Monday, September 14, 2009:
It’s a beautiful morning, and the weather report is sunny and warm for the whole next week. That means I’d better get my lunch packed – and snacks enough to go until late! My boss, Loren, likes to combine way into the night. It’s hard to go home when he’s still at it – but enough sleep is important for a safe harvest. Everyone needs to know where their own limits are.
Robert’s boss, Iman, is scheduled for open heart surgery on Friday. It’s not an ideal time of year for a farmer to be out of commission for six weeks. He hasn’t been feeling good for some months then ended up in emergency a couple of weeks ago. They did lots of tests and realized things are serious. So he doesn’t have much choice.
Iman was telling me there are a lot of good people in this community. So many people have told him – “just call me if you need help”. I think this is when rural Canada shines – when there’s an opportunity to help a neighbour in crisis.
Iman’s got a good crew, so he’ll be all right. The hard part for him is to stay ‘put’ and watch everyone else run around doing his work.
The combines are running full speed again since Saturday. A lot of crop should come off this week, which would be good. Farmers continue to be happy with their yields, considering the severe drought at the beginning of the crop year.
We took three days off last week during the ‘rainy season’ and drove up to Manning, where I had a couple of interviews to do. Manning is about 100 kilometres north of Peace River, Alberta. We were sure impressed at the farming that is done that far north. There are some big grain operations up there. We visited one farmer with 14,000 acres. He’s harvesting 3,700 acres of canola, straight cutting all of it. Variety and the right combine header have lots to do with that.
I spent some time with Sam King, a cattle farmer that annually grows 60 acres of corn for winter grazing for his 250 cows. He’s done this successfully for 12 years. Corn that far north!
Blaine Calkins, Pioneer seed rep for that area told me the best corn grown in the Peace River area is in Fort Vermilion, about another 200 kilometres north of Manning. He thinks it is because the days are so long during summer that nights don’t cool down as much and the corn never stops growing.