January

The first Farm Report of 2023 comes to us from Ben.

I’m happy to report my 1940’s radio station is back on XM radio, thank goodness.

We seem to have picked up some extra ducks; there’s 14 now. And there’s more either female or younger pheasants coming in for chicken corn. I sure wish Steve was here to clarify those things for me. One day I watched our dog Bailey walk right past a pheasant and neither one paid any attention to the other. I understand Bailey ignoring the pheasant, I’m surprised the pheasant ignored Bailey. 

I am finally driving again. I park my car over in the old machine shed and there’s a lot of sparrows in there. A night or two isn’t bad. But I parked for two weeks, I had bought a tarp and some cheap bungee cords back in January when I knew I was having shoulder surgery, but the car actually sat out that whole time. This time, when we got it out, it was evident I should’ve had a bigger tarp. The hood, front windshield, and most of the roof was OK, the back window and sides were pretty disgusting. And they were really cheap bungee cords, there’s no stretch left in them. The tarp will still be good… once it’s cleaned off.

I’m back in the tractor! There was a minor mishap trying to move snow one day. It was wet and heavy, and we were trying to go the other direction and, well, one thing led to another, and pretty soon we were in the fence. I told Kelly, I’ve run into a lot of things, broken some fences, dented some steel siding, and broke some stuff; that’s just how you learn. Didn’t damage anything on the tractor, and the fence can be fixed. A few days later trying to cut down the snowbanks, I snagged the fence a couple more times with the blade. Just loosened the fence a little bit. There’s a bit of a learning curve to this that I’m still getting back. I move a lot of sod before the ground freezes. (For the record, Kelly hardly picked up any sod. Somehow, I’m still picking up sod.) And I may have re-arranged our fire pit a little bit. Oops.  

We have some pretty good banks on the sides of the road.

That’s the issue with using a blade and not a blower. If I’m up to it, one of these days I’ll hook the blower up and use that to cut the banks down. Unless they melt first. On the township level we have the county Highway Department clear our snow. After the first couple snows and the county trucks clearing the roads, we get some complaints about road rock being thrown into people’s yards. Well, that’s pretty hard to avoid on these first snowfalls. The next complaint is about the snow – or the plow- hitting mailboxes. To avoid those mishaps, a few years ago the county replaced all the mailboxes on county roads with swiveling pipe stands. When the plow or heavy snow hits the mailbox, it swivels out of the way. Seems like a good plan. Except when there’s mail in the box. Then it’s like ‘Crack-the-whip’ and the door pops open and the mail sails off into the ditch. I stood on the edge of the road looking at the open mailboxes (both ours and our neighbors) and looked at the mail down there by the pine tree and thought, “maybe, I can get down there.” Nope, one step into the deep snow and I knew my knew knee wasn’t up to it. Kelly had to go rescue it. And it turned out it was all our neighbors mail.

It was 2 1/2 weeks before I put real pants on again, and three weeks to the day before I wore real shoes again. I’m doing stairs, and I can just barely get the left foot up on my right knee to put my socks on! Making progress!

Movies this week have been Monty Python and the Holy Grail, (because it showed up on Netflix so how could I not?) So many quotable lines! The one I use on daughter often is when trying to wake her up in the mornings. I tell her I’ll come back and “…taunt you a second a-time-a!”

And Ferris Buellers Day Off. And The Big Lebowski. I saw part of The English Patient on TV one night. Thumbs up or down for that one? I remember liking the book. 

I got the book ‘Wild Pork and Watercress’ by Barry Crump for Christmas; read that in 2 days. Saw the movie adaptation last summer, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and liked that. Then the book. As usual, the book was better. 

Kelly’s car had more miles last year. Probably from driving me around all summer. My car and truck had less miles of course, and all the tractors had less hours. I didn’t do my own fertilizer last year so that accounted for some less. And I only had half as much straw to bale as usual, so that was less hours. The big tractor, doing the heavy tillage, had 37 hours. My other one, the one I use for planting, baling, blowing snow, and mowing, that one had 113 hours. The gator, being our first full year with it, had 468 hours and 455 miles. Since that was my main mode of transportation for a couple months, it did add up. 

Speaking of airplanes and deserts, (The English Patient), Anyone seen ‘The Little Prince’ at the Guthrie? How is it?

Did you play Dodge Ball in School? What was the most terrifying playground equipments?

