Another Spring Planting in the Books

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

It went pretty well; no serious mechanical issues and, once I finally got going, wasn’t delayed by the weather for more than a day or two.

I planted oats on May 6 and 7th. Then it rained for a few days but that’s OK because I was dealing with commencement at the college anyway.

Then I did anhydrous fertilizer on the 17th. Had college events the 18th and 19th. Started to plant corn on the 20th and finished on the 23rd. (Well, really the 24th, but the field I planted on the 24th is at the neighbors and it’s for the deer so it doesn’t really count).

Started soybeans on the 24th, did get rained out for a day and finished on the 28th. Now all that’s left is cleaning up machinery and putting it away until next spring.

There was the one incident with the valve on an anhydrous tank but it was pretty minor. Spilled really very little. No one was in danger and no property was harmed.

There were 3 fire trucks, our local ‘CAT’ (Chemical Assessment Team) the Incident Command Vehicle, two sheriff deputies, Gold Cross Ambulance, The “Incident Commander” and his car, a call to the State Department of Agriculture, another call to the state Duty Officer, a visit from the local anhydrous dealer, six fully clad firemen, and, a few days later, an inspector from the State Department of Agriculture.

Everyone was very nice and very professional and the firemen gave me a Gatorade when it was over.

But really. It was just a little vapor from a valve that hadn’t sealed.

And no breeze so I couldn’t manage to get ‘up wind’ and just enough leakage that I wasn’t comfortable trying to get back up there and try to tighten the valve myself.

I thought if I could just get 1 guy with a respirator, they could close the valve tighter. It wasn’t supposed to turn into a big deal.

But anhydrous is dangerous and can’t be taken lightly. Just today I talked with a guy whose brother got a burst of anhydrous and inhaled just a little. He’s got a couple small, minor burns (freeze burns) and was hospitalized for a couple days because of issues with his throat from inhaling that bit. He’s lucky too.

I pushed my luck a couple times this year. And I wasn’t even trying! But that’s a story for another day.

 Had any experience with the fire department?

44 thoughts on “Another Spring Planting in the Books”

  1. congrats on getting it done
    i hear it’s late planting this year so you can hope for rain and moderate temps and good vibes from the crop gods
    why anhydrous rather than granular 19-19-19?

    my fire department stories are pretty tame. i was in portland oregon at one of the older hotels downtown and woke up one morning and after shower and tooth brush pulled on my clothes and as i was getting set to head to breakfast i heard the siren on the fire truck. i looked out the window and saw it pull up and stop on the street below i looked down and one of the fireman hung out the window of the truck and pointed up at the building. he looked to be pointing directly at me. that was a little unnerving. i waited and watched and a group of fireman gathered along side the truck and they all pointed at the window i was looking out of. i decided they knew something i didn’t and headed for the door. when i opened it it smelled like fire and smoke was in the hall, there were 20 people waiting for the elevator (we were on the 22nd floor) i had my briefcase and found the stairway and yelled to the people who were waiting that it wasn’t a good idea to take the elevator in a fire. walking down stairs isn’t too bad. going ipc22 stories would have been hard but down was easy. i went to the coffee shop on 1st floor, had breakfast and the in to my trade show. i found out that night a lady one floor above me had started her curtains on fire with a little coffee pot that had short circuited and filled the 23rd floor with smoke
    that was it
    i love portland and i love old hotels but the fire truck out the window i can live without.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. tim, the anhydrous (nitrogen) is a long term benefit to the corn.
      I do use granular ‘starter’ fertilizer of 9-23-30 in the planter. Most corn farmers now are using liquid starter, but it’s hard to get enough nitrogen (as needed in the ration) in liquid form so they spread urea or some other form of nitrogen in addition to the liquid starter.
      And some farmers think the corn needs the extra after it’s about a foot tall so they ‘Side dress’ with anhydrous at that point.


