For the past few days we’ve been “in the field.” That expression sounds straight forward to me, but it might not be clear if you haven’t grown up on a farm.
Whether it’s planting season, harvest, or any type of field work, once we’ve started I say we’re in the field. When weather is uncooperative or soil is too wet during a key time, farmers lament to each other they can’t be in the field. Even if we’re using long hoses to apply manure to fields without actually driving through them, it’s still “in” the field.
This is corn silage season, and trucks come and go from the dairy at all hours dumping loads of whole chopped corn plants into piles. These pile(s) are packed by a tractor driving over them, eventually covered with thick plastic and tires, and given time to ferment into a highly digestible forage feed for the cows – corn silage.
It’s still early and the corn is too wet to combine, or harvest, for dry corn kernels, but it’s just right if you’re making silage. We use a Claas self-propelled chopper to cut the silage, and JR is nearly always in the driver seat. I don’t see him very often this time of year unless I bring him lunch, supplies, or have a few minutes to ride around as co-pilot. I also usually help him get the chopper cleaned off and ready in the morning, but it can get busy as we balance caring for the dairy with bringing in the harvest.
This spring I learned that every year Claas sponsors a calendar contest. The winners are featured in the next year’s calendar, so I’ve been snapping photos here and there during hay and corn silage trying to get a few nice shots.
I’m not sure which I’ll submit yet, but I need to get them in before the end of the month. Here’s a look at some of my views of forage harvest.
I’ve also been trying to keep JR well fed and help feed the extra truck drivers. Sandwiches can get boring, and JR claims fresh fruit and vegetables don’t work so well for dirty hands.
We still have some of the turkeys we raised last year in the freezer, so I thawed one for several days and finally roasted it last night. The meat was still flavorful and tasty, so I’m hoping it will perk up sandwiches for a few days!
After roasting a few of our turkeys last year, I found it is seriously easier than I thought. Once it’s thawed fully in the refrigerator, I just rinsed in cold water, added a little butter, salt, and pepper, and tucked it in an oven bag in a pan. With a bit of butter on the skin, it still came out crisp and golden from the bag.
It took about 3 hours at 325 degrees for this smaller bird, and I checked for 170 degrees with a meat thermometer before I took it from the oven. Then I carefully saved the broth and let it cool some before I took the meat off the bones.
We’re hoping sometime next week we will finish silage, and we can go back to just normal chores. :-) So far the weather has been dry and sunny, and we’re thankful it’s helping us make good progress!
I hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful days of early fall too.