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Eclipse 2017

23 Aug

Ok, so I wasn’t even planning to be super impressed by the whole path of totality eclipse business. Honestly I wasn’t.  There was so much hype and hubub leading up to this once in a lifetime event here in Oregon since we were in the “Path of Totality”.  But I thought, yeah I’ll get some glasses, and see what the hype is all about, it will be sort of cool to see.  But then, watching it, experiencing it, and wow….it was by far one of the coolest things I have ever seen!!!

We had a good get together at the farm, lots of laughs over silly glasses, a few jokes about flying up to the heavens and mostly a very cool time watching the moon totally cover the sun.  At the farm we had around one and half minutes of he moon totally covering the sun.  Or “eating the sun” as Hoot put it! 

As the moon started the cover the temperature dropped quite a bit.  The darkness started to set in.  When totality hit it truly did get dark or at least a dark twilight all around.  Even the horizons looked like sunset or sunrise.  But probably the most cool was being able to take off the glasses an look straight at the moon covering the sun with the “diamond ring” circling it.

Even Auggie was cheering and pointing! *Sidenote for all that noticed…that is not actually WD-40 Auggie is sucking on!

It was incredible!  I was a skeptic, but after getting to have the experience first hand, it was absolutely totally worth it!  Now I say this also with the filter that I did not have a horrendous drive home, my 2 minute commute from the farm looked more like 4 minutes with all the traffic. While some others spent hours and hours and hours…and hours sitting in traffic.  Even on back roads, following the event.

All in all….I now get what all the hype is about!  Hope you all got to enjoy a little eclipse action as well!  And if you ever find yourself in the “Path of Totality” it’s well worth grabbing some silly glasses and having a party!

**Thank you Karen Kirsch and Amelia Safley for letting me borrow some photos…we were too busy staring and forgot to take any!

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!!

Cropping Decisions and the Weather

19 Jun

The cropping rotation on our farm, which includes around 11 different crops every year, is planned about 5 years out.  We plan that far out because there are a lot of things to consider.  Examples such as, which crops can follow others, keeping the mix of crops at the right acreage amounts, assessing our risk with each crop, what we can get contracts for, overall economics, level of labor intensity, etc.

But also the weather…oh that darn weather.  When we get a year like this past one, it doesn’t just mean that we wear our muck boots and rain gear more, it means that we have cropping decisions that are made for us by Mother Nature.

This field of green beans is the perfect example.

  • Plan A: Plant to Tall Fescue.
    Didn’t get the ground worked in time due to many circumstances.  On to plan B…
  • Plan B: Plant Perennial Ryegrass.
    It started to rain in early October….it never really stopped until that planting window was well closed.  So plan C it is…
  • Plan C: Plant peas.
    This would have worked, but then we got a contract for another crop that could potentially be better economically.  And finally Plan D…
  • Plan D: Green beans were planted….phew!

This is a bit oversimplified in many respects, but I thought it was a good way to show how much we are the mercy of the weather.  Other factors absolutely come into play, but the weather is one that we just can’t control and is tough to protect yourself against because it can be so unpredictable.  So the weather, economics, cropping decisions…they all play a part in the answer to what seems like the very simple question, “How do you decide what to plant in what field?”

So now this field when I drive by, just sort of exhausts me…it’s been a long road, and one that I will see happy to be harvested.  Of course it’s so we can go ahead and try again next year, Mother Nature willing of course!

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