Category Archives: Baboon Achievers

New Technology

I finally had to cut the cord. My old laptop just wasn’t going to make the grade when I upgraded Explorer this week; it was originally a re-furbish, so it was about six.  Ancient for a laptop and SLOW.  So knowing that it would only get worse, I trundled myself up to the computer store last weekend.  Obviously I am part of a large contingent of folks who waited until the very last minute to do something about this week’s looming deadline.

You all know that while I am fully capable to doing research if I care about something, too much time thinking about computers doesn’t fill me with elan. I went into the store, found a salesperson (so so young), told him what I use a computer for at home along with my price range.  He showed me three different computers and I chose one.  10 minutes.  I spent longer standing in line to pay for it than I did choosing it.

Now comes the hard part – learning how to negotiate the new systems and software. I remember in my Software Etc. days that software would come in big packages… several disks and a LOT of manual.  These days you get a piece of cardboard with a website and a license number.  My first thought when I opened the box and turned it on was “I am lost in space here”.  Three hours later, I am up and running.  Not proficient yet at getting around or typing on the new keyboard, but at least I’ve got security, internet and, most importantly, OverDrive (for listening to audio books)!

What’s the last book you listened to? (Or read…..)

Two Days

Before my trip to Peru, I was well aware that this would be a trip of a lifetime. Even if I hadn’t already thought this, everyone I knew was sure to tell me.  As you all know, one of my life goals is to not have expectations set too high.  So this felt dangerous to me, to hear so many folks talk about bucket lists and dreams come true.

As a way to try to tamp down my expectations, I did not do ANY research on Peru or Machu Picchu prior to the trip. From our hotel in Cusco, we took a minibus to Ollanta Station (1.5 hours) and then took the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu City (another 1.5 hours).  Then there was the tourist coach up the side of the mountain (hint: if you are afraid of heights, always try to avoid the window seats on a trip like this).  On this last leg of the trip to the site, I reflected that I really didn’t know anything at all about Machu Picchu, with the exception of the altitude – 8,000 feet.

Turns out that there isn’t a massive amount to know. The pre-Andeans had abandoned the site centuries before it was re-discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and they left no written record.  In fact “Machu Picchu” is just the name given to the site in the local dialect and means “old mountain”.  Archaeologists and scientist are pretty sure what many of the buildings were for: homes, palace for the Inca when he visited, security look-out and even a temple (although they only believe this because on the winter solstice the sun shines directly through the main window of the building) but other than that, they don’t know much about how life was lived here.

As I stood gazing out over the stone buildings I was struck with a strong desire to go back in time for just a couple of days to see what life was like when Machu Picchu was populated. How did they live, what did they eat, what were their favorite past times?  Of course it would be nice to know why they abandoned the settlement, but if I only have two days, I don’t think I want it to be the last two days!

 Two days to visit a time in the past. Just two.  When and where do you choose?  (And an absolute guarantee you can get back home after the two days!)

Going Forward in Life

I know from discussions on previous New Year’s Days that we are not a big resolution group. Around our house, New Year’s Day is traditionally the day we take down the tree, put away the ornaments and other decorations and generally straighten and clean up.  It feels like a fresh start after the big holiday season so it’s easy to understand how folks can spend time taking stock and deciding how they’d like to go forward in life.

No particular ways I’d like to go forward, although I will note that 2019 was an abysmal year for keeping up communications with the people in my life. Not sure why, it wasn’t more busy than usual, but in looking back I realize that I did more responding and less reaching out.  So maybe I’d like to change that.  If this is a resolution, then so be it.

If there are resolutions in my past that I managed to keep, I can’t remember. I assume that most of my former resolutions remained as resolutions and not life changes. This means I don’t have a game plan based on past experience for making a change.  I guess I’ll just have to wing it.

Have you had any spectacular resolution failures? Or success?

Cookie Making Machine

Normally I spread holiday baking out over a week or so, but this year with Thanksgiving being so late this year along with a work trip next week, I don’t have as much time as usual. So yesterday and today I am a cookie-making machine!

I marked all my recipes in their various books and then went through and made an ingredient list. The shopping went pretty quickly, although I did need to hit two stores.  No Andes Mints or good peanut butter at the first store.  Except for getting our tree on Friday (the only shopping I’m willing to do on Black Friday), I’ve been doing pretty much nothing but measuring, stirring, shaping and baking.  The tins are starting to pile up on the front porch; it’s like having a walk-in freezer.  I don’t know if I’ll get all of them done before my trip, but that’s my goal.  Here is this year’s list:

    • Anna’s Chocolate Chip (yes, our Anna) – using mini red and green candies
    • Pecan Meltaways
    • Vanilla Walnut Crescents
    • Peanut Butter Bon Bons
    • Peanut Butter Blossoms
    • Soft Gingerbread
    • White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints
    • Spritz
    • Mint Surprises
    • Derby Cookies
    • Milk Chocolate Fudge
    • Milk Chocolate/PB Fudge

That should keep us in cookies until 2020!

Tell me your very favorite holiday cookie.

Day of Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving.

  • I’m grateful that thanks to Mother Nature, I don’t have to worry about any more raking for awhile. Or pruning.
  • I’m thankful that although I don’t have a working chimney right now (until repairs in spring – maybe), I do have a working chimney liner, thus heat.
  • I’m grateful that Nonny is still spry and vibrant, and coming to visit in a couple of weeks.
  • I’m thankful that YA’s foot is healing nicely and she can now get around on her own, drive and go back to work.
  • I’m grateful that most of my friends and loved ones afflicted with the big “c” have beat it back with a stick and am thankful that this community was able to surround the friend and loved one who didn’t with caring and support.
  • I’m thankful that I haven’t thrown my new cell phone out the window (yet).
  • I’m grateful that usually once a day a stranger shows me kindness (even if it’s just stopping on Lyndale so I can either pull into or out of my driveway).

