Friday, December 31, 2010

October 2010, Part I.

October came, and Tummy kept a-growin'.

The crops were all done growing, though, so there was a lot of harvesting going on. We started the corn on the first, and were the only folks allowed to haul into the feedlot that Saturday (which is awesome--no lines; empty pits.)
So we got the north half cut pretty quick.

And had a nice day off on Sunday...


The south half was a little bit too wet, so on Monday we switched to Milo. Nothing gives you a nice visual of rainfall/drought history quite like Milo. Here we have the west side of the field right south of the farm...
If you look closely at this picture you can see quite clearly where the rain shower went through...

Now how much of a difference can one 1/2" rain make when it comes at the right time?
Here is the view on the west side.
This field ended up making about 37 bushels per acre, but really the east half probably made 65 and the west probably made 10. The timing of a rain can be much more important than the amount.

Anyhoo I felt pretty fortunate to have any crop to haul in after the summer we had.

Things were in full swing at Reeve's.

It was nice to have Anna come with me Over East. She read to me out of her Bible. It was wonderful.

And made up for some other problems...
Here we see more effects of the wretched May wind storm. Milo doesn't like to emerge from underneath corn stalk drifts, apparently:



[ME]: Hey, I was just thinking. When we [planted milo] this [spring], I think it was YOU who put the [seed] in.
[MYSELF]: Hey, if you’re gonna say I didn’t put the right kind in, you’re wrong. I used [5616]. And besides, [our choice in hybrids] would have nothing to do with this [in]cident.
[ME]: True…but you can’t [maximize yield potential] too well IF YOU DON’T [FINISH PLANTING THE FIELD] YOU NO SELLING WASTE OF SPACE!
I SWEAR TO GOD YOU’RE WORTHLESS!
[MYSELF]: I’m sorry about your [field] , but don’t call me worthless, I’m trying my best. I’m not my dad.
[ME]: That’s right you're not your dad. He could sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman in white gloves!
[MYSELF]: Ketchup Popsicle!?
[ME]: Yeah! I learned everything I know from him. I didn’t have a father and he looked out for me, but you, he was your real dad and you just took it for granted. HEY, I’M [MARION]’S SON, HE’LL FIX EVERYTHING SO I’M ALLOWED TO BE A MORON!
[MYSELF]: THAT’S IT! GET OUT! GET OUTTA THE [COMBINE]! IT’S GO TIME! YOU AND ME!

[sigh]

I hauled that milo in the next morning...

And then it was back up to the airport to finish George's beans. I discovered then that the combine now had an ultra-manual transmission, thanks to a broken shift cable.

The first two field were plenty dry...
But the next one was not. I got enough weeds in the machine to actually pull the concaves off of their hangers:

The next morning I climbed in the back of the machine on top of the sieves to get to this auger drive which had stopped driving. A few taps with the hammer and I had it going again.
All and all not as bad as it could have been... but the combine is going to need some major T.L.C. this winter.

So we put the concaves back in...

Replaced the dust cap that had fallen off...

And promptly broke the sickle bar.

And then I guess I didn't get the bolts put in quite tight enough when we fixed it...
I was very happy to get out of the field that night.

So I roaded the combine back home the next morning, switched headers, and tried Rod's milo. It was a no-go, so it was time to plant wheat.

Nothing will test your faith quite like dusting in wheat seed...


It was dry everywhere, even at the Gray Havens.

One day it was a little damp... which really made the stalks look better post planting:
It's hard to tell, but it really did look a lot better on the left half of this picture... The stalks were a lot less prone to breaking off, which left a much better snow-catching apparatus.

It almost looked like I was planting into good soil...

With the dryland wheat planted we went ahead and got started with Rod's milo. We switched back to the old standard metal milo fingers this year since the plastic ones just were not working out. These worked pretty well when they stayed on the header...

We shifted the fingers over and Dad kept cutting--leaving the header hanging over the edge-- while I searched and searched for the missing fingers.

They were pretty hard to spot:
In fact I didn't spot them, I stepped on them.

And there was much rejoicing...

Dad left me this note the next morning...

And I brought the drill over east so Mark could use it. He was also nice enough to give me some of his old milo fingers to replace any future losses.

I honestly don't even remember what we decided was wrong here. Something loose on the gearbox or something... I do know it took a few tries to get it working.

And so we got Rod's milo done...

So we could go back to corn.
And THAT is how I spent the first two weeks of October.

Friday, December 17, 2010

September 2010, Part II.

September continued.
I took the 8100 to the Gray havens to put down some fertilizer. Before I left the farm though, I rinsed out some empty chemical jugs into the tank so I could spray it out on the wheat stubble. I didn't get very far before I lost all my pressure. My filter was all gunked up... but with what?

And there, in the puddle left when I opened the filter I saw a tiny scrap of paper.

It took a long time and many stops to clean out the filter to empty the tanks and find the culprit: A label had come off of one of the jugs and into the spray tank. :/

I was able to fish it out with the big wrench I keep in the tractor and so put down my fertilizer.


The slight dip in the horizon here is a branch of the Santa Fe Trail.

Now we just need a nice rain to wash it in...

Anna decided to start her political career by running for student council representative. Here is her very first political speech:
video
(Shockingly, she did not win. Maybe next year...)

Then we took the combine up to the airport to cut George's beans.

It was fun to watch all of the planes.

We managed to slug the combine, though.

These soybeans were really a casualty of the dry summer. George flood irrigates, and without help from a decent rain every now and then, just couldn't keep up. The result was pretty weedy, thin soybeans with a lot of green patches. It was pretty slow going, and really hard on the combine.
A couple of days later I managed to ruin the return elevator drive chain.
We worked for a long time with the new chain before Dad suggested we go buy a chain breaker. I thought that maybe the fact that they make a tool for this sort of thing might have been something Dad might have mentioned sometime during the last ten years, instead of keeping it a secret. $15 and 30 seconds later...

I stayed out pretty late that night filling up the truck. They even turned the runway lights on so I could find the truck.

The airport was real pretty at night.

The next day was long and miserable as I fought a field full of Russian Thistles and listened to the dullest football game ever played. K-State ended up not losing to UCF, but they certainly did not win.

At least I had the planes to keep me company.

I was pretty happy to get that particular field done and move to something a little combine friendlier.

Then I took the combine home Sunday afternoon.

So I could start on my own beans at home.

They did pretty good.




Except the chlorotic spots.

The combine continued to fall apart, one piece at a time.

And when we were done with the beans we started in on the corn.