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Showing posts from October, 2011

Call in the Professionals

Remember the combine we bought? And the time we put into fixing it?
It did a pretty solid job of combining our pinto beans. And the heirloom beans, which we had to pull by hand (don't ask) because of weeds (don't ask) were fed nicely through the combine, which removes the beans from the plant and the pod.
There was one thing, though, that the guys couldn't seem to fix. The head didn't go up and down smoothly. Sometimes it didn't go up and down at all. You had to baby it, and couldn't depend on it. So now, between bean harvest and corn harvest, they decided to call in a professional.

Sometimes it's worth paying someone who knows what they're doing. Works like a charm! Ready for corn harvest, which should start any day.

Sunday Post

"The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest." --Psalm 85:12

Friday Fun Farm Facts

Did you know?
In volume and sales, potatoes are Michigan's largest vegetable crop.
Michigan is the nation's leading producer of potatoes for potato chip production.
The average person consumes 132 pounds of potatoes per year--50 pounds in fresh and 82 pounds in chips, frozen and other potato products.


Our border collie came to us about 4 years ago. She was a rescue dog, of unknown origin. The foster home reported that she herded the cats that also lived at the "halfway house."
She was extremely afraid of large machinery that made loud noises. She's grown used to all our large machinery and loud noises over the years.

She's never been formally trained to herd (mostly because none of us knows what we're doing, either). Some days she does pretty well. Some days are a total flop.

She is friends with all our long-term barn cats, and only chases the new ones that run. I think eventually they all figure out she's a cat-lover and calm down.

Brinkley is a delight. We wish she was a good herding dog, but she brightens our lives anyhow.

Life at Full Tilt

She's still giving me heart failure, even after all these years.

Love you, honey. Happy birthday!

Friday Fun Farm Facts

Did you know?
Apples are one of the largest and most valuable fruit crops in Michigan.
There are over 7.5 million apple trees in production, covering 38,500 acres.
Michigan is the third largest apple producing state.
The annual economic impact is estimated at approximately $800 million.
Sixty percent of Michigan apples are processed into other products.

Colorful Hutterite Bean Soup

This is an experiment that worked. The Farmer came up with this one yesterday, and we'll be eating it for supper tonight. (Yes, I tasted it, and yes, it's good!)

Colorful Hutterite Bean Soup
1/2 lb. Hutterite Soup beans
3 large potatoes
3 carrots
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower
2 cloves garlic
1 small red onion
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt, to taste

Soak beans in cold water, drain. Fill saucepan with water to cover beans plus about 2". Bring to boil. Cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. As the beans cook, mash some against the side of the pot to add to creaminess of soup. While the beans are cooking, peel and chop potatoes in 1/2" cubes. Cook potatoes with added salt in soup pot with enough water to cover. Chop carrots in small pieces and add to potatoes halfway through cooking. Add broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and onion to potatoes when they test done with a fork. At the same time, add beans and bean broth to potatoes. …

Friday Fun Farm Facts

Did you know...
...Michigan exports about a third of its agricultural commodities each year, generating more than $1 billion and supporting nearly 13,000 jobs.
...A new combine, which farmers use to harvest corn, soybeans and other grains, could cost as much as $300,000 or more.

Update on the Combine

The new combine, after much TLC, is working pretty well. The head (the front part with the roller bars that actually does the harvesting) still needs some tweaking. But it works well enough to be able to get us through the crush of harvesting beans.
A side note: it is NOT good stewardship to run your machines into the ground. But on the other hand, we were only able to afford this combine because the former owner had a "drive it until it won't go anymore" mentality. Many, many things were overlooked and neglected, giving us nearly two weeks of solid work to get it up and running.

The old combine (on the left) still had a lot of life left in it, but the broken frame (and the damage that caused) made it not salvagable. But it was a virtual treasure trove of parts, many of which we were able to install on the new combine as we administered first-aid during those first two weeks.
More posts and photos later--we're in the thick of bean harvest, and have hardly any time to …

Friday Fun Farm Facts

Michigan is the fourth-largest grape producing state in the nation, with about 2,000 acres devoted to wine grapes. Michigan has more than 70 commercial wineries.
Michigan ranks seventh in the nation for honey production. About 50% of Michigan's fruit and vegetable industry is highly dependent on honey bee pollination.

Wordless Wednesday--Pinto Beans

New Warp on the Loom

We're in the midst of harvesting pinto beans right now, but a few days ago there was a break in the action. We were waiting for parts for the combine, maybe, or the ground was too wet. Anyway, The Farmer and I took about an hour early one evening to warp one of my looms. We can't do it too late in the day, because it involves thinking. And counting.
Yeah, that's pink you see there. Pink and brown. Gotta weave what sells.

Here is the warp going through the homemade tension box. The warp must be put on under even tension, and simply traveling over and under a couple of dowels accomplishes that.

All the sections full, and ready for threading.

Threaded through the heddles and reed.

And... weaving!

Man, I love weaving. Even when it includes pink.

Grape Harvest

Well, in this awful Summer of Murphy (a la Murphy's Law), something went right. The grapes are amazing! We just have a few vines, and the Concords have really flourished.

The Farmer's parents helped us out by picking about HALF of the grapes. Maybe less.

Then they picked them all off the stems...
...sorting through them to keep only the good ones.

The result was 42 quart jars of grape juice.

We'll do the other half of the grapes this week.