This and That

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

Two weeks plus post-surgery and putting socks on is still kind of a process. Picking black raspberries was harder than I expected, too. But I’m getting there.

Last Monday the two corners of CRP got planted to a ‘pheasant habitat’ blend of wildflowers and grasses. And we got three loads of crushed rock delivered for the farmyard. One dumped in a pile for use as needed and the other two spread on the road.

We have a brush pile of sticks collected from the yard since December, and we’ve been meaning to burn it all spring. Several times Kelly has said “This would be a good night to burn the brush pile” and then we fall asleep on the couch.

But the other night we were out there ready to do it! Aaaand there’s a duck nesting under it. Sigh.

A few years ago, we started a pile of sticks on fire and there was a good blaze going before a chicken came running out from under it. So, we look before we light it now. The duck only has three eggs… not sure they’re even fertilized. But the fire is still on hold.

I’m delivering straw this weekend with my friend Paul, and we’re going out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a Winona Address…and it’s a great drive on lonely gravel roads and hills and valleys and S-turns and I have a printed map because there is no cell phone reception down in there. I love going there.

Crops are looking good. Two weeks ago, I had a photo of Kelly on July 4 and the corn was up to her waist. In 10 days, it’s doubled in height.

Soybeans are up to her knees.

I’ve talked about 15” rows vs. 30” rows and how we like the crops to canopy to help prevent weeds growing. Compare these photos: first is the neighbors 30” rows and second is my 15” rows.

Growing degree units are 1384, 94 above normal for my area. The hot weather coming helps, but the plant actually shuts down above 86 degrees, so we don’t actually gain GDU’s after that.

See this corn plant growing in the middle of the soybeans.

That’s called ‘volunteer corn’ and it can be a problem in soybeans. Because we use crop rotation, usually a bean field this year was corn last year. If a storm or disease knocked down the stalk of corn, depending how much it’s fallen over, it can make picking it up at harvest that much harder. A lot of ears may fall to the ground and grow voluntarily in the field next year. Hence the term, volunteer corn. It doesn’t generally reach maturity with full ears, but depending on the amount, it’s competing with the soybean crop and it can be a problem at harvest.

Kelly let the little chicks out to run at large. Padawan and I took down the fence and they’re enjoying all the room. Of course, a new pecking order will need to be established eventually between the old hens and the new ones.

A friend of mine in town had given me some chickens a few years ago and was ready for more, so I took two of the laying hens and one of the younger chicks to her. At her place, the two laying hens went to her outdoor run and settled right in. The younger one made a break for it. Out the coop door, through the garden (The entire backyard is garden) into her garage, out the big door, across the street, and under the neighbor’s car. Two adults and my young Padawan in pursuit. Padawan really does not have much interest in the chickens, so the last thing he wanted to do was chase this one up the street. Eventually, the young chick reversed its course: back into the garage, back into the garden, in and around all the plants, and eventually, got stuck in a narrow spot between a retaining wall and a fence.  Was captured, and returned to its new home. I really wanted a photo of all this, but I had left my phone in the truck. Use your imagination. Remember, the backyard is all garden so they’re dodging all that too. It was as funny as you imagine.


35 thoughts on “This and That”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons, In Free Form,

    I awoke today without the headache and phone ringing that woke me yesterday, thank goodness. Recovering from that was a challenge. I like the story of the runaway chicken in the last paragraph, Ben. Some days I feel the same way—I want to run away in panic and just lose my mind then hide under the bed. The trouble with that is that it rarely helps anything, and usually makes things worse.

    Today I go up to my Master Gardener gig in N. Minneapolis. It will be hot, but this year that garden is thriving and inspiring, due to a resident there who has this thing organized and moving forward. She found an apartment building being razed. That building had raised beds in the garden and she found a way to recover all the materials, including THE DIRT, and move it to the facility in N. Mpls. Then she found retired volunteers who want to build things to build a wheelchair accessible path in the garden and more raised beds. Not bad for a woman confined to a wheelchair.

    My garden is now supplying us with kohlrabi, cucumbers, salsa peppers, chiggers, and rabbits. The rabbits are getting in under the chicken wire in the corner. Later today I will batten that down with a stake. Bah, rabbits. Bah! I am inspired by gardeners in wheelchairs and Farmer McGregor.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Prediction:
    DJT will wait until June 16, 2023 to officially announce for the Presidency. That will be the 8th anniversary, June 16, 2015, of his descending the Golden Escalator. Meanwhile, his grift will continue unabated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OK, a free-for-all day, if I read the question right.

