Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Swans Stop to Rest

There is a distinction among water fowl in the area. 
As they arrive in the Spring, we know some species to be Summer residents of the area. 
Tundra Swans are visitors. 
Merely passing through, they stop for a rest and food. 
 While the frost is still in the ground, low spots in fields form puddles as the snow melts, perfect for the swans to enjoy a refreshing break.
The stubble has corn left for gleaning.
 It provides an opportunity for an energy packed meal.  
 The snow drifts, even those sheltered in the trees, have mostly melted.
The fierce winds of our long awaited Springtime has driven warm air into all of the cold hiding spots. 
 It is just what Farmer Fred has been cheering for.
But it causes the swans to take to the air and head for the tundra as they let the wind carry them to their nesting place, far to the North of GriggsDakota.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Winter Wheat Green At Last

 We are seeing sprigs of green in the fields of GriggsDakota.
The Winter Wheat is out from under the snow and there is green growth visible. 
It is most obvious in the low spots where it is sheltered and the frost is out of the ground. 
 It looks as fresh as the Spring air.
 The Winter Wheat varieties in our cold climate are very cold resistant and tough, but greening in the Spring is not a sure sign that it will come through as a crop. Last year we waited until late May before we were advised by our agronomist to replant our Winter Wheat fields. 
The snow has just melted and the water is still receding in many areas of the land. 
 Spring greening of the plants is a good beginning.
You can see the dead wheat shoots that provided a start for the plants when they first sprouted after being planted last September. 
 The roots live through our long cold Winter and begin to grow again as the warmth returns to the land. Above you can see that the growth has been burned by the cold on the tips of the shoots.
So today we can announce that the Winter Wheat is alive, but Farmer Fred will be watching closely to see if all is well in GriggsDakota.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy Easter 2014

 I've been to the GriggsDakota attic and found the perfect card to wish you a
Happy Easter.
 We are looking forward to a Spring weekend with family and friends and wish the same for you, wherever you are.
This photo of Grandpa Sonny was taken on a GriggsDakota Easter morning. There have been many Easters in his life that have included snow. 
When Grandpa Sonny was eight years old, he recited the poem, pictured below, at the Junior Choir program, according to the note written in pencil by his mother. 
The program was on Easter Sunday 1933.  
Why I Like Easter
I just love Easter Day, don't you?
The Easter Story, sweet and true,
Brings every heart so much of cheer
Because it says our Saviour dear
Rose from the grave - and we shall live.
That's what it meant to have Him give
His life for us. And Easter Day
Makes all earth glad - that's Jesus way. 

Wishing you a heart full of gladness this Easter 
from the gang at GriggsDakota.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Frozen Ground is Firm

 Although we have to keep the trucks on graveled surfaces, the frozen ground is firm enough to allow grain loading in the yards. Once Spring begins, grain hauling will cease until the farm is planted. 
 So we are busy hauling grain to the elevator while the ground is firm enough to handle the loads.
 There are Spring load limits in place, to protect our busy public roads from falling apart as the frost melts from the ground. 
Our mornings are wintery which keeps mud to a minimum. 
It is hard to imagine that the cold can linger when the sun seems so strong. 
The sun has been trying to keep the snow away and melt what is left here and there. New snow that has been falling intermittently this week has melted within a few hours. It is a strange mix of seasons.
As the guys fill the grain cart, Farmer Fred pulls up with our fancy favorite, Sterling Onyx. It has been three and a half years since this truck came to Help Old Red during the harvest of 2010.  
Farmer Fred parks the truck. 
He goes to the back to roll the tarp off the top of the truck box. 
The filled grain cart pulls up next to Sterling Onyx. 
As the grain cart is emptying, the truck box is filling. 
Soon, Farmer Fred and Sterling Onyx will hit the road as we work through the last days of Winter in GriggsDakota.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mid-April, Still Winter

 True to its beginning, April remains a Winter month.
 Ducks take turns keeping open patches of water from freezing as our overnight temperatures fall to the teens.
The robins don't know what to make of it, and frankly, neither do we. 
 If you look carefully at the roadside in the photo above, you will see shoots of green weeds and grass.
The sight surprised me.
The landscape looks like November. 
 Fierce winds and snow squalls spice up the day.
And that is to be the weather story again this week.  
It is tempting to burrow into a warm place and take a long Winter's nap. 
 But the cattle still need to be fed every day.
 Although it is difficult to feel, the land is warming. The sunlight is very strong. 
If we stand right here, eventually we will swim in GriggsDakota.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Changing Season Confuses Whitetail

A whitetail deer in the middle of the lake is not a common sight. 
After trotting out to the middle with purpose, he paused to look back. 
He turned to look ahead. 
Then he heard, smelled, and saw what he was looking for. 
The young buck slowed as he approached the edge. 
The lakeshore was water. 
He had apparently leaped onto the ice without noticing that he was now on a floating platform. 
 What to do, what to do? 
When I saw birds, likely settled for the night, jump up, I realized he had friends on the shore. 
You can see them waiting on the right side of the above photo.
By the time our skater was on firm ground, his friends were running ahead, living their wild life in GriggsDakota.