Winter Rye II

A bottle of rye for Christmas. The good stuff, formerly from Iowa. I quit buying it when I learned they weren’t even bottling it anymore here in Iowa. But by then I had drunken my way through the twin deaths of first my father in the spring, then my son in the late summer of 2010. Not my idea of good memories. I had a few drinks with the bearer of the gift.

A relaxing few days in the hot springs healing in Colorado. A very scary trip over the great divide but well worth it. Even if we picked the most dangerous pass to transverse. Nine miles down grade in low gear through heavy snow behind a loaded semi truck. After fifteen hours on the road. Reminded me of the harvest, and why I was there. My slice of paradise here on earth.

I may move there permanently. South central Colorado is small town enough to be attractive to a life long farmer from south west Iowa. I ran into many Iowans both times I’ve traveled there for the hot springs. The local paper was loaded with want ads for jobs. There was even one for a ranch hand fixing fences, no experience with cattle and horses necessary but helpful.

Hard to leave a place with hot springs to come back to one without. Very hard.



Winter Rye

I finished picking corn Thursday about dusk. And went straight to bed. I’d been up since five am for I don’t know how many days, working till near ten pm each evening. On Wednesday night at a quarter to ten the feeder house disintegrated. Where it attaches to the combine on one side was splitting apart stopping the rattle chain where it would jam up in the pinch. Looked like an old wound that had been welded by the previous owner. Or his blacksmith. The greater part of Thursday was spent wrenching another feeder house off the parts combine onto the “new” one.

I was ready to roll by mid afternoon. Afternoons are very short this time of year. We are what, a week away from the shortest days of the year? Sun stands still. Our little Indian Fall was just the window of opportunity I needed to finish up combining corn and get a drill full of homegrown rye planted on the headlands for a cover crop. Or another rye crop depending on when it germinates. Quite possibly the last day this crop year to run in the soil. It was none too dry as it was. Winter Rye only needs a minimum 35 degree soil to germinate, and a following freeze to give the berries viability.

It rained all Saturday night , Sunday, and Sunday night with a whitening of snow to finish it off this morning. Had to be a couple inches. By afternoon the snow was melted and the sidewalks dry. The creeks were half way up their banks and many fields were puddled along them when my daughter and I went for a short drive around sundown this evening to snoop on the other farmers who’d been picking as I was. Damn it’s good to be done. It’ll take a hard freeze to get back into the fields now. But I’m sure that’ll come. It’s darn near winter.

Now, where’s that bottle of rye?




The auger is fixed. The bin is full. As are almost all of the wagons. The whole shebang is grouped down by the pasture inside the fence along the road. I’m waiting to load a couple of semis full of corn for delivery to the alcohol plant co owned by Bunge of North America just south of Council Bluffs along Interstate Highway I-29. We’re going to spot a few loads into the market. My older brother’s driver is bringing one of the brother’s trucks. We will load him on the road from the field. I have a long enough auger to reach across thee road ditch and dump on the truck while it still sits on the gravel road. That way we can keep the roadside on the road and the field side in the field.

It’s Monday November 3rd. November is for picking corn. I have forty acres done and two hundred eighty to go. This could be my largest corn run ever. I hope it all goes well. Yesterday I put the 1440 and twenty foot bean head away in the barn. I’m hoping the 1460 will last through the fall. I never used it at all last year. It sat around as a spare while I ran everything through the 1440. The 1460 has better lights, more power with it’s trurbo, and a few more bushels of grain tank capacity, and a longer unloading auger. With corn yielding three times as much as beans the extras start to really add up. It also has heavier final drives and a beefier transmission, both adding stability to it’s stance.

I may try planting my ten bags of winter rye today. At any rate I’m going to have the stay at gone mom run to Co op and pick them up after we load the corn. I plan on planting them alongside gulleys so I can fill the gulleys in with a dirt scraper or tractor & loader next summer after I harvest off my cover crop seed for next fall. That’s the theory anyway. I’ve been told all the rye needs to do is germinate this fall to be a viable crop next summer. I think we still have warm enough soil. The temps have been above normal the last couple weeks. I know we have wet enough soil. It never seems to quit raining.

That’s about it from the corn patch. Have a great month. Be thankful we have it.

See ya then, see ya there …….