Monday, September 30, 2013

September Leaves Leaves

Today is the last day of September. 
September is leaving. 
And it is leaving leaves. 
 This is not always the case.
This year September did not freeze. 
A few leaves have jumped off branches of their own accord. 
Others have dried out and been blown around in our brisk breezes. 
 We needed September Summer weather to finish our crops.
But, after the seasons of Spring and Summer, we did not expect September to leave with no freeze. 
We planted our late season crops very late. 
We still have work to do. 
We feel the temperatures cooling and the land preparing for the Winter ahead. 
As the sun sets on September, we move on to a second season of harvest in GriggsDakota.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Beautiful House

The house was once quite grand in the eyes of its owners, with more than enough room and furnishings to be comfortable. I spent my childhood visiting this place nearly every week. I stayed overnight once, but that was when I was eleven.
 The house was breezy in the Summertime, the windows nearly always wide open. In the Fall, boxelder bugs marched straight through the walls and crawled on the green walls and linoleum floors. When we were coming to visit in the Winter, someone would stoke the wood stove in the kitchen and the oil burner in the parlor. It was headache hot in there on Sunday afternoons. I know now that the heat was meant to be a kindness to the children, but I didn't appreciate it then. There was never a bathroom in the house and that is all I am going to say about that.
I thought that this routine of visiting every week would go on forever, as any child would. I didn't understand the constant change that is a compulsory part of life. When Great-grandma died at the age of 101, I was eleven. The regular visits stopped. We still visited often, but the caretaker siblings, the three unmarried children, were free to come over to our house or into town to my Grandma's house to visit their family. 
It's been over thirty years since anyone lived in that house 
 It has been stripped it of all that once made it comfortable and pleasant.
I stopped by this week and was reminded of all the good memories this place holds. 
It is still a beautiful spot in GriggsDakota.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hauling and Preparing

When cropland is in the Conservation Reserve Program, there are rules that must be followed.
As a method of weed control, every few years it must either be clipped or hayed. Clipped would mean that the CRP grass would be cut and left on the land. This year we decided to hay this ground.
The CRP produced a fine hay crop, lots of bales for the cattle to munch on next Winter. 
It has been warm and windy this week. I heard a weatherman say that the seasons are doing battle and wind is a result. The way that Summer is keeping our temperatures warm is by blowing a big wind up out of the South. Fall will cool things down in the next couple of days and we know that we likely will not see Summer again for a long time.
But the hay bales look cozy in their neat stack. This ground has been mowed, raked, baled, and then the bales were stacked. The last step is to haul them home before the snow flies. 
It feels good to see the hay piling up near the yards where the cattle will spend the Winter. Of course, we don't rely on CRP hay. Cattleman Jim has alfalfa and other grassland hay that has been baled and awaits hauling. 
If you look closely the barley is peeking out of the top of the grain cart.  
Ron and Casey fill the grain carts while Jake and Farmer Fred haul loads to the nearest Busch elevator. Notice on the photo above that Casey is watching the cart fill from his perch on the bin. We are happy to get the barley moved out before the soybean and corn harvest begin. 
We haven't had a frost yet, so are waiting for the soybeans to drop their leaves and dry down for harvest to resume in GriggsDakota

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pinto Bean Harvest

Area pinto beans are looking good this season.
 The harvest has begun.
In GriggsDakota we start with a Pickett One Step. 
The Pickett One Step is part of a line of Pickett Equipment that you can reach by clicking on the link. 
The machine cuts the plant close to the ground which saves nearly all of the beans. It then delivers a folded swath out the side of the machine. 
Two Pickett swaths make a swath for our bean combine.  
 We never want to get very far ahead of the combine. Cut beans are at risk with moisture and wind affecting the beans as they rest in the swaths. 
Harvesting pinto beans is an exact process. Beans can crack or split if too dry when the combines arrive. The vines on which the bean pods grow must be dry enough to go through the combine without wrapping around the machinery.
Often, morning Picketting on a sunny day with a breeze will mean that the beans will be ready in the late afternoon.  
The combines can then move in and harvest before the dew of darkness makes it too difficult.
Once the beans have been removed, there is not much stubble left on the field, but there is often enough beans feed wildlife through our long GriggsDakota winter.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Corn Field Statuesque

 Now that we have been having frequent rain, the corn is beautiful.
 I think you could call it statuesque, at least among the field crops in GriggsDakota. 
The concern, earlier in the Summer, was that the stalks would not be sturdy enough to hold the plant, causing it to snap off at the bottom. That could still happen as the plant dries down, especially if it endured a big wind. Right now, with the moisture available to the plant, it doesn't seem like a risk. 
 The cobs are beautifully formed and fully filled. The kernels are maturing and getting bigger on the cob as the weeks go by.
We haven't had a real frost yet, although there was a bit of frost on the roof, the thermometer never registered below 34 degrees Fahrenheit. There has been speculation of light test weight and poor dry down. Those are possibilities that we are preparing for. We realize that the corn will likely have to be dried in our grain dryer. We won't have a crop until it is in the bin.
In GriggsDakota the corn is statuesque, and that is the best we can hope for today.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Trellis

When is the end of usefulness?
When this rake was brought in from the field and parked for the last time, did the farmer realize what was happening? 
Was it a relief to know that he would never ride in this seat again?
We no longer have the squeaks and sounds of harness and horses pulling machines in the fields. 
 Farmers ride in air conditioned or heated cabs, depending on the weather. 
And yet, nothing this beautiful can be categorized as useless. 
Nature finds a trellis in GriggsDakota.