  2. Morning all! I feel lucky to be able to say that the only fire department experience I have is when the fire truck comes to lead our neighborhood Fourth of July parade every year!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve written before about my embarrassment when my propane bbq set itself on fire. A call to he fire department resulted in four VERY large men rushing into the backyard with protective yellow suits, one of them waving a huge battle axe. We were embarrassed, but the firefighters kindly said the fire could have turned our propane tank into a “bomb” that would have leveled the house. They seemingly sensed our awkwardness. Calling the fire department is not a Midwestern sort of thing. The guy with the axe used it to pry up the lid on the bbq. “Your turkey’s coming along real good, Maam,” he said.

    It was a lot like what happened to my mom. She was running her dishwasher when smoke began to curl out of it. She shut it off, opened the windows and called the fire department, asking them to send just one man to check on things. “Lady,” the fire department dispatcher said in a John Wayne sort of voice, “we only come ONE WAY.” That resulted in two fire trucks with sirens and spinning lights and more firefighters than my mom could count. She turned the dishwasher back on to get a bit more smoke in the room, but the darned thing wouldn’t burn again.

    I’m glad you’re healthy, Ben!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. No. Well. When we lived in a town home the other half of our house was owned by a couple who was a fireman 8 blocks away. Regularly their son and a few firemen would drop by on a big fire truck to visit. They would leave the truck idling in front of our door. Took some getting used to. But a well tuned engine turning over sweetly and slowly is a lovely sound.
    Maybe in heaven I will do a few days of field work every year because in heaven there well be no breakdowns, no red clay soil, no valve leaks, no worry about weather. Only watching the field behind the plow turn to slow dark rows.
    My mother’s family name is Wetter. Why would a family be named Weather? Maybe farmers.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Me. too. I knew it wasn’t slow dark rows. But I could not come up with straight. I tried singing it in my head but even in my head my singing is too painful to listen to.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. What a morning on our patio. Early fog hanging over the field of 6 inch corn. Then sun burned off the fog. Cool morning with light breezes, refreshing after the rain, before it climbs into the mid eighties. I think this is south central MN.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. My mother once noticed that our house was really hot inside and there was a hot, burning smell. It was in the late summer, I think. She phoned the fire department. Then she noticed that when she was dusting she had dusted the thermostat and turned on the furnace. The hot smell was dust in the furnace that hadn’t been used all summer. The fire department arrived and we told them to go home.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When about 14, I came home from ice skating one afternoon to find a Firetruck in our driveway, which IS unsettling. No major damage – dad had shoveled supposedly dead ashes from our basement fireplace the day before into a cardboard box. They had taken their sweet time, but eventually started a little blaze in the corner of the basement. Luckily folks were home, smelled something and had thrown enough water on it to extinguish it before the firemen got there. As Ma Ingalls would say, “All’s well that ends well.”

    I may have provided the link to the Norwegian Firetruck story before here, but it’s the best danged Norwegian joke I know, so here’s the whole thing:

    One dark night outside a small town in Minnesota, a fire started inside
    the local chemical plant and in a blink it exploded into massive flames.

    The alarm went out to all the fire departments from miles around. When
    the volunteer fire fighters appeared on the scene, the chemical company
    president rushed to the fire chief and said, “All of our secret formulas
    are in the vault in the center of the plant. They must be saved and I
    will give $50,000 to the fire department that brings them out intact.”

    But the roaring flames held the firefighters off. Soon more fire
    departments had to be called in as the situation became desperate.
    As the firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer was now
    $100,000 to the fire department who could bring out the company’s secret files.

    From the distance, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came
    into sight. It was the nearby Norwegian rural township volunteer fire
    company composed mainly of Norwegians over the age of 65. To everyone’s
    amazement, the little run-down fire engine, operated by these
    Norwegians, passed all the newer sleek engines parked outside the
    plant…..and drove straight into the middle of the inferno.

