Archive for the ‘Farm Stuff’ Category

The house my wife’s Grandfather was born in and a Red Neck Sauna

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Country Roads

Country Roads

Back in the day when my wife of now over 25 years and I were first married a couple of years after we were married we had the opportuntity to purchase the house her grandfather was born in. Nobody knows how old it is as his parents were not the first to live there.

Our home

Our home

You see he died over 15 years ago now and was in his late 80’s, this is an old house. For indoor plumbing it had a kitchen sink downstairs and upstairs a commode and a sink. The shower was in the block building about 50 feet out behind the house. If you look in the picture above it is slightly to right of center of the pic. The building was built for when they drilled the well and built a cinder block building above and around it. It had a sink and a shower

The farm has a “gas allotment”, meaning there are natural gas wells and we get a certain amount of gas for “free”. It’s a good thing too because when we moved in the house it has ZERO insulation. But the block house had one awesome little natural gas heater. You could turn it up to about 90 degrees in there if you wanted and make our own little redneck sauna. We were young just barely out of college then and it was sort of fun I guess, it was real. It was real warm till you had to make the dash back to the house on a cold winter night after coming home from the dairy barn that is.

They say “you don’t own an old house…It owns you”!

Someday I suppose I might tell this story to someone’s grand children too, I suppose…

But the wash house was still warmer than the barn!

But the wash house was still warmer than the barn!

Winter Work, Wordless Wednesday!

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Can’t U smell that smell????

Friday, December 3rd, 2010
Liquid storage tank

Liquid storage tank

Applicator Truck

Applicator Truck as it distributes material

Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

No this isn’t “that” smell, but this smell can surround you!

One of the most important things to growing good crops is fertility managment. Plants absorb nutrients at the ionic level based apon a variety of factors. When trying to grow good crops it is very much like trying to always solve a problem to improve your production. When doing so you must first solve for your first “limiting factor” or the first thing that is holding you back just as in any given situation.

You can’t fix the big problem unless you solve the first thing that is holding you back. Think of it as a bucket (the field) with holes in it that you are trying to fill with water (crop yield = $$). You fix the holes closest to the bottom of the bucket first and work your way up the bucket all the time it holds more water.

Often times in growing crops it is not so much “how much” you have of any given nutrient that makes or breaks the production but rather the realative relationship or balance that nutrients have to each other and their environment.

For instance sandy (or light) soils do not hold nutrients as well as soils with a high concentration of organic matter or clay (often called heavier soils). Knowing this helps you manage all of the inputs you will using to help produce a crop. On the flip side those sandy soils often dry out faster in the spring and warm faster as well, but are also have a greater risk of frost damage.

So you just try and keep all these variables in mind and try and find the best balance possible given your location. But it doesn’t stop there because then you have to factor in the economic and environmental aspects as well….Wheeewww! No farming like any “profession” is not easy but nothing worth doing ever is!

Take Care.

Out with the old…In with the different! #farm,#ag,#agritourism,#wine,#

Monday, January 11th, 2010
Galen torching the bolts

Galen torching the bolts

Prepping the bin for "Takedown"

Prepping the bin for “Takedown”

Part of our old grain drying and storage setup

Part of our old grain drying and storage setup

As the saying goes “Back in the Day” yes this blog is called Ohio Wine and More and I usually have you looking at all kinds of stuff besides wine and that is true. We are a diverse agricultural family farm enterprise.

Part of our past was that of an agricultural supply center for other local farmers as well as ourselves. As the landscape changed in our community so did we as a result.

So what once was a 3,000 acre corn, soybeans, wheat, dairy, etc., diverse family agricultural “old school” production oriented enterprise changed into a direct marketing guest/consumer oriented farm market and winery.

At one point I managed our grain storage facility that had about 470,000 bushel capacity. A average semi truck dump trailer holds about 1,000 bushels as a reference point. Over the years we gradually starting growing more vegtables beyond the sweet corn seed my father-in-law threw in the 12 row corn planter on the last round of the season to a more direct oriented vegtable producer.

Here is a view of some of the “old” headed to the scrap yard.

Winter Work, starting next years crops now. #farm,#wine,#agritourism

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
Underground drainage tile repair work

Underground drainage tile repair work

Yea I do talk and shoot a lot of videos but here and there I try and do some real work too. I guess we bloggers who actually get out in the real world and actually do something that contributes to our nations GDP are few and far between but here is one of the jobs that we need to get after in the “off season”.

Water is an essential element necessary for plant life. However too much is not good. All things need balance. When soils become saturated plants don’t do well. I had an animal science professor Dr. Kline, that once told us “Water is TOXIC, right up to here!” as he held his finger just above his nose.

Much is the same for plants so we put pipes or drainage tubes in the fields to remove excess water and improve plant health. It is one of the most expensive aspects of farming and requires maintance. In this case we have several plugged or broken field tiles in this particular part of the field and are just getting started trying to identify the locations and dig them up and repair the spots.

The tile can break, get crushed, or get things like tree roots growing inside that leads to low flow and more plugs so we begin the task of “hunt and peck” as we move about the field. Today I had Galen helping me on hand shovel and Burt running the trac hoe. Here are a few videos as we dig into the soil in search of the damaged tile.

This particular tile drains part of our rear vineyard, corn maze, part of an alfalfa field, and haunted corn maze. We were able to find and fix one of the problems but have more work to do in other sections of the field later this winter.

Baleing Hay, and breakdowns, Now I remember why I like farming so much!

Monday, July 13th, 2009
Lookin' in the sideview mirror

Lookin' in the sideview mirror

Raking ahead of the baler

Raking ahead of the baler

Main Drive Shaft...Now we have Two Oh Boy!

Main Drive Shaft...Now we have Two Oh Boy!

