Monday, April 27, 2009

Water, Water, Everywhere...

We have had rain, and more rain. And tornadoes that mercifully stayed about 3 miles to the south of our house. Ted should have been in the field sometime last month. He's not getting in anytime soon. Last night, we got another 2 1/2 inches of rain. That came after 1 1/2 inches the night before, and so on...

Many of our fields look like this. Creeks are out. The water will probably go down quickly, but it will leave a waterlogged mess that will take time (who knows how much?) to dry out.
Last years corn stubble should not look like wetlands.

Add a couple of white egrets and it does look like the wetlands.
This yellow drain tile should be about a meter above ground.

This water is actually running over a road.

But it could be worse! This debris is from Saturday's tornado. It took out several barns in the area, thankfully sparing lives.
(photos courtesy of Ted)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

What do farmers do when they're not in the field? Well...they work. Quite often, in the field.
This has been a very wet spring! Fields need sprayed for the weeds that are coming up, and crops need to be planted. But it's been too wet. It stands to reason that we have some drainage problems. The guys thought it would be a good idea to add some drainage tubes to this field.

It starts by digging a big hole in the place that doesn't drain well. They will put in a vertical drain here so that the water will flow underground to a tube that will carry it elsewhere.
This is some of the drain tubing that will be laid under the ground and taken to a low spot where the water can get away without eroding the soil.

This is Ted on the "trencher." This machine moves a whopping .2 miles per hour (or something like that). It was actually running when I took this picture. It has a big contraption (I don't know what it's called) on the back that...well...digs a trench.

This is how far Ted had gotten when I was there. (This probably took him the better part of a morning.) I'm not kidding! This thing crawls. I actually saw a snail that was out-running him.

Unfortunately for Ted, he has to get all the way over to where that little bitty orange speck is, just to the right side of that purple strip. (That orange speck is the back hoe you saw in the first picture. Click on the picture and it will make it larger for you.)

Speaking of that purple strip...that is hen bit. It is (by all farmer definitions) a weed. This time of the year, it pretty much takes over every field it can. Ted is always in a race to kill it. In the race, I never know whether to cheer for Ted, who is our provider and simply has to kill this weed so that we can all eat this year...or for the hen bit in all of its purple glory. Hmmm...tough decisions!
Post script:
Since taking these pictures, we acquired at least another couple inches of rain. The trench filled in with about a foot of soil. This is getting ridiculous!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This is a nest that finally blew out of my big cottonwood tree. It was used last spring by a pair of orioles that I hope will return soon. I've always loved bird nests. I love to see how they are constructed by the various species and what materials they prefer to use. (Okay, I'll admit it...I'm a bird nerd.)

Peering inside this particular nest put a smile on my face. You see that soft, orangey (I created a new word), fluffy looking stuff that the nest is lined with? I know where that came from!

It came from this guy! His name is Baby. I wonder how he would feel about that.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This picture was taken yesterday. As I am typing, it is now snowing on this pear tree. I really want the warm weather to come and stay, even if it means...

a whole lot more of this!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

This is how I feel right now. I asked Ted a simple question about some scale tickets. Scale tickets are the little pieces of paper that are handed to a truck driver when he delivers a load of grain. They tell the date, ticket number, gross weight, net weight, bushel amount, moisture, destination, dockage, grain owner, whether it's being stored or sold (I could go on...but you see, I've already confused myself, and I know how to read one of these things.) You see, it's my job to make sure that the tickets are all accounted for and that they make sense. Today I was handed some tickets that came from a seed cleaning plant. These were foreign to me. I had to ask a simple little question about them. The above picture represents the explanation that I got. Apparently, things are a bit different when you sell seed beans...those are seeds grown for the specific purpose of being replanted...which you can't do (are not allowed to do by law) with all seeds. Ted gave me "the look," after his explanation which conveys "I just don't know why you
can't grasp this simple concept. You must be an idiot!"
Well, I've decided that there is just a farming gene and that I lack it. It is the gene that makes one understand (at birth) all of the idiosyncrasies that come with living on a farm. I've decided to try and not understand this "simple" little lesson that I was told, and instead, I shall go ponder this:

I have a much better chance at figuring this stuff out!