Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fair Time Again

Every year in July, my husband and I take a few days to travel back to our farm.  Yes, we are city dwellers that bought a farm.  A long complicated story how we arrived at being farm owners .....but part-time farmers we are. I am sure that some people would think we were quite insane to spend the money to buy  into such an "iffy" proposition.

 My husband's family settled in the northeast part of Illinois in the late 1800's and the area is "home" for him.  We are quite fortunate that while he opted not to be a full time farmer, his brother not only loves farming but agreed to "farm" our farm as well. We get the luxury of visiting from time to time without having to actually do the work. (NOTE: my brother-in-law is not only a wonderful guy is is an AWESOME farmer.)

Thought Number One:  I drive the men who work on the farm nuts.

Every year I find something new to stick my nose in.  This year was no different.  We arrived just in time to see the crop dusting.  Now to my husband and brother-in-law, this doesn't seem overly exciting.  I, on the other hand, think this is so cool. 

This year, thanks to the extreme heat and dry conditions the corn crops are prone to fungus problems.  Additionally, the beans are being dusted for spidermites.  Again this dry, hot year is fostering pests. 

The men, despite trying to get their work done, humored me and answered my multitude of questions on how the helicopter refueled and reloaded chemicals.  So far this summer the three men dusting these crops have dusted more that 15,000 acres. 

I asked him how long it took to land on the truck to reload.  The turn around time is less than 40 seconds.

Thought Number Two -  Meet Me at The Fair

For my long time readers, you might remember that Hubby and I always time one of our farm trips to coincide with the county fair.  This allows us to meet up with all of our relatives in one place.  It also, allows us to eat junk food for a couple of days and rationalize it by telling ourselves that we will walk off the calories hanging out at the fair.

Additionally, I love watching my two little grandkids enjoying  the rural atmosphere. (They, also, are city dwellers.)

Little G-boy #2 eating ice cream.  He is getting as much
on his clothes as in his mouth but that isn't bothering

Little G-boy #1 is pretend driving one of the antique tractors
while little brother is adjusting a light.
Fishing for prizes.  They both caught a fish.
Baby ducks are so cute.

G-boy #1 (in the blue shirt)  got to count down the start of
the demolition derby.  5-4-3-2-1 GO
Little brother didn't mind the ice cream all over
him but doesn't like the dust
from the demolition derby.

With the help of my nephew Shawn (orange shirt) and my Son-in-law, both little boys get to come down the big slide.

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Crack You Whip said...

Seriously? You have a farm? That is so cool! I would love a part-time farm. Also, I have never seen a helicopter do crop spraying. I heard they used an unreal amount of fuel, but I have never flown one (I am a pilot). The pics helped with the story because I have never seen that!

Cheryl P. said...

There is a question I didn't ask...how much fuel it takes. I think there would be fuel savings in the speed of how quickly they spray the fields compared to the plane. (even if the copter burns more, maybe less flight time involved) Although this year my BIL said he had a plane do some crop dusting earlier in the season. I think I will ask him about the comparison...why sometimes a helicopter and sometimes a plane.
You're a pilot...now that is cool.

Don E. Chute said...

Way back when I wanted to be a farmer [your farm sounds cool] but alas never happened. My Son [23] wants to be one of those sustainable resources dudes, and be able to provide in case of emergency + it's just good for the earth.

Your G-kids are some really cool lookin lil' dudes! Btw I have a G-kid now [from the above Son] Jaxon just turned 2 yesterday [months not years].

I love Fairs...Food and People watchin'. Really good to comment with you again Cheryl. I have been off the Ranch a lot lately, but should be back in the Saddle again.

PLU from SSF

Kimberly said...

Your grandbabies are adorable!! And getting so big! And even though I have a lot of farming family, we only do organic, so I've only gotten to witness the crop dusters a few times (at neighboring farms). So cool! I would've been right there with you pestering away. ;)

Linda R. said...

I love the fair, the food and the demolition derby. We sit way up in the grandstand so there's no dust. Plus it looks out over the midway and it's pretty at night to look out at the lights from the rides, etc. Oh, and it's a great place to watch the fireworks. It's great y'all have this getaway each summer.

Chubby Chatterbox said...

It seems to me that you have the best of both worlds. I've never known anyone to be able to balance country and city life as well as you.

oldereyes said...

Crop dusting from a helicopter ... what will they think of next. I always picture red biplanes piloted by former Vietnam fighter pilots who drink too much, like in the movie Independence Day. It turns out the Orange County (CA) Fair is going on here It's sort of funny to have all the animals and farming stuff in the middle of ultra-suburbia.but Muri and I go every year. We both enjoy the photography and crafts exhibits as well as the animals and this year we're going to a concert as well, Ottmar Liebert ... the Flamenco guitarist. Again, a strange venue for Flamenco, but it is Orange County. Click.

Cheryl P. said...

Two months old....how cute is that???? I love little grandkids. It will be even more fun when Jaxon starts doing things that show his little personality.
I like fairs as well. The people watching is worth the price of admission for sure. Worlds unhealthiest food but also the tastiest if you are into pure junk...and I am.

Cheryl P. said...

Organic farming is the way to go if you can manage it esp. if it is fresh produce as opposed to corn and soybeans that are going to get processed. I appreciate the organic farmers of the world.
I did talk to the crop dusters about the newer EPA guidelines. Pretty strict these days (as they need to be)...It is getting more difficult dealing with disease and pests on really large acreages.

Cheryl P. said...

We always sit on main stage in the middle of the track because my BIL is the Fair Board President and that is where he is. My husband is always a judge for whatever the event is so we usually sit behind him. It isn't the best seat in the house because the dirt from the track hits the stage pretty regularly. That is what little G-boy was wiping off. But from sitting in the middle of the track you sure see things up close....and loud.

