The Start of Harvest

We’ve started harvest for 2013 and so far so good. A couple of minor breakdowns and setbacks but we’re chugging along. Barley was our first crop and it was seeded at our other farm, about 40 miles away. Yes, 40 miles. One way. I’ve been making the trip everyday in the evening to feed the menfolk supper. It’s hard with two small children. I’m sure it’ll be harder when they are in school. My 3YO son has been gone most days with his Daddy and Poppa cause he loves to “help”. He manages so well with being in the combine or semi all day. It amazes me because I get can easily get bored sitting in a small space riding around a field.

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The barley ended up running about 40 bushels per acre. Pretty good for some of our poorest land. One and a half of our new grain bins are full up with barley. Some will be cow feed instead of selling it all.

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Today is the start of canola combining and I hope it yields just as good if not better. It’s mostly all swathed so a different header on the combine is used. It was also seeded on better land so this may help the yield.

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Definitely a few more weeks of harvest to go and I hope it’s smooth and safe.

I Remember Petey

These memories of mine come from about 6 or so years ago. I don’t think my husband and I were married yet and we definitely didn’t have any kiddos. Calving has brought me this memory and one new calf in particular.

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He’s a twin that we put on a heifer that lost her own calf. The heifer didn’t have much milk at first so I went out to the barn and bottle fed this guy. Boy, he’s rambunctious!!

Anyways, about 6 years we had a brand new calf that had his leg stepped on by a cow. We threw a towel down on the backseat of the Dodge and raced an hour to the vet. Guess who is the lucky girl that got to sit back there with that sweet baby? Yep, it was me! And on the way I named him Petey.

The veterinarian checked him all out and got a cast put on his leg and then we drove him home. We babied him and watched out to make sure he was healing well. Needless to say, he ended up chasing around the pasture with the other calves by late spring.

Hanging around this new bottle fed calf has me missing Petey. I’m just lucky I get to have these great memories.

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*Both pictures are of my new bottle feeding calf, not Petey.*

A Cattle Procedure From Way Back

I won’t show gross photos! We dehorn our calves every Fall. It is kind of gross in person. There is blood. But I won’t show that. I don’t want to scare my few followers away. It’s actually fun though. I love chasing the herd into the corrals and rounding them up to get them through chute. This year it was just me, my husband, my mother in law and a good friend of ours. We ran all 200 cows plus that many calves and our three bulls through the chute. The cows and bulls got vaccinated against some diseases and the calves got dehorned. Out of 200 calves I’d say only about 30 had horns that needed to be cut off. Back in the day, before I arrived here, they used a wire with two wooden handles and sort of sawed the horns off. Now we have a dehorner the cuts them off. It’s a lot easier and less time consuming.

We have to trim the hair around the horns for an easier grab with the dehorners first. then the horns get cut off and we slap some flour on the holes to help stop the bleeding. Since we’ll be selling the calves in a couple weeks, if they just had tiny nubs for horns we left them be. It’s a pretty straight forward process and doesn’t take long if everyone, cattle included, cooperate and do their jobs.

My husband runs the main chute (head gate) because he is the strongest and most knowledgeable. Also if a cow or calf gets through without being properly processed it’s all his fault and the rest of us don’t get crap. Last winter my husband bought a couple purebred heifers who birthed purebred bull calves. So we kept their nuts on them and hope to sell them in the Spring as purebreds. We put them in with the bulls and they look so small compared to the big grown bulls.

And just cause I like the look of a nice golden straw bale.

Poop, Poop and More Poop

I am a Mommy. And a stay at home Mommy at that. So I know poop. I’ve been changing diapers and wiping bums forย 3 years straight now. I also live on a farm. A farm that has cattle. So I know cow poop too.

A big time every Fall on this farm is when the corral cleaners show up. This year was a little later than usual so we had a lot of snow on the ground when they started hauling the poop out. The snow was actually a benefit because it kept the horrid smell down. We spread the poop over fields for some natural fertilizer.

When I first moved out here, I went for a ride in the tractor spreading manure. I had never been on a farm prior to moving out here. So I wore flip flops to walk through the corrals and get in the tractor. Needless to say, I was bawling after I was done because I had cow poo all over my feet. I’m not such a wuss 9 years later.

The Hills Are Alive With Farming

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These hills in Southern Saskatchewan are home to us. We farm hills and our cattle graze hills. In fact, we do not grain farm any flat land although my husband more than wishes we owned some. I like that we are hidden in the hills and can’t see every neighbor within 5 miles of us. And I won’t take offense anymore if someone jokingly or otherwise calls me or my husband a hillbilly.

This evening I got a phone call that any farmer’s wife jumps for joy while talking. Our harvest for 2012 is complete!!! It’s been ongoing since the beginning of August so exactly two months later we are done. A big sense of accomplishment is floating around here tonight and we are happy. It all started with the peas, then the canola came pouring in (our best crop this year), the durum was done third and now all the flax is in bins. We didn’t do amazingly this year (although we had high hopes like every year) but we didn’t do poorly either. It’s been one of the driest years out of the 8 I’ve been here so we didn’t expect bumper crops.

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Our last supper in the field tonight! For this year anyways ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope all of you had a great harvest too. Whether it be your grain fields or your garden.

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Reward Time

It’s that time of year again!!!!! The reward for our hard work is coming in off the combine. We seeded peas first so they are being combined first.

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Brad tried swathing them first but a little bit of wind came along and blew the swathes all over. So off he went to town and wheeled and dealed for a new (to us) John Deere combine. He got a good deal and it works like a dream.

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Brad’s Dad came out and drove the semi and unloaded so everything is going smoothly and quickly. Hooray! By tomorrow, I do believe all our peas will be in the bin. Such relief!

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I really like the ruddy, red and brown colors of ripe standing peas.

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Next stop: Canola!

Seas of Peas

For the past eight years, we’ve been farming organically. This year Brad decided to go back conventional because the money and the market isn’t there for organic anymore. The conventional grain prices are rising and a better yield is had when you can fertilizer and not have weeds. Farming conventional means spending BIG money. We had to get a higher operating loan. Mostly for buying fertilizer and spray.

In case you didn’t know, peas give the earth a lot of nitrogen. So for the first time ever we’ve seeded peas. A lot of peas. Because they don’t cost as much to grow and they give back to the land instead of just taking from it. They are growing tremendously! We have seas of peas out in the fields.

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They are peas that can be picked and eaten right out of the field. Which Brad tells me we aren’t supposed to be doing. He’s such a spoil sport. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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We checked them last night. And I picked a few to eat. Our two year old son love them!!! I hope we get good bushels when we combine them in a few weeks.

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