Minnesota Farmer


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.

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Finally on the grid

It was a bit over a month ago that I wrote about my Solar Voltaic project, well it’s now official, I’m on the grid.100_3100

Here’s a picture of the screen on one of my inverters.  The numbers tell how much electricity is being produced at different intervals.  The picture was taken at 5 p.m. so the sun was low and power production was declining.  The graph shows the production at different hours of the day.  Today’s production was much better with abundant sun than yesterday’s cloudy which still produced some power.

With only 10 hours of winter sun I do not have much opportunity to produce electricity, but the collectors work better when the days are cold.  We’ll see how electric production changes with longer, warmer days.  Stay tuned.



Dirty snow

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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.



Ground Blizzard

This morning when they called off school the weather didn’t look that bad.  We had a bit of snow blowing around, but most of the snow was still staying put.  When our mail was delivered about 9 a.m. we were surprised, usually mail doesn’t come until after noon.  Now it is a different story.

Winds are holding at over 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.  We have ourselves a ground blizzard.

If you are out of the wind, temperatures are not too bad.  Step out into the wind and you have a different story.  I have trouble seeing across my yard with all of the snow in the air, and yet, when you look up there is the sun in a mostly clear sky.

I can hear a truck out on the highway but he doesn’t seem to be moving that fast.  I would not want to be in a car in these conditions.  This is the time I am glad for a warm house and plenty of food.  I’m hunkered down with a project or two and a book.  It’s great to live in Minnesota on a day like this and have nothing that has to be done.



Trust the Bus Driver

It happened to me again today.  I had someone tell me that if they really wanted to know what the local road conditions were they would ask a school bus driver.FarmBuildings00016-300x200

Wow, what trust to put in those of us on the road early in the morning or late at night.  Yeah, we are out in the early hours on roads all over the country.  In fact, I’m usually the first one on many of the county and township roads of my route, all to often I’m there before the snow plow.  I have to know those roads because I’m asked to drive them in fog, rain and snow.  I’ve had many a trip where I have known where the stop signs and corners are by counting the hills.  Those are not the days I prefer to drive.

Winter here in Southwestern Minnesota can be a challenge at times.  Knowing where the road is in hazardous conditions is sometimes a challenge.  The fact is though that I will never take a child out on a road in my bus if I do not feel confident that I can get back to town.  That’s not to say that I have always stayed on the road, but usually if I get into trouble it is not because of a blizzard, it’s ice or fog.

So, thank you for your trust.  We want your kids home safe as much as you do.  Besides, do you really want to spend a cold night in a bus with your child and all of their friends?  Neither do we!



One more snow fence
December 6, 2014, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Farm, snow, weather, winter | Tags: , , , , , ,

Even though we have already had two snow storms I just did not feel ready for winter.  Today I got to do some things that made me feel more ready for winter.100_3072

After the last two storms I decided that we needed one more snow fence.  Hopefully it will plug a gap that has allowed snow to pile up just west of the house on the pond electrical box.  I also tightened the end of one snow fence that was flapping in the wind.  That should get my snow defenses all in order.

I also finally got to put the snow blower on my tractor.  Up until now that tractor has been hooked onto a manure pump.  The early snow and cold had made cleaning the hog barn pits a problem.  Now after a few warm days that job is done.

The weather forecast is most un December like for the next few days.  No snow in the near future and some days that get above freezing.  This is my kind of winter weather.  I may just have to go out and do some more tree trimming.  Need to take advantage of the nice weather while I can.

 

 



Winter, or not?
December 3, 2014, 9:36 am
Filed under: cold, family, Farm, Minnesota, snow, weather, winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The calendar says that winter starts on December 21.  Meteorologists claim winter starts on December 1.  For me winter’s start is more flexible, it depends on snow and cold.

This year, winter started in November when a major snow storm-swept through central Minnesota depositing large amounts of snow north of us and a dusting of snow here in southwestern Minnesota.  That kicked off the cold as arctic air pushed south and held on with temperatures well below normal.  We had a storm deposit 6 inches of snow, and then warm weather melted most of it.  Then came 3 inches of snow and cold, cold weather for Thanksgiving day.  Out came the sleds and skis as the kids and grandkids enjoyed our blanket of white.IMG_4353

Today, after a few really warm days it is hard to find any snow.  It looks as if the warm is going to continue.  Our forecast is filled with days near or above freezing, and there is not even a lot of wind to cool us off.  I love this weather.

Oh yeah, I know you cold-blooded folks are thinking I am raving mad, but when you compare this to what we have had, this is great!  Without cold winds and snow I expect to see lots of kids forgetting their hats and gloves on the bus, maybe even a coat or two.  It’s all in the perspective you put on it, and this is better than we have had, and I am loving it.