May Showers

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

Talking about animals…. Again… I heard the song ‘Sky Pilot’ by The Animals.

How many of the baboons have served in the military? Thank you for serving.

Anything you’d like to share about your service?

Any comments about the song?

I got started planting corn on Friday. Checked seed depth and placement.

Then I got rained out. It wasn’t supposed to rain until 7:00 and then only a little bit. Well. It started raining about 4:30. And it doesn’t take much before it’s sticking to the wheels of the tractor and planter, and the press wheels and closing wheels. And once that happens, seed depth is affected and it’s time to stop. And it rained all evening and we got an inch. Then another half inch the next day. And another inch Thursday. And I was dealing with Commencement Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so the rain was OK. A lot of other guys got corn got planted though. Big equipment and many guys working a lot of longer hours than I do. Kudo’s to them. I talked to one guy who not only finished planting corn but finished planting soybeans as well. He said, “When we start something we go hard.” I guess. And it’s more than just him working it too. So it goes. We’ll get there.

Commencement went well; a good bunch of people, and while there were some minor technical issues, nothing serious. My work student, April and I hung a few lights last week, before they placed the stage. Monday, the IT guys had the projector hanging and running and the screen up before I got there at 10:00 AM.

April and I then hung the rest of the main lights, we got all the ground stuff running before I went home Monday evening about 7:00. It should have been sooner, but I had some issues. There was a high impendence air gap* in one of the fixtures that daisy chained to several others. And I numbered some of them wrong. Twice. I spent two hours trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Part of me just wanted to go home and deal with it in the morning with a fresh mind. But I knew I’d lay in bed thinking about this. I knew I had to fix it before I went home. Ah. Yep, Brain Fart. Numbered them appropriately and I went home and slept well.

It always comes down fast; a lot of helpers picking up chairs and the IT crew get their stuff down quick, and April and I got our stuff down quick and we were done with the hard part by 9:00 PM. Hauled my stuff back to the theater and the truck showed up for the rental stuff and I was home having ice cream by 10:00 PM.

AND! None of my appendages or internal organs fell off, or plugged up, or turned red, or swoll up! Yay me! I can do this!!  

Last week was Kelly’s birthday. This week was my birthday. And Friday the 12th was our 33rd wedding anniversary. We don’t celebrate too hard. (we all took the day off and slept in) There’s a big family reunion happening on Saturday. It started as a ‘cousins get-together’; my nieces and nephews; that set of cousins. Some from Florida, some from South Carolina, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and various places in Minnesota. The cousins getting together turned into the whole families getting together and we’ll celebrate all the birthdays in May (There’s at least 6), Mothers day, our anniversary, our son and DiL’s anniversary, and our matriarch, my mom, turning 97 on the 16th.

Kelly and I always laugh about going to the all-night grocery store about midnight before our wedding because she wanted 3 gallons of lime sherbet for the punch the next day. I remember saying “Where are you going to put it!??” in her tiny little apartment freezer.

Kelly’s taste and smell are coming back after her covid. And she’s got a bit of a cough yet. My nose still runs, but I’m good otherwise.

We were running errands the other night and taking the scenic route and heard, off in the corner of a parking lot, a Jazz band. They were playing New Orleans jazz and it was really fun and we parked and listened to them for a few minutes. We tried to find out if they do this every Sunday night or it was just a jam session, or what, but we didn’t find anyone that spoke English. Man, they were good!

Signed a contract for insulation for the shop. Found some ‘reject’ windows at a lumber yard that I decided to add. Used some chalk and marked out the floor for the walls and doors. Talked to some HVAC and LP guys about how big of a heater I’d need and where to put the LP tank.

My college boss made a comment about the next show opening in 2 weeks and my head kinda went blank for a minute. Heck. My focus was just on getting through commencement. I knew there was another show at the end of the month, but I hadn’t really looked at the calendar yet. It’s fairly small, and fairly easy. (and to be honest, I’m waiting for this whole thing to fall apart, but I didn’t say that out loud). So, I better work on that next week. I still haven’t gotten the college shop cleaned up from the play we closed on April 29th because we went right into concerts and then right into commencement. It’s making me crazy.

Then I’m doing another show opening the first week of June. Another in July, another in August, and then summer’s over and I’m back at the college. Bother.

What are your summer plans? Did you play with matches?

48 thoughts on “May Showers”

  1. Although I was born on an Air Force base, raised around Air National Guard and respect my Dad’s and other’s service, I did not serve in the military. Had my draft number been lower, I would have been CO, Conscience Objector. I would not have gone to Canada…jail.
    As to the song, I continue to love it. I like the bagpipes in the long version and the bass guitar throughout. The lyrics are excellent. For millenia, religion and warfare have been inextricably entwined. It is difficult for me to grasp the mental gymnastics of religious leaders who readily preach their fellow worshippers into the trenches often with the purpose of killing the enemy who shares the same religion. The German soldier in the two world wars wore a belt buckle inscribed with , “Gott Mit Uns”, “God With Us.” Which god?

