This weeks "On the Farm Friday" post is dedicated to a fellow Wildcat and future farmboy, George Desch.
George is the son of a very good friend of mine from college. (We are K-State wildcats through and through!) Even though he lives miles away in the beautiful state of Virginia, he loves the farm and has been praying for rain for all of the farmers in Kansas! (Don't you just love him already?) He is about the same age as our son, Henry, who is also all about everything farm. Maybe they will meet someday!! This is for you, George! (P.S. Keep the prayers coming ~ it rained twice last week!)
Without a doubt, summer is the busiest time of the year on the farm. Every farm across the country is unique in its own way. Some raise only crops, others have crops and animals and some even have special equipment for doing custom work, as we do, such as swathers, bailers, seed drillers and semi-trucks.
Our farm primarily consists of alfalfa production. You know this better as hay, and can often see the large round or square bales lined up at the edges of the field waiting to be trucked to a feed lot or dairy. Only a small portion of our acreage is dedicated to growing wheat and corn. In fact, this year we didn't raise any wheat at all, and the boys were very sad about this, because they LOVE to watch the combines roll through the fields, and sometimes get to ride along!
Henry was especially sad, but thankfully, he has an uncle who was running his combine this year and said, "Yes!" when Henry asked if he could tag along. After gathering up his snacks, water bottle and favorite hat, he was ready to get down to business!
One of the most beautiful sights across rural America in the summer is a field of golden wheat being harvested by a roaring combine. This is a Case combine. You can see just how big it is, as Henry stands at the top by the cab.
The part of the machine that cuts the crop is called the header. This one is 36 feet wide. Different headers are used for harvesting different crops.
If you own a toy combine, it probably came with both a wheat and a corn header, so you know exactly what I'm what I'm talking' about! This is a corn header. Doesn't it look like it's ready to chomp up the acres of corn??
After the combine cuts the wheat, a machine inside separates the grain from the chaff. The chaff is blown out the back and the wheat berries are collected inside of the grain bin. When the bin fills up, a tractor with a grain cart is always nearby waiting for the combine auger to transfer the wheat into the grain cart. Then, the grain cart is driven over to the edge of the field where the semi-truck waits to be loaded with the grain.
Once the semi-truck is full, the driver hauls the load to the grain elevator. Semi trucks are also a favorite topic among the men around here. Henry was all smiles after riding with his uncle Doug and his cousin, Ethan in their semi during harvest.
If you look closely you can see the trucks pulling in to a narrow opening between the bins. After weighing in on a scale, the driver pulls the load over an open chute. The trailer on the semi is called a hopper bottom trailer. The bottom of the trailer opens up releasing the wheat into a pit where it is then transported on an elevator system up into the bins where it is stored for future use.
Sometimes the elevators can look as though they are abandoned or unused. There are many of these along the highways of Kansas, especially in our area of the state where so many farms exist. Now you know that they serve a very important purpose! If you had cereal or toast for breakfast, the wheat ingredients may have once been stored in one of these elevators! Think of us the next time you have a bite of Cheerios!
We hope that you will come and visit us one day on our farm, George! You and Henry would have so much "work" to do!!