Breakdown and shop time

Breakdown and shop time

Phillips Machine, saves the day

Phillips Machine, saves the day

Making Hay while the sun shines

Making Hay while the sun shines

On our farm we as a family help each other out. My father in law Kay has helped make much of what has become Maize Valley Market and Winery possible. This past week he needed help baleing hay so I chipped in. I thought I was just going to be towing wagons. I spend most of my time at the market and winery and marketing etc.

I was there about an hour till we had a major breakdown. Just like back in the day I thought. This happens a lot especially when you use your equipment hard. We maintain the heck out of it but it still happens. I suppose if farm folks read and watch this stuff you just have to laugh. But we are just putting this blog up for ALL to see and learn so I am not trying to come across like something special, just report on what goes on down on our farm.

I guess it was a good thing I was there as I was able to help out in the repair, via cell phone and google searches from my blackberry in the field I discovered the shaft that broke was a day away and almost $200.00. The cool thing was we were able to tap into our local machine shop and find the same part for about $30.00 and I was able to run over and get it and we were back in business about four hours later. That is a cool part about living near in an area that was once a very heavy steel production center. I love buying steel “buy the pound” vs. covered in green paint!

I don’t know if you have ever “timed” a baler before but I learned how this day, I also used a whole bunch of my vocabulary skills too! After a while I threw the book away and just figured it out. If you ever have to time a John Deere Baler, start with the book then throw it away and use your head.

Last year Kay and crew made about 48,000 little square bales, this year looks like they might close in on 60,000 if the weather cooperates. We got these field done and got about 12,000 bales off of about 45 acres.

Now next week start second cutting, farmers markets, wine pours, vegi harvest, you know life!

Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch 8 Days after planting @ Maize Valley

Saturday, June 6th, 2009
Let's dig a little deeper

Let's dig a little deeper

Pumpkin sprout 8 Days after planting

Pumpkin sprout 8 Days after planting

Agri-Tourism is a big part of what we do at Maize Valley. The new word on the street, er maybe for us the path, is “Imersion Tourism”. We just know it feels right to help people work toward “Hakuna Matata” or no worries and a relaxing fun day in the country can be just the ticket for that.

But we ARE farmers, really we do grow a ton of stuff yet from Watermelons to Wine we do a lot. But we have to sell it too, otherwise we will not be around to do it again as my wife’s family has done for the last 150 odd years here. So a great deal of my blog deals with what a modern direct market producers deals with and what it takes to both grow the food you need to eat to live, but also provide a quality of life aspect that makes life worth living.

Here are some video updates of where our corn maze and U-pick pumpkin patch is 8 days after planting, hope you enjoy.

Homegrown, Local, planting as fast as we can.

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Plastic mulched beds waiting on the "Maters"

Raised potatoe bed

Raised potatoe bed

They don't care about no stinkin' frost!!

They don't care about no stinkin' frost!!

As I have said we are much more than just Ohio Wine! As you can see by my posts on Monday the vineyard took a hit with the frost Monday morning, then another slight one on Tuesday too! Oh well to quote the famous philospher “Draphiki” in the Lion King, “It’s in the Past”. And I am trying to get on with that whole Hakuna Matata thing now. I will give update on the vineyard in about a week, it is too depressing to go out there right now with a camera.

In today’s pics and vids check out our other things we grow I have a couple of shots of what is going on “down on the farm” this week. Yesterday Kay, my father-in-law picked up our watermelon sets, today he is planting sweet corn, and “decorative Corn” before P.C. we called it “Indian Corn”. I painted the maze stairs/tower and myself. Transfering the planter over to plant the corn maze and pumpkins tomorrow.

Sorry for the short posts just really struggling to get time to do the work and get the posts up too.

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FT

No-Till planting, Conservation Tillage, Sustainable Agriculture.

Thursday, May 14th, 2009
Winter Rye "Burn Down"

Did I mention we are basically lazy?? Yea we try and do as little work as possible! Well maybe that is not entirely the case but we do try and get as much done with as little output as possible. You might say that is a strategy we use in some of our tillage practices. Get the job done using as few and the most economical inputs as possible.

The more pale or yellow part of the field has been sprayed, the dark green has not. Glyphosate acts as an amino acid inhibitor, or it prevents the plant from completing the photosynthesis process. The plant starves to death. This way of working or what is know as “Mode of Action”, is very specific to plants and very safe for just about everything else. However just as with anything else if not used responsibly resistance can begin to occur.

It’s cool we still get a crop but don’t have to work as hard. There are trade offs but where we can we try and conserve the soil as much as possible and still sustain our family farm. That is what I call Sustainable Agriculture!

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Getting our 1951 and 52′ Trucks ready to hit the road in 09′

Friday, May 8th, 2009

My 52' IS part of the family

My 52' IS part of the family

I like to find old things and give them new life. The house we live in my wife’s grandfather was born in, my 65′ Chevy came home from Arizona and no one loved it (it did look pretty rough, and my wife said “you want to fix that?”), and when I found a 1952 Ford F5 in a warehouse on the West Side of Cleveland a few years ago I could not pass it up.

My brother Tim went to look at it and it had 3434 original miles on it, original tires with probably original air in them too. She was covered in boxes and buried under picnic tables, garden hoses and had a big ole’ snow plow hanging on her front bumper. All the guys looking for a street rod were not interested in her so I took her home and gave her a new life.

She does parades, hauls produce, pulls trailers and now then we throw a couple of bales on the back let the kids climb on board and sneak out and get ice cream in her too! So if one is good two must be better right, wellllllll we are still working on that on. Here are few videos of this winters projects running into spring! Look for them at a farmers’ market near you!!

Hope you enjoy looking at them, look for more news as we get them ready to hit the road.