Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Valiant March

Before we get started with today's blogpost, let me say that I have missed writing a daily blog post. After running the Farmer Fred Awards in January and February, I found I simply had nothing to share. I attempted, but I could not turn out posts worthy of GriggsDakota. Everything seemed redundant and disconnected. Perhaps I should have shared that with you at the time, but it sounded too dramatic and silly. 
During the past month I have added an updated operating system to my computer. Editing and uploading photos takes twice as long now as I struggle to find the avenues to accomplish each task. I plan to persevere and as the farm work begins this Spring, I hope to post at least a couple of times each week. Thank you for your continued support. I sincerely appreciate those who enjoy GriggsDakota.
March is a Winter month in GriggsDakota.  
The little precipitation we have had, falls as snowflakes. 
 It is what we expect as we march through the long Winter season on the northern plans.
 However, this March gave a valiant effort to rid us of the cold.  We experienced a few warm days mixed among the late winter freezes. 
When the ground has little snow cover, the air is much more likely to warm when the Southern winds blow. 
 As March leaves us this year, snow is hard to find. There is a little hiding in ditches.
There is some snow on the North side of tree rows.
The blackbirds are singing a song of Spring. It sounds like hope to me. 
 A few days of sunshine and Spring seems just around the corner.
 The fields will once again be planted and green.
This year, March has made a valiant effort to change the Winter into Spring in GriggsDakota.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Slow Down

 Every Monday we welcome our daughter Kirsti to blog from her home in Western North Dakota's oil patch.

You've perhaps heard that oil prices are effecting the American Oil Economy. You've heard correctly.

Production (extracting from existing wells) continues, but the drilling of new wells has slowed significantly. 

Once busy drilling rigs are now set in stack out yards for maintenance and storage. These rigs will be kept here until they're needed again. We don't know when that will be.
They're being erected--"rigged up" as they say around here. But not for drilling. At least not anytime soon.
Seeing all these dormant rigs placed next to one another is a bit eerie. You can't help but think of all the employees who are no longer calling North Dakota their home. An active drilling rig supports an average of 75 families--that doesn't include the families supported during the life of the well once drilling is completed.
It's the nature of the industry, ups and downs. When markets are strong you prepare for the rainy days. Much like farming, some times things just don't go as planned.

So yes, there is a slow down in western North Dakota. But much is still as it was. We get up each day, work diligently at the things we can control, and come home in the evening to hot meals and warm beds.  There is much to be thankful for. 

Until next week. -Kirsti

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring. For Now.

 Every Monday we welcome our daughter Kirsti to blog from her home in Western North Dakota's oil patch.

We experienced temperatures over 70 degrees this weekend. Unseasonably warm and very welcome. 

But according to our weather apps, it's not going to last. So we've been savoring it. Lots of walks, time at the parks, running around the yard. And as you can see in the video above, lots of smiles on the swings.

It's been a gift that we're so thankful to enjoy.

Have a great week! -Kirsti

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Monday, March 9, 2015

The Energy Adviser Gets a Tractor Ride

Every Monday we welcome our daughter Kirsti to blog from her home in Western North Dakota's oil patch.

Longtime readers will know my daughter as the Energy Adviser.
But you may not know that she has a keen interest in tractors of all shapes and sizes.
During our recent visit to the farm, she had one goal in mind: get in the tractor with Grandpa Fred.
Up she went.
The view from the buddy seat was pretty great.
Grandpa showed her around the cab.
A future farmer perhaps?
She has big boots to fill if that's the case.
The real fun started when Grandpa unbuckled her from the buddy seat and let her hold the wheel.
Then she began showing him a thing or two. You know what they say about kids and technology--they're quick learners.
We set out to make her day happier, but I think we all left the tractor with smiles that day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Time to make Starter Pots

March is a month of optimism. We have experienced more Winter days than we have left to face this season. Farmer Fred had been putting plans in place for the season ahead. With commodity prices down and margins narrow, penciling in a profit for the coming season is not something we can do without careful calculation. After disappointing season last year, this year is a nail biter. Every expense is being analyzed. Careful management will be key going forward.
With all of this on our minds, it is nice to have the garden to dream about. There are seeds in the porch, and it will soon be time to start them in little bits of earth. This gives the garden a head start and improves the possibility that it will yield produce before the frost returns next Fall.
My neighbor taught a group of us how to make these starter pots. 
It takes a can of the appropriate size, old newspaper and tape. A soup can works perfectly, larger or smaller can be your choice.
Use a single sheet. Farm papers work well in Griggs Dakota. 
Fold the sheet in half, bring the double edge up about 1/2 inch from the folded edge and crease the bottom. 
Fold down the half inch top down. 
Place the top on the can and roll. 
Tape the seam to form a cylinder. The  folded edge becomes the top of your pot.
Turn the can onto its top and fold the bottom in place. 
Tape to hold the bottom together. 
Remove the can.  
A starter pot. 
 The folded down top helps hold their shape even when wet. The pots seem to work just as well as peat pots and they are almost free. 
I water liberally to get the seeds to sprout and often cover with plastic while the seeds germinate. These pots will disintegrate in your garden, so you can set your plant in with the pot. No chance of disturbing tender roots.
Before you know it, the garden is started.
They are very easy to label with a Sharpie marker. 
Labeling is critical, unless you are an expert on plant identification. I like to label the pots with the variety and days to maturity. I label stakes in the garden, so that I know what to expect and how to pamper each plant.
I planted plenty to share with my family and friends. 
The concepts of gardening, from seeds to fruition, proved especially interesting to the Ag Analyst. 
She took many plants home and proudly showed me flowers and vegetables later in the Summer. 
From humble beginnings a garden can grow. It's time to get started making pots from newspapers. 
The garden provides beauty, nutrition, and much more in GriggsDakota.

Monday, March 2, 2015

March is here

Every Monday we welcome our daughter Kirsti to blog from her home in Western North Dakota's oil patch.

My calendar tells me it's March. New life will soon begin to bloom.
The view from my window though tells a different story. The world remains frozen in time.
So instead of looking outside, dwelling on what is and what isn't, I'm inside enjoying blooms from a far-away spring. I imagine the tulip farmer, wandering among her rows of buds, soaking up the warm spring air as she nears harvest. The farmer is enjoying her spring. 
  The sticker on my purchase tells me these are American-grown tulips. Maybe spring isn't so far away after all.

Have a great week. -Kirsti