Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goodbye again, July

This post is a favorite from 2010. The crops were prettier than they are this year. It is good to remember.
Goodbye July
I hate to see you go.
I will miss your flowers,
and even your weeds.
I appreciate the wide open
 hope you brought to us,
and the wonder of your days.
You gave us time for fun,
For victories won,
and visits
with old friends.
Everything
 was looking up 
in July.
Like the prairie chicken on the road, you've run away
and become a shadow in our minds.
May you live in our hearts forever.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

About the Clouds, Not the Barley

At first glance, you will assume this is another post about the barley. 
 There is a lot of barley in GriggsDakota this season.
It is nearly ready to harvest. 
This post is about the clouds in the sky. We need the rain, rather desperately.  
 As long as the barley is standing, and not quite ripe, the rain will not damage the barley crop and it would rescue the rest of the crops. Of course, the chance of rain brings with it the chance of hail. Hail would certainly damage the barley.
So we would like the clouds to thicken up and rain, and not bring hail.
Of course, the joke is:
"If you really want rain, swath the barley. That will bring the rain." 
 Possibly true, it seems to go that way in farming. 
The sloughs and creeks are drying out, we need rain from these clouds on this night, but we don't need hail.
After today, one way or another it will be all about the barley in GriggsDakota.

Monday, July 29, 2013

July Matures

We are on the home stretch of Summertime. July has made the world grow up. I used to tell my children that in the Summertime I would throw them into the sunshine and they would grow like weeds. There was truth in that. I didn't notice very much what they wore on Summer days. By the time school was going to start, nothing fit them. We swam and biked and played and worked. When July was over, they had grown. August is a time of paying close attention on the farm, but in July... 
at least when you are a kid, you can just grow with the weeds.
 Cattleman Jim has been mowing hay by the creek.
He has the rake standing by.
 The goose parade has begun. This gaggle crossed the road in front of me. I struggled to ready my camera, as I hit the brakes. They will not fly away.
The goslings are big enough to leave the nest, but cannot fly. The adults are molting and so we don't see geese on the wing, but on parade, either in the water or waddling on land. 
Their destination is nearly always a field of grain which they damage, sometimes extensively.
The geese are very cute, but we have too many of them.
The boys of summer, pelicans, have been hanging around. These are unmated males. Pelicans nest nearby, but not in GriggsDakota. These guys enjoy the Summer with little responsibility. 
It is the time of year when we notice the passage of time. 
There are golden hues of color in the grass.  
We have spacious skies and amber grain and grown up kids in GriggsDakota.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Juneberries in late July

Our favorite summertime berries are ripe.
 We use long nets to protect the row of juneberries from birds and deer. We place it over the berries while they are green and remove it after we have picked our fill.
This year surprised us. The berries are big, juicy and plentiful.
We pick all we can, then share with friends and neighbors when we have a crop like this. We freeze the berries for sauce and pie. 
Grandpa Sonny has experimented with different varieties to see if he can find one that is particularly flavorful. Within our shelterbelt row we have discovered some plants to be more flavorful than others.
 He also has plum trees growing in his specimen row. 
 The plums are still small and green. They will require warm days and sunshine into September.
The juneberries are making our fingers purple as we pick them and our mouths purple as we munch their sweet berries in GriggsDakota.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hide and Seek in the Barley Field

"Listen everyone! You hide and I will count!"
 "One, two, three, four, five..."
"Six, seven, eight, nine, ten." 
"Ready or not, here I come!"
What a game in GriggsDakota.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

AdFarm: Soybeans Blooming, but Dry

The AdFarm soybean field is green and growing.
Farmer Fred and the gang have been tending it, there are few weeds.
It is not a picture perfect crop, just as it has not been a picture perfect season. It is now quite dry in the field, which discourages white mold, but allows insects, including grasshoppers to develop. Grasshoppers are in the area and our crop scout has given us warning to watch the fields.
 The soybean plants are blooming.
Their subtle lavender blossoms remain tucked in close to the stem of the plant as they bloom. 
 The soybeans are bred to produce in tough conditions, so despite the negatives that the season has brought, the plants battle on.
 Rain makes grain, and soybeans, as well. In order for these plants to form pods and fill with beans, we need rain. There have been showers in the area, but not over our fields. 
In 2012 we weathered a dry season with regular short showers. This season, few showers, sometimes just a splattering of drops. This week the temperatures have cooled into the seventies and the nights have been dewy which helps the plants cope.  
AdFarmers, do a rain dance for your soybeans in GriggsDakota.