Farming In August

Today’s post comes from Ben.

Actually, hasn’t been much farming the last few weeks…

I’m back at “work” work now, and I lit another show, and we moved my mom to long term care.

Here’s a theater space I was working in and the genie lift that’s my best friend because it means no ladders!

And the view from up there.

With the lights.

And the lighting console in the loft.

And some of the finished product. The colored lights? That’s what I did.   

It’s a show called ‘Head Over Heels’, music of the GoGo’s (which apparently I only know two songs.

Mom is 95 and has just kinda lost her self confidence in the last few months. There’s been a few falls (nothing serious) and I think she kinda likes it when the firemen come to help pick her up. And I’m lucky I have siblings here and everyone is chipping in to pack and deal with things.
Moving to a long-term care apartment was her idea so that makes it a bit easier; we were over there more and more and balancing the cost of more Visiting Angels or Assisted Living or LTC, she decided this was the thing to do. I can’t say enough good things about VA; they’ve been great.

She was already in a Senior place so we’re lucky that she’s just moving into another section and not across town or anything.

There is a large metal bin down by the barn that holds corn which I use for the chickens and ducks. I opened the top lid one day to climb up and check how much was left inside, and then forgot about it and left the top open for two weeks and that’s when we got 3” of rain. Oh fer….

I spent an hour one morning taking an access cover off the bottom and digging out about 30 gallons of wet, stinky, moldy, rotten corn. I’ll try not to forget to close that again. Thank Goodness it’s almost empty. I’ll be ordering 100 bushels of cracked corn to refill in the next few weeks.

They say August is bean month. Beans have pods, but how big they’re going to get depends on the weather in August.

I was just reading about how corn develops and how the yields are determined by the weather. It takes roughly 90,000 average kernels to make a bushel (56 pounds for corn, remember?). The guys who are winning the yield contests can get that down to 65,000 kernels (bigger, heavier kernels). Final yield started with how many plants emerged back in April. The girth of the ear was determined at the 5-leaf stage; If the plant was happy and it had all the right nutrients and moisture, it can have 20 kernels around. 12-14 is average so any more than that means everything was going right at that point. Now the kernels are there and it depends on the weather as to how much they fill and what the test weight will ultimately be. If it gets stressed now, it won’t develop fully to the tip as the plant sacrifices them to fill the bottom. A lot had to happen already, but the weather this month can still make or break a crop. It’s pretty fascinating.

The ducks have moved outside and now it’s all muddy out there (I swear; everything is wet when you have ducks).

Here’s some ducks!

Any Questions?

Boil or microwave your sweetcorn? Who’s done mud wrestling?

124 thoughts on “Farming In August”

  1. Morning all.

    If the corn is on the cob, grilling. Occasionally boiling. Off the cob then stovetop. Not too often in the microwave because I don’t like having to clean up after the kernels explode.

    Can I count wrestling to dig out a tree stump? It was definitely muddy!

    YA wants to go to Stillwater today because she is craving fudge. Apparently Trembleys is the only acceptable solution!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t think about specifying on the cob or off the cob; good catch!
      I love corn on the cob and look forward too it all winter and spring. Freezing corn is something my sister and I do together. And I remember doing it with mom and dad at home. Many years we prograstinate until it’s almost too late and I get the last of the corn. Some years I miss it completely. This year, THIS YEAR, we’ve vowed to do it sooner. We’ll see…

      I do corn on the cob in the microwave because it’s been hot in the house already, I don’t need a pot of boiling water on the stove. Peel off a few of the outside husks, wrap it in wet paper towels, cook one ear 2:30 on power level 8. Two ears might take 5:30 …

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My mother fought to the end. She would not leave her flat up two flights of stairs. She ended up sitting down for a rest part way up. She fell down them and broke her hand, and while she was in hospital, Chris said, we need to get her another place, and move all her stuff. When she comes back she’ll have no choice. We didn’t do that. Apart from the other considerations, we had no business looking at all her stuff( not that there were any secrets). Must take that up with Chris one day. Maybe I’ll just pull up with a van, and say Right, you’re moving today. See what she thinks of that!
    Anyway, at 89,Mum got a ground floor flat across the road. We shifted her over there, and she lived two weeks longer. She’d been out and about, running the town, every day. But I knew it was coming. And I knew I’d have unresolved guilt over her, which I still have.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Not a question, Ben, but your posts constantly remind me of how my life used to be affected by the weather. Not only on farms, but at the various times I’ve depended on gardening or maybe building work.
    Here in Spain now, retired, Jane is forever telling me, “It’s going to be very hot.” “There are going to be rainstorms, or thunder.” She says it purposefully, meaningfully, with appropriate piercing looks, as if to say, “So you’d better hurry up and get such and such done, before then.” I tend to answer, “Uh huh.” My life doesn’t depend on it, who cares? I don’t, I’ll just stay inside.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Yes, you’re right, actually.
          When a young, irresistible force,( Such as her)
          Meets an old, immovable object, (Such as me)
          Something’s got to give, etc.
          I just know you can all name that film.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. another good installment of as the farmer turns ben thanks
    i hope your beans get the august they need
    glad your moms transition is smooth. i hope she is able to make it work. my mom is 92 and still on her own in a senior co op that she loves but i should make plans for her needing the next step too.
    what do you do with ducks? collect eggs? let the go or do you clip their wings? do you eat them at some point ?

