Thursday, November 6, 2014

I believed the anti factory farm and anti-GMO popular opinion

I have a confession to make. I used to believe the anti-factory farm, anti-gmo, popular opinion. We should all eat local, organic, and all natural. Big business doesn't care and subsequently the really big farms are in it just for the money. I can understand as a society why we all believe this. We are isolated and disconnected from each other. Every day we get messages we are alone in this big mass of humanity.  Politicians are obviously out for power and money, and banks helped create this economic mess we are all struggling through. Even rush hour traffic gives us another example of how everyone cares for themselves and won't even let you merge. We feel we have to defend ourselves from this uncaring world. As parents, food quickly becomes our priority. We are trying to do the best for our families. So when information about antibiotics in our meat and pesticides on our produce is the hot topic, we become fearful and protective. We have to protect our family and our children because no one else will.

So how did my opinion change? How did I become an agvocate? It was actually because of an anti-milk meme I seen on Facebook. The one that claims pus is in milk we buy at the store. How shocking and disgusting! Then I had the small thought, is that really true. So I did a search, and came across a Facebook dairy page that disputed that claim clearly, concisely, and with evidence. I was impressed. I started to follow that page and several other farming pages. When some ridiculous meme crossed my page, I started to research its validity rather than have the knee jerk reaction of instant belief and shock. I found out something amazing. Farmers care! Really! They are just like me. They care about their families. They care about their land. They care about their animals. I also discovered that size doesn't matter. Whether they have a few acres and a few animals or would be considered factory farms, they provide the best care possible. I finally figured out that farmers don't sacrifice all their time and energy just for money. I don't believe anyone could work in the conditions farmers and ranchers do everyday, unless they loved it!

I want to thank all the farmers for their work and all the agvocates for showing me they care. In this world, it means a lot to find out I am not the only one that cares.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Farmer laundry

I am home this morning since it is too frozen to harrow and I am spending my time catching up on laundry. I laugh at laundry commercials where they are touting bright whites and keeping colors new. Farmer laundry has different goals and problems.

The first important step is sorting. I do not wash my farmer laundry with the regular dirty laundry. That would contaminate regular clothes with potential poo, grease, oil, diesel stains. Then there is just dirty or really really dirty. I usually don't bother sorting colors and white when washing my work clothes. They are all nearly the same color, dirty.

Farmers pockets may contain, nut, bolts, cotter keys, grease rags, grain, hay, and other potential hazards for the washer and dryer. Plus I may need that tractor key the next day. ;-) I usually empty pockets and then check them again.

Then comes the stain pretreat, and of course we buy the gallon size stain remover. This is liberally applied on the worst spots with hope they will be at least somewhat cleaner when laundry is done. Some laundry is so bad, its pretreated and left outside for a couple of days in the rain. One time my husband suggested burying a jacket that was accidentally doused in diesel, because that is what his mother/grandmother would do. I read a farmer's wife blog where she just tossed anything her husband ruined with fuel or grease (that would show him) Good work clothes are expensive. What a waste! Accidents happen, equipment is dirty, it is part of farming!

Farm clothes always require the heavy duty cycle on the washing machine. Sometimes an extra wash may be required. When it comes out of the machine, if it still has a fuel or grease smell, I will air dry it. If it is still stained but doesn't smell, its good enough for me. Most assuredly, my "clean" clothes will have dirt, grease, or oil on them after 5.2 seconds of work. Why stress about bright whites. Farming life is dirty!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Where did your sense of humor go?

I admittedly am the type of person that cracks a joke at adversity. Sometimes its better to laugh about something than cry. I also tend to be a bit self deprecating. My husband has the huge ego in my family. One is really enough. I find it interesting when people take offense at things that have nothing to do with them. If I post a picture of a big tractor, I am not attacking small farms. If I make fun of my job, I am not making fun of farmers in general. I am sharing my experience and my point of view. If you don't understand something, please ask and I would be more than willing to explain. If you disagree, great. The world would be incredibly boring if we were all the same. Please remember to be respectful. Behind every internet page, website, and blog, there is a real person, living in the real world.

Farming is a lot of long boring work (sometimes interspersed with a few seconds of terror.) ;-)  If the brain isn't entertained, its easy to go crazy out there. So I create silly pictures and post them on Facebook, and hopefully I can entertain someone else going crazy working on their farm. Live, laugh, and farm!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

John Deere class

Yesterday I had class at the local John Deere dealer. They provide classes for free on the latest technology, but also throw in a few videos about products they hope you can't live without. ;-)  I do not attend these classes because I don't already know how to do my job. I attend because the technology is always changing! I am the person on the farm that makes sure all the GPS units, the monitors, and the software is up to date. I also collect all the data from the tractors and combines and print reports for my boss. Every year the data is put to more important uses.

I attended three classes and didn't learn a lot that was new, but they answered a few of my questions and I did learn a few helpful tidbits. I downloaded the latest updates and now it is time to program the cards for the spring field work. The tractors are still hibernating for the winter in a shop, but I will be ready when they come out.

While farming is easier than it has ever been, if you don't keep up with the technology you are going to be lost. I skipped one class last year and learned that the hard way!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

public blasting, wow

I realized when I decided to put my life on a public forum that I would be a target for crtitcism. This morning I got my first real dose of that. On one of my pictures, someone said I was a slap in the face to real farmers because real farmers are 24/7 365. I am actually just sad for this person. They must be under a lot of stress and lashed out as someone they don't know. This person doesn't know the sacrifices my family and I have made for this farm. We have lived here for twenty two years. I have survived blizzards and dust storms. I have seen animals born and die. I have worked more hours in a day than I thought possible, went to bed and did it again the next day. My husband and I are a farming team, and everything we do revolves around the farm.

I didn't want to be serious on my tractor page. I wanted to make funny pictures and laugh about something that I love, but still struggle with. I wanted to remind myself why I love it. No matter how you chop it up, farming is hard. Whether it is a wheat farm, a dairy farm, an orchard, or any other type farm big or small, we all need to support each other. We share a common struggle to raise food for a populace that doesn't appreciate hard dirty work. Lets not make this a war about which farmer works harder. It reminds me of the mommy wars. Instead of supporting other women, we are tearing them down.

I am a part time, poser farmer. I don't own the farm. I just work here. I don't own the equipment, I just play with it. I don't receive any difference in wages depending on the outcome of the crop. I could just be a worker. I could work the minimum hours and put out the minimum work. I work long hours, drive through lunch, and give up weekends and off time, because that is what is required to do it right. When my kids come home from college to visit, they visit me on my tractor. I am not a farmer, but tractors fill my days 9 months of the year and in my dreams every night. I don't farm because I have to, I farm because I care.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cultiweeder photo essay

The cultiweeder was scheduled to go to Waterville for some work.

I am headed out to hook up the cultiweeder.

The cultiweeder takes up some roadway

Unfolding the cultiweeder
Unfolded. I took all the drivelines off so Barnes can convert it to hydraulic drive.
Randy drove to Waterville with the machine and Jessi and I flagged. He had to take a back road to get to highway 2 due to road restrictions.

Nice day to take it over with plowed roads and no fog. Blew an implement tire as we pulled into Waterville but still a success. :-)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blog start

After having a Facebook page Tractor Jen for a while, I have come to the conclusion that a blog would be a nice addition. Facebook is great for sharing photos and quick status updates, but some things would be better explained in detail and not be lost in the sea of Facebook posts.
I love farming and love sharing it with others, but farmers are busy and there might be absences. Stick with me though and I will show you a farming good time.