Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Grain Drill

You may recall that on November 8th I promised I'd tell you more about the Grain Drill that Pete showed me. True to my word, here is what I learned about Pete's John Deere FB-B grain drill.

The grain drill is the green, rusty, John Deere device to the right of Pete. He's telling me about how he purchased it at an auction Upstate, made a thankfully uneventful journey to retrieve it, and then waited until Ian diligently refurbished it. Now he's ready to start using it.

Actually, I'm glossing over quite a bit of details! I can't repeat all of them here but suffice it to say that Pete carefully chose an especially quiet travel day to put this monster-large piece of equipment in the back of a pickup truck. It was so large that he and Ian had to build an extension to the bed of the pickup truck so it would be supported and not simply flop out of the back of the bed. The tongue was laying over the side of the pickup...and it was stuck out a bit more than one would prefer!

Pete maneuvered the loaded pickup truck onto I-87 and made it back to the famous Exit 18. Apparently, the toll booth operator was left speechless after seeing what was in the truck bed. Pete paid his toll as rapidly as possible and stepped on the gas! He tells this story better than me; you will have to talk to him to get the complete details.

Looking from the tractor side. You can see many moving mechanical parts.
Once back at the farm the drill waited for Ian to put his hand to refurbishing it. You see, it takes about 3 passes with the tractor over the same piece of land to do what the grain drill can do in 1 pass. A huge time saver! And using the grain drill probably makes Ian's backside feel much better since he would only have to sit in the tractor seat for 1/3 of the time. So, Ian was motivated to get it working just right.

Let me attempt to explain how the drill works:

You'll add seed to the seed hopper. There is also a smaller hopper that can hold fertilizer.
Looking at the seed hopper from the back side.

The seed hopper currently is holding rye seed. Pete will use it to prepare some fields with a winter cover crop.

The seeds will fall down from the hopper through these black flexi-tubes and into the metal shafts running behind the cutter blades. You can see the cutter blades at the bottom half of the photo below. They look rusty, but hey, this is a refurbished grain drill! The flexi-tubes are hooked into a little tunnel that is running right in front of the cutter. We're actually looking from the rear-direction, so when the grain drill is in motion, the cutters cut through the ground and make a row at the correct depth for the seed. Once the row is created, the seed drops down right behind the cutter.

In the photo below, you can see a close up of the seeds coming from the hopper, flowing into a green chute and then into the same black flexi-tubes from the photo above.

Here we see a view looking down on the cutters. We're viewing the cutters from the tractor side now.

After the cutter opens the ground and the seeds fall from the hopper through the green chute and the flexi-tube and into the furrow made by the cutter, the last step is to cover the seed. The seed is covered effectively by the chains that are being dragged by the device. I did not get a good photo...the chains are hand-made with various odds-and-ends weighing the end of the chain. The net effect is for the dirt to be gathered back over the seed.

The red hydraulic tube you may have noticed in the very first picture was something that Ian added. It gives extra power for pushing the cutters into the dirt. So, you hook this thing up to the tractor, load it with all your grain and/or fertilizer, then arrange yourself onto the field you want to sow. You use the hydraulic to push the cutters into the soil, then you start moving. The mechanics of the grain drill does the furrowing, sowing, and covering of the seed. A huge time savings!

Other Grain Drills on the Web

I tried very hard to find some information about this John Deere model FB-B grain drill. I was only able to find a few things:

I believe a similar, modern grain drill is the John Deere model BD11.
Another similar, modern grain drill is the John Deere model 8300.

A "large size" grain drill might look like this John Deere model 455.

If you're dying to buy a grain drill of your own, I found one on ebay.
If you're dying to buy a toy for the child in your life, or for your inner child, or your own adult collection, I found this one on ebay.
A little disclaimer: I do not endorse these ebay ads and have no association with the sellers. The links are meant only for education and entertainment. Thank you.

Well, that's what I learned about the grain drill with Pete 2 weeks ago. I wanted to get a video of the drill in action, but it was sprinkling rain and Pete wasn't ready to go to the field while I was there. So, I will have to wait another time to get some video. I hope you've enjoyed learning about this equipment as much as I did!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Last regular weekend

Well it seems that we have come to the last regular weekend that the Farm Stand will be open. On Thursday there was still a lot of fresh items to choose from, and even two new things: senposa and vivid choi.

