Tailgate Talk: A Homemade Harvest

November 8, 2013 06:21 PM
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Mary Kochendorfer is just as comfortable with a hammer and saw as she is with a cook stove. She built this sturdy white cedar table to hold the bounty of food she serves to the family’s farm crew during planting and harvesting. The table folds up neatly and has a handle for easy carting and stowing in her truck.

By Nate Birt and Rhonda Brooks

When Mary Kochendorfer wheels her pickup into the Farm Journal Test Plots on a crisp fall day, you can bet the combines are going to stop running in short order, and for good reason. Kochendorfer is delivering a hearty meal that she’s just prepared fresh for the harvest crew, which includes her husband, Bob, and Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer.

Kochendorfer started cooking for Bob’s planting and harvesting crews 12 years ago when she
retired from her full-time job off the family’s grain operation near Jonesville, Mich. When Bob started working with the Farm Journal Test Plots, Kochendorfer included Bauer’s team in her lunch plans.

"I enjoy the camaraderie with people, and everyone is always
appreciative," Kochendorfer says of the meals, which usually include a hot casserole, sandwiches, salad, fresh-baked cookies and plenty of coffee, tea and water.

Kochendorfer adds that delivering meals to the field for her family and the Farm Journal crew, which has conducted its test plots program for 23 years, is one way she can make sure everyone takes a much-needed break from the hectic pace of planting and harvesting.

"We have a good laugh, a little bit to eat and then everyone’s good-to-go again," she says. Good-to-go usually means crew members have pocketed a couple extra of Kochendorfer’s chewy oatmeal cookies for an afternoon snack.

What a Day!

Potato Pancake

WhatADay JohnRiepe PotatoHarvester

A failed axle assembly felled this brand new potato harvester near Perham, Minn. You might say "potato," but after seeing this image, we think "uh-oh" might be more appropriate.

If you’ve had one of those days—or caught someone else’s on film—we’d love to share it with our readers. E-mail high-resolution images to sbrown@farmjournal.com or mail prints to What a Day!, Farm Journal, P.O. Box 958, Mexico, MO 65265. Photos for publication will be selected on a first-come basis.

Stat Rack

All of the recent buzz about bees isn’t just noise. Here are some fast facts about bees and humans:

0.4" to 0.6"
Size of a honeybee

Eggs produced on a daily basis by the queen, the central figure of a honeybee colony. She lives between two and four years.

6 weeks
Maximum life span of a worker bee in summer. On the lower end, a worker bee lives an average of three weeks.

6 to 7 miles
Radius from their hive within which honeybees forage

2 million Number of flowers that bees need to visit to produce 1 lb. of honey

30 Total number of plants that humans eat that rely on bee pollination

Total crops pollinated by bees and other insects out of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food.

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