Minnesota Farmer


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.

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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.



Plain spoken

Farmers are still some of the most trusted people in our country, maybe in part because we know how to speak about our work in terms that everyone can understand.  More and more we on the farm are having to deal with science that is not understandable to those off the farm.  Some of the problems we have communicating modern farms was brought home to me when I read an article in Time Magazine about translating science.  We on the farm need to remember to translate our farms into plain language that all can understand.

Everyone loves the old style farmyard.  Dogs, cats, baby animals, they all have an attraction for those of all ages.  Yet unless you really live the farm life, it is so hard for people off the farm to understand having thousands of one type of animal.  Anyone who has thousands of chicks just cannot be a farmer some think. 13-boy-watching-chicks

Farm machinery is fascinating to folks of all ages.  The chance to be in and control those huge pieces of machinery is really exciting.  People can understand the small farmer who does all of his own work on a few hundred acres.  What they have trouble understanding is how a family farm could extend to 10,000 acres or more and still be a family farm.  All of those computers and modern science things are hard for the general public to put on a family farm.

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The recent bankruptcy proceedings of Broadacre Farms Inc., a Saskatchewan based Mega-Farm now has many talking of the unsustainability of large farms.  How can these large farms be right?  The truth is usually more difficult to understand than most would like to believe.

In farming as in few other occupations there are so many roads to success.  In the end good management will win out.  Can you make the most of what you have to earn a living for those who depend on your farm.  If you are not the best, do you deserve to continue farming?

We have just come through some of the best years in agriculture I have ever seen.  Yet some types of agriculture have had hard times.  It is a fact of life that nature is a harsh mistress.  Farmers not only deal with local conditions, but world markets that can move market prices in ways we do not understand.  We also deal with government regulators that seem determined to frustrate our every attempt to provide food for our families.  Farms of all sizes will fail, large, medium and small.  There is no one best for the world.

Please, if you have not been on a farm, do not try to tell farmers how they must farm.  Each farm is different, each region of the world is different, yet we all deal with trying to feed our families.

So here I’ve gone again, starting off in one direction and ending up in another.  In the whole though, I am trying to be plain spoken about what we on the farm deal with.  It is my hope that this will help you understand me and my fellow farmers better.  And please, if you have a question about farms, ask a farmer.  We’ll tell you about farm life as we see it and as we are living with it.



Little Gwen
December 31, 2014, 2:11 pm
Filed under: children, family, grandchildren | Tags: , ,

We’ve been spending some time with our grand-daughter Gwen. She’s in the time of life of great changes.

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She’s starting to crawl.  That means she is getting into new things.  There is not much on the floor that is safe.

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If there is anything that allows her to pull herself up, she is standing by it.  Gwen has decided that standing is much to be prefered to sitting on the floor.

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Put Gwen in a walker and she is all over the place.  Her favorite new trick is to pull open drawers and doors. Soon she will be into them.  That means that Grampy has been busy installing child latches on kitchen doors.

The girl needs constant attention.  Anything hanging over the edge of a table will find her tugging at it.  Lamps and books look out!

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Now that she has the hand to mouth routine down, there is nothing going to stop her!  Isn’t life with a toddler fun!



Christmas is for (grand)children
December 28, 2014, 7:39 am
Filed under: Christmas, family, Holidays | Tags: , , ,

As I get older I realize more and more that I do not really need the stuff I get at Christmas.  Don’t get me wrong, I get some really great stuff.  It’s just that at 60 plus years of age I have the things I want.  The things I need cannot be purchased.

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We had our family Christmas last night.  One of our girls and her family could not make it, but those that did filled the house.  By the time the bounty under the tree was distributed there was a real mess in the house.  Yes, the adults tried to corral the bits of paper and the gifts, but 3 year olds do not.  It was a joyous mess.  Now that is Christmas!

Oh yes, we adults shared memories and stories, and played games.  There have been a procession of family and friends through our house this Christmas season.  We really had a great time.  The time watching the grandchildren was so much fun.  Seeing our three year old package destroyers and their cousin (via facetime) who just started to crawl was the best part.  They are the real joy for Christmas.  They are what I really need for Christmas.

So here’s to you and the children in your lives.  I hope you all had a great Christmas.  I hope you got what your really needed this holiday season.

Michael



Season of joy and pain

Christmas is here and our house has been full of children and grandchildren, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.  We have eaten, laughed and played.  It has been a season of joy.10620316_826251780772289_3646745458320765525_o Our tree is loaded and presents abound under the tree.

For some the season is not so bright.  There have been several funerals lately that emphasize that point.  The tragic death of a teenager in a car accident and the suicide death of a 30 something man have been closest to us, but there are many more out there.

While you are out there celebrating, please remember that all are not so happy, many are hurting.  Be sure to embrace those you know.  They also need your love.  Your care, concern and attention may just change a life.



Connections to a tragedy

When word first reached me of the death of 16 year old Ross I didn’t think I had any connections with him or the family. Yes, he lived near a neighboring town, but what connections could I have with him.  The connections have begun to pile up.

The first connection was to our church.  He had for a while been coming to Sunday School classes there and still had family who were members.

The second connection was to friends.  His high school choir director was our daughters friend, we know that family well.  She had brought Ross and some friends to our church to sing at the Living Nativity just days before the accident.

Next came connections to Farm Bureau.  His dad is active in their county Farm Bureau and I have seen him at state activities.  He had just won top prize in the foundation raffle.

The last one hit hardest.  Ross had been coming to sing with our barbershop chorus during the summer.  I had talked to him then, but had not seen him for months.  Our chorus has been asked to sing at his funeral today.

Memories now flood back to an earlier funeral of a promising young man we sang for years ago.  Jeff had been my son’s friend.  They sang in a high school quartet and in our chorus.  That death had been a lot closer, but in no way less tragic.  Both deaths involved cars and both deaths involved making lethal mistakes.  Now another young man is gone.

Hold your children today.  Tell them again to be careful and that you love them.