March on the Farm

Today’s Farm Update compliments of Ben.

It’s warming up. Last week I talked about the slope of our land and how bad it is when icy. Mud isn’t much better. After my shoulder surgery I’m being extra careful not to slip and fall.  I was extra careful walking on the snow or ice, and now it’s mud and I’m trying to decide, should I put that hand in my pocket just to keep my arm down? Any suggestions? In a slip, it’s the sudden lunge with the arm—as well as the stop at the end, that I’m worried about. So far so good fingers crossed. As the weather has warmed up this week, first I unplugged the well house heater and put it up on the shelf. I’m really done with it for this year. Then I unplugged the heat lamp over the dogs’ water dish. Next day I unplugged the chickens water bucket. I haven’t had the tractor plugged in for a few weeks now. The only winter thing left is the heat tape on a water pipe down in the barn. I’ll wait on that yet for a while. I’m pleased the electric bill is going down.

Missing another poufy duck. Dang, I don’t know if it’s because they’re white they stand out in the early morning light and it makes them easy to pick off? Or are they just that slow moving so the weak get picked off first? You may notice I don’t comment on missing chickens. The ducks stick together for the most part, and there’s fewer, and they’re more identifiable and easier to count. Of the 40 or 50 chickens, some are in the nest boxes, some are in back eating, some are in the rafters, a few are in the bushes, a few are at the bird feeders, and a bunch are scattered around the yard. I try counting them, but they move too… so I don’t know how many chickens we have. Forty or fifty. I try to count them at night, but still, a few on the perch, a few in the rafters, a few in the pen, some over there, some over here… it’s a mystery! So, I don’t know if one disappears. Except the ones with the funky hair. The rule of thumb is the fancier the bird, the sooner it’s gone.

These didn’t last long.


Daylight Savings Time. Do the chickens care? Egg production is up so maybe they do. The other day there was 9 eggs in one box! They had a second level going in there. Never seen that before and I don’t know why they like that box so much. Usually, they spread out more. (see header photo)

All the animals are sure enjoying the lack of snow and they’re free-ranging all over the yard.

During the winter as we move snow, it’s not unusual to scrape up some gravel as well. And then come spring, as the snow melts, we end up with piles of gravel in the grass. It’s a bummer. The other day just before it got really warm, I had a thought: I used the loader and pulled the snow piles back into the road, so when the snow melted, the gravel would be back in the ROAD, and not in the grass. Seemed like a revolutionary idea to us.

We have one really nice day this time of year and all the farmers get excited. We know it’s a false spring and the ground is frozen and we haven’t gotten though basketball tournaments yet (there’s always a snow storm during tournaments they say) but suddenly we all think “SPRING! I GOTTA GET MACHINERY OUT!” and everyone gets excited. The parts guys are busy. I’m thinking about what needs fixing before spring planting. (I need to put new fertilizer openers on the corn planter this year. Got the parts last year and they’re sitting there. Thankfully, we got the drill fixed last summer) I’ve also started looking at Camera systems and options. Cameras have really become popular on machinery as a way to see behind things or be sure critical components are working. I’m thinking about putting some inside the drill grain box so I can monitor the seed level without having to stop and go look. Time is money! Plus, I could put them on the baler to know the strings are tying, which would save bales and time. This year I’m also thinking what I can actually, physically, pick up with my left arm.  It will be helpful that I’m having the co-op do all the fertilizing as that will save a lot of wear and tear on my arm. (not to mention time. Notice I didn’t say “money” there…) I’m a little concerned about the reality of scheduling them. I’ll need to have all the fields worked up at once (all the corn, or all the oats or beans) and then hope for good weather until they get too it. Plus, at the college, as covid settles down, all the extra spring concerts are coming back, so I have extra shows to deal with.

I feel my stomach knotting up already.

Talk about your hair stylist or barber. Got a favorite hair style? 

90 thoughts on “March on the Farm”

  1. I don’t have a hairstyle I could name and never have. Since the onset of the pandemic, Robin has been my barber and now that we have a good set of clippers, I see no reason why that shouldn’t continue.

