The Grovestead

Farm, Family, Fun.

Category: Our Field (page 2 of 3)

Keeping warm

Kittens keeping warm

The cats pretty much sum up the mood around here in Winter: snuggle up and ride it out. We have brief respite from the harsh cold now and then. The sun breaks up the monotony and we soak up all we can. Minnesotans are known for their love of outdoors, for good reason.

Rolling the snowman

Building a snowman

Completed (almost) snowman

When the snow is packing right we build a snowman and go for sled rides (with daddy as the draft horse).

But even in this dormant period, the days are getting longer. Seed catalogs start arriving and garden sketches can be found. Soon the seeds will get planted under grow lights and there will be non-stop activity until the Fall frost.

But for now we’re still.

Rural snowscape

First cutting

John Deere tractor cutting our hay field

Elsie with daddy watching the tractor

Ivar watching the tractor cut our field

First cutting of our hay field

Farming woes

Tractor planting field

I was reluctant to tell this story, having just blogged about our bad luck with getting our field planted. But then I thought no, the embarrassing mishaps are all part of farming and one of the reasons I started this blog was to share our story, warts and all.

So here’s what happened. Last week after waiting almost a month for the stars to align (or the clouds to part), our generous neighbor Jeremiah showed up to till and plant our field.

I met him, brought out the seed bags, took a few pictures, and watched the tractor drive out into the field. About 30 seconds later the tractor stopped moving. A minute later the engine turned off and Jeremiah began walking towards us. Becca noted aloud, “that’s not good.”

Turns out the seed drill was broken. Something to do with a shaft. I nodded, as if I knew anything about seed drill shafts. Jeremiah would attempt to fix it and bring it back. Okay, great. A small delay, but at least we’ll get it done today.

Six hours later, the tractor comes roaring up the lane. This time its pulling a different seed drill. Jeremiah wasn’t able to fix the problem, but found another seed drill. Great!

He got started immediately, making up for lost time. We only have about four tillable acres, so the whole job takes maybe 45 minutes. Jeremiah will be done in no time.

About 10 minutes later I heard the tractor turn off again. Humph. Jeremiah finds me and asks if I have a socket wrench. “What happened?” I ask. “Ran over something, popped the tire.” Unbelievable! Turns out, a 30-year old rusted out vice grips wrench was dug out of the earth during tilling and positioned just right to send a 5-inch spike into the seed drill’s tire. If he had been 2 inches in either direction he would have missed it.

The tire gets fixed and the tractor starts up again. But this time, I notice instead of heading out into the field the tractor makes a u-turn and pulls into our lane, as if to leave. Then the engine stops again. Jeremiah steps out of the tractor and says, “I need to fess up.” Nothing would surprise me at this point. Jeremiah explains that the new seed drill he brought over had been set differently than he realized, for larger seed. All our seed (100 pounds of it) for four acres had been planted in two rows. Okay, that surprised me.

Jeremiah offered to go pick up more seed, but the seed store was closed for the day. Of course. “I’ll pick up more seed tomorrow,” I tell him.

That night it starts raining. And doesn’t stop for six days. A friend asked if maybe God doesn’t want our field to be planted. I was beginning to wonder that myself.

But yesterday it finally happened! Jeremiah was out of town but his father Dean brought the equipment over and together we got the field planted.

Figuring out the seed drill settings

Rory and Dean figuring out the seed drill settings while Ivar watches and Elsie dumps chicken feed on herself.

Dumping seed into the bin

Filling the seed bins with pasture grass mix.

A look inside the seed bin

Riding on the seed drill while tractor is planting field

I actually rode on the back of the seed drill for the whole planting. We had to make sure the settings were correct, so while Dean drove I watched the drills and kept an eye on the bins to make sure we had enough seed. We did.

Replanting our field

Tractor getting ready to plant

In a previous post I wrote about why we needed to replant our field this year. It was supposed to happen earlier this week, but rain beat the farmer to our field. And then we had to wait for everything to dry out. I never really knew when to expect him.

Then this morning around 7am as I was trying to figure out where that low rumble was coming from, I saw a huge tractor pull up in our field pulling a 40-foot plow.

Tractor tilling our field

We are extremely fortunate to live up the road from a family farm. They were generous enough to include our tiny parcel among the fields they planted this year.

Pasture mix seed getting dumped into the seed bins

Tractor beginning to plant our field

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