Friday, January 31, 2014

Farmer Fred Award July 2013: The Chipper

What is a romantic gift? It seems the list could be very long. Often, the gift needs to be as unique as the romance and so, it was this year in GriggsDakota.
The July Farmer Fred Award is presented to:
The Chipper
originally published on July 16, 2013
 Romantic gifts take many forms in GriggsDakota and so it was with the chipper. Farmer Fred and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with the purchase of a Salsco Wood Chipper. We agreed that it was perfect, though for very different reasons. He saw it as a tool to keep  branches out of the way of machinery. I saw the opportunity for an abundance of wood chips as a welcome addition to our gardens. But, as is typical on farms and ranches, what began as a dream quickly degenerated in sweaty work.
There was evidence of trimming on the trees by the trail. 
As I came around the corner, I expected to hear a knocking roar in the distance, but there was only birdsong and silence. 
There was plenty of fodder for the chipper. 
And some beautiful wood chips already in the trailer. 
There were three frustrated men working on the chipper in our 85 degree sunshine. 
Perhaps they fed it more than it could chew. 
 But there were tools at hand.
The process of fixing had already begun. 
  A broken sheer pin was the problem.
Soon the chipping had begun again. 
Bill, who is the chief volunteer at the Aneta Community Orchard, is pleased to have a ready source of wood chips. 
 They surpress weed growth in areas where mowing is difficult.
So we hope many people will benefit from our anniversary purchase. 
You just never know where romance will take you in GriggsDakota.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up July 2013: Happy Birthday America

I believe that patriotism must be taught and celebrated in families, communities, schools and wherever United States of Americans gather. We are truly "the land of the free and the home of the brave." On Independence Day we are at our best celebrating the freedom our country offers in our own unique way.
The Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up for July 2013 is presented to:
Happy Birthday America
originally published July 3, 2013
 Tomorrow we will celebrate.
 The United States of America turns 237.
Which means a chance for all of us to celebrate as Americans, in any way we choose.
We may play with our puppy. 
Round up our kittens. 
Ride our ponies. 
Go to the zoo. 
We may swim in the lake. 
Or swim in the pool. 
We might wade in slowly. 
Wherever you are, I hope the day is sunny. 
So you can ride your motorcycle. 
Play ball. 
Watch a parade.
Tour an interesting structure.
Maybe you will go to the park. 
Get a little dizzy.  
Hang from your knees. 
And play with your cousins. 
You might have an adventure. 
Then finish the evening with a bonfire. 
 And light a few fireworks.
To honor the home of the brave.
Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Farmer Fred Award June 2013: GriggsDakota Post 1000

I never really meant to have the blog go on for years. GriggsDakota was not started by me and I like privacy. A blog seemed too techy and trendy. However, after planning to simply finish out the 2009 season, I found myself continuing. There is a truly unique American story going on here. It has gone on for generations in obscurity.
 It is my privilege to share it. Now I live without a blog plan. I just try to wing it as often as I can. It may be less often as time moves along. Somedays, I feel like I am running out of stories to tell. I don't want it to turn into a weather report. Someone else can do that, we have a farm to run. But for today...
The June 2013 Farmer Fred Award is presented to:
Griggs Dakota Post Numer 1000
originally posted June 24, 2013

On the Blogspot Post Counter, this is number 1000. That means we have published 1000 posts in GriggsDakota. 
We begin today with a favorite photo. It is taken during harvest, which is every farmer's favorite time of the year.
To me, blogging is a communications miracle. Telling the story of GriggsDakota has been a challenging and fulfilling undertaking. I am grateful for all who have participated by reading, commenting, and encouraging us. 

GriggsDakota is the story of a family farm. We practice agriculture and have  since the sod was first turned in this area.
It is a good day to review our favorite theory of agriculture.
Is agriculture an art or a science? Our answer to that question is "it must be both or it will be neither." Art is the human effort to imitate, alter, supplement or counteract the work of nature. Science is knowledge of nature attained through study or practice. Historically farming has been treated as an art with most emphasis placed on effort. There were good farmers and bad farmers. What separated them was thought to be more related to passion and motivation than soil content and variety selection.  In modern agriculture there is still a need for art. We are, after all in the business of altering the works of nature on today's farms.  But more and more, farmers have access to scientific data. We need the knowledge gained through study. Farmers have the opportunity to participate in experiments that impact the modern development of this knowledge in the industry. Agriculture needs farmer's participation in order to find a way to feed this hungry world in a sustainable way. So it seems to me that the effort of our art is always complemented by further knowledge of our science. We'll name that the 
"Theory of GriggsDakota."
You can't be a family farm without a family. I was raised on a small family farm. Farmer Fred and I now operate a much larger farm. 
It is the same farm.
 Over 80% of the land that we farm belongs to someone who is related to me. My great grandparents homesteaded here, my grandparents married neighbors, my dad married the girl next door, and we are still farming. Thank you to our family and the neighbors who trust us without the bond of blood. Their commitment allows us to be stewards of their land.
Our focus is to raise food to help feed a hungry world. It is to that end that we work. With the world's population exploding, the idea that every person should have the opportunity to eat every day is getting bigger all the time. 
We expect our farm to continue for future generations. The blog has helped draw focus onto the farm and the practice of farming.  
The late Paul Harvey, famous radio news personality, had an aunt in Oklahoma. When he was writing a news story, he would often ask himself if his aunt would care or what details she would find most interesting. In order to keep his work his own, he didn't actually call and ask her opinion, but kept his aunt's perspective in his mind as he wrote.
In the same way, I have used my Uncle Owen and his sweet wife Lenore to filter the blogposts that I have published. This exercise taught me to find a focus and stay with it each day.
There has been encouragement along the way. Our kids have been cheerful and patient. Our family has contributed and promoted GriggsDakota. They help keep me honest.  
And there is Farmer Fred, an unconventional farmer, who married the farmer's daughter and went into the advertising business. Farmer Fred has been the star of GriggsDakota. After a Summer job on the family farm, he fell in love with farming. His business experience prepared him and provided the resources to fulfill his dream. He read Sam Walton's book "Made in America" soon after it was published in 1992 and decided to apply those principles to farming. He has endlessly analyzed GriggsDakota to find 1000 things he could make 1% better.
The land is large.
The seasons provide the rhythm by which we work.
The weather provides challenges which we strive to overcome.
Inspired and challenged after 1000 posts, we continue with optimism in GriggsDakota.