Sunday, October 28, 2018

A Week of Firsts



It was a week of firsts for Barb and I up here at the farm and one of the more physically exhausting weeks I have had in quite a while. With the weather cooperating all week we were able to work outside and get a lot of work done. 
Our first first of the week was cleaning seed. Who knew that harvested seeds have to be cleaned before you can use them in the next years planting? This week we cleaned both wheat and soy beans. Makes sense if you think about it but who ever thinks about it? Farmers that’s who! 
For example when soy beans and wheat are harvested they have to be removed from their hulls. The majority of them are discarded by the combining process but some make their way into the hopper and eventually into the grain bin.  
Speaking of hoppers, there are hoppers of a totally different kind that are a problem when it comes to cleaning beans. Grasshoppers. They are everywhere! They too get sucked up into the combine (along with lady bugs and other insects) and some make it into the grain bins. Last but not least is weed seeds. Although they control their weeds there are enough that survive to make them a problem. Scoop up a handful of beans and you don’t see them but if you look very carefully you might find a few seeds and the last thing you want to do it plant lady bugs or weeds along with your soy beans!
So how do you clean soy beans? Certainly not individually with Barb’s toothbrush! They have a huge grain and seed cleaner that uses air and screens to weed (pun intended) the bad seeds and other debris. Follow closely as this is quite the process!
First we took the beans out of the bin they are stored in.
Unloading beans from the bin into the cart
Then we moved them over to a lift truck and dumped them into the box. You have to really control the flow going into the cleaner so it is important to have the opening just right. That then dumps into a conveyer and up the auger into the hopper of the cleaner. 
Then from the cart into the dump truck and into the auger
The cleaner has a series chambers that you can control the air flow and bounces/floats the seeds across the chambers and separates some of the debris based on its density. Anything lighter and heavier than the soy bean gets separated.  It then moves onto a series of screens where anything larger or smaller than the beans are screened out and separated as well. 
Some wheat going down the air chamber separating the grain from the hulls
The debris, split seeds or smaller seeds go one way and the desirable seeds go another. If I were to guess I would say 10% or less of the load goes down the undesirable conveyer while the good seed follows another conveyer and up an auger into another grain bin. 
The undesirable beads go into the truck behind the cleaner
The conveyer going to the right takes the cleaned seed and dumps it into the auger leading to the bin
The PTO on green tractor powers the auger taking the clean beans up into their new home!
Simple right? Well setting it up is quite the process and takes an hour or more. Setting the air flow for density is an art in itself and once you get started you don’t want to stop until the entire bin you are working is empty and at a cleaning rate of ~400 bushels/hour and a 4000 bushel bin to clean, we were in for the long haul. A process that started at 9:00am with set up ended at 11:45pm when we finally turned off the cleaner (this did not include the 1 ½ hours of cleanup and tear down the next day). 

Here is a sample of the two end products;


Clean beans ready for planting!
Separated weed seeds and split soy beans
I realize that this was a lot of detail on something most of us never knew ever even existed but hopefully you found it as interesting as I did. 
The other first this week was Barb attending a Lefse making class. I am always looking for new and delicious foods for Barb to make me so when I saw this lefse class on line in Minot I knew we had a winner! Well, maybe it didn’t happen quite that way but Barb did attend this class last week with her friend Jeanie. 
I won't go into great detail on how they make lefse but one thing I did not know is that they are made out of potatoes. The other thing I will tell you is that they were delicious!

The final product!
The another first for the week was Dylan being nominated the FFA (Future Famers of America) National Star Farmer Award. One of 4 finalists from across the country, Dylan, DeAnne and Bob flew Indiana to attend the national convention in Indiana. Dylan did a great job and made his family proud, here is a link to his video.

Look at all those people!
Last but not least was the first time (and last) I was volunteered to wash dishes at the annual Max Civic Club Steak Fry. Notice I said "volunteered". Actually Holly volunteered but since she is now 6 months pregnant she cannot stand on her feet that long and in turn volunteered me. (She should have thought of this 6 months ago!)

