Bags

This week’s Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

The weather warmed up and I got the car washed. For now.

And now It’s snowing and cold again. Oh well. It’s January in Minnesota.

The ducks and chickens did enjoy the melting snow and grass coming out of the snow; they really like having some dirt to scratch in. Everyone was enjoying the sun.

 The chickens don’t like to walk through too much snow. They’ll do a little, especially if they know there’s some dirt beyond it. Except this white chicken.

She doesn’t seem to care about the snow. Kelly calls her “sturdy and hearty”. Yeah, well, she’s something all right. She’s mean too. She will cut you! Reach under her for an egg and she’ll bite and twist and not let go!  

Daughter and I took all three dogs to the vet this week; they all needed shots. And we got ice cream. Also signed papers for the loans for corn and soybean seed. And on the way home, picked up a ton of ‘egg layer’ ration for the chickens. Thank goodness for pallet forks.

We pour a 50 pound bag of egg layer into a container mounted on the wall, then fill the chickens feeders from there. If I leave the bag on the ground, the chickens will peck a hole in it. And I don’t use enough to warrant getting it in bulk.

It makes me think of how much stuff used to come in bags. I’ll be interested in Clyde’s memories of this.

For my dad, I suppose in the 1940’s there wasn’t so much stuff in bags as they used their own corn for seed and there wasn’t commercial fertilizer or feed supplements. In my childhood, we were always going to pick up feed, seed, fertilizer, and supplements. There were always bags of something around.

I remember a truck coming late winter early spring loaded with several tons of fertilizer bags. I was too small to help or maybe in school, but one day the corner of the shed would be filled with bags of corn starter fertilizer. Seems like those were 60 or even 80 lb bags. My dad was strong! I think he worked a lot harder than I do; just the sheer physical labor of everything back then compared to what I do now. When planting time came, he would load those fertilizer bags into the truck and then dump them into the planter every few acres. Those bags were handled 3 times. Now I get it all delivered in bulk truck, put in the wagon, and unloaded via auger. Pretty easy for me.

The milk cows got protein supplements added to their feed. I used to buy that in bags. Fifty pounds each, and I’d get 500 or 1000 lbs. Sometimes 2000 lbs at once; it just depended on the checkbook I think. Eventually I put up a bulk bin and then I could order a ton or two and another truck with an auger would unload it. I still carried bushel baskets of ground corn to the cows, but it was a bulk truck that delivered the corn and unloaded it into the barn. When we picked our own ear corn, we had to grind it before feeding it to the cows. After I went to shelled corn, the co-op would crack it before delivering.  I remember dad having a “hammer mill” to grind up the corn. The mill sat down by the barn and first he’d have to shovel ear corn from the crib into the truck, then shovel the corn in the hammer mill, which pulverized it via swinging metal bars, called hammers, hence “Hammer mill”. (Let’s not forget, he may have had to pick that corn by hand, throw it in a wagon, and shovel it into the crib in the first place! Read more about hammer mills here: https://tinyurl.com/4tjv8ac4

Eventually he bought a ‘Grinder Mixer’, which was a hammer mill and tank on wheels. We took that to the crib, shoveled the corn ONCE into the grinder, added minerals if needed and it all mixed up and it had an auger that we could unload into the barn. I shoveled a lot of ear corn to grind feed. Had to do that every 10 days or so. The mixer held about 5000 lbs.  And you don’t see them too much anymore. Different ways of feeding cattle that are less labor intensive.

My seed still comes in bags, but for the bigger farmers, some of the seed is starting to come in bulk. Soybeans mostly. Sometimes wheat or other small grains depending how they do it.

Before I bought the pallet forks and had this building, When I got chicken feed or milk cow protein, it was put in an old building called the ‘blue building’ because it used to be blue. It was faded and dull white as I remember it. When we picked up the feed from the coop, it was loaded into the truck from their pallets by hand, then unloaded at home, bag by bag into the blue building.  Then I’d haul them to barn as needed, usually 4 or 5 at a time every week. There was a just a lot more daily chores. And it wasn’t “work”, it was just part of the day. I was talking with daughter about that. I never said I was “going to work”, it was just “going outside” and that might mean milking cows, grinding feed, hauling bags, or who knows what.

Have I mentioned how hard my dad worked? So much has changed, so much has gotten physically easier in farming.

What do you think of milk in bags?

More or less bags in your life these days?