60 thoughts on “January”

  1. My best girlfriend, and her husband and her cousin have season tickets to the Guthrie. The cousin lives about three hours away and occasionally can’t make the show. I have often been the beneficiary of that scenario as I was 10 days ago when she called me at noon on Thursday and said, do you want to go to the Guthrie tonight? I enjoyed the production although I didn’t love the play. Mostly because I’m just not that big of a fan of The Little Prince. But the staging was fabulous and the costuming was wonderful, especially the snake.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Yes, I played dodgeball but I don’t have any traumatic memories. I do however think the merry go round is unbelievably dangerous. And I had several scraped knees and scraped elbows in my childhood to prove it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I loved dodgeball and I suppose I was decent at it since I played baseball and was a pitcher from Day 1. I agree w/ VS about merry-go-rounds being more dangerous than most plyground equipment, but I was never terrified of anything on the playground. Those little spinning gate thingies (like a very small mgr for one or two people, always maybe me dizzy and queasy, however.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I played dodgeball, with the “dodging” part being my only part of the game. Throwing the ball with deadly aim has never been part of my skill set. But getting hit with the ball thrown by pitchers HURT. A LOT.

    All the playground equipment I played on was pretty dangerous, which did not slow me down a bit. I hurt my ankle by swinging on a swing as high as possible, then sailing out into the air and landing hard. I also remember hanging upside down by the knees on a bar and swinging hard on that until my knees asked for relief. Lou lost his front teeth as a 12 year old when someone threw the baseball bat after making a hit and his teeth were in the path of the bat. His dad, Okie, then had a fit because the accident incurred a dental bill and partial false teeth. Okie never forgave Lou for that cost. I wish I was exaggerating that, but it is true. That partial plate lasted 67 years and was only replaced this year by a new one.

    Wintertime recess duty for teachers (usually females) was agony in the winter. Female teachers were required to wear dresses and stand out there on duty during recess, including during below zero weather and wind. Sometime in the late 1960s my mother, a feared teacher, staged a rebellion by asking that they be allowed to wear pants during recess duty under their dresses for warmth on very cold days after getting some frostbite on her legs (Yes, indeed—patches of white skin that itched like crazy after warming). This fight went all the way to the all male school board who finally gave in.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I drove by an elementary school yesterday and saw the teachers outside playing with the kids and I thought about all the clothing needed in winter and what a hassle, and my first grade teacher, Miss Crandle, who would never let me out the door without my coat being zipped to the neck, which I hated.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I love your header photo, Ben; what a beautiful winter scene.

        I have never played Dodgeball, nor have I seen it played. In fact, despite having just looked it up, I don’t really have a clear understanding of what it entails or what kind of ball is used. I was a pretty athletic and active kid, I’m guessing I would have liked it.

        It seems like most of the playground equipment when I was a kid was dangerous, or could be. To my mind, scraped knees, bumps, bruises, cuts, and scabs, are all part of growing up; they go with the territory. I sometimes marvel at injuries my friends and I survived. A certain amount of luck was involved in not causing major damage in some cases. Some scars remain, but other very close calls are but a memory.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I didn’t realize they actually still play dodge ball. But they use softer balls than they did in the 1970’s when it was the bigger, harder typical playground ball. The point of the game was to dodge being hit. If you caught the ball the thrower was out. If you got hit, you were out.

          PJ, after reading your post last night about corn cobs, and filling the bird feeders this morning, when I got to the cob, Bailey was right there all excited about it. Humphrey was off doing something else, So Bailey jumped for it… then dropped it because it’s not any fun if the point is just getting it before Humphrey. Haha- It’s still laying where she dropped it. This spring, when picking up sticks, we’ll be picking up corn cobs too.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. Ben, I only know about the corn cobs because I happened to stumble on an article about it a few years ago. During the summer, when we’d eat outside and have corn on the cob, we always let the dog have it after we were done. Typically, they wouldn’t eat it, but chew it to smithereens, but we quit giving them the cobs after that. Why take that chance? I’d never forgive myself if something bad would result.

          Liked by 3 people

  5. Dodgeball, especially when played in phy-ed and not as an optional activity on the playground, was yet another opportunity for the adept and sadistically-inclined to terrorize the less physically adept members of their class, with some encouragement from the gym teacher. I was sort of in the middle ground, not singularly adept but not a target either. It was just another of those pointless and sometimes cruel activities that characterized physical education class.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Whoa! “Sadistically-inclined” those are strong words. Were the balls used hard enough to actually inflict pain or damage? That would certainly take the fun out of it. I imagined something like a tennis ball or a plain, soft rubber ball and not a softball, or god forbid, a baseball.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh there definitely were some kids that were in it to inflict pain. Depending on how much attention the teachers were paying. The ball was the large, 8 or 10″ firm rubber balls. They bounced really well so it wasn’t too soft. If it hit you in the face it would hurt. The gut too could hurt. And they certainly left red marks.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I remembered the gym class ball as a basketball but it could have been just a hard rubber playball.
          One should never discount the sadistic inclinations of certain adolescents when encouraged, overtly or implicitly, by their teacher.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. The winning strategy, as I recall it, was to get hit as harmlessly and as early as possible so you could sit the rest of the game out safely.

