Sunday, September 27, 2009

The End of September

We dug the rest of our potatoes today. A potato digger is an interesting machine. It digs the spuds and separates the soil.

Our potato digger is really old, it was originally set up to be pulled by a team of horses! We modified it to use on our tractor. We're missing a set of chains for the digger so it just drops the potatoes of the ground. We have some chains, but they are to big and will have to be modified to fit.

Yields were alright considering the lack of moisture this year. Contrary to popular belief potatoes did not originate in Ireland. Potatoes are native to the Andes region of South America. There is a secondary center of origin in Central America.

There's usually a few monster tomatoes in the greenhouse each year.

A little while back we purchased a grain drill (planter). Its a John Deere Van Brunt Model B Drill that was built in the 1950's or early 60's. The nice thing about John Deere equipment is that you can find parts manuals on their website.

Three of the planting boots are broken. Basically the function of the planting boot is to push the soil aside while the seed is dropped through the center of the boot. For some reason two of the boots had been welded and riveted to the support bar. With an acetylene torch I chopped off the bigger chunks of steel.

To avoid destroying the support bar I used and angle grinder to finish removing the welds. Then with a chisel the piece came off! To be continued...

Friday, September 18, 2009

September 14-20th

We're working on adding lime to our fields to bring the pH up. We rented a lime spreader and borrowed a neighbors tractor since we needed dual hydraulics to run the spreader.

A word of advice. Always test the spreader before you load it up to make certain that all the moving parts function. I learned this the hard way, I loaded the spreader up with lime and tried to start spreading with no luck.

In the bottom of the spreader is a sort of conveyor that moves the lime back and drops it onto the spinners. The conveyor had seized up, to make a long story short we had to shovel all the lime out of the spreader by hand to get it working again.

On Monday and Tuesday I helped combine some barley planted at the former experiment station near Ashland Wisconsin.

There is interest forming a local grain cooperative that would mix and sell feed for livestock.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Second Week of September

We've been doing about half as much business at farmers markets this year.

Last weekended we didn't sell any beets, today we sold out.

The tomatoes in the greenhouse are starting to ripen.

On Monday we let the big pigs into more pasture. You can see two of them almost hidden by the corn. The pigs will eat the entire corn plant starting with the ears. They figured out how to pick and husk the ears of corn!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Early September

Today we cleaned up some of the rye and put it in a storage bin.

The rye first comes out of the gravity box (far left) then is augered up into our fanning mill (center) which cleans the seed. Cleaning removes chaff, weed seeds, grasshoppers etc.

Here's a close up of the rye coming out of the gravity box. The auger is inside the metal pipe.

Rye after one pass through our seed cleaner. This rye will be pig food so running it through the mill once is good enough.

After the seed is cleaned another auger transfers it into the black plastic tub. This auger is a little bit big for the job. We have another smaller shorter one I'll fix and modify this winter.

A third PTO ( power take off) powered auger transfers the rye to the storage bin.

View of the whole operation from atop the storage bin.