Can Corn Run

A run up of about a buck would do.+
Corn run is going well. Over two thirds done with farm number three. Yielding well and drier than I had expected. Grain elevators, farm equipment and workers are starting to show the strains of a heavy harvest. Long time no rain. Mud’s getting harder to find. The soil is plenty moist. Calling it quits early tonight. Keeping this post brief.

Cc.

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!!! Off With My Heads !!!

The bean run’s begun. Sort of. As of this afternoon. About a thousand feet in on the first pass I lost my head. I had been rumbling tough beans and gopher mounds through the combine and I panicked and backed up before I had raised the bean head off the ground. That’s when I’d realized I had forgotten to latch the two clamps on the bottom of the feeder house that locks the head on. I was backing away from a still running head that was just sitting there on the ground.

The only thing touching the soil is suppose to be the sickle bar that cuts the bean off right above the ground. And it isn’t even really touching the ground it’s riding on the stubble that’s left in the soil after the plant’s cut off. Unless you back away from it because you forgot to latch it on. An hour of jacking, prying, and blocking and I had it back on. It had happened cutting over the end of a terrace so everything was out of kilter and wouldn’t line back up. If that’s my worst breakdown this run I’ll be a very fortunate man.

Before I could start cutting beans I had to remove some corn that was growing in the way. On three of my bean patches corn was planted either where I want to load trucks or where I need to drive to get to the bean fields. I picked a little over a wagon full and threw it in an air bin to dry with natural air. Pumped through a very unnatural fan. It meant a lot of dicking around but everything could use a little more time to dry down out in the fields. There’s no money in the budget to buy electricity and LP gas to dry with.

So I’m off, then on and off again, then off and on again with my heads. But that’s too much for a title. Maybe I can trim it a bit.

Cc

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24

More, or more.

I started picking corn on the farm north of I-80 yesterday. I never picked any corn on Veterans’ Day. I never even screwed any corn into a bin. It took almost all day to empty the wagons into the crib on the west farm and get the auger, hooked to the Hydro, the combine, and a couple wagons moved the five or six miles up to the northernmost farm. The sun was nearly setting when I got seriously started. By that time tonight I had the first twenty four acre patch done. Last night I had to quit when I run low on fuel around nine in the evening. By that time tonight the frost had shut me down.

This morning I took a couple more wagons with me behind the pickup when I headed up to get going again. While the stay at gone mom ran the truck after some more diesel fuel for the combine I rolled up the rest of the old barbed wire running from the bin west up the hill to the old building site. While the combine warmed up I popped the old “T” posts so the fence crew could do their magic. I swear they can build a singing tight five barb wire fence with two “T” posts to every wooden post faster than I can pick the corn to pay for it.

When I quit tonight the wagons were full. At least the four I have already moved up there. Tomorrow I will take the last couple with me when I go up to get going. Today I never needed them. I may have, had the frost not come on so fast. Most of the day I picked a hopper and ended up full near to the bin so the whole twenty four acre field was hauled to one wagon sitting at the auger by the bin. The bin is nearly in the center of the field. I filled the second wagon by the bin with the little left overs I’d have after filling the first wagon with the second hopper each time, allowing me to go get a third full hopper before starting the auger.

Well I’d better call it a night. The stay at gone mom’s returned, the kids have had their showers and if there’s any hot water left Dad’s going to wash up and sleep a few winks.

Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Cc

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Lassy Fair

I’ve been cutting beans on the last farm I have beans growing on. But it’s not the last field on that farm. I’m cutting on the thirty five acre field across the creek. There is also a fifteen acre field on the hill by the road. Both fields were tiled with drainage tile this spring. The fifteen acre field had a wet spot where the ground water came seeping out of the hillside. It’s not a very large wet spot but the soil conservation service says that hill should have two terraces built on it and that it should be tiled. We’ll try the tile first. Terraces make hillsides wetter, we’d better see if we can keep it dry first. Terraces make the whole hill wetter all the way to the creek if there are any areas where water is sometimes near the surface. Adding a terrace can create a wetland.

