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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 ::

Living off the Land

I don’t know about where you live, but spring seems to have come early here in Missouri this year.  Actually, the last few days have felt more like summer.  We took advantage of the great weather this weekend to head out into the woods to go hunting for mushrooms.    If you live in the midwest, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s that small window of opportunity, when you hope the conditions have been perfect, to find the elusive morel mushroom.

They’re a midwest delicacy.  When you find one, it’s unmistakable.  Here’s what they look like…

Hopes are always high.  Some years there are a few, some years there are none.  We headed out to an undisclosed location (it’s a secret!) to see what we could find.  This year I guess the conditions were perfect, and we picked the right day, because it was a bumper crop!

Four bags full.  And, we could have brought home more, but we ran out of room.  Successful hunt!

Not only were the mushrooms plentiful this weekend, but the fish were biting too.  On Sunday afternoon Natalie and I spent a little time fishing from the dock on our lake.

We pulled in at least fifteen fish in a little over an hour!  That makes for a fun fishing trip for a five year old.

Toby was loving it too.

Sunday night dinner was fried morel mushrooms and fresh caught crappie.

Can’t beat that.

:: Carrie ::

10 Years and Counting

10 Years ago my older brother, Mike, decided that we should cut a giant maze into one of our corn fields and open it to the public.  It sounded like a big undertaking, but we went with it.  We created a 14 acre maze, and we really had no idea if people would even want to come wander around in the corn field.  As it turns out, people LOVE it.  This year marks our 10th anniversary!

We’ve kind of created a monster.  The corn maze has become quite the fall attraction here in our little part of the world.  A typical Saturday in October can bring in more than 1500 people.  Yeah, that’s a lot.  Did I mention that things sure are busy around here in the fall?

Over the past 10 years we’ve created some pretty intricate maze designs.  You can see photos of all of them right  here.

This year, being our 10th anniversary we wanted to do something a little special.  It just so happens that another big milestone happened in our family this year as well – Grandma Shryock turned 90 years old!  Mike decided that we should surprise her by making this year’s maze in her honor.  And when I say surprise, I mean surprise.  We planned, and constructed the entire maze without revealing the design.  Then we had an ariel photographer fly over and snap a photo of the entire maze.  We said nothing about this to Grandma until we showed her the photograph at her birthday party.  She was pretty much speechless.  At first she thought it was a joke, but when she realized what we had done she said, “it’s awesome!”

Here is Grandma fishing this summer in our lake.  She was reeling them in left and right that day!

And here’s the photo of the corn maze.  Yep, that’s grandma’s face!

So, if you are in or around the mid Missouri area this fall come on by and see us.  We’ll be open on weekends until November 6th.  

We have pumpkins, and kettle corn (yum!) and hot cider and hot chocolate.

You can roast something over a fire.  May I suggest marshmallows?

You can definitely get lost in the maze for a couple of hours.  If you are brave enough, you can get lost in the maze for a couple of hours in the pitch black at night!

It’s fall on the farm…the best season of all!

:: 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 ::

A new space to call our own

We’ve got some exciting news!

1canoe2 is getting a new workspace!

How did this all happen?  Well, let me tell you.  A couple of years ago, Beth and I got this crazy idea to buy an old Chandler & Price letterpress that weighs a ton.  Literally.  Before we made the trip to Iowa to pick it up we thought we should probably figure out a place for it to reside once we got our hands on it.  We knew putting it in either of our own houses was not an option.  And neither of us have garages.  So I called my dad and we had a conversation that went something like this…

Me:  Hey Dad, Beth and I are buying an antique letterpress.  It weighs about 2000 pounds, is made of cast iron, and we don’t really know how to use it yet.  But we’re going to try.  Can we put it in your barn?

Dad:  Sure!  And, we’ll just use the forklift to move it around, and you can use any our tools, and yeah, go ahead and take over the front room.  We’ll just work around your stuff.

And that is kind of what happened.  We moved right in.  Then the fall season came around.  In my family, fall means harvest time, but it also means corn maze time.  For the last 10 years we have created a maze in our corn field and it has become a fairly large attraction in our area.  People love the maze!

Our little print shop was not a part of the corn maze business plan, so we got moved out.  Moved down the road actually, to my parents garage.  For about three months.

You can see in this picture we’ve gained another press.  And, a guillotine style paper cutter, which isn’t small either.  Printing continued, seamlessly.

After moving back to the barn we acquired yet another press, a Kluge with automatic feed.  This operation is getting serious!

Then my dad and I had another conversation that went something like this…

Dad: Carrie, corn maze season is coming up again before too long.  We’re going to have to find a more permanent place for you girls to go.

Shoot.  We’ve finally worn out our welcome, we’re getting kicked out!

Dad:  I was thinking, we could pour some concrete in the barn by the house, and we could build you your own room.  We could put all your presses and equipment in there, and you girls could just use that room how ever you want.

Me:  Seriously?!  Um…okay!

So that is how this all happened.  See, we told you we have GREAT DADS!!!

This is the barn that we will be moving into soon.  It’s the real deal.  It is probably around 100 years old, but in great shape.  I grew up playing in and around this barn.  It seemed like I was always climbing up into the loft looking for our cats and their litters of kittens.

Here is a shot of early progress.  Concrete has been poured over the dirt floor where our studio will be, and the walls are starting to take shape.

 

How lucky are we?!  The support and encouragement we get from our families is unbelievable.  We’ve got big plans for this room, and we have already rounded up some new furniture to help in organizing the space.  We are extremely excited to move in, hopefully not too many weeks from now!

Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted.

:: Carrie ::

A White Christmas on the Prairie

It’s January, I know.

Christmas is so 2010.

But lets reminisce  for just a moment.

We were lucky enough in Mid-Missouri to get a WHITE Christmas this time!  It doesn’t happen every year, but this year it did, and it was beautiful!  A fresh blanket of snow.  Sometimes snow storms on the prairie can be brutal.  Think wide open spaces, with no wind block.  The wind can drift the snow like you wouldn’t believe, and getting snowed in is a real possibility when the drifts cover the roads.  Actually that’s kind of fun.  But that’s not the kind of storm we got this time.  This time we got a nice even blanket of snow, which makes for some perfect skiing conditions!

Huh?

Yep, you heard me, skiing on the prairie.  There really are a lot of benefits of having access to farm equipment.  And, lucky for you, we made a fun little movie!

Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

And here’s to more adventures in 2011!

Publicity Photos

Carrie and I thought we should have some respectable photos of ourselves…you know, without the ink smudges on our faces.   So we went out to the lake on the Shryock’s farm and Carrie’s mom took some wonderful photos!

This is the best…from the dock. First, we went out in a canoe, thinking that would be appropriate. After a few minutes debate, I climbed in the back which was in the water, and Carrie was about to hop in the front after pushing off from the bank. Just then, a little brown FIELD MOUSE popped out, and I was in a canoe alone with a mouse! I’m proud to say that I didn’t over turn the canoe, but just laughed, and eventually it found it’s way out and swam to shore. Who knew that mice can swim? Yuck.

After we got underway across the lake to where Carrie’s mom was waiting on the dock, I realized that there was a fountain of water spewing from the bottom of the boat, into the boat. Again, laughing. We made it to the dock, and quickly back to shore before being sunk by the pinkie-size hole in the bottom.   Did I mention our oars were broken as well?   Good times in the country.