RicelandMeadows


Speltz Harvest 2016
July 19, 2016, 11:05 pm
Filed under: July 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

combine2016

July 19, 2016

Today, I completed harvesting our speltz crop for this year. I got enough to feed our four horses for another year. Its like growing your own tractor fuel! The crop was a little light, but we still have enough and that is a very good thing. There is a large amount of straw to be baled. It has been mowed ans is drying in the sun.

Today was a great day. Everything went well. My youngest grandson got to get a view from the driver’s seat.

keagancombine

He likes “Pa-pa’s” big tractors, but also likes the horses and other farm animals. Someday he will be a helper for me too. I love this life and passing it on, thrills me to no end.

calfkeajak

The end to a perfect day. Equipment stored, harvest put away and chores almost done. Tonight, I drink from the saucer… because my cup runneth over!



Gobbling It All Up
July 23, 2015, 9:30 am
Filed under: July 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
The 2015 Spelt Harvest is finished

The 2015 Spelt Harvest is finished

July 23, 2015

My wife snapped this picture as I was making a turn. The header on the combine is raised all the way up. She said it looked like she was about to be gobbled up. I told her no problem, that thing loves to “eat” grain, not people. It worked wonderfully. My speltz, or spelt for some folks, have all been harvested. It is a great feeling. No rain, dry grain, no breakdowns and no accidents!

I have cleaned the combine, oiled and greased her all up for next year. She is 1967 vintage. In other words…still a kid 😮  I want to keep her under cover and well taken care of, so she will still be bringing in my harvest when she is old. I was very fortunate to find this machine. She was well taken care of by her former owner, Frank Mann. I will do my best to follow in his footsteps.

We adjusted the combine by getting “the book” out. I still have the original owner’s manual. She combined my speltz better than any machine I have ever used. She is almost as good as a threshing machine, but she takes a lot more work out of the job. I can see good from my perch up on the seat. I even watched my old cell phone fall in the header and disappear. It was like slow motion. I heard a little “zip” noise and my phone was gone…all except my “Otterbox” cover. It made it through.

Last night at supper, we ate summer squash and zucchini fresh from the garden. I gobbled up two helpings of the great tasting stuff. I mowed the straw from the speltz after supper. The work continues here on the farm as we hit mid-summer, but we are caught up and all is well. It’s a great life, especially if you don’t mind the work!



Rejoicing, Bringing In The Sheaves
July 21, 2015, 11:57 pm
Filed under: July 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Gleaner E...for Excellant

Gleaner E…for Excellent

July 22, 2015

The speltz harvest is finally underway. I got one field done. The yield is good. The machine worked great and I had a good time. We still have about three and a half acres to go. I hope to finish tomorrow. I am not bringing in the sheaves, but the grain is coming in nicely…so I am rejoicing!

I harvest my spelt when they are very ripe. I don’t drop the combine header low enough to gather in a bunch of weeds and grass. I don’t want the green stuff mixed in with the grain. I want the grain to be dry and not heat up from the grass and seed heads that would otherwise mix in. This is my horse’s feed for a year. It needs to be the best that I can grow and harvest.

This grain is the fuel that runs my farm. It provides the energy for the draft horses, who partially power this farm. It’s like growing a fuel pump in my fields 😮  I am very happy with this year’s crop. The rain has gone for now. The fields are dry. I hope to mow the straw and weeds by tomorrow evening. There should be lots of bedding to bale up in a few days. This is an awesome crop for us.

It provides feed, fuel and carbon for our compost in the form of straw. This coming winter when the cold winds howl, our animals will be all snuggled down in a deep bed of straw, warm and comfortable. I am rejoicing now, but they will be rejoicing then! The horses will also benefit from not only this awesome feed, but from the dry, clean bedding as well.

2015 speltz harvest

2015 speltz harvest underway

 



What a Find!
August 13, 2013, 8:52 am
Filed under: August 2013 | Tags: ,
Museum quality Gleaner "E" combine

Museum quality Gleaner “E” combine

August 13, 2013

I am still pinching myself. I can’t believe that I found and bought this small, self-propelled combine. It is a one-owner machine that was taken care of very well. It is 1967 vintage. She has a ten foot grain head and the same engine as a D-17 Allis Chalmers tractor. It was advertized on a sale bill for public auction, I never imagined that I could buy it.

Connie and I went to the sale in the hopes that we might get a chance to buy this machine, but I was very reserved. When we arrived, the machine was being looked over by a fairly large crowd. I saw small farmers of all types, licking their chops and commenting about the incredible shape of this small harvester.

I have seen similar machines sell for over $5,000.00 dollars. That was way beyond my reach due to some other projects on the farm. I got a bit dis-enchanted and almost left the auction, knowing that this small beauty would sell beyond my means. It was the next item to sell, so we stayed to have an idea what a machine of this quality would bring.

The auctioneer started the bidding at $5,000.00…but he went backwards! There was nobody in the crowd intrested in this old machine…just a lot of lookers I guess. We bought the machine for one fifth of what I was sure it was worth. Two men in the crowd were tickled beyond words when the gavel fell. One was me … the other was an old man, the owner of the machine  😮

I am excited to have what will be the last combine of my farming career. It will easily last me twenty years …and who knows if I will. The old man was happy to know that his combine would find new life on our farm and not be sent to the scrap heap. We shook hands and made a new friendship. He shared many stories of his 82 year old life with me, 45 of which, he owned this combine!

I have gone over the machine from top to bottom. There is not one missing bolt, worn belt, bad bearing or defect of any kind. He gave me the original owner’s manual with pen and pencil notes in the margin, from a love affair of over 45 years. I will treasure the manual, almost as much as the machine.

This small combine was the “baby” of the Allis Chalmers combine fleet. It is a dependable machine that has many parts much like the old AC 60 & 66’s that I am used to using. It is funny that I bought a machine that is over 45 years old, and still upgraded by twenty five years !  😮

Another good part to this story is that the Allis Chalmers 66 pull type combine that has harvested my spelt crop for the last five years, found a new home, where it too will be taken care of by a very grateful man. I didn’t want to see it go to the scrap heap either!

Small harvesting equipment is not being manufactured anymore, except for a few Asian companies for rice harvest. Sadly, combines of today are big behemoths that cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range. The headers are thirty feet wide and larger … not practical on many small farms…especially this one, where horse drawn equipment and my time, keep the fields in sizes of three to four acres.

The rain fell again over night washing the hay that I cut this weekend, but I can still smile! Finding an asset like this old combine will do that to a man … Making a friend like Frank Mann, the combine’s old owner … well that is priceless!