- Corn is America's largest crop and accounts for more than 90 % of the total value and production of feed grains.
- Family farmers grow 90% of America's corn.
- The USA produces 40% of the world's corn
- In the USA, 87% of all the corn is grown utilizing only naturally occurring rainfall.
- Reduced tillage has resulted in a 44% reduction in soil erosion in the last two decades.
- Ethanol, a renewable biofuel made from corn, is currently blended into more than 80% of the nation's fuel supply.
- Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica.
- One bushel of corn will sweeten more than 400 cans of Coca-Cola.
- There are about 800 kernels in 16 rows on each ear of corn.
If you remember from my previous posts, this is the time of year I met my farmer face-to-face for the first time- down the road from our house on the exit ramp actually!
Anyway, my first visit to our farm was one of my first visits to what you might define as a "big" farm. And not just amount of acres. Family. Equipment. Commodities.
The first few days on the farm I spent it following my husband around with his (now ours) camera.
I basically was his pal around for the week, taking some time to spend with his family in between.
I remember my first visit seeming like the days were full- but not too full.
Now, when I moved to South Dakota just a few months later I moved right before we started chopping silage. And all of a sudden those full days became really, really long days. And nights.
There was a ton of running around, a lot of equipment getting moved, and a lot of caffeine-drive husbands.
And there wasn't any date nights for the first couple of months.
I remember being in awe of what my husband and his brothers had accomplished in such a short amount of time, and the relationship that they must have with their parents in order for them to all work together each day.
I remember my farmer telling me he worked every day of the week, but that didn't really sink in with me that first visit to the farm. It took a good year for me to realize that days off are few and far between- and they normally involve a visit to family.
If your first visit to the farm is coming up, bring your camera along and a listening ear. Make sure to ask lots of questions, chances are this is your match's pride and joy and something he is really passionate about!
We are starting a new blog segment on Recipes. So bust out Granny's recipe book! We want your best soups, breads, jams, jellies, you name it we want it hear them! (And see them too! Pictures are bonus points!) If your recipe is just too irresistible to pass up you just might find yourself highlighted on our blog along with another small surprise!
Please send entries to email@example.com along with your FarmersOnly username and your contact information.
Oh...and did we mention...some say "The way into a person's heart is through their stomach" just sayin...
If you haven't found out yet, you will soon find out, what the rush of harvest can really feel like.
|The one and only tractor nap I was able to get out of this girl this week!|
|I raked some hay, and then some more hay....|
|And then some more hay....|
|And then when I was almost done my hubby baled it.|
|I got to see this cutie smile at me every time I came to get her from her Daddy!|
|We have been chopping a lot of corn silage. Tomorrow this bunk should be completely full and ready to be tarped down.|
|I drove the water trailer around the section and watered all the new fence posts my husband set a couple of days ago. She is my helper.|
|And, in the midst of harvest I am getting my garden cleaned up. She wanted to run behind the wagon because she could then talk to the cattle in the feed yard.|
|And I baked 4 dozen cookies to get me through my cooking week for the farm next week. Not to mention two loaves of pumpkin bread and some brownies.|
These are some "tools of the trade" that I have found useful through the last 5 years when it comes to preparing for Harvest.
If you have a baby, invest in one of these. It was some of the best money I have spent when it came to our little one, and it worked like a charm during harvest when I was cooking or driving the tractor. Not to mention it was a life saver when I made the 12 hour trek to Indiana.
|Podee Bottle- Bottle with a straw!|
The month or so before start making double. If you are making tacos make double the meat, if you are making BBQ make double the meat, if you are making hamburger patties make double the patties. I started this about a month ago and I already have a pretty good stock pile of frozen meats to get me through a few meals during harvest. I simply put mine in freezer Ziploc bags and lay them flat.
This also works for casseroles. When I was pregnant I prepared for my weeks of cooking after baby by making double casseroles during my weeks to cook and putting them in a disposable aluminum pan, covering them with foil, and freezing them.
Plan. Plan. Plan your cooking week or your meals. It may not always work out, but at least have a plan for what sandwiches you want to serve during harvest. I should have approximately 3 or 4 cooking weeks during harvest, that is a total of 42 or 56 meals. I cook 2 meals a day for 7 seven days straight during my cooking week. I already have my list of meals about half way done. I will have repeats, but it helps to have field meal ideas written down so you have a game plan.
Planning also helps with this next one.
Buy and stock up. Two weeks ago I made my harvest trip to Sam's Club and stocked up on a few of the things I know I will need during harvest. Cheeses, chicken, bacon, frozen pizzas, breads. I still have a few things to stock up on at the grocery store, but I am already working on filling up my freezer to be prepared. Trust me, cheese is not something you want to run out of when you are making ten sandwiches for hungry men!
Have all your supplies on hand. Have your baskets ready to transport meals, have sandwich wrappers stocked up, bags to put all the food in...
Have your to do list done. I pretty much try and finish all of my things before it's time for Harvest. That means my cleaning in the house, laundry caught up, buildings swept up and cleaned, the garden mostly harvested and canned or frozen. I even go as far as having birthday cards and gifts all stocked up before we start.
I try and get most of my appointments done before harvest, but in the last year that hasn't quite happened. I also turn down most speaking engagements in order to be around home. I have already turned down two, but I did say yes to two. It all depends on where and how long I will be gone. I try and get my blog ready, meaning getting some posts done in advance so I am not sitting at the computer at midnight typing away when I really need some sleep.
In short I typically plan my life around Harvest for a few months.
Prepping for meals, cooking in advance, shopping, scheduling...all of these things take some of the pressure off of me during months where everyone is running on less sleep and I rarely get to see my husband. These are the things that work for me, they may not work for you...but they may help you get started on what does!
Any other farm wives out there have any other suggestions?
To read more about Harvest on our farm this season visit me at Stories Of A First Generation Farm Wife!