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Worth my weight in corn...Part 2

So Sunday I was eventually heading to Fountain Green, IL to do some headstone rubbings in an old church cemetery there. But along the way I knew
I wanted to stop and see my friend Kenny Vogler as well as doing some cleanup at the barn at my aunt's house about 30 miles away. The reason I do
work over there is my dad actually owns the house and the land. Not only does it help her out but it helps dad keep the property up.

As the crow flies, Kenny only lives about 3 miles from me. As the road goes though, it's more like 7 or 8. He has a lot more land than I do so I knew
he'd probably still be harvesting after mine was done. Kenny is somewhat of a rarity. He owns a fair amount of farmland on his own and does all the work
as well as cash renting a few neighboring farms. Aside from a part time gig as a rural mail carrier, he's a full time farmer. He's got both livestock and crops to tend.

That day, he was combining Non GMO
I'd like to thank all you folks who insist on Non GMO grains in your health food because we farmers get a much better price on that grain
than the grain that goes for livestock feed, corn oil and fuel products. The poor little ear of corn pictured here got left behind when the combine came
through so it will soon be picked up and used as squirrel corn or livestock feed. When I got to Kenny's house, his wife Lori told me he was combining a
field out by where we often go for campfires and outdoor parties. I drove over and parked my truck. I could hear the combine and see the dust and bits
of silage flying up a short distance away. Soon though, he turned the near corner of the field and came roaring toward me.

Kenny is also a bit of an oddity in not liking John Deere products. He's an International Harvester man in a world of John Deere men. I followed the combine over to his waiting truck so he could dump the grain in his hopper.

Then he invited me to climb on up in the cab and ride with him. From the cab you get a bird's eye view of the business end of the combine. Kinda makes you feel like you are a knight heading
into a joust.

Ever wonder why corn is planted just so far apart? Take a look at how perfectly the heads of the combine fit between the rows. The corn is litterally ripped from the
stocks which then fall to the ground. The ears of corn then hit a steel auger which run the length of the front of the combine and knocks the grains
off the cob. The grains fall onto a chute which feeds into the hopper behind the driver and the cobs and other waste get thrown out to the side.

When I was a little kid and used to ride in my Uncle Mervyn's old John Deere tractor to combine corn, the cab was open and you had to eat a lot of bugs
and dust from the process. Nowadays, the cabs are fully enclosed in glass and most have heat and air conditioning.

When the hopper behind the driver gets full, he drives back over to the waiting grain truck and extends a boom which contains another auger. This auger picks up the grain from the hopper and dumps it into the truck.

That day I helped Kenny out for a couple hours by moving
the grain truck when he went on to other fields. Here I am following the
combine down the road.

After the grain truck is full, the farmer has to take the grain to what is known as an elevator. This is a place that contains several large silos
where grain is stored to be dried or loaded onto trucks or barges to be taken to the end processor. In this case we had Non GMO corn which needed to
go to an elevator in Beardstown, IL on the Illinois river. Here the grain is quickly loaded onto barges and shipped up river to Peoria for conversion to fuel or down river to St. Louis for just about everything else.

Some farmers still have silos on their farms. Mostly these are for drying the grain further and storing it until it is ready to go on to the elevator.
In some cases though, farmers will hold some grain back for livestock feed.

I rode with Kenny in the grain truck down to the Beardstown elevator. We had to wait about half an hour for the guy in front of us to dump his load. That type of truck has a chute that opens in the middle of the truck and dumps the grain into a grate on the floor of the scale building.

How the scale works is, you drive your truck on and they weigh you the first time. Then you dump your grain and they weigh you again. Discarding the tare
weight (you and the truck), they get the weight of the grain and credit your account accordingly. Later on they mail you a check for the full amount of
all you deliver.

So our turn in line finally came and we drove
onto the scale.
We were weighed and began dumping our grain. These
shorter trucks are essentially dump trucks and hydraulic a lift tilts the bed until the grain pours out into the floor grate. As you can see, it's a dirty job working at a grain elevator. Hay fever anyone?

After the bed dropped the truck was weighed again. Unfortunately, I was out of the truck taking pictures and couldn't get back onto the scale quick
enough. So I was factored in on the weight of the corn and Kenny will be paid accordingly. I weigh about 250 or so so Kenny figured I'm worth about
$12.58 in corn.

After the elevator, we too kthe truck back to his farm and he was going to take the corn head off the combine and change over to the soybean head for a
few fields of Non GMO beans and see if he could get at least one load down to the elevator before dark.

I bid him farewell and headed off toward Bowen and my aunt's farm to take a look at the barn.
I had been planning to do a bunch of work there but I just ended up looking at what needed to be painted and making lists of chores that needed
to be done before winter.

From there I headed North and West toward Fountain Green. The week before when I was with my folks, I'd seen what looked like an old mechanics garage that was now abandoned and I wanted to get some shots since I'm not over that way very often. It turned out to be a very cool
made partially out of old
clay field tiles.
Not a very common building material.

From there it was a short drive out into the country and down an old field lane to the St. Simon Cemetery which used to be right next to a long gone
Catholic Church. My Mother's Great Grandfather, John Kelly is buried here. He came in the mid 1800s from County
Kilkenney, Ireland.
As shown on his brother's
well worn headstone.

