Filed under: family, Family History, Farm, friends, garden, harvest, history, Minnesota, pond, rain, safety, seasons, snow, South Africa, tillage, time, travel, weather | Tags: children, farm, friends, harvest, Minnesota, politics, rain, safety, snow, South Africa, weather, winter
When I started blogging two and a half years ago I really did not know what I was getting into. As time has gone by my blogs have fallen into a pleasant cycle of comments. I write about farming, politics and family. What is happening in my life shapes everything I write about. So it is again. Here’s some of the highlights from 2011.
January was cold and snowy, and the blog http://minnesotafarm.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/minnesnowta/ told the weather story. On a more personal note I buried a friend after a farm accident. That lead to a farm safety blog.
In February I traveled with others from Southwestern Minnesota to South Africa as we visited with folks from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa. Learning to understand their joys and struggles as we helped them with some gardening projects.
March blogs were about politics and snow.
Snow again was a subject for Aprils blogs, along with how slow the snow was to melt, and the advent of rain which kept us from getting into the fields to plant our crops.
In May we got our planting done just a little bit behind schedule. I also posted stories of the new decorative pond I was installing as part of a long planned for landscaping addition. The plans had to be hurried because we had a wedding coming up in June.
Our daughter, Elizabeth married Michael Feltes on June 10, our anniversary. Postings of crop conditions, wedding planning and pond creatures are the main topics for the month. My favorite is the copy of the wedding toast I gave http://minnesotafarm.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/father-of-the-bride/. I hope you enjoyed it.
July’s weather brought rapid crop development and hot humid weather. Our garden was starting to give its produce and most of the field work was drawing to a close.
August brought us http://minnesotafarm.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/flash-drought/ and more postings of the happenings in our pond.
September found our crops rapidly reaching maturity, wood cutting and a farm safety program for area fourth grade children. I got to tell the stories of farm accidents I and others have survived, plus the death of my friend Doug back in January in http://minnesotafarm.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/scared-safe/. The birth of twin granddaughters at the end of the month also highlighted my month.
October was harvest. I do not recall a fall where harvest went so fast, nor so easy. The lack of moisture after such a wet spring was a big part of that speed. Oh yes, I did post about those cute little girls that joined our family.
November was a bit slower month, but I was surprised by the popularity of a “how to” post I made called http://minnesotafarm.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/santas-peeking-in/. It caused a big jump in readership of my blog.
December has been a winding down month. The lack of snow and warm weather has been most of what I have written about. I did have to put in a post or two about the new girls in my life with http://minnesotafarm.wordpress.com/2011/12/25/christmas-with-granddaughters/.
It has been an interesting year for me. There have been joys and hardships and a lot of learning. So here’s the best to you as you look forward to the new year. There is one thing for sure, It will hold a lot of new opportunities for me to write about life. I hope you join me in 2012.
Filed under: cars, family, Family History, Farm | Tags: car, children, family, farm, grandparents
Last night our children, nephews and nieces were talking about special memories. Certain family pictures came to mind and they decided to recreate the pictures of about 20 years ago.
They researched the picture albums and found the poses they remembered. Everyone got into the same poses, except for those who had been on their grandparents laps, and here is the result.
One of the favorite memories is of my dad’s old Sunbeam. Again they researched poses and got a few last minute pointers from a 15 year old picture.
The final picture looked like this.
It was a fun family event for all, after all who knows when they will all get together again.
Filed under: Christmas, family, Family History, food, history, Holidays, Minnesota | Tags: Food, history, humor, Minnesota
Tis the season for lutefisk dinners. I’ve eaten my share, as any good scandahoovian boy must, but I don’t go out of my way to attend lutefisk dinners. Now in its defense, lutefisk is not as bad as some make it out to be. It has its place. As part of our heritage we continue to eat lutefisk even though preserving fish in lye is no longer needed. Also part of our heritage is to make fun of lutefisk. One of my favorite comments on lutefisk is from the WCCO personalities of my youth, Boone and Erickson. Enjoy!
