Things are winding down in the corn belt. The last of the honey is done, the bees are tucked in for winter. Sister Becky at Dangling Carrot had her last day of picking produce and shut her freezer off a couple days ago. She's now in Iowa visiting sister Molly.
Last Friday, Bridger, baby Eden and I had the pleasure of joining my brother in harvesting his very last few acres of 2014 corn. Justin drove the semi, hauling corn, so we didn't see him much. Grandpa Barnes drove the combine, and Aunt Adrienne drove the grain buggy.
Bridger just loves this. Every night before bed he now requests the "combine song." Somehow every night the song changes depending on my mood, but I always ask, "Was that good, Bridge?"
And he always says, "Yeah, that good."
So I guess I'm doing alright. I think he dreams combines.
What's at the end of the corn field?
Answer: A bean field.
When we lived in the mountains we had scenery but almost no production. (Well... skiing, hiking, running, and biking... production for the soul?)
Here in the flatlands it's all production and no scenery.
But there's more than enough in both places to keep your mind occupied. Just differently.
How am I going to fix that loose bearing?
Wonder what the Grice Rd. field is going to yield?
But not everyone is so riveted by bearings, hydraulic lines and crop yields.
Here comes Aunt Adrienne pulling the grain buggy.
This is all done on the move. Dad says it cuts 30% off the harvest time for a field when a grain buggy is involved.
With a thousand acres or more you want to keep moving.
When I was a kid, and even in high school, everything was small. The hopper on the combine would fill quickly. You would stop, pull out of the row and run to the end of the field to dump in little gravity wagons.
This thing holds about five times the volume of those little wagons:
How's that yield looking, Bridger?
207 bushels an acre in this field.
That's good, because the price of corn is way low.
It seems everybody in the country is yielding over 200.
Supply and demand.
At least this boy will be supplied with cheap corn flakes for another year.
On one end of the corn field we were able to catch a glimpse of Becky slaving away in her organic produce.
Come on, Becky...
Get yourself a combine. Get yourself a semi truck. A little Rush Limbaugh on the radio...
Get with the program!
Becky is about to enter vacation season.
As I said, her last weekend market is over and she has turned off her big walk-in cooler.
And I happen to use that big walk-in for bulk comb honey storage.
Oh boy... better get it cut up:
Most of it became chunk honey, but we still got 40 or 50 decent cut comb sections:
(You can only find these at the markets. Not the groceries. Yet...)
Justin is finishing, Becky is finishing, and yes, we're finishing also.
Here is the last yard I pulled:
In the hills of Holmes County with the sun dropping and NPR's Folk Alley on the radio.
I love Sunday evening.
Tuesday morning Mr. Blair is hard at work extracting and Jayne is about to cut another batch of soap.
What is that black stuff?
Could that be???
Yes, I think it is!
This honey comes from those 40 Amish country hives I blogged about a few months ago. The "Buckwheat Babies" started from early June package bees.
Almost 700 lbs of the dark stuff. These bees far surpassed my expectations.
Good fall season.
Overall, a decent crop of rich goldenrod honey and more importantly, the bees are looking strong and healthy. Fat and happy, heavy and ready to go into a long winter cluster.
Their work is done for the year.
Our work goes on. This afternoon we started into placing mouse guards.
It just never ends for a bee farmer.