Thursday, March 31, 2011

Farm Dogs

 For many reasons, farms need dogs.
Sometimes Butler seems to express my feelings better than I can.
 When faced with the choice of whether to laugh or cry, he makes it easier to laugh.
 Dogs don't always understand the game.
In GriggsDakota, through the years they have been on guard for us. 
And been our pets. 
We dressed them fashionably before it was fashionable. 
 They repaid us with unconditional love.
From the very first Pokey, then through a couple more Pokeys, 
 On to Sandy, Kandee, Beau, a couple of Bucks, plus the cattle dogs which is another story for another day, and more, our dogs have been our faithful companions, retrievers, game players, and unfailing friends. A farm is a place where a dog can be a dog. He doesn't need to learn very many manners to be a valuable asset.
Our dogs haven't always come when we called, 
But are here when we need them in GriggsDakota.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Open House at the Dealership

When you see a gathering of pickup trucks outside of a machinery dealership on a March morning near GriggsDakota, there is a good chance that there is an open house.
Uglem-Ness is the Case IH Dealership that we depend on during our season of farming, so Farmer Fred was pleased to be able to attend their annual event.
Case IH provided speakers who presented the story of the new Tier 4 engines in Magnum and Steiger tractors. This government mandated emissions technology is new and farmers need to understand it. 
Tier 4 Technology  is being implemented in new tractors. Click on the link for more information.
There was a new CaseIH Tier 4 Magnum 260 tractor on display. Knowing what is new and even what will be coming next is what keeps farmers on the cutting edge. 
We return once again to the question:  Is agriculture an art or a science? 
The answer continues to be:  "It must be both or it will be neither." 
Historically farming has been treated as an art with most emphasis placed on effort. What separated good farmers from poor farmers was thought to be more related to passion and motivation than soil content and variety selection. In modern agriculture there is still a need for art. But we rely heavily on science and must deal with government regulation. 
So, "The effort of our art is always complemented by further knowledge of our science."
 We call that the "Theory of GriggsDakota." 
The information presented is essential knowledge for farm planning.
Uglem-Ness sets special prices on parts. That keeps their staff busy. For many farm kids, the toys available on the upper shelves at machinery dealerships are dream worthy.
 It is that way in Griggs Dakota.
And eventually the dream
turns into reality.
Back to the Open House. Notice there were a few people carrying purses in the crowd.
  Everyone who attended was invited out to the shop for a free noon meal. Farmers need to get together and talk things over. The weather, the outlook for Spring, and other topics brought both serious expressions and outbursts of laughter to the room.
When Spring arrives both dealership and farmers plan to be ready to go. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Value of an Egg

 Grandma married a handsome farmer and was very happy about her good fortune. Her brothers were not pleased to have her marry and leave their home. Their mother had died when she was ten and Grandma was well practiced as a homemaker long before she set up her own home. 
Click on Remember to get a glimpse into her girlhood.
Grandma worked hard and was proud of it. She was working on a better life for her family.
She raised chickens, and carefully squirreled away the money she earned selling eggs.
What is the value of an egg? Cheap and precious, eggs were sold for pennies, but provided nutrition that was an essential part of the GriggsDakota diet. Pregnant mothers were given extra egg yolks as a nutritional boost to their unborn baby. Hard boiled egg yolks were one of the first solid foods given to a young child. Whole boiled eggs were chopped finely and sprinkled onto a piece of old newspaper as the first food of hatching chicks.
Grandma saved money from selling eggs and invested it in beauty. Fostoria glassware was purchased and prized. 
She bought it at Ringstad's store. The store owner, Thor, called it "itched glass." 
After their family was grown and their hard work was paying off, Grandpa and Grandma built a new house. Modest by today's standards, it was Grandma's castle.
To her family, the sparkling beauty of the etched Fostoria was the sign of a special occasion.
She entertained us in that house and served her family for as long as she was able.
I think about those dishes and her love of beauty nearly every time that I boil an egg.
We watched her once strong body turn frail as she became a great great grandmother.
I saw the sun setting,
 but she saw the moon rising.
She moved to the nursing home, where she befriended young staff members. She listened to their stories and doled out advice on the subjects she knew best: home and family. She gave them small gifts and offered the egg yolks from her breakfast plate to anyone who was noticeably pregnant. Those women will never forget her.
And somewhere Grandma Esther is smiling.

Monday, March 28, 2011

We Could Use Good News

Here is the Bank of the West, at least that is what the sign says. 
 Winter has built banks of snow for us
Everywhere we look 
Our overnight temperatures have been diving below zero Fahrenheit.  
We can live with it or "Head on over to the Oasis, where the whiskey runs and the beer chases my blues away, I'll be okay." like Garth Brooks did with his friends in low places.
We will be okay. There is a little good news:
 The snow fence still feels useful,
 The roads haven't thawed.
So now that we have dug out
We can haul grain or move equipment. 
The Winter Wheat is well covered. 
 The day time temperatures are warmed by the sunshine.
This would be beautiful weather in January. Most of the area banks made of snow will melt away soon, leaving enough water running to chase our blues and everything else into Spring. 
The turkeys are no longer the only birds around. I have seen Canada Geese and a robin. I heard a meadowlark and there are new birds arriving at the feeder every day. 
We are one day closer to Summertime.