Not Much Happening

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Really not much happening this week. I’ve been at ‘work’ work. Young Padawan started school so he hasn’t been out. We haven’t even got the grass cut in the last couple weeks, but it really needs it and one of us will have to get on that.

I haven’t even taken any pictures of anything farm related this week.

The adult ducks are still well and chickens are all fine. Our duckling number is down to 4. Not sure what’s happen to the others. Plus, mom abandoned them last week. She just flew the coop and joined the other older ducks. One of the four ducklings has a bad leg. Not sure what happen too it, but one leg is bent up over its back so it struggles around on one leg and it’s belly. Been doing that for at least the last two weeks and somehow still managing.

It seems to be a tough time for pets lately. I’ve got a friend whose cat is having health issues and another who just had to put their dog down. The dog people accepted what they had to do even while they cried about it. The cat person doesn’t want to let go and is just angry about everything. It’s hard that we love our pets so much that losing them hurts so much.

I got a call last week to be the ‘Certified Lift Operator’ for an install at the college sports center. The public school district had a ‘welcome back’ meeting last Monday (Public Schools in Rochester start Tuesday the 6th) So a local production company that I work with was hanging a video screen and needed someone to drive the college lift so they could hang the video screen. Back when I was working as a stagehand, there was one old guy that just ran the forklift. I felt like him; I can’t do the harder physical work at the moment, but I can drive the lift! Went back the next day to drive the lift as they took it back down. LED Video screens were just becoming a thing when I quit being a stagehand, so it was really interesting to see how it all assembled (24 – 18”x 18” LED panels that all clip together and then they daisy chain cables for power in and out of each one and another cable for data in and out to each one.) And these screens have become so bright they only run it at about 10% intensity. Full intensity could light up an entire stadium and burn out your eyeballs. 

On the farm I think about how thing have changed. My dad went from horses to tractors. In the winter he put a ‘heat houser’ on the tractor. There was a bit of a metal frame around the seat area, and then heavy canvas wrapped around the engine to sort of funnel the heat back to the seat area. Of course, the back was wide open, but still, it warmed you up as it blew by. There was a plastic windshield too. I remember using that and it was certainly better than nothing. 

We added a cab to one of our tractors when I was maybe 15 yrs old. It didn’t have heat or AC but at least you were out of the elements. In the summer we took the doors and back window off so that was the AC. And I guess technically it had a heater and somehow the hoses connected to the engine, but it never worked. It didn’t blow any air, hot or cold.

When I bought my first tractor in 1986 it had a cab with actual working heat and AC. But dad hated AC and he’d drive with the doors and windows open anyway. Which really made the inside of the cab dusty. He said AC gave him a cold. These days there is so much electronics in the cab, you wouldn’t dare drive with the doors open like that.

The header photo is a group of neighborhood men. I got this photo from a neighbor who knows a few of the men. We’re not really sure what year it was taken or who most of them are.

The drill we use for oats. As a kid I remember an old wooden drill that Dad used. It had big wood wheels and cranks on the back and I think he said it used to be a horse drawn implement and he had rebuilt the hitch to pull it with a tractor. Eventually he bought a different drill. Neither one of them held much seed and he would load the truck with seed and park it at the end of the field, walk back home for the tractor and drill, drive to the field and make about 3 rounds and fill up the drill again. Then move to a different field and go get the truck again.  I remember riding in the truck and moving it up the edge of the field as he needed seed. When I took over, I’d put a bicycle in the back of the truck so at least I could ride that back home for the tractor. (See, I didn’t like walking even then! Huh.) Later on, I traded that drill for a bigger one and it held maybe 15 bags of seed, so I could fill it at home and plant enough that I would just run home again to refill. And a few years later I traded that in for the drill I currently have, and it holds about 22 bags of seed. Again, easier to just run home. Plus, now I have the cameras on it so there’s that.

Our crop timeline here in SE MN is later than farmers to our South of course. Different timelines and different weather. Some farmers are already chopping corn silage or finishing up 3rd or 4th crop hay. Guys are prepping machinery as they could get started on soybeans by the end of the month. Soybeans respond to the length of daylight, so even though they were planted later this spring than last spring, they’ll still ripen about the same time. I’ve seen a few beans starting to turn yellow. Some varieties will ripen sooner than others, but it won’t take long now. Within a couple weeks the leaves will all fall off and the beans will start drying down.  

2427 GDU’s to date. 127 over normal they say. I really have a hard time believing that as cool as it’s been the last month. I’m not sure the online meteorology class I’m taking will cover that. Haven’t read about it yet.

