Friday, May 23, 2008

Bags of Rye & Soybeans

"Sing a song of sixpence
A bag full of rye......."
Oops.......the rhyme doesn't go that way, does it. Well, here's a photo of our "bag full of rye", containing rye silage chopped from a 15-acre field. We don't own the machine which pushes the rye into the bag; a guy in our neighborhood has several which he rents out. Anyway, maybe you would like to have a blob like this sitting in your yard, as an abstract art conversation piece?!
Ok, the rye was chopped off the field on Wednesday; that evening the field was tilled up to prepare for the planting of soybeans, which Husband did yesterday , shown in photo below:
You can see the residual rye stems and roots, which will serve as "green manure" to fertilize the soybean crop as it grows.


I was given a very difficult task.........driving the pickup to the field and parking it along the edge so the soybean seed bags were in a convenient place for Husband to get at them when it was time to refill the planter boxes. (He needed the water jug, too, for his own hydration.)

As I sat on the endgate of the pickup, waiting to take the water jug to Husband when he reached this end of the field, I read the labels on the soybean seed bags. Look at this.......these seeds were tested in December 2007 and 90 percent of the seed germinated. Does that sound like a very good deal? Ten percent of the seed is no good, apparently!!
In the final photo, here's an overly colorized version of the planter's row marker arm. It cuts a visible line across the field. The person doing the planting steers the tractor to follow this line across the field in order to keep the rows straight.

(After I handed Husband the water jug, I almost walked right under this marker arm as it was being dropped to the ground to begin another row. That could have provided me with a dandy headache or worse......and it would have been my own fault for not paying attention.)

If there are any farmers reading this, they will easily realize that we are very small potatoes when it comes to the size and scope of our farming operation. We have 200 acres, which is not much in today's farming world; we don't rent any additional land, and our machinery is small and old. We milk 75-80 cows in a stanchion barn........that's a VERY SMALL dairy in this day and age, and stanchion barns are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
We raise alot of forage crops-------that's stuff for the cows to eat------ hay, rye, oats. Much of our corn crop is chopped and put into silos, also, for the cows to eat. We don't sell any shelled corn, and we probably won't sell these soybeans, either. They will get roasted for the cows to eat. We sell milk and beef. That's where our living comes from. Like I said......we're very small potatoes. So, if you wish to see modern, big, up-to-date farm machinery and dairy equipment, you've come to the WRONG PLACE!! (But, I'm very glad you're here, anyway!)


sugarcreekfarm said...

It's all a matter of perspective. Compared to us, you're very big potatoes :)

Jeannelle said...

Hi, sugarcreekfarm,

Good point! I get caught up in thinking we are "small potatoes" because farmers around us have bigger equipment and farm many more acres. Bigger seems to be the trend.

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Jeanelle! I think your life looks grand. There is always someone bigger and "better." Always. 200 acres sounds absolutely glorious to us! But then again, I know my friend who lives in an old mobile home would love to be able to live in my sub-division house with the fenced yard. Perspective it is!

Done preaching :)

Jeannelle said...


Your "preaching" is needful. You're so right about perspective.....I know I need to remember to remove the blinders and view things from different angles.

Enjoy your day!

Anonymous said...

We owned a huge 3 acres when I was a boy living in the country (we didn't farm; my dad worked at an aircraft factory). On one side of us was a 40-acre farm (with hogs) and on the other side of us was a 100+ acre ranch (with beef cattle). Across the road from us were those wonderful bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush. So you, ma'am, and your hubby, are definitely NOT small potatoes!

I don't know whether you are still reading it, but my post about the Trinity window in your church has started a discussion with someone who isn't Trinitarian. You might want to check in at my blog to see what's been going on there! And to pray for me behind the scenes while I am engaged in this back-and-forth conversation. You'll need to click on "April 2007" in the list my posts to access it.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant April 2008, of course.

Jeannelle said...

Hi, rhymeswithplague,

Yes, thank you for your perspective, too!! See, the thing is, around here where we live, the farmers keep getting bigger machinery and more land, making us feel like we're small. And in the farm magazines, articles are always about big, progressive farms.

Thanks for mentioning the discussion going on with your Trinity post.....I will drop by and take a sounds interesting!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Did you ever read the book One Thousand Acres? An Iowa farm family has the goal of expanding their farm to that size and it all turns out disastrously. It's sort of a depressing book, based on the Shakespeare play King Lear. Anyway, my point is that big isn't always better. I love the way everything on your farm is so personal to you. I like the feel I get reading about it much more than if it were a bigger, ore mechanized place.

Down on the Farm said...

I call myself, "The Ol' Farmer Lady". HA! Farmer lady indeed. I live in the low desert of Arizona and farming is a hugh challange for this Ol' 70 y/o lady. I have 2000 sq. ft. fenced off against large animals (coyotes, javalenas,((durn, I wish I could spell)) wild rabbits, and covered over completely with nylon?plastic? poultry stuff to keep the birds out. The poultry plastic stuff is new this year. I hope to have tomatoes w/out the birds getting to them. The only thing I have not been able to keep out are the ants of all sizes, seasonal mosquitos and crickets. I haven't seen a rattler or sidewinder within my garden but there certainly is the possibility. Talk about "small potatoes"!!! But, that huge plot(to me) is all I can handle and I enjoy it. It is so cool to this city lady who was married to an IBM executive and had to live in large cities, to be able to bring in things to put on my table. I love it. I enjoy reading your blog.

Jeannelle said...


Oh, your words are so kind, and helping me appreciate anew the life that we have here on this farm.

Yes, I did read the book you mentioned. It was a very depressing read, and didn't the one sister try to poison the other while canning tomatoes. It didn't work out, thank goodness. Very strange story.....great publicity for Iowa. It was made into a movie, too, no less.

Have you ever read "A Map of the World"? It is about a dairy wife who is also an LPN, and the series of really odd events which overwhelm her life. Not that I've had similar strange occurrences, but I could sort of relate to the story because I'm a dairy wife and was an LPN at one time, too!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Jeannelle said...

Hi "Down on the Farm",

Thanks for visiting again!

You certainly have different critters to deal with than we do around here!! Rattlers.....oh, my! Hopefully, you won't encounter any of those!

It sounds like you really enjoy your place and your garden, even though its a challenge. Good for you!!

Take care!