Thursday, August 27, 2009


After reading through earlier entries in this Heirlooms Blog, there is an obvious gap for the month of August. With only a few days remaining in the last official month of summer, I'd like to apologize once again for my negligence and attempt to provide an update on our activities.

When last I wrote, we were a bit discouraged and a little apprehensive about getting the hay in on time, but I can report that it is done now. The haying endeavor was a success, in that 80 acres of square bales and 80 acres of alfalfa produced an unprecedented harvest this year, and all of it was baled and off the field just before the grasshopper invasion.

In the spring and early summer we had a lot of rain and a bumper crested wheat grass and alfalfa crop. The fields were beautifully green, with lush grass. The view from our bluff was breath taking. We couldn't get enough of the sights and sounds and smells of this land. It was enough to go to the top of the bluff and look out for miles and to just take it all in. The place itself fascinated us and we had, ( and have) dreams) for nurturing it as long as we are able.

When the time came to cut the hay, we had just enough sun to dry it and bale it. Then, even though it seemed agonizingly slow and hard work for Jim, he got the bales off the field and ready to sell just as a plague of grasshoppers moved in.

Each day Jim would freeze a container of water to take out to the field to help with hydration and heat exhaustion. It helped, but the effects of working in the hot sun were evident. My husband was starting to look somewhat like a raisin, especially his arms and face. His jeans were wearing out where the bales rubbed, which was about thigh level and he cut a flap of denim and attached it there to his worn out blue jeans to protect his leg from further beating, and to save wear and tear on his work clothes. He was also losing weight, becoming thinner and thinner. Dare I say he could be mistaken for a tattered raisin scarecrow of a man in his ragged jeans and sun parched body?

On the positive side, this is the first and last year of the hard work. We had a profitable year and can buy better farm equipment next year, which is a very good thing.

Our son Jamie, daughter-in-law, Denise and grand-children, Katie and Jared arrived for a visit in the midst of baling, in July, and did all they could to help with the work while they were here. Denise drove the truck hauling the hay wagon, while Jamie and Jim loaded bales under the hot July sun. They were a tremendous help both here and at home and the time went too fast before they had to return home to Washington state. Jamie hated to leave Jim with such hard work. He wants to be able to help with all of it, but at the time he had no choice but to get back to his job in the city. That is another blog, another issue of mine, the yearning for a self sustained lifestyle for our family. Is it all a dream or is it remotely possible for our family to be self employed and self sustained? I could write on and on about that subject, but as I said, that will be another blog.

After Jamie and Denise had to leave us, I drove the truck some, out there in the hay fields and pulled the hay rick between rows of bales. Jim would load the square bales onto the trailer and climb up and stack them very tall to get the maximum load on each trip.

There were days when Alan Nelson and Dennis Fischer went out to help Jim with the work and mechanical problems, and times when Quinn's provided help and support and we are very grateful for that. On the final day of baling, Jim and Dennis and the son of a friend, Chris Zeller, went out and finished loading the last of the bales.

That night I posted a message on facebook saying: " All the bales are off the fields. We're celebrating, and the drinks are us if you can get here before bedtime." Of course most people were far away and unable to take advantage of the free drinks offer in such a limited time. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, you know. LOL.

We have learned a lot of things this year, and we are thankful to God for giving us this time in this place, and for allowing us to celebrate this joyful bounty.

Hence the name,
J.B. Heirlooms Farm/Joyful Bounty/J Brockamp *

*Update: The name of our Farm has changed since this blog was posted.

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