September 30, 2008 – Dried Soybeans

Here’s a shot for all of you who always wondered what a soybean plant looks like right before harvest.

This field is ready to harvest.  You can see each pod contains about 3 beans and each plant has multiple pods.  These are not the edible soybeans more commonly known as edamame, nor are they specialty beans destined for tofu, but soybeans that will probably be used for oilseed production or animal feed.

one year ago…”Turkeys and a Storm”.

September 29, 2008 – Corn and Bean Harvest

Most of the neighboring farmers are out in force now harvesting soybeans.  The corn was planted very late and is not yet dried down.

The scale of today’s commodity agriculture is exemplified in this photo – a modern tractor and wagon to transport the beans to the elevator can l no longer fit in the barn built around the turn of the century – the doors are neither tall nor wide enough to accommodate this equipment.

one year ago…”More Folks Poking Around the Farm”.

September 28, 2008 – Octemberfest Parade

This is the obligatory town celebration weekend of the year for Marshalltown, called “Octemberfest.”

Here the drum major of the Bobcat marching band leads them town main street.

Have you ever soon a better group of tubas?

The clarinet section leader keeps the players in line!

Emma’s school at West Marshall recently revived their marching band and participated this year.

Emma and some other 8th graders walk behind the high school band – their official title “Band Aids” and their job was to help load equipment etc.

one year ago…”Duct Tape Homecoming Dress”.

September 27, 2008 – Harvest Table

A few weeks ago a school tour came and I neglected to show the “harvest table” that shows some of the goods and products harvested from our farm.

This table, set September 14, shows apples, onions, potatoes, raspberries, blackberries, garlic, tomatoes, beans, shiitake mushrooms, eggs, watermelon, lambskin, peppers, flower bouquet, and a bunch of canned goods.  We are ready for winter!

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #89″.

September 26, 2008 – Stainless Steel Milk Cans

I was in Marshalltown shuttling kids and had about 45 minutes to kill, so I stopped in at a couple of garage sales.

I found these stainless steel milk jugs shoved under a table of clothes.  I didn’t hesitate too long before buying them for 5 bucks each.  When I got home and did a search on Ebay I found one that still had a day left on the auction and was already up to $77.00.  I’ll have to decide if I can really use them or list them for sale next spring.

one year ago…”Family Homecoming Royalty”.

September 24, 2008 – New Wind Farm in Neighborhood

About 20 miles form us a 150 MW wind farm is being constructed.  It is about halfway between our farm and Ames. It will contain 100 towers when completed and power 30,000 homes.

I liked this shot of the the old and new – the Sherman County one-room school house and a few of the new turbines.

These machines are massive next to ours – the towers are 260 feet tall and each blade is 125 feet long (compared to our 70 foot tower).  The generator weighs 100,000 pounds.  The interesting thing about this wind farm located in the middle of Iowa is that it is constructed and owned by Florida Light and Power!  From what I’ve read, the construction costs are about equal to a coal power plant, but once they are up, no charge for fuel for the lifetime of the turbines.

one year ago…”Hops Harvest”.

September 22, 2008 – Apple Peeling, 2008 Style

The latest round of apple-peeling was assigned to the girls and they approached it 2008 style.

They dragged out an extension cord, a clock radio that has an IPod docking station and an IPod player to help pass the time.  I much prefer the IPod in the docking station to the earbuds, even if that means I can hear music that I might not have picked.  Got to keep the help happy, productive, and talking to each other!

one year ago…”Marshall County Sheriff “takes out” Martin”.

September 21, 2008 – Monarch Bed and Breakfast

We’ve had healthy south winds the past few days, which has made the migration to Mexico difficult for the butterflies.

So, they wait patiently on the lee side of the windbreak trees I planted many years ago.  I never intended the trees to be used in such a manner, but I’m pleased they are.

They’re not picky about the kind of shelter – here they are also in a maple tree.  It’s a nice sheltered place for them, and along with the resting accommodations, the nearby flower garden provides some food while they patiently wait for the wind to switch.  We’ve been pleased to be hosts to this Monarch bed and breakfast for hundreds of butterflies the last few days.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #88″.

September 20, 2008 – Claire’s Birthday Event

For her birthday event, Claire chose to take a friend to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market, spend some time in the East Village, and eat out for lunch.

Here the day’s quirky food finds are displayed – elk jerky and caramel apple popcorn.

This fellow had a nice job – roasting peppers over a flame – they smelled delicious, but at 10:00 am, I wasn’t ready to bite.  We bought some t-shirts at Smash (I’ll display those later) and ate lunch at the Olympic Flame.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #88″.

September 19, 2008 – Emma’s Birthday Event

Both the young ladies in our family celebrated birthdays this week.  Emma’s choice of a party is encapsulated below.

Good friends, a fire in the chimenia, a tent to sleep in all together, and a long night of fire watching and talking.  A bonus was the new mini-horse cart that the girls got for their birthday, along with the harness tack.  They had fun pulling each other around, to heck with the horse!

one year ago…”Banquet Flowers”.

September 17, 2008 – Apples, Apples Everywhere

The wet spring produced a bumper apple crop.  We’re relatively absent orchardists as far as spraying goes, so besides some dormant oil in the spring and being fanatical about picking up the deadfalls to feed the animals, our apples for the most part are not things of beauty.

But we get enough to eat, and preserve.  This year we’ve made raspberry applesauce, peach applesauce, blackberry applesauce, and apple applesauce.

Since the freezers are full, we don’t have much room for frozen apples for winter pies, so I tried canning apple pie filling.  It required a type of ingredient that isn’t readily available, something called Clear Jel A, a type of starch that holds up under the processing time in the boiling water canner.  The finished jars look wonderful!  Linda mentioned that someone at work wanted to buy one – my answer was – he couldn’t pay me enough to part with one of the seven jars!  Depending on how the time goes, I’d like to make some more.

one year ago…”Turkey Roosting”.