Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Day in American Agriculture

Okay..... I couldn't help myself and had to show off the pictures & videos that Cody, our hired man took on the last day of the Anderson Farm garbanzo harvest  so one more last look at garbanzo harvest of 2011.  

 Plus today is designated  "A Day in American Agriculture" 

As it is important to connect with the consumer and share what we do,  I had to post more pic/videos as Cody has some great footage.  Plus take a look at what the old days of farming looked like back when Farmer Joe's grandpa, uncle and his dad farmed.  I was excited to come across some great family photos.  

Farming then and now... 

Old combines in wheat harvest, Joe's dad "Andy" is
driving the 2nd combine. 
 Notice the "open air" combines.... that meant lots of dust and chaff for the driver.  I love the little old truck that was used to haul in the grain to the warehouse (big change from the semi used now!)

L to R, The Anderson's, Joseph (Farmer Joe grandpa), JD ( uncle) &
Andy (Farmer Joe's dad)
Back in the old days it took more man power to get harvest completed, smaller trucks and combines. 

Farmers Joe & Jay in their big red combines

Our guys like the "Red" brand of combines

Harvesting garbs in tandem
Today we are taking the trucks down to the Tammany Farm so we can begin preparations to the fields to begin our Fall seeding of winter wheat; we are taking our land rent checks to our landlords. 

Pictured below is a small stubble fire that started when a bearing went out on a piece of equipment that breaks up the wheat stubble (by breaking up the stubble, it helps it decompose better).  Good thing Cody is a volunteer fireman, as he and neighbors had to put out the fire.  It only burned about 10 acres and thankfully no one was hurt or no equipment was burned up.
Stubble fire
As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to contact me at or leave me a comment.  Also, I received an email telling me my blog was selected as one of the 50 Best Farm Blogs!  Now that is a really huge compliment and I am so flattered!  The "badge" is listed at the top of my farm blog next to my other Farming award.  (Yup, I'm thinking today is pretty special and it's good to be me today)  =)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Garbanzo Beans from our Local Farms to Your Table

As I've mentioned before, our crops are our paycheck and everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief when the crops are cut and in the warehouse.  So last last Saturday, when Farmer friends Ron Hermann and his son, Ryan called to ask if we would help them get their final field of garbanzo beans cut before the rain came, we didn't hesitate a bit.  Here's a final look at a garbanzo harvest.
Most farmers in our area have semi trucks to haul their crops to the warehouse

Ryan talking on his cell phone while waiting for his
semi to get filled with the beans

A close up view of what a garbanzo plant looks like in the field

The pods contain a garbanzo bean

The short video below is when I arrived out in the field and filmed Farmer Jay's combine close to the road and was waiting for Farmer Joe to come so I could hitch a ride. =)    (it was breezy out so pardon the noisy video background noise)

Farmer Joe says:

Filling up one of the semi trucks

Very dusty 
Here is a video of what it looks and sounds like when the dried garbs are coming into the bulk tank of the combine.  Sort of sounds like marbles hitting the glass.

A view of the hilly kind of  fields that are common in N. Idaho
To give you a view of how steep some of the hillside are..... I can tell you, driving a combine or a tractor on a steep hillside is scary, so good thing our farmers are brave.

One more video of the auger loading the semi trucks

Just one more view of the plants going into the reel on the header on the video below.  Legume crops are not tall plants, so the header on the combine is really close to the ground.   Sometimes the header will pick up a rock from the field and that is not a good thing as it can (usually) breaks something.  Although this was not the case in the Hermann's field, but we are always on the look out for foreign objects that the farmer doesn't want to come across (It is dusty out there and sometimes it is unavoidable).   In one or two of our fields, we have "rock patches"  and each spring the farm crew will go out into the field and "pick rocks" so come harvest, the header doesn't come across a rock or two.

And here my friends, is what dried, newly harvested garbanzo beans look like.

And lastly, as an added bonus, our friends at the Pea & Lentil Council sent me a short video of a combine harvesting lentils to share with you as well,  .

So now the Anderson combines have had their oil changed, the dust has been blown off of them, they have been washed and put away for the season.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing what harvest time looks like for an American Farmer on the "Palouse" as our region is known as.   In the next week we will be getting the fields ready for Fall planting of the winter wheat.  So more to come.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to email me at or leave me a post, I love comments.  Thanks and all my best, Gayle

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Feeding America, Days 26-28 of Harvest 2011

Greetings from the garbanzo fields in Idaho!  Many farmers like us are in the midst of harvesting their garbanzo bean crop and thankfully we have been having unseasonably warm sunny days - which are perfect harvest conditions.  The garb plants are dried and crispy, but the plant stock will get "ropey" due to ground dew in the mornings and evenings and when that happens, it makes it hard to harvest.  So generally we don't get out into the field until late morning or early afternoon to begin cutting the plants and the crunchier and crisper the plant is, the better it goes through the combine. 

