Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I remember sitting in a farm conference earlier this year wherein, Secretary of Ag, Tom Vilsack was speaking and part of his message was that America's values were built on the integrity and work ethic from the farm folks.  He also mentioned that a large portion of the today's military was comprised of rural Americans.  Sitting there I also recalled a family friend who told the story of his uncle, a high ranking general who was also raised on a farm in Idaho. The general said his ability to rise through the ranks in the military was largely because anytime he had an important mission or project, he would seek out farm boys as he knew their work ethic and resourcefulness would get the job done and done right. 

Today Joe and I are off to Craigmont, a small farming community about an hour South of us to attend a Veterans Memorial dedication, this memorial is made out of concrete and honors the five branches of the military.  What is extraordinary about this is that it was the brainchild of a farmer friend's step-son, Kameron, who is doing this as his high school senior project.  So through the young lad's hard work and vision, he has created a lasting memorial to our Veterans.

 So today my friends, stop what you are doing and reflect upon those who have and are serving our country and say thank you.

Later after attending the dedication, here are some photos of this amazing memorial.  Pictured below is  Kameron with his mom, Sheila and step-dad Eric.

Here is a side view of the 5 separate concrete structures depicting the 5 branches of the military.

Here standing in front of monuments shows a star pattern as each structure has a granite inlay.

U.S. Representative Walt Minnick came to speak at the dedication ceremony and like he said, if today's youth are anything like Kameron, our country is in good hands.  Shown below from left to right is Eric, Kameron, Walt Minnick,  Craigmont Mayor Riggers, his wife and Sheila.

The memorial was well attended and very moving.  It showed that the vision of one person along with the help of countless people and donations from businesses could come together to create a wonderful tribute to those who have served our country.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Road signs to educate

Some of our farm ground is right along one of the main highways in Idaho and of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of cars and trucks travel along it everyday.   Often times we would get questions from people asking what is growing out there?  So to respond,signs were built that are put out in the fields thereby allowing  drivers to see what crop is growing in a quick glance.  This is my husband, Joe, installing the signs in the wheat fields.  This is just one more way to bring what we do to the eye of the public.   I've started a diary of our wheat and garbanzo crops, so check out that page from time to time to see what the stages of the crops are.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Maintenance on the Farm

After the crops get into the ground it seems like there is always lots to do or keep up on the farm.  Here we are moving a tank that we purchased for fertilizer storage.  We had to rent a mobile crane to load it.
In this picture we are  unloading it in it's new home by the farm shop.  We can save money by purchasing fertilizer in bulk.

In these pictures are high school students from the football team working to raise money for their football camp they want to attend.  The boys are picking up rocks out of the field which is a newly seeded lentil field.  Some of our fields   have rocks that get pushed up from the freezing and thawing of the ground.  So come harvest time you do not want the header on the combine to also pick up the rocks as it can damage the equipment. As the lentils grow low to the ground there is more chance of the header coming into contact with rocks - so local kids will hire themselves out for this not so fun but necessary job. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Helping the Neighbor

Shown above is Joe in his tractor on a side hill.   The recent rainy weeks have kept many of the other farmers out of their fields.  While we finished seeding before the rain, many did not and it's critical in getting the crops in the fields.  So Joe is helping out a neighbor to get his soft white wheat in the field. 
This is what a freshly seeded field looks like when you plant it with a special "no till drill"implement.  Notice the wheat straw from last years harvest, the wheat stubble will help catch rain water as well help reduce erosion  when it does rain and the stubble also helps keep moisture in the ground for the crops (think of using compost material in your gardens to reduce weeds and lock in moisture) but only a much larger scale.  Plus by not plowing in the fall and by seeding directly into last year's stubble, it saves fossil fuel and is better for the soil health. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An Upcoming Visit with the Japan Trade Team

It's official, the Japan Trade Team is coming to the Palouse and our farm next month!  This is exciting news. In visiting with Theresa from the Idaho Wheat Commission, my first response was great! Then I asked, what do I feed them and how many are coming?   The guests are 5 men who range from being the director of the U.S. Wheat Associates to managers from various flour mills in Japan.   Theresa's ever calming presence assured me they will eat whatever I prepare, but did offer some suggestions. They like red meat as it is very expensive in their home country and considered a rare treat.  So the menu will consist of good quality USA steaks, most likely potato salad as well as other local items produced on the Palouse.  Their visit  will be very short and packed with lots of activity such as visiting the Lewis/Clark grain terminal, the WSU Wheat labs,  the UI greenhouse & seed processing plant, the Palouse Northwest Farmers Coop (in Genesee) then onto our farm.  They will be ready for a cold beer and dinner after all that.  

By inviting those who use our products is not just a good business practice, but  a way to allow them to see first hand where their wheat comes from and who grows it.  They actually get to see "farm to processing" so they can be assured what we send them is the best product for their noodles, crackers, etc.   Visits like these allow time for questions, discussions as well as developing a special rapport with our buyers.

Most likely we will invite a couple of other wheat growers to dinner so the trade team can ask us all sorts of questions. I will definitely get lots of pictures to post.

Meanwhile,  farming is at a standstill for now due to crazy weather.  Yesterday we had 50 mph winds, today it was still windy but not nearly the extent of yesterday plus it's snowing... yuck.  No spraying for weeds today and we will see what tomorrow brings- although the forecast is for rain. So the guys check fields on both farms to see what is needed in the way of tending the crops and will have a plan of action when "Mother Nature" gives them the go ahead to get back in the field.