Minnesota Farmer

September 29, 2013, 12:10 pm
Filed under: charity, Farm, food, food safety, GMO, hunger, make a difference | Tags: , , , , , ,

Not that long ago there were people camped out in parks around the developed world railing against the perks and privilege of the 1% that they thought run this world.  Unfortunately they did not understand that just living in the developed world and having a job puts you in the upper 1% of the world’s population.  We here have so much that we have no right to complain about having too little.

Think about it.  We here in the U.S. have so much, that we cannot even imagine being without.  Yes, there are some who miss meals, but just the fact that you can read this on your computer means that you are not likely to be one of those.

Our farm fields burst with so much produce that we can complain when “Whole Foods” prices seem too high.  We have people in this country that devote their lives to producing grass fed, organic or GMO free foods for those that have so much to choose from, when much of the rest of the world is struggling to put a few grains of rice on the table.

There are people in our country that complain when they cannot water their lawn, when many in this world have to carry their drinking water for miles.  ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????We have children in the U.S. who do not seem to care about their education.  They skip classes and denigrate those with education.  They brag about street smarts and do nothing to get the education that is free for all here. There are those who are denied an education, or worse yet, tortured or killed when they go to school.

Oh, we are indeed the 1%.   So many in the world want what we have.  We have so much that we throw away more than many in the world will ever own.  I have little sympathy for you who complain with your mouths full. Unless we in the developed world wake up to what we have, we too will join the 99% of the world.

So where do you stand on the global rich list?  Check it out at http://www.globalrichlist.com/


Dad can you build….
September 27, 2013, 8:35 am
Filed under: church, family, Farm, house, Minnesota, projects | Tags: , , , , , , ,

My daughters are following in their mothers foot steps by keeping me in projects.  This summer my “between college and a job” youngest came to me with a project that involved stuff that had been saved for a later day.  It seems that old windows are chic, and things made from them without any changes to the peeling paint are “shabby chic”.

Our youngest knew of my stash of windows taken from our 1920’s house shortly after we moved in.  Those old windows were single paned and did little to keep out Minnesota’s heat and cold.  So she dug out one she liked and handed me a picture.  Dad, can you build this.  The challenge was on, and I think I did a respectable job, and I only resorted to a few purchased new items to get the job done.  It now is the coffee table in her apartment.100_2193Well one thing lead to another, and looking at the pile of old windows I decided to build another very similar to the other one to sell at our churches Holiday Fair.  Again a prairie style window for the top, but I found some old hinges so that I could have them on the outside where they show off.


Well, this week inspiration struck.  The inspiration came in the form of a broken chair.  Here’s the result.100_2477

The top and bottom sashes came from the same window, so you have a one piece glass bottom shelf and a prairie style 4 pane top.  Any one out there interested in a coffee table?  I have more windows.


Stutter Start
September 24, 2013, 2:39 pm
Filed under: Corn, Farm, harvest, Soybeans | Tags: , , , , ,

It looks like it will be a stop and go start to soybean harvest this year.  We have one field that is almost ready, but the rest will be a while.100_2476Unless it rains a lot, this will be the first field.  There are only a few leaves left to fall and a few spots with beans not quite ready yet.  We’ll start it in a few days.100_2475This one should be ready in about a week.  The leaves are mostly gone and there are no green ones left.100_2473Then there is this field.  The beans on the sandy hill are dead and the beans in low ground are green.  It could be two weeks or more before this is ready.  We don’t really have that much ground to cover, but the start and stop will extend the harvest activity.

First indications are that the corn is not ready yet.  Although you can find some corn near 20% moisture, the same rows will have some over 30%. If we give it two weeks or so and we will have to get on with the corn harvest.  Could be an interesting start to harvest.


2013 Elementary Field Day
September 19, 2013, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Ag education, Farm, Farm Bureau, Minnesota, safety, school, Tractors | Tags: , , , , ,

I just got back from the two day Elementary Field Day at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center of the University of Minnesota at Lamberton.  I’ve been helping present the Farm Safety sessions at the field day as a representative of the Farm Bureau for several years now. This year we had over 500 fourth graders from 12 area schools attending.

Kevin Bock and Dave Van Loh talk about grain bin entrapment

Kevin Bock and Dave Van Loh talk about grain bin entrapment

I had several helpers from area Farm Bureau’s to help deliver the message so we split the classes up to get smaller groups so we could get the closer to our demonstrations.  Classes ranged from 13 to 50 depending on school size.  We only had 22 minutes to present hours of safety information so we had to pick and choose what we presented.

TaLana Mathiowetz demonstrates the 911 simulator.

TaLana Mathiowetz demonstrates the 911 simulator.

Subjects touched on included calling 911, grain entrapment, riding farm machinery safely, machine rollover, augers and pinch points on farm machines.

PTO demonstration

PTO demonstration

For the third year now I told the story of how my friend Doug lost his life in a PTO accident.  This presentation is given to all of the days attendees at once.  It’s tough job holding the attention of over 200 kids at once, and I do my best.  I want them to know how dangerous these machines can be.

