Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hair Cut

It was recently Morton's 1st birthday.  Morton would be our dog.  How else do you celebrate a birthday other than by getting a haircut!



Like any little boy Mort enjoys running, playing outside and getting very dirty.  And, like any little boy after his bath and buzz cut he headed right to the shop, rolled around in the dust and rubbed up against the grease guns.  He's just like all the other males on this farm.

Friday, June 14, 2013


These three look like they may be on a leisurely stroll through a corn field enjoying one of the few days we have had of sunshine.  But, they are doing more than that.  Due to the excessive amounts of rain we have received this spring there is a real concern that the corn crop may be short on nitrogen.  Nitrogen is one of four most important nutrients needed to produce corn.   While we have applied some nitrogen already to the field we still have time to side dress the amount yet needed by the crop.  To determine what the amount still needed is we need to have soil tested in a lab.  That means we need to take soil samples.  Lots of soil samples.

Joe and Junior Super Intern (along with #3's help) sometimes tag team pulling soil samples to send to the testing lab.  Joe pulls the first core down to the 1 foot level.  Then he drops the soil core into the bucket.

Then, Junior Super Intern(JSI) takes a core out of the same core hole
as Joe but this core is from 1 foot to 2 feet deep. This is where muscle comes in. 

It takes a lot of umph to get that soil probe down that deep.  I used to take these samples by myself 20 years ago but then I wised up - take the pictures and have a strapping young man do the hard work.  Joe and JSI take several cores in an area of the field.  This will be one sample that is bagged up.  There will be several samples taken acrossed a farm because soils vary acrossed a farm and each soil holds nitrogen differently. 

Because the soil is so wet it often sticks in the soil probe.  A long time ago we discover that Pam cooking spray applied to the probe will help the soil slide out easily and not effect the analysis.  This is where #3 comes in.  He is the Pam man!

Once all the samples are pulled the bags are labeled and set in the frig so the soil bacteria are slowed down from fixing more nitrogen in the sample and we get an accurate measurement from the lab. 

When you live on a farm you never know for sure what
may end up in your frig.

JSI packs up the samples and ships them off to the testing lab.  In a couple of days the results are emailed to us.  From the labs measurements we can decide if we need to add more nitrogen to the field for the corn crop. 

For those of you in the know - yes, I realize I simplified this process but I didn't want to give a lecture today.  If you would like more information about this follow these links:

How to do a Deep Nitrate Test Soil Sample -

 Nitrogen Fertilizer Recommendations for Iowa -

This whole process takes a lot of the guess work out of managing a corn crop.  The farmer finds out if more nitrogen is needed by the crop.  If it is needed a corn grower can side dress the crop with anhydrous ammonia, urea, or liquid 28%.  If more nitrogen is not needed the grower can move on to the next chore on this list.  This is good for the crop, the environment, and the farmer's pocket book. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Passing of the Chickens

It's that time of year once again when the boys need to make room for their 4H broiler chicken fair projects. That means the old layers get booted out of their coop so the new layers can move in and the baby broilers have their own coop when they arrive. What it comes down to is that we do not have enough suitable buildings for all of our fine feathered friends. So, sons #1 and #2 need to find new homes for their lovely, feathered ladies to the dismay of their egg customers. It is ashame as the hens are just over a year old and in their prime egg laying stage.

But, never fear! Number 1 did some wheeling and dealing with a friend of his to take a few as well as neighbors of ours decided it's time for their kids to take on a little more responsibility. So, Sunday afternoon the last 21 chickens took a short trip down the road.

I believe these three are wondering what
their parents got them into this time.

#1 giving a lecture on the color of chickens ears.  Did you
know that you can determine the color of the egg a chicken
will lay by looking at it's ears?  A chicken with brown ears lays
brown eggs and a chicken with white ears lays white eggs.

As you can see these chickens are on the tame side. 

                                    The ladies checking out their new digs.

This picture has nothing to do with the chickens
but I thought the lush green pasture and the red barn
looked nice.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Finished up planting at 5:00pm!

Sigh of relief. . .

The 10th Day of Planting

Rain drops on a planter tire.

Well, the forecast for two days of good weather was wrong.  We have been planting this morning but we keeping getting small showers of rain.  It's not enough rain to make soil stick to the tires of the tractors or planters so Dad and Joe are still going.  If this was May 4th instead of June 4th, we would stop and wait for better weather and soil conditions but circumstances dictate otherwise. 

Soil is not sticking to the
press wheels of the
planters - yet.

The heavy rain is hanging just west of us so we will keep on pushing forward.  You will need to stay tuned and find out if we are able to finish up planting today or if we need to wait for the next break in this rainy weather or go Preventive Planting.

Dad trying to figure out why a seed drop
sensor is not communicating with the
 computer in the tractor. 
I have no idea what time Joe headed out to start planting but I had a very early morning phone call from him.  I thought maybe he was calling to wish me a great day in the weed warehouse or whisper sweet endearments in my ear.  But, I was mistaken - Dad was broken down and needed pieces and parts - NOW!.

Oh well, life of a farm wife.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The 9th Day of Planting

I never thought I would be writing that the ninth day of planting our crop would be on June 3rd.  But it is what it is.  According to the weather forecasts we have a narrow two day window to do field work - today and tomorrow.  So, everyone is making the best of these days. 

I delivered soybeans this afternoon and in a 24 miles round trip I saw farmers planting corn, soybeans, and sorghum, chopping rye and alfalfa, and sidedressing corn with nitrogen fertilizer. 

Everyone stay safe!

Number One helping me in the seed warehouse with
deliveries.  He stays about as clean as his father does.

What I dream about most of the time -
empty pallets.  :-)

Yours truly loading soybeans to deliver.