    Outside the other firemen watched as the Norwegian old timers jumped off
    and began to fight the fire with a performance and effort never seen
    before. Within a short time, the Norsk old timers had extinguished the
    fire and saved the secret formulas.

    The grateful chemical company president joyfully announced that for such
    a superhuman feat he was upping the reward to $200,000, and walked over
    to personally thank each of the brave, though elderly, Norsk fire fighters.
    The local TV news reporters rushed in after capturing the event on film
    asking, “What are you going to do with all that money?”

    “Vell,” said Ole Larsen, the 70-year-old fire chief, “da furst thing ve
    do is fix da brakes on dat focking truck!”

    [found at

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I once before mentioned the firefighting program of Cornucopia, Wisconsin, the tiny town to the east of my cabin. They have a volunteer fire department. The problem with that is the volunteers are all responsible men. Being responsible men, in the day they are scattered all over Bayfield County doing whatever it is they do to make a living. So most fires are fought by resorting to Plan B. Plan B is (quite literally) to “empty the bars.” There is always a considerable available workforce in a small Wisconsin town, a bunch of men who don’t really have much to do besides lifting beers. The only fire fought in the years we owned the cabin was done by emptying the bars.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. During rehearsal for a band concert, one of the students fell off the back of the choir riser. It’s not high, but we weren’t sure if she hit her head and decided “better safe than sorry” and called 911.
      Another instructor went out to alert the responding personnel where we were and the closest door to the stage and the injured party.
      A fire truck was the first to arrive; rushed past our man standing on the corner waving, yelled at him to get out of the way, and went to the main door which is where they are instructed to go apparently.
      And from there, made their way back to our man and the student.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I was at a theater conference and all the hazers and foggers on the show floor set off the smoke alarms. In the middle of the lighting designers presentation of the Chinese olympic opening ceremony, the PA went off telling us to leave the building.
    We all stood outside while the firemen went in and walked around.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In its early years, the Guthrie Theater was infamous for heavy use of smoke and fog machines. I went to a matinee performance once with my erstwife’s family. Smoke began filling the stage and people were yelling “Fire, fire!” The audience just sat there waiting for the play to resume and we sat there a long time before someone figured out it was a real fire.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. My granddaughter I have told you is dedicated to FFA. She plans to go to Crookston, majoring is some aspect of agribusiness or science. She knows little of farming. Her best friend, a petite sweet little girl lives on a farm with feeder cattle and many many acres of grain. And HORSES. OH, My Heavens HORSES. The girl’s father hired Lily, who is rather short and very feminine herself, and the girl to pick rocks. Her farm child father and I thought “good.” She needs to see the nitty gritty dirty aspects of farming. She handles it just fine.They did so well that four other farmers have hired them. School ends today. They go at it full time tomorrow.
    She has always been very resilient and willing.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Years ago, here in Rochester, January, just after a cold spell and I was working at the Rep Theater. I hear a bell ringing. Finally found it outside and it’s a fire alarm bell. Well there was no fire… I was just in there… but I can’t get into the basement. So I call the RFD. They tell me it’s probably a frozen sprinkler head that has thawed now and that’s why the alarm is going off.
    I call the landlord who was in the office building next door. He’s busy but I tell his secretary what’s going on and that he may want to come over. The fire department arrives and we’re standing in the alley looking at the locked door to the basement and the chief says, to the fireman with the huge battle axe, “Crack it.”
    I see the landlord coming up the street and I tell them “He’s right there!”. The fireman pauses, the chief hesitates and eyes the landlord 100′ away, and says “Crack it”.
    (When I tell my brother-in-law and nephew, who are both fireman about this, they laugh and say Yep, they know that guy.)
    A sprinkler repair man is called and he gets it all fixed.