In the early morning hours, farmers will usually start getting the fields prepped for the fall wheat crop to be seeded.  The video clip below, Farmer Joe explains that he is spraying out weeds that have started growing in the harvested wheat stubble.

Farmer Jay finished the garbanzo bean harvest down at the Tammany farm and moved his combine up to the Genesee farm.  The header on the combines need to be removed for highway travel.

Farmer Jay's pick-up pulling the header 
The picture below is what a combine looks like without it's header. 
Farmer Jay climbing up into the combine to re-attach the header


With two big combines in the field, we can go through about 100 acres of garbanzo's per day per combine.  

A loaded semi truck full of garbanzo beans

Well that's all for today, Farmer Joe says our hired man, Cody has some good shots of today's harvest (Thursday) so come on back to see what I'm posting tomorrow!  All my  best, Gayle  Don't forget you can contact me at or leave me a comment. =)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dinner on the Farm Series for 2011

There is a hunger out there, not just to fill your stomach with food, but also for knowledge about  agriculture, the farmer and our values. It seems that people want to have a connection to THE AMERICAN FARM and to those who raise the food they eat. And that is the reason why Farmer Joe and I host our (free) Dinner on the Farm series each year.  Is a lot of work? Yup, and we love every minute of it.   Connecting with people and sharing what we do has lasting effects, at least for us and ( hopefully) for our guests.   We set the stage for the event and the guests write the script for the evening.  It is like that  Lowe's TV commerical, you have questions, we have answers. 

A vintage farm book says it all
  Name tags are printed and ready..... not only for us, but our guests as well.

As no one knows each other, name tage are helpful
 Our daughter, Jen helped take photos of the first dinner and my sister-in-law, Denise helped take photos of the second dinner.  The first dinner was also video taped by friend and former news reporter, Camille.(I'll post that once she finishes it) We were really excited to have Camille's expertise to document this.
The menu
The menu is the first thing the guests see, I like to have a variety of entrees and try to focus the food on what is grown locally around this area.  I love to make desserts so I have 4 different kinds as well.

Table decorations that include wheat kernels
The table is set and ready for the guests.  Special special attention is paid to details as a nice ambiance helps set the stage for a perfect evening filled with good food and  great conversation.

The outdoor setting of our farmhouse is decorated as well.

Me and Sheila, our farm host wife for the dinner on September 10

Facing the camera is farm hosts, Eric and Sheila visiting with guests
Eric, our Farm Host shares a laugh  guest, Pat
A good glass of wine poured before dinner.
We like to feature local wineries for our dinners and our guests loved getting to sample some great wines.

Each dinner is different and sometimes there is a group conversation that includes the entire table or several conversations at once.  The latter was the case for this dinner. 

Guests getting to know one another
Below is a picture of Ray & Cathy, our farm hosts for the second dinner, along with myself and Farmer Joe.  This year both of our farm hosts were both farmers and ranchers, a bonus for our guests as many had questons about animal agriculture.
Ray, Cathy, me (holding a bowl of freshly harvested garbs) and Joe

Farmer  Joe explaining about the combine
 The guests were good sports as the weather for this dinner had turned cool and windy, but we all still went out into the field to see the equipment.
A question and answer session
Below is a Flickr photostream on more pictures.  If you are unable to view it via the email subscription, please go directly to the blog site at  Thanks.


Well, there you have it, a view of our Dinner on the Farm series.   As in the past our local Pacific Northwest Farmers Co-op furnished cookbooks and 2 pound bags of lentils for the guests.  The Pea & Lentil Commission furnished a baggie of garbanzo beans, magnetic recipe cards and a magnetic clippie and I also added homemade lentil brownies to the guest packs as well. 

All my best, Gayle.  I can be contacted at or leave a comment.  I will be posting the recipes (soon) on my recipe pages.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quick Preview of Dinner on the Farm, Before the Guests Arrive

Greetings Everyone!  Each September during our garbanzo harvest, Farmer Joe and I host a Dinner on the Farm for two weekends.  We started doing this to give people a chance to come out to our farm, see what we do, ask questions and enjoy a hearty meal.  We wanted to  put a face on the family farm so the public can see that we are everyday people.    My motto is:  Farmers are ordinary people with an extraordinary job to do, we feed the world.   So my friends, this is our 3rd annual Dinner on the Farm event and it is the second and last dinner for the year.   I have a few minutes before I need to ice the drinks and get changed, but here is a quick preview of what the guests will see......

A welcome sign at our house

Guests names on the back of their chairs
The quad tractor & drill in the field next to our house
Farmer Joe is still harvesting garbanzo beans, but will bring the combine over shortly for the guests to see it.  Well I have tons of  last minute things to do.... so stay tuned for more pictures.  The Internet is slower than molasses today so I can't load more videos or pictures! All my best, Gayle

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Feeding America, Last views of Wheat Harvest 2011

With the exception of wheat chaff and dust, I hope the photos and videos of our wheat harvest made you feel like you were really there.  Here are some of the last pictures of our wheat harvest which were taken by our hired man, Cody with his camera phone- and they are amazing! (Thanks Cody!) My bugging of the guys has really paid off.  

