Friday, February 28, 2014

Finally Farewell to February

 Fresh flowers bid February fond farewell.
February 
You are finished freezing and fretting
Though the freezing isn't finished,
And fretting isn't final,
February is finally finished
 Freezing and fussing.
Fantastic
February Fun
And Feasting, gone forever.
 
February brought Valentines for friends and family.
Fantasy fascinated the Farm Inspector.
No freezing or fighting with fantastic friends and family.
Jeff Foxworthy famously fools about fashioning a hole through two feet of ice, then waiting for food to swim by.
Very Funny, Foxworthy, but
Folks, including the Farm Inspector and her Family, Fish in February.
Is Farmer Fred Fatigued?
Farmer Fred feels relief 
that February,
Fabulous and Frozen
Is Finally Finished.
Let's March On in GriggsDakota. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Finding a Bird House

 We were bringing a load of wood up to the house. Farmer Fred was doing most of the work, of course. Butler was watching and well, I had my camera.
 I noticed a couple of chunks that looked hollow.
 On the other side of this piece of firewood there were two woodpecker holes.
There are at least three varieties of woodpeckers in GriggsDakota. We hear the diligent pecking of woodpeckers from the shelter belts and see them at the bird feeders.
 There was a hold through the log. You can see the toe of my boot on the floor.
The tree had been hollowed out by the birds. The had been a bird house at one time, although its usefulness has now been reduced to firewood.
 It is amazing to me that birds survive our Winters.
 Chickadees also live and nest in holes of trees.
Blue jays burrow into hay and straw piles. Other birds seem always to be around. It has been so cold for so long that I can't imagine how they keep from freezing. Birds judge the season by length of day and our days are getting longer. The sun is much stronger. 
But the cold carries on in GriggsDakota.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How is the Winter Wheat Faring?

The Winter has been extreme and I have heard it said that our ground is frozen six feet deep. Is the Winter Wheat going to live through the cold?  According to the NDAWN Site (North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network) our soil temperatures are around 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ground freezes hardest and deepest in the open where it is unprotected by snow. Snow cover provides a blanket of warmth on the ground. How can that be? After all, snow is pretty cold stuff. Snow is insulation on the land and holds  heat in the ground. Near the trees on the above photo, there appears to be adequate snow cover for Winter Wheat to survive. 
 The snow is not evenly distributed over the land. We had cold temperatures before the snow arrived. Winter Wheat is most vulnerable to injury during the cold snaps that occur this time of year. As the sun becomes stronger, the snow on the fields begin to melt. Thinly covered portions of the fields lose their snow cover quickly, the dark soil absorbs the sun's rays, and the plants begin to come to life believing the season has changed. When the weather then turns extremely cold, as it often does this time of year, the plant can be damaged if the crown freezes. 
Do you remember that in Spring of 2013 most of the Winter Wheat failed to establish a sufficient stand? 
  We watched and deliberated for two months before our crop consultant told us it was time to dig it up. We then replanted the fields to corn.
Last Fall we again planted Winter Wheat and it established well. The Winter wheat that is lush and healthy going into Winter has proved tough enough to come through with a crop in the past. Hardy varieties have been developed for our climate. 
It is too early in the season to know what is going on in our snow covered fields. 
Along with a little fretting, Hope Springs eternal in GriggsDakota.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Winter Drive

It is possible to be alone without being lonely, 
But there is comfort in numbers. 
Especially on a windy Winter afternoon. 
The day was beautiful to look at. 
 And the bluster didn't amount to much.
For some unknown reason, I was struck again by the lone trees that grow randomly on the open plains. 
The snow is grainy as it blows around on this cold afternoon. 
There are birds hiding in the shelter of the pine trees, a flock I think. Birds get lonely. 
 They are able to find enough to eat without human help.
 It doesn't take much shelter for the wildlife that lives through our Winters.
 I don't see anything, but I know there are critters enduring or enjoying the Winter.
Their tracks are on the snow. 
 The cold wind is still howling and will for weeks to come, but we all know...
The sun is racing back to GriggsDakota.