Harvest Time


July 27, 2017

I got to take a ride in my truck yesterday. My buddy drove, as I am still not allowed. I got to see a lot from the passenger seat. We drove through northeast Ohio and wound up at my Amish buddy’s house. They are getting the oats all ready to harvest. The binder in the photo has been cleaned and is ready to be stored for the year. Looking through the binder, you can see the neat rows of oat shocks, drying in the sun.

My friend told me that he had just finished binding the oats when a gang of boys and young men showed up. The group consisted of his sons and sons-in-law, a few nephews and a few of their friends. The boys made short work of shocking the grain. They went around the field picking up bundles and building the little shocks in an almost competition style. In a little over two hours, the whole field was done.

I have built shocks before. It is a fun job when you have enough help. Each shock contains 7 bundles. If four men are available, it works perfect. The first three guys pick up a bundle in each hand. The first guy sets his bundles on the ground, oat heads up in teepee fashion. The second guy puts his bundles right in line with the first two bundles. The third guy does the same thing. So now you have two parallel rows of three bundles leaning against each other. The fourth guy takes one bundle, flares out both ends of the bundle and pulls it against his belly making a cap. This cap sits on top of the teepee shedding water and allowing the wind to dry the ripening shock.

The above process is continued until all the bundles have been picked up. The more people you have to help, the quicker the job goes. It is actually fun. Cold drinks or ice cream shared by all adds a nice finishing touch to the job of shocking. Soon the shocks will be loaded onto wagons and taken to the threshing machine. The grain is separated from the straw. This is a big job requiring many hands, but it is a busy, dirty, hot, sweaty wonderful job!


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


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.


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.


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!

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


These are not tin soldiers
April 1, 2014, 9:03 pm
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Connie's canning day

Connie’s canning day

April 1, 2014

Today was an awesome day. We gathered and boiled everything the trees had to offer. My dear wife joined me in the sugarhouse to can our fine maple syrup. We did lots of small containers today. I don’t know just how many, but I do know there were over 100 half pints. Those little, tedious suckers, needed a woman’s touch…and patience!

The weather and my work schedule is telling me that the end is near. So we will be all done by the end of the week. It has been an interesting season, to say the least. The severe cold temperatures in February and into March, kept the sap locked up in the trees. The season broke finally and we were off and running. I guess I was the sap around here 😮

We had a very good season. The syrup is yummy and the amount given by our trees was generous. There is still a gallon or two to be made, but we hit our goal yesterday and flew by it today. The first harvest of 2014 was a giant success.

The Harvest is Complete
November 28, 2013, 6:24 pm
Filed under: November 2013 | Tags: , ,
Resting through winter

Resting through winter

November 28, 2013

   The harvest is complete. The cows and sows have gleaned the corn off this field. The field now rests until spring. We celebrate Thanksgiving enjoying the fruits of our labor. A meal shared by family and friends is a great way to celebrate the harvest!

   On this farm, we think outside of the box. I try to keep my options open and my ideas fresh. I am wise enough to not reinvent the wheel, but rather, search out the old methods of farming and use them for my own good.

   Using animals to harvest crops, especially corn, has been done for decades. I used it this year due to the pitiful crop that grew in spite of the weather and weed pressure. The animals fed themselves for six weeks. They will spend winter on this field to deposit their manure, eat a little more fodder and get excercise.

   The sows will share in this field once their babies are weaned. They will root around in the soil with the boar. Breeding will take place and the cycle will repeat itself. Spring will come and the field will be pushed into service, gestating sows will pasture in a different field and next year’s crop will grow.