The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

I feel like I’ve been busy lately. Nothing important, just… day to day living.

Crops are coming along. I talked with the co-op about spraying fungicide on the soybeans.  I’ve never done it before, but I know some of the neighbors have and they report a good return. It will cost $33/acre to do it. $20 for the actual ground application and $13 for the chemical. Plus, some beans knocked down in the process. If beans are selling at $15 / bushel this fall, I will need the fungicide to increase yield by 2 or 3 bushels / acre to justify the cost. The neighbors have seen 10-15 bushel / acre increase over not treated so we’ll see how that goes. Curiously, aerial application is only $15/ acre! I’ve got too many trees, too many neighboring houses, and too small of fields to use that, but I was really surprised it’s cheaper. I supposed they can cover a greater area faster. It always comes back to efficiency doesn’t it?

My corn will be tasseling any day now. I’ve seen some of the neighbor’s corn already tasseling. Just depends on those GDU. (1559 to date. +110)  Once the tassel is fully emerged, the plant is at full height. Silks will appear in a couple more days and then one or two weeks of pollination begins. There are so many critical things in any plant’s development but getting all that pollen from the tassels to the silks is a big one. The kernel won’t develop if the silk attached to it doesn’t get pollinated. Hard rains, hail, or storms can mess all that up.

And with the heat, some of the corn is curling up to protect it self. This is a rocky area, so the roots are shallow. Notice how the leaves have curled up?

And the oats is turning color, it just needs to keep standing, no wind storms, and hopefully this hot weather doesn’t boil all the milk out of the heads. It should be ready to cut in a couple weeks. Then get it harvested and the straw baled. I only planted 10 acres this year; less than half of normal because I was expecting the knee replacement this summer.

The straw delivery trip to the boonies of Winona last week was a great drive. 119 miles, took a few hours, saw lots of countryside with very little traffic, met a woman named Sunshine, had lunch in a bar in Witoka where my chicken sandwich was actually two chicken strips placed inside the bun. And there was enough lettuce on it to choke a horse and more fries than two of us could possibly eat. We even found the back way into Farmers Park: A minimum maintenance road that was pretty awesome and I’m glad we had the truck. It was washed out and rough with not one, but TWO single lane bridges.

I mentioned taking two hens to a friend. The next day I had a record 22 eggs! We wondered if the other chickens felt threatened and that they better step up production?? But no, couple days later there was only 8 eggs, then back to the usual 15 or 16. Production varies like that.

The little chicks are blending right in.  Here’s some chicken photos including Rooster 3 minus a tail. Not sure what happen there.

That duck in the brush pile ran down to get something to eat one night and that was the opportunity we needed. The pile was burned. The duck was very put out for a couple hours. Sorry. It’s just the way it is.

My brother helped me get the brush mower hooked up and I’ve been mowing weeds in pastures and waterways. Of course I always have my tractor buddy with me. The corn is a tall as the tractor.

If it’s just grass, I’ll leave it standing, no reason to cut it. But there are a lot of thistles, wild parsnip, ragweed, stinging nettles, burdocks, and stuff that needs to be controlled. I’ll spend a few days yet mowing.

My nephew just retired after 25 years in the Air Force. He had the rank of Colonel and was a Base Commander in the St. Louis area. He had a big ceremony last week and some of the family went down. He’s a big nerd and they celebrated that by having several Star Wars characters there in costume. Unfortunately, Covid hit the gathering too.

Read an article about Ukraine; they are big producers of wheat and corn. But with the war, shipping has been an issue so their storage facilities (the ones that haven’t been damaged) are still full of last year’s crops and there’s no room to store this years crop. So they can sell it at a loss just to move it and get the storage facilities empty, but then they don’t have the income to support the families and communities either. Not to mention a shortage of food coming up. And as the war moved on from some of these areas, they needed ‘sappers’ to clear mines and other munitions from the fields, then they had to drag rockets and war detritus from their fields. Not something I have ever imagined doing, thankfully.

Padawan has been trimming weeds, and mowing grass, and he learned the basics on using a chainsaw.


61 thoughts on “Progressing”

  1. hey ben
    another lesson in farming 101
    i love those washed out roads too
    glad you found it and it was passable
    sound s like an opportunity for a drone guy to get into the field spraying business
    i know that’s a big deal elsewhere
    i step up as needed these days but spiff up less often
    wore a suit coat and shorts to the guthrie the other night so i guess that’s kind of spiffed up
    it was cold on the theater and i’d wished i’d had king pants
    keep up the great saturday posts
    i do enjoy them

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I love how there’s often a photo of field with Kelly in the middle – she’s game for anything, looks like.

    RE: your Winona boonies trip:
    – I’ll bet you were at the Witoka Tavern, on the edge of the cornfield? Don’t know if it’s still the case, but they used to have the best burgers in the world…
    – I may have met Sunshine – at least, I’m pretty sure she’s a friend of our friend W.
    – was that back way into Farmers Park also really steep? If so, we went out that way once…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Kelly puts up with a lot for me. 🙂

      Yep, that’s the place in Witoka. They did have a tRump 2024 hat hanging behind the bar, but there’s not many options for eating in the area.

