Minnesota Farmer


Going viral
November 23, 2014, 11:15 pm
Filed under: snow, weather, winter | Tags: , , , , ,

When you blog, you always hope there will be that one day you write the viral blog, the one that is so over the top that your readership doubles.  Little did I realize that I wrote that one almost a year ago, and it had humble origins.  It was all about a snow fence. 100_2532

The art of the snow fence seems to be getting a lot of attention lately.  My readership has more than doubled in the last two months all over a blog I wrote a year ago.  So thanks to all of you out there building a snow fence for the first time who are reading about my humble efforts.  I’m glad I could be of help.



Christmas Music Memories
November 16, 2014, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Christmas, family, Music | Tags: , ,

It happened again.  The first hymn starts and I start singing and the children of the dad in front of me who does not sing turn and stare.  Yes, guys do sing in church.

But why is it that I sing?  Well, I guess it is because of this bunch.

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This is my dad’s family from the year I was born.  I’m that little guy in the back row.  When your father sings it is a huge influence on a boy and I grew up with music.

Grandpa Julius played the violin, Robert and Ernie played the concertina and several of them played the piano.  Christmas meant music in Julius and Ann’s house, and lots of good food.  We sang mostly in english, but there were some german songs also.  I can still remember most of the german for “Stille Nacht.”  The house was crowded with family and music.

I do not remember as much music at Harry and Agnes’ parties.  Grandpa Harry was not musical.  Grandma Agnes’ family was and we learned norwegian when the Iverson’s got together.  Corrine, Agnes’ sister, taught and wrote music so she would take command of the piano for those Christmas sing alongs.

Music and the holidays make a big impression on a kid.  I’m glad my family were singers.



In opposite directions
November 10, 2014, 10:13 am
Filed under: cars, Farm, machines, School bus, travel, trucks | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

While gasoline and oil prices are dropping, another essential fuel is going up in price, Diesel.

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Over the weekend, gasoline prices in our area went down 10 cents and diesel went up 50 cents.  Why should this concern you?  Because the price of everything you buy is dependent on diesel-powered trucks, trains and ships to get it to your house.  Farmers depend on diesel-powered equipment to harvest food for your table and grocery store shelves are filled by diesel-powered trucks making deliveries.  School, city and charter buses use diesel to deliver people everyday.  Diesel is the lifeblood of commerce.

There have been some efforts made to change diesel-powered equipment to natural gas or propane, but the change is slow.  Pressurized tanks for propane and natural gas are expensive and fueling stations are rare.  For now we depend on diesel.

The last time diesel prices were this high, transportation companies added fuel surcharges to their deliveries.  I expect that to happen again.  Look for cruise ship vacations and chartered bus trips to cost more also.  There just is no way to avoid paying for higher priced fuel.  So next time you fill up your tank and celebrate the lower gas prices, take a look at the price of diesel.  You are paying for that fuel also with every purchase of every product you use.



Cynic
November 3, 2014, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Politicians, Politics | Tags: , ,

When it comes to election time, I’m a confirmed cynic.  I have lived and watched political elections my entire life.  I have come to the conclusion that you should only believe half of what a candidate says about himself, and 10% of what he says about his opponent.

Political ads drive me crazy.  They are full of so much fiction that it is a wonder anyone believes them.  I have watched the truth be twisted for so many years that election season is my least favorite time of the year.  One small mistake and a whole career can be ruined by opponents who will twist that mistake into titanic proportions.

Oh, I do still enjoy politics.  What I enjoy about it is the planning for the future.  I love great ideas and huge plans for change.  I have shaken hands with presidents, governors, senators and representatives.  I have sat in their offices and listened to them dream.  Pressing the flesh and dreaming big is a great part of politics.  But come election time it all turns ugly.

So here’s my advice to you as you vote.  If someone said something bad about a candidate, do not believe it.  If the candidate himself sounds too good to be true, he or she is.  Accept that you are going to elect a scoundrel, or a weakling, almost surely one who bends the truth to fit his audience.  Yes, there are a few good politicians out there, but even they need to be watched.  Your job does not finish with the election.

