Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Farm, Farm Bureau, P & E, Politicians
I’m just back from the Minnesota Farm Bureau Promotion and Education (P & E) meeting held in Minneapolis this year. P & E is set up to help educate farm folk so they can tell their story to non farm folks. Why? because if we don’t, folks who have no idea what goes on on the farm will tell the world their version, a version with no basis in reality.
Agriculture and other non urban places are in danger of being loved to death. Folks who live in the city, drive through rural areas on their way to vacations, and see all that open space and breathe all of that fresh air, and want it to remain just that way forever. They want to protect it from those who would harm it and will believe anyone with a “horror story” of what is happening in rural areas.
The fact is that things are not a bad as all of the fear mongers tell you. The American Farmer is a scientist with a skid loader rather than a pitch fork. He is an ecologist with tractor rather than a team of horses. He is a nutritionist with computer rather than a note pad and pencil.
A farmer will work long hours, in worse conditions, for less pay, than anyone I know, and love every minute of it. A farmer takes better care of his animals than he does himself. He will see both more and less of his family then most parents, more because he works with them, less because when it’s milking time, he will have to miss his child’s big game.
A farmer can look across his field and see the weeds that no one else would notice. He can tell when animal is sick by the way it looks at him. He knows when something is wrong in the machine he is operating by the way his seat vibrates.
The American Farmer today produces more food with less water, land, fertilizer, herbicides and insecticides than he did just ten years ago. He does all of this while battling politicians who don’t understand him, city folks who want to live where he raises their food, government workers who want to regulate his every waking moment and environmentalists who don’t know that he is one of them.
I’m proud to be one of those misunderstood folks. I hope that those of you who read these posts will come to understand what I do. If you have a question, I’ll be glad to try to answer it.
Filed under: blizzard, cold, Corn Stove, Farm, Minnesota, School bus, snow, travel, weather, winter, wood heat
My morning bus route means I’m up well before sunrise. I check out the corns stove in the basement, have breakfast, then head out the door. On the way to the shop I stop to check out the wood boiler, rake coals to the front and add enough wood to keep the stove going until I get home.
When I looked west through the trees it looked like a car was sitting there shining their lights on the field. When I drove out to the highway I realized that it was the moon shining on the polished snow surface.
Our storm of monday and tuesday did not come with much snow, but the snow we did get polished the ice on top of our snow covered fields. Except in areas where new snow was blown, the snow has been polished into a reflective layer. The sunshine or moon glow is reflected back from all over. It really is an amazing sight.
Those in my family on my mothers side all know Spencer. He is an interesting person in a family of interesting people. Yesterday I made the trip up to see Spencer. His horses were in need of hay and we had some set aside for him.
Spencer has always wanted horses. When he was a boy living in a small town he begged his dad for a horse. His father, who had grown up with horses, refused. Now Spence has three of them. Two are beautiful Norwegian Fjord horses, the other is most likely a quarter horse who has fallen on hard times and lost an eye. Spencer jokes that he has two Fjords and a Chevy.
Spencer is retired now. He moved to the home of his grandparents when his uncle moved to the nursing home. His wife joins him on weekends since she still works. It’s great to have someone in the old place.
The snow has caused a little bit of trouble on the farm. A big old barn that was built in the 1880′s has collapsed due to snow load. No one has used the barn for some time, and, as all buildings that are no longer used, it had fallen into disrepair. He had asked a neighbor if there was any salvage in the building. The building is so old that it was decided that there really was nothing left to save. So Spence asked what he should do. The answer, “Pray for lightning.”
Spencer has some good neighbors that make sure the yard gets cleaned out when the snow blows. It’s not much of a yard so it doesn’t take them long. Then Spence gets out the little Ford and cleans out the corners.
While we unloaded the hay we had a good chat about family. Spencer, being several years older than me, had several stories about the family that I had not heard. Interestingly, I had some he had not heard. Isn’t family great.
Filed under: blizzard, cold, Farm, Minnesota, School bus, snow, travel, weather, winter
All roads in South Western Minnesota are and have been closed most of the day. With winds of over 25 and up to 48 mph the little bit of snow we had is really moving. If the winds go down enough tonight the plows will be out early in the morning. Area schools are going to be at least 2 hours late tomorrow.
One nearby school did not get it’s children home today. They have about 100 children still in school sleeping on the wrestling mats. This has been the highest sustained winds in our area in some time. What a winter, and it’s not over yet.
Filed under: blizzard, cold, Farm, Minnesota, School bus, snow, travel, weather, winter
We were hearing the winds blow as we went to bed last night but did not pay it much attention. After all the recent warm weather and rain had turned the snow to ice and that does not blow. So I was surprised this morning as I left for my bus route to find a drift of snow across the driveway by the mail box. I drove through it easily and headed for town.
We only had a trace of snow last night, but oh how that little bit of snow was blowing. The road disappeared several times in my trip to town. The road was mostly open, just a few finger drifts, and in good driving condition.
