Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

I heard a ruckus in the tree outside at dawn this morning.
There was a witch flying around in GriggsDakota.
"Old witches and mean mothers are the BEST!" she cackled.
She scared the cat!
Then turned on her broom and flew away.
I heard her laughter on the wind. Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Joseph

 Happy Birthday to the best birthday gift I have ever received,
Happy Birthday from your patient Dad and your beautiful Sister, 
Who is also your talented sister. 
Happy Birthday from her sensible husband. 
 Happy Birthday from your beautiful sister who smiles with her mouth full and her sensible husband.
Happy Birthday from your goofy brother 
Who likes to take credit for teaching you everything you know. 
Well, maybe not everything you know.
and his sensible wife. We are all glad you found her.
We love you and hope your song never ends. 
From your family in GriggsDakota

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Finishing the Soybeans

Barring unforeseen complications, the soybean harvest should wrap up today. 
 It has been a long season, with many interruptions, but we are glad to be finishing in October.
 Overall, the crop has yielded inconsistently.
 We had a very dry growing season, and some fields yielded poorly. 
Other fields, even those nearby, might be better than we expected. The Summer rains came in spotty showers, which caused this to happen. 
The recent dry days have helped move the harvest along, but as soon as the sun goes down, the soybean vines take on moisture that make it impossible to continue into the dark.
Farmer Fred and the gang are relieved to see the sun set on the 2013 soybean harvest.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Power Lines

 I don't recall anyone ever saying to me that there was a new power line going up and they were very excited about the possibilities it presented.
Quite the opposite is true. We see the poles and lines as an intrusion on the beautiful landscape. We take electricity for granted. It seems like one of our inalienable rights.
And yet, I am pretty sure that when  Rural Electrification put up poles and lines to the farms of my great grandparents and grandparents, they were excited about the possibilities those lines were bringing. The lines were appreciated and looked upon favorably.
We are an energy state now, with energy possibilities for our country. 
 So I decided to try to see the power lines in new ways.
I decided to appreciate the rusty red color of the poles and how it complimented the yellow sunshine, the blue sky and the green colors of the ground. Although I know these structures have caused strife and heartbreak for individuals, I want to believe in the greater good of our nation.
I spent a moment appreciating the linear beauty of the lines against the sky. Who will this energy benefit? Will there be better jobs, more certain electricity for my fellow citizens in cities that I may never visit? In North Dakota, as the energy industry takes over, life is changing hard and fast. 
It is not easy for agriculture, but it is of benefit to our state and nation in countless ways.
I am doing my best to see things, as my grandparents did, with optimism. Life is full of possibilities in GriggsDakota and all across the country.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Farewell to Flowers

Today we are saying farewell to the final flowers of the season. We have had a dusting of snow and cold temperatures.
Soon our lakes and sloughs will be hard, but not yet. 
 I admire the flowers that perservere through the Fall.
Often they live in pots. 
This gives them a flower world advantage, I suppose, but I don't care. 
Perennials in North Dakota are amazing. 
How roots tough enough to withstand our winters can produce such delicate blooms is miraculous. 
Whipped in the wind, the outer petals protect the inner blossoms. 
 Tropical looking drama on sturdy branches.
 How can you grow here?
All the flowers, dill, and raspberries are ready for their long Winter's nap in GriggsDakota.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to: Make an Igloo from Sugar Cubes

It is I-Week in the Farm Inspector's Kindergarten class and she has been asked to bring an object that begins with the letter I to show the class.  
We considered Ice. Too quickly turned to Water and it is not W-week. 
We considered Ice Cream. Too quickly melted to Mess and it is not M-week. 
 We considered I-Phone, I-Pad, I-Mac, all of which are too easily confused with Apple and it is not
 A-Week.
We keep a jar of sugar cubes in GriggsDakota, just in case the Farm Inspector or the Ag Analyst get a little sour. A couple of these sweeten them up in a hurry. We purchase them from Amazon.com.
 We looked into the jar of rough cubes and decided they looked like snow.
 Could we build an Igloo? Yes! We would build it out of sugar cubes.
While I cut the bottom off an old rubber ball with a serrated knife, the Farm Inspector washed some gravel from the driveway. 
She shook as much water out as possible and then took the pebbles to the bathroom to dry them with the hair dryer. 
We started with a disposable pie pan. At first we turned it upside down, but soon realized that we needed the edges to hold the Igloo's environment. She glued sugar cubes onto the rubber ball, Igloo-style, with Elmer's School Glue.
For trees we picked lilac twigs and pushed marshmallows onto them to resemble snow. 
The Farm Inspector dug through a basement cupboard to find some blue construction paper, then used her markers and glitter glue to enhance the waves.
This project takes lots of glue. Lots and lots of glue. The waves are held in place on the edge of the pie pan with glue.
She placed pebbles into little cups to hold the snowy trees upright. 
All pebbles, both in the cups and on the surface are held in place with glue. Fortunately, it dries clear.
Tufts of cotton balls, carefully torn apart by the Farm Inspector, were glued in place for snow. 
We set the finished project on a high open shelf to dry overnight. 
I is for Igloo made of sweet sugar cubes in GriggsDakota.