Friday, August 30, 2013

Seeing the Possibilities

We had a thunderstorm that left over three quarters inch of rain in GriggsDakota. We really don't know how much it will help our crops yet, but some rain is always better than none. Rain brings hope.
 We have rainbows at our fingertips.
We know there is treasure in the fields.
Every stone might shine like a diamond. 
If the Farm Inspector can just get it clean enough.  
Our favorite fruit salad is made from jelly beans, Cracker Jack, and two varieties of Sugar Balls. A yummy recipe from the Farm Inspector of Griggs Dakota.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Finishing Winter Wheat

This is by far the latest date on which we have combined Winter Wheat. We will move on and combine some Spring Wheat next. The difference between the two is as clear as their names. Winter Wheat is planted in the Fall when it sprouts. It remains dormant, but lives through the Winter, then grows and matures the following season. Spring Wheat grows from Spring through Summer and harvest is in full swing at this time.
  The Winter Wheat is not quite dry, so is being hauled to an air bin. The weather has been hot, but beautiful with very little wind this week. Any moisture that is lost is being baked out, not blown away as is so often the case in our area.
 Farmer Fred has a straight head with an air reel on his Case IH 7088 combine.
The head cuts and the reel turns as it folds the wheat into the machine where it is threshed. 
The wheat goes to the combine's hopper, the machine's grain holding tank, which you see as the black rim at the top of the combine. The hopper holds 300 bushels of grain.
 The excess straw and hulls are chopped and spread out  through the rear of the combine. 
 Returning straw, which results in organic matter being added to the soil, is an important part of maintaining soil vitality. 
The Winter Wheat crop is now in the bin. We are watching for rain clouds on the horizon of GriggsDakota.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Iris is 108

It was with great interest that I read Mikkel Pates' Column in Agweek on an afternoon in April. The author is an acquaintance of Farmer Fred's. 
The column mentioned that Mikkel Pates had sung in the First Lutheran Church Choir in Worthington, Minnesota during a time when Iris had been in the choir, too. Follow the link to read the column. 
I brought the paper to Iris and read the column aloud to her. Did she remember Mikkel Pates? Of course she did.
Turns out, he remembered her as well and followed up with a visit where they discussed memories of the time he spent in Worthington and the people that they both knew. 
As the column reveals, he sings in a gospel quartet, the In God We Trust quartet.
 Mikkel Pates arranged and somehow convinced his fellow members to sing for Iris near her birthday. 
What fun it was. And how very talented the quartet from Fargo, North Dakota turned out to be! As Iris said, "That was the best program we have ever had here."
The performance of the In God We Trust quartet made both the youngest and the oldest members of the audience smile. That is quite a musical accomplishment.
So she celebrated a little early with a couple of August birthday boys.
Today Iris turns 108.
Iris was raised on the Westman farm near Aneta, North Dakota, pictured above with the family dog, Tige.
Iris is a 1928 graduate of the University of 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.
Where she fits into the oldest living person category, we don't know, but it is important to remember, Iris was young once, too.
Iris was an English teacher in both Aneta and Hillsboro, North Dakota before moving to Minnesota. The photo above was taken in Hillsboro and the following information is written on the back:
Iris was best "man" 
Hazel (Howard) was bridesmaid at Esther Killeson's marriage - when her fiance was drafted and Summer wedding plans were ruined. 1942
As a single woman, Iris had the opportunity to be a good friend to many.
She retired as the elementary librarian in Worthington, Minnesota, where she sang in the First Lutheran Church choir with Mikkel Pates. Iris reminded Mr. Pates, when they lived in Worthington, they were really just acquaintances.
 Thanks to the good Lord, First Lutheran Church and that column in AgWeek.
A friendship has formed. 
 Today is her birthday and we will celebrate again.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Combining Rained Out

 It had been gray all day, but we didn't expect to get wet, even when the first sprinkles started to fall.
 However, it doesn't take many drops to stop the combines when they are harvesting wheat.
The combines were followed closely by our truck, Sterling Onyx. To read about his first day on the job click here.
There was a hold up in the progress as the parade made its way into the cover of the shed. 
Knowing that there is a door on the other end, Jake and the grain cart drive through. 
The sprinkles continued through the afternoon hours. 
By late afternoon, the field was soggy on top, but not soaked. 
 There were raindrops clinging to the wheat.
They looked to me like tears of joy. 
 My great uncle used to tell us that we couldn't count rainfall unless it measured more than a quarter of an inch during August. August is a thirsty month and it took that much to get down into the ground to do any good, he thought.
But, we are not going to quibble this year. We will happily take every drop in GriggsDakota.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Geese on Barley Stubble

 The Canada geese are enjoying their meals on the barley stubble.
They must pick up kernels from the ground as surely nothing has sprouted since we finished combining. 
We have too many geese that call our fields home. 
They destroy part of our crop and every crop in the area each year. 
When they gather on the stubble, it feels like Fall. 
 The geese can all fly now, young and old cackle and beat their wings as I approach. The young have grown feathers for flight and their parents have finished their season of molting. Fresh feathers are in place for migration which will take place when our land and water freezes over.
Earlier in the Summer, the geese would waddle to the water for protection. Now they fly high above the nearby wheat field. The wheat is ready to combine now. 
Farmers are moving machines from field to field, harvesting wheat. 
The weather is hot and muggy. 
The rain has stayed away. 
As days fly by in GriggsDakota.