Barb said now that I have done dishes professionally I should be able to do them at home. Unfortunately none of the skills I learned at the steak fry were transferable to life in the rig!

This is our 4th straight year attending the steak fry and we always have a great time. We usually end up at the Max bar doing pull tabs afterwards but last year after losing our @sses for two straight years we vowed we would not do it again, instead opting to stay at the event and play black jack. So true to our word we played black jack for an hour and a half and …..lost everything. So what did we do next? We went to the Max bar and starting in on the pull tabs! But this time we won!


$225 worth of winners!
Weather permitting, we have 11 days left here. Although there is snow in the forecast it looks like the temperatures are going to be mild and we are going to make it!

24 comments:

  1. Who knew about cleaning seeds but it sure makes sense. What a lot of work though. Sounds like you are having fun working. :)

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    1. The cleaning is usually a winter project completed well after we are gone. It is cool to see it done.

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  2. Good bunch of firsts.
    Looks like Barb has some work to do for making you do the Dishes.
    Don't get stuck in the Snow.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. We are supposed to get some snow later this week which will be okay as long as it disappears in a few days!

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  3. Are you doing dishes in a utility sink, Jim? Better not let him do dishes at home, Barb. He might grab the Lava hand soap to get off those tough food stains.

    Good job on the pull tabs!

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    1. I like the way you think, she definitely should not let me do this at home!

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  4. Wow, that’s quite the process and the amount of money invested in equipment and machinery! Congrats to Dylan.

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    1. You are right, just the cost of that cleaning machine in crazy!

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  5. You are staying busy as usual. Can't wait to compare Barb's Lefse with Barb' tacos. She could make Tortillas.

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    1. The Lefse is much sweeter as it has butter and sugar in it. She is going to an egg roll class next week as well!

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  6. Thanks for the seed cleaning demo. I'm from a farm background and other than the complexity and expensive equipment not much has changed. You are correct in saying most folks don't realize there is a lot to farming that most don't see.
    Good to see you are both learning new skills!

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    1. As we drive around the area and see some of the old equipment in farm yards. The evolution of farming machinery is interesting allowing more acres to be farmed quicker and more efficiently. Very interesting!

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  7. I really enjoy reading about the farm process. I've love learning how things are done. Cleaning the seed is quite a long process. It's hard to believe anyone would following their parents footsteps after working the farm. What a lot of work! I've never heard of Lefse. I am sure Barb was so pleased you found this class for her...haha! I do believe you will be very good at dish washing in the RV!! Congratulations to Dylan.

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    1. Although the hard work will drive some to other careers, the love of land and the love of farming keep some in the family business.

      Lefse is very regional and was a staple a generation or two ago.

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  8. We live out in the country with plenty of soy bean fields around us. I'd seen them harvest etc. but had no idea they needed to be cleaned or even thought about the process. Now I learned something new. Thanks for this interesting post.

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    1. We did not know either but now it makes total sense! Glad you enjoyed this post.....

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  9. That Lefse makes my mouth water, love good "Lefse" but boy it's a lot of work to make, as I am sure Barb knows. Good job on those pulltabs. Best wishes and safe travels to you guys 🙂

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    1. Yeah, I am not sure how often she is going to make it but you are right, it is good!

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  10. Cool info on the seeds. Congrats to Dylan, our kids did 4-H for 15 years so we know how hard 4-H/FFA kids work! The apron looks good! You can use it to cook or do bathrooms now!

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    1. Unfortunately I had to give the apron back so I will not be able to do any of those things!

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  11. Never even heard of lefse.....must lead a sheltered life!! Congrats on conquering the pull tabs!!

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    1. Of all the people we know you two would be some of the last that we would consider as having a sheltered life!

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  12. Good work Dylan on the FFA nomination! That's a lot of people in that place. Great job explaining seed cleaning process. My dad used to buy seed if I remember correctly. We only farmed two quarters of grain. Small potatoes in their world.

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    1. We too had no idea that the FFA convention was that big. We watched it on television and were amazed at the number of people there. The President even spoke there on that Saturday.

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