    I just ran into an article in the New Yorker about boredom. Here is one of the initial paragraphs:
    Fundamentally, boredom is, as Tolstoy defined it, “a desire for desires.” The psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, describing the feeling that sometimes drops over children like a scratchy blanket, elaborated on this notion: boredom is “that state of suspended animation in which things are started and nothing begins, the mood of diffuse restlessness which contains that most absurd and paradoxical wish, the wish for a desire.” In a new book, “Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom,” James Danckert, a neuroscientist, and John D. Eastwood, a psychologist, nicely describe it as a cognitive state that has something in common with tip-of-the-tongue syndrome—a sensation that something is missing, though we can’t quite say what.

    I wouldn’t have described that as boredom; I think I would have called it a kind of lassitude, a lack of momentum or impulse to find new inspiration. The difference is that the lassitude I describe is more or less independent of external influences and can obtain anytime, anywhere. It’s not that the situation is “boring”, it’s that you are unmotivated to draw upon the resources you possess, for whatever reason.

    The pandemic, after more than two years, has imposed that sort of lassitude on many of us. The onset of spring, plus an easing of restrictions, should help.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Happy National Poultry Day! (And you can look it up)
    For decades, I have set my electric clippers at the lowest setting. No barbershop expenses.
    I recall vividly the first time a barber shaved around my ears and back of the neck. It was summer of 66. Working in Minot, ND.
    Got in the chair. Wrapped with the familiar covering. “A little off the top” All the same procedure. He took off the covering and I made a motion to leave. “Wait! Not done!” Mr. Barber put a slightly damp, warm cloth around the back of my head and from a pump on the counter received a glob of shaving cream which he deposited behind my ears and back of the neck.
    Seeing the razor was slightly troubling. 😳 From then on I came to anticipate that experience.
    I still have never had a straight razor face shave or shaved my head. I’ll pass.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. When I was a kid, I used to dread going to the barber shop. The barbers would always talk about sports and I knew nothing about sports and would have to invent vague, noncommittal responses.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. When I went to barbers, I avoided any discussion of politics and religion. In your mercy, Mr. Barber! Whatever you say, Holder Of The Straight Razor.

      Liked by 7 people

  4. I’m having yet another bad hair day! I haven’t had a haircut since March 16th, 2020, or more accurately, I haven’t had a professional haircut since then. I’ve snipped away at the bangs and the hair on the sides, but the back has been left to do its own thing. I’m sure it’s not a pretty sight, not that the front is either. There are two reasons I haven’t ventured out to get a haircut. One is the “nob” (probably not the correct medical term) on top of my head that I’m trying to find a dermatologist to look at. It’s extremely sensitive, just the slightest touch is excruciating. I’m not about to take my chances that a stylist nicks it with a comb. Two, I haven’t felt comfortable enough with the overall Covid situation to want to expose myself to some random stylist and whomever they may or not have been fraternizing with. My socializing has been extremely limited, so my hair has not been a major concern, but I’ll admit, I’m reaching a point where it’s embarrassing.

    I’ve always favored short hair styles for myself. And I mean short; think Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby. I don’t have what you’d call a good head of hair. Husband apparently harbored dreams of me growing a pony tail. Alas, even after two years of unhampered growth, it’s a pathetic looking thing. Besides, I can’t stand the feel of the hair on my neck. Maybe I should get a wig and be done with it.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Ben, why not get some strap on cleats for the shoes or boots so you don’t slip and hurt the arm? I carry a pair in the car after several fairly devastating falls on ice about 7-10 years ago. The cleats work very well. I found your story of counting chickens pretty funny: Evening Chicken Census.

    My hair stylist in MN is a very fun, interesting woman to talk with. She is on the verge of being a friend. She is also cautious enough that she got through the covid pandemic without getting the bug, yet working with people daily. Some of these folks did not want to mask so she fired them as clients. Bam. I have thin, fine hair that does not want to do anything much at all, with many “strong growth patterns” meaning cowlicks.. My favorite hairstyle is anything that does not look absolutely horrible. That the best I can do.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Suddenly yesterday, after many years, WP decided to send me the Trail’s emails. I signed up for this and got a few emails, then it quit and I forgot about it. Then yesterday, Voila.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. I can relate to the thin hair with strong growth patterns. My sister got the hair gene in our family; gorgeous thick red hair, or at least it used to be red.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. The heel cleats that they say are good for driving seem like a good idea, but I’m not sure if they would work as well on ice as the full foot kind.

