The Evolution of a Modern-Day Farm Wife

Fertilizing the Wheat

When I was a single gal living in town, I had big plans to have the nicest, greenest yard on the block one summer.  We won’t focus on how it turned out–especially since it barely rained that summer and I depended solely on rain to water my yard.

Regardless, that spring I went out and bought a decent sized bag of fertilizer and a handheld spreader.

I cranked, and cranked, and cranked, and cranked while I spread the fertilizer all over my yard.

I thought my arm was going to fall off, but I felt accomplished because I could tell where I had applied that fertilizer.

You could actually see the little white granules covering the ground.

Little white pieces of evidence.

Little white pieces of evidence.

Fast forward to 2015 and Adam has been pretty much doing the same thing except at a much, much larger scale.

He’s been busy spreading urea (dry nitrogen fertilizer) to some of the wheat fields during this first week of 2015.

Generally the guys like to apply urea to the fields in December, BUT it was too wet this year.

Spreading 5 tons of urea at 10 miles per hour.

Spreading 5 tons of urea at 10 miles per hour.

So January it is!

I had a little boy refusing to take a nap yesterday, so I strapped him in his carseat and set off to see what Adam was up to.

I couldn’t help but imagine how muscular my arms would be if I used that handheld spreader to broadcast the urea on the area Adam was covering.

No, wait.  That’s crazy talk!

Adam was using a spreader that holds five tons of fertilizer.

FIVE TONS!

It has all kinds of interesting functions that I don’t fully understand but gets farmers really excited.

And it requires none of my muscles, which makes me excited!

One of the functions that I do understand is that it has a variable rate dry spreader.

Basically, you can punch in some numbers which will increase or decrease the amount of urea that is spread over an area based on soil tests.

So, the areas that need more urea get more, and the areas that need less get less.

Isn’t technology wonderful?!?

You can also punch in a number and the spreader will apply a blanket application.

That’s what’s being done here.

THE Spreader

So while Adam cruised up and down this wheat field at 10 mph, the amount of urea was evenly applied.

Take a look at the aerial footage of how this all works…

We’re hoping it’ll now snow so the urea will get wet, dissolve, and work its way into the soil.

Once it’s in the soil, this will get to the roots of the wheat plants that are just hanging out in the fields during this time of the year.

It's on the ground, now it just needs some moisture to get it moving into the soil.

It’s on the ground, now it just needs some moisture to get it moving into the soil.

When the wheat comes out of dormancy and starts greening up in March, the fertilizer is in the root zone, and the wheat can grow big and strong.

The variable is that we need moisture to make all of that magic happen.

And if we’re going to get moisture, it might as well be snow.

And if it’s going to snow, it might as well REALLY snow!

Here’s to a lot of snow this next week!

For the sole sake of the soil and wheat, of course :)

Three Months Later…

Unless you follow me on Twitter or the blog’s Facebook page, August 22nd was the last time you heard from me.  We had started picking corn.  It would be the beginning of a long fall harvest season.

Fast forward three months and we have completed our 2014 fall harvest.

Hallelujah!

These last three months we’ve picked dryland and irrigated corn, harvested soybeans, hosted visitors, cut the grain sorghum, and sown the 2015 crop of wheat.

The final night of our fall harvest, before it began to snow.

The final night of our fall harvest, before it began to snow.

School had just begun when I last posted, and now we have just a few short weeks until our Christmas break.

The weather has gone from summer temperatures to snow falling on the ground.

Banks and I have delivered meals to the fields, graded essays, taken rides in the combines, attended football games, practiced the art of riding a bike, and shot a lot of photos and videos.

We also ran through bean rows on occasion.

We also ran through bean rows on occasion.

Some of those activities can be found online.

You see, I’ve taken to micro-blogging these last three months.

If you do have Facebook, feel free to “like” the blog’s page.  It’s been a way for me to post pictures and short explanations of what’s been going on at Baldwin Farms while I’ve been juggling work, a busy toddler, and wife duties.

Harvesting the soybeans on a crisp fall day.

Harvesting the soybeans on a crisp fall day.

As the temperatures continue to cool down, we’ll be spending more time inside.

More time inside should allow me to get back on the blog wagon.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving!

Corn Harvest 2014

Where did the summer go?  It seems as if wheat harvest just got done.  Oh, wait.  It did!