    i am a boiled corn guy 6-8 minutes with sugar in the water. only twice so far this summer. been too busy but with this reminder i will get it in 3 or 4 more times. my spot to get it from the morning harvest is gone so i’ll have to find another
    mud wrestling …. i like to watch

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The ducks are just for fun. They don’t lay as many eggs and the chickens and I don’t find them as often. But when they do, I have a few customers who love the duck eggs.
      I did order some mallards in this batch, and they may leave come fall (I wonder if they’ll be big enough or will leave later? Or maybe not till next year). The other breeds can’t fly… they’re just fun to have around.
      I had mallards a few years ago and they would return in the spring. It’s fun to see them make a circle around the farm and land.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Boiled for me. Raw for the budgies.
    After reading through the Wiki synopsis of the play, I can see some useful Go Go songs to help move the story forward but what a complicated tale is told!
    Ben has the beans. He’s got the beans. He’s got the beans! Ya! He’s got the beans!
    Now Ben needs and takes a Vacation. To where?
    Our Lips Are Sealed.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I microwave corn because I am too impatient for the pot to boil.

    I used to get pretty muddy and dirty running around with my cousins on their various farms. My mother didn’t think it was very lady like.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, our most fun game was ambushing and tackling eachother in the ditches in the dark, I suppose she had a point. Mud and grass stains combined.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “That one with the poof is smarter than the other ones with a poof.” Usually said when trying to lock them up at night.
          Tonight, they were in the inside pen on their own; we’ve had to force them in there for the last week. And curiously, they didn’t want to come out this morning, I had to push them out. Weird.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I will take my corn cooked by any method. Forgotten in this, is the oven roasting method in which you put it on a cookie sheet and roast in a 350 oven. We just had Charred Corn Salad last week which was as good ever (I think it is in the Baboon Cook Book).

    In my college days the marching band had a giant “mud wrestling” event that started with a tug of war game. There was no win or lose, just fun. We were all covered from head to toe in mud. No band instruments were involved in this. On the same day we had a softball game in which a trumpet player in shortstop position was nailed in the crotch by the softball when he got in the way of a line drive double. He fell to the ground in the most rapid response, ever, poor guy. I have forgotten his name, but I have not forgotten that fall to the ground.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. One of the things you learn by hunting pheasants is that mud is a simple word for something that comes in many varieties. Sometimes walking through mud is as easy as walking on a sidewalk, but if mud has a certain amount of clay in it your feet get bigger and heavier with each step you take until walking becomes agonizing. Apparently the soil around my old home town, Ames, has a lot of clay. Just try to walk when you have massive mounds of clay around both of your feet.

    There has been a lot of pressure recently to change the name of the Skunk River and the creek where I spent my childhood, Squaw Creek. The word Squaw is offensive, and Skunk isn’t much better. But to the surprise of local officials, a public meeting about finding a sweeter name than Skunk turned out to be controversial. Descendants of Iowa’s early pioneers showed up to protest giving the river a less offensive name. The soil around Ames made the Skunk River crossing the nastiest bit of travel in the whole continent. Conestoga wagon wheels would load up with clay and mire travelers in a kind of mud they would hate ever afterward. Descendants of pioneer families thought giving the Skunk a less offensive name was an insult to their ancestors because it had been one damned skunk of a river crossing.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Mud is a funny thing. If you are lucky, you don’t ever have to think about it, but sometimes mud enters your life in ways you can barely cope with. We used to release our dogs into our fenced backyard to “do your stuff.” That was sweet in winter, for they’d come back with a bit of snow in their toes, but that was all. Then we would hit a time I would place in late March when the dogs returning from doing their stuff would be slathered in mud. Our little bungalow didn’t have a mud room, but the dogs could turn our kitchen into a mud room. For maybe two weeks each spring we had to keep a bucket of water in the kitchen so we could wash most of the mud off our dogs each time they visited the yard.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. As a descendent of one of those Early Settler Families and as the owner of a piece of a wagon, I can honestly say I don’t care what they name or rename the Skunk River. There are no family stories about the Skunk River, but I think my people were further East when they settled around Maxwell and Colo, Iowa, so maybe they did not encounter the Skunk River. However, the River near them was the “East Indian Creek” which as a name, is just as unsavory.

