Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Alfalfa Takeover

In June our field of canola seeded with alfalfa was a mass of green. The photo was taken shortly before the canola started to bloom.
Just before harvesting the canola, the field looked like this. The alfalfa was thriving and ready to take over.
The cut stems of the swathed canola stand in sharp contrast to the round softness of the alfalfa.
For the next couple seasons we expect alfalfa to grow here and produce a crop of hay. Depending on summer moisture, there could be multiple cuttings of alfalfa each season of production.
The alfalfa will get an early start from in the Spring from its well developed root system. That will make it ready for first cutting in June of 2011.
The canola got ahead of the alfalfa this season and produced its crop.
Now the alfalfa can bask in the sunshine until freeze up, keep warm under a blanket of snow caught in the stubble provided by the canola, and flourish for seasons to come in GriggsDakota.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Canola 2010 Completed

The mornings have been dawning with cooler temperatures, which means it takes longer for the fields to dry out and be ready for the combines.
We spend our time servicing the machines and moving things around.
We hope to finish combining canola and were anxious to get started.
Farmer Fred moved the truck to the edge of the field. The canola seed is so light that we must take the wind direction and velocity into account each day so that the canola doesn't blow away while being unloaded.
As the day progressed we moved to the last field and had the end in sight.
No showers and mild temperatures prevailed. We finished.
Darkness had closed in as the final truckload of canola pulled off the field.
Shine on harvest moon up in the sky.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yes, Pelicans

Pelicans like to spend their summer in GriggsDakota. There are spots where pelicans nest in North Dakota, but the pelicans here usually arrive in July. As the Summer and Fall progress, their groups enlarge. They are easy to spot, flying in formation from one area to another until they fly off for a warmer climate.
A couple of years ago our dog, Butler, dragged a decomposing pelican carcass into the yard. It had an aluminum band on its leg that was too worn for us to read clearly. We reported the band and mailed it in, because the numbers could not be deciphered.
Eventually, Farmer Fred received a certificate of appreciation containing
 pertinent information about the bird. It was over 15 years since it had been banded. 
 Sometimes pelicans cooperate while seeking food, circling the edge of the water in a line. They dunk their heads into the water, then lift them out, pointing their beaks upward. They bob their heads slightly, then repeat, keeping a line and sweeping the edge for whatever is there. I assume snails, fish, and I hope lots of other slimy creatures such as salamanders.
For those who are interested Click Here to find a story on Pelicans in North Dakota.
Thank you to commenter Mat for expressing surprise that we have pelicans in GriggsDakota. Your interest inspired this post.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Corn in the Kettle

Sweet Corn has been a special treat in GriggsDakota for as long as I can remember. The old-timers in the area sometimes preferred eating regular field corn. There is a big difference in flavor. They cooked the field corn in sugar water and some still claim it is the best eating. I disagree. Our family was treated to the luxury of delicious sweet corn from a patch that my parents raised each year. They are still at it and now we have corn. I cook it the old fashioned way. Remove the husks, put it in a kettle, add water, a tablespoon of butter or margarine, cover, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, eat it as soon as you can.
I have been adding corn to our harvest meals. After removing the cooked corn from the kettle, I wrap each cob in foil.
Then place the corn in the oven set at 250 degrees fahrenheit.
I do this with hot sandwiches, as well. It only takes a few minutes to warm up the foil which keeps the hot food hot.
 From the oven to the bags, to the box, to the pickup, to the field, to feed the harvest crew.
Fresh corn is a treat that makes Farmer Fred grin as he heads back to the combine in GriggsDakota.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Canola - Slow Start

The canola swaths lay cured and ready for the combine.
Transition from one crop to another is an unpredictable process. We spent most of the afternoon with only one combine in the field. Nothing too serious, but disappointing.
The pods are crisp and ready to give up their small black seeds.
These tiny seeds yield rich healthy canola oil.
It was not the start we hoped for, but the transition is behind us. Canola harvest is underway.
As the day wore on
the yield improved.
Tomorrow we will start hauling canola by semi to the processing plant 90 miles away.
This is a day that the Lord has made,
and we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Corny Guy's Palace

There is corn growing in the AdFarm field and lots of corn growing all over the countryside.
What shall we do with all that corn?
In Mitchell, South Dakota, they take some of their corn each year, 100 acres or so, and build The World's Only Corn Palace.
The folks in Mitchell built the First Corn Palace in 1892.

They have been improving the design and function ever since.
Several different colors of corn cobs are split in half and fastened in place to create the murals.
There is an auditorium/gymnasium inside where girls were having a dance lesson on the day that Farmer Fred visited the World's Only Corn Palace.  
Click Here to if you would like to visit The World's Only Corn Palace.
There are many murals and the detail is amazing. Farmer Fred enjoyed seeing the display and left impressed with The World's Only Corn Palace.
As he was leaving the Palace, Farmer Fred struck up a conversation Corny Guy, who was happy to pose for a photograph. Corny Guy was very interested in Farmer Fred's close association with AdFarm and especially interested in their Corn field. Corny Guy has a plan:
"Why don't you build another Corn Palace with some of your extra corn? I would be happy to move to Fargo, Kansas City, Guelph, or Calgary. What's that? No corn in Calgary? Okay, big problem. We need to build in a place where there's corn and tourists. The World's Only Corn Palace gets a little lonely. Maybe we could take this show on the road. Don't leave me! There is plenty of room for you to sit down and visit. No lines, no traffic... Okay, Okay, you have to go, but think about this:" 
 "Let's build Another Corn Palace with some of AdFarm's Corn!"
Final thought from Farmer Fred:  "Now that would be a Marketing Challenge!"

Monday, August 23, 2010

2010 Barley Harvest Complete

By the end we were swathing and combining on the same field.

The straw was tough, but the grain was dry.
So we kept going until we were done.
2010 barley is in the bin. On to canola.