          Liked by 3 people

        3. I remember a red ball about the size of a basketball, but under inflated. That meant that you could really get a good handle on the ball before you threw it. This also meant that the really athletically inclined could be wicked and because cliques started out early in grade school and junior high, if you weren’t athletically inclined, you could pretty much count on being out almost immediately.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I vaguely remember dodge ball, but we more often played Red Rover or Pom Pom Pullaway (“a form of tag in which the players make a dash for a goal at the signal ‘pom-pom-pullaway’ “). And later volleyball, softball. Only thing I was any good at in Phys. Ed. was the rare bit folk dancing, and it took till I was 30 yrs. old to discover that again.

    I never had mishaps on the playground equipment, but I thought the “bucket” swings were so stupid, and would opt to go out to Riverside Park where there were very high, REAL swings where you could stand up and pump…

    Most dangerous for me on playground was getting knocked down by a kid playing some kind of game (could have been dodge ball, come to think of it), broke my lower arm.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I enjoyed kick ball. I remember slipping when rounding the bases and got some scrapes that way.
      Yes, the merry go round. I was always afraid I’d slip and fall underneath. Even teeter totters; I must have been dumped a few times and that would jar your teeth. And yeah, that little three person one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I think about it, a lot of our childhood paraphernalia – bicycles, scooters, ice- and roller skates, skis and misc. other equipment, some of which we manufactured ourselves – was capable of causing serious injury.

        The skates I had as a kid, were clamped on to shoes or boots that weren’t meant to hold them. As a result, they’d often come off in the middle of a high speed maneuver and send me careening into something, or head first onto the ice. I must have been thirteen when I got my first pair of figure skates where the skate was attached to a white boot. Prior to that I had skates that clamped on to my rubber boots, from which they regularly slipped off, causing a more or less spectacular spill, depending on how fast I was going at the time. I still have a sizeable scar on my right shin from one of those falls. The only pair of roller skates I ever had came with a key and ankle strap to help secure them to my shoes. Leather shoes were a little more reliable than rubber boots to hold the skate on, but they still would come off occasionally.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I think it was like a mini merry-go-round – just two or three kids could fit on it, you’d be standing up and holding on to a center post – Chris was talking about it above: “Those little spinning gate thingies (like a very small mgr for one or two people”…

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Yeah that’s the thing. Just a little bigger.

          Course metal slides too. I burned my hands a few times. Because I never wore shorts.
          I remember a rocket looking one that was cool.

          Liked by 3 people

  7. In winter, King of the Hill. At Park elementary in Moorhead, a huge pile of snow removed from the sidewalks was a battle scene every day before we were ringed into attendance. I never attained the height.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. We had a game on the swings. They were the swings with seats made of one thick strap. Two of us would sit in swings adjacent to one another, one of us facing one direction, the other sitting in the opposite direction. We would start swinging, pumping as high as we could, and then shift our swings toward one another so the swing chains wrapped around each other, making us fly in circles around one another. It was exhilarating.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I always enjoyed leaping out of those to sail through the air as mentioned. And then one day, my Jean jacket bottom hooked on the loop and I didn’t get far. Probably knocked the wind out of me.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. Have tickets to see The Little Prince in a couple of weeks – will be my first time back at the Guthrie since the Before Times.

