Minnesota Farmer

Bus wounded, turkey missing
November 18, 2015, 9:40 am
Filed under: birds, bus, Farm, School bus, Wildlife

The area along the Des Moines river on County 14 is an area I know well.  It is an area teeming in wildlife.  Deer, pheasant, turkey, fox and coyote have all been seen as my bus rolls down that streach of county gravel.  I saw my first wild turkey there.  I hit my first deer on that streach of gravel.  Tuesday, the encounter was a bit closer than I wanted.  My bus windshield took a direct hit by a wild turkey.


There were still 6 students on the bus when the turkeys flew in front of the bus.  The students of course, were excited.  Me?  I’d just about had a turkey come through the front window into my lap, I was a bit unnerved.


My lap was full of glass, and there was no way I could continue taking the kids home.  We had a big problem!


Lucky for us we were only half a mile from where our bus company manager lived.  I got to his place and the students and I were picked up by a bus from another route.  Everyone was safe, I only had one minor cut, the turkey could not be found.

This morning the students who had been on the bus were celebrities.  They were showing the pictures on their iPads and  recounting the whole experience.  I’m just glad no one was hurt except the turkey.

Friday at the Fair

Friday, Wife and I spent the day at the Great Minnesota Get Together, the Minnesota State Fair.

We waited to leave for the fair until after the morning bus route, so it was almost noon before we found a parking spot and got onto the grounds.  We had done more pre trip research than we usually do so we had some definite stops in mind.  Since it was almost noon, we headed for what is reported to be the best walleye on the grounds at Giggles Campfire Grill on the north end of Cooper Street.  Wife went for the walleye sandwich, and I had the Walleye Stuffed Mushrooms, Delish!


The lumberjack show was on next door so we kept an eye on the action as we savored that wonderful walleye. I also sampled on of their Maple Bacon beers.  Not bad if you like beer you can chew.  This one came with a chunk of bacon in it.

In past years we have spent most of our time on the north east side viewing the exhibits in the buildings along Cosgrove Street.  This year we elected to head for the west side and found ourselves in the West End Market.  The market is a newer area of the grounds with quirky little shops and the best, and newest, restrooms on the grounds.  We had fun browsing and even buying an item or two.  These shops are more open air than the ones found inside the buildings and were more on the hand made side.

We had never been in to see the butter carving so we headed off to the Dairy Barn.  Unfortunately the butter carving was not in progress at the time but we got to see where it is done and the pictures of all the Princess Kay of the Milky Way candidates.

Wife had her sights set on some international foods so we were off to the south eastern side of the grounds and the International Bazzar.

Once we had checked the area out it was off to the Tonic Sol-Fa concert at the Band Shell.  Tonic Sol-Fa are Minnesota boys who have made it big in the a-ccapella scene.  We’ve been fans since way back when and are unsure how long they will be around.  What once was 5 are now down to 3 singers.  They still put on a good show.

The time was upon us to head off to work.  The folks at the Minnesota Farm Bureau had paid for our tickets to get into the fair so we had better be ready.  I just had time for one more beer and a pork chop on a stick, wife opted for something more exotic at the wine booth down the street and went to visit the KARE11 studio on the fair grounds, then it was time to go to work.


We got our new tee shirts on and said goodbye to those on the previous shift.  Working at the fair is always interesting.  I always enjoy interacting with those who stop by the booth.  We had a visitor from Australia stop by this year looking for ways we promote agriculture so she could take them home with her.  I especially like interacting with kids of all ages.  Getting them interested in where their food comes from is a very important job.

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) State Fair exhibit continues the tradition of providing fun for all ages. This year’s garden theme is a fresh Pico de Gallo recipe. Those stopping by the MFBF building receive the recipe and see the Minnesota crops that are used to make it.

