Friday, December 30, 2011

For Auld Lang Syne

For the Sake of the Old Times,
For the Memories of our Old Friends, 
For the Hope of the Future
Here, and Around the World.
May Food Find your Plate
And Abundance Fill your Life
With Love and Laughter.

Click on the link to hear
and see the words to this Robert Burns poem made famous by Guy Lombardo and his orchestra. 

Happy New Year!
 from Farmer Fred and the gang in GriggsDakota

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Trouble with Roads

December has been lovely and we have especially enjoyed the open roads. This year has not been easy to travel until we were nearing the finish line. 
Butler remembers 2011 as the year when the roads were difficult. 
They were covered with snow all winter. 
More snow seemed to fall every night. 
 And every day.
It made for a long cold road. 
Because moving snow and keeping roads open is work. 
As April arrived, the sun grew stronger. 
But the snow was relentless. 
 It melted to slush.
 And then began flooding.
Greater Dakota endured record flooding. Please visit Roads To Nowhere to see the flooding around Devils Lake.
 In GriggsDakota it was a bother.
 But not a record.
We endured. 
We tried not to mind the muddy roads, because we knew others were suffering in every direction. 
We expected things would dry out any day and we would again need rain. 
Even August gave us too much rain. 
The roads continued to flood. 
Until deep into Fall
When the water receded and the land dried up.
Our roads became firmer and drier as harvest progressed. If this were Summertime, we would be thirsty in GriggsDakota. This time of year, the ground, lakes, sloughs, and streams are frozen. The moisture content is pretty stable. Every road is open. The snow plows are idle. The shovels are standing at attention in the garage. For as long as it lasts, we intend to enjoy it. In GriggsDakota we appreciate an open road.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Assessment and Adjustment

The farming season is over and the equipment is put away, but as I was perusing the photos from this year I came across these and had to share...
Farmer Fred spends time assessing the situation. 
Then more time making adjustments. 
More Assessment. 
Followed by more Adjustment. 
Then out to the field where there is more assesment. 
And a final adjustment.
Using Farmer Fred's favorite Adjuster, duct tape. So it is in GriggsDakota.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How To: Paint a Santa Egg that Keeps Watching

 Santa has made his run to GriggsDakota and the year is fading fast. We have had fun with these little guys over the years. Santa painted onto wooden eggs. The technique is easy. If you decide to try these, be sure to buy eggs that have a flat surface on one end so it can stand upright. If your egg won't stand, file it flat on one end or glue on a washer that will allow the egg to stand. Paint the bottom 3/8 red, the middle half flesh colored and the top 1/8 red for the hat. After the base coat has dried, add the details. White paint for beard and fur. I like to break a round toothpick in half for the round eyes and holly berries. I have used broken toothpicks to do quite a bit of detail painting. They hold just the right amount of paint for tiny marks and are easy to control. Santa's nose was painted with the tip of a toothpick.
Paint will achieve the most professional look, but if these are just for fun, try making some of the details with a permanent marker like a Sharpie. Notice that the hand is really just an N painted on with flesh color paint. Technique painting is easy. 
Holly leaves and berries are optional and can be added with markers if you prefer.
Holly has a very simple line and imperfection is part of the normal leaf structure. Relax!
Occasionally throughout the year, or perhaps starting on Thanksgiving Day, you may find Santa Claus in the egg carton. 
Or hidden among the spices in the cupboard 
Santa's work is done for this year, but we never know when we will need a little Christmas.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Singing for Joy

 Christmas Present
Becomes Christmas Past 
In the blink of an Eye. 
I took out a Christmas card that we received last year. It was one of those cards that plays a tune when opened. Only this time, it didn't stop playing. I set it out on the deck where it could be ignored.
The wind blew it down onto the ground where five days later, it is still playing.
"We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas and a  Happy New Year! Good Tidings to you and all of your kin, Good Tidings of Christmas and a Happy New Year!" 
May the Joy of the Season endure through the Season.
From your Friends in GriggsDakota

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Came About...

Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David; in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was with child.
And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. 
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:  you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 
"Glory to God in the Highest, And on Earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
And it came about that when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
And the shepherds went back, glorifying, and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Luke 2 : 1 - 20

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Darkest Week

 The water in the photo above is frozen solid, but the air is so pleasant that I can feel Springtime.
If it were Springtime, the sun would join us before midmorning and would shine into the evening.
 It's a brown December in GriggsDakota.
It is the first time we have had no snow for Christmas in over fifty years.
It gives us another reason to rejoice. 
 I know some people are longing for snow.
During the very short days of December, we are used to the reflection of snow to provide light in the darkness. 
Moon light, starlight, yard light, or flash light is enough light to see in a snow covered world. 
This year, the ground is dark long before the sky. 
 Over the river and over the woods to anyone's land they go.
With no snow on the ground, the road conditions are never in question. Travel plans are definite and easy. 
No snow to move saves hours of time every day. The grain hauling is nearly done. 
Taking care of cattle is simple. This gal was spending her afternoon looking for a hole in the fence. It's hard to believe that our record low temperatures are seventy degrees fahrenheit colder than it is today.
So it's easy to count our blessings in GriggsDakota, even in the dark. 
As easy as walking on water in dark December.