Combine filling the grain cart at dusk
(P.S. If you are unable to view this video in your "Windows Internet Explorer", please use "Mozilla Firefox" - I'm not sure why the Mozilla Firefox works better - but it does.  G )

No street lights are in the fields, so combines are equipped with headlights
to see where they are going in the dark 

The tractor and grain cart heading off to the semi trucks
Cody is our all around guy who can do everything from driving
the combines to driving the semi trucks

Storing some of our wheat in our grain bins at the Tammany Farm

The auger sucks up the grain into the elevator

A view from the top of the elevator.
Farmer Joe is finishing the last patches of the spring wheat, then he will start next on our garbanzo bean harvest.

I hope you enjoyed the day to day blog of our wheat harvest.  Stay tuned for more on the garbanzo bean harvest and I'm working on the blog for the 3rd Dinner on the Farm event from last Saturday.  All my best, Gayle.  You can contact me at idahofarmwife@gmail or leave a comment. Thanks! 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Feeding America, Days 22-25 of Harvest 2011

Farmer Joe servicing his combine
 So you think your fuel bill is high? This will make you feel better… =) Our day starts out with servicing the combines and tractors. Have you ever wondered how we diesel up the machines? We don’t drive them into town to gas up at the pump, but rather a big “slip tank” is put into the back of the service farm pick-up and it then becomes a mobile diesel station that will go to where the combines and tractors are parked. Then either Cody, our hired man, or the farmer will fill up the tank, which costs about $500 a day to run just the combine. Ouch, but it is a cost of doing business.

I wanted to share that little fuel tidbit with you along with another good link that talks about the high cost of farming. Here is a quote from the article, “Further, the amount of capital needed to get a farm or ranch operation off the ground is staggering. We borrow more money each year to cash flow our operations than most Americans borrow in a lifetime. Here in Texas, some cotton farmers spend $600,000 for a single piece of equipment. That’s just one machine—it doesn’t’ even take into account land costs, fuel costs, seed costs and labor costs needed to grow a crop.” To read more on this, here is the link to The Hand that Feeds Us,,bgBrLqFy . So my friends when you hear in the news about “farm subsidies” to help the farmer, it is because of these high costs that many of us in the Ag industry face. Call us crazy, but we love what we do.

A quick update on our harvest, Farmer Joe has been whittling down the Spring wheat fields with the help of Cody and Hale. Farmer Jay is still down at the Tammany farm harvesting garbanzo beans.

We still have some patches of spring wheat by our house that we will harvest on Saturday and we will be able to give our Dinner on the Farm guests an actual ride in the combine.

Take care and feel free to email me at or leave a comment. I’m getting ready for our 3rd Dinner on the Farm event, of which the first dinner is tomorrow. All my best, Gayle

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Feeding America, Day 20 & 21 of Harvest 2011

Family written in drift wood
The life of a farmer is centered around our crops and their cycles.  When it is time to plant, tend the crops and harvest, that time frame takes precedent over everything as the crops and Mother Nature wait for no one.   It is just the way of life for farmers, and yes, sometimes it’s hard especially when there is a fun family event or a family emergency arises.  There have been a couple of times in my farming life that I’ve sat in the hospital waiting room by myself when our daughter or another family member were hospitalized because my sweet farmer had to leave (Joe was at  my side and did not leave until the crisis had passed, they were in the recovery room & were okay) as he had to get the crop in the ground.   So this past Labor Day week-end found us waiting on the ripening of the spring wheat and Farmer Joe was able to head out of town with the rest of my family for a lake get away at a house we rented.  While he was only able to stay just a little over a day before having to head back to take his seat on the combine, he did get to help celebrate middle grand-angel, Natalie’s 3rd birthday.  Am I complaining?  No, for us and the rest of America’s farmers, it is a fact of life, but one we cherish.    If you have never seen the YouTube video titled, “So God made a farmer” and narrated by Paul Harvey, it is worth a view to see what I mean.

Natalie all smiles
As for how harvest is going?  Well a quick update, Farmer Joe had a minor breakdown yesterday (Monday) and had to head to another combine dealer about an hour away to get a part so he would be ready to go on Tuesday.  This harvest has plagued us with breakdowns and flat tires on the semi trucks as well as Farmer Jay had two flat tires on his combine from running over antlers.  The deer and elk like to graze (grrrrr) in farm fields.   Farmer Jay finished the spring wheat at the Tammany farm and is now harvesting garbanzo beans.  Farmer Joe is still working on finishing the spring wheat before he starts on garbanzo beans at the Genesee farm. 

Semi trucks in line at the warehouse waiting to be unloaded

Tracks of past activity.  A newly harvested wheat field
As for this farm wife, I’m gearing up and getting ready for our 3rd Dinner on the Farm that will start this Saturday.  I will be blogging about that too and hope you will stay tuned to read about it as well.

The menu for the farm dinner
As always, thanks for stopping by and email me at if you have questions. All my best, Gayle.