Filed under: cold, Fishing, Ice, Minnesota, rain, snow, weather, wind, winter | Tags: cold, ice, Minnesota, rain, snow, weather, winter
Last night the temperatures did not dip below freezing. Today it’s raining. The ice fishing season is in trouble. Is this Minnesota?
We’ve had some crazy weather this month. I’m beginning to wonder if I still live in Minnesota. Last week was more normal. We had bone chilling cold, days that did not even get above single digits and a harsh north wind. Lake ice froze down to decent levels and fishermen started moving out onto the ice. This is what I expect from a Minnesota December. Today is just not right.
We do occasionally get this crazy weather here, just not too often. The weather forecasters are looking back to the 1960′s for similar temperatures. I remember the mid 1970′s when farm folks in my area planted wheat and oats in January because of the warmth. We do need the moisture, and I’d rather have it in the form of rain than snow, but I’m not used to it in the middle of December.
So what do we have to look forward too? The next two days will to be more normal, with north winds and temperatures never getting above freezing, then it changes. We are supposed to get back to warm days for the weekend. Weather forecasters are talking of a blocking jet stream that is keeping cold weather north of us. I’ll be watching with anticipation, Why?
This weather started to change on about the 10th of the month. What is so significant about that? December tenth was full moon. We could see this weather hold on until the next full moon! I know many of you are still skeptics, but I have seen weather patterns do this so many times before. When weather makes a major change at full moon, it holds that pattern for at least three weeks. I like the idea.
Filed under: Christmas, cold, Ice, Minnesota, snow, weather | Tags: cold, ice, Minnesota, snow, thaw, weather
It started with a strong south wind several days ago. Last night the temperatures never made it below freezing. Most of our snow has melted, and lake ice is covered with water, or gone. This morning I needed to use the windshield wipers as I drove through the fog. Continued above freezing temperature are forecast for the rest of the week. We may not have a white Christmas after all. Isn’t Minnesota weather wonderful! I love a December thaw!
Filed under: Corn, dogs, history, weather | Tags: change, Corn, dogs, history, weather
I’ve recently been in a conversation on technology in agriculture with another blogger that has started me thinking of all the way we humans shape the land, plants and the animals around us. Humans are the only creature that has affected so many parts of the world that they live in. Our actions have been far reaching, but they are not all recent.
We wonder at the modern marvels man produces, but some of his greatest marvels are not at all recent.
Perhaps the most changed animal on the earth is the dog. The dog most likely started out as a small wolf like animal. Once it took up residence with man, he began to shape it’s destiny. Today the multitude of dog forms from huge to tiny can all trace their way back to that same ancestor. And yet, if the dog was allowed to live in the wild, it would return to something very like its ancestor. We have created an artificial creature, in an artificial environment to meet our needs. Truly amazing.
Man’s shaping of plants is no less amazing. For millions of years mankind has chosen the best of the plants around him, nurtured and protected them, and changed them. Perhaps the most changed is Zea Maize, what is known as corn in the U.S. Maize comes in many forms, some suited to different climates, some to different uses. When people in the U.S. think of corn they usually think of sweet corn, that wonderful vegetable of summer. Another type of corn they think of is pop corn, a theater snack and household staple of the pantry. There is also, flint corn, pod corn, and the most common of all, dent corn.
Dent corn is the most misunderstood of the corn types. It is mainly used for animal feed, and as an industrial feed stock. One of its larger uses in recent times is for the production of ethanol. Dent corn itself is amazingly flexible. It can be changed easily by mixing specialized stocks to fill all kinds of industrial needs. It is also one of the easiest plants to bio-engineer. Despite all of this, dent corn will readily mix with other corn types and revert back to something more like what the Europeans found when they came to the Americas.
Mankind has shaped the land, sometimes to his detriment, by pushing back water and digging out minerals. We have done so much to shape the world, but like the dog, and maize, if mankind turns his back, it will go wild again. When we are most comfortable, there will be an earthquake, volcano or flood to remind us that we live in a wild world. Just thinking.
Filed under: cats, cold, fish, Minnesota, pond, winter | Tags: cats, cold, Koi, leaves, Minnesota, pond, snow, trees, winter
I thought after my experience with my goldfish pond I had it all figured out. Obviously not.
My new, larger, Koi pond has had more than a few problems. One of the worst has just surface now that winter has truly set in. I’ve been losing koi.
During the fall, the falling leaves fell freely into the pond. This has never been much of a problem before, so I ignored it. The water that once was so clear, turned brown and started to stink as the leaves rotted. I netted wheel borrow loads full of dead leaves out of the pond. Every time the wind blew, more leaves blew into the pond.
The first cold days came, with the pump hose threatening to freeze up, I turned off the pump and drained the hose. The pump was removed and stored in the house. I added a heater to keep the water open, and fish started to die.
Today I have a small air compressor running to pump air into the bottom of the pond. My theory is that the rotting leaves were using up all of the oxygen in the water leaving none for the fish to use. With four large koi and several small ones dead , it is emergency time. I’m not sure how long I will have to run the compressor. It is not meant to run constantly, but I hope that with the cold weather it will not over heat. As long as the air filter stays clear, it should run for a while.
It has been an expensive lesson. The two largest koi were the first to die and they cost me $50 each. But nothing goes to waste here on the farm. My cats have been eating well.
