Minnesota Farmer


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

img_0737

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.



Plant in dust

After two consecutive years of planting in muddy conditions this year was so different, and so easy.  I do not ever remember planting going start to finish so fast.  Soil conditions were perfect, the weather was warm and the wind was even bearable.

The old adage is “Plant in dust, your bins will bust.  Plant in mud, your crops a dud.”  This year was definitely a year for planting in dust.  We had little to no moisture in the top inch or two of soil and precious little under that. Every time you work soil you dry it out so I did as little soil moving as possible.  Still I worry that some of my seed may be in dry ground.

100_2694

Now we wait.  When will we be able to see rows of corn popping through?

This springs temperatures stayed cold for a bit too long, but when they broke we went right to hot and windy, but little rain.  I am resisting going right to soybean planting for now, but if it is dry again next week, I’ll plant soybeans also.  In the mean time I watch for rain clouds and read weather reports.  We need some rain.



Dirty snow

100_3098

We’ve had a series of days with thawing temperatures and our snow is not white anymore, it’s very dirty.

Every snowflake has a bit of dirt in it, gathered as it forms, our snow here in Southwestern Minnesota has more than it’s share.  The winds of winter have been moving dirt along with the snow.  Now that it is melting, the dirt is left on the top.

We went into winter with dry topsoil.  Then the normal process of freezing soil squeezed more moisture out.  When our prairie winter winds come the soil starts to move.  Most of that soil doesn’t move far.  It falls behind some bit of plant material in the field or a low spot between dirt clumps.  Other bits may blow as far as the road ditch or a grove of trees.  Some little bits will stay airborne and help to start new snowflakes and rain drops.  It’s all part of the process of wind rain and snow.

Farmers in our area have come a long way since the dirty thirties.  Back then when you plowed ground you left it “smooth as a babies bottom.”  Smooth soil moves easier.  Today, farmers take pride in keeping winter soils rough with plenty of plant material sticking up.  Many will not till fields so they can help hold their soil.  We are well aware that soil is hard to replace, we need to keep it in place so our children can earn an income here also.

We’ll have white snow again before winter is over, it’s only January and there is lots of winter left.  Still I enjoy seeing some of that snow melt before spring, I just don’t like dirty snow.



The dust of a million combines
October 18, 2014, 8:28 pm
Filed under: agriculture, combines, Corn, dust, harvest, trucks | Tags: , , , , ,

The dust of a million combines fills the air during harvest season.  More dust rises behind trucks scurrying from field to bin site where the grain will be stored.  With little wind today it hung in the air for quite a while before settling back to earth.

image image

Corn driers howl as they remove moisture so the grain can be safely stored.

Augers rattle as grain is moved from trucks to bins.

image

Every step adds more dust to the air.  Dust is a fact of harvest.