The Minnesota State Fair tradition continues with the Minnesota Farmers CARE theme. Since more than half of Minnesotans have never met a farmer, MFBF has created an opportunity for the public to ask farmers questions at the fair. Minnesota farmers will be volunteering all 12 days of the State Fair at the MFBF building where fairgoers can meet farmers who are raising and growing their food.  I always enjoy the questions people ask at the fair.  Some are very easy, but some are hard to answer.  If you have questions about your food, here is where to get them answered by those who grow your food.

Adults and children can all learn something new about Minnesota agriculture. MFBF will have drawings for children’s books, including The Beeman, and a rain barrel. Walk away with a free thermal lunch bag or ice cream scoop by learning four new facts about agriculture and talk to a Minnesota farmer.

The MFBF State Fair building is located at 1305 Underwood Street, directly across from the Food Building and behind the giant slide.

Nine p.m. and the building closes.  It’s time to go find our car and head off to bed.  If we missed you at the fair this year, we hope you can make it next year.  It’s always fun at the Minesota State Fair.

Rainy start to fair
August 19, 2015, 5:59 am
Filed under: 4-H, fair, Farm Bureau, FFA, rain, weather | Tags: , , ,

It’s fair time here in Cottonwood County and we are off to a rainy start.  Rainfall totals are nearing 5 inches for the week and everything is a bit messy.  4-H and FFA entries are in and Open class entries are this morning.  Due to the rain I expect crop and garden entries to be light.  Who wants to go out into a muddy garden or field to pick entries.

I put up the Farm Bureau booth yesterday and finishing touches will be put on this morning.  I’ve got the first shift of the fair starting a 5 p.m.  Come by and visit for a bit.

Fair food stands open at 10:00 this morning, if the rain slows a bit all of them should see some business.  The 4-H is the only enclosed food stand so they will be doing a good business despite the rain.

At least the temperatures will be nice for livestock entries today.  That is supposed to change as the rains end and temperatures rise.  We could have some real fair time weather by Saturday with hot, muggy days, at least the nights will give some relief.

So come enjoy the fair.  Lots of people will be there to talk to and the entries will be amazing again.  The carnaval is set up on asphalt so there will be no mud there.  Our grandstand is enclosed and the entertainment will again be great.  Hope to see you at the fair.

It’s August
August 7, 2015, 7:55 am
Filed under: agriculture, August, Farm, summer | Tags: , ,

It’s August, and the living is a little easier.

I’m now a corn and soybean farmer, as such August is the time of year when not much is left to be done for field work and prep work for harvest is not really urgent.  I remember the days when hogs were our main source of income, and the chores never really stopped.  I have a beef producer friend who is gearing up for silage harvest.  For me, August is a slower time.

So what to do with myself.  Wife has some ideas, and those are getting done.  Farmfest is over, I spent a day there.  We have a family reunion coming up, I’ll be attending that.  The county fair is coming, as is the Threashing Bee and the State Fair.  Early September will see Labor Day activities and the Delft Furrow Makers plowing day with antique tractors.  All things to help occupy my time in what is the slow part of the year.

School is just around the corner, and I’ll be back driving school bus in just over 2 weeks.  That marks the beginning of the end for summer, but late summer can still be a bit slower.

So enjoy your slow part of the year, whenever that may come.  For me, it’s August, and the living is a little easier.

August 1, 2015, 6:27 am
Filed under: name origins, spelling, Wojahn | Tags: , ,

My last name is Wojahn, which most people pronounce as Whoa-john, but my great grand parents pronounced it Voh-yan.  The name has Germanic roots and was at one time spelled Woian.  I prefer to have it pronounced Whoa-yan, but that causes problems when you tell someone your name and they try to spell it.  Most people from Europe have no problem pronouncing my name as Whoa-yan, but those crazy Americans just cannot understand why I want it that way.  The problem is in how our alphabet changed.

“The letter J is relatively recent, about 1500, and originated as a variant of the letter I. Why that happens is a little complicated.

