Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Getting the Grain Gone Before Snow Arrives

The weather has been cooperative with just a couple of dustings of snow. It makes the days pleasant, especially when the sun shines.
 We have been busy getting grain out of the bin and on the road to the elevator.
 This job is often done when the snow is much deeper in GriggsDakota. Our early finish to harvest gives us the chance to start hauling before we need to deal with all the white stuff.
Of course, the truth is that there are fewer bushels to haul out here.
We are not worried about running out of things to do if the grain hauling continues to run smoothly.  Not having to move snow drifts saves hours of time. So although you can see there has been some snow, and some pretty cold temperatures during November, Winter has not gotten a grip. 
There will be a long Winter road ahead.  
We can still see the rock piles in GriggsDakota. This is one of my favorites, neatly hand stacked by men who picked every rock by hand. I once found an old white pottery pitcher near this rock pile.  I would not be surprised to learn that it arrived in a covered wagon. If only the pitcher could tell me.
Since the pitcher remains silent, I surmise about the possibilities. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bringing Home the Hay

In anticipation of heavy snow, Cattleman Jim and Grandpa Sonny have been diligently bringing the hay in off the fields.
It's the last field work we do each year. 
A sure sign that Winter is on its way. 
In past years, when snow came early and the hay was left in the field, White Tail Deer in Winter destroyed some of the crop. 
Even when we keep it close to the farmsteads, ready for feeding each day, 
Hungry deer will find it. 
All we can do 
Is all we can do. 
So we do what we can 
And hope we can live through what comes. 
It's hard to know how much will be enough 
As we work to keep the cattle fed and healthy through the GriggsDakota Winter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Volunteer Wheat Heading

 In nearby Greater Dakota I noticed this field of wheat on the day before Thanksgiving.
It appears to be volunteer growth. That is, it has grown from seed that was spilled during the harvesting of the 2011 Spring Wheat crop. 
Volunteer growth from grain lost in this manner is common on the plains. What is uncommon in our area is to see it head out through the Fall. It would normally freeze down long before the heads could form. You can see that it would not yield much. The seed from which it grew was small and not a big yield loss to the harvest.
 2011 has given us a beautiful Fall.
This will provide food for birds and wildlife through the Winter. The sight inspired me. And I imagine all the wild creatures in the area, including me, are thankful.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Black Friday is a little mysterious to me. The Internet has pulled me in, somewhat, and it seems to be bigger each year. I have been out shopping on Black Friday only once that I recall. I was shocked at the crowds of people out in the dark on that cold Friday morning. It's the deals, of course. I certainly understand the joy of a deal. This year shopping opportunities will begin at midnight or before, cutting into the final hours of Thanksgiving Day. But it is a chance for gathered families and friends to go out and enjoy the chase of the deals.
 A little like urban hunting. Hunting is something that I understand.

The following is a rerun of the post that ran last year on the day after Thanksgiving. If you are shopping, I wish you well.

 Oh what fun!

Favorite Gifts

What do you want for Christmas? It's a common question to ask children and they usually have a ready answer. My son once told Santa, "You get to bring me a red fire truck!" And, of course, Santa came through. Who would want to mess up that kind of enthusiasm? 
Childhood gifts  become treasured memories for adults. There are the longed for things like dolls, trucks, or something the child has seen in a store or on TV. My children nearly wore out the toy advertisements that came stuffed inside the newspaper around Thanksgiving. Today I recall two gifts from my childhood.
The first gift was a set of colored pencils. These days every child has colored pencils in their school desk. When I was young they were a luxury. My dad had a set that he kept in his desk at home and I remember how much I enjoyed sitting and drawing with those pencils. 
He and Mom must have noticed. When Christmas came around one year there was a set in a plastic case that was my very own.  I took it to school and filled a notebook with impossibly complicated and extremely colorful sketches of dresses that I hoped to make for myself when I was "bigger." I also drew floor plans and sketches of houses and furniture. I realized for the first time that I could draw. Classmates noticed my hobby and soon there were others who brought colored pencils and began to draw fashion and dreams. No one turned into a great artist, but we had a great time. That box of colored pencils changed my life. 
When I was little my uncle called me CandyJane.  When it comes to candy, I love it all. That is why my outstanding birthday gift is a case of Hershey bars. I think that I was about eleven when I opened it.  I thought it was a Hershey bar box that contained something else. It was too heavy for clothes. When I lifted the top off the box it was full of candy bars. Because they were my very own, I saved them and ate them sparingly over the next year. I shared them occasionally, but kept them hidden. There was not too much temptation to over indulge and no brotherly thievery. I hoped there would be another box exactly like it on my next birthday. That didn't happen, definitely a good thing, and life went on. But there it is locked in my memory. 

When you buy gifts in the weeks ahead remember this:  It is okay to keep it simple.
 Happy shopping.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Oh, the Lord's been good to me!
And so I thank the Lord!
For giving me the things I need!
 The sun,
 And the rain, 
And the appleseed!
The Lord's been good to me!
Have a safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Will You Ever Be Hungry?

I think I can honestly answer that I have never been hungry. Although I have experienced hunger pangs, they are always easily satisfied. If I wait for more than a few minutes to satisfy the hunger I experience, it is a choice based on meal time or a treat. Food is accessible to me any time I care to eat. Ah, but who knows what the future holds. Will we be hungry?
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. We will pause, gather, pray, and eat. Most people will eat a Turkey Dinner. Many of us will eat too much. Leftovers are more of a problem than a shortage of food. 
In our bountiful land, on this day before we celebrate Thanksgiving, I would like you to take time to watch a short video about farmers who are thinking about the land and feeding the world.

(Video found here.)

 Then find the kitchen and offer to help whoever is cooking.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to: Winter Window Dressing

I couldn't resist ornaments at 90% off! This is metal and too big and heavy for our tree, but looks like a quilt
So I bought six. I tied them, evenly spaced, on a jute string similar to their hanging string. Advice:  Leave a yard of string on each end of the knots, which you can trim later if you wish. Measure the length between knot one on the left and knot six on the right.
I dug around my Christmas stuff and found this length of artificial berries. Any length of artificial roping would work.  It needs to be at least as long as the string length between knot one and knot six.
 I pounded a tack firmly into the corner on each side of the window frame.
 Then hung the ornaments from corner to corner.
Be sure your nail is securely anchored and that your knot is securely tied onto the nail. 
Add the roping by folding it in half and starting in the middle of the window.