Ankle Deep!

Between the Fencerows

Tile project rolls on, despite winter's last flurry.

Published on: April 9, 2013

Greetings.  It's my pleasure to be joining the group of bloggers at Farm Futures.  Mike Wilson and I have been talking about this for several months.  As we're getting ready to roll into spring, the blog is finally coming to fruition. As time goes by I'll give you a look into our operation, and the decisions and management issues I deal with on a regular basis.  I'll be reporting on what we're up to, and what's on mind.

 What you see in these photos is a tiling project we finished up in the last week of March, when Northwestern film student Colton Maddox caught up with us to take a few photos. We were hoping for some nice weather - green grass and dust flying, like a year ago.  Instead Colton found us in a slightly frozen, slightly snow covered field installing drain tile. Quitting before lunch, we were indeed 'ankle deep' as the frost went out quick that day.

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My grandpa was a ditching man by trade.  I remember helping lay a string of clay tile behind my dad's house.  Granted, I probably wasn't much help, as I was a small child.  This was probably one of the last strings the old half-track Cleveland machine known as 'Bertha' put in. 

Back then, elevation was taken using a transit, and stakes were set for grade.

Even after grandpa passed, we always did a little ditching, but it became more difficult to get quality contractors on our timetable.  It has become quite expensive as well.  So, after the spring of 2011 with a couple hundred acres of prevented plantings, we made the commitment to add the plow to our line up and get to work. We have not looked back.  

We have a wheel machine and a tile plow.  Each has its place.  We use GPS with RTK correction and an on-site portable base station that feeds data to the display in the cab that does the bulk of the design. 

At this time, we are not-for-hire, working nearly exclusively on our farms.  Farming is my full-time occupation. I'll keep you posted on what we're up to as planting season moves forward.