We are a couple of days past the autumn equinox as I write these notes, and finally, we got a shower last evening! This is noteworthy because I believe it has been 3 months since we’ve had significant rain and our drought rolls on. Up here in the Rendezvous, we’ve also been frost-free for 6 months -perhaps a record? The aspen has yet to turn even the slightest, and a few stubborn hummingbirds still buzz about. This is much later than I recall in years past. That said, the meadowlarks have left, robins gather, flocks of chipping sparrows showed up this week, the sandhills flew over last week and lately, we’ve been graced with evening bats! What kind I’m unsure, but they have been fun to watch when they come out from the porch rafters flipping about catching insects I suspect. Seeing healthy bats for some reason conveys health all around.
Waiting a few days on harvest so I could get the winter rye and wheat seeded worked out great. I was able to seed both before the end of August, and both were up and running in less than a week. Then I moved onto combining our hard white wheat, which filled out nicely in the end and I was pleased with the 65+ bushel per acre yield, as well as the quality. I mentioned earlier this year, this was the first crop we’ve sowed, and now reaped, from our Highway 20 property. The old Gleaner – literally back from the ashes – hummed along with fine. And surely left plenty of kernels behind for the scores of geese that had already eaten off about an acre or more of the crop. Gluts!
If we end up getting some decent moisture from this weather-change, I’ll be able to turn under the grain stubble and do other fall fieldwork, in preparation for next spring’s crop. I missed the window to plant early fall peas, so where the wheat harvest came off I may go to a spring cover crop of a pea/vetch mix, or some other source of nitrogen builder.
On our highway 20 property, we poured a cement pad to accommodate 2 of our grain bins. We are getting 1 new bin from North Dakota that is built with a 12-foot clearance to allow for a new hulling machine. Our emmer partner has been working hard to refine this machine to do what we need and give us a whole grain emmer berry with the same integrity we now get with our impact huller. This machine will increase our hulling capacity significantly. Now that we offer full one-ton totes of rich, hulled-to-order emmer in addition to our 25# bags, we can’t wait to get this operation going!
Right next door (3 feet away) from the hulling tank, will be an existing tank of ours that we just moved down from our old Moccasin Lake lease. Thanks to Jerry Palm and good friend Mike Port, we were able to get this done one recent afternoon in skillful fashion! Not an easy task and those two guys were aces which were a huge relief to this farmer who, mostly, just stood on the sidelines. Thank you, guys!
Also, a big thanks to Jon Albright and our employee Konrad for not only helping me set up this 10” thick pad but also helped – along with Mike Port – to pour it. It all couldn’t have gone any better. Our part is done; now waiting on a North Dakota tank!?!?
Soon we’ll be putting up a nice pole barn next to these tanks to keep this hulling machinery undercover, along with some of our farm machinery. This is Phase I of our expansion project, which ultimately will include relocating our processing and milling down to Highway 20. Oh, we are really going to miss getting freight in and out of the Rendezvous… particularly in the Winter!! More to come on this next time.
Meanwhile, we continue to crank 5 days a week up here in our wooden facility come rain, shine, wind, and soon snow! You amazing customers keep us busy, and our staff has been terrific at delivery. I don’t need to remind anyone what a challenging year 2020 has been. And it ain’t over! The fall could be fraught with even more challenges? Please know we are well supplied with organic grains for the next haul. We will continue to offer high-quality grains and grain products literally from our door to yours.
Also, even though a lot of schools are 100% on-line learning now, some schools are in session mask to mask, and so the school buses are running, and lots of kids on the street. Always take time to look twice.
We were sickened, as were many, with recent fires just south of here on the Okanogan and Mansfield plateaus. We know growers up on these plateaus and our hearts are heavy knowing the huge losses many experienced as a result of the careless few. We are thinking of you and hope to help in some way with the long road to recovery ahead.
Wishing all health,
Yours, Farmer Sam