September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

First crop craziness

By Jacqui Davison- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

The birds are singing every morning, my garden is half in the ground (the other half is in my imagination as of yet), flowers are looking gorgeous, and the hummingbirds are back. We are getting ready for our baby chicks this week, and the high school seniors that work for us are anticipating upcoming graduation. Along with all of these wonderful things, the hay is ready to be cut, and the corn is ready to be planted. With the plants and crops being roughly two weeks ahead of schedule it has made a normally crazy time of year a bit more fast-paced.
Early last week, our alfalfa was so tall Ira and Dane were playing an intense game of hide and seek in it - this week we are watching it grow back. The boys love the excitement of the harvesting process. Excitement it is, too. The farm hasn't been calm for a week with the buzz of silage trucks, manure hauling trucks, discbines, and tractors. Ira and Dane caught the "hay bug" last Monday when the discbines started in the fields behind the farmhouse. I attempted to put them down for their (much needed) naps, knowing I would be lucky if they fell asleep listening to the whir of the machines cutting hay outside their windows. After fifteen minutes, they both came tromping downstairs. "Why didn't you take a nap?" I foolishly asked. Ira grinned, "I was so excited that Stacy was cutting hay it gave me the hiccups, then I had to watch her to make sure she didn't wreck!" (Stacy is a fully competent driver, it was just that she hadn't cut hay in years and Ira was worried about this.) As I made two pans of bars in anticipation of the next day's meals, Ira peered over the counter, "Will you save me one for after school tomorrow?" It is very hard for a little farmer to have to go to school when there is hay to be chopped.
On Tuesday I made a quick trip to the grocery store to get enough food to "feed an army," then it was back to the farm to fill the cooler by the silage pile. Thirsty men don't drive truck as well, I am told. Dad had to find a replacement pile pusher so he could make it to his hospital board meeting; it is a constant juggling act to get everything done. A few hours later, an excited Ira hopped off the bus. "Can I ride with Peter?" were the first words out of his mouth. No "hello" for this Mom. Uncle Peter swung through the yard with his silage truck and picked up some precious, very excited cargo to go with him for the next few hours. When Grandma (my mom) brought Dane back for the day, Ray took him in the chopper. It is easier on my nerves knowing they are with a trustworthy uncle in a safe machine, buckled up, instead of trying to watch them while I milk cows with all the traffic. After milking cows, I retrieved two very happy little boys, who had a wealth of knowledge of the chopping operation from the day.
Wednesday was more chaos than the two days before, if you can imagine that. After our morning chores of drying off, moving, and vaccinating cows, the boys and I hurried in the house to make lunch for the men. We fed eleven men that day, including a special treat - my husband. Ira, Dane, and I had to go to some fields over-the-hill (everything around here is over-the-hill) to feed the discbine operators, on the way back we stopped and spoke for two piglets that will provide entertainment and, well, pork in a few months. Peter called to tell me that there were four cows out and hoped I would be back soon (no doubt before four turned into 40!) After a futile attempt at getting two excited little boys to nap again, I gave up and let them play. The driveway was a constant dust cloud, so outside was not an option for the boys. Dane has a slight butterfly obsession and will chase one for miles not paying any attention to where he is. With three silage trucks, four manure tankers, and two tractors hauling manure, outside was not a good place for them to be. Shortly after putting two desserts in the oven, the next adventure arrived. Ira, Dane, Dakota (an employee) and I headed down the road to a nearby creek to stock it with fish. While delivering supper to the men that night, we had to pick up one of the discbine drivers to go home and do homework. Sawyer is a neighbor boy who has loved the chopping atmosphere for years and is finally old enough to drive the equipment and help out.
The end is in sight as Thursday morning rolls around. The men have had to switch the packing tractors on the pile due to an oil leak on the "Big White". They had one breakdown with a silage truck and one discbine is out of commission for a while, but other than that, all is well. All of the alfalfa is cut, and the pile is growing quite large. The sight of a bunker bursting with that stunning green feed that appears to reach the sky is like no other, and I swear it makes the spring sky seem even bluer. Between feeding men and cleaning the kitchen I did manage to squeeze in some welcomed yard work. I love to cook, but the weeds were calling my name.
After three hours of chopping Friday morning, first crop haylage was officially done. Eight of us covered the pile after lunch, the boys included, they love finding small tires "just my size" as Dane says. Two hours later Dad was back out planting corn. Our two-toned green quilts that were layered across the fields earlier in the week as the hay was cut, are now different shades of beautiful brown. Beautiful in a farmer's eyes, of course, because it keeps the manure pit from overflowing and gives that wonderful alfalfa a head start on the next crop. While the last week may sound like absolute insanity to some, all I could think about when I was driving the truck with my arm hanging out of the window on an eighty degree afternoon was how incredibly lucky my family is that they get to enjoy this way of life.[[In-content Ad]]


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