Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spooky in GriggsDakota-How to become a Combo Pack

 Have you ever thought of becoming a Combo-Pack with your date for Halloween? Here's how you do it:  
First, decide that you would like to be Barbie.
Call you local appliance store and secure a refrigerator  box. 
Paint it appropriately.
 Draw, color, and apply authentic looking logos to the box.
If your date likes to dress up in Camo, he will be willing to go as GI Joe in the combo-pack. Barbie can hang out with nearly anyone. Ken has lots of competition for a place in this combo pack. GI Joe is easy to sell to YesSir Mike. These clothes are picked from his hunting closet. 
 Get everything just right. The bottom of the box is open, so that the combo can walk. A cellophane front of the box would make it more authentic, but much harder to climb in and out.
Prepare to be adored. 
GI Joe doesn't mind guard duty.
Happy Halloween from Ann and Mitt, 
Snow White and the Jingle-Jangle Cowgirl,
The Rock Star from the Seventies, 
The Rock Star from the Eighties, 
Their adoring Groupie,
Barbie and GI Joe, 
And the Dark Knight of GriggsDakota.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Power Lines are Being Built in GriggsDakota

There is change on the horizon, although it is still hard to see. 
On this side of the road there are cattle. 
 It is a typical Fall scene in GriggsDakota.
 Cattle with their noses to the ground enjoying the last that the season has to offer before freeze up.
 On this side of the road there along with the haybales are the parts necessary to build a gigantic power line.
 Farmers in our area will now and for a long time in the future, be farming around power lines.
This line is being built in the name of clean energy. 
 Minnkota Power has a site on the link that explains it. 
Minnesota needs clean energy, so they are building a line from Center to Grand Forks in North Dakota and eventually to Duluth, Minnesota. 
There are stockpiles of poles and supplies in the area. 
I have noticed several of these fantastic approaches built to access the area where they have poured cement footings into the ground  for a power pole. 
 Many poles are laid out near their cement base, which has been poured.
Next year this will turn into a power line. 
I believe Minnkota did their best to stay clear of farmsteads as they drew their plan across the prairie.  
I haven't heard much fuss about stray voltage which most often affects dairy cows. Improved quality lines and strict regulations have lessened this concern.
 There's lots of space out here. However, now the western part of North Dakota is growing so fast that we are facing energy shortages within our own borders.
 So, while its easy to feel good about clean energy, I want you to know, no energy is completely clean.
Someone, somewhere, is making a sacrifice. Life is a little less pristine here in GriggsDakota. We will deal with a new power line in order to bring clean energy to Minnesota.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How to: Decorate a Lamp Shade

I bought two of these little lamps at a second hand shop a few years ago. Their shades were gone. So, I bought plain brown paper shades and liked the look just fine. 
But I decided that the room and the lamp shade could use a little jazzing up, so I took the shades off the lamps and began to think about how to fix them up.
It is much easier to embellish a lamp shade vertically than horizontally. When going round and round, there is the pitch or angle of the shade to deal with. Narrow bands work well, wider bands won't lay flat on the surface without adjustment. So, I decide quickly that I will decorate with vertical bands of braid.
Whenever I visit a craft or fabric store, I try to get my eyes on the clearance bin and pick out bargains that I like. Never buy anything that you don't like, just because it is on sale. Only something that you find attractive is a bargain. 
When I purchase something for my stash, I try to imagine how I could use it. Little girls dresses, for example, or a pillow top are both things that I make regularly. I keep possibilities for both in my stash. These braids came to my stash because my daughter likes the combination of pink and green. I was pretty sure they would come in handy sometime.
We are farmers, I live a long way from a craft store. I usually work from my stash. 
The shade is seven inches tall.
I cut a pile of seven inch lengths of each color of braid.
There is a seam on the lampshade that is plumb, meaning at a perfect 90 degree angle with the top and bottom of the shade, so I work from that line.
I apply hot glue to the line and apply my first piece of braid. This will allow me to keep things straight without constant measuring.
I then work around the top of the shade gluing only the top of each piece to the top of the lamp shade. Only my plumb line is glued down.
Since the shade is wider at the bottom, the braid will fan out toward the bottom. It will be easier to get the braid evenly applied around the bottom, after the top is done. Place the braid as close together as you can on the top of the shade for best coverage. Braid would also look nice artfully spaced. Or you can use any variety or combination of decorations using this technique. 
Trim the top and the bottom of the braid so it is even around the lamp shade.
There is a pattern that developed, so I duplicated it on shade number 2. 
When top and bottom are arranged and hot glued in place, apply a row of braid to the top and bottom of the shade to finish the edges. This braid is easy to use as the ribbon is narrow and the edges roll together. If you are using a flat ribbon, it is tricky to get it flat if it is over 1/4 inch wide.
Today we are fancy in GriggsDakota.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wishek Disc Prepares Feast for Birds

It started with a few gulls who were nearby and hungry. 
Others gathered quickly as the tractor disced back and forth on the hills of GriggsDakota.
 To the gulls, a meal was being offered. That is a treat in late October. It is cold and getting colder. The harvest is done and there is much less to eat that there was last week.
Ring-billed gulls, the most common gull in North Dakota is an omnivore. They aren't too particular about their menu.  They nest around rivers, lakes and sloughs in our area. They were getting worms or other tasty morsels from the freshly turned sod.
The blackbirds are hungry, too, and willing to scratch and peck at what the disc turned up. They too are scavengers. Most will migrate to a warmer climate, but some will stay all Winter if they are able to find water and food.
Farmer Fred is using his new Wishek Disc to break up CRP ground. 
The day is gray, but the sloughs are dry despite the rains that have fallen recently. 
So, he is able to chop down some cattails and rushes that have established in previous wet years. 
 It's nice to see mud on the tires of our Case IH 305 tractor that pulls the 17 foot disc.
 The 305 has the right amount of power to roll through the tough sod. 
The gulls will migrate to a place where they can find water and food. They tend not to migrate too far and will likely stay in the region to our south where the water stays open and there are food sources. Then, with a built in compass, they will travel back to where they were hatched to nest next Spring.
 We hope to see them back in GriggsDakota.