Anyways, I was swathing the other day and checking my twitter and Kianwi, from over at simply she goes was asking about the process and whats involved in swathing. It hadn't really occurred to me that while I may be in a tractor (or swather in this instance) and be thinking that this job is mundane and uneventful, I should probably explain a little better exactly what I'm doing. That way when I pop up on some social media site somewhere and say I'm just doing this or that, you will know exactly what it is I'm doing and be immediately enthralled in my agricultural prowess. Or in the very least think.......meh?
|because a visual aid will make this easier|
I think this particular piece of equipment might also prove useful during the zombie apocalypse.
Now, you're probably thinking, but Ken, how can you drive this beastly piece of equipment, control the height of the knife for ground changes, adjust the reel for crop height, steer, AND pop into twitter or facebook to see what's going on? You must be an extremely talented, multitasking, social media savvy, manly man! DON'T THINK THAT! ............I'm only mildly talented.
The thing is, if you go back to the picture here, you'll see a yellow and green thing just above the front window. That's part of my GPS. But this isn't quite the same as the GPS you have in your Ford so you don't get lost trying to find that garage sale. Mine doesn't actually show roads or take you anyplace. My GPS steers the tractor. If I'm doing something that requires going back and forth. (and I do A LOT of going back and forth!) I can set it so it will hold the machine in a line exactly the distance I require, one row over, row after row. So I don't steer. Except on the ends when I have to turn around to go back. You can get the GPS that will do that for you as well, but it costs a lot more.
The idea behind this, is that it's way more efficient if you can put your machine exactly were it needs to be, each and every pass. Plus I can't begin to tell you how much less fatigued I am at the end of the day when I don't have to budget a percentage of my concentration on holding a line within 6 inches or so over the whole day. The added bonus to this, is that occasionally, when the crop is standing nicely and there is a long level patch of ground, I can pop into twitter and see what's going on.
One last thing I want to point out here, is that the reel in front of you, goes round and round ALL day. It can get rather hypnotic and there are times when you have to struggle to not fall asleep from the rhythmic rotation in front of your face. Being less fatigued from the steering helps immensely in this regard.
.................also, this is NOT a job you should try to do hung over. Watching that reel for about 15 minutes will make your stomach do nasty things. I'm just saying. I may or may not have had personal experience in this matter...........OK, I have, you'll blow chunks before you get to the end of the field.
I am submitting this post to Dude wtrite this week. It's where guy bloggers come together to submit posts, that get voted on from Sunday to Tuesday evening to see whose was most popular. I encourage you to pop over and take a look at them and maybe come back and vote on three of your favorites.
You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK.
I always wondered what those were.ReplyDelete
Hopefully, I've described it's function adequately.Delete
My father sold John Deere equipment, while one of his best friends in town sold Case, so there was a long standing feud about which was better, and I smiled to see the Case swather. No such GPS critters back in those days, and I can guess how much easier this makes that eternal back and forth trip. So glad it provides for a bit of blog time, that's to our benefit as well! I once rode tractor with my ex while under the influence of a medication which was making me queasy... another big mistake! This is another awesome Dude-Write contribution. I love seeing some different topics show up there!ReplyDelete
Those rivalries still exist. I don't really think one
is actually better than the other. It's pretty much about customer service and how close you are to the closest dealership for me. Before we had the fire, we had tractors of every colour.
There isn't so much time to actually blog, but the idea do seem to come much easier there. And that's a good thing
You had me at "swathing" and then pulled me in hook, line and sinker with the zombie apocalypse bit! :)ReplyDelete
I always try to imagine what it must have been like 100 years ago...200 years ago when we didn't have swathers or gps. Just people in a field. I am at once in awe of technology and terrified of it.
I imagine when (if) I get my own little patch of grain in the ground (I'm hoping maybe next year) that I'll be out there with a scythe harvesting by hand looking all old fashioned and Amish and it will take me all of five minutes before I start cursing and demanding that Scott buys me a swather!