      The back road is really steep! And rough.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I can tell I’m walking better and my balance is better. My Proprioception is improving. (There’s a $10 word for you! My “Spacial awareness” of my feet). I’m driving again so that’s nice. Still got some numbness / tingling in feet and shins. But it’s only been three weeks.

          Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh, and to answer the questions –
    I feel pressure to step up when no one else can or will, if I’m qualified for whatever it is. I’ve had to rein myself in lately – there are a couple of things I’d gladly take on, but I just can’t add anything else in unless I drop something.

    I’ll spiff up the house – made some progress in the basement – if I know someone else will see it… the “Invite someone over for dinner to get the rooms picked up” syndrome. As for looking spiffed up… anything but jeans feels spiffed up to me, and sometimes even jeans if they’re really nice and a different color than blue.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Here’s what Charles Dudley Warner says about purslane, which he calls “pusley”, in My Summer in a Garden” (1877) He has a lot to say about pusley in the book:
        I am satisfied that it is useless to try to cultivate “pusley.” I set a little of it one side, and gave it some extra care. It did not thrive as well as that which I was fighting. The fact is, there is a spirit of moral perversity in the plant, which makes it grow the more, the more it is interfered with. I am satisfied of that. I doubt if any one has raised more “pusley” this year than I have; and my warfare with it has been continual. Neither of us has slept much. If you combat it, it will grow, to use an expression that will be understood by many, like the devil. I have a neighbor, a good Christian man, benevolent, and a person of good judgment. He planted next to me an acre of turnips recently. A few days after, he went to look at his crop; and he found the entire ground covered with a thick and luxurious carpet of “pusley,” with a turnip-top worked in here and there as an ornament. I have seldom seen so thrifty a field. I advised my neighbor next time to sow “pusley” and then he might get a few turnips. I wish there was more demand in our city markets for “pusley” as a salad. I can recommend it.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I’ve actually read this book. I can’t imagine finding it on my own so I’m guessing you recommended at some point. I really enjoyed it.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve had to continue to step up at work, even though I’d rather step down. They have replaced all the nurses with young, unlicensed staff. I don’t want to be a leader at work anymore but the lack of training and the inexperienced people they are able to hire is forcing me to keep on training, keep on leading. I will work from time to time over the next few months, then it’s likely I will give my notice.

    I’m spiffing up my little red 2017 Honda Civic Turbo Hatchback. I bought it last summer and I’ve been glad to have it this summer. I do really like it but I’m not going to keep it this winter and I think it would be a good idea to sell it now. It gets great gas mileage, around 40 mpg in town and 45 on the highway. If you know of anyone who would like a great car…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I have another – Toyota RAV4. I explore too much and drive too much in winter to use a Civic in winter. I wanted something for fuel efficiency, running errands and going to work. But I use my Rav in the winter and park the Civic so it will just take up space and cost money in insurance over the winter. I decided to sell it now while gas prices are still high so that someone who values fuel efficiency can buy it. Besides, I checked on and it is actually worth $3-4K more than I bought it for one year ago. How often does that happen in used cars, I ask… Never! So I think I will cash in! When we go to Festival of Sail in about two weeks, I will take my Rav like I did when we went to Pictured Rocks. It’s the one I use the most due to versatility. If I stop working, which is my plan, I won’t need a little bee-bop car. I hope to start driving a lot less. It’s getting severe around here now, so I will be signing off.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Spiffing up my bedroom continues. I’ve made one wall Looney Tunes posters.
    And this. I’ve been ocassionally using melatonin as a sleeping aid. It works and, for me, gives awesome dreams. But sometimes nightmares. They have expressed themselves with rolling and leg kicking. Months ago I fell out of bed. Thunk!!
    I knew it had happened and checked in with my next door neighbor who confirmed the thud.
    I decided to move my bed to the wall and put down a 3 inch foam mattress below the open side. It bothers me because in the dark (getting up to pee is me) it makes me a little unbalanced stepping on it. I’ve not rolled out of bed for months so I’m going to spiff and remove it.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. So are you getting some rain in the Twin Cities (I hope)?
    Ah, but I just remembered – VS Retirement Party is happening – If there is rain, I hope it hasn’t deterred anyone,,,

    Getting some here, and Krista said something about severe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have been getting lightening and thunder since before noon, with just a few sprinkles. Then about 1/2 hour ago it began raining hard. Send more please. There has not been any severe weather here.

      I thought VS retirement party was 8/13.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. VS Retirement party is actually August 13. But even if it had been today there wasn’t enough rain here to mess with any festivities.


  7. I am late to the party today. Yesterday I had my last COVID booster shot. Today I had the usual reaction: fatigue, chills, sleepy, so I slept all morning after I returned to bed following breakfast. Then I forgot to post a reply.

