Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chopping Silage, harvest has begun.

Every year Bruce cuts some, not quite ready to combine, corn with the silage chopper that grinds the stalk, ear and all, piles it on a big cement slab and covers it with a 40x100 foot silage tarp. That feeds our cattle for the next year.

He used to have his two buddies, Roger and Fred, come over and in one fast paced day, they completed the job. One year it didn't work out so Bruce started chopping by himself with a little help from me and a week later he was done. He has done it that way ever since. He chops 4 loads then calls me to come pull them in.

One at a time, I haul them out of the field..... the pile and, while it is small, drive upon the pile where Bruce hooks up the pto shaft to unload the wagon.
Then I watch the mirror carefully, the hand signals tell me to stop....
...or to go.... the silage fall in a line behind the wagon.
While I go get another wagon load out of the field, Bruce goes to work leveling and packing, back and forth, back and forth.
So the day goes, a break for a field lunch on the 4-wheeler.
The pile grows.....
....soon Bruce is driving the tractor on the pile because I lose my nerve, it's getting too tall!
And Bruce packs, back and forth, back and forth, lather, rinse, repeat.
Finally the pile is complete, time for a little shaping......
....a little more packing.....
"Hey, you are getting a little close to the edge, that is a 6 ft drop and I'm the one who does your laundry!"
Since the wind was very light, we decided to put the tarp on, usually we, well I, have to get up early, Bruce is always up early, to put it on before the wind blows. Since I don't willingly do early, I was all for doing it in one fell swoop.
The tarp actually goes on in three pieces, it fits better that way, piece #1, roll across and down the side and cut.

We each pull a side to unfold, fit to the pile and Bruce starts piling dirt around the edges to hold it in place.

Morris comes down to supervise and remind me that his food bowl is empty.

After all three pieces are in place and weighted down the last job is to pile tires across the top of each splice so the wind doesn't get underneath and rip the plastic. It is a messy job, especially when a tire gets tossed that happens to have water inside, I was too close and got a dirty bath.
Years ago they used to blow silage up into this concrete silo, it was a job, the blower would plug. Then in the winter, they had to climb up and chop frozen silage away from the wall, that wasn't exactly the good old days.

Bruce said the best thing he did was to pour this cement pad and pile it on the ground, letting the tractor do all the work.
All too soon winter will be here and Bruce and Morris will be feeding from this pile.

1 comment:

  1. Great play by play Julie. I love your blog. It is so much fun to read and live vicariously on a working farm through your stories. Keep em coming !!