Sunday, August 29, 2010

Work is Play and Play is Work

My sister-in-law grew up on a potato farm. A HUGE potato farm not too far from here. She said that her dad always used to tell this to her and her siblings. Well, we met her dad last night. And guess what he told us. Yep. "Work is Play and Play is Work." That's the motto you've got to live by. And by golly, he's been successful, so it must be true.

At least I think it's true. You get out here in the country, with these down-to-earth farmers, and they work their brains out. They are always working. You can see them in the middle of the day, and you can see the lights on their tractors in the middle of the night. It might be crazy, but they love it.

Cause you know, what guy doesn't want to work, and drive this around all day...
images (1)

or this....

or this?

I mean, lots of little boys start playing with trucks and tractors before they can even talk. Aren't these guys up here just livin' their dreams? Seriously. Every time we told a guy that we were moving to farm they would exclaim how jealous they were and how they would love to live and work on a farm. (And all their wives would look at me with pity in their eyes and say, "Oh I could never do what you are doing. I could never move to a farm!) We started to find it quite entertaining because the same scenario would happen over and over as we told each couple of our life-change.

Anyway. Work is play and play is work. It's hard work, but for some reason, they love it. Maybe it's cause in between the hard stuff they meet up again at the quonset, a piece of wheat hanging out of their mouth, lean against the tractors, and shoot the breeze with the other guys. I've seen this plenty of times too....

By the way.... I had to look up the spelling for "quonset." I would have spelled it "quansit." And.. I just found out that's what the big structure is siting outside of our house.
Who knew? Obviously not me. Not until our Aunt called and asked if a certain truck was parked by the quonset. I said, "Quonset? What's a quonset."
And she said, "Oh... that big metal building in front of your house."


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Change Water

Every once in a while my husband will say, "I've got to go change water." And it would happen at random times during the day and in the middle of the night.

The first time he said that, I replied with, "What are you going to change it into?" Of course I didn't get a reply. So later I asked him in all seriousness, what he meant.

So now, as I understand it, it's what he has to do when he "flood irrigates" a field. He builds a dam in the irrigation ditch, so that the water overflows into the field and floods it. Every so often you have to go and take the dam out of one part of the ditch and put it in another part of the ditch so that it can flood another part of the field.

So that is what he means when he says, "I've got to go change water." He really could say, "I've got to go and move the dam." Same thing. But I guess the latter is not farmer talk.

Since I'd been asking so many questions, he invited us to go with him one night when he had to change water. Here's what it looks like. The dams are pretty high-tech.

He uses some sticks and a tarp.....and some really cool rubber boots

Puts the sticks in the ditch

Sets up the tarp against the sticks


And wahlah!

And by then I was wishing I had some cool rubber boots too. My feet were soaked!

So there you have it folks. That is how you "change water."

Another Phone Call

Me: Hello?

Lady: Hi, this is Jill from the Department of Water Resources. I'm just calling to see if your irrigation well is still on?

Me: Hahaha...heeheehee... Oh good question. I have no idea what you are talking about.

Lady: Oh, okay then. (Chuckles). Is anyone there who would know?

Me: No, they are not, but I could call my husband and ask him for you. He would be the one to know. We just moved here, and I don't know anything.

Lady: Oh okay. That's no problem. Just give me a call back when you get the chance. I need to come out there and get a sample from your well.

Me: Oh okay. Sounds good. I will call you back then.


Me: Hey, hun. Is the irrigation well still on?

Him: Yeah, why? (Sounding a little surprised that I would ask a question I knew nothing about)

Me: Well a lady from the Department of Water Resources needs to come out and take a sample from it.

Him: (Understanding now) Oh, okay. Yeah it is. But tell her it's going to only be on for 2 more days.

Me: Gotcha.

And then I relayed the message to her.

But you know, I was thinking. There's going to come a point where I can't say, "I just moved here and don't know anything.." because sooner or later, I will NOT have just moved here. I'll just have to tell them, "Sorry, I just don't know anything." Being new to the farm won't be a valid excuse anymore!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hay and Straw

Hay and straw, are not the same. Most of you probably already know that, but I didn't know that for the first 29 years of my life. I just found out, not too long ago, that straw and hay are different. They may look similar, but they are different.