I got a call from the farm co-op saying the price of urea fertilizer is going up and did I want to prepay some now for 2023. Wow. I haven’t thought much about next year’s crop yet. I decided not to prepay yet. If I figure an extra few months of interest against the cost savings, how much would I really save? And it’s possible the price might come down by December. Not likely, but possible.

I learned a new word: “Defenestration” – The action of throwing someone out a window. Seems to be a problem in the USSR.

I did finally get some grass cut. The last few years I’ve been mowing more and more areas out behind the sheds and such. Easier to do that than let it all go to ragweed and wild parsnip. Way off in the boonies I found a garden hose all coiled up and mostly buried in the dirt. Luckily the mower didn’t cut it, just grazed it. Why is there a hose there?? All I can think is, 40 some years ago mom and Dad planted a bunch of trees up there and I remember them watering them the first year or two. Must have coiled the hose up and left it there. It’s a nice rubber hose. The ends still look good and I think it will still hold water! Boy, that’s a good hose!


71 thoughts on “Not Much Happening”

  1. I read this before sunrise, so most of what I see out the window is darkness.

    When I was in grad school at Rutgers (in New Jersey), I must have watched some commercial TV, because I remember the Ronco commercials, not the products so much as the style of ads. One time I put together some contraption or other, and a guy in the house where I lived said, “that deserves to be made into a product, and marketed by Ronco.” It wasn’t until decades later when a profile of Ron Popeil appeared in The New Yorker that I learned about the entire Ronco operation.

    I recommend that profile to anyone. It was more fun than the commericals, which were a hoot!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. A— my opening line just copies yours. Most mornings when I first read the trail it’s still dark out. But once the sun comes up I see a lot out my windows because I have a lot of windows in my house. I see my yard and my bales and all of my flowers, I see my neighbors to the north and the south and even a little bit to the east and west, I see all the stuff going on on my busy street.

      Today was a gorgeous day for me. Went and picked some raspberries, made some jam, made a little more pesto, froze some little oranges that were about to turn, spent some time in my studio.

      I can’t recall any specific Ronco products although I’m sure my younger self probably lusted after any kind of veggie chopper that he made. I have actually come to the realization later in life that I enjoy the chopping process as part of the overall cooking experience so I’m not usually looking for a shortcut these days.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    This morning out my porch window I watched the neighborhood naughty squirrel casing my garden for tomatoes. Ha. I showed him and had already been out picking them. This squirrel has eaten as many tomatoes as I have, ruining many for human consumption. I also saw our hummingbird feeding off my planters off the deck. Then I saw my neighbor out on her screeened porch, so I texted her good morning.

    Regarding Ronco, I do not remember the products as much as I remember the cheesy pitchmen and snake oil salesmen. Slicers and dicers that I was sure did not really work—although how would I know since I never bought one. But those guys reminded my of the Oxyclean guy of a few years ago, who overdosed on cocaine. The State Fair has its share of snake oil salesmen, especially in the crafts building there is always somebody demonstrating a device that is surely too good to be true.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Did anyone else have lightening last night – just constant in the distance for a couple of hours at least, when we were going to bed. We went out front and just watched the western sky…

    Out my windows –
    South – neighbor’s driveway (why I don’t do bird feeders here)
    West – boulevard with lots of flowers and needs weeding
    North – alley, RIGHT there
    East – patio, summer kitchen, and garage

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Winona was under a severe thunderstorm warning when I got home from work at 9:30. I thought of you. I could see lightning flashing southeast of Northfield and I thought maybe it Rochester.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Watching radar last night, Storms were developing in a line right over the Rochester area, but we didn’t get any rain. It sure was humid for a while and yeah, there was a lot of lightning as it moved to the East.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Out the front window I see our pole beans, tomatoes, and butternut squash plants with the biggest yellow blossoms, some 5 inches in diameter.out the back I see our grape vines growing up the deck.