In the original languages (Latin, Greek, Hebrew) which provide us with the names Jesus, Joseph, Justinian, etc., the sound which we write as J was pronounced as the English letter Y. (Just to make things confusing for English speakers, the phonetic symbol for this sound is [j].) In Latin, the letter for this was I/i, in Greek it was Ι/ι (iota), and in Hebrew it was י (yod). Thus, the Greek spelling for “Jesus” was Ιησους, pronounced something like “Yeh-SOOS”, and the Latin likewise was Iesus.

Subsequently, in the Latin alphabet the letter J was developed as a variant of I, and this distinction was later used to distinguish the consonantal “y” sound [j] from the vocalic “i” sound [i]. However, at about the same time there was a sound change in many of the languages of Western Europe, such that the “y” sound changed into a “j” sound ([dʒ], or sometimes [ʒ]). So we have it that in English, the letter J now represents a consonant [dʒ] which is not obviously similar to the vowel [i], despite the fact that they descend from the same letter and the same sound. (English also has many [dʒ] sounds spelled with J which come from native Germanic roots.)”

You can see this history worked out differently in the spelling systems of German and many of the Slavic languages of Eastern Europe, where the letter J spells the “y” sound [j], and the letter Y, if used at all, is primarily used as a vowel.”

So there you have it, a history lesson on your alphabet.  Does your name contain a J?  Have you ever wondered why people from other countries pronounce the J differently?  Now you know.

We were lucky
June 23, 2015, 12:27 pm
Filed under: storm damage, weather, wind | Tags: , ,

Sunday morning winds approaching a Category 1 hurricane blasted through our area.  We only had 60 mph winds and minimal damage.  Others were not so lucky.  Here’s a few pictures of our damage.


Leaves everywhere.  The winds came from almost around the compass at some time that morning.  Most leaves and branches seemed to blown east, but most field damage was from the north.


The corn in the garden and fields was all tilted south.  The potatoes that had spread completely across the rows were now plastered into a compact pile.


These branches had been blown north.  Not a single tree was without damage, mostly minor.

Around the area there were trees on cars, campers and houses.  Campers and trailers were blown over and building roofs were pealed off,  Yep, we were lucky.

Mostly knee high
June 20, 2015, 8:41 am
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Minnesota, Soybeans, weather | Tags: , , , , ,

Knee high by the 4th of July used to be a target for corn growth.  If you made that mark you were on your way to a good harvest.  Back when that saying was minted they planted corn much later than we do now.  Twice in my life I’ve seen corn over my head and tassels forming.


Corn in our area of southwestern Minnesota is now mostly knee high.  I say mostly because there are places where it is not.  It could be the tillage system, weed pressure, poor soil or cool temperatures that have kept if from growing as fast as the rest, but some areas just are not doing as well.

We plant our corn in two different systems.  Corn planted on soybean stubble is strip tilled, a process that leaves plenty of soybeans stubble on the ground to protect from wind and rain erosion.  Some of the fertilizer is placed in the tilled strips in the fall, the rest is applied after the corn comes up.  Corn planted after corn is more of the conventional style where more tillage is done in the fall.  This tillage allows us to mix in hog manure for fertilizer.  About half of our corn ground gets covered with that wonderful, inexpensive, organic fertilizer.

Our spring started out warm and dry, but just as we got done planting the weather changed.  It got cool and wet.  We’ve now worked our way out of the drought conditions we had.  Although we do not have water standing in the fields, and all our soybeans got planted, we have still been a bit wetter than we would like at this time of year.


The soybeans are off to a good start.  Weed control is our main challenge right now in soybeans.  Because they do not shade the ground as fast as corn we have a longer window of concern for weed control.  Early weeds have been taken care of, but soon we’ll have to knock them back again to be sure they stay only a minor annoyance.

So, here we are, June is half over and things are looking good here on our farm.  We had more rain last night to keep those plants happy, now we need some heat.


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