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Posts Tagged With: tractor

A Book for Your Tractor Lesson

You know that great feeling when you stumble on something great completely by accident?  I have it today!  We were at the library looking for books for school, which means I’m scribbling down reference numbers and chasing children’s books from all their misplaced places, when the title of this book caught my eye.

A great book for your tractor lesson plan!

Being “Daddy’s Tractor” of course, we had to check this one out.  And we’ll probably renew it too!  Its a whimsical book with bright illustrations and a bit of nostalgia for the by-gone era of small family farms.  Grandpa takes his grandson out to the old homestead, now fallen into decay.  There they find a forgotten (red!) Farmall tractor growing up with weeds.

A great farm book for a tractor lesson plan

Please note that Farmall is a predecessor to Case IH.  And if you don’t know what Case IH is, kindly refer to the photos in the blog title.  And for all of you cheering for green and yellow, just allow me this moment.  It is hard for all of us in ag to find truly good literature, but do you know how hard it is to find books with red tractors?!

But back to the actual point…  Grandpa tells his grandson all about the work the tractor used to do on the farm when he was a boy, making this book a fantastic addition to our History of Agriculture Theme Unit.

A great book for a tractor lesson plan

The author/illustrator is not a farmer (or even remotely connected with ag in any way) and it was not written to be a scientifically, historically, or otherwise perfectly accurate portrait of farm life, but I thought Michael Garland did a nice job and avoided any of the usual mistakes of drawing all roosters instead of hens etc..   And the story of how this book came to be, featured on the last page, is probably my favorite part of all.

So now you can be as excited as I am :-).

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Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Can You Spot the Differences?

There are five insignificant differences between these two photos.  Can you spot them?

anhydrous originalanhydrous changed

Little differences can be hard to spot.  In fact it is possible for someone to change something so slightly that others don’t even notice it isn’t the original.

I was thinking of that this week as I wondered how to teach my children how Satan attempts to confuse issues by making the smallest of changes.  A misused verse of scriptures.  A common phrase attributed to the Bible.  A tiny sin.

Did you find the changes?

anhydrous answers

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

What Daddy’s Tractor Does in the Winter

So I’ve been rereading my recent blog posts and I’ve noticed they are all about chickens.  In fact, you may have noticed that the tractor has been entirely missing from “Daddy’s Tractor” for some time.  Has it been sitting idle?  Is it broken down or rusting in a fence row?  What does Daddy’s Tractor do in the winter anyhow?

Actually, Daddy’s tractor has been quite busy as of late!  For the last few weeks the tractor has been acting as snow plow.  Out here in the middle of nowhere the county snow plows take several days to get to our roads.  And even after they’ve been cleared the wind often blows across the open spaces, filling in the gap between the piles of snow on both sides of the road and blocking you in even worse than before.  So out come the neighborhood tractors.  Daddy, grandpa, and many other farmers use their equipment to help out all the families who live on these back gravel roads.  Its just one of the neighborly things that still happens in the country.

Daddy's Tractor does all kinds of jobs, including plowing snow!

The tractor has also been busy improving the quality of our fields.  Earlier this winter we redid the terraces in the field behind our house.  Terraces are a must on our rolling fields; they keep water from washing away topsoil so our fields stay filled with good dirt and streams stay clear of runoff.

Daddy's Tractor, what the tractor does in the winter

The snow actually helps you see the newly built terraces; the raised lines of soil are the first places the snow melts.

And more recently the tractor and skid steer have been working to rid a farm of the fallen trees and old fence rows and adding good topsoil where its needed.  They are also using the dump truck for this job, which is a lot of fun for Daddy :-).

The tractor also has the job of taking hay to the cattle.  One of the older tractors on the farm has a bale spike (observe) on the back so it can easily lift and carry those huge hay bales out to the field.

And its hard to believe, but soon Daddy’s tractor will be hard at work getting ready for spring planting!

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Off the Farm Fun

Whew!  What a great weekend!  We just got back from one of our favorite farm family events, the Missouri Farm Bureau Young Farm and Rancher conference.  Its held in south Missouri at a resort on the Lake of the Ozarks, with classes for mom and dad, pool and activities for the kids, AND… moving stairs.  Or electric stairs.  Call them what you’d like, just as long as you let the kids go up them.  And down them.  And up them.  And down them…  It was the highlight of their week.  Maybe their year.

For the last few years Brian and I have served on the committee in charge of putting the conference together.  But we retired from that position in December and this year we just got to ENJOY!  It was lots of fun, especially the part about going up the escalator attending with our close friends!   We came home with too many great ideas, bit of popcorn in with the dirty laundry, and even a 1st place ribbon from the children’s tractor pull!