Our bus lot was a sheet of ice. The melting snow had formed a pond where we park buses in the morning and frozen into smooth ice.
Things were not too bad as I headed out of town. The problem was that as I went on the conditions got worse. Snow was starting to fall and the wind speeds were increasing. Before I picked up my first student we got a call that a bus was stuck. County roads were one lane in some places. Visibility was iffy in the open areas. Turn around spots were hard to find. I had made my third stop on the county roads and was heading off on my first township road when the call came closing school.
I was relieved. Now I had to get the kids on my bus home. That job done I went back to town.
Karen had made the trip into town and was waiting for me to head home. The trip home was uneventful, but our driveway was plugged. I just made it into the yard with the 4 wheel Dura Max. Our little GMC Terrain was not going to make it.
In a few minutes I had the blower out and was moving snow. With Karen safe in the house, I finished moving snow. Then the wind really picked up.
I’m sitting in the house watching the snow blow by. Once in a while I will hear a truck go by, but I cannot see them. The hedge row just 100 feet from the house is at times obscured by snow. Wind speeds from 25 to almost 50 mph are blasting the snow across the ground. I’m glad to be home.
What a wild day we had yesterday. The warm temperatures and half an inch of rain pushed down the snow and turned the top few inches to mush. Township roads were vast slushy expanses with deep tracks in them.
Anyplace that had only a few inches of snow is now bare or ice. We scraped our sidewalk twice to get the slush off of it. Today it is dry.
Overnight the temperatures have drooped 10 degrees so things have now frozen. The forecast is for temps to continue to drop. Tonight the winds will pick up and snow will fall. Tomorrow could be interesting.
It rained most of the night and is still raining this morning. Branches are falling and wires are stressed. Roads? Ice covered! These are conditions we expect to see to the south of us. What wild Minnesota weather.
I’m humbled to see how many people check into my postings. These ramblings of a humble farm boy with plenty of opinions are receiving daily visitors. I know that family can only be a few of them so that leaves word of mouth from folks I don’t even know to do the rest.
I’ve randomly checked on what is out there in the blog-o-sphere and frankly most of it is not worth reading. I have come across a few like minds who write with a rural focus that I like to read. I do occasionally read some random stuff on politics that makes me put in my 2 cents worth. What really burns me is the fear mongering that goes on. Do folks really believe all of that stuff.
The fact is that you pay for what you get. If it costs nothing, it’s usually worth nothing. Somewhere in my memory is my grandfather telling me “Figures never lie, but liers figure.” Some of what you read out on the net is a lie, and then there are those deluded folks who believe those lies with no foundation in fact.
It really is scary how many believe and carry on the lie to teach it to others. All to often the lie takes on a life of its own and cannot be eradicated. I ask you all to check into what you learn on the web. Are you listening to a true expert in the field? Do they have a stake in the issue? Is your spreading this information going to hurt anyone else?
Be an informed person. Dig in and learn the truth. Only the truth can set you free.
The election in Massachusetts confirms my belief in the independent voter. For months now we have been hearing about how Massachusetts is a Democratic state. Then what happens? They fill the “Kennedy” seat with a Republican. Interesting! Why didn’t we see this coming?
We should have. It’s a fact that every president loses seats from his party during his tenure, should Obama be any different. Some presidents lose more seats and some lose less. The American people like balance. They believe in balance. When ever one party gets too big for it’s britches the people pull the plug on them. It’s just that the Democrats didn’t expect it to come this soon.
The Democrats have been behaving badly. They have decided that the people have given them the right to do what ever they want. I’m sure that they could write good and useful bills if they wanted to, but they have not.
Consider Obama Care. It is a 3000+ page bill to give every American health care, unless you are from a favored Democratic district. The Democrats could not even get their own people to go along with it unless they were bought off with favors. To get the votes they needed they had to buy the votes of their own party by giving some states exemptions. That tells you how good the bill is.
It happens all the time. The American people do not trust the politicians that others send to D.C. They like their own representatives. But not the ones from other districts. They seem to have good reason.
There have been very few “good” laws to come out of any government for a very long time. The sausage making process that is modern politics is not pretty. It involves favors and the trading of votes. The process is at its worst when one party feels it has a mandate.
The problem is that modern politicians are too busy getting reelected to do the right thing. They have to be able to tell their people that they voted their way. The problem is that one persons yes is another persons no, and a third persons maybe. One persons “special interest” is another persons “right” or “need.”
How do we solve it? I don’t know. Perhaps the best way is to keep politicians guessing. A district that becomes too safe for one party will eventually shift around just to keep politicians on their toes. The American people seem to be very good at that.
I’ve heard it said that government is the art of serving the people, and politics is the art of consolidating power. The two come together, but not very often. When the American people decide that their representative is too interested in consolidating power, they replace him. It sure keeps politics interesting.