    Liked by 7 people

  2. What a whirlwind week, Ben! We have had almost 2 inches of rain since Thursday. It sure is welcome. Husband and I couldn’t figure out why there was so much traffic at 4:00 yesterday, and then we noticed that there were a lot of pickups, and Runnings was packed, and we think it was all farmers and ranchers coming to town because of the rain.

    We don’t have many plans for the summer except to stay home and work in the garden when we aren’t at work. I caught my son playing with matches when he was about 6, so I marched him outside on the patio, gave him several large boxes of wooden kitchen matches, and told him to start lighting them one at a time. It took him more than an hour to light them all. His hands got tired. It got really boring,too, and then I had him clean them all up. That took care of that problem.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. * I forgot the “*” response: A “high impedance air gap” means I forgot to plug it in. 🤦‍♂️

    And I asked about matches because growing up we burned our garbage and that’s how we all learned to use paper matches.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. For some reason, this is making me think about the movie North by Northwest. The Cary Grant character had matches with his monogram on them, which turned out to be quite pivotal toward the end of the movie. But not once did I ever see him light up.

      I don’t ever recall playing with matches, but I did go through a period with some friends in high school, during which we would melt wax onto our hands and make molds of our palms and fingers. I’m not sure why we did that. And of course going off to college cured that.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    At this point my plans are puppy training, and visiting my mother who seems to be slipping away. Given those two conditions at opposite ends of life, I will mostly stay home and wait for stuff to happen. I will be gardening and doing my Master Gardener volunteering, as well. You all have heard of my impending retirement. My friend and I may throw a party. Still thinking on that.

    I did have an episode of playing with matches, however, the allure of that faded quickly. My dad smoked a pipe, but his shaky hands did not allow him to light it. We would help him fire it up. That gave me all the match play I could ever want. He liked to keep us standing there, lit match in hand, while he watched it burn down to our fingers, even though the pipe was lit. After the first time, I would just extinguish the match and walk away. My sister, though, would stand there letting it burn her fingers waiting for him to say the pipe was lit and she could blow it out. How gullible could she be? This is a character trait that still causes her problems—although she would define it as being a “faithful Christian.” EyeRoll. God gave you a brain for a reason, woman. These people do not have your well-being as a priority.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. My paternal grandfather was blind and mentally ill. He had been the rural doctor for Morristown, then Nerstrand, then they moved to Owatonna. He was blind due to an incident with a gun, after which my grandmother ruled, and he became more depressed and addicted to his medical stash of narcotics. He used to sit all day in a chair in his living room with his ashtray on a stand near his chair, his cigarettes, and his matches. He listened to “talking books” from the Library for the Blind. I remember being fascinated with the scars on his head and his hands. His soft fingers were scorched a deep brown from stubbornly trying to light his own cigarettes while blind. He would light the match and try to hold the end of his cigarette while groping for it with the match. It was harder than it sounds and the pads of some of his fingers were a permanent dark brown. I asked my grandma if the brown washed off his fingers. She looked scornful and said, “No, it doesn’t.” She wasn’t the most compassionate of caregivers.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I recall just about every adult smoker I knew as a child, and I knew many, having nicotine stained fingers. This was before cigarettes had filters. I don’t know if that made a difference in terms of staining the fingers, but it sure was ubiquitous back then.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. This is a tangent from the original topics, but your description of your paternal grandfather reminds me of my maternal one. He had separated from my grandmother by the time my mother became a teenager and went somewhere west to work as a farm hand or ranch hand. He had a brother in Nebraska, so perhaps he went there. I thought of him as my cowboy grandpa and one time he brought me a miniature saddle, which I still have, though it’s in less than ideal condition.

        I saw this grandfather rarely. He was tall and angular and taciturn and at the end of his life he became blind and sick and lived in a room somewhere in downtown Minneapolis. My parents would go to visit him and they would take me but leave me in the car for the duration of their time there. I don’t know the cause of his blindness—whether he had diabetes or some other disease— and I never heard commentary on why he and my grandma separated. My memories of him, from times when he was brought to our house, are of this ancient, gaunt scarecrow sitting silently in a chair. He died when I was ten. He was 68.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. My paternal step-grandmother, Petra, died when I was eight. I remember her fondly, as this short, rotund, and smiling old lady. She died in the hospital right across the street from the boarding school, and I was allowed to visit her every afternoon after school. I remember the unpleasant smell in her room that I came to associate with cancer. She was forty-nine when she died.

          Liked by 4 people

  5. I got as near to the draft as the physical. Fortunately, owing to a knee condition, for which I had medical records going back a decade, I was given a deferment, and later I scored a very high number in the lottery. I would not have gone into the military at any rate and, previous to my physical, I had been weighing the Canada or jail options. I had the paperwork for conscientious objector. You couldn’t simply declare yourself an objector. You had to be approved as such by a draft board, some of which were notoriously unsympathetic. Even the most sympathetic required that you provide statements from religious leaders or other counselors attesting to your expressed longstanding pacifist beliefs. I was nobody’s acolyte and resented the notion that I couldn’t arrive at my own beliefs.

    I don’t think any of the military adventures for which persons of my generation or the generations after have been justified or legitimate and I consider the veterans of those conflicts to be victims, not heroes.

