Farming

IMG_0767Recently I was challenged on Facebook to place ten pictures in ten days of our farming operation. I realized I have a lot of pictures like the one above that many people don’t see. The challenge said not to give explanations for the pictures, but I feel like maybe not everyone knows what they are seeing in the pictures. Before marrying my farmer, I didn’t!

In the picture above there is a combine harvesting corn. Notice the the corn is dry and the stalks are standing. This is what the farmer wants. If we get a great deal of rain about the time of harvest and the roots of the corn plants are not deep and strong, the stalks will fall over causing the corn to “go down.” This is a great deal more work for the combine driver when corn is scattered all over. The rows are easy to see when the corn plant is standing but not when the corn goes down in the fields. The larger fingers of the front of the combine run between the rows and a series of rotating spirals pull the plants into the combine. The inside of the machine removes the corn kernels that are then stored in the hopper (the large, open bin at the top of the combine) and the corn stalk is chopped and thrown out the back, along with the corn cob. You never want to stand near the back of a working combine as the debris comes out dangerously quickly and could harm you.

Besides the combine is a grain or auger cart. You can see that the combine also has an auger. That is the arm sticking out on the side. It can be pulled in between uses.

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When the hopper is full, the farmer can empty it on the move by opening the auger. Then grain will move through the auger and into the wagon being pulled by the driver of the tractor. A good driver can match the sped and direction of the combine, not getting too close and not going too fast, allowing the combine operator to dump the grain in the hopper into the moving wagon.

After the grain is moved to the wagon, the tractor driver will drive to a nearby set of wagons or semi-truck to move the grain to market or a grain bin site for storage until later.

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A semi can hold a great deal of grain.

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If wagons are used, they need to be moved and emptied into bins quickly before the grain in the combine fills all available wagons.

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You’ll notice that in the above picture, my son is going to ride with the operator. The boys often ride in the combine, the semi, and the grain cart during harvest.

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Our sons also help to fix or check on the equipment. We take safety very seriously. The boys are learning early to be aware of equipment and moving implements.

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If you see equipment moving during harvest or planters moving around (this time of year) getting the crops planted, PLEASE be careful on the roads. Sometimes operators have trouble seeing you. Know that they are high in the air and are operating VERY heavy equipment. If your vehicle strikes them, it (and maybe you) will be hurt. Use safety when passing and don’t drive too close. A few minutes behind the equipment might give you time to think, hear your favorite song on the radio, or even talk to your children about the need for farmers.

With less than 1% of our US population being farmers, they have a really important job! To feed everyone else in the United States as well as sending grain to those around the world is an important and necessary job that only a few people do. Pray for them. Pray for us, the farm families. Love your boys! Teach them where their food comes from and why that is important. Without American farmers, we have no say in how our food is produced or where it is produced!

What questions do you have about equipment? Are your boys interested in farm equipment?

A time I love as a momma of boys

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Spring is here!  The boys love taking walk/rides up and down our blacktop road. It is a time that I cherish with them as well.

My boys love stories: reading them, creating them, acting them, sharing them, listening to them! I have used this time of walking to share “The Four Princes” stories which are about my boys. I use these made up stories to teach lessons about sharing, working together, giving to others, serving, being adventurous, and loving the Lord.  The four princes are each named for one of my sons. When we were expecting The Dancer, I told the “Three Princes” about the queen expecting and that they would soon have a new prince to love!  It was fun for them to find out this way. I have added our address to the stories at times so they are learning it through them as well.

Our walks consist of time in nature, too. The boys have caught crayfish and worms. We have watched turtles fighting and seen deer, coyotes, and many other animals on our walks as well. Sometimes we look up information on the animals we see when we return home. Sometimes we talk about the plants we discover: herbs, weeds, grasses, tree sprouts. We purchased some books about the trees and plants in our state. We talk about how the plants produce seed and about how they bear fruit. We watch the bees and the butterflies. Always I try to bring up to them how creative and awesome God is in His creation.

A natural advantage to these walks is the exercise. We had some boy visitors one day last summer, and we went for a walk/run/bike ride. I was amazed at how “in shape” our boys are. The other boys were very winded but our boys were just doing life. When the Farmer or I take the boys somewhere where there is a great deal of walking, we often see other children needing to be carried or be in a wagon, etc. Our boys seem to trek right along as though it was nothing. I don’t say this out of feeling superior, only out of feeling thankful. I am deeply thankful my boys are all healthy and strong and are able to be outside to love the land and nature.

As the spring turns to summer and our schooling at home takes a slower pace, I pray there are many days the boys can be outside to explore and as the Cowboy says, “Run off some boy energy!” 🙂

Outside is a good place for boys.

Love your boys and remember that you can explore, enjoy and cherish ANY place with them.