    I had hoped that I would have a cooking-free weekend, but the crate of pears is all ripe, so I whipped up some pie crusts this morning, and Husband has put in an order for two pies, one with maple syrup and candied ginger, and the other Poached Pear Sour Cream Caramel Pie with a crumb. topping. The remaining pears will be peeled, sliced, frozen, and vacuum sealed.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Maybe I exaggerated about not having windows.
    I believe at one time, there were two largish houses with walls that went in and out at random, and a crooked alley between them, a few feet wide. Somebody covered the alley over more than a hundred years ago, and made our house. That’s how I think of it. Downstairs, we have double doors in the front, for bringing in the donkey and cart, and each door has a window and shutter now. So we can see the back door of the panaderia, the bakery, slightly to the left across our alley. From the single window on the first floor, we can see pretty much the same. And from the top floor, now our bedroom, we can see the now unused roof terrace of the apartment above the panaderia, where Dani the baker’s retired parents live. Dani makes a racket at night, starting with bringing wood for the oven from his garage around the corner. He often plays music, and two cops often drop in for loud conversation in the early hours. Jane thinks they’re schoolmates of Dani’s, his “Quinta” (born the same year). But he’s a good guy, and I can sleep through most things. And his wife, Ester, who runs the shop, was one of the surprise returnees to the Entrada this year, for which I love her extra.
    Our tiny back window downstairs gives a peek into our miniature back yard, partly covered, which is crammed with firewood, the washing machine, litter buckets for the cats, and more besides. Not much to look at. The first floor back room only has a window in the door onto the tiny terrace. We can see the utility building one of our neighbours built before our time, across the other side of our terrace, and about the height of the Eiffel tower. From Jane’s office at the other end of our bedroom, she can see more of the same building, along with the marijuana plant down in our neighbour Raoul’s back yard. I’ve never spotted it, even though I’ve been in that yard. But then, I wasn’t looking for it.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I wish you could, Barbara.
        I’ve just measured it, and it’s nine feet deep, ten feet wide. Only thing is, that’s what it would be if one corner wasn’t taken up with the downstairs shower room four feet deep by five wide. The terrace, directly above, would also be nine by ten, except it also is missing a piece, to allow daylight(and rain), in part of the back yard. I have a slightly complex plan to stop the rain, while allowing at least some of the daylight. But am busy with other things, and lacking motivation right now, especially with the heat.
        Our house is inconvenient, and somehow very difficult to keep tidy, but it’s idiosyncratic, and we do love it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ben, I just love these farm updates!

    Right now I see the bluest imaginable sky and the sunlight seems to make the green leaves sparkle on the trees. I see a hummingbird at the feeder and my plants on the deck. Mostly I just see sunlight and a perfect September day!

    I don’t think I have any stories about Ronco products. I’m not sure I have one or whether one has ever passed through my hands.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I started this thinking about those ‘pocket hose’ things and wondered if anyone had one and if it would
    Last 40 years like the one I found. That led me to Ronco or Ron Popeil and the pocket fisherman!
    I had a collapsable fishing pole from a garage sale that had to be a knock off of the pocket fisherman.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. The pears are all taken care of. They were at the height of ripeness. The pies are cooling.

    It is wheat harvest here, and Husband has taken to bed with terrible allergies. It always happens this time of year, and we assume it is grain dust. Our town is surrounded by acres and acres of wheat and grain fields.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Losing pets.
    That’s why we have them, isn’t, Ben? To love them? My reaction is always unpredictable. I’ve taken cats to the vet’s and said, don’t worry, I’m a farm boy. Then cried absolute buckets. But then I’ve lost deeply loved dogs or cats, and carried on with life, seemingly as normal. I don’t know how it works.
    But the moment of truth – deciding it’s the end – I’ve never had to decide. The pet tells you quite plainly, “it’s the end of the road, I need to go now”. We don’t mess about when that time comes.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Fenton, do you mind if I share this wisdom with my dear friend (not a participant of this blog) who is facing this with her 18-year old dog?


      1. Of course I don’t mind, Krista, especially if it will help both her and her dog. It can be a terrible time. My last dog seemed to just be very, very tired, and to just want to end the tiredness. It hurt me terribly that I couldn’t make her want to stay. But I knew I couldn’t, so it didn’t hurt me to actually let her go. If you understand what I mean.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. out my window is a constant change
    i get a varied view with my delivery phase of life
    doing that for amazon is a kick
    a deep dive on a community that takes 3 or 4 hours is enough to know it really well
    i like a lot of communities i never thought about
    out my window at home is the fenced yard that dogs and grandchildren to romp in
    trees deck trampoline and pools guitar on the deck monday nights for another month or two then that moves to the garage
    ronco always makes me think of the most beautiful house in the best location in aspen
    ron had it
    a pocket fisherman can be the key to open a lifestyle
    last product i saw and smiled at was the hair color in a can you sprayed on which made me think of jackie mason the new york comic who had his balding head tattooed black to cover his chrome dome only to discover when your hair turns silver the black tatoo’s stand out like earring a permanent yarmulke on
    i enjoyed my in week in aspen 25 years ago and ron’s house was front and center

    thanks ben
    love the updates
    i am a tree hugger and a fertilizer guy so my relationship with urea is a bit deep
    i was around when phosphorus became forbidden for homeowners and i worked with fleet farm to develop an analysis that would be tree hugger and discovered most plants can only absorb .7 lbs of nitrogen per year and an analysis that would be correct didn’t sound like what people wanted to hear so we and basically everyone in the industry stopped talking about about numbers
    in farming they don’t but i wonder if they offer different avenues to get phosphorous and potash plugged in
    or do you just buy 19.19.19 and put it on for a quick blast
    i’d love to develop a system for water and fertilizer being dispensed on an individualized basis but that’s another conversation

