There are several pieces of equipment we use to put in the crop. For planting corn, we use a 9-shank John Deere chisel plow (1996), a 28-foot John Deere soil finisher (1988) and a John Deere 4-row planter (1985). We use three different tractors; a John Deere 4755 (1992), a John Deere 4040 (1980) and a John Deere 4440 (1979).
Planting beans requires all the equipment listed except a 450 John Deere bean drill (2000) is used instead of the corn planter.
Holy cats! Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Our machinery is OLD! And it’s green.
No need to get into an argument about which color of machinery is better than another. I can’t argue about that, as I am not an expert about farm machinery. I just hand tools and parts over like a dental assistant when told to.
There was a thought of lining up all the machinery we use to prepare and plant, but that photo would look like a used farm machinery sale. This equipment is what we can afford, and we farm the best we can with what we have. To do our best, we have to maintain this equipment before beginning the planting season.
Here’s a quick list of some of the things that must be done to the chisels and planter equipment before planting begins:
- Check tire pressures • Tighten and loosen bearings • Grease bearings daily
- Rotate or replace plow points and tines • Check and replace chains
- Have the implement dealer simulate the corn planter finger pick ups
There are so many moving parts in a tractor! Here’s another to-do list:
- Check or change the engine, transmission and hydraulic oils • Check and change engine, cab and fuel filters • Check batteries • Check tire pressures and wheel bearings
Learn by doing. Farmers have to be mechanics of a certain level or they would go bankrupt doing minor fixes. This process can take several hours to several days per piece of equipment, depending on what problems are discovered. And because we live in the Middle of Nowhere, Iowa, (yes, that’s an actual address… just kidding!) a trip to the parts store will take a one-hour round trip. It’s what you have to do to get the job done.
It should be noted that we clean up equipment before storing these items for the winter. We have to. Our equipment is older (mentioned before) and must be maintained so we can farm another year.
Are you tired reading about all this work? Makes me want to eat something with a St. Patrick’s Day feel. Well, let me tell you! I’ve come up with a recipe that is perfect! This quick bread could be a good substitute for a cookie. It has little sugar compared to the cookie you are dying to eat. Don’t tell your children this recipe is low sugar. Tell them it’s authentic Irish cooking!
Today’s recipe is Hannah’s Irish Soda Bread. It’s from the 1980 St. Patrick’s Monti Church cookbook. You can’t find Monti, Iowa on a map. It was never a town.
This recipe is VERY old and unusual. According to the biography of this recipe, Hannah O’Donnell, who brought this recipe from Ireland, kept house for Father O’Donnell, pastor at Monti, Iowa from 1909-1929. St. Patrick’s operated for 135 years. The parish was open from 1870 until July 2005, when St. Patrick’s closed. Here’s a photo of a drawing I created for the Monti, Iowa 150th Anniversary & St. Patrick’s Church decommissioning. It was reproduced for all sorts of memorabilia. Here it is on the side of a crock that holds my measuring spoons. Handy!
Hannah’s Irish Soda Bread
Tools you’ll need:
½ Cup sugar
2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons caraway seeds
1 Cup sour cream
1 Cup raisins-make sure you soak the raisins in hot water to plump. Be sure to drain.
Pre-heat oven to 350˚. Sift together dry ingredients. Mix in 1 cup sour cream or enough to make a medium stiff dough. Add raisins. Turn onto floured board and knead about 10 times or until smooth. Shape into balls. Place in a greased 8 inch cake layer pan. Brush with butter. Bake at 350˚ for 15-20 minutes.