Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Days of August

The days of August are spent two different ways. 
There are days spent combining. 
 There are days spent wishing we could combine.
 The wheat is ripe, but not dried down.
It has begun to make us wonder if there will be enough warm days to dry it down. There is rain in the forecast. Much of the rest of August might be spent wishing we could combine.
So we are combining the Winter Wheat wet. 
Wet is above the 13.5% moisture level that is safe for long term storage. 
The straw is dry and it goes through the machine nicely. 
 The wheat is then dumped into a truck and hauled to the bin site where it will be dried and cooled before being hauled into the elevator.
As the harvest continues in GriggsDakota.

Sunflowers by the Sheyenne

Hello Sunflower! 
 If I could have any crop flourish in GriggsDakota, 
I would choose lavender. 
But sunflowers are a close second. 
 The scent of a sunflower is earthy and rich.
It does not carry the sweetness of lavender and so it suits us, in a way. It takes an earthy rugged flower to decorate this land. 
No fragile flower for the plains as the sun is racing to the horizon.
These are confectionary sunflowers. 
The seeds in this head will be left to mature until each shell is filled with a seed. 
 They might be shelled, salted, and roasted or whipped into sun butter.
For this evening they are free to wave at the camera or dance in the breeze. 
Some sunflowers looked tired of holding their heads high. 
Most had turned to face the rising sun. 
Those with lighter heads will follow the sun across the sky, then turn back to the east as the sun sets. More mature heads face the sunrise without turning as the sun passes overhead.
Like soldiers facing the dawn in GriggsDakota.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fixing Up the old Quonset

When you spend your life on a farm, you learn that everything in this life has a beginning and an ending. This is true for everything, of course, but it is more obvious on a farm. We witness the rhythm of life.
 We also witness the ravages of time on equipment and buildings. The old quonset is about 70 years old. The shingles needed replacing.
So we called Nathan at Pinke Lumber to get the supplies we needed for the job. Once the work was started, we found there were some structural problems that left unattended would take the building down despite the new roof. 
 So, we called Eldon, at Pinke Lumber and got advice on how to fix the foundation problem.
The guys on the roof were using the loader tractor to raise supplies up to their perch near the peak. 
The mornings have been pleasant this August, and often too damp to harvest, so there was time for a project. 
 The foundation was shored up with cement, dug down into the ground to hold the building solidly in place and keep the wooden structure from rotting away. A solid footing for an old and useful building.
It is possible to make the old as good as new when you are working on a building. 
There is even a new antenna for the weather station attached to its peak.  
 No one had ever heard of a weather station 70 years ago when the building was built in this yard.
In seventy years what changes will an observer find? 
Things I have never heard of, I suppose.
And I hope someone is still around to appreciate the solid footing we gave this sturdy old gem during these cool August days in GriggsDakota.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Winter Wheat on a Weekend - Combining with the Family

 We picked up all the swaths of barley from our fields. There is more to do, but we switched over to Winter Wheat.
We are straight cutting the Winter Wheat, which means that we have switched out the head that picked up the swaths for the cutting head that harvests the grain with one pass.
We had extra help around on this August weekend.
Before switching crops, we had to sweep out the trucks and thoroughly clean the combines so that there is not contamination of the Wheat with Barley. 
Wyatt was excited when he finished and jumped behind the wheel of the truck to haul the wheat to our air bin.
Hunter surprised us by arriving early Friday afternoon. 
He sprinted to Farmer Fred's combine. 
Hunter is anxious to learn all about driving the combine. 
Every young farm kid wants to be a combine operator and the sooner the better. 
Power On Kirsti took my camera to the field and came back with these photos. This is the only one of her! 
Robbie would be the one to tell Hunter that if you want to be one of the combine operators on this farm, you must be very patient. 
In the meantime, learn to drive the grain cart. 
 Unloading the harvested crop on the go places the two big machines close together. It takes skill to operate the grain cart.
The Energy Advisor had never been in a ripe field of Wheat before. 
 She was fascinated by the combine.
She took her responsibility of holding Farmer Fred's cap very seriously. 
And watched carefully when Robbie pulled the grain cart up to receive the combine's hopper full of grain. 
Looks like we have another farm girl in GriggsDakota.