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

Meeting deadlines

By Natalie Schmitt- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Nothing like a looming deadline to keep pushing you forward toward getting the job done. The deadline hanging over our farm is when the first real snow will arrive and stay until next year. The weather has become the dominating factor in our daily planning. Mark's dad keeps reminding the boys about the Indian summer weather that comes after the first killing freeze. As late as the freeze came this year, Mark's beginning to think the Indian summer will be much shorter than the usual 10 days of nice dry, sunny conditions. He thinks it may be more like a couple of days or maybe even a couple of hours of Indian summer weather.
The break in the recent damp, foggy weather allowed us to finally get the beans out of the field and hauled down to the neighbor's roasting bins. The first completed job of the fall clean up. The next item on the list...finishing up the corn harvest.
Odds and ends of fields have been left with standing corn waiting for the sun to help out on the drying costs. I don't know if it is working as planned or not. The scattered showers and gloomy days have not been the best drying conditions. I don't think the moisture is going up much, but it is certainly not going down very quickly. It seems to be hanging around the 19 to 24 percent moisture range. We were finally able to move some of the dry corn out of the drying bin to make room for these last rounds. It has been a zoo trying to juggle everyone's schedules to keep things moving ahead of the latest weather system moving into the area.
Just when we get the day's agenda all laid out and jobs assigned, something always seems to come along and throw a monkey wrench into the plans. You know what they say..."if you want to make God laugh, just tell him what your plans are for the day." Of course Mondays always seem to be a monkey wrench day anyway.
I'm supposed to be out in the fields chopping corn stalks before it starts to rain. It is also the day this article is due and a different kind of deadline is looming here, too. Before I can head out to the fields, I have to wait until the guys grease the chopper, check the hammers, and change tractors. My usual tractor is having problems and we're waiting for the repairman to come out. Just as I'm about ready to head out the door, it starts to sprinkle. Enough rain to change the day's plans once again. Now I can focus on this deadline.
The weather has been really messing up my plans. My fall clean up jobs have become jumbled and out of order because of the constant changes around the farm and lack of help. Katie has been home the last two weekends and we have really moved through my to-do-list. Katie and I were able to pick up all the leaf piles around the yard. We hauled a whole manure spreader of leaves out to spread on a northern field. The next day, I swear they all blew back in the yard with 20-30 mph winds. At least the grass was short and they kept on blowing through the yard into the alfalfa field. We were also able to clean out the garden for the year. There are only a few beets and carrots left to pick. Everything else has been dug up or picked. It is nice to have that job done, but it creates more jobs in the house.
I still have squash and sweet potatoes to put up but I have run out of freezer space. With the kids all so busy and traveling this summer, I didn't have the help to can. Instead I just filled freezer bags and threw them in the deep freezer until later. My freezer started to look like the hall closet that everything gets thrown into. You only open the door at your own risk of being buried under a pile of jackets, hats and other stow-away articles. I knew I needed to clean out and reorganize the freezer, but it wasn't very high on my list until Mark said the locker called and the meat was ready to pick up. Another deadline.
I had a few hours to empty, defrost and rearrange my freezer in hopes of finding new space for more meat. The funny thing is that I didn't even know we had a beef hanging in the locker. I knew we were missing a heifer, but I thought she went up to Al's to fatten up and sell later. She did go up to Al's but only for a short lay-over until the Elmdale locker could come out and pick her up.
I threw two sleeping bags on the garage floor and proceeded to empty out the freezer. Austin walked into the garage and was surprised to see the bottom of the freezer. I think he was also snickering at seeing me hang over the edge of the freezer, just tall enough for my toes to touch the ground while I dived into the freezer to retrieve another package of lost butter. I was surprised at all the things that had shifted to the bottom of the freezer from the last time I cleaned it out. I restocked the freezer with older items placed on top. Now that things are slowing down in the fields I will be able to start making my extra fruits and juices into jams and jellies for the holidays. That should free up some more freezer space for the next surprise...venison. Deer season starts this weekend. I better start making more room.
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