    Here’s the rest of the story:
    I go home and do chores and milk and rush back to the theater for a show.
    And the sprinkler repair mans truck is still in the parking lot. That’s weird.
    No one in the theater has seen him. I’m a little worried and I go out and look in his truck. And now he’s there with his wife.
    Seems after fixing the sprinkler he went to the bar next door. And had several. And now his wife is trying to get him home and she is not happy. But that’s not my circus.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. When our workshop burned on the farm, the vol. FD arrived rather later and squelched the rest of the fire. Two walls were left standing, several metal tools were place in as was the work bench. The fire chief, one of those small town self-important potentates, ordered the chimney standing tall and safe in place in the middle of the building to be pushed down. My father told him not to. He said it was unsafe and had to come down, so he and two unwilling men pushed it down and damaged the work bench and smashed a big vice and flattened the metal stove. Then he was going to push down the two remaining walls. My father pulled out his deputy sheriff badge and threatened to arrest him. He left. The rest of the crew laughed and laughed and laughed.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. As you might imagine, having worked fourteen years at an alternative school, I’ve dealt with a fair amount of firefighters and firetrucks over the years. Thankfully, never because of a fire or other emergency, but because some random student thought that pulling the fire alarm might liven up the day some.

    When that would happen, of course, I’d have to locate the alarm that had been triggered and determine whether or not there was a fire, just in case, and by then the fire department would already have dispatched a couple of firetrucks. It was usually a safe bet that the alarm that had been triggered was in the vicinity of one of the boys’ bathrooms. These false alarms were always treated as fire drills, and counted toward the mandatory drills we were required to have, the only difference being that I couldn’t call the fire department in advance and tell them that a drill was about to take place, and to please ignore the alarm. Did I mention that I’m happy to be retired?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This is another story I told before, but the fit with the question is too good. My daughter got a summer job as a teacher in a daycare school. She read the job description in her contract. It said one of her duties was supervising fire drills. She talked to her supervisor, Anne. Anne said, “We NEVER run fire drills. That would terrify the kids.” My daughter disagreed. “If the kids do drills they will know what to do and it won’t terrify them.” But Anne was adamant.

    Then Anne left at noon as she did every day to grab a Burger King lunch. The other teachers, all of whom wanted a drill, said Anne would be gone for an hour. Having told the kids what to do in case there was a drill, my daughter tripped the fire alarm. Bells rang, but the kids happily formed lines and filed out of the building.

    My daughter did not know the school’s fire alarm was wired to the local fire station. While the kids were still outside a fire truck came rushing up with its sirens blaring and lights going. Big guys piled off and rushed the building,.

    Meanwhile, at Burger King Anne got a robocall from the fire department. The message was short: “Your building is on fire.” Anne drove to the school on howling tires, getting there right after the fire department. She jumped out of her car roaring “Holy shit!” Half an hour later my daughter drove home, having been fired.

    What happened next surprised me. My daughter called Anne that evening proposing to tell the school’s board of governors about the failure to have fire drills. Anne decided she didn’t want to have a meeting of the board to discuss that, so she hired my daughter back.

    After that drills did become regular. None were nearly as fun for the kids as that first one featuring fire trucks, huge guys in exotic gear and a swearing supervisor. That was the best day of school they ever had.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Today the fire dept. comes with trucks and full regalia and holds drills.
      Some schools used to have red phones that when you picked them up called everyone–police, fire, sheriff, dept of ed. Once a character of an el. principal asked what it was. They answered. He scoffed and lifted the hand piece. He thought he was being put on.


  13. Earlier today WP was not allowing me on, and by the time I sent the “Test” post, I was out of time to write anything. Seems to be one of those kinds of days.

    Fortunately, I have little experience with the fire department. But our neighbor down the street is a fireman, soon to retire. He also has an antique fire truck I have ridden in. That’s my entire story.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Not much experience with fire trucks (thankfully), but here’s a story about a fire drill in high school.

