Minnesota Farmer


Topsy-Turvy weather
April 29, 2017, 5:59 pm
Filed under: cold, Corn, Farm, forecast, Minnesota, planting, snow, spring

The warm weather earlier this spring convinced me that spring was here to stay.  I went to work refilling my stack of wood and settled in for the warm weather we expect in spring.100_3113

Unfortunately I did not keep access to some of the dryer wood.  Now the weather has turned cold, with freezing temperatures in the morning and a forecast of snow for Sunday.  That has left me scavenging burnables and searching for dry wood in tree lines. All of this in a time the calendar says I should be planting corn.

Many of my neighbors used the previous warm weather to plant corn.  I looked at the weather forecast, checked soil temperatures, looked for barn swallows and tree leaves and decided to wait.  I’m not sure how much damage is happening out there in that cold wet ground, but I was not going to chance it.  I was not the only one, with many a planter sidelined waiting for needed warmth.

Now the forecast is for snow and two more days of cold.  Then the weather reports says spring will be here.  If the warm comes as predicted, it looks like I’ll be starting planting this Thursday of Friday, two weeks after those early go getters started putting their corn in the ground.  If it will make any difference I do not know.  I just know I am happier for having waited.



Projects; New from old
January 14, 2017, 4:28 pm
Filed under: dust, family, happiness, projects | Tags: ,

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Wife has had me moving furniture again.  She gets this idea that I need to be bumping into old things in the wrong place periodically and nothing will stop her.  Along with new furniture arrangements can come new projects.

This one as usual came with a need. There was a space on the wall that needed a special hanging.  Nothing too much, but a lot just right.  She gave me a direction with some pinterest pictures, where do I go from there?

First I go digging through my mental closets, I have “stuff” stored away all over the place.  Some of this “stuff” has been the subject of “When are you going to clean that up” requests.  The problem is that, what at one time may be “junk,” at another time becomes “raw material for a beautiful object.”    Digging in my mental closet disclosed the location of some of my “treasures.”  Off to the hidden corners to retrieve my raw materials.

Ages ago I was at an auction and saw a bunch of cedar shingles.  For no special reason I bought them.  They were cool and I knew I would need them someday.  They were piled away in a corner and awaited inspiration.

When an old family barn was to be torn down I came across some old half pint glass milk bottles.  Some even had the remains of metal caps on them.  I dusted them off and put them away for inspiration.

This picture is the result of the inspiration.  A bit of twine to hang the jar, a hole drilled in the shingle, some fake grass and we have an inspiring dust catcher (I don’t dust).  The grass could be swapped out for other seasonal items.

Yep, I made her happy again, all because of a bit of “junk” and her inspiration.  We do well together.



Don’t divide us
December 24, 2016, 10:13 am
Filed under: Farm

You’ve seen them, those posts from well meaning people who demand that you say or do a certain thing to be the proper whatever.  To those people I say, STOP.  Do not divide us!

This Christmas season there is a battle over whether you should say “Happy Holidays,” or “Merry Christmas.”  Does it really make that much difference?  I myself prefer to wish people a “Blessed Christmas.”  Is that out of bounds?  Why are we making divisions?

I understand the “tribe” mentality that may precipitate such thoughts, but division gives us hate and war, and this holiday season is a time of celebration of unity in Christ’s love.

We Christians at times rail against those who are not our kind of Christian, but please remember, Jesus was born to a Jewish family, they dressed and looked like many of the people in Palestine and other middle-east countries.  He was not one of our petty little tribesmen, He had much more in common with those we love to hate in this modern world.

Jesus spent the first few years of his life as a refugee.  Chased from the land and people of his birth by a ruler who killed many like him.  This is not the life we live today here in our comfortable homes, but the life of displacement so many of us look down upon.  Rather than denigrate these refugee’s we need to reach out a helping hand as Christ would have us do.

Stop and think before you seek to divide.  Christ came into the world to unite us all in love.  When you seek to divide on the basis of words or ancestors or political status you are not loving one another as Christ first loved us.

So, please, if you say Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Merry Xmas, or even Blessed Christmas, make your words and deeds acts of love and unity.  Do not divide us, but seek to unite all, so that love, not hate will rule the world.



Snows on the prairie
December 17, 2016, 1:07 pm
Filed under: cold, Farm, farm life, weather, wind, winter | Tags: , ,

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Snows on the prairie

 

Over the ground lays a mantel of white, for the winds of the prairie are still,

But folk here all know that the long winds will blow, and that snow will move to where winds will.