        Like

        1. I had a pair of Yak Tracks, used them only once or twice. First, they were hard to get on my boots or shoes, my hands simply aren’t strong enough. Second, you can’t wear them inside a store, they are extremely slippery on a floor of any kind, and I can’t think of a store that has a bench or something to sit on while you remove them and put them back on when you leave. Maybe a long hoop skirt would work!

          Liked by 2 people

        2. If I can locate my Yak Tracks, Linda, you’re welcome to them. I’ll let you know if and when I find them.

          Like

    3. We’ve got one pair of the cleats but I don’t think I’ve ever used them. I’m not even sure they fit; I think Kelly picked them up somewhere. But you’re right, I should try them.
      I just ‘walk like a penguin’. And choose my path carefully, and try to pay attention and not daydream while walking when it’s slippery.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I was thinking, if your hands aren’t full and if you’re walking on a slope, could you use a tool to stabilize yourself? I use walking sticks a lot when hiking because I do have balance issues as I get older and I’m alone most of the time. I don’t like the idea of falling and breaking a leg or something back in the woods somewhere and lying there all night. (Solitude makes me imagination go a little wild, still it’s better to be safe than sorry.) Anyway, I was wondering if you could carry a pitchfork in your good hand to steady yourself? Not the kind for throwing hay but the shorter and heavier 4-tined type for turning garden soil. Or just the handle from an old rake or pitchfork could work as a walking stick. I think cleats may have limitations in heavy mud.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Hmm, usually I’m carrying eggs in one hand. And sometimes feed buckets in both, but yeah, a stick or something cold help.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d never heard that song before!
      We do have a radio down there, but it was more to keep the raccoons away. It alternates between a local classic rock station and NPR news. I think the talking keeps the coons away. I’m not sure the chickens care one way or the other…and it really hasn’t influenced the roosters.

      Liked by 5 people

  6. I, too, can relate to thin, fine textured hair that is also stick straight (inherited from my mom). As an elementary school kid I suffered through ugly pixie haircuts done by Ed the Barber. Our town did have a beauty shop but that was mostly for “old” ladies. In jr. and sr. high school I followed the crowd and let my hair grow long, parted just off center, and tucked behind my ear. My best friend and I trimmed each other’s hair when the ends got too scraggly. My ponytails were pathetically thin compared to other girls. Finally, during my last year in college, I had it cut off and have short hair since then – sometimes permed (never again!), almost always layered, sometimes only about an inch or two long, sometimes maybe 4 to 5 inches long. During Covid, I let it grow long enough to actually put it in a ponytail, although the sides and bangs still needed to be clipped back. There really was no “style” but I hardly went anywhere so it didn’t matter. A couple of weeks ago I went back to quite short and layered, where it probably will remain for the remainder of my life. I am all for “no care hair”, meaning just wash, towel dry, maybe hair dryer for 30 seconds, comb into place. One good thing about inheriting my mom’s hair is that I have absolutely no gray yet. Mom didn’t until she reached 90 and even then it was only a little bit on the sides and front.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. My brothers hair turned white when he was 20-something. He still has a lot of hair, just white.
      I’m the only one balding in my family; and there wasn’t any baldness on either side. Curious.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My dad lost all of his hair at age 23 due to Malaria. It never grew back. Mom, who admitted that his mop of strawberry blonde hair was one of his main attractions when she met him, wasn’t pleased, but they both adjusted. I never saw him with hair.

        Which brings to mind a mail carrier in the Midwest Plaza Building in Minneapolis when I worked there. He wore what was so obviously a cheap “rug,” held in place by a set of headphones. Don’t know if he wore it for warmth, it sure as heck didn’t do much for his appearance.

        Liked by 4 people

  7. I switched hair stylists just before the pandemic began in earnest. My previous stylist produced decent results, but she sort of annoyed me by having both a TV and a radio going at the same time next to the chair. The TV had the sound turned down, but I still couldn’t help looking at the screen, because it’s difficult to just ignore when it’s right there. The TV was usually tuned to some soap opera.

    I also got somewhat impatient with her because she was rather slow to finish the haircut. She was mostly done after about fifteen or twenty minutes, but then she would spend another half hour picking up sections of hair and snipping teeny tiny bits of ends off, and flattening my hair into a helmet-like do that didn’t really suit me.

    The last straw was when I was having my hair cut during the second impeachment hearings, and she made a comment that suggested she thought 45 was being treated unfairly. Time to change stylists.