73 thoughts on “Bags”

  1. Wine in a box is actually wine in a bag.
    Flooring adhesives are moving from buckets to bags in a box. It’s messy and there is no lid to preserve unused product. Using duct tape to reseal the bag works…sorta. Squeezing out the last bit of adhesive is easier said than done. Most folks don’t even try. That makes for waste.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Yes. When the level gets low enough that you have to tip the box way way over to get any more wine out, you tear open the top of the box and take the bag out. Then you can get some more out of the spout. Then when it gets hard to get any more wine out of the spout, you snip off a little corner of the bag and pour the rest into the glass. Then the cardboard gets broken down for recycling. Waste not, want not.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. We had a 50lb bag of King Arthur Artisan flour delivered the other day, along with 25lbs of Swany White flour . That was heavy for Husband to carry to the basement. We store it in big plastic tubs. He likes the Swany White for sour dough starter.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. The artisan flour is also called SirGalahad flour and has a knight on horseback on the bag. I like it for French bread. The Swany White bag is emblazoned with a little girl sitting near a pond with several swans.

      Liked by 7 people

    2. 50 pounds is heavier than it used to be. I recently bought a couple of metal shelves for the purpose of organizing some stuff in the basement. They were 65 pounds each, a weight I once would have considered comfortably manageable. Granted, the shelves were boxed in difficult-to-grasp dimensions. I managed to get the boxes up on my shoulder and into the house but if they had been much heavier I would have had to drag them.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. You are right that 50 pounds is heavier than it used to be. When the pile is tall enough, I can get two bags up on my shoulder. But I don’t try that anymore when lower than my waist.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. It does. Kwik Trip often has it. 1/2 gallons sizes. The special pitcher to hold the bag helps… snip a corner off to pour.
      When my folks were running the ADA milk stand at the county fair, milk came in 5 gallon bags that fit in a special dispenser. If you ever get milk at a hotel and the dispenser has a heavy stainless steel handle sticking out the front, there’s probably a bag of milk inside there.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are correct — big industrial dispensers do indeed have bags in them and I have changed many over the years for Loaves and Fishes. In fact at the end of the night if there is milk left in the bag, it went home with volunteers so I have had milk in a bag in the fridge a few times but if you don’t have a holder for it, it’s really inconvenient.

        Liked by 5 people

  3. Regarding labor saving devices, I am relieved that Husband decided not to buy a food hydrator. We are choosing garden seeds and he thought it would be fun to grow paprika peppers, get a hydrator, dry the peppers, and make our own paprika. I thought it was the most ridiculous idea he had come up with lately, and I told him so. He said he is content to grow the peppers and use them fresh from the garden.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Many years ago, a friend of mine bought a food dehydrator from one of those late night TV adds. She had it sitting on a shelf in her basement four or five years and never used it. On one occasion I needed one, or so I thought, so she lent me hers. When I realized how lengthy a process dehydrating whatever it was was, I said to heck with it. Then it sat on a shelf in my house for several years. Eventually I brought the damn thing back to her, and it resumed its residency in her basement for another couple of years. Finally, I received a call from her: “Last call,” she said, “do you want that food dehydrator or not? If you don’t, I’m taking it to the thrift store.” By the time Linda got rid of it, that machine had to be at least seven or eight years old, but had never been used. We still laugh about it.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. We have a food dehydrator—one of those with multiple trays that stack. Lately, it has gotten most of its use drying flowers that Robin collects to make natural dyes but I also used it last fall to dry the basil that remained after we had made all the pesto we wanted.
        We have had dehydrators for years and though we don’t use them as much as we did when we had a large garden, it’s useful enough that we wouldn’t get rid of it.
        Years ago we used to dehydrate some of our surplus tomatoes. When powdered in a blender or food processor they make a great addition to tomato sauces you want to thicken. Of course you can also make complete sauces with them.

        We also dehydrated pureed pumpkin with them. It worked well for pies.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. I have no doubt that they work, Bill, if you have the patience to do all that work, and have the counter space to have it sitting out for longer periods of time. I had neither, and neither did Linda. I salute you for putting yours to good use.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. The summer of our CSA, which is now at least 10 years back, I bought a dehydrator. I used it three or four times but realized quickly that I was only using it to use it and really didn’t need to have dried food. We sold it at a garage sale. These days about the only thing I think I would use it for would be to dry basil as Bill and Robin do. Instead I just keep making pesto until it’s coming out of our ears.

          Liked by 4 people

  4. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Several election cycles ago in a non-presidential election year, there was some clown here in Metro Phoenix who ran on “you can’t take our plastic bags!” Yes, really. It was the most ridiculous campaign I ever saw, and fortunately, the guy did not win. But Arizona does love her plastic bags that just float around in the wind. This reminds me that now that we know more about COVID, I can return to using my re-usable bags for shopping. I want many fewer bags in my life.