    We have some road trips planned this summer, starting wit a drive to Cedarburg, Wisconsin for a quilt show and from there to Sheboygan to visit the John Kohler museum. There is also a used bookstore in Sheboygan, Inklings, that I want to check out.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. YA and I have things planned for the summer, but they are mostly close to home. I’m probably gonna head out to the Arboretum this week and then again when the irises are in bloom. We’ve talked already about going to Fawn doe Rosa and the Farm Babies at the zoo is going right now. That’s always a favorite of ours. And there will be Llama Trek at the zoo as well. And we already have 10 tickets between the two of us for state fair so there will be a state fair prepping, planning and attending. YA has a work trip to Ireland in August before State fair and I’m still pondering a trip to Chicago to visit a friend and another trip to Madison but neither of those are in stone yet.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Spring/Summer plans (in no particular order)
    1. Trip to Ireland/Scotland departing in three days
    2. Kayaking
    3. Many Lynx basketball games
    4. Combo land/cruise to Alaska
    5. Youngest niece’s wedding in August
    6. Golf
    7. MN Twins outing with long time friends
    8. Cataract surgery

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I know what I will be doing every day of the summer. Unless I do have cancer. Not sure if we do have Moon Dog season tickets. Hope not. But those are in the evening or I don’t go. Not many day games.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. And I never served in military. Was called for three physicals and failed all three because of my very bad vision. Then they made me 4F. Then 3-4 years later bad vision did not count. Then I was put in lottery. As I recall they got within 30 or so numbers of me despite my month of birthday. The first lottery was heavily loaded with December birthdays. I was married and had a child. Was not going to go to Canada. Would not have qualified as CO. If drafted I would probably have not left the country, but we would have lost our house.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I also have a heart murmur which was very prominent at that age but it was no risk and they ignored it. I had partly torn acl’s in both knees but they ignored me when I mentioned them. Draft physicals were kind of a joke.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My dad, being the youngest of 5 boys, was told by the WWll draft board to stay home and help farm since three of his older brothers were already over there fighting. He always regretted missing out on that.
    My brother registered for the draft, but then the draft ended the year before he turned 18.
    I did talk to a recruiter once, but with my leg issues, I wouldn’t have been accepted anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. That song is very easy to harmonize with and has lots of possible harmony parts.

    You’re amazingly busy, Ben. I hope you’re able to get the corn planted soon.

    I’ve never served in the military. By the time my brothers were old enough, the Vietnam war was ending so they didn’t serve either. My dad was in the Korean War but he was a naval corps doctor and didn’t face conflict. War is a tragic thing. Humans killing each other for ideals. We have been a privileged family and I do think of that a lot.

    What an excellent way to teach a child not to play with matches, Renee. I would have faced physical punishment if I was caught playing with matches and I didn’t dare. I guess that’s effective too but it has longer lasting negative effects.

    I’m going to Door County in early June with a group of friends. We don’t have any specific plans. We’re just going to relax, drink some wine, walk around and check it out. We’re staying for three nights. I have a medical procedure coming in July. After that I have nothing planned until Rock Bend. I might be asked to return as stage manager/emcee for the North Grove stage again but that was only just some talk, so we’ll see. I’m not willing to serve on the committee again.

    My other plans are just getting exercise, kayaking, bike riding, and reading. I need a quieter summer than I had last year.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. My son lives in Idaho and belongs to the Democratic Party at a minimal level just to show support. He just got an email asking him to run for office, any office.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In Idaho democratic candidates have no chance, have their lives threatened, have their property damaged, their children Harassed, etc.


  12. Army. August ’69 to February ’72, including 11 months of ’70 in Vietnam as a heavy equipment operator in a construction batallion, building roads and bridges.

    The sky pilot song I remember from a day at the beach , Zuma just north of Malibu, when the song was new, and a top 40 radio station was having an hour when they played no other song, and asked everyone on the beach to turn the radios up loud.
    The chaplains I met while in the Army seemed to be free of the sky pilot syndrome, and were there mainly to help guys cope with their hassles. The chaplains were more like social workers who prayed, and cared. I’m sure that I met my share of fools among them, but they never came off as guys who wrapped the cross in a flag, then served the flag. They served the guys in the uniforms.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there, sons of mothers, daughters of mothers… fathers of mothers, mothers of mothers….

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Thanks for serving and sharing your memories.
    I had a brother in law who was in Vietnam; he said he was a carpenter and that was all he said about it. After he died we found out he had won some medals and done more than that, but it was hard to find many details.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our family picnic went well even if it was a bit chilly with the wind and occasional rain.
      Mom, wrapped in blankets and stocking cap, seemed to enjoy it.

      Liked by 4 people

  15. I let Joel (and Cousin Vin while he was with us) play with matches at their little kitchen table where I could watch them. I don’t remember any repercussions, and it seemed to satisfy their curiosity.

    Travel this summer with be anything within an hour, but we have people coming to visit us, including Husband’s siblings probably in July, and my sister (from Berkeley) at end of June.

    Liked by 2 people

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