    My new stylist always masks, works quickly and efficiently, and gets me in and out in about twenty minutes. I don’t know her very well yet, since I’ve only had my hair cut four times in the past two years, but she seems very pleasant.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. I have two hairstylists. The first one I look at in the mirror every day. I have been cutting my own bangs for decades. And of course with long hair I like to put it up in different different ways. I got some fun things at the state fair last year that I can use to put my hair up in a bun. I like those a lot. I also Jane a wide variety of clips. I try to stay away from rubber bands as much as possible. My other hairstylist lives in the room next-door. In fact I’m going out to lunch with two friends today and YA agreed, after a lots of groveling and whining on my part, to do my hair in a style that I haven’t worn since before pandemic. A French braid over the top.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. I had very thick, straight hair. It was never curly. Husband has very curly hair. After the birth of our daughter, I went to get my hair cut, and my hairdresser accused me of going behind her back and getting a perm. I hadn’t. My hair just got curly, and has stayed that way. Our children both have wavy/ curly hair.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I used to have really full thick hair. When I went for haircuts, they would thin it more than cut it. No need for that anymore when Kelly cuts my hair.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I also am often asked who colors my hair. I don’t color my hair. It is like my mother’s hair, and it is turning nice frosty, streaky, shade, not white, just frosty.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Husband gets his hair cut at a barber shop that has a woman barber who specializes in cutting curly hair. She is much treasured by the African and African -American folks in town. The shop is owned by two very Roman Catholic guys who are brothers, and is named after St. Martin of Porres. They have a liquor license and you can have a beer while you get all trimmed up.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. OT – I was running some errands this afternoon. After one of my stops, as I was getting back into my car, I accidentally bumped the top of my head against the top of the doorway, and ripped off the “nob” on top of my head. It hurt and bled like crazy, but most of the “nob” is now gone. Don’t know if it’s too early to celebrate, but it really does feel better now.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Maybe some kind of cyst or some other thing that was ready to be removed? Some cysts break up on their own, others need a bump. Did it take a long time to stop the bleeding? Maybe use some ice on it, then later apply a little bit of triple antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Last weekend daughter had an enormous and painful lymph node in her left armpit, which we suspect was the result of her cat scratching and biting her left hand. Cat Scratch Fever is a real thing. She put hot and cold compresses on and it cleared right up.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. No, it bled for a few minutes and then oozed some clear sticky liquid. I dabbed at it with a tissue. I wasn’t anywhere where I had access to ice cubes or anything else, so I just drove home. By the time I got home, it had stopped oozing and had pretty much dried up. Of course, I can’t see what’s going on on top of my head, but it’s less painful than it was before, so I’m hoping for the best.

        Liked by 3 people

  13. Sorry about the other poufy duck, Ben! Do you have any left?

    I still miss my Mpls. stylist, Dina. She was very new-age oriented, and we had fascinating conversations about esoteric things.

    I never thought I’d be a short hair person – having worn either the long long stuff in my youth, and then a modified page boy since. But after a “miscommunication” with my first person here in Winona, I’ve had it short, and I love it – like K-Two, I want ‘ “no care hair”, meaning just wash, towel dry, maybe hair dryer for 30 seconds, comb into place.’
    My current stylist was chosen post Covid, because she has her own place, required masks at first, and is careful. But she doesn’t quite get it, so I need to either find her a good photo of what I want, or switch. I don’t have to look like a fashion plate, but some days I look like something the cat dragged in.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. When I was younger, I had very dark brown hair with a faint auburn shine. My hair was fine and curly, especially in humid weather. It was never obedient, always a challenge to manage, and my mom kept me in pixie cuts until I insisted that I wanted long hair. She didn’t want me to have long hair and told me I had to take care of it myself. I had a learning curve to take care of it, and I let it dry out too much, also I broke the ends tearing through it without conditioner. For some reason, as my hair turned gray, it also became thicker and started growing like crazy. I wore my hair short and layered for awhile between 2007 and 2017. I never found a stylist I liked though, and always hated my hair. I think the last actual haircut I got was in 2017. During covid, it grew to where I noticed how uncomfortable it was to sit on it. I got it trimmed last fall in September in Northfield at Family Hair next to the Co-op. She took 10” off and I was happy with the results. It’s growing back again. I trim my own bangs in the mirror, so they aren’t always even.