That lovely, still snow tomorrow will lie, in drifts that are hard near and far,

So look well my friends at this still, shimmering snow, that tomorrow will bury your car.

 

When cold winds do moan and tree branches groan the new fallen snow will take flight,

Snow again takes to the air, to move here and there, to places revealed by morning light.

Then snow sculptures will form, in strange shapes smooth and worn, in places away from winds might.

New wonders will be revealed, and my soul will be healed, by the wonders shown forth at the death of the night.

 

Soon I’ll venture forth, away from fires warmth, to see what’s revealed with morning’s birth,

Small creatures will join me, from tunnel and tall tree, their tracks, they shall add to my mirth,

But I’ll not tarry too long, for the wind it is strong, and I do know what my life is worth,

I’ll come back to my chair, my book it is there, and the fire, it will warm me in the hearth.

 

A poem inspired by a walk in last nights fresh snow.



New appreciation
October 23, 2016, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Corn, Farm, snow | Tags: , ,

So the other day when I said harvest was complete, it wasn’t quite accurate.  I still had some corn to hand pick.  Now that is done.

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You see, I left a little corn out at the hog barn site to use as a snow fence.  It’s not a lot of corn, an area of about 15 feet by 200 feet.  Still it had corn in it and rather than let it hang out there until spring I decided to hand pick it.

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For all of that, it is a bit of work.  I used muscles that I do not usually use.  It gives me new appreciation for those old timers who used to pick all of their corn my hand.  Mom was quick to point out that they usually were at it all winter.  Now I know that their corn was nothing like ours.  It did not have all of the genetics to stand tall and strong so I’m sure some of it was on the ground and some stalks were broken over.  My few rows will still be standing there after a winter of blowing snow.

So there it is, finally complete.  Let winter come, the snow fence of standing corn, minus the ears, will be there to keep most of the snow away from the barn.  Now I have to go take some aspirin.



Harvest complete
October 21, 2016, 6:11 pm
Filed under: children, Corn, Fall, family, Farm, farm life, grandchildren, machines, Soybeans | Tags:

img_0013There it sits all quiet.  The machinery that was busy for the last few weeks is silent.

img_0009The dryer that was so busy and noisy is now silent.  The bins are full and the clean up has begun.  Harvest is over.

It was a good harvest.  Corn yields were at least 10% over last years record crop, soybeans yielded 25% over last years record crop.  It was a very good year.

img_0014As usual we had granddaughters and friends over to help with the harvest.  Everyone loves being in the big machines at harvest.

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We also had their help when we harvest the pumpkins from the garden, What a haul!

Hope your harvest season went well!  Now for cleanup and tillage, then we start getting ready for next year.



Holding my nose is not enough
September 22, 2016, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Politicians, Politics, Vote | Tags:

In all of my 63 years I do not remember a presidential election like this.  I have in the past held my nose and voted for the least objectionable candidate, but I cannot this year.

Our presidential elections have moved steadily to mud slinging and over the top statements.  I think we are at the point where you cannot trust either major political party.  Yes, there are good points to both candidates, and to both political parties, but I shudder to think of either in office.  Both presidential candidates were elected by majorities of their party, but neither party is our country.  In poll after poll neither party can claim a majority of voters supporting them, and this may be the year in which it will be hard to find a majority of either Democrats or Republicans who really want to see their own candidate in office.  Me, I’m voting none of the above.

Oh yes, I will vote in the presidential election this year, but I will not vote for either of the major parties.  There are many who claim I am wasting my vote, but that is a fallacy put forth by the major parties to contain potential third party ascendence.  With the  current party problems, it’s time we have some new leadership from someone other than the main line parties.  It’s happened before, why not again?

Neither of our current political parties can claim they were there at the founding of our country.  Thomas Jefferson in 1804 was a Democratic-Republican.  The Whig party that provided several early presidents is no longer in existence.  It wasn’t until 1829 that Andrew Jackson was elected as a Democrat and in 1860 that Lincoln was elected as a Republican that we developed our current two party system.  (The Republican party had not even existed until a few years before Lincoln’s election.)  Even then parties with names like “Know-Nothing” and “Bull Moose” continued to capture the countries imagination.  Have these two feuding parties been around too long?

Many other countries have working elections with multi-party slates.  Usually one or two will dominate, but as time goes on they can and do shift who is in power.  It is not any more or less messy than what we have today in the U.S.  It may just take a wholesale abandonment of the major parties to wake up our politicians.  It seems that most politicians are more out for their own advancement than to help out the country.

So, yes, this year I am voting for a “third’ party candidate, at least it is not someone I have to hold my nose to vote for.