Friday, August 31, 2012

Soybeans are Hanging On

 I thought it was time to get into the soybean fields and look around. 
We have had a couple of light rains in the last couple of weeks and the night time temperatures have cooled off. Things are dry, but not dead in the soybean fields.
 It seems that soybeans, like farmers themselves, are optimistic.
They have grown pods, from top to bottom. 
However, as the soil became dry and the temperatures remained hot, the soybeans paused. 
 They haven't filled as well as we would have hoped at this stage.
 The fields that I walked into are weed free. It looks like it could be an average crop. 
But when I touched pods, there was often a blank at the top and small soybeans throughout.
Although the sunshine is beautiful, 
The soybeans could still benefit from rain in GriggsDakota.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Gathering on the Lake

There are Summer gatherings on the lake each morning that I love to enjoy from a distance. 
During our hot, dusty days, we have been hauling barley to the Busch Elevator.
It seems that the birds are frolicking as they leisurely enjoy the cool moist morning.
Do the birds know that the long arduous day of migration will soon arrive? 
Probably not. After all, they have bird brains. 
But I know that the Summer sun is fleeting. Once it crosses the road Winter can happen on any given day. 
So the birds are encouraged to remain for as long as they wish in GriggsDakota.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Goodbye, for now

We were expecting to take a boy on a drive around GreaterDakota.
Instead, we found ourselves with a young man.
Because he was raised in the Twin Cities, we asked him what he liked best about North Dakota.
He replied, "Everything." 
He likes the fields, the pastures and what is required for both cattle and grain. He has put in long hours this Summer and knows the grind of hard work.
He is comfortable with the solitude .
He will be back to hunt ducks.
We will keep the path clear and the welcome mat out.
Good Luck as you start your senior year of high school, Wyatt.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today, 107 Years Old

A farm girl from the start, she has always carried the farm in her heart.
 I am certain she is among the oldest people living in North Dakota. 
Her name is Iris. Her favorite flower is the pansy. Pansies remind her of kitten faces. 
Iris is a graduate of the University of North Dakota.  
She spent her career first as a teacher. She became a children's librarian. Although she loved traveling, she lived her life in North Dakota, then Minnesota, and then back to North Dakota. 
She was the only daughter in her family to survive to adulthood. Two sisters did not survive their childhood. It caused her to be very close to her mother and fiercely loyal to her brothers.
 She appreciates those who marry into our family. I remember at the party celebrating her 100th birthday that she remarked at how fortunate she was to have such a wonderful family even though she never had children of her own. She went on to tell us that the ones who had joined the family by marriage had been a special blessing. We have been very lucky in that regard. 
Iris likes Winter as well as Summer. Most farm girls from North Dakota do.
 She has a quiet unshakable faith and after years of joining churches in the various towns in which she has lived, she is again a member of Sundahl Lutheran Church, probably among the oldest living Lutherans.
Where Iris fits in to the oldest living person category, we don't really know. She does not want attention for her long life. She has not gotten a letter from the President or been featured on television. She has no advice or words of wisdom for others who hope to duplicate her longevity. "It is the Lord's doing, not mine," Iris tells me. 
And so, today, we will quietly eat cake as we celebrate the 107th birthday of our dear
Iris Westman.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pinto Beans Maturing

 This may be the only flowers left in our pinto bean fields, so I had to preserve the memory of flowers in our fields.
Summer is racing on. Flowers are fewer. 
There are pinto beans in the field. 
 It's dry out here. It is evident by the spike appearance of the leaves.
But the crop has not dried out. That is partially due to the weed control evident in the field. 
There are dry places in the field. 
However, the places that I noticed contained mature looking beans. 
 The weather conditions will affect yield, but we have a crop of beans out here.
 Another shot of rain will help the pintos finish filling.
We still have reason to hope for a crop in the pinto bean fields of GriggsDakota.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mowing Hay

 We are not the first, nor do we hope to be the last, to fix up the old barn. The farm has been here since our family homesteaded in the late 1800's. A barn, in some form has been here nearly as long as the plow.
This barn was lowered several years ago and now wears new shingles and some finishing touches. It seems to be rejuvenated as it stands guard over the haying of nearby Conservation Reserve Program acres. I really cannot remember the last time this land was hayed, although it has been clipped as required by the CRP contract. 
 Mowing is the first step to haying. The mower cuts the grass near the ground where it lays and cures or dries.
The hay lays in the sunshine until it is dry enough to rake, then bale. The bales must be removed from the CRP land by September 30th this year. That will give wildlife an opportunity to establish their Winter habits before the snow flies. 
 The mower sickle lies very near the ground as it is pulled across the field.
 The heavy blades move horizontally between the guards.
Each triangular cutting blade is referred to as a section. 
The guards look like spear tips and lift the grass while it separates into the cutting section. 
 While the old barn remembers stalls and pens of cattle and horses.
We are still making hay in GriggsDakota