Farming Day 1 Part 1

Today’s post comes from Ben.

Well not exactly day one. But the first day in the field doing spring work so it’s day one from that point of view. 

Spent the morning doing my usual stuff on the computer: emails, newspaper, moms banking, our banking. A few phone calls, etc. before I’m finally out the door mid-morning. 

I needed to take a couple of tires to get fixed and the one on the grain drill I already had loose. Also had a tire on the four wheeler with a slow leak and that’s easy to put a floor jack under the back end and use the impact wrench and four nuts and that comes right off.

Got both tires in the back of the truck, loaded up all three dogs, and headed for Millville Minnesota. We’ve been taking tires to Appel service in Millville for as long as I can remember. It’s about half an hour away and you won’t find a nicer, family owned business, anywhere. Millville is a town of about 180 people and so far down in the valley you can’t get any cell phone reception. There are a couple of bars, couple of restaurants, one Church, a cemetery where I have several relatives, a gun shop, and in a better year I would’ve dropped off the tires and then gone to get lunch at the Lucky Seven Café. 

When I got to Appels, most of the crew was at lunch so I said I’d come back. They are really good at fixing your tires while you wait but I may as well keep moving. Back up the road a few miles to pick up my Oat seed. It was such a nice day, pretty amazing weather for this time of the year, and we worry that it’s so dry; all the farmers are going hard. mostly applying anhydrous ammonia- Those white tanks you see in the fields. I probably saw a dozen farmers doing that. There was a couple guys ahead of me at Meyer’s Seeds and we stood outside and talked while Meyer’s rounded up seed and bring it out on the forklift. I petted some cats (The camera snap on the phone scared them away) and I got a nice metal ‘stick’ used for checking seed depth. Always wanted one of those.


After I got my 54 bags of oats, I strapped that down in the truck, and then back to Millville. As I pulled up, they were just taking the four-wheeler tire in and the drill tire was done. There’s something pretty interesting about watching a guy change tires. The machinery involved and just the whole process is really pretty fascinating. The guy ahead of me was watching his tires get fixed, I watched them fix my tire, while at the same time trying not to get in the way or look TOO interested. (It’s kinda loud and hard to talk or ask questions).

Just a tube needed in the four-wheeler tire. The grain drill tire is kind of special. It’s about 3 feet tall, and completely smooth except it has two heavy ridges on each edge. That way, going through the field, it makes a real clear mark that’s easy to follow on the next round of the field. I had ordered two tires: they had one in stock, the second hasn’t shown up yet. And that’s OK, this one was worse than the other. $262 for the tire. $13 labor to mount both. The only thing missing was the bottle of grape pop from the café. 

The dogs love riding in the truck. And they don’t miss a chance if they can help it. Although Humphrey lays in the back and looks completely uninterested but he does spend a little time looking out the windows. Bailey bounces back-and-forth between the front seat and the backseat and she spends half the trip with her nose in my face. Allie, the queen of them all will eventually setting in some place where the others don’t walk all over her at least for the moment.

Once we are back on our driveway, I let them all out to run home. About halfway down the driveway there was a squirrel about 75 yards away from the trees and making a beeline back to the trees. The dogs were a good 200 yards away. Missed it by “that“ much. 

Do you like car rides?

Got any stories about tires? 

45 thoughts on “Farming Day 1 Part 1”

  1. Husband just got new tires on his pick up. Wow, we’re they expensive! I like car rides. The route through TR National Park is nice. We haven’t done much driving since the pandemic.

    Today it is snowing and blowing and cold. We will take any precipitation we can get.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. The fellow on YouTube who calls himself The History Guy explains that cats are markers of civilization. You don’t get civilized society unless you have agriculture. Agriculture creates stockpiles of grain. Stockpiles of grain cause mouse populations to soar. Soaring mouse numbers cause people to get cats. It all fits together.

