Saturday, June 24, 2017

New on the Farm: John Deere 7200 Conservation Planter

I bought it a couple of days ago at a farm retirement auction and drove west 100 miles to Rogers, MN to pick it up today.

It appears to be in really good shape and won't (hopefully) take much work to get it ready for next spring.  Conservation means that it's able to do "no-till planting" of corn, beans and similarly sized seeds.  We aren't no-till; the main way to get rid of weeds in an organic rotation is to till the soil. However I'd like to start minimizing the amount of tillage for a couple of reasons.  It has benefits to soil health, and secondly, I'm hoping to reduce the number of times that I have to spend tilling the soil prior to planting in the spring. There's a small window to plant. Any extra rain means I can't till until the soil dries out which can cause a delay in planting.  Late planting leads to lower (or no) yield.

click on any pic for a larger, clearer image

Lastly, I put some paint on the 300 gallon diesel fuel tank. So many things here are beat up and falling apart it makes me feel good to push back against all the decay.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

“Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1973. Also published by Counterpoint Press in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1999; The Mad Farmer Poems, 2008; New Collected Poems, 2012.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Farm Update: Replanting Soybeans + Birds in the Yard + Sickle Mower

The first planting of beans, about a month ago, didn't take, so we'll do about 38 acres again.  First dad (76 yrs old and works like crazy) re-tilled with the field cultivator, then we planted them with the drill.  Crop insurance will cover a percentage of the loss, not sure of the numbers.  Towards the end of the video we go a little off topic, but I don't really know how to edit these things. I'm also not interested in spending the time to learn.

Here's a short video of the birds as they move around outside. At about 8 weeks old they roam around looking for, and I'm hoping, eating ticks. There is a big problem up here with Lyme disease; I check myself constantly for ticks. I can occasionally feel them crawling on me but more often than not I lift up my shirt or pant leg to find nothing. Which is good, but it starts to play with my head after a while.

I got the sickle mower that I bought at auction hooked to the tractor and so far it's working. In a week or so I'll pull it 10 miles down Highway 63 and mow the 65 acres that are in clover. It's a slow process but given the equipment we have, the best option for getting rid of weeds ahead of next years corn.

Since I shot the pics, we took off the duals (the outside tires). They're good for added traction when you want to till, but when they're off its easier to mow. (They don't trample the grass ahead of part of the mower.)

Click on either of the images to make them bigger.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Moving the Birds Outside

My nephew George and my dad came to the farm to help move the birds from the brooder to the outdoor coop. Now that their feathers are in they can manage the cold nights. After getting acclimated to their new home they'll start wandering around the farm eating, I hope, ticks!

For some reason, to see a clearer image of any of the pictures below, you'll need to click on it --

Friday, May 26, 2017

Auction Buys

I bought a New Idea model 255 sickle bar mower and a 300 gallon diesel fuel tank.  After putting a new hydraulic cylinder on it and giving it a "tune up", I'll use the mower to cut weeds on the 65 acres that's in clover.  By cutting them before they go to seed, I'm hoping to reduce the amount of tillage I'll need to do next spring/summer.

The tank will get a coat of rust converter paint, a couple of new fuel filters, and a final coat of John Deere green.

Kind of amazing what you can move with ropes and chains.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Planting Corn

We hire out the corn planting, as right now we don't have a planter!

He is using a John Deere 12 row model 1770.

This has a been a very cold, wet spring and the corn is going in late. We'll see how that affects the yield.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trying to Dry Out a Field

We try to plant our corn by May 1st. This year has been wet and cold, but there was a small window last week and we missed it.  So, in between the rain, my dad (Gramps), is hoping that by running the field cultivator over this ground the wind will dry it out so we can plant it tomorrow.   The ground is sandy and well drained. It's supposed to rain in the afternoon, so we'll see. 

I had tilled this piece (roughly 30 acres) with the field cultivator almost three weeks ago. The soybean residue on it from last years crop was incorporated fairly easily into the soil.