      I wonder who was naming landmarks in Story County?

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Oh dear! It was named after a branch of the Pawnees named the Republican Pawnees for some strange reason. Now it is just the Republican River in Kansas and Nebraska.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Maxwell is just a few miles east of the Skunk River. Sounds to me like your ancestors heard horror stories about the crossing and decided they’d gone as far west as they needed to go!

        As an editor, I found out (the hard way) that not all names for Native Americans were equally repulsive. Two names that rankle the most are “redskin” and “squaw.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Jacque, you are the owner of a piece of a wagon? Is that literal, or is there a wagon in which you have a “piece of the action?”

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        1. It is literal. The coffee table in my living room is a piece of the covered wagon used to migrate from Philadelphia to Ohio to Virginia to Ohio to Iowa by my English Quaker ancestors. It has the date 1807 on the back.

          Liked by 5 people

  9. We raised 3-4 ducks every year for fun and then of course ate them.
    Mud—tell me about it. We farmed the red clay soil of the North Shore. Slime in the spring. Boils up through gravel you lay down. If deep enough, which it often is, it’s bottomless. Cattle yard by barn was pure red clay. A sequence that happened a couple or more times a year: lots of rain turned red clay into thick mud. Cattle walked all through the red clay. Sun came out and dried it. Yard was an expanse of clay with deep hoof prints of cattle baked hard. Hard for cattle to walk on. About impossible for a sub-teen boy.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The cow yard in a wet year was terrible. We had asphalt right around the barn, silos, and feed bunks. But soon as you stepped off the asphalt, it was green clay muck. In the spring it was knee deep. Yeah, ruts in the summer and I used to ride either bicycles, motorcycles, or, later, 4 wheelers. Choose your path carefully. If it was mud in the middle there, you drove like heck to get through and hoped you made it.
      When I didn’t, I needed a long chain and a tractor to retrieve it.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. (Slightly) OT: at one time I’d never heard of diesel freezing up. Then one winter, suddenly tractors were freezing up at awkward moments. I froze mine up on the road, and had to shift it. My brother and I walked over and got another one from Pete, and froze it up. We walked over to Graham’s, and took his only tractor. Froze it up. I actually don’t remember what happened after that, but it probably wasn’t good.

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  10. During mud season we put on the tractor 14 inch wide Steel wheels with broad teeth on them . They could dig you down in mud very quickly to tractor frame. But if they started to spin, you chained a three foot long stout log to the wheels and then drove the tractor. It would lift itself up out of the mud and onto firmer ground .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the winter we were first caught out was when they were slow changing from summer to winter diesel.
      Steel wheels, yes Dad said they’d either get you out straight away, or they’d dig you right in, in a flash. I would probably have thought I was too clever for them, and got myself in trouble regularly.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Love “As the Farmer Turns” for Ben’s weekend posts, but for winter should we add something? “As the Farmer/Stage Lighting Guy Turns”?
    And glad your mom’s doing well.

    I am perfectly willing to try the microwaved corn, if I would just remember. I have one of those tall narrow pans that’s perfect for boiling a few ears of corn at a time…

    No mud wrestling here (says the person who doesn’t even like to sweat).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Microwaving corn is the way to go, in my opinion. Peel back (but don’t remove) the husk so you can clean off the silk. Then fold the husk back up around the corn. Microwave on high for three to four minutes, flip the ears over and give them another three to four minutes on the other side. When cool enough to handle, slather in softened butter, salt and pepper to taste. Voila! A tasty American feast. No fuss, and no wasted water and no pot to clean. Keep in mind that microwave ovens vary in power, so better to start out with less time than more. I have never had corn explode in the microwave cooking it this way.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. To me, it means that it is so cold all the fluids in an engine get icy and gelatinous and the engine parts can’t move as they ought.