        Liked by 6 people

    1. You know, I thought about that. This is a very clean, well run, facility. There’s not any spilled grain.
      The main part is your typical small town elevator looking building. Big wood beams; I haven’t seen much of it, just the main hallway and the office on one side. There are several other modern buildings for storage.
      But there will always be mice.

      Years ago when I measured grain on the farms for the Department of Ag, there was farm that had one of these old elevator buildings. Really nice guy, but measuring those bins was a challenge. I had made drawings in order to keep track of the bins and the dimensions. All the bottoms were slanted of course. And once full I could only get width and length, and then we’d estimate depth. If one was empty I’d get measurements of that one and could sometimes cross reference one with another.
      Maybe the next visit, that empty one was filled and a different one was empty and I’d measure that.
      Other farms had the typical round metal bins, but so many I still needed a map to keep track of them.
      Fun to think about now. And how I’ll still claim I don’t like math. It was pretty simple math though; just figure the cubic footage, then multiply by some factor for shell corn. Another factor for soybeans or oats.
      Round bins of course involved pi, times the factor.
      Overall, the best thing I learned, was how to read the plat book and road names and getting lost and finding my way back.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    My parents were people who loved a car ride, especially on a Sunday afternoon during growing season when they would check out progress of the local corn, soybeans, oats, and hay fields. These rides were boring and made me carsick, especially because Dad would smoke his pipe and the smoke would drift backwards adding to the nausea. The best car rides were when we ended up at the home of friends with children for a visit and a snack and an unexpected playtime with someone else’s toys. Almost everyone had more toys than we had.

    Sometimes my aunt, uncle and family would join us in the huge cars that could seat 4 adults and 4-6 children. My uncle invariable left his eye glasses behind, and on several occasions their middle child, Gail, who fell asleep between my parents in the front seat. If the dogs accompanied us, they would stick their heads out a window and enjoy the breeze in their ears. We were a sight!

    Having just arrived back in MN after a long, 4 day ride that included a visit to my mother, I am not in the mood for another for awhile. I will drive back to Iowa to visit my mother again. Over the weekend, her legs became weak which indicates a need for a more intense nursing facility. She seems to be failing more rapidly now, sadly. But she is 92 years old. I just wish this would happen more easily for her because she had such a difficult life, and I want something to come easily. But no.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I forgot to mention that down the street in front of a neighborhood house is a large car with a flat tire sitting there for a week, now. The car is sloping noticeably to the passenger side. I do not know why they are not repairing the tire and moving the car. It is getting a lot of attention lately.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Oh yes, taking a drive to look at the crops. Those were fun when I was little. My dad smoked cigars, but didn’t when I was in the car with him.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I too remember the Sunday ‘after church’ drives. I remember going to Country Kitchen for lunch and getting the wooden tokens. And then cashing them in for a prize when I had enough.
      I remember being small enough to lay in the flat spot in the back window too. I can’t even imagine that now!
      I am 8 years younger than my brother and I don’t remember him being along for the rides so at least I didn’t have to fight with him in the car.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. ..oops. Pressed “post” when I meant to do something else…

      Like Jacque, I am also back from a recent sojourn through Iowa, though mine was a shorter trip. Spent a few days last week visiting colleges with Darling Daughter (I think I mentioned this over the weekend). Iowa fields before things start to grow make for some dull driving scenery. Took the slightly longer route from Mt. Vernon to Wabasha that let me follow the river north. Got turned around in a small town where I lost cell service (and GPS) right about when I needed to make a set of turns… ish. It looked like I should drive through that town and pick up another highway, but since I lost the “turn here” options, I went back to the road I had been on, went a bit north, found cell service again, and carried on – I missed a bit of river, but only by the distance between one smallish town and the next. Once I found the river, I felt much more at home – growing up near the Mississippi and with lakes near me in almost every direction, I feel much more at home when I am near some body of water.