Filed under: Animal care, cats, cold, dogs, family, Farm, farm animals, Minnesota, school, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter | Tags: car, cars, cold, farm, machines, Minnesota, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter
The temperature was eleven below as the school day started this morning and some high school boys were coming to school in shorts and no socks, they did have a long sleeve sweatshirt on. I know of several men who will not wear long pants unless they have to, no matter what the weather. Today’s high will be 18 degrees, and for some, coats are optional in Minnesota. Minnesotans have been known to leave home for a three hour or longer drive in the winter and not even bring a coat or boots. Yes, we raise them tough here … or do we?
I also see cars warming up outside houses for ten minutes so that the owner can make a five minute drive to work. Heated garages are a requirement for any new house built today, and apartment buildings with underground heated garages are common. Most folks here in the north are able to go from heated house, to heated car, to heated business and rarely do they experience the weather. Are we tough in Minnesota, or have todays modern conveniences made life so easy for us that we do not have to dress for the weather.
We take pride in Minnesota in our good roads. Our winter road crews are second to none when it comes to keeping roads open in nasty weather, but this has lead to the illusion that you can drive anywhere at any time. I grew up on the prairie, not in town, and I know better.
The last few winters have taken a toll on snow removal equipment on the farm. There are days you seem to be doing nothing else other than moving snow, and if you have livestock it can be worse. The animals have to be cared for. Free range is not possible when the wind blows snow into the yards every day, our animals need shelter. Larger cattle and horses can survive cold up to a point, but pigs and poultry need to be indoors. Sheep, goats, dogs and cats will make it in the cold, but will benefit from a place out of the wind and food and water every day.
The real tough one here in Minnesota is the livestock farmer, always making sure that his animals are cared for. Newborn calves in the shower stall, baby pigs warming on the oven door, these are what the livestock man does to keep his animals alive. Waterers freeze and he has to fix them despite the temperature. Feed must be delivered and if the tractor does not start, or something breaks, it can mean many hours of unexpected labor even if there were family plans. Yes, the tough one here in Minnesota is not the kid who comes to school in shorts in below zero weather, no, it’s the guy bundled up until only his eyes show, out feeding his animals. His sacrifice for the animals he raises is a true sign of being tough.
Filed under: birds, cold, Minnesota, snow, weather, Wildlife, wind | Tags: farm, junco, juncos, Minnesota, mountain ash, trees, weather, wind
Our little mountain ash tree was festooned with juncos. It looked like they were there as decoration.
I would liked to have had a better angle on the tree so the photo’s background would have been better, but to step outside to take the picture would have meant that they all would have flown away.
Yes, we have about 2 inches of snow on the ground now. It’s the light fluffy stuff that will blow away with the first wind. It means that our little bird friends will have a harder time getting to food. I’m glad I had the bird feeders up already. The cold is not excessive yet, but when the wind blows it is really cold!
Filed under: Farm, Politics, science | Tags: agriculture, computers, factories, farm, jobs, machines, monetary poilcy, politics, robots
Back many years ago when I was in college we were talking about the changes in farming and how machinery was replacing people. Farmers were embracing the new machines that were being designed for agriculture and greatly advancing the amount of work they could do. Because there were more, better paying, jobs in town, young folks were not staying on the farm. They were taking the cleaner, less demanding, jobs that were available in town. Farming was changing from a labor intensive job, to a machine intensive job.
As time has gone on, farmers in the developed countries have embraced the machinery that makes their lives easier. It has made farming a capital, as in money, intensive occupation. Now it means that every farmer must manage large amounts of money. We are becoming like the factories in our cities in that we use machinery to do many things that were once done by hand. That same thing is now happening in our cities.
I was recently at a seminar put on by my bank where Michael Swanson Ph.D.was talking about all of the problems our countries economy was facing right now. One of the things that he talked about was our current monetary policy. The U.S. monetary policy now is promoting low interest rates so that people and companies can borrow money at low rates. The idea is that this low interest money will promote factory and business start ups and thus employ more people. It seems that the opposite may be happening.
Today it is cheaper to build and own computers, machines and robots to do the jobs that were once done by hand. Business owners are taking this cheap money and building businesses that do not need many people to operate them. Even the military is using many machines to do dangerous, dirty jobs, that used to need and endanger many people. In other words, the low interest rates are actually taking away jobs rather than producing them. This does not employ nearly as many people as we would hope.
What is left for the working person? More and more jobs are being taken by machines every year, and a cheap interest policy by the U.S. Government will only hasten the movement. People are more and more having to move to jobs that cannot be done by todays machinery, and many of those jobs are changing from people to machinery every year.
The day of the working person getting a living wage in the U.S. is rapidly disappearing. Unless you can run or repair the machines of modern society you are going to be left behind. Service jobs are all that are going to be left. Jobs that need a hands on human touch are all that are left, and many of them are low paying. Jobs are already leaving China for places like Africa and Southeast Asia, where people will still work dangerous, repetitive jobs for pennies a day. If you are not the lowest cost producer you do not get the job.
Business is quickly following in the steps of Agriculture. If a machine can do the job, it will increasingly be done by machinery. Only the lowest paying jobs will be left for the working person. Money is replacing jobs in more and more places. This is good news for those with the correct training, it is terrible news for those without that training.