      Like

    2. If Fenton means what I think he means, diesel fuel will gel up if it gets too cold. Something about the way it’s made. Most diesel fuel is blended these days but below zero, you either need a tank heater (I think most semi tractors have them) or put an additive in the fuel. There is a “summer blend” and “winter blend” for diesel, but the winter gives less horsepower than summer.
      I have a 500 gallon diesel tank and it lasts about a year, so I order summer, then put the additive in the truck or tractor. Knock on wood, never had a problem with gelling.

      Of course radiators need antifreeze, but that’s typically good to -40 and no one thinks about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ben’s answer covers it, yes. The diesel itself freezes up, not the actual engine. I’d honestly never heard of it till my thirties, when this incident occurred. I did it one other time, when a dairy farmer on the edge of the village got me to clean out some cattle buildings, and a stable, by hand, as he couldn’t get in with a tractor and loader. I loaded it into a spreader and drove to a field down past the next village, to spread it. There was a freezing wind every day, and even heaving manure, as you call it, with a fork, didn’t keep me warm when I cleaned the stable. Every day, at dinnertime, I’d take the load out through the village and stop at the pub to eat in the warm. It was quiet in thete that time of day so I suppose I didn’t have to sit close to anyone. What would have been the last day anyway, I went back outside, and the tractor wouldn’t go. The diesel was frozen. So Dick had to come up and tow me back, and if he explained what I’d done wrong once, he explained it a thousand times. “You parked it right in the stroke of the wind.” Hell, I was doing my best to look sorry and embarrassed, which I was. That was definitely my last day working for Dick, I remember that.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. I boil sweet corn sometimes, but usually microwave. Never have had a problem with exploding – I leave it in the husk.

    I remember my sister describing sweet corn season at a store where she worked in the late seventies. One of her coworkers had a connection to a farmer that grew the corn not far from St. Paul, and would take some time out of his day to drive down and pick some. Then he’d drive back and stop to call the store when he was about twenty minutes away. This was way before cell phones, of course. He’d call from a pay phone and tell them “Start the water!” and someone would put a big pot of water on the stove in the break room. Twenty minutes later he would race into the break room with the corn and immediately plunge it into the boiling water. I am told there is nothing quite like fresh sweet corn that’s less than an hour off the stalk.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. We bought 24 ears today that Cashwise described as locally grown. Well, the store headquarters is in St. Cloud, I think, and the corn comes from Foley, where my mother was born, and it was lovely corn and I blanched and froze 13 bags of corn.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve been the lucky recipient a lot of Iowa corn this summer. My next-door neighbor’s parents are from Iowa and every weekend they come up with an overload of corn. Well not too much for me anyway. I’ve made lots of corn recipes. A nice corn salsa. Cornbread. Sweet potato and corn fritters. It’s been yummy..

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I just read an obit, and was astonished to read that one of the people he’s survived by is his mother. Can you imagine dying at age 84 and your mother is still alive?

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know much about the Everly Brothers, but I know the song ‘Bye Bye Love’ from the movie ‘All That Jazz’ where it’s the Finale song of the character Joe Gideon’s final performance. All jazzed up and loud and furious, it’s a great version. Many songs from that movie have earlier versions that I’ve looked up, but hadn’t gotten to this one.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Thanks, PJ and Linda. That intro to “Bye Bye Love” was apparently based on the Bo Diddley beat, dreamed up by the boys and Chet Atkins, all fans of the Mighty Bo. I’m not a musician and they were, so my non comprehension of the connection is probably irrelevant. About the only thing I never liked about Bo was the Bo Diddley beat, he was capable of plenty else, whatever people say.
    I’ve never seen that performance of “Kentucky” before, very nice. Slowed down for effect, but those two could make it work, and then some.
    As I say, I wouldn’t know, but Don was one of Keith Richards ‘ favourite guitar players. Not much of a Stones fan, but Keith live, breathes, and knows music. I don’t believe all his stories, but I believe it about Don.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. A gas station in Bismarck had a rather big problem a few years back when diesel fuel was inadvertently put in the storage tank for regular gasoline, and many people unknowingly filled up their car tanks with diesel fuel and their engines were ruined.