      Tires, well, I have four that need to go back on Car #1 – I invested for the first time in forever in real snow tires for the car. The “all weather” tires that come on an all-electric car are really designed for good mileage and not for gripping the road, so pretty useless in snow. Maybe just maybe we are far enough into April that I can swap out those snow tires for the regular ones (and gain back the extra mileage per charge).

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Under similar driving conditions, the difference is about 30 miles of range on a full charge (so a difference of 120 vs close to 150 miles total on a full charge).

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Enjoying the photos, Ben, esp. the dogs. I love seeing a dog enjoying the window seat of a vehicle.

        I love car rides; we’ve taken several around here since beginning of Covid – along the ridges between valleys here are esp. beautiful. I would love to take a real road trip – heck, I’d even like to drive to Twin Cities! I may get to travel to Iowa end of May, when my sister comes in for a memorial we are planning for my mom in Marshalltown.

        Thinking of a tire story.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. My childhood featured almost no car trips. My folks were heavily into home remodeling. When other families were going to the Fair or visiting relatives, my parents were whacking down walls or putting up wallpaper. Maybe once a year we visited grandparents, and each June we made a pilgrimage to Park Rapids, Minnesota, for a summer vacation. The cars we owned back then were not a place you would want to spend time.

    As an adult with my own family, I totally reversed the pattern. We spent almost no time at home, preferring to be at our cabin or on a trip to catch trout or chase pheasants. With better roads, better cars and better destinations, car trips became joyful.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. My family took several long car trips to visit relatives. First to Seattle in ’58, the Schenectady NY area in ’60, Seattle again in ’62 (World’s Fair also), and Maine in ’68. Dad’s preferred way to travel was to get to the destination as quickly as possible. So we left very early in the AM, stopped at Howard Johnson motels (swimming pool) around 4P, have a quick swim, early supper, and to bed early. Up again at the crack of dawn to start all over. We did make stops at places like the Badlands, Yellowstone, and Glacier. But for other less famous attractions, they were just pointed out to us as we flew by in the car. With three kids in the back seat and only two windows, there were skirmishes and arguments. Like Ben, I was small enough to lay in the back window and often ended up there – obviously no seat belts. I can’t say that the car trips were fun but we did enjoy our destinations. I don’t mind driving and have taken some long trips (NW Arkansas, southern Missouri, Billings MT) by myself. But I must have some of Dad in me because I make as few stops as humanly possible in my quest to reach the destination as soon as possible. If I am on a car trip with others, I am in much less of a hurry and am certainly willing to make stops along the way.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Thanks, Ben, for both the tire story and the photos, I enjoy them both very much. I think Bailey loves you.

    My family didn’t have a car when I was growing up, so road trips were bicycle affairs. We’d always be prepared to fix a punctured tire as they seemed to par for just about any longer trip on country roads. Oddly enough, I don’t recall ever having a flat on my daily 9 mile commute to work, possibly because the entire route was a designated bike path.

    I’ve already told you my tire stories, so I’ll spare you a repeat.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. My family took several long car trips when I was growing up—to Florida and to California with a neighbor couple and their son, who was younger than me—and to Wyoming and up into Canada. The Florida trip was pre-Civil Rights and I remember the “Whites Only” designations on rest rooms and water fountains. We travelled in a station wagon with the kids ensconced in the far back, unbelted of course, and reclining amidst a sea of comic books.
    Typically, our daily mileage was between 400 and 500 miles, so it took awhile to get anywhere but was sort of leisurely.
    Early on, Robin and I established a more ambitious daily mileage on our car trips. At the end of our honeymoon, which we spent in Estes Park, Colorado, we started for home from Fort Collins and ended up driving all the way to her parents’ house in Northfield. On another trip we drove to Denver before calling it a day (because who wants to stop in Nebraska?)

