Farming Day 2

Today’s post comes from Ben

When last we left the farm, it was dark and the fertilizer spreader PTO (Power take off shaft) was broken.

I felt like I spent all day in the tractor, which is what the big farmers talk about. I didn’t really, I did spend several hours in the tractor, but not continuously. 

I called the co-op about the shaft. They’re busy and don’t have anyone to come replace the shaft, but they have a spare one and they’ll leave it out for me. Another road trip with the dogs. It was tough getting the shaft off. The bolt came right out, but the yoke wouldn’t budge on the shaft. Hammers and punches and even the air hammer didn’t budge it. I had to get the torch and heat up the yoke, and then the air hammer finally started to move it. Heating something is an old trick because when you heat it, it expands and will break a rust connection. 

I go back out in the field I was on last night. Turns out about ½ way through the field is when the shaft actually broke and it quit spreading. How did I not notice that?? I was watching to be sure the apron was still moving; I just don’t know how I missed the shaft right there… I guess technically the outer shield was spinning but not the shaft. What this means is, the fertilizer coming out the back just dropped in a 10” band rather than spreading 40’. Shoot. This summer, the oats in that band will be 5’ tall. Everywhere else it will be 3’ tall. I tried to work up the field going across the bands to help spread them out a bit. I’m not expecting much.

Anyway, no trouble finishing the fertilizer after that.

Then I went out with the tractor and soil finisher and worked up the oat fields getting them ready for planting. I got the drill ready to go, and it was 5:30 when I went out to plant oats.

It’s a new variety of oats that I have not used before, it’s called ‘MN Pearl’. Oats doesn’t get the research dollars and notoriety that corn and soybeans do because it doesn’t have the big market. I had been planting a variety called ‘Deon’ for a lot of years. But Meyers Seed quit growing Deon and went to Pearl two years ago. The kernels look kind of small, so they feed out of the drill different, so I have to figure out the right setting again. I want to apply three bushels per acre, which is about 90 pounds. When planting oats, the biggest thing I watch to be sure the chains are moving and oats is actually coming out; I can see it through the gaps in this photo. If one is working, they’re all working. Unless it goes empty over that hole… I try not to let that happen.

And remember that drill tire I replaced? I’m following that line in the field. No auto steer yet.

Didn’t finish, but got a good chunk done.

I had just parked the tractor in the shed at 9:20 PM and was closing the doors when I heard sprinkles on the shed roof. Always a nice feeling to just beat the rain like that. Although the ‘rain’ turned out to be 15 drops and that was it.

I have to be at the college – “work” work, the next few days. Hopefully it won’t rain as much as predicted so I can finish this last field. Be nice to have all the oats planted within a day or two and not spread out over two weeks. But it is what it is and it will work out in any event.

Planting oats on April 6th? That might be a new record for me.

What details are you watching lately? Anything half finished?

16 thoughts on “Farming Day 2”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Right now my details pertain to my kitchen—I must finish setting up things that are not things I use daily, and tending to some new furniture and decor. The things we use regularly are mostly in place now, but the decor is sitting around in boxes awaiting consignment or use here. After the important stuff was in place it was easy to take a break and let stuff sit in boxes along the wall. The cold I had also interfered in doing much of anything at all last week.

    Then the garden will require a lot of attention mid-May. That is not half-finished, though since all I have done is plant a few things in the cold frame. That stuff all came up, so now I must plant more.

    I am half way through my Master Gardener requirements. I have completed the academic work, and now must find 50 hours of volunteer work here in the community. I have one site that will take a lot of this, assisting a community garden in N. Mpls that is only for people with MS. That should take up at least half of my 50 required hours.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. My younger sister and her older daughter are half finished with their vaccinations. Once done, my whole immediate family is vaccinated. That means my sister and I are visiting our older sister in northern Virginia this summer – another trip that was postponed from last year.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ben – did you write this on April 6, or did you mean “26th”? This is cool to see what all goes into a planting!

    Anything half-way done – let me count the ways!
    – Basement clean-up and sorting, related to:
    – unpacking Mom’s boxes
    – re-doing photo albums to incorporate Mom’s photos
    – egg-carton seedling that need to get into the ground any day now

    Details I am watching:
    – topic for this week’s UU talk, so I can find the right music
    – list of things I need to ask the pastor at church where my mom’s memorial will be held
    – 5 in-person and 3 zoom “meetings” this week

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is what actually happen on the 6th.

    I’m still trying to figure out how much detail to put in while keeping it interesting and not boring. Tell me if I should have more photos? I think I’m probably talking about things people don’t always know the terms and I should have more photos. The way it’s going, I will be able to stretch out the few busy weeks of planting into stories well into summer!
    After all, this was the second day and third week column!

    I’m trying not to get bogged down in the details.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. details are good i love your details
    more photos is good but your narrative is great

    i don’t have to remember 1/2 done projects my wife reminds me
    riding mower and scooter need to be made functional
    hats photoed and boxed and listed by helper in philippines
    warehouse transition has people asking me for stuff i don’t have time to hunt for

    i’ll need to start a file system with photos
    6 books on my bedside table

    which reminds me

    shall we do the first nook club meeting at my place end of may
    i suggested seth godin any book for starters
    i think all the light i can not see was one of the books we were on when covid hit
    we can discuss that too
    i’ll propose last sunday in may

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Pick a different weekend that works

        I’m gone the 14th 15th 16th

        I guess that leaves the 21st 22nd weekend let’s try that one and see if that one works for everybody

        Otherwise June

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Pretty much anything works for me. Just let me know. My book is in transit from the library right now.


  6. Half finished? Lots of things. Loved the post today Ben. I look forward to next week’s. It is a busy time on the farm. I think most ranchers here are done calving. That is a really busy time for them.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I am mid project on a couple of solstice things. Cards and soap. However on the good news front, I got the soap molds that I ordered from Russia today. They were in transit for a month! Anybody have any stamp collectors in their life? Have started amassing cypress mulch now for the yard. Finally fixed the spigot on the side of the house today. I am partially through bail preparation. I should probably stop now. List is SO long!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Everything in my life is half finished. Been that way for 70 years. But tomorrow I’ll turn things around.
    Ben, I have drilled seed corn (grain, I guess you’d say) on top of ploughed, unworked ground. Then worked it down to get the seeds in deeper, maybe down to four inches. In Devon we would normally harrow (drag) in the same direction the plough went. Then harrow crossways. Then maybe go deeper with a spring tine harrow, or a scuffle (cultivator). Maybe then a second time. Then maybe the drags again, to level out the ridges the cultivator made. Each time you’d cross the previous work to make sure everything got worked, the implements didn’t just follow in the same track. Tough land I suppose. Normal to me.
    When the corn came up, after all that pulling about, it would be in the same rows the drill left it. Good luck trying to spread that fertiliser.


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