Squash Seed Harvest 2018

24 Sep

Squash is one of my favorite crops, not only is the end product delicious, it’s also so beautiful to see all this squash!!

Just acres and acres of bright orange!!

Until the harvesters show up that is. Then the smashing, tumbling, and separating begins.

These harvesters grab the squash, tumble it around to separate the seeds from the meat, and then dump into a truck to be taken for cleaning and drying. After they are all clean and dry the seeds go to be roasted and seasoned and then show up in the snack food aisle as pumpkin seeds.

This all makes for some very ooey gooey fields afterwards. Which for some reason doesn’t seem to bother our farm kids one bit!

While squash harvest in and of itself is cool, getting to share it with our family on our family farm makes it pretty special. It gives me great pride to be standing in a field looking at something that we grew, we took care of and now are harvesting…and to be sharing all of that with the 4th generation on our farm, well…it just checks one more box on the list of “Why I Farm”.

Hazelnut Harvest Time….almost!!

14 Sep

It’s just about time to go harvest our hazelnuts (or filberts as we like to call them). We have been getting some good windy rainy storms blowing through our area, which has knocked down a lot of the crop out of the trees.

We wait for the nuts to naturally come out of the tree, no shaking required. But it’s always a bit of a guessing game as to when to harvest. Too early and a lot of nuts will fall after you sweep them into rows, causing you to run over a lot of your crop. Too late and you risk worse weather and rain storms that make for very muddy, very wet and very frustrating harvest.

We usually go through the orchards two times, get the bulk at the start then finish up after some more have fallen. It’s not an easy crop to harvest this time of year, but hoping for a good fall with some nice weather windows to get the job done. I guess all in all, it always gets done, just depends on how dusty or muddy you are at the end of the day!

The Transition Period: From One Crop Year to the Next

29 Aug

Being a diversified farm, like many in the Willamette Valley, usually means that this time of year you’re in a fairly steady pace of transition.

It’s the clash between crop year 2018 and 2019 which often looks like a lot of open dirt fields, a lot of dust, and a few crops left to pickup.

We have crops that have been harvested, fields that have been worked down ready to be planted, crops that are just starting to mature and some that we won’t even look at harvesting for another month or more.

This field is ready to be planted to tall fescue. Tall fescue is perennial so we will hopefully leave this field in for many years, meaning this will be the last time we have to work the ground and have open soil here for years to come.

It’s one of the reasons that I refer to this “season” of farming as triage. Everyday is different. Everyday is a look at the weather, check the fields, look at the soil, make a plan kind of day. Rarely is there an autopilot project, which makes management this time of year tiring and stressful.

Fields for grass seed planting this fall need a seed bed that is smooth as a dance floor. We have worked this soil about 7 times to get the field worked down to be ready to plant. There was also a ton of organic matter from the clover last year that has been worked into the top soil.

Today Matt and I are out in the orchards picking up drip tube from our hazelnut trees. These will be harvested around the end of September through October. The water on the squash has also been turned off and now we wait for the drying down to begin before they come get the seeds. And finally radish seed just got harvested yesterday and will head to the cleaner today.

Then more ground work and tractor time, more planting and prepping to start this whole crazy life of farming again for another year! This year has proven so far to be pretty good, hoping that trend continues as we close the books on 2018.

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