Posts Tagged ‘mobile seed cleaner’

Not sure why this didn’t post on Friday, but here it is.


Oh look, a Farm Girl Friday post!  Must mean spring is coming.

This is what our neighbourhood looked like on Tuesday (before we were buried in snow).  Colin was over a few side-roads doing a big cleaning job.  He likes cleaning for these guys because it’s a family and neighbours who pool their cleaning.  So Colin has one big job instead of half a dozen smaller/little jobs.  Since it takes about 45 minutes to set up and take down the cleaner, it’s much nicer to make it one big job.

This set up is a bit different than usual.  Often Colin pulls up to grain bin and the seed loads from there.  That wasn’t the case at this farm.  The new bins have unloading augers that are too big for the cleaner and risk breaking the beans (won’t grow if you break them).  So they ran the auger at full capacity into a holding wagon.  The fuller the auger the less damage to the beans.

From the holding wagon (left), Colin was able to use his loading auger to move the beans to the cleaner.  From there the soybeans are then loaded into the ‘weigh-wagon’.  When the right weight was reached for each farmer, the soybeans were loaded into their personal grain wagons.  It was a very long day -almost 12 hours.  Colin cleaned 35 ton of soybeans and 3 ton of oats.

Farm Girly has had some fun this week too.  Figure skating has come to the end for this year (so early compared to at home).  They had a big carnival and Grandpa and Grandma Lorraine came.  Grandma Hattie was there of course too (she drives us every week).  Daddy was even able to come.

The Future Star kids did their competition routine.  Taylor wasn’t there so Ella got put in the centre of the pinwheel since she’s the next biggest (in muscle mass not height).

She made a great cheer leader!

My very happy Farm Girly has finished her CanSkate program in only 2 years!  She got such lovely comments from her coach in her report card too.

I forgot to share this one on Wednesday:

Last Saturday was Cookie Day in Renfrew.  Wow, what a miserable day!  On the way to Renfrew we hit a wall of snow and could barely see the vehicles in front of us.  Luckily we were almost to Renfrew or we should have turned around.  The snow stopped, mostly, after 10.  Then the water started dripping off the roof.  We took the tablecloth off soon and had to use it to mop up puddles.  Then the snowballs/pellets started.  The lovely folks at Metro let us come inside the doors for the rest of the day.

You know the most common comment/question when people hear you homeschool?  “What about socialization?!!”  Well guess what?  If it wasn’t for my ‘poor’ home schooled child we would have sold 0 cases of cookies.  We had a Brownie and Spark member ‘helping’.  Ella was the only one to actually stop people and ask them to buy cookies.   We were there for 4 hours and we sold a whopping 10 cases of cookies (12 boxes in each case).

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When one is a Farm Girl on a real, full-time working farm, you get used to the fact that ‘real’ vacations are few and far between.  Extra work for the Farmer usually means he’s ‘out’ for long hours and if you are lucky he comes home in time for supper.

But not last weekend…

Friends of ours have a B&B (well, more log cabins they rent out) and Carol wants to start grinding her own flour.  Joe grew her wheat last summer but wasn’t happy with the job the combine did.   They know all about Colin’s cleaner so they invited us out for a night if we’d bring the cleaner.  Can’t beat a deal like that!  It was a rather cold day for Colin out there cleaning, but Carol, her friend Judy and I had a great visit in the house with the cook stove going.  Joe had a friend and a son-in-law over for the day too so Colin had more help than ever.

Not the best picture, the first one was better but my eyes were closed  🙂  It was nice to just lazy around the cabin all afternoon (cleaning was done by lunch).  The wood stove had the cabin so nice and cozy.

So nice when extra work equals a romantic night away too.

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Colin’s mobile seed cleaner at the Renfrew County Plowing Match 2012

Colin took his cleaner to the show so that Farmers who have not seen it first hand could see how much space is needed when set up. Unfortunately some storage bins on farms have been built with no thoughts on how to get a truck or in this case, Colin’s cleaner anywhere  near them.

