Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Battle of Weeds

Morning mist from yesterday's rain.  The amound of rain defines
whether it is a good crop or a great crop for us "dryland farmers"
On Monday I was spraying weeds around our farmhouse (I like to refer to it as spending “quality time with my backpack sprayer”) and as I was out working, I thought "I just sprayed weeds last week - and more seem to pop up overnight”, and as you know, weeds if left alone, will propagate and spread their evil seeds – so it is a task to keep on top of. While I was out communing with nature and trying to help her along by eliminating the newest round of pesky plants – I had a sudden epiphany that weeds are like the anti-Ag groups. How? Well, both try to spread their unwanted seeds whether plant form or thought form, and both are unwanted by the farmer. The weeds rob the nutrients from the crop and the anti-Ag groups rob the consumer trust from the farmer. As many people do not understand what farmers do, these groups work very hard to paint a picture for the American consumer on the evils of modern Agriculture. For me, spraying weeds is just like blogging, I am trying to keeps the bad seeds from getting a handhold on my lifestyle and convey the message that we care about our land, what we put on it, how we grow our crops and what you put on your dinner table for your families (our families too). In a  few days, I will be doing a new blog to showcase some of the other farm families around this area,  so I hope you will come on back.

While I try to keep the weeds down around the farmhouse and in social media….. Farmer Joe took a video about spraying the garbanzo fields. We both have big jobs to do. So for now this farmwife will be heading out with her camera to capture some photos on the other fine folks whose job is to grow what goes on our dinner plates.

Garbanzo spraying video, if  unable to view the video, click here 

As always, if you have a question, drop me an email at idahofarmwife@gmail.com or leave a comment & thanks for stopping by.  All my best, Gayle

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Blessing of a Farm & a Farmer's Prayer

One of the reasons that I blog is to put a face on the people (like us) who raise the food that America eats.   We have a joke around here, that farmers never quit farming until they die.  So sitting recently at the funeral for a dear family farmer friend who passed away at 92 (and was active on his farm up until his death), I wanted to share the following poem:

A Farmer's Prayer
by Robin Fogle

Lord, bless the land you've given me,
and may I always know
As I tend each crop and creature
You're the One who helps them grow.

Grant me the strength and wisdom
Please protect me from harm.
And thank You
For your Gracious gift -
The blessing of a farm.

And yes, it is true, we do feel very blessed to be farmers and value the farm friends that make life a beautiful time here on earth.  And speaking of earth, Farmer Joe has a couple of videos, the first one shows him spraying the weeds to help garbanzo fields stay free of grassy weeds.

The second video is about readying a field for test plots for our local university - many farmers, like us set aside an acre or two for the universities to plant and test out new breeds of wheat in a real conditions.

Last week I've spent lots of time cooking, as we hosted 2 different dinner meetings at our farmhouse, then I helped with food for a couples bridal shower for our youngest daughter & her fiance later on in that week ( yup sometimes I think I am certifiably nuts- but maybe that is my true "charm"). 

Pictured below are the dedicated board members, plus a few guests of the board members and executive director from the Idaho Grain Producers Association.

Menu: Steaks, potato salad, garbanzo salad, cowboy beans, and for dessert-  lentil brownies! Yummm
Farmer Joe is at a barley meeting out of state, I have been overseeing the cleaning of the barn for our daughter's upcoming wedding reception, so life has been a bit hectic, not to mention everything else that life throws in just for the heck of it.  Anyway, I plan to get out there and showcase some of the area farms and farmer friends so you get an "up close and personal view of others who farm for a living".   There is a really good website that talks about food dialogue from the US Farmers and Rancher Alliance, so check it out if you get a chance.

Plus, much to my youngest daughter's grumbling about showing up in the farm blog, I will be chatting about the wedding activities too.  (one of the reasons to have kids, 1) make them do all the work.... 2) to get to have a little bit of fun at their expense) he he he....
As always, thanks for stopping by and please email me if you have questions at idahofarmwife@gmail.com.
All my best, Gayle

Friday, June 1, 2012

Idyllic Life of a Farmer, A Behind the Scenes Look

Farming looks idyllic, but there is real science, logic and precision behind everything we do
 As I ride my bike around our country roads I pass by this newer little house that has gone through 2 owners in probably 5 years and now sits vacant.  Living in the country - you make a point to know who your neighbors are, and as soon as someone new moves in, I make the friendly gesture of going over and introducing myself and taking them a baked goodie.  In visiting I get to hear their "story" of why they moved to our area.  Both past owners had this image in their mind that, "it would be wonderful to live in the country, have a garden, sit on their front porch with a drink in hand  and enjoy the fresh air and peace & quiet of living on their own little piece of heaven...... well as idyllic as it first seemed, both owners were unprepared for all the actual hard work that comes with living in the country.  The allure of the beautiful farmsteads around here

Uncle John & Aunt Mary's farmstead

Phyllis' pristine place (& my bike)

didn't really give a hint of all the actual work behind the scenes to take care of a place.  Like all the quality time spent with the backpack sprayer  for starters.....
My personal backpack sprayer

And if you pass by the fields that are growing lush and beautiful, there is a lot more going on to keep our crops healthy, we don't just drop seed in the ground  and then show up a few months later to harvest it.   Nope there are countless hours of  monitoring the crops for signs of bugs or staying on top of the weeds, picking rocks out of the fields so the combine doesn't encounter them, fixing/repairing equipment & office work, and probably more that I have forgotten to add, but you get the picture.  Growing What Goes on Your Dinner table is a lot like the board-game called "The Farming Game". Farmers begin at START by planting a crop, we try to avoid the pitfalls along the way, some of which we can be avoided like keeping our crops healthy from diseases and bugs but weather is always a "chance card" & you get what you are dealt 'cuz Mother Nature doesn't take requests or orders, and  in the end, we hope we WIN  the game by getting to harvest our crop. An interesting tid-bit, some farmers borrow more to put their current crop in than what most people will borrow in their lifetime, and a farmer will do it year after year.  So in essence with huge investment into our crops, you can better bet that we are very careful with what we put on our fields and only put on what is needed, where it is needed and no more than needed -

Right now as I write, Farmers Joe & Jay and Cody have been out today checking crops, spraying the fields and generally keeping a very close eye on the paycheck that is growing out there.  We will be wanting some rains through June as that is what will determine what our yields will be - so guess I'll go wash the windows or car or something or maybe - if no one is looking, try out a new rain dance.

Many thanks for dropping by and as always shoot me an email if you have questions at idahofarmwife@gmail.com.  If you have an extra minute, CommonGround has a great article on the safety of GMO food.  All my best, Gayle