Filed under: Ag education, Animal care, cats, dogs, family, Farm, farm animals, food, food safety, friends, Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture education, animals, dog, family, farm, farm animals, Food, nature, pig, pigs
I am constantly amazed at the folks that turn up their nose at the slightest smell, and those that cannot stand the least bit of disarray, life is messy, deal with it!
We are conceived and born in a rather messy way. That’s how life starts out. We eat, and the leftovers leaving our bodies are anything but neat. To top it all off, for anything of any size to live, something must die, it’s a fact of life. When we die, despite the nice cleaned up corpse the undertaker provides for our friends and relatives to see, we decay, it’s a fact of life. We must join the circle of life, we are born, eat to live, perhaps pass on a few of our cells to create a bit of life to follow us or two, then we die.
Where is this all going? Back to the farm of course. We who are left on the farm are being told how to do our job by folks that turn up their noses at the least smell. We have a messy job, and know how to deal with it. Some famous person, with a fur person in their house, thinks all farm animals are just like their furry companion. Folks, a cow is not a cat, a pig is not a dog, a chicken is not a baby.
It seems all too easy for those with extravagant life styles to make the world better. Out of guilt for the huge amount of money they have, they promote legislation that is supposedly better for farm animals, all the time putting farm folks out of work and making food more expensive for those who cannot afford it. Because of “feel good” regulations, it is getting harder and harder for young folks who love the farm, to stay there.Those of us who love the farm know what to do with pigs, cows, chickens and other livestock. We want them to be healthy and happy despite the fact that we know we will eat them. Leave the mess to those who understand the mess. If you want to know how things are down on the farm, please ask a farmer, not a news anchor.
Filed under: Corn, Fall, Farm, fertilizer, Minnesota, tillage, Uncategorized | Tags: Corn, farm, grandchildren, machines, Minnesota, tillage, weather, Weed control
The harvest may be done, but there is plenty more to do.
I’ve been spending most of my days lately in this rig. The tractor is a JD 4650 rated at about 180 horse power. It’s pulling a 14 foot Wishek deep tillage disk. With the dry conditions it has been turning over some really hard chunks of earth. The last two years were wetter and did not allow me to till as deep as I would like to. Now with drier conditions we’re sinking the Wishek in and really doing a good job.
On the left you see the corn stalks before they are disked, and on the right is the after. I like the Wishek because it can go through the standing stalks without any other preparation. It leaves a good amount of plant material on or near the surface to help control erosion without leaving too smooth of a surface. The rough surface creates ponding areas to hold water on the surface and let it go into the soil not run off. The old plant material and rough surface will also help keep down wind erosion. I have one field that I only worked part of the field. Those areas that were too steep or too sandy I left untouched. That will protect them during the harsh winds of winter.
This field will be corn again next year so we broadcast most of the fertilizer next years crop will need and work that into the top 8 inches of soil profile. Next spring we’ll smooth this off a bit and plant it. I like to keep at least 30% cover after planting to reduce erosion and promote water infiltration.
I also spent some time burning off the grass in a road ditch that is too steep to mow. Burning removes the stems that could catch winter snow and keep it on the road. It also helps to keep down weeds that are unwanted. Burning tends to promote the growth of grasses over things like trees and broad leaf plants. It also allowed me to spend some time reshaping part of the ditch so that I can get my mower down into it.
I also want to spend some time with these two young ladies. Being a grandfather is such hard work you know.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Animal care, Farm, farm animals, food, food safety, hunger, Uncategorized | Tags: ag education, animal care, farm, farm animals, Food, food safety, hunger
It is the job of everyone involved in agriculture to speak up for agriculture, you do it by your words and actions everyday. Are you saying good things about the industry that puts food on the tables of the world?
Today more and more people do not even know someone involved in agriculture, much less have a relative back on the farm. They do not know where their food comes from, or how it gets to their table. There is a disconnect between meal and raw product.