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Tim, that’s why I did grid system soil sampling last fall; to only apply what’s needed for the desired yield. If we know that 200 bushel/ acre corn needs X amount of N, P, and K, and the soil has Y amounts of those, then I only purchase and apply what’s needed.
      I generally used 9.23.30 as starter
      Fertilizer. But now it varies as needed.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. This appears to be the occasion when all those world leaders visited Ukraine soon after the start of the war. I’d forgotten Mr Roosevelt was there, to tell the truth.

        Liked by 3 people

  11. Ben, I was surprised to see you mention 4th cut hay. With our Devon rain, we rarely tried to even get two! The prevailing method was to get a first, heavy crop. If there was a second cut it would be for silage, which 1, would generally be harvested the day after it was cut, making life less worrying all around. And 2, we invariably would cut for silage when the grass was younger and of higher quality. Three cuts were for “college boys”, who would be looked on with scorn by locals, who mostly saw it as a means of driving round and round the field without picking up an awful lot of grass.
    By coincidence, a guy came up on YouTube last night, making a big deal of baling a second or third cut field of hay, and loading all the bales, by himself. Hard to say how big the field was, let’s say five acres. He ended up with 74 old style bales, a laughable amount where I come from. Very high quality, no doubt, but he didn’t look to me to be getting much of a return.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fenton- depending on the spring, and how well it’s managed, alfalfa can be cut 4 times in a year in our northern states. But that means you have to get the first by the end of May. Then roughly every 30 days. And you don’t take the last cutting after mid- September because alfalfa needs about 6″ of regrowth to have the reserves to get through winter.
      The first crop of alfalfa is the thickest with the coarsest stems, plus the weather is generally more rainy, so we always chop first crop. The next crops make better dry hay. Course that’s still all weather dependent. There was one year it was so wet in the spring I couldn’t even get around to my silo’s because of the mud, so I baled first crop. Filled the barns and then chopped 2nd and 3rd.
      I was never quite on the ball, and it would be early June before I got first crop done. Then I’d be 45 days between so I’d only get 3.

      Some operations, they chop all their hay, it just depends.

      But if it was strictly grass, then it grows slower and yeah, probably only 2 crops.
      I need to get my roadsides cut and baled for the second time. Before the weather gets too cool, and the weeds go to seed or the grass dries out. It’s not the best quality feed, but it’s good enough for beef cows and my neighbors will take it.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. But with grass, I worked a few years for two different farmers, who shared machinery. They were red hot on three cuts, then one year they announced we were gonna do a cut every month, like you say. And this in one of the best grass growing areas in England. Nevertheless, the locals were right to be scornful. By the time we got all the implements in motion, uncovered each bunker of silage, got around both farms, well at least I got plenty of hours in. I had to be paid, on top of all the other expense. Maybe we got enough grass on top of the previous heap to cancel out the inevitable layer of waste you get on top of each new layer. But we didn’t get a massive amount all told, and next year we went over to doing two cuts maximum, like normal people.

          Liked by 2 people

  12. Talk about Popeil gadgets reminds me that when I was very young, one of my activities was the attempted invention and construction of household conveniences. Since all I had to work with were a few blocks of wood, some nails, and string, they were fundamental but not greatly effective.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It feels great now but I think the first couple of hours of the fair are gonna be chilly. Because I’m not willing to wear layers and then carry the extra stuff around when it gets warmer.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I know it seems that way, but not actually. The fair is 10 days long and today is day five for us. Right now we’re waiting for the German Shepherd dog demonstration to begin in about 10 minutes.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. And it doesn’t hurt that one of the administrators of the trail is all about the fair. At my retirement party at work, they did a state fair theme!

          Liked by 3 people

        3. Trying to learn how to avoid ectopicism:
          Barbara, got it, I’ve been looking back and finding poetry from Tim, and who knows what all about the State Fair. And avoided adding comments on eight year old posts, can you believe it? It’s OK, I’m feeling OK.And I’ve realised that Madisland is two words! I thought she lived at a place called Madisland!

          Liked by 3 people

        4. Too true.. This is what happens when you are replying to something while you are sitting in the stands at the Pet Pavilion.


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