Charlie Boone & Roger Erickson
‘Twas the night before Christmas with things all a bustle
As Mama got set for the Christmas Eve tussle.
Aunts, uncles and cousins would soon be arriving
With stomachs all ready for Christmas Eve dining.
While I sat alone with a feeling of dread,
As visions of lutefisk danced in my head.
The thought of the smell made my eyeballs start burning.
The thought of the taste set my stomach to churning.
For I’m one of those who good Swedes rebuff:
A Scandahoovian boy who can’t stand the stuff.
Each year, however, I played at the game
to spare mama and papa the undying shame.
I must bear up bravely, I can’t take the risk of relatives knowing I hate lutefisk.
I know they would spurn me, my presents withhold,
if the unthinkable, unspeakable truth they were told.
Then out in the yard I heard such a clatter,
I jumped up to see what was the matter.
There in the snow, all in a jumble,
three of my uncles had taken a tumble.
My aunts, as usual, gave them “what for”,
and soon they were up and through the door.
Then with talk, and more cheer,
an hour was passed as Mama finished the Christmas repast.
From out in the kitchen an odor came stealing,
that fairly set my senses to reeling.
The smell of lutefisk creeped down the hall
and wilted a plant in a pot on the wall.
The others reacted as though they were smitten,
while the aroma laid low my small helpless kitten.
Uncles Oscar and Lars said, “Oh, that smells yummy,”
and Kermit’s eyes glittered while he patted his tummy.
The scent skipped off the ceiling and bounced off the door,
and the bird in the cuckoo clock fell on the floor.
Mama announced dinner by ringing a bell.
They pushed to the table with a yump and a yell.
I lifted my eyes to heaven and sighed,
and a rose on the wallpaper withered and died.
With wooden legs I found my chair
and sat in silence with an unseeing stare.
Most of the food was already in place;
there remained only to fill the lutefisks space.
Then Mama came proudly with a bowl on a trivet.
You would have thought the crown jewels were in it.
She placed it carefully down and took her seat,
and Papa said Grace before we could eat.
It seemed to me, with my whirling head,
the shortest prayer he ever had said.
Then Mama lifted the cover on the steaming dish,
and I was face to face with the quivering fish.
“Me first,” I heard Uncle Kermit call,
while I watched the paint peel off the wall.
The plates were passed for Papa to fill.
I waited in agony between fever and chill.
He would dip in the spoon and hold it up high.
As it oozed on the plates, I thought I would die.
Then came my plate, and to my feverish brain
there seemed enough lutefisk to derail a train.
It looked like a mountain of congealing glue:
oddly transparent, yet discolored, the hue.
With butter and cream sauce I tried to conceal it;
I salted and peppered, but the smell still revealed it.
I drummed up my courage, I tried to be bold.
Mama reminds me, “Eat, before it gets cold.”
I decided to face it, “Uff da,” I sighed.
“Uff da, indeed,” my stomach replied.
Then I summoned that resolve for which every breed is known.
My hand took the fork as with a mind of its own.
And with reckless abandon that lutefisk I ate,
within twenty seconds I’d cleaned my plate.
Uncle Kermit flashed me an ear-to-ear grin,
as butter and cream sauce dripped from his chin.
Then to my great shock, he whispered in my ear:
“I’m sure glad this is over for another year!”
It was then I learned a great and wonderful truth,
that Swedes and Norwegians, from old men to youth,
must each pay their dues to have the great joy
of being known as a good Scandahoovian boy.
And so to you all, as you face the great test:
Happy Christmas to you, and to you all the best.
Filed under: family, Family History, Farm, farm animals, garden, genetic modification, GMO, harvest | Tags: children, farm, garden, harvest
Most Americans are at least three generations from the farm, so many no longer have a family farm to visit, but they still want to get out and live the romance of the farm.
Trips to the farm for people who live in the city are a big deal. Some of those “farms” are even in zoos. Winery tours, fall pumpkin patch and corn maze or any other chance to get to see “real” farms are great experiences for families, but they are not the real thing.
There is a romantic notion of the farm. It is not the commercial family farm of today, it is grandpa’s farm. A farm where there was a lazy dog, an assortment of cats, chickens and maybe a horse or cow. Grandpa’s farm was small, as were his machines. Most of the buildings and machinery had stood the test of time. The hay mow (upper level where hay was stored, pronounced “mou”) needed care to keep from falling through the holes in the floor, and the stalls on the main floor had more spiders in them than the cows, pigs or sheep they were built for.
Grandma always had a garden full of veggies and flowers. There were fruit trees and berry patches to harvest. Food fresh from the garden is one of the most beloved of memories of the farm. Perhaps that is why farm fresh food stands and farmers markets are such a big hit.
The reality of today is seldom the reality of yesterday. Today’s big iron and mile long fields are just not as romantic as a quaint old house in the country. Yet the reality today is that farm families of today are not the same as the farm family of yesteryear. Yes, there are still small farms out there. Many farm folks have a job in town to help support their life on the farm. Those who do not have town jobs, or wives who work in town, must cover large amounts of ground to feed their families and pay the bills.
Today’s farm families may include several generations on the farm who are all hard at work using the technology of tomorrow to produce food for America and the world. The farm they live on is nothing like the farm grandpa grew up on, although grandpa may still be there to help out. They do have one thing in common with grandpa’s farm. They are still using the best technology of the day to feed the family.
It was grandpa’s use of his generations technology that kept the farm going and the family fed. When his children took over the farm, they also used the best technology available to them to keep going. Today the grandkids are using computers and GPS technology to become ever more efficient and productive. Many have embraced genetically modified crops for the same reason they use computers, it works.
Today’s family farmer has the same challenges as generations before them did. They need the best seed, the best animals and the best equipment if they are going to feed their family. Today’s family farmers manage large amounts of information and money. They must know the places they can cut costs, and where they must spend to get the best.
This is not the world that grandpa and grandma grew up in. Grandpa did know that if he was to keep up with demands of the world, he had to keep up with the times. If grandpa’s grandkids are still farming, it’s because he did his best to keep up. The romantic family farm so many remember is not a modern farm, it is a museum piece. Grandpa lives on a much nicer farm, or has moved to town so his grandkids can live there.
My children all now make their living in town. The farm my grandkids remember is not going to be the farm of your romantic dreams. It is, however, a farm of the past not of today. I do know that my grandkids,when thy look back, will still love grandpa’s farm.
Filed under: church, Family History, make a difference, Minnesota, time | Tags: cancer, children, funeral, loss
It’s been a bit of a tough time lately. I’ve lost two friends this month to the big C, cancer. It makes you stop and think about what life is all about. Think about what really matters in this world. Both were good men, exceptional men. Kind, giving, hardworking men with loving families.
Luckily for both of them it was rather quick. Quick or slow, cancer is not a nice way to go.
Loss is never easy. For families and friends of those who die, going quickly or slow is not the issue, loss of a loved one is the issue. They will be missed.
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: Family History
When the question of naming my blog came up there could only be one choice for me, it had to be Minnesota Farmer. That is because my great-grand father Iver Iverson was known as the Minnesota Farmer when he corresponded with the newspaper that was published in Hemnes, Norway known as “Nordlands Avis” from 1914 to 1920. So I thought it fitting that his great-grandson should also be known as the Minnesota Farmer in this new world of blogs.
Many years after Iver’s death, his daughters, Corrine and Vivian, discovered the saved issues of “Nordlands Avis” and published the translated writings from the paper along with Iver’s life story. Thus the whole family came to know their ancestor.
I hope that you also will find an interest in the musings of this Minnesota Farmer as I consider all that goes on around me in this wonderful digital world.