Enough about me. Anything good on your grateful list this year?

Glossary, Almost Two Decades into the Millennium

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

Ever wonder, Baboons, what a “vlog” is, or how long the word “selfie” has been around? Here’s an article with 50 words that have been added to the dictionary since the beginning of this millennium, compiled by “Stacker” in this article .

Of course, they haven’t included anything from our own Glossary of Accepted Terms, but then, we haven’t added anything to our G.O.A.T for 2½ years now. Here’s what I’ve compiled since the last time .

Accordion calendar – a schedule with a too-concentrated number of days, followed by a more spacious number of days.“ Mostly I’ve fine with what I signed up for, except when too many things are required close together – it seems to occur sort of like an accordion playing.” Barbara in Rivertown   August 27, 2019 at 4:31 pm

Adiophra – insignificant things that one allows to make one’s life one of stress and worry.  “My main worry is that my flight from Bismarck isn’t delayed and I make my connecting flight in Minneapolis. My worries are adiophra.”  reneeinnd says: March 29, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Akrasia – Weakness of the will, by which we do that which we really want to do in  the full knowledge that we should be doing something else. [I lost track of the origin of this one – anyone remember whose it is?]

Arrghify – to increase the intensity of, as in: “You should teach them all how to POWERIFY that!  Actualizify! Collaboratify! incentivisify!”      xdfben September 25, 2018 at 10:45 pm

[Arrghify belongs in our dictionary   NorthShorer September 25, 2018 at 11:14 pm ]

Cliffy – a piece of arcane knowledge, a la Cliff on the TV Series Cheers, as here: “Nice Cliffy.”   Linda March 3, 2019 at 9:05 pm …. in response to: Blue Mound State park in Luverne, MN has one of the most genetically pure bison herds in the country.”  reneeinnd   March 3, 2019 at 11:20 am

Farcher – a cross between a farmer and rancher, as in: “I used to spend the first week of November with my farcher friend, Larry.”   July 3, 2019 at 10:19 am   Minnesota Steve

Geezer chute – I think your observations about what is being made are correct – not that you are spiraling down the geezer chute… verily sherrilee   September 26, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Marie Kondo – verb transitive:  to make things disappear, as in: “Can we Marie Kondo the heck out of this snow? It no longer brings me joy…”  ANNA, March 2, 2019 at 11:44 am   

Opposite equivalent – an alternative alternative (?) “Perhaps the opposite equivalent (I just invented that phrase!) is going outside every night before bed and standing for a few minutes.”    xdfben    January 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Tsundoku — A Japanese word for the guilt-pile of books you’ve bought but haven’t yet read.     PlainJane    May 1, 2018 at 1:06 pm

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What new word would you like to see added to the world-wide dictionary? OR, what word would you like to never hear again?

Farm Update

Today’s crop update comes to us from Ben.

Been checking some fields.

Soybeans are about 85% yellow and starting to lose some leaves

It’s interesting because right there by a stalk that’s lost all its leaves is another plant fully green. This picture taken two weeks ago

and there’s a waterway in the middle there. It’s good and green to the left and to the right it’s rocky and yellow. Typically crops do poorly in the rocky areas. The roots don’t establish as well, and it tends to dry out faster. So presumably this area was less robust to start with and that’s why it dries out sooner. Still, to see a line like that is interesting.

Notice there are a decent number of pods on the plants,

and they all have 3 beans in them. But the pods are very wet yet. Even when the leaves fall off, the stalk and pods need to dry down in order to harvest. I cracked one open but it was tough to get open and the beans are firm, but not dry. They should be round, about ¼” to 5/16ths diameter. These are still bigger than that; swollen with water. They’ll get smaller as they dry down. I pay more money to have soybeans combined than corn, because beans are harder on the combine. Because they’re running the combine so low it picks up more dirt and rocks. And as the heads get bigger and wider (my guy is using a head for beans that is 30’ wide) and lots of newer combines have ‘auto float’ for the head, but if my field curves a bit, the header can be on the ground in the center and 4” up on the ends. Then you’re leaving more beans on the ends. So, it’s important to keep the field as smooth as possible in the spring when planting.  These beans are about 20” tall. Normally, they should be 36” tall at least and filled with pods to the top. Sometimes you’ll see 4 beans in a pod but that’s unusual and they say extra pods on the top of the plant indicate an exceptional good year. Won’t be any like that this year. Remember one day I said beans respond to the length of day light? Everyone’s beans look about the same now no matter when planted. Height may be taller if planted early, but colors are about the same. I’ve seen a few people already combining beans. The rest won’t be too far behind getting started on combining beans.

Three weeks ago, I noticed a little bit of yellow in a field and I thought there was some disease damage happening. Nope, just starting to turn, but that first hint of yellow always surprises me. Takes about 3 or 4 weeks to all turn and loose leaves. That happens fast, once they start to turn and then they still have to dry out. Often, it’s not until a killing frost that the stalks are dry enough to go. Not always, again, depends on the weather.

I’ve got some beans on a rental field. They look terrible this year.

They’re short, and the stupid deer have eaten the tops off the entire field!

Everytime I go look at that field I just feel sick about it. The beans there are only about 8” tall. See all those pods near the bottom? The combine will have a hard time getting them so close to the ground. Sigh.

The corn is looking good.

The ears in the field are surprisingly good looking in size.

You can see the deer damage on the outside here.

Notice all the ears standing upright yet. Once they get down to a certain moisture, the ears will drop and hang down.

I don’t know what that moisture % is, but when they’re standing upright, all the rainwater can run down inside the husks. Course that can cause mold issues.

You all know there is a silk to every kernel, right? