Friday, October 28, 2016

Weeks 3 and 4 in North Dakota, the Harvest is Done!

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. We have not gotten out hunting but we are still enjoying ourselves with the farm work. Several back to back days of dry weather allowed Bob and Chris to harvest the remaining soy beans while I carted and transferred the beans from the combine to the semi-trucks. I could tell that both Bob and Chris were relieved to have the last of the crops off the fields so they could now focus on other chores around the farm.
They combined during the day.....

....and at night
But they got it all done!!!!!
There were several large rocks and a fence line they wanted removed before the fields were prepared for the spring planting. Although I had plenty of experience removing rocks and fence when we owned our hobby farm, we did not have the cool tools to make these jobs so much easier! They have an attachment for the bobcat that digs, lifts and secures the rock so there is virtually no physical labor involved. In fact, this is probably the first time I have ever enjoyed removing rocks from a field!
That's one big rock!
Next up was a ½ mile fence line that they wanted removed. Again, they had an attachment for their tractor that did most of the work for you. After walking the fence line and removing all the post connections you simply hook the fence line up to fence wheel and use the hydraulics to slowly start winding the wire onto the wheel.
Fence winder, one cool invention!
Barb even got in the action when she used the rotary mower and Case tractor to chop up 20 acres of oats residue!

Barb getting some tractor time!
One of my favorite tasks was continuing to use one of the semis to take Canola to the elevator. Previously I had just driven the unloaded semi back from the elevator. This in itself was a learning experience as unlike any other manual transmission I have driven you don’t shift these trucks using the clutch. Instead you have to “RPM match”.  It takes a while to get the knack of this and if you miss a gear or cannot find a gear you may have to come to a stop, use the clutch to put it in gear and start all over again. This is not something you want to do on a busy road! Luckily this never happened to me (yet) although there was definitely some gear searching going on a time or two!

Next came driving the truck while it was loaded. Having 60,000 pounds of grain on your truck really changes the dynamics of starting, stopping and even taking corners. It really gave me a new appreciation for the truck drivers out there.

Arriving at the grain elevator is another experience in itself. As you pull in you have to scan yourself in so they know which farm to credit the load to. Then you to pull up to the “Probe Station” for your two probes. You pull up until they turn on a red light, you stop and an automated arm dips into the front hopper and takes a sample of your grain. The light then turns green and you pull up a little further and stop so they can probe the back hopper. Among some of the things they check for are moisture content and overall grain quality. You could be docked if any of these things are outside their specifications.
Once the light turns green again you pull up onto the scale and scan your card again accepting the weight.  
Coming in at almost 87,000 #'s
Then it is on to the dump station. These certainly are not like the dump stations we are accustomed to while full timing. They are long tall buildings with grates on the floor. Once you are inside you stop, park and get out and open the hopper doors dumping the canola into the grates.
Approaching the dump building
Opening the hopper to dump the canola
Once empty, you head out to the exit scale where they weigh you again and you get your ticket which details your weight and grain quality.
Going out at 27,000 #'s
Then it is back to the farm to load up and do it all over again. Depending on how long you have to wait in line to dump a round trip can take anywhere from 2-3 hours. Add the 30-40 minutes it takes to fill the truck back at the farm and you can make 2-3 roundtrips a day.

There is a lot of waterfowl headed south and we will get back into the field hunting in the next week or so. The other day thousands of Sandhill Cranes flew over no doubt headed to south Texas.
Sandhills headed south
The deer activity picked up the last two weeks and we checked the cameras several times to see what was in each of the areas. It is like Christmas every time you check the cameras as you don’t know what you are going to get! We have seen everything from pheasants, raccoons, coyotes, fox, squirrels, deer of course and the occasional moose!

This little guy stopped by for a photo op
North Dakota Prairie Moose?

This deer should be in the circus!
These two were not getting along.....

Then of course there are the monster bucks.......

Sequoia is doing well and we could not be happier! We changed her name to Dakota as it is one of our favorite places and is rolls off my tongue better when giving commands in the field. I figured if I can respond to all the different names Barb calls me she can learn one new name. She is a very smart dog and is already responds to it.
We have been working with the retrieving dummy 2-3 times a days and she is doing awesome! We took down the ramp and although she is not as agile as she was with the ramps she is getting in and out just fine. We have been working on introducing her to new noises and environments and although she is initially nervous, she gets calmer and calmer with each repetition and as you can see she is becoming quite comfortable within our rig!
Which is more comfortable.....the couch or.....

....the recliner?
Barb is becoming quite the Sushi Chef! She has been to two sushi classes in the past few weeks and we have been having some delicious sushi!
Caterpillar, Dragon and a Fried Roll

She also finished her crocheting project, something I honestly did not think she would get done in the next year.

Last but not least, she got her annual haircut! Holly was able to get her into her stylist and she looks even more beautifuller, if that is even possible......


  1. What?! I thought we were Barb's stylists. The Sushi looks very good. You guys are very busy. Nice animal pictures.

  2. While farming is hard work, it was fun reading about all the jobs you are getting to perform. You are quite the farm hand! You have a nice career if you should need work:) Who knew there were moose in ND! I like Dakota much better than Sequoia, which was a mouthful. She looks so cute:) Hope Daisy is getting use to her. The sushi is looking good, Barb!

    1. Even though some days may be tiring, we really enjoy it here. There is no place we would rather spend this time of year!

  3. We had a male golden named Dakota. That dog was 100% love. I used to tease him that the food went in North Dakota and it came out in South Dakota. That just got the tail wagging all the more. :)

  4. That really does look fun! Moose, crazy! Where's the pic of Barb's new haircut? Great job on the sushi Barb! I can't believe Daisy didn't get a cameo. Poor Daisy.

    1. I tried to get the combo picture of her haircut while modeling her new crochet project but she would not cooperate. Daisy was a little miffed that she did not get one picture in this post, I will have to make up for it next time!

  5. Sounds like you are having a great time! Bill and I have to get out to that part of the country and check it out!

    1. There is something about fall in North Dakota that we find amazing. It is not for everybody but we really enjoy it!

  6. Watching the harvest from the farmers perspective is pretty interesting since we just finished the beet harvest.

    1. I am guessing the beet trucks to through much the same process when dumping one exception being that you had to take sample by hand versus being automated at the elevator.

  7. I love your farm work! Looks like it's fun and interesting enough to keep you engaged. Barb may have a new career in sushi creating. Looks delicious.

  8. I bet your friends love having you guys around. Great wildlife photos. Wish I had one of those game cameras the other night. A male Lion was just outside our tent and let out a gutteral growel a few times. The wind was blowing the tent around making it quite noisy so I couldn't tell if he was getting in. All I had was an air horn for defense! He finally left after 10 minutes.
    Glad Dakota is settling in. Your sushi looks great Barb.

    1. Yikes, I will stick with our nonlethal wildlife! Sounds like you guys are having a great time, cannot wait to see more pictures!

  9. Glad Dakota is settling in....and hope Daisy isn't too jealous!! (didn't see any Daisy pics in the blog!!)

    1. Daisy is totally pissed off by the fact she did not make the last blog. I will have to make up for it next time.

  10. I'm with you on the name Dakota rolling more easily off the tongue. She looks very similar to my parent's dog, Luke Skywalker, or "Ookie" as he is mostly known. We are cat people (though currently sans pets of any kind) but if we ever were to get a dog, it would be a GR. They are so sweet!

    1. She is adjusting very well, we are very happy with how she is adjusting to her new home!