Thursday, August 21, 2008

For Your Education

Some of you may be surprised to know that my Dad owns and runs a Dairy Farm with one of my Uncles. I grew up working mostly on the farm, but helping at the Dairy and with construction because they are constantly building. I mostly drove the swather which cut alfalfa (hay) and I custom cut mint and straw. (see swather much like the one I drove, below)

I drove truck during corn harvest and did a lot of manual labor growing up. I thought I knew quite a bit about farming... not a ton, but enough. Come to find out, being married to a Potato farmer, I don't know as much as I thought I did. Here are a few things that I felt rather dumb about not knowing, but have been recently discovering. I realize that some of this is probably common knowledge, so I'll take the dumb card.

(picture of field behind my house of grain babies.
Those are Sand Dunes in the background)

Grain turns gold on it's own, you don't have to stop the water to dry it out. I thought that in order for wheat/barley/oats to turn yellow you turned off the water and they dried out. Just this summer I've realized that Jaren is still watering his grain while it's yellow.... I couldn't figure out why, till I realized that that is how it ripens. On it's own it turns yellow and hardens and still needs the water.

This is almost ripened grain.

Potatoes have to be "killed" before they are harvested/dug. You don't just dig up the potato right out of the ground come fall. The plant is killed, then they drive over and "de-vine" the potato, then wait for the skin to harden and then it's harvested.

Potatoes can be stored in cellars for 10 months without going bad. As long as they are kept cool (below 43 degrees), dark and humid they are still yummy! It's quite a sight, let me tell ya. I'm going to take pictures this harvest.

Animal Cruelty???

This last semester I was sitting in my Exercise Phys class and the boy who always sits behind me started talking to me about vegetarianism. I personally love me some juicy steak and will always eat more meat than vegetables probably for my entire life. I try to be healthy, but I just can't help myself most of the time. This boy has a brother who has a girlfriend who is Vegan. The brother has decided to try it also and has been converted. The two brothers argued about animal cruelty and the Vegan in training argued that cows were mistreated and raped and taken advantage of by being milked all the time. I couldn't help but laugh. I grew up around cows, I mostly just think they are funny and I love love love milk. I decided to see what my dad would say. I told him that this boy thinks cow's are being raped and taken advantage of, to which my dad responded, "They like it." hahahaha. I really think they do. They like being milked 3 times a day and I'm sure they like their set up. They get tons of food, water, shade, straw to sleep on, 24 hour doctor that makes sure they are healthy; these cow's have a much more cush life than those who get to graze and wander like nomads. So animal cruelty? I think not.


Adam and Kristina said...

Thinking about having to farm makes me cry.

And don't get me started on PETA. Although, I was watching something on Comedy Central the other night, where it was a debate about who was worse, the NRA or PETA. Tough call.

Anonymous said...

I too had someone tell me the same thing about cows. I just laughed and told them not true. And I will not comment on the wheat and potato thing (i already knew that.) I guess you should have taken a few Ag classes in High School :)

Lon & Steph said...

Haha, I grew up working in Potato harvests actually, that's funny. And raped? What planet does he live on, what a weirdo... And I am guessing if that is anything like a nursing mother, I can imagine that they probably do like relieving a little pressure HAHA

susan said...

Hi Whitney!
(climbing up on her soap box)
Not everyone treats their animals as well as your family does. Slaughter yards can often be hideous, unhealthy places, and animals raised for meat in pens don't have the same kind of life free range animals do. I eat meat also, but I like to know if it was raised and killed humanely. That's the balance I seek. Yes, PETA takes things to a sometimes riduculous extreme, but humans always need to be reminded that there is a right way and a wrong way to do things, and animals shouldn't have to suffer needlessly.
(climbing down off of her soapbox)
Aunt Susan