Wednesday, November 9, 2016
With the crops out of the field and Mom back living to living her normal life on the farm, we paused to celebrate by taking the weekend off and then got right back into the tractors to do the dirt work. We prefer to do much of our dirt work in the fall to help aid in decomposition of the organic matter over winter and also it allows the fields to dry out quicker in the spring. In our areas, wet early springs are common and thus this is necessary. On the ground where we just harvested corn, we like to run over it with a chisel plow on the flat parts to cut through the trash on top and stir in all that great organic matter which will slowly decompose over winter. The picture above is one I took while doing just that. On any ground that is sloped, we use another tillage tool that is more minimalist in approach to prevent erosion from the spring melting. It leaves more trash on top to hold the soil which means it does dry out slower but being that the ground is sloped, it dries out about the same speed as the flat ground. For the soybean ground, we generally leave it untouched until spring since there isn't as much residue on top like in a corn field. I did run the chisel plow around the outsides of a few fields that were slightly wet when we took the crop out and where the heavy wagons of grain and combines did a lot of driving and thus compacting the soil. Doing that loosens up the soil again and providing a great base for next springs planting. It took us about a week but with three tractors going, we got the ground all worked until next spring and my farming career is now at an end for the year. I'm ready to recuperate by catching up on all those household things that have fallen behind!
One other task that we did along with the dirt work was to rescue this year's popcorn crop. We plant it in the fields along with our sweetcorn believing that in order to get a good crop of the latter, one must plant more than the local coon population can eat. We plant the popcorn every two or three years as needed and generally it grows well in our climate. We built this mini-corn crib several years ago to store our crop until it dries a bit and we can get it shelled. The crib is eight feet long, two feet deep and five feet tall to give you a sense of how much popcorn is in it. We have an antique popcorn sheller that we use to shell all that popcorn and then store it in five gallon jugs in the basement until needed. As you can probably guess, we go through a lot of popcorn in our household.