Friday, April 30, 2010

Juneberries Blooming

Rain started in GriggsDakota just as blooming began in the Shelter belt.
This is a row of Juneberries planted by USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service in 1999 which contains more than one variety. 
The shorter Juneberry bushes are just beginning to bloom in earnest yet. Click to find the answers to many questions on these delicious berries that are referred to as Saskatoons in other parts of the world including Canada. 
After years of believing that the taller trees in this row were another juneberry variety, I have been told by an expert that they are apricot trees. There has never been an apricot on them, but they blossom beautifully.
 Picking and freezing juneberries takes place around the Fourth of July in GriggsDakota. 
Birds, deer, and the weather work against us as we coax the blooms into fruit suitable for pies, jelly, and other goodies. We need the rain, so for now we will enjoy the blossoms as they arrive and wait.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Antlers and Decorating

In Beauty and the Beast, the Disney movie, there is a song about the man Gaston with these words:

No one shoots like Gaston
Makes those beauts like Gaston
Then goes tromping around wearing boots like Gaston.
"I use antlers in all of my decorating!"
Say it again
Who's a man among men?
And then say it once more
Who's the hero next door? 
Who's a super success? 
Don't you know? Can't you guess?
As his fans and his five hangers-on
There's just one guy in town who's got all of it down
And his name is Gaston!

Now it seems to me that there are quite a few similarities between Farmer Fred and Gaston. Like Gaston, Farmer Fred loves to shoot and wear boots. He has had success and fans and has five hangers on. Count them: wife, two daughters, two sons. Total five.
I believe if left on his own, Farmer Fred might use antlers in all of his decorating, too. I know last Christmas these white tail deer sheds were laced with fresh spruce branches and really captured the spirit of the season in GriggsDakota.
Farmer Fred has his own special way of collecting these antlers.
He finds them in his tractor tires.
This one appears to have just pierced the tread before he noticed it and may not have ruined the tire. Lucky this time.
So he pulls it out.
And believes the tire is OK.
Just like Gaston, Farmer Fred is quite a decorator.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Out of the Mud

Day dawned bright and beautiful with the tractors still stuck in the mud. There is no magic in GriggsDakota except for the magic of this glorious April day.
Don drives the Case-IH 9280 around to the front of the parade.
Farmer Fred and Bill are waiting to hook up the Case-IH 9170 so that it can be pulled out first.
With one smooth pull, the tractor is out of the mud.
Don decides to come around and pull the Case-IH 8950 and Wishek Disk out from behind. Bill and Farmer Fred hook it up.
Everyone gets out of the way as the 9280 pulls the pair out of the mud and up to higher ground.
The path left behind is impressive. The front tractor tire looks like the dome of a muskrat house.
Farmer Fred decides that this is not a day for disking. 
He drives off with the others.
The muddy parade passes by. The GriggsDakota Tractor Army moves on.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stuck and Stuck

When the soil is sticky and the ground boggy
It is very easy to become stuck in the mud of Springtime.
When you need help, you will get cheerful assistance.
Everyone who has operated a tractor through a few GriggsDakota planting seasons has been stuck. Robbie quickly gave up his plan for an evening bike ride to come to Farmer Fred's rescue.
Robbie hooks the chain to the loop on the front axle of the Stuck CaseIH 8950 tractor.
Farmer Fred loops the chain around the sturdy frame of the Selford.
A first attempt is made, but Farmer Fred notices a problem.
Robbie brings the tool box over 
and adjustments are made to the chain.
The pulling begins in earnest and soon
There are two tractors stuck. Time to go home for tonight. These two tractors are going nowhere tonight. We will get these out in the morning.
Though the job was frustrating the GriggsDakota sunset kept us smiling.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Disking CRP Acres

There are a few acres of former CRP land that needs to be worked this Spring.
Farmer Fred decides to break it up with the Wishek disk before he hooks the tractor up to the drill.
The heavy discs cut through the surface of untilled grass residue.
This ground has been in CRP for over ten years, but the disk is doing its job.
In the photo above you can see the results. Some black soil is visible as the disk is tilling, then the harrow teeth smoothing the ground.
It appears that the ground will require a second pass with the disk before it will be ready to seed.
All was going well when he started, but the cell phones came in handy later when Farmer Fred called for help.
He was stuck.
In the Mud!
Stuck! More on that tomorrow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Through the Window-GriggsDakota Geese

For the first time ever, I noticed geese had strutted onto our GriggsDakota lawn.
Canada Geese are commonly seen in area fields, especially those near bodies of water.
They swim around on every body of water in the area.
This one is hiding in the reflection on the edge of the water.
The pair on our lawn spotted me and decided to end their nibbling and head for the water. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Greasing Every Zerk, then Seeding Begins!

Robbie is greasing the Salford RTS (Residue Tillage Specialist). When an implement is used for the first time in a season, it requires that it be greased at every zerk. This machine has more moving parts than other tillage implements and in order to keep them all moving properly, they all must be greased. 
A zerk is a small fitting to which grease can be applied. It allows grease to enter an area, then holds it in. It keeps the grease on the moving part so that it turns easily. That keeps the bearing from overheating and seizing as it turns.
The green substance in the photo above is grease as it comes out of the grease gun. Grease is a petroleum based product that works like oil, however it is a solid substance. It is thicker and richer than oil so that it can be held in place by the zerk.
There are over a hundred places to grease on this machine.
Regular greasing will allow the Salford to run efficiently and will increase the useful life of the machine.
The nozzle fits onto the zerk as Robbie squeezes the handle of the grease gun.
After this initial greasing, additional grease will be applied to specified zerks throughout the season, based on hours of use. A few will need greasing after ten hours of use, others after forty hours. Spring requires this tedious work, but we hope it will pay off in smooth days ahead.
We started seeding barley yesterday. Our Concord Drill is seeding registered Celebration Barley into last year's soybean ground. Three cheers for a warm and sunny April!