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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Planting Progress


Seeding moves along steadily on the farm. Until today. The intermittent showers of the morning turned to steady, at times heavy rain. By noon the air seeder was digging up drier soil than what was on the surface so decided to call it quits. Kind of ok to have a short break after the past couple of weeks of non stop tractor work. We have had some incredible warm, almost record breaking temps which really dried up the surface of fields and started everything growing.
I'm way ahead of the provincial average, which is about 38% complete last time I heard. I'm about 90% finished. With the rain we have had today and whats forecast for the next day or so I don't think I'll get the crops all in the ground by the 24th. Thats always been a sort of target date for finishing seeding crops here.
The John Deere anhydrous cultivator worked well and survived some of my incredible rocky ground without breakdown. A leaking exhaust manifold on the tractor caused some concern til we discovered what it was and decided I could go on working with it as is for now. For about the second time in the 14 years I've owned this Magnum tractor I got it stuck bad enough that I had to unhitch the anhydrous cultivator to get out of the mud. With the aid of a huge nylon tow rope borrowed from a neighbour I was able to extricate it from the mud with no harm done, other than time lost and frustration at the incredibly wet ground on this particular field.
This picture of the old Loadstar unloading fertilizer into the air seeder was taken one morning a week ago. Less than a half hour later the truck was stuck in the mud on a wet hillside. Sometimes trying to take a shortcut is just a waste of time and effort and I should have known better.
My "garden patch" sits un-worked growing weeds as I have had no time to do anything with it. Seeding crops takes top priority right now so the garden vegetables will just have to wait a few more days. My "lawn" remains untouched with the mower yet this spring and it is looking more like a hayfield every day. Might get a chance to cut it before the fields dry up enough to get back in the tractor. If not, no big deal. I don't think the neighbours will complain.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Theres A Storm Across The Valley


With apologies to John Denver for borrowing that line from his song, "Rocky Mountain High", this was the scene out of my office window yesterday about 5:30.
ITs one of the benefits of this line of work that I get a constantly changing view through those windows in the cab of my big red tractor. Yesterday's dark Western sky made a nice backdrop for the special bright green shade that the poplar leaves show for their first stage of opening. The new worked black soil beside the weathered stubble of last year's canola crop. Its one of the many reasons I never get bored with this farming business (or lifestyle).
Its been a series of starts and stops trying to get the anhydrous applied in preparation for seeding the crop. Its a week ago today that I started and I should be finished with that job by now but recurring rain and snow days have stalled me twice now. Close to an inch of rain on the weekend and now another half inch last night.
Its true, rain is so necessary to produce a crop but first we have to get that crop planted. And there is a limited "window of opportunity" to get that job done. Most crops need around 100 days of frost free weather to reach maturity so we like to get them in the ground by the end of May so they will be ready to harvest in September.
The rain will surely make the grass grow which will keep the cattle (and me) happy for the summer.