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Farmin’ With Brett – Fall Harvest

It’s that time of year again! Fall is here, and that means it a busy season on our farm. This year has definitely been a trying one.  Who knew that after such a great spring planting season that mother nature would decide to throw a curve ball and send one of the driest and hottest summers that anyone around here has ever seen?

I’m sure you have been wondering about the corn, haven’t you? Well, maybe you haven’t. But, I have good news. Thanks to an extensive irrigation system, and a lot of prayers and hard work, this year’s crop made it through one of the worst growing seasons ever. Last week I caught up with Brett in the middle of his favorite job on the farm…

Driving the combine. He’s real serious about his job. Can you tell?

Actually, it’s pretty fun to ride along. There’s a GPS system that monitors just how much corn is being harvested as it comes into the combine, in real time. It’s fancy.

When the hopper gets full the combine dumps all the corn into the grain truck. That’s Mike, my brother (Karen’s husband), making sure Brett doesn’t dump any corn over the edge and all over the road. I’m pretty sure that’s never happened.

Then it’s hauled to the grain bin where it will be stored until it’s transported to the grain elevator and sold.

In a nutshell, that’s what happens. I’ll let Brett explain it to you in a little more detail.

But wait a minute! Before you jump into the combine with us, you might want to go back and see where this all started…

In May we rode in the tractor with Brett and planted the corn.

In July we went along with Brett to check the irrigation system.

All caught up? Okay, now it’s time to harvest…

Farmin’ With Brett – Fall Harvest 2012 from 1canoe2 on Vimeo.

:: Carrie ::

Farmin’ With Brett :: Making it Rain

Years from now people are going to look back and talk about the summer of 2012.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, it has been hot and dry here in the midwest.  We’re setting all kinds of records.  I can’t remember the last time it rained.  For most people it’s an inconvenience, but when your livelihood is based on the agricultural calendar, a growing season like this can be terrifying.

Remember back in May when I took you on a ride in the tractor?  Brett was planting the corn right outside our studio, and things were going so well.  No sign at all that this summer would be one of the most stressful ones that anyone around here has seen.  Well, I thought maybe you’d be curious about how the crop is faring in the drought and intense heat.

A few years ago the guys started the process of putting up a bunch of center pivot irrigation systems all over the farm.  I’m know you’ve seen what I’m talking about.  They’re long sprayers that move around a fixed center point in a big circle.  They also built a huge 40 acre lake.  It holds the water for irrigating, if its needed.  Well, this year they sure needed it.

The water level in the lake has slowly been getting lower and lower over the past several weeks, and if we don’t get any rain soon it will be completely drained.  There’s a bunch of fish in there that should be getting a little worried.

Look at this!  On the left is an ear of corn from one of our irrigated fields.  The ear on the right is from a corner of the same field where the water didn’t quite reach.  Can you imagine a whole field of corn like that?!  It’s happening.  There are plenty of cornfields around our area that, unfortunately, haven’t gotten any water all summer.  In those cases the crop could be a total loss.

We’re lucky that we have the means to get water to most of our crops, but it takes a lot of effort and monitoring to make sure that everything is watered evenly, and at the right times.  This past Wednesday night I went along with Brett as he made the rounds turning on all the center pivots.

You were there when the corn was planted.  I think it’s time for a mid-summer farm report!  Let’s see how things look…

Farmin’ with Brett – Making it Rain from 1canoe2 on Vimeo.

Farmin’ With Brett :: Planting Corn

We sure have been working hard inside our studio lately, but it’s nothing compared to what’s been going on outside.  It’s spring, and that means it’s corn planting season here on the farm!  For the past week or so this is what we’ve been seeing right outside our window.  The guys have been busy working the soil and planting all those little kernels of corn.  That’s my cousin Brett driving the big blue New Holland tractor pulling the big sixteen row planter.

And this is my dad and my brother, Mike.  They’re getting ready to take off with those field cultivators to work the soil and prep it for planting so Brett can follow behind with the planter.  It takes a lot of hours, and a lot of trips back and forth across the fields to work the ground and put in the crop for the year.

I decided to take a break from the printing press the other day took a little trip out to the field to see how things were going.  I caught Brett at the end of a row and hopped in the tractor for a ride.

This was my view from the cab of the tractor.  Look at those rows!  Straight as an arrow.  That’s right.

The field right behind the barn where we have our studio is one of the largest fields that we farm.  Some of the rows are a mile and a quarter long!  Brett and I calculated that since the planter drops a kernel every 6 inches that there are roughly 13,200 kernels planted per row.  I said roughly.  Don’t check our math.

And look at this!  There are some real high tech things going on inside this tractor.  I mean, really, this tractor could plant the field on its own.  Brett just rides along to make sure nothing goes haywire.  That’s the truth.

Do you want to see what I mean?  Of course you do.  That’s why I took along my video camera!  Get ready for an education…it’s time for another episode of Farmin’ with Brett!

Here we go!

:: Carrie ::

Harvest Time

Here in our part of the country the corn has grown tall and turned a nice shade of gold, which means it’s time to harvest.  For me, and I think for most everyone around here, when the combine makes it’s way into the field to start cutting the corn it is the sign that fall has finally arrived.

On our farm the guys have been working non-stop for the last couple of weeks bringing in the crop.  Grain trucks full of the little gold kernels have been rumbling up and down the road and the grain bins next to our studio are slowly filling up with this year’s haul.

It is an exciting time of year, but SO busy!  It takes a lot of man power and machine power to bring in 2000 acres worth of crops.  All summer long we hope for rain to help things grow.  But, this time of year everyone hopes for DRY weather.  Rain during harvest time is no good.  So far the rain clouds have stayed far away.    This is my cousin, Brett.  He’s sitting behind the wheel of our big yellow New Holland combine, which is the machine that harvests all that corn.  If you notice, to his left is a little fold down passenger seat.  I love riding in the combine, it’s so mesmerizing.  It just eats up everything in front of it, keeps the kernels, and spits everything else right out the back.  Last week I was driving out to the studio to do some printing and I passed the field where he was working, so I pulled right over and hailed him down for a ride.

Have you ever ridden in a combine?  You haven’t?  Would you like to?  You would?!

Okay! Here we go….

:: Carrie ::