Young Farmer and Rancher

Brett in the tractor pull at YF&R

tractor pull 2

Tractor pull 3

He worked really hard and didn’t give up, even though he didn’t understand why the tractor was so hard to pedal.  Brett wasn’t alone in this confusion.  My favorite moment (maybe of the entire weekend) was a little boy in the four year old division who grew frustrated and complained loudly that the John Deere tractor wasn’t working right.  They needed to go home and get his International tractor, which worked much better!  Go Big Red! And just to even things out a bit, here’s Anna viewing one of the many babies who attended the conference.Young Farmer and Rancher

Babies are almost as much fun as escalators.

I hope to go through our stuff today and prepare a post with the lessons and activities the Promotion and Education department did with the kiddos.  Brett had a blast, so you know it was great stuff!  Coming soon!

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In other news, our baby chicks should arrive this week.  They ship Wednesday, so I’m hoping Thursday but certainly by Friday anyhow.  I’ll be posting pics as soon as I get them settled.  Love this part!!

 

 

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

One of the best things about homeschooling is choosing to study what you like!  We recently completed a theme unit on the history of agriculture.  If this sounds like fun to you, here ya go!

HISTORY OF AGRICULTURE THEME UNIT

Reading

The American Family Farm by Joan Anderson

Farming Then and Now by Katie Roden

Pictures from the Farm by JC Allen and Son, Inc. (Brett loved this one!)

Case Photographic History by April Halberstadt

The Big Book of Tractors by John Deere

Tractor Mac Arrives at the Farm by Billy Steers (and other Tractor Mac books)

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingles Wilder, Chapters 10 &11

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

Writing

Keep a vocabulary list of all the new words you learn

Brainstorm facts you’ve learned about farming; choose one to write in your journal

Explore the poem “One for the Mouse, one for the crow, one to rot, one to grow”

Pretend you are living on a family farm __ years ago.  Write a letter to someone telling them about your day.

Math

Create a timeline of farm history (We started about 1800.).  Add to it through the unit.  These ready-made timelines were great resources!

“Plant” (glue) ears of corn in numerical order.  For older students, plant numbers by 2s, 5s, etc. or backwards.

Use this website from nps.gov to learn how many miles a man walked to plant one acre, how much a plow cost and billions of other math facts from the 19th Century!

Use the “one for the mouse” poem to do a little hands-on subtraction

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

Science

Try this experiment to learn why rubber tires were a great improvement over horses hooves and steel wheels.

Experiment with tying straw sheaves.  If you don’t have straw large weeds from the side of  the road will work as well.  Will your sheaves protect the straw from the rain?

Make a farm diorama with a shoe box, clay, plastic toy cowboys and horses (can you figure out a way to dress your cowboys to look like farmers?), and any other things you can imagine!

Social Studies

Try sowing seeds yourself.  Grass seed is a great choice.

Use a hand grinder to grind wheat.

Watch the archival footage on these John Deere DVDs. CombinesTractors

Field Trip!  The best part of homeschooling– right?!  Visit Missouri Town, an Amish community, or similar location

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

Art

Make a collage of seeds

Design a piece of machinery the could help farmers.  Use food boxes, paper towel tubes, brads, yarn, whatever!

Roll toy tractors in (washable) paint and create prints

Scripture

The Parable of the Sower, Luke 8:5-8

Other Internet Resources

Country Life vs. City Life from Home School Year Blog

Farm Theme Pinterest board

Fun on the Farm by Fabulous in First Blog

Counting 1-5 Grain Bins from Hands On: As We Grow Blog

Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Harvest Photographs

Harvest photograph

Harvest Photographs

Harvest Photographs

Harvest Photographs

Harvest photograph

These are a few of my favorite pics I snapped during harvest season this year.  l.eave me a message and tell me which is your favorite!

 

 

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Visit to the Farm

Last Saturday we enjoyed friends coming for a visit to the farm.  Like most families, these friends don’t have a combine in their backyard, so we had a grand time climbing up the ladders to look in the hopper, checking out the engine, riding around the field, “steering” the tractor and cart, and honking the semi’s horn.

Visit to the Farm

Visit to the Farm

Visit to the farm

Visit to the Farm

Now that you’ve seen the photos, what would you most like to do on a visit to the farm?  Use your journal and your imagination!

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Farmers want you to know about Safety During Harvest

Harvest season is in full swing throughout the midwest.  As those tractors, carts, wagons, combines, head wagons, semis, augers, and pick-ups move from field to field, here are a few things farmers want you to know about safety during harvest!

