While I don’t imagine this is the last time the Peterson Farm Bros. will appear on my blog, it is the end of the “Life of a Farmer” series that takes viewers through a full, annual cycle of farm tasks. One of the many books I’ve read on agriculture noted that farmers are essentially owned by their farms. While some times of year are busier than others (planting and harvest come to mind), there is no time of year that the farm does not require their attention.
Hope you enjoy “Life of a Farmer” for December.
As grass dies in the fields, farm animals become increasingly reliant on food provided by farmers. Of course, that’s looking at larger farm operations. Throughout history and around the world, for those who live in colder climates, the two most common solutions were bring the animals into the house with the family, to stay warm, or slaughter animals as winter approaches, so you don’t have to worry about feeding them.
In places where resources do not permit the gathering in of fodder for livestock, animals die in harsh winters. This was true when North America was first being settled (because the 1600s were still part of the Little Ice Age), and it is true today in countries that rely entirely on grazing their animals. When I was traveling in Mongolia, I learned that during a particularly harsh winter (known as a zud), the domesticated animals die of starvation by the thousands and even millions, as they can’t get through the ice and snow to any remnants of grass. Of course, this means people die of starvation, too. So having something to feed animals when pastures are not available is vital to survival.
In this video, the Peterson Farm Brothers talk about feeding their cattle. One of the things they use is distillers grains. In making both whiskey and biofuel, only the starch in the corn is used, and all the protein and fat is left behind. It’s an ideal way to boost the protein content of animal feed—and also keeps it from being dumped into landfill. Just one more example of how efficient most modern operations are.
Hope you enjoy “Life of a Farmer” for November.
Farming reminds us of the cycles of life—but so do other things. This summer, I’ve spent most of my time a couple of states away from my home, caring for my mom, who is in her late 80s. The weeks I’ve spent with her at the hospital and the nursing home have exposed me to all stages of life, as children and grandchildren visit aging parents.
As a result, I haven’t been posting much this summer—but I’m definitely not through with farming!
I particularly like the September Life of a Farmer video from the Peterson Farm Bros, because it’s mostly about corn—as is, of course, my book. One of the things I discuss in the book is the creation of silage. I also mention trench silos. You get to see both in this video.
Also in this video, they make silage out of sorghum. This is not a grain that will be familiar to most Americans—unless you’re from the South or have a farm. If you want to know more about this surprisingly important grain (fifth most important grain in the world), check out my post on sorghum on my The World’s Fare blog (and if you like baking, the post is followed by a recipe for sorghum cake).
Now here are the Peterson Farm Bros sharing what September is like on their farm.
Continuing the sharing of videos about the year of a Kansas farmer, created by the Peterson Farm Brothers. Always good to be reminded that there is always something happening on the farm.
Time for another “Life of a Farmer” video from the Peterson Farm Bros.
May is the month when farm work kicks into high gear.
In the video, you see the Peterson brothers creating a barbed wire fence. Hard to believe now, but barbed wire was once a major game changer. I wrote about Barbed Wire back in February, if you’d like to know more.
Leaving the Pioneer Village and Minden behind, we headed back to Arapahoe, where I enjoyed another day of learning about corn farming before heading back toward Lincoln. However, before heading east again, it’s time for another visit to the Peterson Farm in Kansas, by means of their Life of a Farmer video series. The Peterson Farm raises more than just corn, with wheat, hay, alfalfa, and cattle all present. Still, this is a good representation of the annual cycle of tasks on a Midwestern farm. So here is Life of a Farmer: March.
Back in January, I introduced the “Life of a Farmer” series, which was created by the Peterson Farm Brothers. This series takes viewers through a year on the Peterson farm, one month at a time, reminding us all that there is more to farming than just planting and harvesting. Eldest brother Greg Peterson is the narrator. I was sufficiently impressed with Greg’s passion for communicating the reality of farming to the non-farming world that I got in touch, and he became one of the many people whose experience and knowledge populate my book, Midwest Maize.
Here is February’s episode.