Without agriculture there is no food, and yet many who depend on us are harboring misconceptions about the most important industry on earth. Here’s some help for you.
When someone comes to you concerned about corporations in agriculture you can tell them that 98% of farms in the U.S. are family farms. Some of these may be corporations or partnerships, but they are still owned and worked by families.
When some one comes to you all upset about what agriculture is doing to the water supply, remind them that families on the farm drink that water too and would do nothing to intentionally harm it. Farmers, through modern conservation and tillage practices are reducing the loss of soil and thereby protecting our lakes and rivers.
If someone comes to you with concerns about how animals are handled on farms, tell them that farmers have ZERO tolerance for willful acts of neglect or cruelty. We believe that animal care decisions should be made by the farmer or rancher and his veterinarian. An animal that is uncomfortable does not produce the most possible food. We need healthy, comfortable animals on our farms and ranches to feed the world.
Our worlds population is expanding. We will need to produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed the 2.4 billion more people that will inhabit our world. Somehow we must do this with the same, or even less land than we are now using. Today 1 in 6 Americans do not have access to enough food. That number is higher in many other countries. How can we feed more people tomorrow if there are people hungry today?
We need you to join us in speaking up for agriculture. Without you our numbers are diminished, our voice is muted. Please help us when we ask you to speak up for the industry that feeds the world. Volunteer to sit in the fair booth. Speak up when you hear someone who tells the wrong story of agriculture. We need your voice. We need your help. Speak up today.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Minnesota, summer, Uncategorized, weather | Tags: Corn, farm, hot, Minnesota, summer, weather, wind
How hot is it?
This is an unusually hot week. Temperatures have been in the upper 80′s to upper 90′s for several days now and will continue that way for over a week. There is so much water in the air that sweating does no good. Sweat just runs off. There is barely a breath of wind, so there is nothing to carry sweat away. The “feels like” index is over 100 and will continue that way. This is some tough weather on people and livestock.
There have been reports of people without AC passing out and getting sick. This weather is not something to fool around with. If you do not have AC find a library or other public building to hang out in. Visit the grocers freezer section. Go to the mall. Drink lots of water, not soda, and if you get really hot, pour some of that water over your head. Spend the day in the pool or lake.
People have been saying this weather is good for the corn, well not really. Corn needs some time to cool off too. For corn it’s kind of like breathing. Breathe in all day in the sunshine, but the heat at night does not allow the corn to exhale. Corn needs the night to get around 70 or so, so that it can exhale.
Our corn fields are starting to tassel. This is the time that the corn crop is made. Days in the 80′s, nights in the 60′s, plenty of moisture, that’s what corn needs now. We shall see how all of this heat and humidity work out when we harvest. This is prime time for corn.
Filed under: garden, Minnesota, planting, pond, rain, Uncategorized, water garden | Tags: garden, Minnesota, Planting, pond, rain, rocks, water garden, weather
The last week has been a bit wet and more rain is now falling. If I had really wanted to I could have planted about a day in the entire week. Due to some tractor problems we decided to take two of our tractors into the shop to have some work done on them. Nothing major, yet, but something that needed to be fixed.
We had about an inch of rain for the week. Nothing real heavy, just several days where it dripped rain for hours. My option to field work was getting the landscape work done by the pond. I’ve spent a lot of time trudging around in muddy boots to get rocks and planters set.
That work meant being in the pond and the water is still very cold, thus the chest waders.
I have finally gotten a chance to start work on the bridge, another focal and viewing point for the pond. It’s full of some interesting angles and will make me scratch my head a bit to get the job done right.
The most important step happened today as I completed the electrical hookups that allowed me to start the pump for the stream. With the pump going I can finally set a time to get the fish. There will be lots of interest in this small space.
So despite the rains I have had plenty of progress. There are a few steps to go before the big day so I would like the rains to quit. Rain or no rain, I’ll do my best to make progress.