Adam texted me yesterday letting me know he was going to try and cut some of our dryland corn.  After school got out, Banks and I headed to the field.  The corn was ready to be harvested, so Banks and I hitched a ride in the combine and rode with Adam for a little while.

I took my camera with me, but ended up just shooting using my iPhone.  I also edited the video on my phone.  It actually took longer to upload the finished video to YouTube than it did to shoot and edit it!!

So, here’s 65 seconds of our first day of the 2014 corn harvest.  Enjoy!

The 2014 Wheat Harvest for Baldwin Farms is officially underway!

Between mechanical issues, unripe wheat, rain, and wet fields, there were moments when I wondered if we’d ever see harvest this year.

IT. IS. HERE.

Wheat Harvest 2014

Wheat Harvest 2014

A lot of folks decided to join in my anticipation of harvest by playing a little guessing game.

The rules were simple:  The closest guess (date and time) as to when our wheat harvest would start would get some Kansas goodies sent their way.

We’d use the ticket from the elevator as the official timestamp for the game.

Well…we took our first load of wheat to the elevator.

So…we have a winner!

guess winner

And the results are in…

It's not pretty, but this was the first load of the 2014 wheat harvest.

It’s not pretty, but this was the first load of the 2014 wheat harvest.

You’ll notice that on June 24th at 14:57 (2:57 PM) we weighed in our load.

At 15:01 (3:01 PM) on June 24th we weighed out.

There were FOUR people who guessed that our harvest would start on June 24th.

  • Nicole Small guessed 4:56 PM.
  • Sonja Towes guessed 4:00 PM.
  • Kyle Leaf guessed 3:17 PM.
  • Christine Cawood guessed 2:47 PM.

WOW!!

Congratulations ALL four of you on your awesome guesses.

I’ll be in contact with all FOUR of you to get some Kansas goodies–including Kansas wheat products–sent your way.

Thanks for participating.

If you weren’t close this time, be sure to subscribe to Alive & Well in Kansas and be sure to “like” the Alive & Well in Kansas Facebook page.

I have a feeling you’ll have other opportunities to try again for some great Kansas products to be sent your way this summer.

Hint, Hint

Besides, I’ll be bringing you updates from our 2014 wheat harvest.

And who doesn’t like updates from wheat harvest?!?

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guessing Games

It’s a guessing game…

Wheat Harvest 2014

Wheat Harvest 2014

The 2014 wheat harvest has entered McPherson County, Kansas.

heydude1

Combines are running in fields around the Inman area and the harvest continues to slowly move north.

In fact, there were combines running just a few miles south of us yesterday afternoon.

HEYDUDE2

Our combines have yet to enter the fields to begin our harvest, let alone run any test cuts.

When will our harvest begin, you might ask??

Well, harvest is in our immediate future, but your guess is as good as mine!

HEYDUDE3

That’s why I’d like you join me in the great guessing game that takes place every summer leading up to wheat harvest.

Here’s how to play…

  • Leave your guess–including the date and time– when you think we will deliver our first load of the 2014 wheat harvest to the elevator.
  • You can leave your guess in the comments below OR go to the Alive & Well in Kansas Facebook page and leave your guess there.
  • One entry person person, but feel free to share with your friends :)
  • We’ll use the ticket we receive at the elevator as the official timestamp.
  • The winner will get some yummy Kansas goodies (including products made from wheat) mailed to them.

Be sure to “like”  the Alive & Well in Kansas Facebook page  to stay up-to-date on the 2014 wheat harvest at Baldwin Farms and to see if you have the best guess.

-Kim

 

 

Wheat Harvest Anticipation

It’s getting closer and closer to the 2014 wheat harvest for everyone in our area.

As we anticipate the beginning of our 2014 wheat harvest here at Baldwin Farms, here’s a little video I created  to help get you ready for our harvest as well.

Think of it as a pre-game warm up :) .

 

The Kansas wind has been blowing these last few days, which is helping dry out everything from the wheat to the soil.

There are reports that the combines are beginning to fire up south of us, and local elevators are reporting that farmers are beginning to bring in wheat samples to test moisture percentages.

Last year I wrote about why we have to patiently wait until the conditions are just right to begin harvesting our wheat and why it’s important to run test cuts and take wheat samples in to get tested.  You can read more about it by clicking here.