    When my daughter was going to school in Wooster, Ohio, I got so familiar with the route that I would notice when somebody along the way had painted their house. Usually we would just drive to Toledo and then finish up the next morning but occasionally we would drive all the way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, we often tried the trip from central Iowa to Greeley, CO in one day when we were headed out to my dad’s summer school, but once in a while we’d stop overnight in Kearney, NE, or Oglalla. I think they have that Amtrak route done right – going west, you get on in Omaha at 10 p.m. and sleep, wake up in Eastern Colorado.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I never enjoyed those trips to Chicago to visit son at college. Too much traffic. My favorite trip there, I left RST at 3AM because he had to be out of apartment at noon. Very little traffic and a sunrise to boot.

      We drove to Laurel MS in 2012 and that was a nice trip because it was good roads and little traffic. It’s a mixed feeling of ‘just get there’ versus stopping along the way. I hate to pass by a historical marker.
      Coming home feels more like ‘just get there’. But I’ve made some detours along the way that were pretty nice. The largest frying pan in Brandon Iowa, the civil war battle site of Athens MO, The Field of Dreams…
      One day Kelly and I went to all five parks in Fairmont MN.
      We haven’t had too many ‘vacations’ where we could just take our time and drive; usually we have limited days and we’re on a schedule at least getting there and back.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. My most memorable car trip was when I drove from the Twin Cities to Portland in 2014. My sister rode shotgun. Google says that’s a trip of over 1700 miles, 26 hours of driving. I did it in two days, stopping to sleep one night in Montana. Needless to say, we didn’t dawdle in tourist traps.

    The most fun trip was in 1991. Our family went through Montana and Idaho and out to Seattle. After visiting family in Oregon, we nipped south to San Francisco, then spent a day and night in Yellowstone. Then we returned home via the Badlands. Many great memories.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I can’t say I’m crazy about car rides, although I’ve done plenty of them in my life. I don’t like driving all that much. When I do a big trip that involves driving, I don’t like to drive for 9 or 10 hours a day. I was well trained by my folks to drive some and then relax some. And YA and I like to stop a lot at roadside attractions or museums or farm stands, you name it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. My first road trip in the US was from Greenport, Long Island to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Our vehicle was a 63 VW beatle, loaded to the gills with wedding presents, including a potted miniature orange tree, wedged between my feet the entire trip.

    We drove on I-80 all the way, wasband at the wheel since I didn’t know how to drive or have a license. At night we stayed at roadside Howard Johnson’s pretty much everywhere. I remember one motel room had a bed with a massage function. We made the mistake of putting a quarter in it, and it proceeded to shake us for what seemed like an eternity. Not a pleasant or relaxing experience.

    I remember very few details about the trip, but I do recall driving through a town in Pensylvania with a large statue of a horse off to the side of the road. Some local prankster had tied the head of a floor mop to the horse’s penis, and I made the mistake of laughing when I saw it. This became the cause of a huge argument as wasband took that as a sign that he had married a sex maniac.

    By the time we reached Nebraska, the honeymoon was over and I was pretty dispirited. What the heck had I gotten myself into, and where the hell where we going? The Nebraska landscape that I-80 goes through is pretty desolate, there seemed to be nothing but railroad tracks and dusty tumbleweed the farther into the state we got. At one point we stopped for gas in the middle of nowhere. I remained seated in the car while wasband used the facilities. When the guy cleaning the windows spotted the orange tree between my feet, he motioned to his buddies who were hanging out inside the station to come take a look. Pretty soon I was surrounded by four or five teenage boys wanting to see the orange tree, much to the displeasure of wasband when he returned.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. OT – Just as husband and I were sitting down to eat dinner, a wild turkey took a leisurely stroll through our neighbor’s yard, heading toward the back alley. Pretty soon he apparently had decided that there was nothing for him back there, and came strolling back. He crossed the street and continued down the street on the opposite sidewalk. What a thrill to see such a big, wild bird from a front row seat inside our own house.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I know, that’s why I was appreciative of our being able to enjoy him from a safe distance. Those of you who have been to my house know that I’m not exactly in a rural setting.

        Liked by 1 person

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