Late June Farm Report

Last week of June – The crops are looking better. Still need some rain, (all day rain on Saturday only gave us about 1/4 of an inch), so better than nothing, but keep it coming. I say that carefully.

Corn is finally tall enough and filling in enough I can’t see all the bald spots.

Soybeans are looking good and starting to get bushy and fill in.

Oats is all headed out – looks pretty good, looks like there will be a lot of grain out there. Knock on wood.

I changed some field boundaries this spring, so I’ve got one corn field that used to be two separate fields. This particular corn field was corn last year on half of it, and the other half was soybeans last year. (Normally crop rotation: soybeans last year means corn this year. Corn becomes oats, oats becomes soybeans. That helps with weeds, soil pests, and erosion.) But what’s really interesting is the corn on corn looks better and is taller than the corn on soybeans. And the only difference is the corn field was plowed up last fall, and the soybean field wasn’t. Is it soil compaction? Root structure? I will dig some up and investigate the roots. It’s very interesting; I need to ask more questions about why this looks so different.

I dug these up when the corn was about a month old. Notice the seed still down in the roots. And the other seed that just never sprouted. That was our spring. 

Been fixing stuff. Picked up parts. A bunch for the corn planter (new fertilizer disks and bearings) and some belts for the lawn mower, a new mower bearing, and other odds and ends. The lift bracket on the corn planter, the thing that actually raises and lowers the planter, was just wore out.

Replaced the pin and bracket, added some weld to the hole in the cylinder end so it’s more ‘round’ again. Then I ran into something and broke a big chunk out of the lawn mower hood so had to buy a new hood. I told Kelly I could just take the hood off and we could go ‘red-neck’. (And I did for a day while working on other parts) A friend put it best when he said, ‘You go redneck and pretty soon you’re judging yourself’. Yep. Good point. No trip for parts is complete without a stop at DQ.

Then the electric clutch that starts the mower wore out so replaced that. I’m also trying to get an older mower running again to use for around trees and to mow in the random areas. I’m mowing more area than I used too; behind barns, up in a grove, all in an effort to keep the weeds down.

I mentioned the barn swallows that have two nests by our front door. Here’s the kids’ double nest.

The parents’ condo is on the left side of the door. The kids took flight the day after this was taken.

My chicks are out in the world now. Of the 45 chicks we received on April 14, a few died as chicks and we let 36 out into the open. So far so good out in the world.

I’ve ordered 30 ducklings of mixed breeds. Be here July 27. I really do enjoy having the ducks around, but my goodness are they messy for the first month or so. Water and muck everywhere. I have a bulk bin down by the barn where I store cracked shell corn for the chickens and ducks. I toss some on the ground and I have some in feeders. They prefer it off the ground, I think. Course that also attracts squirrels, rabbits, birds, and, in winter, the deer and turkeys. 

When I was milking cows I had protein supplement stored in this bin. It feeds from an auger into a box inside the feedroom and I fill buckets from that box. It holds maybe a week’s worth of corn in the box. A few weeks ago, when it was so hot, I just got corn from the box and I didn’t run the auger at all. Never really thought about it. And then when I did turn on the auger, no corn came out. Well, sometimes that happens as the bin gets low; cracked corn doesn’t always ‘flow’ very well and sometimes I get a hollow spot. I climb up on top and I have a long stick that I use to knock the corn loose. (I do not get inside).

And what came out was this brown, liquid, sludge! Ewww! I don’t know what that was!! EEEEWWWWW!! It was really gross. There was a fair amount of it, like maybe a couple gallons. Here’s what I think happen: Sometimes when I get corn delivered, the previous load may have had liquid molasses added to the feed. I used to do that when I had calf feed made. And I’m wondering if maybe there was some of that old feed / old molasses down in the bottom, and it go so hot, the molasses all melted and sank to the bottom. Could that be a thing?? Because I’ve never seen it happen before and this stuff didn’t stink like anything rotten… Once that slug was out, it was back to corn and it hasn’t been a problem since. But I run the auger every few days too, now.


Wild black raspberries are out; they’re early this year. But just as yummy especially early morning when they’re still cool.

A former college student has been coming out to help on the farm lately. I enjoy the company and It helps me focus and get some jobs done. He’s also applied for a new job and the hours won’t be compatible to here. Such is life.

Got some big summer plans? Making any progress on them?

61 thoughts on “Late June Farm Report”

  1. We fly to Tacoma on Monday. Daughter has huge plans for us there, including multiple meals with her friends and hiking on the Olympic peninsula/ rain forest.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Our summer plans are limited to community and home this year. After our Big Splurge on our kitchen we are focused on saving money while we have fun close to home. The anticipation of returning to the Arboretum and the State Fair is enough to keep me hopeful and thrifty. Excelsior is having a big celebration Thursday, July 8 (5:30-8:30) as they open a newly built Band Shell. Small groups from the Minnesota Orchestra are playing. It.Is.Free.Free.Free!