While we’re waiting, the guys have been doing maintenance work on the machines to prepare for harvest.  We’ve also been busy in the kitchen baking cookies and other sweet treats to deliver to our crew once they begin cutting.

Wheat harvest is one of my most favorite times of the year.

Luckily, since school is out by the time harvest begins, I get to experience wheat harvest in all its glory!

To me, it’s an extended holiday.

Family and friends come home to help.  Some take vacation days.

Multiple generations spend time together working toward a common goal of getting the crop in.

There’s stress like summer storms that threaten the process.

There’s great anticipation as we complete a cycle that we began the previous fall.

And there’s a real sense of community.

Everyone is focussed on the same thing and everyone has a job and responsibility to help make this process run as smoothly as possible.

Be sure to subscribe to Alive & Well in Kansas to get the latest on what’s going on here at the farm this summer–including the latest from harvest.

subscribe

 

We’ve also created a Facebook page that you can “like” to follow the latest updates from the farm.

Be sure to "like" the page for updates

Be sure to “like” the page for updates

 

Feel free to join us as we prepare for harvest!

-Kim

 

closeup

Aside from wheat, our farm produces corn, soybeans, and grain sorghum.  Grain Sorghum–also known as milo– is harvested in the fall.  I don’t generally take a lot of pictures of this harvest because I try to stay away.  You see, milo is itchy.  Very, very, very itchy!

Just a few more rows to go!

Just a few more rows to go!

Kansas is the top producing grain sorghum state in the country.  It is a cereal grain known as the “camel of crops” due to its heat and drought tolerance.  In Asia and Africa, grain sorghum is used for human food consumption.  In the U.S., however, it has generally been used as livestock feed and is increasingly being used in ethanol plants.

As I was driving home from school this year I caught a nice little segment on NPR about a “revival” of sorts concerning the growing importance of  grain sorghum and how farmers are including this “ancient grain” in crop rotations due to the fact it requires less water.  The story also discussed how there is a rapidly increasing market for this grain for American food consumption because grain sorghum is gluten free.

Nu Life Market, based in Scott City, Kansas, is helping get this grain to the tables of American consumers.  Their facilities mill grain sorghum and package products including Sorghum Bran, Whole Grain and Pearled Grain Sorghum Flour, and Pearled Sorghum.

Since the Whole Grains Council has identified Sorghum as the June Grain of the Month, I thought I’d give it try.

I used a recipe that Nu Life Market has on their website for a Pearled Sorghum Strawberry Salad–although I made a few minor adjustments.

The results were positive–even a teenager liked it!  With that being said, I’m adding this to my rotation of summer salads.

ingredients

Pearled Sorghum, Spinach & Strawberry Salad

  • 1 cup White Pearled Sorghum Grain (from Nu Life Market)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Water
  • 6 cups of Fresh Spinach Leaves (I used a 10 oz. container of spinach)
  • 2 cups of Strawberries (Not going to lie, I used the whole 16 oz. container–I have no regrets!!)
  • 1/4 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of Honey (Blaze Fork Honey–straight from McPherson County, Kansas)
  • 1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of Sunflower Kernels 

The Run-Down

Add 1 cup of the pearled sorghum to 1½ cups water.  Cover, and bring to a boil.  

Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, remove the lid and allow excess water to evaporate off while cooking for another 5  minutes. 

When the kernels are soft and fully cooked, remove from heat and mix in 1 tsp of olive oil to cooked sorghum kernels.  Cover and place to the side until your salad is prepared.

To make the dressing, chop ¼ cup of strawberries (approximately 3-4 large strawberries) into small pieces.  Add the ¼ cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, pepper and chopped strawberries into a small bowl and whisk.

Slice the remainder of the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the spinach leaves, sunflower kernels, pearled sorghum and dressing.

Serve immediately.

finished

The recipe said it makes 4 servings.  I think I could have fed 6-8 people with the amount of salad we had.

I served the salad with grilled chicken breasts that were sprinkled with garlic salt while they grilled.

Adam serves on the United Sorghum Checkoff Program board and has come home from many meetings with some interesting recipes.  This summer I plan to try some of them out and share them with you.

If you’re looking for a simple, yet “different” salad this summer, you might give this recipe a try!

Enjoy!

 

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