Where I Come From…

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Our Farm

Not only is it a good song by Montgomery Gentry, it’s the absolute truth and pride from any farmer from any place in America.  Where there is a farm, there is a farmer.  And where there is a farmer, there is a story and history with that story.

As I’ve tried to accomplish here in my blogs, I try and put MY story out there for you to read.  I share MY history and MY farm with all of you.  I know I’ve been slacking a little with getting a new post up here but it’s that time of the year when things get busy for us again and writing out a blog just wasn’t in the agenda til now.  Just last night we got 1.75″ of rain in addition to the 0.60″ of rain the day before, and another 0.40″ a few days before that.  Last nights rain came down rather harsh and washed quite a bit out but it was much needed around here.  The 1″ of rain through the week though came down really nice and slow and let it all soak in.

On Twitter and Google+ the hashtag #plant12 can be followed for comments by several farmers around the country talking about their planting sessions and what is going on in the field with the planter.  Most of my latest #plant12 have been comments about us not getting in the field for a couple more days yet now after this rain to give it time to dry out a bit.  You don’t want to “mud in” your seed because when mud dries it becomes like concrete to that little seed and won’t let a delicate plant emerge from under the boulders of the mud.  With today’s wind we have now and the 70 degree temps, the top of the soil should dry out pretty decent and maybe by Wednesday we should be able to hit the field with the planter to officially start the planting season of #plant12!  From here on out it’s going to be a big prayer and worrying game hoping that God can take care of our land and our crops so that we can continue to do what we passionately love to do so much.

Now that what we have coming up is taken care of, lets get into whats already been done since the last post.

The biggest feat that we were able to accomplish was fixing fence on our pastures.  We rent 2 pastures and own ours here at home.  Over the 3 pastures, we keep 150 head of Black Angus Steers out on grass from the end of April until the end of October if pasture grass is good and available.  So far to start the year the grass looks really good out there and as long as we keep getting blessed with such great weather, it should continue to produce and have plenty available for the cattle so we don’t have to bring them home early to feed them bales that we have stored and saved for later and the next bunch of cattle.

Fixing fence isn’t the greatest thing there is to do on a farm like ours.  We have hills and creeks to compete with on every pasture.  Hills create problems of snow pushing over fence posts and creeks create problems of melted snow and rain running debris pushing through the fence and creating a big hole for the cattle to just walk right out of.  It is a very critical and time consuming even to get every post, every wire, and ever corner checked over post by post, foot by foot to ensure that the fence is in the best possible condition.  With the price of cattle these days, one getting out and getting lost, stolen, or dead can result in thousands of dollars lost; and where one gets out, others usually follow.  To add to the hills and the creeks, we have the wonderful TREE to work around too.  Strong winds, dead trees, and a fence always seem to create the same equation and the same answer – busted tree falls on fence and you have a busted fence.  It really is amazing how a tree can fall in 3 other directions when it goes down but for some reason it seems that it always falls on the fence instead.  Working around trees makes for even more difficult work because you can’t get in there with the ATV or truck to get the supplies you need to fix it so you have to carry everything by hand.  Those walks can sometimes be a little hike to get back to that one busted post or that catastrophe of a huge tree down.

Trees along the fence line

The way fence should be instead of in the trees

Moving on after getting all the fence taken care of, our sprayer tractor was due for the transmission fluid to be changed.  Just like your car or truck, a tractor has a maintenance schedule to keep up with as well.  Everyone has their own preference on when to do what and so do we.  Engine Oil gets changed every 100 hours and Transmission gets changed every 1,000 hours.  Tractors and other farm equipment are measured by hours instead of mileage like your car or truck is.  The higher the hours is the same as the higher the mileage.  The 5088 here is 30 years old and Dad bought it June of 2002.  It’s been 10 years and it finally just now hit 1,200 hours (that is great having that little hours on it, but that also means not much ground covered).  We usually aim to complete tasks like this as close as possible to our target hours but there are times when things just can’t be done to the T like that.  I’m sure your vehicle has gone over 3,000 miles once in a while as well.  The automatic transmission of a 1995 F150 4×4 pickup takes about 20qts of transmission fluid.  This 5088 was drained of all its transmission/hydraulic fluid (its the same reservoir for both) and to fill it, it took 30 GALLONS!  The oil change is coming up in about 20 hours and that will take about 5 gallons of motor oil to do that.  I got all my buckets lined up to drain from the 3 different drain plugs on the bottom side of the tractor, got comfy and started to drain plugs.  Dad helped me dump buckets so I could stay under the tractor.  This was my view for about 2 hours of draining fluids and changing out filters.

My view for about 2 hours changing fluid and filters under the tractor

5088 ready for the transmission fluid change

Transmission - Hydraulic Filter installed 6-02 and has only put on 1,200 hours since.

Now that we got that out of the way we can move onto the big thing!  We FINALLY got the planter hooked up and pulled out!  I can’t stand working on things that are dirty or seeing dirty equipment going down the highway, especially when its ours so I pulled it over to the hydrant, fired up the power washer and went to town with it.  Sure looks good after its all washed up!

Finally pulling the planter out of the shed!

Kinze 3200 12 row planter on 30" rows.
International MX240 tractor

After getting it all cleaned up and the dust off of it I noticed that where the markers bend to fold over, the metal square tubing had cracks in them.  This is a major stress point on the marker and couldn’t be overlooked or left til after the season to take care of it.  If this isn’t taken care of, half of the marker could get busted off in the field and really tear up the rest of the arm on the planter.  Even worse if it broke off in the folded position like the picture above, it could very easily damage several of the seed boxes or drive components on the planter creating a big disastrous and expensive mess.  Took the markers apart on both sides, cleaned up the cracks and got it all welded back together.  It’s definitely a spot that we are going to have to keep track of through the season to see if it cracks again or transfers the stress to another place instead.

Crack in the marker frame!

And that’s all folks.

Always accepting questions and comments if you have any!  Thanks again for reading and following along.  Next blog should definitely have some field work in it.  We did some fertilizing prior to this blog so I’ll get those pictures put together and whatever else happens and have another long blog for you to read!

You can follow me on:

Twitter – @okcableguy

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/104073001040874975369

You can also follow along with some of the more popular AG hash tags on Twitter and Google+:

#plant12

#spray12

#agnerd

#ag

#beef

#fixfence12

#haytalk

There are also a few other AG friends to follow on Google+ as well and from there you can get their Twitter handle and other great blogs by these folks:

Matt Boucher – Boucher Farms

Brian Scott – The Farmers Life

Ryan Goodman

and several others.  if interested in more just come find me on Google+ and I can get you linked up with everyone else I have stored away!

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Comments
  1. I enjoyed this blog post! Happy planting and hope all goes well for you guys!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to keep us all updated on your planting season! It’s great to see people who are willing to share their passions this way – the internet could use a few more active farmers. 🙂 There are so many good stories out there waiting to be told, thanks for telling yours!
    FarmOutLoud.wordpress.com

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