Filed under: church, food, food safety, friends, garden, harvest, Kwazamohkuhle, South Africa, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture education, ELCA, ELCSA, Food, food safety, garden, harvest, irrigation, South Africa
The second week is underway for those who traveled from the Shetek conference of the ELCA to the Ondini Circuit of the ELCSA. Today is to be a day full of projects. After breakfast and chapel we all drive into Estcourt. We need more supplies One van load has a few quick stops to make and then get back to work. The other needs to make some stops that will take more time.
Josh has returned with his family. We all get to meet them before they head off to do some more sight seeing. Juanita spends some time with him to get a better idea of how we can use him and the program he is here on to continue our projects.
After lunch we make another trip into Estcourt for things we forgot, or didn’t know we needed the first time.
My journal entry for the day includes Success! With so many things going on today it was wonderful to see so many of them really move along. After the frustration of yesterday the success of today was so much better.
Work on the high tunnel greenhouse has gone so well the Paul has the ground inside worked so that we can start to lay the underground drip tubes.
They are doing a food preservation workshop this afternoon so Rambo, Ted and I pick grapes for grape jelly.
Ron, Pastor Shongwa, Levi and Karl clean the trench.
The prep of the foods to be canned went on in the kitchen.
Standpipes were placed on the irrigation pipe so that it could be buried.
Drip irrigation lines were measured, cut and them placed just underground in the high tunnel.
Gogo Bob (Barb) and Juanita were leading the food preservation workshop and kept many of us busy during the day. (A gogo is a grandmother in Zulu. The locals had trouble pronouncing r’s in some positions of words, so Barb became Bob. Since she is a grandmother we called her Gogo Bob.)
There was a lot of excitement when the food preservation participants found out that they actually got to do the work in the kitchen. However in an area that does not have a tradition of canning, supplies for the job were hard to come by. There were a few spills and a dropped jar that showered several with hot food. Despite the problems the ladies had a great time. All took home some of the produce.
Bonnie, Ted and Marcia met with the local HIV/AIDS working group to share information and concerns.
It was all spare hands on the job as we started to fill the trench after the irrigation pipe was installed.
What a day. With so many projects going on at the same time we had people moving from job to job all day, with few staying in one place all day. It was a very successful day. Tomorrow we get to play tourist.
Filed under: cars, church, food, friends, house, Kwazamohkuhle, rain, South Africa, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: ELCA, ELCSA, Food, friends, rain, South Africa
Fifteen people from the Shetek conference of the ELCA flew to South Africa on an agricultural mission that departed on January 31, 2011. Our group included 3 pastors, 5 between the ages of 17 and 28, 3 farmers, 2 teachers, a factory tech and a nurse.
Now Sunday had arrived and it was time to make an appearance in as many of the churches of the Ondini Circuit of the ELCSA as possible. The plan was to break up into groups of two or three and make our way to the far flung churches by way of pastors and parishioners cars. Our pastors would be preaching with Zulu speakers interpreting.
Loretta and Barb left on Saturday. They were going to one of the most remote parishes and their ride came down for the bible school program. The dean of the Shetek Conference Reverend Ted Kunze and his wife Marcia were traveling with the dean of the Ondini Circuit, Reverend J L Shongwe. Paul Pohlman and I went to church at Impumelelo.
None of the churches we went to were large. Impumelelo had benches for about 40 people. Our benches actually had backs on them which is not always the case. The pastor lives on the grounds of this church in a simple plastered cider block house with a concrete floor. He serves a 7 point parish and is expected to visit all of his churches each month.
I had along some hooded sweatshirts from our church which fit their boys.
I’m really impressed with the clergy of the area. They all serve multiple parishes with as many as 12 locations to cover in a month. None in their parish’s are well off. The Sunday offering is usually small. They manage to hold their families together with the help of working wives. They may only see their wives on weekends because of the distance their wives travel to get a decent job. Their children are well read, well educated and ambitious.
