I've been so frustrated with animal feed stuffs, that even I was getting tired of my lamenting. More crying in real life, than in blog, but it was becoming one of my regular rants. The price, the choices, the quality....the price.
Craig, my mentor, must have heard my whining all the way down at his farm and decided I needed a little tutelage on the finer points of old school farming. And thank God for that.
He suggested that I come down, get a pick up load of grain and he'd grind it up for me. I chased that poor man for two weeks and I was becoming worse than a fly in the ointment...or milk parlor. Finally, he said,"come Thursday." And boy was I ready to go.
Still, I got there late-ish, but was delighted that the Rochester milk group was there picking up their order for the week. It was wonderful visiting with my old friend Thomas. It'd been so long since we'd seen each other. All of us leaning on the bulk tank, chatting it up. I was beginning to realize that neither of us was all that excited about shoveling 1000lbs of grain into the grinder.
So, what were we to do? Other stuff, of course! We jumped in the mule and headed out to move the line so the cows had fresh grass for the afternoon...and then it was lunch time. Everybody's gotta eat. So we did. Nice full bellies and just like that, everyone was ready for a nap. Ugh. The grain. The oats.
So, we did the unthinkable, we decided to "hire out" the grinding to the mill. High fives all around for hatching such a great idea. Feeling energized, we jumped in Hector (that's my truck) to see how busy it was at the mill. I imagine we could have called, but it's easier to get a 'yes' in person and how could I show a little ankle (just in case) over an iphone?
No ankles necessary. It was a harvesting sort of afternoon and our order was readily welcomed at the loading dock.
Behold, a living, breathing, sighing, puffing grain mill...
We should all have such beautiful hardwood flooring. All of the years of wear and tons of fine dust had polished up the floors like a skating rink. You could tell that Craig had been here plenty, he strode down the ramp like a hockey player and I nearly landed on my back side.
We chatted around the big hopper and my base would be oats. Which as you can see, come out of the middle chute.
Once my 1000lbs was measured, it left the large hopper and headed to the basement to go through a series of screens and the grinder. From there it was shot back upstairs to go into the mixer. But before it lands anywhere, it shoots along through a bunch of tubes and tunnels and you can hear it in the walls. Then, all of a sudden you spy an unassuming little window in the door frame....Those are my oats! Look! Look! Clearly no one was as fascinated by this as I was, so I took a picture.
Off to the grinder, but we were making our own recipe so we had to weigh in some minerals and salt first.
Check out the simplicity of this scale. If the arrow is above the middle, put more in. If it's below, take some out. Got it? ha.
Off to the mixer.
Then into bags. Our bags, recycled, reused, ta-da!
Hector, my truck, filled to the brim.
What a great day.
When I was driving home, smiling about the full sacks of sweet goodness for my cattle, I remembered that I had a sale tonight too! And I was ready! No last minute photos or stitches or packages. Just push the button.
It's an amazing thing. I make these...
To feed these...
I'm so very lucky. What a great day.
Update; November 21, 2012
In my excitement to share this hidden treasure, I neglected to share the mill's location, should you even find yourself in southern Minnesota or if you're a follower nearby, looking for fair pricing on good feed stuffs.
100 1st Street Northwest, Spring Grove, MN 55974
Brian on his first trip down. Craig, in the background, showed Brian the "skating" ramps in the back and gave him a tour too. Whilst there, we got a chance to meet the owner who said his mill just made it on the National Historic Registry. What a treasure.