Friday, January 30, 2015

May Farmer Fred Award: House of Happiness

I have read that solitude and cold weather drive people to poetry. Good, another reason to love it here. Poetry has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My parents read nursery rhymes followed by other children's poetry and literature. I grew up enjoying words, singly and in order.
When shooting pictures for a blog post, I occasionally realize that I have nothing to add. The photo says it all. I then begin to search for another author's words to enhance the beauty of what I see on the screen. This one caught Farmer Fred's attention.
The May Farmer Fred Award is presented to:
House of Happiness
Originally published on May 16, 2014

 "Take what God gives, O heart of mine,
And build your house of happiness.
Perchance some have been given more;  
But many have been given less. 
The treasure lying at your feet, 
Whose value you but faintly guess, 
Another builder, looking on, 
Would barter heaven to possess."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

May Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up: Rocks and a Thing of Beauty

In GriggsDakota we have a love-hate relationship with rocks. The rocks were deposited here by a glacier millions of years ago, when apparently there was weather change on earth. The glacier melted here and left rocks. Our freeze thaw cycle is constantly bringing them to the surface of the fields, so every Spring we struggle to pick them before we plant our crops. But we enjoy them and incorporate them into our lives in the fireplace, as bookends, in the garden.
The May Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up is presented to:
Rocks and a Thing of Beauty
Originally published on  May 22, 2014
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing."
Although it may seem silly to some, the rocks in GriggsDakota are beautiful to me and I often think of that Keats verse as I look at their intricate designs and detail. 
But rocks often pop through the ground in a place where they are likely to damage equipment. 
So we have implements to move them elsewhere. 
This is a rock nabber and Wyatt is going to try something new. He is going to nab his first rock. The rock nabber is used when a rock is too big and heavy for our rock picker.
Wyatt slowly backs the tractor until the jaws are above the rock. 
There is a three point hitch on the tractor that pushes the lower jaw into the ground. 
Hydraulics allow the upper jaw to clamp down, securing the rock in the rock nabber's bite. 
Wyatt then transports the rock to a new location. 
 There is a spot on the lake where the snow melt causes a rush of water which tends to wash soil into the lake. We are trying to slow the stream down to keep the land up on the field where it belongs.
Because, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
Quotations from poetry by John Keats

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

April Farmer Fred Award: April Begins as a Winter Month

Six months of Winter are too many and since we often turn cold in October and always by late November,  we would like to count on April for Spring. In 2014, April was fickle and provided little of the new season.

The April Farmer Fred Award is presented to: 
April Begins as a Winter Month
Originally published on  April 1, 2014
 Dawn brought clearing skies, cold temperatures and a stinging North wind.
 I hope that this is the last snow post of the season.
There are reminders of December everywhere. 
The geese survived the snowstorm by keeping their heads down, in the open on the lake.  
The wind had drawn interesting patterns onto every surface. 
We could tell that this was not mid-Winter, however. 
The sun was too bright and carried the promise of light and heat.  
Things felt a little wierd. 
The shelter belts had done their best. 
 But there was lots of snow to move.
The South side of evergreen trees were left frosted as the wind forced the snowflakes through the branches. 
 My guess is that about 15 inches fell around here, but there is not flat surface on which to accurately measure.
It was such an enchanting day, that it took the sting of this foolishness away. 
There was snow to push. 
Lots of snow to move, so that trucks can move around in the yards. 
We also kept in mind that this snow will melt soon.
 Moving the snow away will help to minimize mud.
So, patiently and diligently, with just a bit of disbelief, we spent the day. 
Yes, everyone is ready to sweep Winter away. 
We are ready to find the road to Spring. 
So ready, in fact that the wind left us a snow sculpted butterfly in GriggsDakota.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

April Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up: Sugar Beet As A Cover Crop

The stereotype that farmers are backwards still exists in America. I hope that readers of GriggsDakota have learned this: Farming is a research driven business that feeds and clothes the world. Globally, it is the biggest business in the world. Farmers feed all the people, pets, and much of the wildlife. Fibers raised on farms are used by everybody, every single day. Farmers must constantly seek a better and more efficient way to produce food and fiber.
In order to stay up to date on the new farming practices, Farmer Fred likes to try new applications and products. Cover crops have become an important part of our practice to maintain soil health. We have used different plants as cover crops. This post talks about using sugar beets as a cover crop.
The April Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up is presented to:
Sugar Beets as A Cover Crop: Spring Update
Originally published on April 28, 2014

 Farmer Fred likes to get out and check the fields now that the trails can be driven. 
He recently checked the field on which we planted Sugar Beets as a Cover Crop. If you follow the link, you will see what we learned about this cover crop. We hoped that beets would mature enough to help to loosen the soil.
Late in the season, cattle grazed the field. You can see that in this wet spot,  salts have accumulated. Those salts, combined with accumulated moisture, make it difficult for this area to be productive during the growing season.
Deer also frequented the spot. You can see a fresh track on the trail in the above photo. 
It surprised Farmer Fred to see that the grazers did not disturb many of the beets in the ground. 
The beets above and countless others spent the winter in the ground. As the ground warms up, the sugar beets will deteriorate. That will leave a spot for air and water to permeate the soil.  
We will continue to watch this spot as the crop is planted and emerges. For now, the sugar beets do seem to have eliminated some of the moisture and salts in this soggy place in the field of GriggsDakota.

Monday, January 26, 2015

April Farmer Fred Award 2nd Runner-Up: Changing Season Confuses Whitetail

The photos in this post are my favorites from 2014. Other than deer on the edge of the ice looking for a drink of water, I have not seen this before. This deer was running with a herd. The others veered west as this lone ranger jumped over the cat tails and landed on the ice. By the time he landed and stopped, the deer was alone and wondering what had happened. 
The April Farmer Fred Award 2nd Runner-Up is presented to: 
 Changing Season Confuses Whitetail
Originally published on April 14, 2014
A whitetail deer in the middle of the lake is not a common sight. 
After trotting out to the middle with purpose, he paused to look back. 
He turned to look ahead. 
Then he heard, smelled, and saw what he was looking for. 
The young buck slowed as he approached the edge. 
The lakeshore was water. 
He had apparently leaped onto the ice without noticing that he was now on a floating platform. 
 What to do, what to do? 
When I saw birds, likely settled for the night, jump up, I realized he had friends on the shore. 
You can see them waiting on the right side of the above photo.
By the time our skater was on firm ground, his friends were running ahead, living their wild life in GriggsDakota.