    As for dangerous things on the playground… my elementary school didn’t have swings or a teeter-totter (had to got the park for those, where there were plenty of things we used in ways not intended that were not remotely safe…). Hated dodgeball. But really the worst was anything that led to a trip and a fall at recess because the playground wasn’t just cement, it was something like pebbles and small rocks in asphalt – so when you fell, you always always ripped up your knees (or the palms of your hands, or both). I can still feel the sting of it and the extra sting of going to the nurse’s office to get the little stones tweezered out if you really fell hard or in the wrong spot. Ouch.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. saw the little prince in previews it was glorious
    saw it last year ant theater in the round because i love the book and laughed visualizing what fun it would be to perform
    the little prince was good and the flower spectacular at theater in the round the guthrie performance had me completely entranced by the little prince and the narrator but the flower and the minor players were beautifully thought out as well
    i love this story and now this play
    playground equiptment the catholic schools were lacking actually nothing at all on the corner the public school had a new playground but nothing scary
    i did break a tooth on the round jungle gym buy walking up the rungs meant to be hand climbed. got to the top and slipped off with my fall broken by my face into the top rung
    damn it was my brand new big front tooth
    lost a corner
    dodgeball was a public school thing o loved when introduced but i was an outsider being a visitor from a foreign school
    soft under inflated rubber balls that got you attention but never inflicted pain is my memory
    remember mumbly peg
    knives and feet now there’s a great kids game
    i was out delivering in the area outside the city and realized it’s just part of the deal to have a plow and a monster turnaround area on your long driveway
    you spend the same amount of time as us shovel folk but in the cab instead of on foot
    i love winter
    i love this time of year when 30 feels like april sweatshirt weather
    makes spring so welcome when it shows up
    wish i had time for my cross country skiing fetish
    i found the ideal temp for cross counter skiing comfort is -5 to -10 above zero is really too warm below zero makes it possible to ski for an hour without getting overheated or sweaty
    my mustache grows to a walrus sized popsicle but it’s such great sport
    always wanted to go telemark sling where you hike up the mountain and downhill ski but with you heels loose like cross country
    i used to spend a couple weeks every post christmas in montana and yellowstone was spectacular on skis

    Liked by 3 people

  11. completely off-topic philosophic throw it out there anyway as I was driving early this morning, I noticed a bunch of Christmas trees at the end of the driveway and it reminded me of one of my favorite smiles

    my dad, brother older by two years was my uncle Paul and he was a fun uncle, but as my dad and I work together my dad is a great storyteller and will get to laughing about uncle Paul‘s sense of humor one of the good ones is the ad that he placed in the fargo form that said that he would pay $.50 for anybody’s Christmas tree when they were done with it after Christmas and listed one of the groups address and put it in the paper at first the guy at the address didn’t understand why someone would come up to his door and ring the doorbell and tell him that he had a Christmas tree for him and he was looking for $.50 but when about the 17th guy came by he realize what had happened and he now had 17 Christmas trees in the yard and 45 more to come the other one that comes to mind when I think of my uncle Paul’s hole when the boys would go out in a group and stay in a hotel in the big city or even when they were out duckhunting and staying in a hotel in Oaks or somewhere like that uncle Paul always find a way to get into someone else’s room and placed a wake up call for 2:45 AM and then never say anything about it again, you gotta love that guy I have a brother Paul, who has a twisted sense of humor that’s similar

    makes you smile

    Liked by 4 people

  12. In the absence of adult supervision, we put a large trampoline under a basketball hoop and used a volleyball to dunk on an opponent. Not dangerous at all. Believe me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sorry to be so dense, Wes, but I don’t get the picture? Can you elaborate on this scenario? What was the danger? Heads hitting the basketball hoop? I’m having a hard time seeing this working at all. Would someone be on the trampoline at all times?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My first thought was a couple of teenage boys on the trampoline at the same time, jumping around, trying to throw a basketball at a specific target and then of course, bumping into each other, losing their balance and falling off at high speed. Is there more Wes?

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Teenage insanity is a little hard to describe. Heads knocking. Body up on an opponent two feet in the air. Trying to time your dunk as high as possible while getting the opponent lowest. Layups and jump shots allowed. My best move was the ability to freeze a jump and go underneath for the score. I used my light weight (at the time) against the bigger guys.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Keep in mind, Wes, I was never a teen age boy, I’ve never played basketball, and I didn’t grow up in the US. The amount of teen age insanity I can think of is severely limited due to these factors. 🙂

          Liked by 6 people

  14. The Battle Of The Dakotas will begin shortly. Bison v Jackrabbit
    Sigh. It is what it is.
    I have never fully understood why it wasn’t just one state instead of two.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It was split because there was lots of disagreement and animosity over where the capitol should be. They couldn’t agree, so they made it into two states.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I read The English Patient and saw the movie in a first-run theatre. I liked the book quite a bit, and thought the movie was pretty well done.

    Reading about everyone’s childhood injuries makes me think of the days when girls had to wear skirts to school. In the wintertime I had royal blue stretch pants underneath my skirt. If it wasn’t quite cold enough for the stretch pants, I’d be wearing tights. Often I’d end up falling down. Many pairs of tights arrived home with bloodstains and holes. I would have benefitted from kneepads.

    I still have a scar on my right eyebrow from running into a post on roller skates.

    Liked by 6 people

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