    We are also going to plan a trip to Ireland and Scotland to see “the old home place” (the standing home the ancestors left in 1843 when they emigrated) after we are certain that COVID has settled down. There are several Scottish castles to tend to, as well. My Sea Captain/Scottish peerage ancestors were the bastards or sons down the line of several Earls (Douglass, Walker, Stewart, and Murray) who landed on the wrong side of Mary Queen of Scots, so there are castles to explore and stories to uncover! Planning that will take some effort.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Jacque, if your travels take you near Eilean Donan Castle, be sure to give it a look. The castle and its setting are like from an old romantic book. It is considered Scotland’s most beautiful castle. It is on the west coast, west of Inverness.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks Fenton. We are waiting till all that blows over to even set a date. I appreciate the warning and hope to have “insiders” tell us when it is wise to travel there again.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jacque, I wouldn’t have mentioned it, didn’t want to be a wet blanket. But Jane’s cousin told us something really disturbing yesterday, which makes me wonder if there’s a sane person in the country. Probably overreacting. But Boris is not the best person to be in charge.

          Liked by 2 people

        1. No, that was the Duke of Argyll in Inverary.
          We did visit Blair Castle though and, unlike a lot of castles which are just shells, it’s an intact residence (though the Duke of Atholl and his family don’t live in it) with vast collections of armament and artifacts, not to mention the Atholl Highlanders, the only sanctioned private army in Scotland.

          Liked by 3 people

  3. I am not getting a fine new kitchen, but I do have new carpet upstairs, a fancy new bed (heck, a bed that isn’t 19 years old…), and a daughter spending a month at Concordia Language Village (Spanish camp). In a couple weeks, I also get the cracks fixed in the plaster and my bedroom painted (I could do it, but I hate fixing cracks and willing to hire the wonderful women who fixed our water-damaged walls a couple years ago to do the work – they are really good and it means less swearing for me). That blows the budget, and then some, for spending. I am watching grass (and weeds) slowly fill in the spot that was The Muddy Pit out back – I have seeded it twice now, but weeds are gonna weed and this has not been a great year for grass. At this point, if it’s green, I’m good with it (I’ll pull out the truly nasty stuff and the things that are tall). About the only travel for me will be the annual trip to Cragun’s and the Nisswa Turtle Races later this summer. Maybe a weekend at a friend’s cabin. Both of those provide what is essential to my summer: time by a lake north of St. Cloud – and those sorts of lakes are a balm to my soul.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Daughter attended Concordia Italian and French camps, and son went to German camp several summers.It is a great experience. All three of us are Cobbers, too.

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Husband’s daughter – who lives in Denmark – visited us over the summer when she was 13 years old back in 1989. She spent part of that summer as a “junior” camp counselor at the Danish language village at CLV. In retrospect I think she was too young and immature to be in that position, and I really don’t know how much of an impression it made on her. So far, her one and only visit to the US.

          Liked by 4 people

      1. My erstwife and m-i-l decided that Molly should learn a foreign language, and they picked French. Molly was outraged. She went to the Concordia French camp but came home proud of the fact she had learned nothing. She picked Chinese camp just to demonstrate who was in charge, and that worked out pretty well.

        Liked by 5 people

  4. My idea of a fun summer is pitching bales and playing on tractors – OK, I’ll stop whining about the past, and think about what I’m really going to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel like that kind of summer fun (the pitching bales) is good to have in my background, but not sure how much I want to do it again. I’ll have some small square bales of straw coming later this summer. If you were on this side o’ the water and in the area, I’d have you out to help.

      I remember once when I was working as a stagehand, we were up in the nose of a semi trailer loading cases; it was hot and cramped, one guy turned to me and said, “just like stacking bales, eh?”. Yeah, Kinda.
      Point being, you can find similar experiences, Fenton.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hot, cramped spaces, yes that part was less fun. There’s a picture around of Otis Redding, captioned “Pitching bales on his farm,” or something close to that. He’s actually throwing a bale back out of a loft, onto a truck or something (or so memory tells me from years ago). In England, pitching is specifically something you do with a pitchfork, though when bales replaced sheaves the “pick” (Devonshire term) was in turn replaced by the stroger and slightly shorter bale fork, with which you may well be familiar, Ben. Us Devon boys still call it a pick. That was the part I liked, lifting the bales off the ground, and onto the trailer. I seemed to be the only one who saw the timeless poetry in this. And there is a poetry in watching someone who knows the simple trick of getting the things off the ground, and onto a load which ends up being way over his head. And when the poet was me, and there was maybe a visiting female spectator or two (didn’t happen enough, but it did happen), admiring the way I made it look so easy, well the only thing that could make my day better, even that happened once or twice too. That was when, maybe there was also a visiting husband or two, who would have a go with the pick, and find the the bale WOULDN’T leave the ground. And I never once said, “Look, just watch. This is all you do. Just watch what I do.” Then they would have found they could do it too, after all, most people are stronger than me. But I never did. I just carried on timelessly, poetically, pitching a bale up above my head, walking easily to the next one, pitching it over my head. Basking in all that timeless, poetic glory, in front of those women. With my shirt off, of course.
        And all y’all were thinking I was nice, weren’t you?
        I hope you never behaved in that manner, Ben.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Good Work there! Ha, I never pitched with a fork like that, but I used to stack the bales in the barn up over my head and fitting in those last few bales was always a pleasant, satisfying challenge.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I did it again, I was in the middle of a really upbeat description of my hopes that the Moors and Christians parade will take place this year. Probably only done 500 words so far, but have managed to vanish it again.
    I can’t describe it all again. Suffice to say, Jane will be in it if it happens. She’s still the only English person to have participated, in this village, and I think she’s kind of a little mascot to some of the gang.
    And I’ll say also. There just aren’t enough personnel for a big show. But the show that does happen is unforgettable. I’m a lifelong Rock’n’Roll, Rythmn and Blues, Blues, Hillbilly, Western Swing, Boogie Woogie, Hank, Carter Family, early Jazz, with the British pop music of the mid sixties (PRE Seargent Pepper), thrown in, fan. You get the picture. But I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed anything more stirring, rousing and moving, than when Jane comes past me in the placa in the line of Moorish soldiers, in idiotic, outlandish uniforms, with one of our village bands behind them. And the leader in front, waving a plastic sword. Actually, a lot depends on that leader.