The interiors of the churches are simple but clean. Exposed rafters with the roof structure showing seems to be the norm. Electricity, if any, is exposed wires with bare bulbs.
Every church has ladies, in special uniforms, who take care of the church and act in any capacity they are needed in. These ladies , usually Gogo’s (Grandmothers), will help with baptisms, with setting up before church and cleaning up afterward, and many other tasks. They are often found sitting in church next to younger children, many times their grandchildren, or sometimes orphans. Men in church are there in fewer numbers than women and children and may not sit with their families. School age children sit in the front of the church in many cases and are attentive the whole time. Services of over two hours are common.
Music is a large part of the ELCSA service. There rarely are musical instruments, so when a hymn is announced, a leader will start the song and everyone will follow. The Zulu Hymn book has no notes just words. A typical African style of harmony, perhaps in the call and response form, would take hold quickly. We sang many songs, some of which I recognized the tune to, always in Zulu.
The grounds of the churches I was at were rarely well maintained. Tall weeds were everywhere that people would not walk. With all of the moisture of the rainy season grass grew quickly. The buildings would be neat, but would always have some signs of needed repair and paint. The scenery was beautiful.
Impumelelo is on the edge of the Drakensburg mountains. As church was ending we heard a thunderstorm coming in over the mountains. Women were casting nervous glances out of the door. When church ended, women and children went scurrying off to get the cloths off of the line.
After the service Paul and I were treated to a meal with the pastor and his family. Then we squeezed into his Ford Focus for a trip off to meet two others of our group and make our way back to Kwazamohkuhle.
We met Carrie and Jessica at the home of a retired pastor who insisted that we have a little snack, which turned out to be a full meal, before we left. His house sits on family property with relatives living in all of the nearby houses. The area was also a little bit more level that it had been at Impumelelo. There were always nice, but worn, furniture in the houses I was in. If they had enough money they had TV’s, DVD players and computers. They put out the best for us.
By the time we had all made our way back to Kwazamohkuhle it was late. The gate is locked at 8 p.m. so we had to make our way out to unlock the gate for the late arrivals. There were many stories to tell of how are day had gone, and of the sights we had seen. Sunday was a busy day for us, and there was much more work for us to do in the week ahead.
OK, I finally took the plunge and went on Facebook. I wanted to keep up with some of the bloggers I read. Look for me there.
Filed under: Farm, Minnesota, planting, rain, Soybeans, spring, Uncategorized, weather | Tags: Planting, rain, Soybeans, weather
Now we are waiting for the pre-foundation soybean seed. I’ve finished planting all the beans except for those. They are either still in South America, on a boat headed this way, or in a truck somewhere in the U.S.
I did have a bit of a problem in the last field. The spot where there had been water sitting over the weekend was still too wet to plant. I was not going to make a 110 acre field wait for a spot that was less than half an acre.
Todays weather was a surprise. Although it was supposed to be dry today, we had a light mist for several hours this morning. We still got some work done. Now it’s time to mow the grass again.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, fertilizer, food, food safety, Uncategorized | Tags: Corn, Food, food safety
The news was trumpeted to the world when Romaine lettuce caused deaths last week in several areas. Conspiracy theorists were blogging about how this was all because we feed too much corn to our cattle. Now that the cause is found where is the outcry? It seems to have been lost to the new outrage of the day.
Arizona farmers still have a crisis on their hands. Some of their practices have caused illness and death when food gets to the consumer, but the cause is not what many expected. What/who was the culprit? It seems that for some time cities have been having problems getting rid of their biosolids, that’s the sludge left after treating the city sewage. They have convinced farmers that this is a good source of plant food for the table veggies grown in the area. Unfortunately if the city does not treat the biosolids properly it is also a good source of problems for those who eat these food crops.
This is not the first time that biosolids have been the source of food contamination, the hope is that it will be the last. There are ways to stop this and both farmers and the cities that supply the biosolids need to act now. Food is too important of a commodity to allow this to continue.