Monday, July 20, 2009

Delivering Seifer Farms Chickens

Since I returned to the farm in the mid-1990's, one of my jobs has been delivering my family farm's all-natural free-range chickens to customers throughout southwest Nebraska.  Although I'm no longer directly involved with the production side (lucky me!), I do still occasionally make the delivery trips.

Saturday was the first one of the year I've been able to make. My first stop was in Brady at noon, and getting back onto the Interstate, you can see that the wheat harvest in the Platte River valley is still going strong.
It's always a relief to get away from the traffic and 75 mph speeds of Interstate 80 and on to the smaller roads. South at Lexington for a more leisurely drive.

Besides doing a great service (not only helping the farm out, but getting healthful delicious chickens into the hands of consumers), a delivery route through rural Nebraska puts me in touch with wonderful people and great scenery.

The following picture is of the outlet end of Johnson Lake, a beautiful lake just south of Lexington. It has received some media attention recently, a great article in the current Nebraska Life magazine, and an OWH article about the manager of Medo's resort, who spent five seasons crab fishing on the Bering Sea, experiencing what we see every Tuesday night on Deadliest Catch.  You just never know what kind of interesting people you'll run into in Nebraska.
Further south of Johnson Lake is the small town of Elwood. Here you can see grain cars lined up at the small grain elevator waiting to take away the current harvest of wheat.
Elwood is a friendly little community, so friendly in fact that they are offering free home-building lots to anyone who would like to make this great little town their home.

Just think about that for a minute... you would get to see and experience all of the great stuff that I get to every day, yet through the miracle of technology, still be connected to the big wide world... sound enticing?
Couldn't you just picture yourself living here?
A little further on, I found more evidence that the wheat harvest maybe isn't as far along for this time of year as it should be.  I spoke to one farmer in Arapahoe, who said that the area had gotten regular rains over the past few nights, making it impossible to get into the field. 
This crew found enough dry wheat to go to work.  In a conversation with another farmer, he described the wheat conditions as "tougher than whang leather." Hmmm.  Had to google that one. Apparently just means a very tough cord or whip made out of leather. I can see where it would be hard for a combine to go through that.
While stopped in Arapahoe, I got a great view of a section of a electricity-generating windmill moving through on the highway. Must be very nerve wracking to drive something like this.
Another great Nebraska small town. This is downtown Arapahoe.
Heading out of town, I got stopped while a motorcycle rally passed through. Saturday was a terrific day, mild temperatures and no wind. Must have been a great day for a bike ride.
When we stop in McCook to deliver chickens, we always meet our customers at the beautiful Norris park. Imagine my surprise, when after an absence of only a year, I discovered that the town had added a complete new playground to the park. Lucky kids of McCook.
Driving north of McCook, I got to experience another of the joys of driving along rural highways.  That of encountering farm equipment. In Nebraska, they do have the right-of-way, and it's up to the other motorists to navigate safely around them. As you can see, they do their best to stay as far off the road as possible.
The grain cart that belongs with the previous combine.
And my last wheat cutting picture of the day, just south of Maywood. I asked my customer at Maywood if she had any crews in the field. She said that the hail and 2.25" of rain they had received the day before had brought them to a stand still. Before the storm, they had completed about half of their harvest and were making 70 bushels per acre, an absolutely fantastic yield. Now they'll be lucky to get the rest of the crop out of the field, and probably at less than 10 bushels per acre. She was very philosophical about the whole thing "that's what you expect when you're farmers."

Think about that one next time you make a sandwich with bread made from good old Nebraska wheat (or wherever your wheat comes from).
And that brings me to the end of my day. Had some great conversations with folks who really appreciate the quality of the chicken they're getting, and who appreciate knowing who their farmer is. 

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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