I have never heard of senposa, and I'm not even certain I'm spelling it correctly, but Ana tells me it's like collard greens. I love collard greens, so I got some senposa. I haven't had time to cook it yet though! Ana told me the vivid choi is similar to pac choi.

I also noticed there were some smaller poblano peppers! And, don't forget about the awesome apple cider.

Friday (today) is the last day for early sign up for the 2014 season. If you sign up and pay the deposit by today, you'll receive a Thanksgiving share next week. If you don't sign up and pay the deposit, you can still shop on Tuesday 11/26, but as a non-member.

This is the last regular week. There will be no farm stand hours for Nov 21-23 but the farm stand will be open on Tuesday November 26 from 8am-5pm. The farm stand will be open to the public that day for folks who want to shop for their Thanksgiving meal. If you've paid your deposit for 2014, you'll receive a share (or half share) that day. Please come to get any pre-ordered items like Thanksgiving turkeys and pies.

I'm a little behind in my work this week, so I won't write about the Grain Drill this time. I haven't forgotten about it; I will share the great photos and story that Pete told me soon.  In the meantime, here are other photos around the farm:


Sue's home made ricotta cheese

Jessica choosing some apples


Alternative pest controller

I think this is Claudette with a colleague.

They are harvesting sweet potatoes.

There are other workers in the cold too.

Technically, these chickens are working too.

But they're a little cold and want to stay indoors!

Paul says this is his new office this week.
Actually, he's temporarily storing some winter squash.

Don't forget

Delaney is in a play! There are still a few days to go see it. It's entertainment worth the price of admission! See the link here.

And, even though the farm stand is coming to an end for the season, there are still goodies in the freezers and refrigerators.

Well, that's all for this blog post. Thanks for reading! Watch for the post about the grain drill and monitor this space for chicken photos. Here's a picture of Ana hard at work:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Delaney acts in "A Servant of Two Masters"

Delaney has a part in the Ulster County Community College play A Servant of Two Masters.

  • Thursday, November 14, 2013, 8:00 pm
  • Friday, November 15, 2013, 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, November 16, 2013, 8:00 pm
  • Sunday, November 17, 2013 3:00 pm (matinee)
Cost: Tickets are free for students or $10 suggested donation for others

Location: Quimby Theater, SUNY Ulster, Stone Ridge, NY 

Please support her efforts! This is a comedy which should keep you laughing.

Questions? Call UCCC at 845-688-1959.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pushing Towards Winter

Where to start this week? There are still plenty of items to choose from, even though it's starting to get quite chilly at night. Here's what was available Thursday. (Remember that availability changes from day to day.)

  • Apple Cider!!
  • Turnips!!
  • Vates Curly Kale!!
  • potatoes, sweet potatoes
  • tender greens, kale, broccoli raab
  • arugula, french crisp, frisee
  • beets, carrots, radish, garlic, hot peppers, green peppers
  • big butternut squash, spaghetti squash
  • apples -- Stark King, Empire, Macintosh
I was a bit cold yesterday so I didn't walk down to the flowers. I apologize that I don't know if any have survived the recent cool weather.

There are still plenty of vendor products to buy and bring home -- much Mor bread is back, milk, yogurt, cheeses, butter, mushrooms, pickled (fermented) pickles and sauerkraut, Full Moon Farm beef and meat, quiche, Sarah's chicken, honey, and maple syrup. It appears the egg-laying chickens have gone on strike because there haven't been many eggs lately. There are still plenty of items to round out your pantry and fridge. And, if you want to wet your whistle while you are shopping, try some fermented Ombucha.

If  you're interested in a pie for Thanksgiving, there's a signup for Mor pies: Pumpkin, Apple, Cranberry Apple, Pecan Tart, Harvest Fruit & Nut Holiday loaf.

The End Is Near

There is just one more pick-up left for the season. Pete reports that he expects Thursday Nov 14 - Saturday Nov 16 to be the last Farm Stand days for this season. 

Sign Up for Next Season Now

The yellow flyers are right next to the sign-in sheets at the Farm Stand counter. If you put down a 50% deposit before November 15th you can pick up a Thanksgiving share on Tuesday, November 26th (one day only) 8am-5pm. 

I've gotten the Thanksgiving share before and it's always been a big contributor to my Thanksgiving table, so it's worth taking the time to write that check, click the pay now button, or bring your money to Ana or Delaney at the farm stand. It really helps the Taliaferros plan for next year and gives them the capital to prepare the land for wintertime, repair worn out items, and purchase seed.