Our neighbours have a small flour mill they use. Sometimes they will get some wheat that I've grown and grind their own flour. They always bring some back for us and it is a rather good feeling to make something, made from the flour that was once wheat that we grew ourselves.
About doing that all by hand, I'm pretty sure that's the reason the life expectancy was only 35 years old, 200 years ago. I'm rather soft.
Cool stuff. My buddy across the street sells that GPS equipment.ReplyDelete
It's become it's own industry. You can use GPS in just about every application in some regard. But you have to pay for it and for me, there gets to be a point where it just doesn't pencil out anymore.Delete
I absolutely LOVE reading things where I learn at least one new thing and this post taught me a few!ReplyDelete
Never knew the term 'swathing' had anything to do with farming. Very cool to learn that process.
Did NOT know that you used a GPS device on your farm equipment. What an idea! Never thought about how difficult that must be to drive 6 mph trying to keep an accurate, straight line and do it repeatedly. You have given me an increased appreciation for farmers everywhere.
You aren't kidding - that apparatus looks like something that could be in a horror flick.
You know - you don't see a lot of this type of equipment in Nicaragua. Most people just don't have the money for it. The tractor I saw as I landed was parked in a field and looked abandoned. Most of the farmers there can be seen in the field walking with a machete. Yowza.
Agricultural prowess, indeed. :)
Good luck on this week's Dude Write!
Hello, my friend.Delete
I probably should have explained that the row of material left behind is called a swath. I'm pretty sure the term swath existed before the machine so it only made sense for the machine putting it there to be a swather. Now that I think about it, the term they use when you look in sales flyers is windrower. I suspect there may be different names depending where you live.
Before we got the GPS, I always had trouble staying awake in the middle of the afternoon. I'd have to stop and get out and wander around a bit. I worried that if I got the GPS and didn't have to steer, I would surely fall asleep. Oddly, it was the opposite. You don't think that steering in a straight line is tiring but until you don't have to do that, and can focus on other aspects of the job better, and come out the end of the day a lot less tired, you truly find out the value of this technology.
I'm not certain I have what it would take to do this job by hand. Not here for certain and be able to feed our family. No, that's wrong. I could probably feed my family. I just couldn't rent land, buy more and bigger equipment so I could rent still more land, and stay in the rat race.......makes you think, eh? :)
Yay! Swathing the canola! I now understand. I really like getting a glimpse of what you do, so I'm so glad you wrote this. It's funny to think of you sitting in that machine, going back and forth in your field and tweeting :)ReplyDelete
And when the zombie apocolypse happens? I'm heading to Canada, so save me some room in the swather.
It was you that set the wheels turning in my head for this post. A fellow tagging himself as being in a tractor, should probably throw in the odd post about actually being in one, I think.
There's always time for tweeting. Just sometimes, voice to text would be SO handy!
Come on up, I have plenty of things that would adapt well to zombie slaughter. :)
I first read the title I thought it said swassing....ReplyDelete
.......one time, my A/C broke and I did have swather swass!Delete
Great information for a city boy like me. Thanks.ReplyDelete
You're very welcome Stephen. Sometimes it's helpful to share a little information with my city cousins.Delete
Swathing the Canola - that's what she said....ReplyDelete
Absolutely hysterical about the zombie apocalypse, my son is thinking of writing a post about the best weapons against zombies..definitely suggesting this one.
You'll enjoy one of my future posts about my farming life....yeah, I left you wanting to know more...