Cheryl P. said...

It is a nice balance for us. I love the rural areas of the country but living in a metro area is nice as well. Pros and cons for sure.

Cheryl P. said...

There are probably more crop dusters that fit you description than those that use bright yellow helicopters. I hadn't seen the helicopters in action until this visit. They come in fast and can come straight down. No more having to allow a field air strip to get up in the air or land. This really moves things along in a hurry. The air strip on our farm used to be used a lot by small planes coming in and out of the area. I haven't driven over there in years so I don't have any idea what kind of shape it's in.
I love all the exhibits. The fair here allows people in the county to submit just about anything for judging. There was a quilt from a 92 year old that was just awesome.
A Flamenco guitarist..very cool. The Iroquois County fair tends to lean toward a "country" flavor. I used to get to meet some really famous county singers but now they are too expensive to bring into a county fair. The days of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are long gone. It was fun while it lasted. (I am not a huge country fan so I will survive)

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl

That is so cool to use a helicopter to crop dust and refueling with the truck, this is an awesome idea. I bet the time saved and fuel economy savings is good using this method. Here we use an airplane like Bud described we call him the red baron...lol
It looks like you guys had a lot of fun at the fair, our fair is going on too I guess it's that time of year :)

Have a great week!

Katrina Grothe said...

That is freaking' AWESOME! I would spend all day watching those guys spray and land and reload the helicopter... I'd probably even try to see if there was room for a short ride LOL How very genius!

I'm missing the fair this year, too many other things to do right now :( It's probibaly adding one year to my life by skipping the fried foods. I love the pics of your grandkids, they are so very cute!


Jo-Anne said...

I love to watch little kids eat and yes I know that is strange but there is something cute about the way they eat.......or maybe it is just that little kids are cute whichever isn't important.........I think it was amazing that they it took such a short time for the helicopter to reload and take off again very cool.........

meleahrebeccah said...

Wow. I agree with you. Crop dusting = super cool!

And the photos? Too cute for words!

Cheryl P. said...

It is funny that every area has a crop duster that people call the "red baron" There is one in our area as well.
We did have fun. We don't get to see our family as often as we would like and fair time is a "for sure" to see everyone.
Hope you have a great week as well.

Cheryl P. said...

You are one of the few people that might find the "ins and outs" of this fascinating. Trina you and I would be great friends if we lived near each other, although you would have to refer to me as your "old lady friend".
It is hard to see in my pictures, but there is a boom hooked on the front of the helicopter that balances the whole thing. Only one guy fits into the cockpit as two would throw the weight distribution off. At the end of the day, the boom gets taken off and laid over the top of the truck to haul back to the shop.
I loved how quickly this guy could cover a field. He moves much faster than even my clip shows. The two guys on the ground said he was behaving himself because I was watching.

Cheryl P. said...

Why didn't I think of a fun career when I was young. Doesn't that look fun.
Thanks, I didn't take many pictures this year. I am hoping my SIL got some cute ones.
BTW..your description of the weather "creamy bisque" applies here in spades today. UGH!!!

meleahrebeccah said...

Ugh. Nooooooo!

I hope you enjoy the BISQUE air!


Nicky said...

I love those pictures of your grandboys! How absolutely gorgeous they are, and it looks like they had a wonderful time.

The crop dusting is very cool... I didn't realize it was done with helicopters. Did you get to go for a ride in one?

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you...I think they are pretty cute as well (dripping with bias)
Until I saw this happening, I always thought we had a guy with a small bi-plane do it. So this was a big surprise for me as well. I could see the copter in the distance and had my husband go with me out to ask questions.
The cockpit can only hold one person and they have a boom to act as a balast. So no one but the pilot can go up in it. Still is was great fun to watch him come in to refuel and take off over the fields. I thought our fields looked healthy and hearty but my BIL said that there was some fungus starting (thanks to the heat) so that is why he was having it sprayed.

GenePoolDiva said...

Never knew the choppers could reload from a truck. And those kids? Way too cute!

Cheryl P. said...

I didn't either. For years I have seen little planes do the crop dusting. When I saw this yellow copter rising above the corn field, I had my husband come with me to track it down and talk to the guys. I bet when they saw me coming they said something similar to "Oh Sh**, what does she want?" The process of loading the chemicals and gas in just a few seconds is pretty amazing.
Thanks, Kelly, I think they are a couple of cuties....but of course I would...it's my job as a grandma.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree...esp. cute when they are little and still perfecting reaching their mouth. I'm like you though that I think little ones are cute whatever they are doing.
I thought the process was very interesting. I had never seen crop dusting with helicopters. It moves a lot faster than the planes.

Jayne said...

And I'm a farm dweller who visits the city once a year or so. That big slide sure looks like fun. As for crop dusting... I wouldn't want to be downwind, but that sure is an interesting process.

Cheryl P. said...

I think I would enjoy living full time in the country but I don't think my husband would.
No, I wouldn't want to be downwind either, although now with all the rules in play, I think you have to be a certain distance from residences. On that field my BIL's house would be the closest and that was probably a couple of miles away.

babs (beetle) said...

I think you have a right to drive the workers mad with questions once a year :)
Moving out to the country was the best move I've ever made. I love the clean air and your grand babies are so sweet!

Cheryl P. said...

I hope the worker guys agree with you.
I lived on a farm for a while as a kid and loved it. My husband lived his whole childhood on farms and guess it lost its appeal. Although he seems to enjoy our visits back there.
Thank you for the kind remark about my grandkids. I think they are the best.