    I often step up, but usually I feel under duress to do so. Right now I want to reduce my number of work days, but demand for therapists is very heavy, and there are not many to hire (this is happening everywhere and in all vocational areas, I know). So I am stepping up, temporarily. By the end of the year I want to be down to working 2 days per week.

    We are not spiffing much up these days. I need to paint my basement and the upstairs bathroom, but that is going to wait until next spring, I think. We just found a repair to make, though. During the surgery recovery period, I have been hearing a woodpecker banging on the house, but I could not find the spot. Yesterday, now that I get around well, I finally found the little bugger, on the south corner of the house near the roof. It has pecked two small holes, so we will need to repair this soon so that the local squirrels do not decide to nest in the attic. Right now the holes are too small, but we must repair them. Three years ago some new neighbors moved into the house two doors down. They were sharing the home with a family of albino squirrels in the attic. Squirrels do so much damage. It was a mess that required an exterminator.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The purslane breaks off when you pull it, then every part of it reproduces—if you drop a piece, it roots, the root left behind produces a new shoot. So frustrating. I did have it at the home of a woman raised inChina. It was part of a stir fry. She used it as a very small plant and just called it “Chinese vegetable.” No real flavor of its own.


  8. Hope no one had trouble from the storms. We’ve had 2” of rain and the wind knocked down some of the oats. But no trees down or anything.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No, it’s down for good. Because it’s nearly ripe, the stalks have dried up (that’s why it’s turning yellow) so it’s always the risk this time of year.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Depending on the weather in the next couple of days, will you be able to retrieve the knocked down oats, or are they pretty much a loss? Hope it wasn’t extensive, if that’s the case.


        2. It’s not a total loss. I don’t think it was smashed flat on the ground, it’s just sort of bent over. (I haven’t gotten into it yet to check that close).
          But it makes it that much harder to pick up with the swather to cut it. (They call it “lodging” when a crop falls over.) It may have lost some kernels, and will create less straw, (because I can’t pick it up to cut it) but it’s not a total loss. And it’s only about an acre, out of the 10, that went down.
          See details next week! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  9. OT – Our supper this evening featured a chilled cucumber soup enhanced by a radish/carrot top pesto I made couple of days ago. So good.

    The main dish was a panzanella salad inspired by this new offering at I Nonni’s Tratoria in Mendota Heights:
    “Our NEW Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad; with grilled peaches, local tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives, cucumbers, red onion, kohlrabi,
    capers, fresh basil, oregano, local feta, & toasted Tuscan bread, with a honey dill aioli. Now that’s a perfect summer salad!! Available on our Dinner Menu!”

    I left out the peaches, as I didn’t have any, and used some roasted chicken instead. I also didn’t have a feta cheese (local or otherwise), but did have some very nice goat cheese crumbles. Yesterday I got the first of the season’s locally grown tomatoes at the farmer’s market.The salad was delicious, if I do say so myself. Tomorrow I’m making a batch of salmorejo (do try it tim, I know you’ll love it). Summer is officially here! Another advantage of a chilled soup: Philip doesn’t have trouble ingesting most soups.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’ve always been a stepper upper. At work, at school, in organizations that I belong to. It’s kind of why I whittled down some of these things over the past few years. Really looking forward to not having to step up at work anymore. These last couple of weeks have been a little intense trying to meet everyone else’s expectations about how I will be leaving.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have usually not been much of a stepper-upper in a work environment. My experience was that I typically wasn’t recognized if I did – the task that I stepped up for was just added to my workload without thanks or recompense.

      I’ll step up in a volunteer role, though. You get thanked for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Guess I’m in the stepper upper camp, or used to be. I’ve always found that volunteering is at least as rewarding to the volunteer as it is to the organization or individual you’re volunteering for. Many of my close, enduring friendships have developed through the volunteer work we did together. Whether that’s delivering Meals on Wheels, counseling at Face to Face, planting and maintaing a community garden, or answering phones during MPR’s or tpt’s fundraising gigs, it puts you in direct contact with like-minded people. Beats bars any day for meeting people you are interested in associating with.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Years ago I was lucky enough to win two tickets from Radio Heartland to a performance by Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. I loved every minute of it, husband not so much; wish I had invited you to come along instead. I hate wasting a good ticket on someone who doesn’t appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is my favorite quote from HDT. Not that I am a rebel, or that I think stepping up is bad, but it makes me think about why I stepped up, when I should not have. This by the way, fits very well with my favorite book, Huck Finn.
    “The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man, – you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind, – I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that.”
    H. D. Thoreau from his journals

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Severe headaches. Hard to think or talk or read. Going to have an MRI to see if I have a brain tumor, for which I will have to be sedated, claustrophobia and severe neck pain.


  13. I am trying to spiff up some gardens and landscaped areas. Tough going in the heat. I try to remove the seeds from the burdock and stinging nettle and thistles, to reduce the population in future years. Also doing a lot of ragweed patrol around the neighborhood. It is a problem for many people with allergies, and even if it’s getting mowed regularly, it still manages to flower sometimes.

    Looking out for garlic mustard too. It’s dropping seeds like crazy right now.

    Liked by 2 people

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