    This reminds me of the flour sacks (not bags) that my grandmother used for everything. She bought her flour in them, then washed them and re-used them. By the time I came along, flour sacks did not get used anymore. The millers had changed to paper bags, but those flour sacks seemed to last forever because Grandma had them through out her house as rags, sheets, towels, etc. My mother even had a set of sheets that my grandma made out of flour sacks. The seams were a bit uncomfortable and the thread count was very low, but those sheets were still in mom’s linen closet in 2009 when I cleaned out her house. She had long since stopped using them, but like her mother’s maternity underwear, she could not bear to discard them.

    Milk in bags? I suppose. But I do not drink milk anymore so it matters little at this point in my life.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. So, Ben, #1, your father did work harder than you and mine worked harder than him. Especially considering he loaded iron ore in boats, a very physical piece of labor, as well as farmed, and all sorts of other work he picked up. So there. “So’s your old man!”
    #2, I am a poor one to ask about what farmers bought in bags in the early 50’s. Poor one to ask because first, we were poor. How poor strikes me in an old picture I dug out. Second, we produced most of what we consumed. Third, because of the blog I have not written about my parents and their. . .there has to be a better term than “low carbon footprint”.
    We bought in gunny sacks, usually 100 lb. sacks: 1) Chicken feed, which was stretched with table scraps. 2) Oats seed and clover seed (25 lb bag). 3) Potatoes, once our cellar bins got empty in about early March as a norm. 4) Seed potatoes. 5) Coal and briquettes for the forge. The gunny sacks were badly missed when things switched to paper in the late 50’s I think. We grew and hammered our own oats for the cattle, the horse and the pig. There were also the 25 blocks of salt.
    And my mother bought 50 or 100 lb. sacks of flour, in cloth bags and 25 lb. sacks of sugar and cornmeal. My mother went into mourning when they switched to paper. The sacks became pillow cases, towels, dish cloths, and the like.
    Ben, farmers down your way must have been many things in 50 and 100 lb, gunny sacks.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Should add we did not buy the coal, which was used only in my farther’s workshop. We sort of stole it. Mother/father U.S. Steel left a pile of coal near the coal dock (Yes, Two Harbors once had a coal dock.). They never really commented about it but people would go take some. Maybe the employees left it out. It would have been a hard way to get coal to heat your house, as people did back then, and people saw it as for the poor, which I guess declared us as poor. He did not use the coal often because we had so much firewood on hand. Mostly when he did not want to be distracted about constantly feeding the fire when he and one of his pals were doing major mechanbical work on ours or their vehicles or equipment.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Our house in Stubbekøbing had a coal fired furnace in the basement. It heated water that was circulated to radiators in every room in the house. I remember coal being delivered in huge sacks, I’m guessing 100 lb sacks, carried on the shoulder of the delivery man to it’s storage space next to the furnace. It was dirty and heavy work. Feeding the furnace, and removing the ashes and clinkers wasn’t easy either. Since the death of Mr. Tope (I misspelled it in my prior post about him) in Carbondale, I realize it could also be hazardous.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. One of the houses that I lived in had a coal room in the basement as well. Also at a door on the side of the house that went into that coal room so I assume the coal got dumped down through that door. And I realize discussion of only three coal rooms is anecdotal but I’m wondering whether you could ever get those rooms clean because ours just sat empty but dirty.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. My in-laws house had a coal room. It was as clean as an old house / stone walled basement room could ever be. They had odds and ends in there. It wasn’t the most popular room in the basement as we threw out pop and things that were many many years old that had been stored in there.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. I do still have a bundle of burlap bags hanging from a rafter up in the shed. When we cleaned our own oats, we had the stand to hold the bags open to fill them. Depending on the weight of the oats that year, the weight of the bags changed. Maybe it held 2 bushels which would probably be about 60 pounds. Dad only bought new oat seed every few years. Once I got serious about growing oats, I started to buy new seed every year.

      I know at one point, the bags became sort of a woven plastic rather than burlap. They didn’t stay on the stand as well and dad hated them.
      The chicken feed I get from the co-op is in paper bags, if I buy it at Fleet Farm, they’re plastic bags.
      Paper ones I burn, plastic is just more garbage.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Runnings always has stacks of what look like large gunny sacks with coffee bean logos on them. What do people use them for?

        Like

        1. A lot of people use burlap to protect small trees and shrubs from winter damage. They are breathable but can still hold a pocket of air around a plant, and discourage animals that go after bark.

