Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Planting 2015

       Luke is off and running to start planning for the 2015 growing season. Due to the warm weather this spring and the dry ground conditions planting started about as soon as the men could get into the field according to crop insurance requirements. They got in about 5 good days of digging and planting and then we got a small shot of rain and then some cooler weather so they are taking a little break for a few days but hope to be back at it soon.
          Luke has formed a fascination with tractors lately and gets so excited to see the big tractors. We have to keep an eye on him at all times while the machines are in the yard.
       Quick smile in front of the track tractor while bringing dad some water for his long hours behind the wheel.

       Luke loves being behind the wheel and even these big machines don't intimidate him.
     Rose is happy to be in the passenger seat and let her brother do the "driving".
        Luke then has to go check out the men filling the seed tender wagon with more corn seed for the planter. This job also takes a lot of big strong machines and muscles.

       Once out in the field it was time to fill up the water tanks on the front of the tractor with a chemical that will prevent weed growth. The chemical is applied while the field is being dug with precision application so that only the amount needed is used and not sprayed were it is not needed.
        Simon our oldest is starting to learn some of the skills needed to work these big tractors and dig the fields. There are many buttons and switches that one needs to remember in order to get everything working properly. I think it may be a few years away but I do think the job of digging the fields will be in Simon's future.

         These large diggers can work up a large amount of land in one pass. It is important for seed growth that the soil is loosened and free of large chunks of soil. Digging the field well is just as important as planting the seed in the ground for a good crop in the fall.
      The picture of spring with the trees budding and the digger working the field.
Paul Lanoue's photo.
    After the field is prepared by the big digger is it is time for the planter to enter the field and place the seed in the ground. This might sound like an easy thing to do but there is a lot of technology and precision that is used with the seed placement. The planter controls the spacing and depth on the seed depending on the soil type. The planter also has automatic row shut off technology so that when it comes to the end of the field it never overlaps plants with the headlands--the rows that go around the field. Farming is a whole lot more that just throwing seeds in the ground.
     And the sight Paul and I are proud of is seeing our new truck we earned through Farm Bureau Excellence in Ag competition sitting next to the field as it is being planted. I think it looks at home here. Being part of agriculture has been good to us and we feel so blessed to be able to say that we are farmers and do what we love everyday.

Baby chicks show and tell = Ag in the classroom

       Back around April 8th we got our chicks for the year. This year we are going to try some broiler, or meat chickens, for the first time. We got 50 broilers this year to see how it goes. We also got 8 egg layer chicks to supplement out flock of laying hens we currently have. They are so cute and fluffy that I found my self sitting with the kids next to the pen we made for them in the cellar just watching them eat and walk around.
       My daughter Mary is my animal lover and is always wanting to bring the new animals to school to share with her friends. She went to school the day after we got the chicks and asked her teacher if she could bring some in to show her classmates and he teacher said sure. So started an impromptu ag in the classroom visit.
       Mary was so proud to show off our new chicks. I brought enough so that everyone could hold one. Mary told everyone some facts about chickens and the difference in meat and egg laying chickens. As the kids were holding the chicks I walked around the classroom and talked to the kids answering questions and providing some information. The kids loved it, and who could resist holding a cute fluffy baby chick? As I was getting pictures the teacher asked for copies of them to use in the year book. Awesome!

          The kids enjoyed their quick glimpse of farm life and we made sure that when it was done they all went and cleaned their hands and talked quickly about infection control and health. This visit to the school was quick, easy, and a lot of fun.
      When we got home my two youngest had to make sure the chicks were all settled in their pen and had to hold a few themselves. Kids and chicks, too cute!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Family Joy

    We had a wonderful Easter here on the farm full of family and memories. I took lots of photos as the excitement of Easter was unfolding and would like to share them with you. Enjoy
    We started out our Easter celebration with coloring Easter eggs. Many eggs produced by our hard working laying hens were used in this Easter tradition. It was a beautiful day so we decided to enjoy the outdoors and utilized the table on the porch. It made for great pictures with the natural light.

        For Easter weekend we took a long road trip down to Kansas City to visit my sister whom we hadn't seen in 2.5 years. My youngest sister has joined a religious order called the Little Sisters of the Lamb. She has been stationed in France since she joined about 6 years ago and occasionally she makes it back to the states and we made every effort to see her when she is within driving distance.
       Rose and Bernadette were so excited to see each other. We call them the two criminals because they all always up to something.
    Gus and David had some fun running around and just being silly.
       The convent that the Little Sisters of the Lamb have in Kansas City is simple but very beautiful and welcoming. We always love our visits with all the Sisters there.

     Some fun selfies with my sister Susan, now known as Little Sister Hallel. She is still the same all smiles, laughs, and joy.

     Another tradition in our family is making "tombs" for Easter morning breakfast. We take a large marshmallow and wrap it in a crescent roll. Then we roll it in butter and then cinnamon sugar. The kids say they look like the rock that was rolled in front of Jesus's tomb. After backing the marshmallow melts and the tomb is empty. Jesus has risen, he is now longer in the tomb.

     The Sisters enjoyed sharing in our Easter tradition and thought the meaning was wonderful. They are also very tasty and were eaten just as fast as we made them.

      The "criminals" checking out their cute matching Easter Dresses.
            The whole clan in our Easter Best. Family time is the best.

         You can't have Easter without Jelly Beans. So we got out the plastic eggs and set up an Easter Egg hunt for the kids. I might have had to sample a few as I was filling eggs. Jelly Beans are one of my great weaknesses.

        After the hunt the kids display their loot. Looks like they made a haul.
          Everyone in blue, just missing Rose who was taking a needed nap. We had a beautiful Easter in Kansas with  great friends and family.
          We love you Little Sister Hallel and cherish every moment of our time together. Love from all of us back here on the farm.