    I wish I could add our brush and stuff to your brush pile, Ben – well, if the ducks ever come out and you get to burn it. I pick up sticks and stuff when we go on walks, and when my women meet for lunch at the lake – there is always some tree losing bark, and I feel almost compelled to pick up the large chunks – they could certainly go in someone’s fire pit (we don’t have one at this point) for kindling.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Do other birds besides chickens lay infertile eggs? What would be the evolutionary advantage of that? If it’s a trait developed by selective breeding, how would that work? You can’t select for the infertile eggs.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. So I looked it up. The evolutionary goal of selective breeding was to select for the chickens that produce the most eggs. Chicken eggs ( and likely all eggs) are well along in development before they are fertilized. The chicken just has to keep developing them in order to be ready when fertilization comes along. In a domestic situation that’s managed (or not) by the farmer. For birds in the wild, fertilization happens much more frequently so most eggs get fertilized.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I believe the Supreme Court has ruled that all chicken eggs from now on must be fertilized and brought to fruition as chicks so the egg population as we know it will change dramatically under the current supreme court

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hotter than Hades here, weeding, watering with the soaker hoses, cleaning house, napping. We bought two Morden Rose bushes, one miniature white bell flower, and two ostrich ferns to fill in gaps in the perennial beds. Making lobster Mac and cheese for supper. It is to be hotter tomorrow. Ish! Listening to Delius.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Me too, and I have tried everything. Restarted the computer, logged into WP checking the box to remember me. I’m using the only the device I ever use, my MacBook Pro laptop, and for some reason toady I can’t “like” anything, or comment without filling out a bunch information, and frankly, I find it really annoying.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Word Press has PMS lately. I have had so much frustration with it at times. Yesterday at my Master Gardener gig I picked peas—bumper crop!—that the gardeners could not get to in wheelchairs, dug through the the info I needed regarding the volunteers who built the path. I am listening to a Pilleated woodpecker this morning, screeching through the neighborhood. Later today we are meeting son and DIL for brunch.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Apparently some people are having success with Likes and comments.

    We’ve had a nice stretch of 80s this past week, today the last one before a couple of 90-degree days that I’m not looking forward to. Very humid today, tho’, so laying low and reading.

    My summer kitchen is set up – can cook a lot there during the hot spell, so as not to heat up the house unnecessarily.
    [I just looked in my files, and looks like I’ve never done a post about the Summer Kitchen. May be time…]

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I often have trouble with WP as it is determined to treat me like a stranger or some kind of interloper. It still won’t display my profile photo and I’ve given up trying. I have it selected in my profile but it just won’t display. I usually use my iPad for this but sometimes I use my iPhone. Right now I’m not having any problems with it though.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I like chickens. I think they’re lots of fun. They have personalities and they’re funny when they freak out. I’ve also noticed the difference in spacing between the soybean rows and I always wondered what that was all about. It looks like you would get twice the harvest if you space them at 15” but there must be some reason why people choose 30”. I’ve seen lots of fields in which the rows are clearly spaced farther apart.

    I got back from Pictured Rocks NP late Friday night. Oh boy, was that ever fun! It was one of the most fun trips I think I have ever had in my whole life. I checked a couple of things off my bucket list. We did a 3-hour kayak trip along the shoreline of Pictured Rocks NP. We also took a glass bottomed boat tour of two shipwrecks near Grand Island. It was coolish/cold up there. The high on Wednesday was in the low 60s, down to 44 Wednesday night, and up to 69 on Thursday when we kayaked. I enjoyed that blast of refreshing, cold Lake Superior air. We had to wear sweatshirts! I’m catching up on the blog today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good questions on soybeans Krista-
      The total plant population per acre is the same regardless of the row width. Somewhere around 150,000 / acre. So in 30” rows the plants are closer together and they tend to get bushier.

      Also, it depends what equipment people use to plant; seed spacing and depth isn’t as critical for soybeans as corn, but it still matters. Many people use the same planter for corn and beans. And all the corn equipment is set up for 30” rows. There are planters set up for 15”, it’s just another investment.
      I use my drill, the same thing I use for oats, but that plants at 7.5” so I cover every other one for beans. It’s not as precise at dropping seeds but again, it’s not as important.
      Maybe next year I’ll try the planter again on beans just to compare. It’s been a few years since I did that.

      Sounds like a good trip for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I was a kid, corn rows were much wider. A man could walk between the rows without his shoulders touching on either side. Was the old planting and harvesting equipment set up for those wider rows? Was there any advantage to it or was that just the standard at that time?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yeah, corn used to be 40”- wide enough for the horse. Both ways if you go way back! Planted in hills. Then went to 38” for some reason… then 30” became the standard. A few guys have tried 20”. Again, all the equipment has to fit that: planting, cultivating (if they do that) and harvesting.


  8. It is 96° here now. We are watering. We also harvested sugar snap peas at the church garden this morning for the local food pantry.


  9. Big COVID-19 outbreak in my family in the past few days. My niece, her husband, the baby, and my sister have all tested positive. My BIL hasn’t tested positive so far, so he is trying to avoid being in the house with my sister, which gets interesting as we head into a brutal heat wave the next couple of days.

    My sister is getting paxlovid. She said she had a killer headache yesterday and couldn’t seep last night between the headache and waking up coughing, but the paxlovid has helped with the headache, so she hopes to get some sleep tonight. If the coughing settles down.

    Everyone was vaccinated except the baby. He’s about 19 months, so only very recently became eligible.

    My niece and her husband can’t work until they get past the isolation period. They have server jobs.

    My sister said she had had lunch with my cousin and his girlfriend about the time she was exposed, and saw her sister-in-law & husband around the same time. She also had her hair cut, but her stylist came to her home and trimmed her hair outdoors on the deck, masked, so hopefully did not get exposed.

    The prevailing attitude toward COVID these days seems to be that it’s no big deal. But it’s still a very big deal for those who are old enough be considered high risk, and for people who can’t work if they test positive.


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