Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Riding in Tractors With Boys

The devilishly handsome man I married and I both work full time jobs.  His is on a working cattle farm (production agriculture has absolutely NO idea what a 40 hour work week is...so go thank a farmer next time you see one!), and mine is a good 40+ mile commute both ways.  Needless to say, we don't get to spend a whole lot of time at home together.  Crockpot meals are my best friend.  Cook it all day so I don't have to, baby!   

Anyhow, to remedy this time-spending issue, we've been spending time together at his work place doing evening chores, etc.  A lot of his time is spent in the tractor brush hogging, mowing hay, moving hay bales, feeding cows, the list goes on and on.   

One fun (using this term loosely here) thing we did just the other day was pack silage into the farm's silage pit (looks like a long concrete bunk).  To answer your burning question, silage is what's made when crops (usually corn, sometimes wheat) are cut from the field, chopped up into little pieces, and packed tightly into a silo, bin, pit (in our case), or sometimes a looooooong tube of plastic sheeting (think trash bag-like, only thicker).  The guys drive a couple of tractors back and forth over the top of the heaping, ginormous, unsettled, way tall pit to pack down the silage to facilitate the fermentation process and also to fit silage as much as possible into the pit.  I think the silage pit smells awesome!  Know why??  The smell comes from the fermentation that the plant vegetation is undergoing in the pit.  Know what else is made by fermentation?!  Beer!!!  Hence why I love the smell of the silage pit.  The end.  Haha.

Anyway, here's a glimpse of our adventure in packing silage from the other day:

First, the dump truck rolls up with a load of chopped up corn...

And dumps the whole thing out.

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See the concrete wall to the right in the above picture?  That's the wall of the silage pit.  It's pretty stinkin' tall.  The guys had already been at it for a good chunk of the day, there's already a good amount of silage in the pit at this point.  Next, a tractor scoops up the silage that was just dumped out of the dump truck and moves it toward the back of the pit.  This would be the preferable/safe/non-scary job to have...no having to balance on top of the super heaping full pit, no having a mini heart attack when your wheels are cut all the way to the left and yet the tilt of the silage in the pit/gravity are pulling you and your tractor to the right (toward the edge of said super tall silage pit!). 

Scooping up silage.
The guys chose to run two tractors to smash down the silage pit.  I snapped this photo of the other tractor driver mid-cardiac infarction.  He was so laid back about the whole process!  I may or may not have been eating a McFlurry while in the co-pilot seat during the silage packing process and totally meant to snap a quick photo of McFlurry eating in order to demonstrate how chill and not at all anxious about this process I was.  Definitely forgot to take said picture...definitely was not at all chill about packing silage.  It puts hair on your chest, friend!   

We kept going back and forth, up and down the silage pit.  Here's a view from the top looking down .

Eeek!  So high up!

Another view from the top...safely from the middle of the pit though, whew!
This process went on for quite a while.  By the time the dump trucks where done for the night, we where all stressed, on edge, and wished more than anything that the beer-type of fermentation was going on in this forsaken silage pit.  To put it all in perspective, here's good ol' Sammy the foremen on top of the pit, watering it down with a garden hose to help facilitate fermentation.   

Definitely ok with not having to pack silage ever again,

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