Friday, October 29, 2010

How to: Disposable Glove Halloween Treat Bags

 There have been witches hanging around GriggsDakota.
Above is our favorite Halloween treat. A disposable glove stuffed with candy. They are simple to make. Here I have pushed a sucker into each glove finger. Filling each finger gives the hand personality. Use anything that fits easily into them and would make a good treat. Today I filled the palm with candies, but a juice box fits here, as well. Close it with a rubber band or ribbon. We have made hundreds of these over the years. 
Tomorrow is Field Man Joe's Birthday. His friends still remember this treat that we made every year to celebrate his special day with a Halloween theme.    
 There will soon be vampires and perhaps a Ninja turtle joining the witches in the area.
 I expect to see a few ghosts from the seventies on the prowl.
Be vigilant. Sometimes the monsters are too excited to be careful. 
Happy Halloween from the scary folks at GriggsDakota.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Windy, but We're Lucky

The massive weather system that was predicted didn't miss us. The wind has been brutal and the temperature is still dropping. However, because the air and ground were warm when all this started, this storm has not seemed terrible. I have seen photos from other parts of the country that show terrible results from this storm and we feel lucky.
 We're lucky that the first snow is three weeks later than last year and there is less accumulated snow on the ground. The above photo marked the picturesque beginning of an October full of weather problems in 2009.
 The wind has made it difficult to say how much snow fell as some melted as it fell. We have two or three inches on the ground. It is predicted to melt within a couple days. We'll take that in October!
Above is a photo from last year when our corn harvest started in mid-November. We had beautiful weather and finished the harvest. We're not too worried about the corn remaining in the field. The cornstalks were still in good shape and we expect it will withstand the wind and weather without major damage. We have had lots of precipitation and mud will be an issue.  
 The farm cats are disgusted, especially the Spring kittens who are completely surprised by the snow.
For now, we are ignoring the weather as much as we can.
Watching the World Series
 And we're hoping that Autumn continues next week.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Pause in Corn Harvest

 We thought we were going to make it to the finish line with one last surge through corn harvest. Our corn harvest has been fraught with breakdowns and storage issues. And now we are on a weather break. After two days of rain, we are forecast to receive snow.
Our storage issues meant we were hauling out barley, as we were harvesting corn.
 That made for some hectic days, but the corn crop makes us smile as we struggled to keep up.
We have new bins in progress, but our harvest has been earlier than we expected, so they are not finished. Sorry, I couldn't keep the pelting raindrops (that contain just a bit of ice crystal in each) from my camera lens. Hence, the cloudy spots on the above photo.
Farmer Fred decided our corn could weather better on the cob than piled on the ground in a heap.
We expect this weather to be a temporary snow event, not one that lasts until April.
But today we are dealing with a 40-60 mile an hour blow and bracing for snow in GriggsDakota.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to: A Bowl from an old Record Album

Recently we stayed in a locally operated GreaterDakota hotel room with a music theme. There were framed albums on the wall and a little philosophy that was compatible with travel.
There were a couple of framed albums of Peggy Lee, who grew up in the area.
This framed classic was on the wall above the coffee station in the room.
The coffee packets were held in a bowl made from the album whose jacket was hanging above the coffee maker. I looked this over carefully and I think it was made by heating the album and molding it over another bowl or perhaps an old aluminum Jell-O mold.
It hurt to know that the music was gone from this vinyl forever. But, there are many long playing albums that are unplayable, I suppose, so now they can serve a purpose. It isn't a craft idea I'm going to try at home. Family and friends need not worry about me stealing their album collection. You won't get one for Christmas, but it made me smile on a night away from GriggsDakota.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Farm Cats get a City Life

Farm Cats live a hard working life.
It's not that we never feed our cats, of course. But they only find plain, cheap, dry cat food in GriggsDakota. They can survive on that and fresh water, but most choose to hunt and we appreciate that. A farm is heaven for vermin of all kinds and our cats work hard to keep the rats, mice, and gophers at bay.
Whenever one of our kittens is chosen by someone to be a house cat, there is great rejoicing.
 These two beauties were chosen to move to the city. They were given real names. Orange kitten is "Tot" and Black kitten is "Meddy."  
 Their city life includes lots of attention and trips to the cat doctor. Meddy and Tot are learning to come when they are called. That is a trick that even the human children in GriggsDakota rarely master.
They learn to eat fancy food, use a litter box and good kitty manners. 
 Their master has learned that Meddy is very pretty,
And Tot is pretty smart. He keeps up with the news from home by following the blog!
We are all very proud in GriggsDakota. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Can This Be October? 2010

Our days of warm sunshine have kept the lakes and sloughs so warm that steam rises from the water on a cold morning.
There is a butterfly on flowers outdoors. The flowers have been singed by frost, but have not frozen. Seeds in the air cause the white fuzz on the plants. 
The warm sunny days have inspired butterflies to flit around the yard and keep me company as I prepare for winter.
Grandma Nola says there is something special about the light in October when the sun shines. 
Although it shines for a shorter duration each day, we will savor every moment.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Still Making Bag Lunches

There are still bags in the kitchen nearly every day waiting patiently to be filled with a noon lunch.
Our work days end earlier, so we no longer bring suppers to the field. 
We have eaten lots of sandwiches during the harvest of 2010. Farmer Fred prefers that foods in the bag can be eaten on the run.
So we use our favorite trick to keep the cake or frosted bars neat in the package. We cut the piece horizontally and make the frosting into a filling. Just place the bottom of the piece on the top of the frosting before wrapping it up and stashing it in the bag.
I haven't counted how many meals we've assembled and delivered. Certainly hundreds. 
They are received with appreciation.
Are we brown baggers at heart or is it harvest? Whatever, we enjoy them. But at this time of year I'm on the lookout for a new idea and here it is:
 Thicken juicy sandwich fillings with instant mashed potatoes. Often a burrito filling or other hot sandwich mixture is too saucy to go into a bag. By the time it is eaten it is a soggy mess or it drips all over. To avoid this I have started adding instant potato flakes to absorb the excess juice.
It takes very little. I use less that a tablespoon, even for a big pan of filling. Sprinkle it on top of the hot filling in the pan like seasoning. Then stir it in and wait a minute to see if it needs any more. Remember:  It takes just a small amount to absorb the juice. You don't want to make the filling too dry and sticky.
It does not detract from the flavor of the filling at all and no drips.
A sprinkle of cheese and they are ready to wrap. This works equally well with filling on bread or buns.
 A few minutes in a hot oven and they are ready to pop into the bags. It is funny what a boost a simple new idea can be when applied to a
 daily chore. 
 The Farm Inspector is very pleased.
It's a happy day for everyone when an old dog learns a new trick in GriggsDakota.