The most important thing you can do is visiting elected officials after they take office.  There you can influence the future.  Electing a person to office means little, it is what you do after they are elected that matters.

Michael



Piled higher and deeper
November 1, 2014, 6:32 am
Filed under: agriculture, Corn, Farm, harvest, machines | Tags: , , , ,

A friend of mine who has been having a lot of combine trouble called me to come help.  He needed a truck driver for a day and I was glad to help.  Our deliveries were to an elevator that I do not usually patronize.  They were piling corn outside in a bunker.  It was the method for filling the bunker that intrigued me. image Yep, that’s an excavator on that pile with a large bucket to move the corn. image Dump trucks and a payloader are getting the corn within reach of the excavator.  Quite an operation just so they have a place for all of the corn coming in this fall.  They have air tubes under the corn and a tarp to cover it.  As long as the fans run the tarp will stay in place.  All for a few months storage.  Interesting.



Harvest 2014 Done

Now, where was I?  Oh yeah!  Harvest is done and things left on hold need to be done now.  I know I have a pile of mail that needs to be sorted.  There are a few jobs around the house that are waiting also.  Fall tillage and fertilizing needs to be taken care of.  I noticed a whole bunch of trees that need some trimming that lean over the field edges.  There are some meetings on my schedule for the next few weeks.  We still have machinery to clean up and fix up before we put them away ’til next season, but this harvest is over.

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Yeah, there are augers to put away, bins to secure and a whole lot of dust to move before we can call this falls work done.

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So, how did the harvest go?  Very well actually.

Although the soybean harvest was disappointing, the corn harvest was not.  We could have had a whole lot more corn to run through the drier than we did.  Some of the corn went straight into the bin and much of what would not fit in the bin was dry enough to haul straight into town for storage.  All we need now are better prices.

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It’s been a long time since spring planting.  This year we did not have a lot of heat, but we did have too much rain.  For a while I was wondering if the crop would turn out decent at all as it sat yellow and sick looking.  Todays corn hybrids are so much better than those of my youth.

Now the harvest is in and the challenge of marketing that harvest is in full swing.  Corn and soybean prices have come up a ways from their lows of a few weeks ago.  I know how much I must get to cover expenses, now I just have to see how much I will have to pay off loans and pay the household bills.

Winter is coming.  There is much to do before the snow flies.



Three year old harvest logic
October 23, 2014, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Ag education, Corn, Fall, family, Farm, harvest, machines | Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s harvest and we love having visitors at this time of year.  Usually that means our son and his family come visit so he can help with harvest and the others can see what we are doing.  Miss Purple and Miss Pink are three now and not so afraid of the machinery as they were in their younger years.  We also had  a visit last weekend from my sisters daughter’s families and their three-year old Miss W.  Six month old Baby I stayed in the house while the others went “farming.”  All the three-year olds got to ride in the combine as did many of the adults.

Miss Pink and Miss Purple really liked it when one rode with me and the other with their dad in different machines.  To see the harvest process and the unloading of the combine “on-the go” was really fun for them.

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While unloading on the end Miss Purple looked down at the red cobs on the ground and said, “The red ones are not ripe yet.”  Wow!  What a really interesting way to look at it.  It really is simple three-year old logic.

100_3055Now these three-year olds know corn.  They know this is not the corn you eat but the corn that goes into animal feed.  They have watched the ears being stripped off of the corn stalk by the combine and seen the kernels in the hopper on the combine.  I realized then that they had not seen the inside of an ear of corn.  Grampy to the rescue, It’s lesson time!

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My first step was to grab an ear of corn and break it in half.  Then I showed them how the kernels shell off of the ears.  Now they know how the process works.  Of course they wanted to do some shelling themselves.  Lesson learned.

There are so many things that we take for granted as “common knowledge” here on the farm, but that knowledge is not very common if you do not learn it on the farm.  These three-year olds have been there and are learning so much about where food comes from.  We’ve dug potatoes and picked squash and pumpkins this fall and they have their own garden in town.  Still the big garden that is Grampy’s farm is full of new things to learn.  I cannot wait for the next lesson.




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