Saturday, January 9, 2021

Hoarfrost

During the past two weeks, we've had long periods of freezing fog, also called hoarfrost, that has left the landscape beautifully coated with ice crystals. Everything looks like it's been dusted with powdered sugar.

(Click on any picture to make it bigger.)



 








Monday, November 9, 2020

Putting Equipment Away - End of Year

After the rush to get everything harvested before the weather changed, there was one final push to get equipment cleaned and put away ahead of the cold and snow.

Dad and I got everything in. I still have to rearrange a few pieces, as well as a day or two of work to get the shed doors working correctly.  Then I'll be busy working outside on the buildings until the poor weather forces me indoors.

This was my fifth year of organic farming. Looking back, it's had a lot of new equipment, new techniques, and new buildings/infrastructure.  Several challenges - leading to frustration - but no real "failures", just enough setbacks to help me learn how to do things better. "Nothing succeeds like failure." I'm looking forward to next year.

It was windy when I shot the following video, so unfortunately the sound quality is occasionally bad.


The following is an exchange I had in the comments section of the above video. I thought it was worth sharing here.

Those chisel points are worn! I seldom run that deep with the chisel. 8" is about the maximum for me. If you can still walk through the barn, there is plenty of space ;)
We got our money's worth out of them. On the clover that we partially terminated this fall we went about 8" deep. On the ground where I have compaction/foxtail we tried to go deeper. We were thinking about renting a ripper - but couldn't find one. So we set the chisel deep. In the 5 yrs that I've owned that ground it hasn't been chisel plowed - there never seems to be enough time to do it. I doubt the previous guy did it either. The pieces that got dug up by the plow were still hard as rocks. Glad we got it done.

 ......................

I'm not sure if I've said this here before but I really appreciate Dad/Gramp's (btw, that's him driving the tractor at the top of the blog/website) help and advice. He has been invaluable in getting this venture up and running by doing all kinds of work, from chisel plowing (see above video!) to moving equipment around, to offering his professional advice on business/accounting issues. He told me the other day that he's put something like 19,000 miles on his truck this year, almost all of that is from driving back and forth from Bloomington to Turtle Lake (180 mile round trip). Thanks Dad! I love you xxx, ooo.

 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Cleaning Out the Combine - End of Year

 There's a lot of soybean residue and dust that gets everywhere inside the combine. Mice like to eat that, and will overwinter in the combine, eventually chewing up electrical wires. Also, the dust holds a little moisture, and as it sticks in almost every little corner, will eventually rust the machine out if it isn't removed. I don't want to use the pressure washer because of the potential increase in rust. 

I've heard of other farmers who rent a tow behind air compressor (the kind that powers a jackhammer, shown below) and use that large volume of air to blow the dust away. Maybe I'll do that next year.



I blew it out with a leaf blower, then used a shop vac and screwdriver/scraper to get most of it out. A tedious job.



Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Tillage, Traction, and Compaction

 Interesting, and helpful, video as we get ready to do a small amount of fall tillage on the soybean ground. As I've said before, all the end rows are compacted due to years (decades?) of heavy equipment turning around on it, and, in the 5 years I've owned it, we've only had a disc on the whole field, never a chisel plow.

About half of the bean ground that we just harvested has heavy foxtail pressure. Foxtail likes wet, compacted, anaerobic soils, so we'll go over that with the chisel plow as well.



Friday, October 23, 2020

Construction Update # ? The Latest on the Farmhouse

 The only work I've done on the farmhouse this year has been to switch the romex electrical wire over to metal pipe (to protect against mice/squirrel damage). That is almost done, I'm so close, just have to run the final 8 pairs of 12 gauge wires from the final distribution box back to the panel. Once done that will give me enough safe power (I've been running everything for the past year off of three 12 gauge extension cords) to use electric space heaters to warm the small part of the first floor you see that I've sectioned off. There is no practical way for me to finish construction enough to seal off the rest of the first floor so that I can use the wood burner this winter. 

I haven't had time to do anything else - the farm, with it's own buildings and equipment, never mind the actual field work, has taken all my time. So I continue to camp out.


 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

End of Year From the Garden

 



I still have about 30 feet of potatoes to dig up. They're under about 6" (and rising) of snow right now. I'm guessing I'll have one more chance to dig them up before everything freezes solid for the winter.