Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pinto Beans Hauled Away

Farmer Fred is delivering a load of contracted pinto beans to the receiving station.
The first stop is the scale where the truck is weighed with a box full of pinto beans.
Farmer Fred is directed to back up to the conveyer by Marlo, who, after recording the loaded truck weight, comes over to supervise the delivery of the beans.
Farmer Fred rolls up the tarp that covers the truck box.
He then goes to raise the box by engaging the hoist.
 Notice the belt that is running under the tube. A conveyer lifts the beans up to the bin to avoid splitting or chipping the beans. It is preferred to a conventional auger in all commodities where splits and chips are an issue such as beans, soybeans, and field peas.
The endgate is opened and pinto beans begin to flow out of the truck and up the conveyer to the bin. 
Marlo will take a sample of beans and if you click on the picture, you will see he has a long handled scoop in one hand and a sample pail in the other.
He watches our pinto beans come out of the truck box, taking a small sample every few minutes and adding it to the pail.
The engine of the tractor runs the power take off which powers the conveyer as it lifts the beans and drops them into the bin.

Farmer Fred can use this tool to reach into the corners of the box and scoop out the last of the beans before closing the endgate and lowering the hoist.
When Marlo has gathered his sample, he goes to the office in his golf cart leaving Farmer Fred to finish dumping the load.
The first thing Marlo does in the office is put the sample of pinto beans into this beautiful contraption that looks like an exotic coffee urn.  I think it spins and separates the beans from the trash, leaving a clean sample.
Marlo needs a clean, 300 gram sample which he weighs.
The beans are tested for moisture
They get their temperature taken.
Meanwhile, Farmer Fred has finished unloading the beans and is driving back onto the scale to weigh the empty truck. Simple subtraction will tell the weight of the load of beans.
Farmer Fred comes out of the office with a scale ticket that contains all we need to know about the pinto beans, but there is one number that means the most to Farmer Fred.
This number makes the long summer of work worthwhile. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Raising Pinto Beans - Through the Seasons

Last Spring Robbie planted pinto beans.

And pinto beans popped out of the ground. 
Isn't nature wonderful? You reap what you sow. Nature maintains order. 
We cultivated the rows of pinto beans
and watched the pinto beans grow throughout the summer.
The pinto bean leaves were fresh and green.
The pinto bean plants produced vines and blossoms
which became pinto beans in pods.
The pinto bean pods ripened.
We waited. Now that it is Fall, the pinto beans are dry enough to harvest.
The morning dawned foggy 
with a heavy dew covering everything.
Around noon, the skies cleared and a warm wind kicked up. Don has been 
cutting pinto beans with the Pickett all afternoon.
Farmer Fred started combining pinto beans as the sun was setting.
He will continue to harvest pinto beans for as long as the wind 
keeps the dampness of the night off the vines.
This is what ripe pinto beans look like. The dried beans in the grocery store are cleaned, but not processed. It's a good idea to pick through beans before cooking to be sure there isn't a stone that made it through the cleaning. You can also buy pinto beans canned and they are delicious in chili. Pinto beans are used to make traditional refried beans. 
Click Here to visit the USDA site containing the nutritional value of pinto beans and a couple of recipes. Canned pinto beans retain their nutritional value and are a quick way to add fiber and flavor to your home cooking. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pinto Bean Harvest 2010

Farmer Fred took the combine out to do the head lands on our pinto bean field.
Notice that there is quite a bit of trash spread out on the ground.
Some of it is unharvested beans.
The pinto bean pods are off the ground, but hang close to it. We are finally enjoying sunshine, warm temperatures, and wind which will help to dry out the crops that are still in the field.
The combine's flex-head lays on the ground as it cuts off the stems and sends the dried plants through the combine.
The process will result in some bean loss, but the cleared area behind the combine provides a place to maneuver at the end of the field. 
Click Here to step back in time and visit last year's first day of pinto bean harvest. The post includes photos and explanation of how our Pickett works. It is our preferred method of cutting pinto beans.
The loss of beans that Farmer Fred sees on the ground is unacceptably high.
Jake and Farmer Fred are up making adjustments before they continue opening the first field.
The weather is forecast to stay sunny and dry so we plan to get the beans harvested this week.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hunter's First Hunt

GriggsDakota is a fine place to farm and ranch.
It has wide open spaces.
There are geese in the air
and on the ground.
The whitetail deer are so plentiful
That we see them every day.
We also have wild turkeys and an assortment of other games birds and wild creatures.
And so, we hunt, for food, for fun, to keep varmints at bay, because we can.
It's a favorite activity of fathers and sons or, rather, parents and children. We all hunt.
A successful hunter takes out a coyote that was lurking near our calves.
In GriggsDakota, young hunters are trained from an early age and spend many hunting seasons without a gun walking miles to help those lucky licensed hunters. The state then requires that each take a course in Hunter Safety, after which they are certified and can become licensed to hunt. The first deer license issued to a young hunter is a once in a lifetime event. There are a couple weeks in September when the first time hunters are the only ones allowed to bag a deer. The hunting becomes centered around the young deer hunter.
He is given the prime hunting spot, carefully supervised, and success is celebrated.
After all, everyone knows that he'll never forget his first time.