I like all of the seasons here in Iowa, but Fall is my favorite. It is not too hot or too cold and the leaves are just beginning the color change before they curl up and fall off the trees. This is the season for harvest festivals, pumpkin bread and hot apple cider. A time to begin preparing for the winter that is coming. The time when my little dog puts on his sweater.
The farmer in the valley below has been harvesting the corn. I find it interesting to watch the method of taking the corn out of the fields and the wagons filled to the rim chugging along the country roads. Corn must be at the greatest ripeness possible. If the corn is not ripe enough, the product will be of high quality. Farmers must determine the ripeness in testing the kernel moisture content. The farmer hand picks several ears of corn, shells them and tests the mositure content. Harvesting of corn should take place at 15 to 18 percent moisture content. When it is ready, the farmer uses a combine that harvests the grain. The corn is threshed by the combine, and the corn husks are discarded onto the ground. Then the grain is temporarily stored in a chamber inside the combine. Once the chamber is full, the grain is dumped into a truck bed or silo until it’s sold. When ready to sell the corn. the farmer takes it to an elevator, where grain is communally stored. At the elevator, the truck is weighed prior to and following dumping the grain into the silo in order to determine the weight of the grain. From the elevator, the corn is sold to feed companies, corn syrup manufacturers and others. This year many fields were damaged because of the rain during the summer causing some fields to be destroyed.
Last weekend I was invited to a sawmill party on Mudd Lake road. Behind the farmhouse was a old sawmill mill where my friend’s husband sawed wood the old fashion way. The engine of the massive saw was an old engine from the Dubuque airport. With 200 horsepower it sawed the wood from the tree trunks as if it was butter. It was interesting to watch how Mark moved the heavy log into position so that the saw would cut it with perfection. As we all sat drinking hot apple cider and watching the wood planks cut I thought it doesn’t get much better than this!
Next week a willow convention will be held here at the lodge. Those registered for the weekend will learn how to collect wild willow, sort and store it. Of course we will also be making rims and learning some new basket techniques. It will be a lot of fun. I have already taken a class using pine needles and this will be my second willow class. In all I have made four baskets for Christmas presents.
Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast