Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Checking for Thrips

Grandpa had a plaque that read:
A Farmer is a Man Outstanding in His Field.

Now Farmer Fred is often the one who is out standing in his field.
"There's No Rest for the Wicked," so Farmer Fred had dressed up and spent an hour in church before setting out to check for thrips in the barley.
Our late barley is in the boot stage. That means that the head structure is fully formed and located in the swelled portion of the stem visible above.
Farmer Fred chooses a stem randomly and opens it. He is looking for tiny black moving specks that are barley thrips. If they are present in sufficient numbers, we will have to spray insecticide on this barley.
He carefully opens the stem to reveal the formed head.
And finds only two thrips inside this impressive head.
The good news is the thrip population is well below the number that would require spraying.
Today things are Outstanding in the Field.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Corn, Geese, and Wheat

Remember the CRP Acres we broke up last Spring? The ground was wet and we were stuck. 
Eventually we were successful, then planted corn.
Things are still wet out there.
Corn would not have been Farmer Fred's first choice for a crop on land coming out of years in CRP. These acres were planted to corn as a continuation of an adjoining field.
Further down I noticed a path up from the lake and into the field.
The families of geese that hatched are growing and hungry. 
They have been chewing down our corn plants
and our wheat.
The chewed down areas eventually die.
Without healthy leaves, the plant can't survive.
Farmers and private landowners provide most of the food and habitat for wildlife in America.
That is logical, but remember, every acre is planted at a cost. We will watch and try to discourage geese from waddling up the path to the fields.
Another challenge for Farmer Fred in GriggsDakota.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sturdy Plants

It's Summertime!

Glorious Summertime! 

Summer is short and sweet in GriggsDakota, and busy. 
When we moved back to the farm, we wanted to have plants in our yard that could survive with little assistance. 
So Farmer Fred looked around at farmsteads that had been abandoned for years to see what was left growing in them. 
From there we compiled a list and have tried to plant from it. 
We have not adhered to it strictly. The old spirea were white.
 But our sturdy plants have provided us beauty and bounty despite our lapses in care. 
Despite October Snow 
We have had May Rhubarb,
 
June Strawberries
 
and the promise of more berries to come.
    Our climate is not tropical.
And our gardeners do not possess the Disney magic.
We have to protect our plantings from deer, bulls, lawnmowers and other dangers.
But it is Summertime!
Glorious Summertime!
We will take time to smell the roses.
And our roses
Must be sturdy plants.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fresh Eyes, New Possibilities

This can be my house now.
This is the living room.
I will go to the kitchen.
Shut the door.
I'm over here in the kitchen.
I'm going to cook this. I can make hotdish, you know.
Supper's ready!
And now this hardworking housekeeper is in need of refreshment!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weathery Sky

Although the sky above me showed patches of blue and peeks of sunshine
There were threatening skies nearby.
The weather service warned that these clouds could spawn tornadoes.
The wind came up suddenly as I was studying the clouds and I had to strain my ears when I thought I heard a tractor on the road behind me.
Then, just as suddenly, the wind calmed down, the sunshine patches broadened and Farmer Fred continued down the road to the next field in need of a treatment from the Red Ball Sprayer. The GriggsDakota sky is easy to watch, but difficult to predict.