I've explained the difference in a previous post, so for some of you who are new, hay is dry alph-alpha and straw is leftover stems from grains, such as wheat.

So today, I thought I would show you some pictures. :)

This, would be hay. You raise hay on purpose, to feed your animals.

And this, would be straw. You don't really raise straw. This is a wheat field. Planted and raised for wheat. Now, that our neighbor has harvested his wheat, the straw is left over.


And what do they do with the straw? Well, my husband said that they bale it. They bale it so that they can give it to the cows. He says they eat a little bit of it during the winter - it helps them to keep warm. Mostly, they just make beds out of it. It's got to be pretty good bedding, I mean, didn't we as humans used to make our bed matresses out of straw? I remember going to a museum and lying on a straw bed and thinking it was horrible. Too funny.

Our wheat is not quite ready to be harvested yet. Which I guess is okay, since they had to get our combine (the big machine that harvests the wheat) ready. You know, there was a dead cat in it, and some other parts they had to replace. I'd have to ask my husband, but I think it's almost ready to go.

And just for your viewing pleasure, he is another bit of scenery for you.
Gorgeous huh? This is on the drive from our little town to the next town. I believe that is a field of Safflower. They make cooking oil out of it. I had never heard of it before I moved here. I'm sure most other people have heard of it. It makes for beautiful fields too!

I also recently found out that potato fields and beautiful. Potato plants have flowers! Who knew? I didn't. I have yet to take a picture for you, but here is one off of the internet.
See what I mean.

Farming makes for some gorgeous scenery.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Our New Pet, Bear

We got a new dog! His name is "Bear." (For the time being...)

Because, what's a farm, without a dog, right?

I was totally on board with this idea. I know, it's crazy, but it's true. For some reason I decided I would like having a dog around. And I'm going to be so nice to him so he will protect me at nights when my husband has gone off baling or whatever. Him and my gun under the bed. I'm all set.

And, I think he already likes me. Yeah, it's working! He's such a happy, friendly dog!

We got a great deal on. My husband has always wanted a dog, so I asked him about it. Asked him if it was time to get a dog, and he thought that was a great idea. So I hopped onto Craig's list and found a family who didn't have time to care for their energetic dog anymore. They even posted, "He would be a great farm dog!" I told my husband that he was an Australian Shepherd/Blue Heeler mix and he said, "That's the dog I want, right there." So we called the owner and a few days later, he was off to pick him up. He came neutered, vaccinated, and with plenty of toys, a leash, and even a kennel. For free.

We brought him home and since it was late, we put him on a leash and tied him up for the night. He did not...stop...barking..all..night. The poor dog. Everyone else could sleep through it, but I had to go downstairs.

In the morning, he got to experience his first day as a farm dog and he seemed to love it. So did my husband. He went everywhere with him. They went to check on the pumps, the cows, change water, and whatever else they do. Then he hung out with him at the shop.

They found a dead cat in the combine from last year. Bear tried to eat it. Gross, gross, gross. But then he got to meet our real-life cat. Moley came over to check him out. I actually think she was trying to let him know who was boss.

She wasn't really afraid of him.

He kind of gave her a snarl. They sniffed each other and I thought that was that. I was pleased. And then Moley attacked his face. Bear chased her off. Hopefully they will get used to each other! The rest of the day, Moley gave him warning meows, but didn't bother him again.

Oh, and as for the name, "Bear," my husband doesn't like it. He says that he wants to name him something else. I pulled off a huge list of dog names from the internet. He didn't like any of them. I think of new ones and suggest them to him randomly. He still hasn't liked any. I keep saying, "Honey, this dog needs a name! You need to choose!"

I feel like we are going through the names for our children again. I swear, it was the same. He didn't like anything! The problem here, is that we don't have a deadline. I'm not leaving the hospital with "Bear" tomorrow and I don't have paperwork for his birth certificate to fill out. So I'm afraid it's going to take a LONG time for this dog to get a name. This is why, for our next child, my husband and I made a deal that I, yes I, would get to name it all by myself. :)