There are some other interesting folks buried here as well. The Kelleys were cousins to the Lincolns who were cousins of President Abraham Lincoln. So it
is interesting to see this
headstone there. A cousin of Honest Abe.
Aside from the sort of famous names, there are just some really neat headstones there to take rubbings from.

The sun was getting lower in the sky so I decided to depart the cemetery and explore the village of Fountain Green a bit. Mostly its old junk
yards but on one of the last streets in town I found this old
And I had to explore it a bit. Aside from being abandoned, it is not in that bad of shape. Lots of nice
But doesn't it seriously look like the kind of house you would have dared your friends to spend the night in as a kid? Just imagine the hairs on the back of your neck
standing up as you approach the front door!

From there it was on to Carthage, my home town and the Dairy Queen there to get a large Banana Creme Pie Blizzard. Yummy! Then I made the long trip back home to my farm.




( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 17th, 2006 04:05 am (UTC)
Excellent photos and narration. I really like the old grave stones. I belong to mourning_souls where nothing but stones, crypts, etc., is posted. I've only cropped 7 out of 80 that I shot.

Great post of the old mansion. It is not beyond restoration and would require some money, but would be well worth it and bring a tremendous price if it were restored. I really like the photo with the old black shutters.
Oct. 17th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
If it were anywhere near a town of any size it would bring a great price. But no one wants to look out their windows and see blocks and blocks of junk cars. It looks like the house may have belonged to the town patriarch at one time as it is the biggest house in town or anywhere around for that matter. The town is miles off the beaten path though so I doubt ayone will buy it and want to fix it up soon.

deathly_decayed is another good one for posting headstones and the like. One of these days, I'll get around to posting the pics of the Old Burying Ground in Beaufort, NC. You'd love it. Huge Live Oaks stretching out and lots of Spanish Moss hanging about. Spooky even on the brightest of days but very romantic in a way too.

Oct. 17th, 2006 04:44 am (UTC)
I checked out deathly_decayed and it's great so I joined it. Thanks for telling me about it.

I'd love to see your old cemetery photos too. I don't photograph stones of anyone who died in the 1900's, not even the early 1900's. I'll get a couple of them X posted tomorrow.

I've got the 3 photos of the old combines or threshers or whatever they were cropped and ready to post in rural_ruin. I've got to make them a little smaller yet before posting. I'll post them tomorrow and send you an email because I don't know what on earth these things are for sure.

Oct. 17th, 2006 05:02 am (UTC)
Cool, I'd like to see them. I've just been so darned busy with work and job search lately that I've had little tiem to post pics in rural_ruin. I've got enough for 8-10 posts now backlogged.

Oct. 17th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC)
maybe Kenny patrons my dad...we were raised to think John Deere sucks. ;-)

That old house belongs to the Latherows. There's supposed to be an underground railroad/secret passage thingy in it somewhere.
Oct. 17th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
Underground Railroad? Sounds reasonable. Of all of the old houses I've seen posted in rural_ruin, I've never seen one that mentioned being part of the Undergroung Railroad. But I know there has to be some old places somewhere with tunnels or hiding places.
Oct. 17th, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
there's a house on main street in LaHarpe, which is about 15 miles northeast of Fountain Green that has an underground railroad passage in it. It grew up in and around that area.
Oct. 17th, 2006 09:12 pm (UTC)
It would be interesting to see an old house and the tunnel used to help the slaves move north. I'm surprised that the house isn't a historical monument and preseved by the state historical society.
Oct. 17th, 2006 05:01 am (UTC)
Thanks for the info. I was checking around to try to get permission to go inside it. That gives me a place to start. There is a cellar in back that is open and the basement is made of rock instead of cement so I'd not be surprised if there was a tunnel.

Oct. 17th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
You wouldn't happen to know or be able to find out if one of the Latherows still own it would you? I'd love to get permission to go inside and photograph. I took several through the broken windows but I didn't try any of the doors as the house is pretty much out in public view.

Oct. 17th, 2006 04:21 pm (UTC)
I went to school with Megan Latherow...i can see if the email address I have for her still works..if that fails, I know her mom teaches home ec at CArthage high school...you could try calling there, maybe.
Oct. 17th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
There are some Latherows just outside of FG that have an Angus farm. Donald and Peggy Latherow. They had a son Dannen who died when he was 16 back in 99. I remember my mom talking about that. Same ones?

Oct. 17th, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC)
same ones.
Oct. 17th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
Well if you come up with an answer through email if they still own it let me know. Then I can stop by sometime and ask permission to enter the house.


Oct. 17th, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC)
i haven't gotten a mailer daemon back saying it didn't work, so there's hope.
Oct. 17th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Sorry; I don't share your enthusiasm for non-GMO products. And the statistics I've seen regarding yield per acre -vs- price per unit yield -vs- price of seed do not support your claim, though admittedly it's been a couple years since I've seen statistics about this.
Oct. 17th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
If it weren't profitable, the farmers I know wouldn't plant them. Simple as that. I don't really care about Non-GMO grains. It's not something I worry about in making food choices. Glad to hear from you again.

Oct. 17th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
Your experiences and visuals remind me a lot of the imagery/feel captured in David Lynch's The Straight Story.
Oct. 17th, 2006 05:16 pm (UTC)
One of my top 5 favorite movies. That took place not too far north of me. I've traveled many of those roads before.

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )