Filed under: Corn, Farm, Minnesota, Trees, weather | Tags: Corn, dew, farm, fog, leaves, Minnesota, nature, trees, weather
With the whole center of the country in a drought, it was delightful to come out this morning and see water hanging from all of our plants here in southwestern Minnesota due to the morning fog. I hope you enjoy these foggy picture as much as I did.
It was indeed an enchanted fog.
Filed under: family, Farm, Farm Bureau, Fishing, food, friends, summer, Trees, weather, wind | Tags: children, farm, Farm Bureau, Food, hot, machines, record heat, summer, trees, weather, wind
It has been a hot week and I will be glad to see it go. I seem to be having troubles for the last week or so, one after another.
Last Thursday I called the doctor that was to do my knee surgery to get details. They said, “Oh, No, you are not scheduled for a week.” I said “I have an appointment card that says surgery tomorrow.”, and “Next Friday will not work.” Some how we got the surgery done. The knee is feeling much better now, Thank you.
We go to the cabin so I can recuperate without having any extra duties, spend time with my leg up, take it easy. No water in the cabin! I have to crawl into the basement and prime the pump so we can have water to clean up and cool off.
It’s hot, record-breaking hot,but I cannot go into the water too cool off due to my surgery. Lucky for me the crappies are biting just off the dock. I can at least sit in the sun and fish, and sweat!
A storm comes through and takes down some trees and takes out the electricity. Spend some time helping with the clean up. No fans, no air moving, it’s hard to sleep. The only running water we have is when someone goes down to the lake to carry it back in buckets. With no fridge and food spoiling, we come home early. Oh yeah, the fridge died when the power went out.
We stop at my aunt and uncles on the trip home for a bit. The electricity goes out at their house!
A message comes up on my phone as we near home. One of the items we need to serve for Breakfast on the Farm is not available, could you call back, like, two days ago. With some scrambling, and help from others putting on the event, we are a go.
Today, Friday, I go to open my shop door and nothing happens, motor is out. Looks like I need to do some repair there, and there are no parts available until Monday.
There have been a number of little things that have gone wrong this week, and the record heat and humidity are not helping us get things done. I just want to crawl into bed and stay there. Then, however, I would not get to see my granddaughters,
I would not have the feeling of a job done well, I would not have people looking at me and saying, “Wow, how did you get all of that done.”
So, I guess I’ll just keep on going. We have a big event planned for tomorrow, and thanks to all of those who are helping me, we are going to have a good time. Come on over and help fill the tent. We’ll be waiting for you!
Here’s to keeping going when everything seems to be going wrong!
Filed under: family, Farm, frost, garden, planting, spring, Trees, weather | Tags: children, Easter, farm, garden, leaf lettuce, plant potatoes, Planting, potato, potatoes, spring
Well, I’ve done it, I finally started planting my garden. Usually you are fairly safe to start planting the more hardy plants by Easter. Many a person sets Good Friday as the day to plant potatoes. With this years good weather I could have had a lot more planted, but stayed away as long as I could. The exception, some potatoes.
About a month ago I looked at the sprouting left overs from last years garden and decided to try something crazy. I dug out these old pots and put those sprouted potatoes in. The plan is to keep adding soil as they grow. I’m hoping for some early potatoes. I figured I could move the pots inside when cold weather threatened and not have to worry, so far, no worry.
I had purchased some new asperges plants and some seed potatoes and decided to put them into the ground. My garden had been getting hard, so last fall I went through it with a deep tillage disk that I use in the fields. Now this spring I can tell that it helped. I took the tiller through the garden to get the early sprouting weeds, dug out some quack grass and dandelions and got planting. While I was at it I planted radishes, carrots, leaf lettuce, spinach and peas. These are all plants that can take being a little cold.
It doesn’t look like much now, but give it a few warm days and we’ll have some fresh veggies poking up.
The weather forecast is not hopeful for the plants that are already leafed out. Monday and Tuesday low temperatures are forecast to be well below freezing. That will push off my date for the start of corn planting. It is not only the corn that I have some concerns about. If the weather is cold enough the new blooms in the yard are in danger.
Our lilacs are just beginning to open.
The flowering crab is only days from blooming. The strong winds out of the north these last few days have not kept them from trying to bloom.
We can cover the tulips to protect them, but the trees are not going to be so lucky.
Talking about trees, my grandfather said you should wait until the ash and oak leaves were as big as a squirrels ear. We don’t even have much for buds on the ash, although they are showing their flowers.
I’m not worried about the ash trees, they will make it through quite a cold snap, but many other plants will not. I’m not sure how much cold the climbing rose will take at this time, I guess I’ll find out.
One plant I am hoping to see freeze off are these dandelions.
The blooms are staying close to the ground, so perhaps they know that the cold is not yet over.
So here’s hoping your Easter garden is frost free and full of color.
Filed under: Farm, Minnesota, spring, Trees | Tags: branches, cleanup, eyebrows and beard, farm, fire, Minnesota, spring, trees
We have a really great day here in Minnesota, temperature is in the upper 50′s with sunshine, and I have been putting it to use. Since our ice storm of a few weeks back we have had a large number of branches down in the yard. This afternoon my sweetie and I went to work on them.
Now no branch of any size comes down with out it being sized up for addition to the wood pile. I had a few that I trimmed up and added the larger parts to the stack, but not all was stackable, hence a fire was needed. Living out here on the farm I have had a lot of fires as tree branches needed to be reduced. I let the pile get nice and big and I lit it.
If your wood pile is dry branches you can start with a small pile, but wet wood needs heat to consume it, and this was wet with sap, spring time wood. I started with a pile of dry stuff on the bottom and got the wet wood heated up so it would burn, then you keep adding branches as the pile burns down. Now wet wood needs lots of encouragement to keep it gong, so you end up with lots of branches around the edges of the fire that need to be pushed into the hottest part to get them burned. It was while I was reaching down to push some sticks into the center that it happened. I got singed!
Yep, the eyebrows and beard got a little hot. Now with the eyebrows tucked under the brim of my cap I thought they would have been protected, but they really got clipped. I’m going to be living with that scorched hair smell for a bit. Oh well, that’s what you get for working on Sunday.
Filed under: Ice, Minnesota, rain, snow, Trees, weather, wind, winter | Tags: farm, ice, icicles, Minnesota, rain, snow, trees, weather, wind, winter
So, Leap Day, 2012 dawns to an icy world.
It’s rare to see icicles hanging from the trees. Unfortunately the heavy load of ice leads to broken branches, of which we now have plenty to clean up. Temperatures are to remain close to freezing as the wind picks up, so I expect more broken branches.
Small bushes are also pushed down under the load of ice.
We will not get warmer weather for a few days, so this coating of ice will not go away soon. Back roads are slick with ice, some times covered with water, and driving can be interesting at times. A light coating of snow now will not help, but that is what we are getting. Gotta love Minnesota in the winter!
Filed under: frost, Minnesota, Trees, winter | Tags: farm, fog, frost, frost on trees, Minnesota, southwestern minnesota, trees, winter, winter magic
Our area of Southwestern Minnesota has turned magical after three days of fog. This morning the sun came out and added some sparkle to the trees.
The tiny spears of frost were everywhere, even on a few rocks.
The frost was perhaps most striking when it was on the green of pine boughs.
Some branches held a lot of frost, others held only a little.
Soon the wind and sunlight will remove the frost from the trees and we will go back to our monochrome winter world. For now we have a bit of magic in the trees. Hope you enjoyed this bit of winter magic.
Filed under: Trees, Wildlife | Tags: Box Elder tree, hollow tree, rotten wood, trees, wood
I’ve been cutting wood now for a lot of years, but this cut was really interesting.
Now I’ve seen hollow logs before, but this hollow log was completely filled in with rotten wood. The log itself as a bit over 12 inches in diameter and had less than two inches of good wood on the outside. The log was from a Box Elder tree that was growing near my garage. It was cut down because so many of its branches were dying. This branch was still alive. The rotten middle of this branch was eventually going to kill of the branch. Its only salvation would have been if a squirrel had gone in and cleaned it out. Removal of the wet rotten wood would have helped to slow the rotting process.
Box Elder trees are not the most popular trees in our area. They tend to draw a large number of bugs that like to winter in their easy to dig in wood. They usually have red streaks inside them between the live outer wood and the dead center. If you can find a piece in good condition they do make some interesting projects, but the light wood rots very easily.
Filed under: cold, Corn Stove, Trees, weather, winter, wood heat | Tags: burning wood, farm, fireplace, heating with wood, wood, wood burning stove, wood heat, wood stove
“Every man looks at his wood pile with a kind of affection.” Henry David Thoreau
I’ve been heating with wood now for over 30 years. Every fall I look at the wood pile and hope it is enough to get me though the winter. This year there is no doubt. I’ve got enough wood to get through this winter and into the next.
When I first moved to this house we had a cast iron stove sitting in the living room, and a sheet metal stove in the basement. Although I had a gas furnace, I planned on it only running when I was not home. Through the years the basement stove has been replaced with a corn stove, and the living room wood stove with a gas one, but I still heat with wood.
Three years ago I bought a Central Boiler wood furnace. This wood burner sits outside so it keeps all the mess of wood burning outside. The Central Boiler heats water and then pumps the heated water into the house. This hot water first goes to the water heater where it leaves some nice hot water for us, then it goes to a radiator in the furnace plenum. When the furnace fan kicks in we get hot air right away, no waiting for the furnace fire to kick in. Before the hot water goes back to the boiler it makes a trip to my shop where it helps keep that building warm.
Over the years I’ve learned a few things that may help you with your burning questions as you contemplate heating with wood.
- A fireplace is nice, but to get the most heat you need an enclosed stove.
- Burn dry wood, it is less of a fire hazard for your chimney.
- Clean your chimney. No matter how hard you try you cannot avoid a chimney fire, cleaning it properly keeps chimney fires from happening so often.
- Burn your fire hot, then let it go out. A slow smokey fire adds creosote to your chimney, a hot fast fire helps keep that chimney clean.
- Air dry your wood for at least 6 months before burning, longer if possible.
- Wood stored inside molds, wood stored outside dries even in rainy weather. Having a roof over your wood is nice, but walls are bad for drying wood.
- Keep you wood off of the ground. I like to store my wood on old pallets. This allows air to get under the wood. It also discourages rot where wood touches earth.
- Rotate your wood pile. Burn the oldest wood first. It helps keep insect populations at bay, and keeps rodent nests cleaned out.
- All woods do not produce the same amount of heat. Ash, oak, hard maple, beech, birch, hickory, pecan and dogwood produce the most heat.
- Some woods are not good for your chimney. Pine and fir cause more creosote build up and chimney fries than other woods.
- Some fires smell better. There is nothing like the smell of a hickory or apple fire, most fruit and nut woods smell nice when burned outside in your fire pit.
- Some wood stinks when burned. A cottonwood fire is truly vile.
- If you cut wood, you need to plant trees.
Wood heats a man twice. Once when he cuts it and again when it is burned. Enjoy your wood fires.
Filed under: cold, Fall, Farm, frost, Minnesota, pond, seasons, Trees | Tags: autumn, falling leaves, farm, frost, leaves, Minnesota, pond, trees, wind
With all of the cold we’ve had lately most trees have been shedding their leaves quite quickly. The lack of rain has meant that the leaves have remained dry and light in weight. Some trees, like the catalpa shed their leaves mostly in one day, its large leaves dropping like rain as the frost went out one morning. Many leaves in our area blew off in the wind and made piles in sheltered areas, or blew into the water. A few leaves are still hanging in there. Here’s a few pictures for you.
Only a few leaves remain on this maple. The leaves have been turning from red and gold to brown as they wave goodbye to fall.
While most of the leaves are gone from our trees, this maple has hung on to its leaves. Oak also are waiting to shed their summer glory as their now brown leaves cling to the branches. Locust have compound leaves, and so may shed a leaflet or two before the whole leaf drops.
The pond has been a leaf magnet. Leaves hit the water and stop. I have scooped wheel barrows of leaves out and still the water is brown with leaves. It’s a wonder that the fish can swim in it sometimes. The leaves dam up our little creek and cause the water to run places I do not want it to go.
As the temperatures cool we will lose more of the leaves, a little at a time, as each leaf lets go of its summer hang out and drifts to the ground. It has really been a colorful autumn here in Southwestern Minnesota. Perhaps one of the most colorful I have ever seen. Just 44 more days to winter.
Filed under: cold, Farm, Minnesota, Trees, winter, wood heat | Tags: cold, cutting wood, farm, machines, Minnesota, trees, weather, wood heat
Some changes happened at my house today, can you see it?
The two spruce trees that have been in front of our house for at least 75 years are gone. It’s a big change.
We really had enjoyed those trees, it’s just that lately they have been losing more needles than they have been producing. They just had to go.
It was interesting to count the rings and see the record of the good years and the bad years the tree had survived.
I got home from my school bus route and the first tree was already gone, and they were notching the second one in preparation for dropping it. It came down exactly where it was supposed to.
The crew cut off and shredded the branches, cut the trunk up into manageable lengths, and piled the logs for me to process later.
They ground up the stump, leaving only a small hole for me to fill later.
My wood pile which was large before is huge now. I could have enough wood for two years out there now.
I do love a large wood pile with the prospect of a cold winter ahead.