...And now, some Pictures!

This anonymous young-en was too cute for words!

The turnips look so good! I can't wait to cook something with them. Of course, turnips are a staple for soup making, but if you want something really interesting, make mashed turnips. Cook them and mash them just like you would potatoes. And if your turnips have tops, don't forget to boil and eat them too. They are similar to mustard greens and vinegar is a nice complement to their flavor.
Organic turnips

The leaves are so perfect on this Vates kale it reminds me of a bouquet.
Vates kale
Here are Pete and Paul bringing the cider in. They are putting it into the case where the mushrooms, goat cheese, and butter are kept. Be sure to get your unit as one of your share items. It's very rich tasting!

Winter is Approaching

As I walked up the farm, I passed this field that was completely harvested:
 And then I passed this field that was protected:
And then this other field that was "protected" as well (!?!):
Homemade Scarecrow protecting a field

Tractor Obsession

Paul was moving this tractor and he put it in reverse. I think it moved faster than my first car!
But here's the real story. Pete spent time with me today and told me all about a Grain Drill that he's just started using on the farm. I have about a half-dozen photos and explanations. This blog post is already a bit long, so I am going to make a separate blog post so folks who are interested in this kind of technical nitty-gritty can get their fix, and everyone else can skip it. So, watch for that next.

My Other Obsession

Really, I'm not obsessed...but here's the weekly photo of energetic Ana. This time she's accentuating the French Crisp lettuce.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Wet and Spooky

It's Thursday again and I was hoping to avoid the rain during my trip to the farm. Alas, it was not meant to be; it was raining steadily while I was there. Nevertheless, I did scope it out. Even though it's getting chilly outside, I saw lots of great food. Here are some highlights:

  • apples
  • frisee, French crisp, arugula
  • kale (2 kinds), tender greens, pac choi
  • sweet potatoes, white potatoes
  • spaghetti squash, butternut squash
  • green peppers, jalapeno peppers
  • garlic, scallions
  • beets, carrots
I saw no green beans. Eggplants were available as seconds.

I really love kale...I've been getting lots of kale over the last few weeks. I cook it, eat some, then freeze the rest. In the middle off January it makes me very happy to pull kale out of my freezer and have it taste just as fresh as it does now. I got curious about some other ways to prepare kale and I looked at wikipedia. It reports that in parts of Africa kale is boiled with coconut milk and ground peanuts. That sounds really interesting!

Red Russian Kale
Red Russian Kale
In Denmark and Sweden, apparently kale is minced and boiled, then simmered for several hours in stock and cream. The cream at the farm would be a great way to try that dish! The farm has wonderful dairy products available. Be sure to get some now while the season is still underway.

I didn't get any arugula this week (because I stocked up on kale), but it looked so good!

I try to get mushrooms every week. This was the batch I got today.

Ian's Tree Service

You've probably seen the benches for sale at the farm stand. Those benches were made by Ian, Pete's son. He has started a tree service business.

Ian Taliaferro Tree Service 845-542-1159

If you have a tree down or one you are worried will come down in the next storm, give Ian a call. Here he is heading out in his truck.

 Sign Up for 2014 Season

Brochures are ready with the details for the 2014 season. It doesn't look like the website is updated yet. If you have any questions about the sign up details, be sure to ask Ana or Delaney since they can answer all your questions. The brochures are yellow and are right next to where you sign in.

The prices have increased. I have been a member for 3 years now and the prices have been the same the entire time, so an increase is due. Farming is a difficult business and Pete works hard to make his family farm profitable so he can provide for his family's future. I know that I am relieved to be able to shop at the farm stand away from the carnival-like distraction of brightly lit and crowded supermarkets full of questionable food products. As a vegetarian, my half-share provides me with enough to eat each week and to freeze for the winter. Pete works within the community to help others around him, so I feel good about that too. I feel like my purchase benefits me as well as the Taliaferros. My dollars can make an impact.

Please renew your membership before November 15th and enjoy the Thanksgiving share with your renewal. I take my Thanksgiving share with me when I travel to visit my friend and we make an organic smorgasbord!

Tractor Obsession

I saw this view today through the rain and I liked how both tractors lined up.

Ana Obsession

I know that last week I claimed not to have an obsession with Ana. I'll let you be the judge...

Ana's Pants

Happy Halloween!