    I was in science class – had just got the old bunsen burner going when the fire alarm went off. Turned off the bunsen burner, filed outdoors (no hardship there, if memory serves me correctly, it was a beautiful spring day), and waited for the all-clear. Went back in, fired up the bunsen burner again…another fire alarm went off. Turned off the bunsen burner, went outdoors, came back in. Got ready to turn on the bunsen burner again – but never got to it. Another fire alarm! Went outside, came back in. I can’t remember if I had turned on the bunsen burner again when the PA system came on. “Ding, Ding, Ding! Congratulations! You just set a new record for evacuating the building during a fire drill! You did it in only 45 seconds!” None of us was very impressed with ourselves.

    I probably don’t remember the record time correctly and I’m pretty sure that the reason we set a record was because quite a few kids hadn’t come back inside yet after the second fire drill and the rest of us had barely made it back to our classroom. True story.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Back when Kelly I and were still dating, I came home one winter night, The roads were a little icy and in my rear view mirror there are flashing lights way back and they’re Not going any faster than I was and they never got any closer.
    Getting close to our farm, I see more flashing lights. The neighbors house had burned down. They think the water heater had exploded. No one was hurt. But it was the beginning of the end for that farmstead.
    30 years later the last of the buildings were razed and trees cleared and you’d never know there was a farm there. Kinda sad.

    That farmstead in the meantime became an ‘attractive nuisance’ and scrappers would get in there looking for metal.
    Romantic couples would try it. Party kids looking for an out-of-the way space would find it.
    And sadly, a few years ago, some teenage kid, trying to steal copper wire, climbed the electric pole, hit a live wire and was killed.
    His buddy on the ground; called 911, threw the phone in the car and ran off.
    At our house, I see two sheriff deputies come down and assume its just the township deputy stopping to say hello.
    As I’m casually getting my shoes on, they’re running toward the house and we’re both kinda surprised. I don’t know anything about someone not breathing and they don’t know where to go from there. All they knew was 40th Ave.
    It was late summer and the grass was so tall, even when deputies started looking around that farm, it took them 45 minutes to find where the victim was lying, hidden, in the grass.
    Too sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, Ben, something that you don’t soon forget. High price to pay for trying to steal some copper wire.


  16. If you count paramedics, who are part of the fd here, sandy is well acquainted with them. They must have a rule you have to be handsome to be one. You call an ambulance here you get the ambulance, the fd, and search and rescue. Seems overkill, maybe I should not say overkill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cottonwood cotton is one of my allergens so I am NOT happy to see it….looks like it is snowing out with the wind today.


  17. Each year the school where I worked hosted an elaborate Dia de los Muertos celebration. Colorful ofrendras – created by students – decorated
    with sugar skulls, skeletons, photos of beloveds, fresh marigold flowers, and candles were set up all over the cafeteria. Plates of food, packs of cigarettes, rosaries and other items that the dearly departed might need or want were also on display on the altars. The festivities culminated with an overnight vigil at the school to which community members were invited.

    Despite strict rules that candles were not to be lit, one year I received a call from the company that monitored our alarm system around two in the morning. When I arrived at the school a few minutes later, I found the two staff members who were there to supervise the whole affair standing outside smoking cigarettes. They assured me that everything was fine as I rushed past them. Inside, the cafeteria was in a dimly-lit, smokey haze, with a smattering of students and a few community members who were pretty much ignoring the screeching alarm. Smoke from candles that had been allowed to burn out and from massive amounts of incense smoldering away on the various ofrendas had triggered the alarm. By the time I had evacuated the building, and silenced the alarm, the fire department had arrived. That put the kibosh on the remainder of that year’s celebration. It also resulted in a special visit, a few days later, from the fire inspector.

    Did I mention that I’m glad to be retired? Don’t know how I lasted that long working around a bunch of people who flouted every rule in the book quite regularly.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. My neighbor to the east called the fire department one day a couple of years ago because their boiler was making odd noises. She herded the kids and dogs out into the yard and called from there. There wasn’t anything major wrong with the boiler, but the kids got the grand tour of the fire truck and thought it was great fun.

    Liked by 3 people

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