Minnesota Farmer


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.



Maturing or dying
September 8, 2016, 9:18 am
Filed under: Ag education, agriculture, Corn, Fall, Farm, harvest, Minnesota, rain, weather | Tags: , , ,

It’s been a wet year in our part of Minnesota.  We have never been short of moisture at any time this year, in fact most of the year we have been wet.  The rains come and do not turn off.  Getting field work done has been hard.  Now as the fall harvest is nearing, corn farmers are wondering is my corn maturing,img_0705

or dying?img_0706

Every year as harvest nears a host of rots and diseases move into our corn stalks to start the breakdown of dying corn plants.  Sometime they move in too soon and the corn dies before it matures.  Then you have a mess like in the second picture above.  Modern corn varieties are less susceptible to many of those diseases and rots, but when too much water kills off the corn before it matures, the rot takes over.

In about a month we will be into harvest.  If too much of our corn is down and rotting, we will have reduced yields and difficult harvest conditions.  Then we will know the answer to our question, is that corn crop maturing or dying?



My how we’ve changed
August 20, 2016, 8:41 am
Filed under: Farm

It’s class reunion time for our Windom Schools Class of ’71, my how we’ve changed.  Forty-five years ago 123 students left Windom Schools for the last time as students.  Since then we’ve been everywhere.

I had a bit of fun catching up with classmates last night and we’ll meet again tonight. We’re all older, wiser and sounding like our parents, Shocking! This morning I went digging around and found our old yearbook, tucked away in the back of a shelf behind more used items. In it I found news letters from the 5th and 10th class reunions, my we’ve been everywhere and now we are all settling down to contemplate retirement, what changes.

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Our class was the first to graduate from the “new” high school and last to attend classes as seniors from the old building. (we moved in April of 1971.)  There is so much history in that move.

We went out and made history in many ways after that.  Some stayed in Windom, others left and never looked back.  Some stayed for a while, others worked elsewhere and now are back again.  Our class is now scattered across the globe and we’ve traveled most of this world of ours.  Those who attended this years gathering live on both coasts of the U.S. and many places in-between.  We’ve done important jobs in so many places and passed on our small town views and work ethic to our children.

Not all of our class will be able to attend.  A few class members have died along the way and some are fighting disease or injury.  Some members just live too far away to be here with no other reason to come back.  There are also those who just are not interested.  Still, we’ll enjoy our time with those who attend.

So here’s to the class of ’71!  Your time is not yet over, so live it up.  We still have history to write and memories to make.  Enjoy the ride!



From thin air
August 8, 2016, 6:07 am
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Animal care, Farm, farm animals, food, Wildlife

I’ve been seeing, and perhaps you have too, these posts about animal free meat put out by groups like PETA and others.  They are promoting a product that is grown without killing animals.  Their contention is that even organic labels do not go far enough and we need to produce our meat proteins in the lab, not on the farm.

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But lab meat is not all that great for the environment.  Lab meat must be “exercised” to grow, that takes electricity, which requires fossil fuels.  Animals have all kinds of built in immunities to disease, lab meat needs antibiotics to keep it clean.  There are waste products associated with the production of lab meat that must be disposed of.  The most confusing part for me however is just where do they think this meat will come from, thin air?

You need a food source of some kind to make this meat.  It takes sugars and amino acids to grow this stuff.  Where will they come from?  Right now land that will grow food for people is already in production.  If we must produce sugars and other products for a factory to produce meat, it is going to take land that is currently not tilled to make the raw materials, land that is currently in pasture or forest.  We’re going to have to clear forests and cultivate land that should never be worked to produce meat in a factory that can be produced so easily by just letting the cows eat that grass.

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Oh yes, the cows are eating that grass right now despite the talk you get from PETA about animals housed in filth, our beef is grass fed for most of it’s life.  It is only in the “finishing” stage, when the fat needed to make a burger or steak juicy that cows go in to confined feeding, and even then most of what they eat is whole plant based, not grain (corn, barley or wheat) based, and that filth is removed quickly to be used as nutrients for growing more grass and grain.

Livestock (cows, sheep, goats) grazing environmentally sensitive lands is what the vast majority of the meat eaten in this world is based off of.  The bison of North America and the huge herds of African grazers helped develop the grasses that they can make into meat.  Our domesticated animals are just picking up where they left off.

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The difference is that man has helped make his grazing animals much more efficient than the vast herds ever were.  Modern animal husbandry is producing more meat on less grass and grain than the wild herds ever could.  Today in the U.S. there are fewer grazers on the land than there were in the wild days of human expansion, yet they produce many times more meat.  Careful management of pasture land has great environmental advantages over just letting the herd go.

Man protects his livestock from predation and disease.  Man shelters them from the sun and cold.  Waste products are spread on the land to grow more food for the animals.  It all becomes much more efficient than the smaller farms and ranches ever could be and the environment and those who enjoy a bit of steak or hamburger at a low price are the winners.