That’s the case across the creek. The neighbor added terraces up hill from that patch. Added water infiltration from no till farming increases the effect on my side of the fence even though the slopes are low enough to require no terracing. Five or more acres in the thirty five there would sometimes stay too wet too long to produce a crop. I had hedged my bets over there by adding it to the creek pasture for about fifteen years. For four years now I have been growing continuous corn there because it’s less sensitive to excess moisture than beans are. This is the first time it has been planted to soybeans in about twenty years. We couldn’t have picked a better year to lay down the tile lines. You wouldn’t know it could ever be wet. In one of the wettest years I’ve farmed out of thirty one.

Well, I have cattle to move and another quarter mile of barbed wire to roll up this morning while it’s too wet to combine beans. Or more importantly I should move rocks down to the creek crossing so I can cross it with the twenty foot bean head still on the combine since it won’t fit across the eighteen foot county road bridge only a stones throw away. It may be called a quick attach head but it’s still a pain in the ass having to do it to simply cross the creek. My next door neighbor says the county is going to put a new bridge in to replace the one there. I hope it’s over twenty feet wide. That would save me some hassle every year.

Have a great day and hey, be careful out there. This is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

See ya then, see ya there.

Cc

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Bean Time

I didn’t have to make a liar out of me the whole neighborhood did it for me. After rolling up a quarter mile of barb wires Wednesday evening I noticed the farmer south across the road from my farm north of  I-80 was cutting beans and making dust. So I meandered home through back roads after heading south out of town and sure enough, I saw two more guys out cutting beans. When I stopped by my combine the landlord said he knew of two additional gentlemen who were combining beans as well. So I decided to give it a try. Supper would have to wait. It was plenty wet as I run two hoppers and on the second hopper I kept plugging up my down hill side snoot. The tires were looking wet and I was leaving deep tracks wherever I drove, full or empty so I decided I had to stop for the night. I thought I smelled smoke and the engine was running hotter than it had been.

Yesterday when I showed up at the combine it sat with a flat rear tire. The auger tire had been leaking for at least a year  and this year it was going flat in only a couple days so I removed them both and run them over to Paco’s Tire and had them fixed. The night before I had noticed the rotating radiator screen on the combine engine wasn’t rotating so I cleaned out the nearly plugged radiator with compressed air. Also the engine belts had developed a squeal so I tightened up the two that run the alternator and the radiator fan/water pump. After fueling up and greasing the combine I was ready to cut beans again by noon or a little later. By evening we were loading out a semi load of soybeans for Bartlet  and field conditions were getting close to ideal. By sundown the straw beater belt had fallen off and I had the beginnings of a big bale of straw building up ominously in the back of my combine.

Luckily I caught it before I slugged the whole machine full of soybean plants. I had it cleaned out by dark and the belt back on running but I had to stop for the night, wind or what. The wind blew all night too. This morning there was no dew and I was cutting beans by a little after eight. The wind blew like crazy all day today out of the northwest. That makes the second time this week. I don’t know why but that fact sends shivers up my spine. Probably because that darn wind kept sending shivers up my spine. If I was outside today I was generally wearing a coat. Not a real coat but a hoodie sweatshirt with a zipper front under a Wrangler brand blue jeans jacket. I even noticed a ball cap that’s hung on an old radio antenna on the 1066 Hydro ever since I took it off and hung it up there last spring as it warmed up for the year.

We loaded out two semi loads of soybeans today, going to the Bunge crush plant, one around noon or soon after and one at sundown again. Then I had to stop for the night. I had a good run today and I don’t want to run in the dark and lose that belt on the straw beaters again. I was fortunate enough to catch it right before dark last night, if that belt had come off one of those nights I was running late in the dark and I slugged the machine I would have spent more time unplugging it than I saved running in the dark. In corn that belt can come off and not plug anything up. I’ll save my night running for the corn run, I’m too close to being done with beans to screw up now. Every bean that I have left I can see from the field I’m cutting. I have the east side of the next door neighbor’s farm and two patches on the home place. Maybe seventy five acres. Pray me through.

Cc

I can load out any time I like but I can never leave.

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