The days are getting shorter. During the summer, we must be up before 6 AM to see the sunrise. During fall and winter, peaceful sunrises are easier to catch.Custom Harvesting
This week, Ron and John harvested the beans from this field. It belongs to a different farmer, so they were “custom harvesting.” It is sort of like hiring someone to mow your lawn. Except, in this case, they were hired to harvest the beans. One perk of custom harvesting is that I am not in charge of the food. It’s sort of an unwritten rule of farm life: if it is your field, you provide the meal. (Not that I mind cooking, what I find more interesting is the farming food culture…more on that another day.)They hauled the grain into Hetland, South Dakota (population 46 or so) because the field bordered the town. The photos below show some of the buildings on the east side of main street. Hetland was founded around 1888, today the main business enterprise is a grain trucking and handling facility.Just outside of Hetland, this HUGE pile of soybeans appeared in a few days. The area farmers hauled lots, lots, lots of grain to town. Once this pile reached the size they wanted, it was covered with a tarp. You cannot believe the truck traffic in this tiny town during harvest — you have to see it to understand. I was amazed.
Putting up a temporary electric fence
After John finished combining a field of his own we put up a temporary electric fence around the perimeter. We wanted the red angus heifers to graze on the soybeans that the combine missed. (Free food!) We put a fence up around the trees to protect them. If we didn’t, the heifers would rub on the tress and cause damage. Trees are (dang near) sacred in South Dakota (like cows in India). We go to great lengths to protect them.
Remember learning about conductive materials and electricity in grade school science class? We put that knowledge to use on the farm: wood, glass and plastic are not conductors of electricity. However, metal is a conductor. We use a small solar panel to power this electric fence. The small white circle shown below is an insulator. If the two wires were tied directly to the metal post, the current would go into the ground and the fence would not be “hot.” The cows would get out into the trees or onto the neighbor’s field. So, we use an insulator. I look dorky in this photo, but I was actually unrolling wire to build our fence. I unroll the wire while holding it above my head and walking forward. This is a fence building trick my Dad taught me: it is much easier than walking backward in tall grass. (Isn’t John an excellent photographer?) Once our fence was done, we turned the heifers out onto a bit of new grass and the small section of the soybean field. Turning cattle onto fresh pasture is THE BEST. It is a happy moment when they eagerly walk out into the new field.
We’re going to have a great weekend here, and I hope you are too! Two of my high school friends are coming to visit! They should be here around dinnertime today. These girls are dear to my heart. We go way back…to my awkwardly short high school hair cuts, proms and…actually it all started in 6th grade!
I cannot wait to show these girls our little piece of SD. They are my first Missouri friends-family to see our completely finished farmhouse! We’ve got big plans: making homemade donuts, visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum, meeting the red heifers, and relaxing!