    Liked by 6 people

        1. I notice WordPress didn’t give the option to reply to your comment on the colour of Christians…….


      1. Thanks Barbara. I like music that’s real. And fits in with my extreme prejudices, which are currently puzzling Steve as much as they puzzle me. But he’ll analyse me in the end, I expect.
        But the pictures I would send, if I just knew how to do it! Even one of myself, maybe, back from when I was pretty. Cameras ran on steam back then.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. I’ll add to that. I like to say I’m not afraid of tears, mine or anyone else’s. This parade, is a very moving event, and Jane being in it makes it much more so. She’s done it four times now, and when she passes, I catch her eye, and then just keep staring straight ahead after she’s gone, willing myself not to cry. Because they don’t cry. It’s their fiesta, not mine, and I have no business. Maybe you’ve been to Spain and seen drunken English people whooping and dancing and shouting “Ole!” While Spanish people, playing it cool, look on scornfully. It’s been noted at times that Jane and I don’t act like that with their traditions, and I want to keep it that way.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. OT: Ben, you mentioned that bin, and I thought uh oh! Glad you don’t go in. I have almost no experience of them, luckily. Sooner or later, I’d have started getting bolder, and taking more chances.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t have any regular grain bins like you’re thinking of. This one has no ladder inside or anything. The only risk in this one is climbing to the top and finagling my big stick!


  8. my plan is to get my plan in place

    i need to divey up my time to accomplish more than i’m doing now

    work is not the answer
    it is supposed to be the vehicle

    Liked by 3 people

  9. My plans for this summer revolve around other people’s plans. Husband will be heading north to Steger’s place on the 18th of July for at least two weeks, so I’m in charge of the animals and the vegetable garden during his absence. In August we’re attending a memorial service for our friend Anne who passed away last November, and my friend, Helen’s 75th birthday celebration. The memorial service happens in Sleepy Eye, MN and the birthday party in Frederic, WI. In between I plan to squeeze in as many lunches and other meals as I can with friends I’ve not seen in well over a year. I’m so ready for a picnic or two.

    Come fall, I’d love to treat myself to week’s stay in a spa somewhere. Have someone else feed me healthy foods and pamper me in serene and beautiful surroundings sounds like a plan. Any suggestions as to where I should go? I’d prefer to be able to drive or take public transportation other than flying to get there.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I didn’t really have any big summer plans for 2021. Except to maybe ease back into some of my social situations where it felt safe to do so. Of course any plans I would have made took it in the back side by my having to spend 10 days in St. Louis with Nonny. I’m heading home tomorrow. She’s doing very well and both her physical and occupational therapists say she’s OK to be on her own now.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. When the occupational therapist was here this morning, the two of them were like giddy schoolgirl‘s. Nonny was so excited to be doing new things and showing the therapist what she could do and the therapist so excited to have a patient as compliant and making progress as Nonny. It kind of felt like they were having a party without me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sherrilee, your post is one of so many I’d have given a like. I still can’t do that. Pleased to see that OT, as they’re called in England, get so much job satisfaction. Jane was an occupational therapist for 18 years before being ground down by the collapsing health system back home. She loved her work, and was aggravated when my mother told me she’d been visited by two “physios” one time. Mum never did understand what Jane’s job was. The job of OT isn’t recognised here so Jane now has a relatively stress free life as an English teacher.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Here is a bit of trivia. With any manufactured product, there will be a wide range of quality. Experts will endlessly debate the virtues of brands of toothpaste, craft ales, or anything else. There is at least one web site devoted to nothing but discussing the quality of root beer. Guess what? In taste contests, including those that include obscure regional brands, experts come to the slightly embarrassing conclusion that A&W root beer is mighty hard to beat.

          Liked by 3 people

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