Friday, August 23, 2013

The Green Behemoth

Andy's been working on the big old combine for the last two weeks replacing bearings, belts, chains, hoses, tines, fluids, dials...... let's just say that the darn thing ought to perform heroically out of gratitude.  It's kind of like Black Beauty - had a great first owner, then successively worse ones, then found a good home again in old age.  Let's hope it doesn't die of happiness.

Yesterday's humidity was blown away by the cold front that passed through and today promised to be sunny and dry.  Time to start on the oat field.  (And not have to wait on someone else's schedule - woot!)

Since the oats are down the road I followed the combine with my flashers on in case some idiot came roaring behind us just as we were dropping over the knoll.  At least the warning lights would give everyone a fighting chance.

The combine takes up a fair chunk of the road and lumbering along at a sedate eight miles an hour can't exactly dodge out of the way of fast moving problems.

Happily, we encountered no one.  Once in the field there was nothing to do but put the head down and try.

For the most part things worked fairly well.  If you don't count the fact that you still have to pull the emergency brake to stop it, or that you have to jump the battery from the truck if it's turned off in the field, or that the bars to adjust the tolerances between the threshing fingers are jammed with rocks, or that the tachometer stopped working..... stuff like that.  Those are things that are going to take more than a few days to fix, and the oats are ready NOW.  In fact, they are down to an impressive 8-11% moisture, so we know they'll keep in the bin just fine.

So two rounds of the field fill the combine hopper.........

And then it's pulled alongside the gravity wagon and augered into that.

Next year will be more productive.  The oats are light due to dryness at the wrong times and without the combine innards being able to be optimally adjusted there are oats left on the straw.  Still, there will be about three full gravity wagons of oats to then be run into the metal grain bin plus nice straw to bale for bedding.  Good eats for the sheeps! 
And while we were doing that, our nearest neighbors were having a small field of hay harvested by some Amish folks.  I certainly didn't do the scene justice - didn't want to offend the tiny youngster driving the team that pulled a hay rake by shoving the camera out the window at him - but it illustrates a kinship among all types of farmers......when the weather's good you get out there and DO stuff!
Here's to more good weather tomorrow!


  1. So were you able to harvest the whole field or did you have to stop? How do you know the moisture content?

    1. He got 2/3 of the field yesterday and was able to finish today. The moisture content of grain can be determined with a moisture meter - it's a neat little device that measures the electrical conductivity of grain. More moisture equals more conductivity. The makers of the device have a chart that details what the readings translate to for every kind of domesticated grain one could grow. Hmmm...maybe I should do a post on that.

  2. I love the look of fresh baled straw. Hope you are able to bale it up for the sheep. This reminds me of the days on the farm as a wee little girl.