Perhaps, a "that's what she said" joke might be better suited to something like planting my seed, or pulling my plow? Just a thought?Delete
always leave them wanting more.......that's probably why you're a much better blogger than I am. :)
Well, all that's left now is getting that GPS to check Twitter and Facebook for you, and you're all set!ReplyDelete
If I could get it to do all that while I sat at home and drank beer, all the better!Delete
Almost wish I had one. Although besides hay I have nothing to swath. And since my place is so horribly horribly not level it would probably roll over on me too. I wonder if they come with a roll cage.ReplyDelete
We have some horribly, not level spots as well. They can be a challenge.Delete
I was actually thinking about you having one, that time you posted about cutting all of your hay by hand. The older ones used to be a lot smaller and I'm sure would work well for you, Plus keeping them running would make for awesome posts from you. :)
Ah yes...the swather aka the only thing I didn't wreck on the farm (a pull type though). I never ever wanted to farm but I miss swathing.ReplyDelete
There's still a farmer around here with a pull type swather. But they are certainly not very common.Delete
We used to use ours a lot more. Different farming practices for us have made for far less hours in it than we used to do.
Ken... once again your genius shines through. Swathing is EXACTLY what you need to do when the Zombie Apocalypse comes (because it IS coming). When it does hit, I'm coming to your house! Can you imagine how many zombies you can mow down with that thing with a single 'swath'? AND yours has GPS... lord help the zombies when you show up.ReplyDelete
Another enjoyable read my friend.
Michael A. Walker
Thank you Michael.Delete
I think that if the zombies know what's good for them, they should probably stay out of the rural areas. We have big machinery and most of the guns.
I live in Indiana, big time farm country. The swather is all over the place here. I knew what it did, in theory but not how it actually worked (or what it was called). So I appreciated the lesson here. Great post.ReplyDelete
I might suggest, that before you wander into the local coffee shop and start up a conversation on swathers, you might want to do a little reconnaissance to make sure that they call it the same thing in your neck of the woods.
I may not have a swather thingamajig to mow down zombies for the apocalypse... but most of my neighbors do. Besides, I have a full arsenal of beer bottles collecting on my front deck, just waiting to be hurled a zombie heads!ReplyDelete
Always be prepared Dan......always be prepared. :)Delete
Technology is fabulous. It’s amazing, not to mention clever and helpful, that there are GPS for farm machines.ReplyDelete
I really like the idea of explaining your daily work and what the various machines do, Ken, because so many of us really have no idea. I liked learning about the entire process, from seeding to swathing (which I’ve never heard of before). I find it all very interesting.
I can also understand why machine operators must learn to have a great respect for the machinery, which is potentially very dangerous.
Hi Susan. :)Delete
When I started this blog, my intention was to at least try to talk a little about the things that I'm actually doing. At times, I've opted against some of the things because they are somewhat boring jobs. I'll try to do a better job of keeping up on that aspect of what I'm doing.
There are plenty of farmers around here with missing appendages. So far so good for me.
Well damn, you learn something new every day.ReplyDelete
Honestly, Ken, I have a lot of admiration for what you do. I would not be able to be outdoors all day doing that, even if I had (the most amazing thing I've ever heard of) GPS helping me to accomplish it.
I wonder: are you able to listen to tunes while you work? Or do you have to be able to hear everything going on?
My radio is always on. If I can't find something that I like, I'll plug my phone in and listen to the music off of that.Delete
There are jobs that require me to play it at a lower volume to hear what's going on, but like I said, It's always on.
When I was younger, my favorite job was being in the tractor. I could spend all day in there because I wanted to be there. Now, while it's still one of my favorite places, The hours I spend there weigh heavier on me because I know exactly why I have to be there. It's taken some of the fun out of being in that cab and sometimes a little variety is nice.
But it's still one of the jobs that I prefer.
Do you mean you don't use a scythe? That's a shame :pReplyDelete
Once you discuss the next step in the process, a good blog would also be your farming activities during the winter. Do you turn and rotate crops?
We used to have a scythe but it seems to have disappeared.Delete
(guess I did a good job getting rid of that.)
Winters are a bit slower, but it's when all the cows are home from pasture and we have to feed them the every day the hay we've made over the summer. Also, we work in the shop, getting equipment ready for the next season. It never ends. :)
Chubby chatterbox sent me for a visit to Dude writeReplyDelete
Thank you for stopping by. I will make a point of returning the favor. :)Delete