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    1. I’ve got THREE stories about putting the wrong fuel in trucks, and the shame of the last two still haunts me. I’m conscientious, but SO careless. By the way, gasoline will stop a diesel engine, but not damage it. Diesel apparently wrecks a gasoline engine, but I haven’t done that. Adblue will damage a diesel engine in some way, but I wasn’t employed long enough to be told exactly what damage I’d done. That was one of the worst days in my working life.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Yesterday, Husband bought a grain mill attachment for our Swedish mixer. Our local cooking store actually had one. He wants to make rye chops today. I do hope he limits himself to coarse grains, and not milling actual flour.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. As we cleaned out moms apartment, she has one of the old Sunbeam Mix Master stand mixers. We have a big KitchenAide and everyone I know has a good mixer, but boy, I hate to let that Sunbeam out of the family! You’re all more experienced cooks than I… keep or donate?
      (She’s also got a handheld mixer that appeals to me just as a ‘gadget’… I may need to ask for that)

      Liked by 1 person

  16. A soybean plant near Jamestown, ND, is processing the beans to send them to a refinery in my town, 200 miles west, to manufacture a renewable diesel fuel. Marathon Oil and Archer, Daniel’s, Midland are working together on the project.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. OT: my son is twelve, and will become streetwise soon now. He still believes in the Ratoncito Perez (Perez, the Little Mouse), who does the job that the Tooth Fairy does in other countries. He’s late losing his teeth, due to problems which are now corrected, so it’s a race to see if he loses the final 11 teeth before his belief runs out. I honestly don’t think he’s devious enough to play us along.
    One tooth that did come out a year or two ago, he swallowed. He was very upset about losing his tooth money, but I managed in time, not to say, “don’t worry, we’ll give you the money anyway.” We said, “The Ratoncito will know, and will pay you anyway.” He wasn’t convinced. Don’t remember how we managed that night but next day was my Spanish lesson. Reme has kids, she teaches kids, she loves kids. She forged a letter in Spanish, to leave beside Isaac’s bed. Don’t worry, I know what happened to your tooth, and my insurance policy covers that. Here is your money, etc. Signed, The Ratoncito Perez. It was far better than I would have done, of course, she is a girl. Isaac was excited, delighted, and had his money to boot. We went to school, and got to the door late, just as Reme arrived with Hugo, also late. Full of myself, I started saying to Reme, for Isaac’s benefit, “Wow guess what? You know I said about Isaac’s tooth?” Obviously she was supposed to play along, and be amazed at Ike’s luck. But Isaac rushed on into the building, leaving me babbling without the wits to shut up. I explained to the only person left standing there,” He got a letter,” I mean, what a fool I looked, saying that to the person that wrote the blanking thing. She’s really sweet, and tried to smile as if she wasn’t being accosted in the street by a total maniac, and I still feel pretty silly about it.
    Her own story about the Ratoncito is: she lost a tooth and told Mama she wanted to speak to the Ratoncito Perez. Mama said, but you can’t. “I want to speak to the Ratoncito Perez!” “Darling, you can’t. I don’t know where he lives, etc.”, (This is her version. She may not be strictly accurate, but who cares?) “I want to speak to the Ratoncito Perez!” So her mother rang a shop in town, and said “Is that the Ratoncito Perez?” The person said ” Uh, yes!” So her mother handed her over to Reme, who only wanted to confirm the details, and that the deal would be done. Having given the necessary info, she hung up, while Mama tried not to giggle behind her hand.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What I forgot to say was, Isaac lost a tooth today, and went to bed before we realised. We had to grope around in his bed to find the tin the tooth’s in. Just to check all was in order for when the Ratoncito arrives, you understand.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I’ve always thought some of these pretend characters are much more important to the parents than they actually are to the children. YA decided early on that she had no interest in sitting on a stranger’s lap, no matter how many other kids were doing it. And I never forced her. I have a picture of her when she was about five, stretching out her arm and body as far as she could go so that she could get the candy cane without having to actually touch Santa.

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  18. Still thinking about Don Everly today. I remember the brothers hosted a weekly TV series, a summer replacement for the Johnny Cash show, in 1970. I had something of a crush on Don Everly then. I was twelve. He had that dimple in his chin.

    I recall educating one of my coworkers maybe thirty years ago about the origins of the song Love Hurts. It was covered by the band Nazareth in the 70’s, and he had assumed it was an original song of theirs. He and I had a lot of discussions about music, and I was a little gratified at the look of respect that crossed his face when I told him it was an Everly Brothers song, and could name the writers, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.

    Like Fenton, I loved Maybe Tomorrow. I like this demo…

    Liked by 5 people

  19. My favorite way to cook corn is in the microwave. Cut off the end without the silk so you see corn kernals, put in the microwave for 2 minutes/cob (I do 3 max at one time), take them out with your ‘Ov Glove and grab the silk end, squeeze the cob so it comes out the cut side and you have a fully cooked cob with no silk. So easy.

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