Safety During Harvest

We don’t like it any better than you do, but sometimes farm equipment must drive on the highway.  Dealing with the slow-moving machinery that produces our food is just part of eating!  First, stay back for the sake of your vehicle– you don’t want beans smacking your window and the farmer can’t see you very well anyhow.

Be patient.  Most farm equipment won’t be driving on the highway for a long way.  As soon as a back road is available, the tractor or combine is probably going to turn off.

When you are traveling on a back road, keep a close eye out.  If you see a pick-up or car with flashing lights at the top of a hill watch out!  This is the signal to warn you that a large or slow-moving machine is coming towards you on the road.   Slow down or even stop and get as far over on the shoulder as you can.  Don’t ignore flashing lights!

Some neighborhoods are built where a field used to be and are still surrounded by farm ground.  Many farmers are happy to talk to families and kids about the equipment they drive or what they are doing, but never approach a farmer while he is driving.  Wait until he has fully stopped before you approach your neighbor to ask a question!

And never play on parked equipment!  Farmers sometimes need to leave combines and carts in the field over night and come back to finish later, but these are not giant toys!  But if you ask nicely you just might get a chance to sit in the driver’s seat with the help of the farmer!

So from our farm family to yours, be safe!

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Super Simple Soil Experiment

If you didn’t see them last week, scroll down to Law of Supply and Demand Lesson Plan and check out the tires on the tractor, cart, and combine.

What do you think?  Pretty big, huh.  Well, today you will learn why farm equipment needs to have such large tires!

To begin, let’s try a super simple soil experiment.  You will need three things.

1.) Either some soil or sand

2.) Your finger

3.) Your hand

Like I said, super simple soil experiment.  Let’s start with the soil or sand.  All you need is a pile.  It can be in a pot, in the bag you bought it in, or in the sandbox, but you need a pile, not just the ground in your backyard.

Soil Science experiment

Next you need your finger.  Got it?  Good.  Poke your finger down into the soil.

soil experiment

Did your finger go down into the soil?  Unless your dirt is really a rock, your finger likely went in all the way.  Now, spread your fingers wide and place your whole hand on the soil.  Push down again.

soil experiment

Unless your soil is more like oozy mud, your hand probably made little more than a print.  Compare the two “holes” you made.  Do they look like mine?

soil experiment

Your finger made a much deeper hole, didn’t it.  And this hole was not made by taking soil out of the pile, but by pushing it in.  Soil being pushed down is called “compaction.”  Compacted soil is hard.  It has little room for air, water, or roots to grow.  Compaction is bad!

Unfortunately, compaction is also a reality.  Farmers must drive tractors, combines, sprayers, and other equipment over the ground.  So they have to do something about it.  Historically farmers have solved this problem by plowing their fields.  Horses pulled the first steel plows through the ground hundreds of years ago.  The metal knife cut into the ground, breaking the soil into pieces.  This helped with compaction, but can you guess what it hurt?  Erosion.  When the dark brown dirt was turned over and the seed bed was smooth even a small rain could wash away the soil into ditches, streams, and rivers.  Big rains could wash away entire portions of a field.

So today many farmers use a method called “no-till”.  Instead of plowing the ground farmers plant seeds into dirt that was left just as it was after last year’s crop was harvested.  Roots from the old plant hold the soil together, preventing erosion, BUT the soil was again compacted.

Engineers, Scientists, and others worked with equipment companies like Case IH and John Deere to make new tires that would cause less compaction.  They used the same idea you just did with your finger and hand.  Old tractor tires were small and thin, sort of like your finger.  New tractor tires are wide and gigantic, sort of like your open hand!  New tires were made of rubber, instead of steel and farmers often let some air out of the tires to make them squash even more, the way a balloon will squeeze flat when it is almost out of air.  Some tractors and combines even run on tracks, like a bulldozer, which lessens compaction even more.

Farmers care about the earth and the soil on it because they understand how important healthy soil is to happy eating!  And who knows?  Maybe one day you will become a scientist and help create new technologies that will allow farmers to take even better care of our world!

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Farm Living

Picking Cherries

What do you suppose farmers do when the planting is finished?  What keeps them busy when they aren’t harvesting?

Every farm is different, of course, but there is enough to do on every farm to keep a person hopping from sun up to sun down!  This picture shows our family working on an “off day” on our farm.  Having lots of wide open spaces means there is room for more than just soybeans, corn, and wheat.  We also enjoy the cherry tree– and picking those high up cherries farmers style!  Have you ever picked cherries?  They are in season now in grocery stores.  Try a bag and imagine picking each one!

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