    Liked by 6 people

  15. There was a barber in Luverne named Kay Aanenson. He was the child of Norwegian immigrants. His shop was called Kay’s Jip Joint. He never married, and was about 20 years older than my parents, so he was born in about 1900. He spent part of the 1920’s sailing on cruse ships as a staff member, and was a champion dancer of the Charleston.

    My dad used to take me to Kay to get my hair cut when I was little. Mom would always remind dad not to get me a pixie cut, since my hair would just stick up with that cut, but I invariably came home with one. I got my first haircuts at Kay’s, and if I cried, dad said Kay would just stuff Wrigley’s gum in my mouth. Of course, hair went in, too.

    Kay was a really flashy dresser, even into his 70’s, and he wore the gaudiest suits to our Lutheran Church.

    Liked by 6 people

        1. It’s gut wrenching to think of what it must have been like, and in a lot of places still is, to live openly as your authentic self.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I just looked up his obituary, and he was born in 1886 and lived to be 89. He was still barbering and wearing gaudy suits until his death.

      Liked by 6 people

  16. For a few years I went to an old fashioned barber, barber pole out front, tv’s and magazines inside. I told him I wanted a flat top haircut. He gently suggested I didn’t really have enough hair for one of those (evidently even then I was loosing my hair) but he did what he could. He was pretty old then and when it got to the point he had to use one arm to support the other arm holding the clippers, I decided it was time to find a new barber. And he retired shortly after that anyway. Great guy though. Really fun to talk with.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. We return to MN in one week. This season in AZ has been so much better than last year, when we lived in COVID isolation, I broke my foot, and we had a flood in our condo last year. We have seen many people this year because we have found friends here. Though our usual visitors from home did not get here, we were not isolated and there was a lot to do including the art festival.

        Liked by 5 people

  17. I remember Joel being upset about getting his hair cut, and it finally came out that he thought it would hurt – think about it: we tell them not to cut themselves, and then blithely say “oh, we’re going to cut your hair!” From then on I called it a hair trim

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Ideally, a barber shop could be a community building spot – here’s a recent article from the Winona Post about a new barber in town, whose philosophy is: “That’s what a barbershop is for,” Jordan said. “It’s more of a community thing.” People relate to one another as they spend time together at a barbershop, he continued. Barbers’ work goes beyond cutting hair, as well, he said. They listen when people talk about the positive and difficult parts of their lives.”
    https://www.winonapost.com/news/what-a-barbershop-is-for/article_492d6d64-06c7-586a-ac3f-dbc4e10c3e0a.html?msclkid=2f97b5dda86a11ec89ce701afaf5c2eb

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Some say that women share secrets with their stylists that they don’t share with anyone else. I can’t attest to the veracity of that, I’ve never been that close to my stylists. I can imagine, though, that if you spend oodles of time getting your tresses colored, straightened, permed or otherwise styled by a professional, that you have ample opportunity to get to know one another.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. In the 1970’s and 1980’s out herenthere were community mental health trainings for barbers and hair stylists to teach basic listening skills and ways to respond therapeutically to distressed customers and how and when to make referrals to mental health professionals.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I think that there was more emphasis on the medical model and a retreat from the community mental health push of the 1960’s.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Oh, my, I could go on and on about the medical model vs. the Community Mental Health model. Community works, medical does not and costs a lot more. Why?

          Liked by 3 people

  19. Apropos absolutely nothing, I just feel like posting this quote from John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row:

    “It has always seemed strange to me…The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

    Liked by 5 people

  20. I have been going to the same person (mostly) for decades to have my hairs did. When my hair first started to get curly I had what I refer to as “the bad hair decade,” and then I found Elliott – who, at the time, was fresh out of the Aveda Institute and actually understood how to deal with my curls. I lost track of him once when he changed salons (and then ran into him on a bus, so got the current info again) and he moved away for awhile, but called me when he moved back and I have not let anyone else come near my head with scissors since then. You’d think it wouldn’t matter much with longer hair, but it truly does – as I learned the hard way during those years that Elliott did not cut my hair. He has become a friend over that time. Some day he will retire and then I will have to figure out what to do…

    Liked by 5 people

  21. We saw ‘Hadestown’ today. It. Was. FANTASTIC! I’ve always enjoyed the story of Orpheus and Eurydice so that was the story plus fancy lighting and music and Mr. Hades and Persephone .

    Liked by 4 people

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