The thing that caught most farmers attention were the soybean plants that Colin had pulled from one of his fields and took along.( in front of sign) They are grown from seed (non-GMO) that Colin has been saving for 6 years, and have done very well, even with the drought. Colin was getting tired of people telling him that keeping your own seed doesn’t work, so he took along proof that it does and told anyone who’s interested they can come and see the field!

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The first of the fall wheat was combined the other day.  It’s about 3 weeks early.  Our neighbour came by with a wagon load to get cleaned.

Here’s the wheat straight from the field.

Colin carefully adjusts the cleaner so only the bad stuff gets blown out.

Clean wheat kernels ready for planting .

Trash from the wheat starting to pile up on the ground.  Mostly chaff and light kernels, but if you look closely you can see some seed contamination too.

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Colin and I used to be on the Board of Directors for the Ottawa Valley Food Co-op.  You would not believe the hours wasted at each and every board meeting while discussing ‘organics’.   Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in true organics and am all for educating people (most Board members weren’t farmers).  But these conversations never had anything to do with the agenda and only made the meetings drag on for 5+ hours -you can tell the others weren’t farmers, farmers don’t have that kind of time to waste ‘talking’.  But I digress…

At these board meetings there was a ‘farmer’ that the others considered the be all and end all when it came to ‘organics’.  He was always fear mongering and telling them that it was nearly impossible to find crop seeds that weren’t Genetically Modified.  This drove me crazy.  There are plenty of seed options out there if you bother to look.   Which is what brings me to the point of this post.

You will likely recall that Colin started another business last year in attempts to actually make a living farming.  He built a mobile seed cleaner and has been going around cleaning seeds for farmers.  This way they can keep their own seeds.  We’ve been doing this personally for years.  You can only do this with non-GMO seeds!

Well, here is Colin cleaning his 1 millionth pound of seeds!!  That means there are a lot of farmers out there growing non-GMO crops.  There are even more out there that do it without cleaning their seeds first.  Not bad when you consider the relatively small number of farmers there are in Renfrew County!

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Here’s some pictures of Colin’s new mobile seed cleaner, that he built this winter, in action.  He’s down the highway at the local feed mill cleaning oats for the farmers to plant.

The oats, or other grains, come out of the large bin (on right) and are augured up into the cleaner.  The grains are then shook through three screens which  clean out all the weeds and chaff and bits.  The clean grain is then augured into a wagon (in this case) or a bin or 1/2-1 tonne tote bags for storage.

Colin’s been very busy this spring with hopes of even more in the fall.   He also hopes to clean grain corn for burning in grain stoves this winter.  Saving grain for seed seems to be a new idea around here.  We’ve been doing it for a few years now.  It certainly helps with the bottom line, since even with the cost of cleaning it is still cheaper than buying new seed.

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Colin was very busy this winter.  Being a pork producer he can’t take the winter’s off, unlike a crop farmer.  But usually it is fairly quiet.  This year he bought and assembled a mobile grain cleaner.  The actual cleaner unit came from the States.  All the augers and trailer and stuff Colin built/assembled.  It took much longer than anticipated, but I guess it kept him out of trouble  🙂

Even though Colin was kind of late in the year to start advertising, we have received a lot of calls about the cleaner.  Most of March has been booked for cleaning.  We are very pleased, it’s very good for a first year.  Hopefully this fall guys will remember us and keep their grains for seed next year and will want it cleaned.

I was finally able to get a picture of Colin in action.  A guy wanted a small amount cleaned and since his farm is basically downtown Hull, Colin had him come to us.   The set up looks a little awkward but that’s because they are going from tote bag to tote bag.   Going from bin to bin or bin to wagon is much easier and definitely less work.

Main thing is, the guys usually pay Colin at the end of the day.  Colin sure could get used to actually making money for a day’s work – sure is different from pork farming these days.

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