankful for our ability to spoon feed, to time applications, and do what’s best for the crops we have planted.

Summer Workers

School is out for the summer, and while we have camps and a few fun outings planned, most of our summer is full of work on the farm.

This week was a juggle of childcare so I got to take the boys out for a few hours to work with me. We checked a few (very tall) tall fescue fields and headed out to a newly planted orchard to count trees. We planted a number of new baby hazelnut trees this past winter, and most are looking great, but there are a few dead ones that will need to be replanted.

So Hoot, Auggie and I headed out to do some tallying. A skill Auggie was very proud to have learned this year in kindergarten.

This spring and moving now into summer has been a struggle with the weather and rising costs. It’s a very uneasy time to be a farmer with all that has hit us this year that is out of our control. But it’s also just really amazing to get to be outside, teaching your kids all about what you love to do and seeing how much they love it also!

Someday these summer workers will be full time around here….probably (as I’m told often) before I know it!

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