Farmhouse Fling

Can you go home again?

Plane Speaking July 12, 2010

Filed under: Farming — diskam @ 9:08 am

They’ve been spraying corn for the last couple of days via airplane.  The corn is too tall to use the sprayer, and this is the time to get the fungicide on.

Yesterday it was RIGHT over the house.  As in ‘He’s so low I can’t believe he missed the power lines.”  I’d heard him spraying the neighbor’s field earlier, but didn’t realize we were next on the list.  I jumped, the cat jumped, the windows rattled and things fell off shelves.  Not what you’d expect at 10:30 on a quiet Sunday morning.

Today they’re spraying again, and we’ve got trucks here emptying the bins.  Weeks go by without anyone here, but today looks like a hive of activity.  If I were a nice sister, I’d make cookies for the people working in the bins.  It’d be a little hard to get them up to the pilot.  Well actually, I suppose he could stick his hand out the window and I could slap the cookies in as he flew by.  Did I mention he’s flying REALLY low?  We’ll see what happens.


Springtime April 20, 2010

Filed under: Farming — diskam @ 5:43 pm

It’s springtime here on the farm.  It’s time to for Dad to work the ground:

I do NOT miss the days when it was my job to wash the tractors.  Although they were never as bad as the combine.  That was a dirty scrungy mess to clean, and there is no way to do it without getting pretty scrungy yourself.

When they’re ready to move to the next field, the sides of the implements fold up to make it easier to travel down the road.  Well, and it keeps them from taking out every sign on both sides of the road between this field and the next.

After the ground has been worked, they’re ready to plant.

Here my brother is planting end rows, the rows around the edges of the field.  The tractor is run manually while doing the end rows, so the marker is down on this side of the planter to make a rut so he can see where to plant the next pass.

The markers are up on both sides here because the tractor is steering by GPS.  The computer calculates where the tractor needs to be in this pass in relation to where it was in the last one and moves accordingly.  The driver only needs to turn at the end of the field and then the steering takes over.  The system also has a handy alarm as the tractor approaches the end of the field just in case the driver isn’t paying attention.

The planter folds too, otherwise it would be much too wide to go down the road.  Corn seed comes in sacks (think a giant bag of dog food), and is loaded by hand into the yellow bins.  It didn’t occur to me at all to get pictures of that.  I’ll try to get some shots before they finish.


Cash Crop. February 11, 2010

Filed under: Farming — diskam @ 4:49 pm

In this area the usual crops are corn and soybeans.  There’s the occasional field of sunflowers or sorghum, but for the most part fields look something like this:

Once upon a time though, my grandpa grew something a little different.

During WWII  a hemp processing mill was built in town and local farmers were encouraged to grow marijuana to support the war efforts.  Well, they were encouraged to grow marijuana with the idea the hemp would eventually be turned into rope for the armed services.  I imagine growing marijuana simply to aid war efforts would have attracted an entirely different group of  supporters.

The program was so successful that it ended early when production far exceeded expectations.  Although a local business group tried to keep it open, they were forced to concede defeat when the mill and part of its inventory accidentally burned.  The ensuing jokes, however, lasted for years. 

You don’t often see a field like this anymore:

After the crop was cut, it was laid in the field for a couple of weeks to break down the plants.  This made them easier to process.

In high school I spent my summers walking beans for my dad.  This involved walking row by row through the field to clean out weeds.  Forty odd years later, I’d occasionally find rogue pot plants growing.


Harvest Time. November 10, 2009

Filed under: Farming — diskam @ 12:28 pm


This was the view from the front yard Sunday morning.  Since July, the corn has been way over our heads, giving us a 9-foot-high 200-yard-thick privacy fence.


By midday, the field was started.

after pic

And by the evening, things looked a lot different.

It’s amazing how strange it seems now.  I know no one is actually spying on us as we are, in fact, completely boring.  But I feel like we’re exposed now that there’s no corn to hide behind.




Auger Wagon

The auger wagon usually follows the combine, and ferries the grain from it back to the trucks parked on the road.  Then the trucks take it in to the grain elevator in town.  However, a small portion of the grain from this field goes into the bins here.


There’s still a lot of harvesting to finish though.  Cool weather and a lot of rain kept the farmers out of the fields much longer than usual.