          Liked by 8 people

        2. they are great for keeping stuff in
          put other bags in there
          skates and winter boots for summer storage
          garden hose and sprinklers for winter storage

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Our garden seed orders are placed. There doesn’t seem to be as many out of stock seeds as last year, although Husband had to find another variety of purple kohlrabi and I couldn’t find Spanish Giant pepper seeds. I decided to try a Costa Rican red sweet variety, and a Ukrainian sweet red variety.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. In the back seat of my car, there are numerous tote bags. I’ve bought only one of them, the rest were either gifts or premiums for memberships or donations to various organizations. I use them whenever I go shopping, and I have for many years now. It’s my feeble attempt to cut down on the number of plastic bags in my life. It’s also a way of supporting and promoting whatever organization sent them to me.

    I buy jasmine and basmati rice in 20 lb burlap bags. Inside those burlap bag, the rice is in a heavy duty plastic bag, I suppose to discourage vermin to get into them.

    We recycle as much as we can, but plastic bags are one of the things that I’m not that confident really get recycled properly, even when you go through the trouble of bringing them to the recycling bin at the supermarket.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I also have way too many tote bags. And I avoid trying getting more. Because even though plastic bags are definitely a scourge, the resources to produce these cloth bags are enormous and are definitely a drain on our world. Anyway when I went to the state fair this year there were still people lining up to get free bags in a couple of places and I’m always surprised at that. As many as I have without even trying, I just can’t imagine why people need more of these. I actually bring a bag with me to the state fair these days in case I buy anything. .

        Liked by 3 people

    1. I have a large supply of shopping totes too, many of which were given to me. I have crocheted a few bags from cotton too. I also use a basket for heavier items. I only buy milk in paper cartons but it still has a plastic screw cap and I think the waxed paper is coated with plastic. It would be nice if we could find a good substitute for plastic. I really hate seeing those plastic shopping bags blowing around and getting entangled in tree branches or gathering around the storm sewers on a street. I do try to stay away from plastic packaging if possible.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Clearly, an elusive Snow Chicken. Like Snowy Owls, Snow Leopards, and Polar Bears, they’ll live in this junk…but they don’t gotta like it. And they’ll take it out on anyone that they possibly can. “You think all of this snow stuff is funny? Do ya? Do ya??? Come a little closer and I’ll show you how ‘funny’ it is, Mr. Warm Clothes And Opposable Thumbs!”

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I’m pretty sure this leghorn just came as part of an ‘Assorted Breed’ order; based on stories from my older siblings, I would not have ordered them myself. They talk about having to get them out of the pine trees at night (my brothers job) and collecting the eggs (Sisters job) and how they’d bite. Twenty some years ago, when I told the family we were getting chickens, they all thought I was nuts.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. White chickens, leghorns, are often contrary creatures. All our lives got easier when we switched to the more docile Rhode Island reds. We had two very nasty leghorn roosters. My father preferred the reds because they made better pets. We had leghorn get attacked by a hawk, which she fought off until my father got there. Lost an eye and lost lots of blood. But she survived and kept right on laying eggs.

    Liked by 7 people

        1. Yep, there he is!

          So will there be a permanent #45 cartoon character? There have been so many funny cartoons, but one has not become dominant as a cultural reference point.

          Liked by 3 people

      1. I had a dim memory of Foghorn Leghorn having been a parody of another character. I looked it up. He was based on Senator Claghorn, a bombastic southern politician character from Fred Allen’s radio show. Of course the direct parody is lost to us too young to have been familiar with Fred Allen’s show but it’s interesting, I think, to know Foghorn Leghorn’s antecedent.

        Liked by 4 people

  10. I remember the very first time I was aware of the “new” plastic shopping bags – I was on the East coast at that point, and we were visiting in Providence, RI. We checked out at some Walmart-type store, and rather than paper, they handed me this thin plastic things with holes in it for handles. I took one look at it and thought – “Uh-oh, now we’re really in for it.”

    I’m looking forward to when my grocery will allow my cloth bags again. The co-op does, but I do a lot of shopping elsewhere, and I should start taking a cloth bag in again every time I can.

    When I worked as a produce coordinator at the Wedge Co-op (1980-ish), we had to be able to handle 50# bags of carrots, etc., and 100# bags of potatoes. I only lasted 6 months at this job.

    Milk in bags – just seems risky… seems like there are an awful lot of sharp things around, and you’re just looking for trouble.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. OT – I know from Facebook that Linda has discovered the word game Wordle. I’m wondering if other baboons have as well? I discovered it a week ago, but didn’t bother to read the instructions prior to my first puzzle. Predictably, I screwed it up. Since then, though, I’ve done well. Figured out six of six consecutive games, two on my second guess. Google it if you’re interested. It isn’t a major time suck as there’s only one five letter word to guess each day.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Bags – Nelsapy
    1. You could have found this yourself, but here’s the derivation:

      GUNNY- coarse fabric, of Indo-Aryan origin; akin to Hindi gon sack, Punjabi gūṇī

      Liked by 1 person

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