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Harvest Update 2017

24 Jul

As of today we have been harvesting for 19 days. Just to give you a small taste of what that means…

  • In 19 days we have worked just under 1500 man hours on the farm. 
  • We have seen 19 sunrises matched up to 19 sunsets. 
  • We have harvested all the crimson clover, all of the peas, half the green beans, all the tall fescue seed, and half  of the perennial ryegrass. 
  • We have had a few successes and some failures. 
  • We have eaten dinner out in the field 17 times.  And the 2 nights we were at home eating, we still ended up in the field hanging out afterward. 
  • I have made 122 meals for our crew and family. 
  • Our boys have spent over 25 hours in the seat of a combine or tractor. 
  • Hoot has asked about 75 million times to get back in the seat of the combine or tractor. 
  • We have had 7 harvester plugs, 3 minor hiccups and two fairly extensive breakdowns. 
  • We have had 18 friends and family members come to say hi out in the dusty fields. 
  • We have had exactly one day off. Well except for my husband Matt, because plants don’t stop needing things just because it’s Sunday.  
  • We have 7 crops left to harvest.
  • There are 5 amazing people who help take care of our boys during our crazy harvest hours!  It takes a village here on the farm raising these crops and kids!
  • We are thankful for great employees, hard workers, good weather, and patience. 

This is what it looks like to get food onto tables.  Lots of long exhausting days and nights, hard work, sweat, frustration, cussing, laughing and cold beer. We are tired and worn out…but in the end we still wouldn’t trade this life for anything else. This is why we call farming a way of life more than a job, and at the same time one you can hang your hat on.  Happy harvesting!!

Crimson Clover in Bloom 2017

22 May

I may be biased since I grow the stuff, but Crimson Clover has got to be one of the most beautiful crops ever grown!  It is currently in full bloom here in Oregon.  We grow the crimson for seed, which is used in many cover cropping systems, and also in wildlife mixes.  We grow it as a rotation crop on our ground that doesn’t have irrigation. It helps us keep our fields more weed free and it’s one of those amazing crops that actually puts nitrogen back into the soil! 

I was out spraying borders a few days ago, and got myself into a “situation” where I had some time to kill.  The “situation” was my little tractor getting stuck along one of the borders of one of these beautiful fields.  So while I was frustrated with the being stuck for a bit, and hungry because I got stuck at 11:45am (if you know me I rarely miss lunch!), I was also happy to be stranded with such a beautiful view.Here are a few shots of the fields. If you look closely you’ll notice there are a few bees flying around as well.  More accurately, a ton of bees! The whole field was literally buzzing with activity.  We bring in the bees to pollinate our crop, 1 hive per acre.  Without those bees, we wouldn’t have a seed crop to harvest!

So I guess in the end, even a frustrating “situation” isn’t so bad when you get to take in a view like this!

The Weather

22 Jun

The weather is one of those things that doesn’t just annoy us farmers, at times it can infuriate, frustrate, and just plain get us down.  Now I say this all with the disclaimer that I really can’t complain too much here about the weather.  It’s fairly predictable when compared to other areas of the country.  But sometimes, sometimes it just breaks your heart what the weather can do.

Farmers take on incredible risk with the crops that we grow.  We work all year to nurture the plants as best as we know how, take care to meet their every needs.  Then we pray that harvest will come and it will go into the combine, come out as seed, and head to the market (just another thing we can’t control but more on that in another post).

So when Matt and I headed out to check on our crimson clover field to see if it was ready to start harvesting for the day, this is what we saw.

FullSizeRender(8)Not anything too crazy, just looked like a usual whirlwind type of damage, a fairly big pile, but nothing that was too devastating.  It wasn’t until we looked up from that pile to see the real damage.  It’s hard to see in the first photo and it didn’t look too bad even then looking from the seat of the pick-up.

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It wasn’t until we walked out to see the true damage of what a whirlwind can down as it races across a field of swathed clover.

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I was devastated.  All the seed for a large portion of our field was now no longer on the stem that is supposed to hold on to it while we harvest it with the combines, it was laying on the ground where it would lay and never be harvested.  The idea of a vacuum jokingly crossed all our minds, but that just isn’t feasible.  It’s one of those frustrating days followed by the days of having to now go deal with the stems, manually pitchforking them into the harvesters so they don’t get plugged taking in such large piles.  Just another thing that you get to deal with as a farmer, grin and bear it is what comes to mind with many of these situations, grin and bear it and pray it doesn’t happen again anytime soon.  It’s that eternal farmer optimism that keeps us all going on to the next crop, the next year, the next challenge.

As Will Rogers once said, “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.”

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