After my last presentation I had a girl come up to me and ask if I wanted to scare them with my stories of these accidents.  I said yes,  I wanted to scare them safe.


Auto Buggy
September 18, 2013, 3:00 pm
Filed under: cars, family, Family History, Minnesota | Tags: , , , , , ,

The 1907 IHC High Wheeler Auto Buggy that has been in our family for over 100 years was sold September 14 at auction.396_143436_3_IMG20130726131356

It’s not in restored shape.  when my great uncles were working on it they had to replace all of the wood, and they decided to stain the wood rather than paint it black.  Otherwise, all of the metal parts are original.100_2406really when they started work on it, it was not much.  It had been sitting in the dirt floor garage for many a year.  when they got done with it, they drove it is several area parades, but the last few years it only appeared at the Butterfield Threshing Bee.100_2410The motor sits under the seat and really is not much to look at.  I’m actually amazed it even runs.100_2409It really is an interesting machine, but not very practical.  One of the neighbors that has been working on it lately bought it, so I expect to see it around again.  Another chunk of family history moves on.


IHC #15 sold
September 17, 2013, 10:42 am
Filed under: Family History, Farm, history, Minnesota, Tractors | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Saturday the 1908 IHC Model #15 traction engine that has been in our family for over 100 years was sold.  It has steel wheels100_2417 and a 15 hp. single cylinder gas engine.100_2412  The serial number on this tractor is #1402.  There are a few specs like make & brake ignition that I do not fully understand, but other things are a little more understand able.  Here is what they call open tower cooling.  The water to cool the engine actually runs out in the open air.100_2430  Those big pulleys spinning are where you put the belts to run equipment.  You had a lot of steel spinning to help keep the machinery it was hooked up to operating.

The canopy is the steel cover over the engine and operators platform.  Friction drive means that two pulleys, one with a belting on the surface, have to be pressed together to make the tractor move.  The steering mechanism is interesting.100_2415 A chain wrapped around a shaft moves a log chain to pull back one wheel or the other.  With the worm gear drive it requires a lot of cranking on the steering wheel to get any motion of the steering wheels.  It has a Famous engine100_2416 made by International Harvester.  All in all it is a cool tractor.

Machines built in this era where not built for field work.  They were made to run belts on stationary equipment like feed grinders, silage choppers, corn shellers and threshing machines. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The crops were harvested by hand in the field and brought to the equipment on horse drawn wagons.  This 1908 IHC model #15 is one of the first gasoline powered models which made it smaller than the older steam engines.

100_2414The sale of this tractor brought interest from around the globe.  Every member of the auctioneer’s party had their ear to a telephone as the bidding started.  I stood there in disbelief as the bids climbed over $100,000.  The auctioneer was working slowly and carefully since every time a bidder nodded the price went up $10,000.  Finally the bids ended at $170,000.  We were told the tractor will be leaving Minnesota and going to a private collection in Belgium.

The long history of this tractor is not over, but our families part in it is.  Perhaps someday I’ll be in Belgium and may see it again.  For now it’s good bye.


September 12, 2013, 11:19 pm
Filed under: history, Politicians, science | Tags: , , , , ,

Just because everyone knows it’s true does’t mean it is.  Wow, that’s a mouthful.

I really find it disturbing that there are so many things in this world that everyone “knows” to be “true” that are not true.  Our own self interest is to blame.  We cannot believe that that the things we read in the press or hear on the news are not facts.  We want to believe that the impossible is possible.  UFO’s and Sasquatch come to mind a prime examples.

Modern day “reality” shows and media “Doctors” are to blame only for fanning the fires, we are guilty for believing them.  They are the modern day equivalent of “Snake Oil” salesmen.  They are selling us “Miracle”  cures that have no hope of performing at all.  TV shows and tabloids have learned that we want to be entertained, and the fact that so many believe the lies and half truths is what disturbs me.  Some will believe any “Startling” fact that is thrown at them.

The bigger the name, the bigger the lie that people will believe from them.  Where are the days of Walter Cronkite when we had news men that really told the truth in the news.  Now to hold an audience you have to keep telling bigger whoppers.

Even such names a Oprah and Dr. Oz have stooped to selling snake oil break through’s that have no basis in fact.  Of politicians, we do not even need to guess.  They will tell their audience anything they need to to get re-elected.  Faulty, spun or massaged data are commonplace.  The higher up you get in politics the harder it is to believe them.  You want to sell something?  Just use the data you want to and ignore the rest.

All of this is happening at a time when real science is being down played.  Scientific fact is now trumpeted after the first theory.  Facts need to be studied and proven.  Irrefutable truth is not “sexy” in fact, it is often boring.  By the time the scientific community has proven something beyond a doubt, we have moved onto a new misconception.

So before you jump off the cliff of believing something that everyone just “knows” to be true, stop and do a reality check.  Talk to people in the industry, not the commentators or pundits, but the science and technology people who are on the ground doing the work.  Remember, the truth may be boring.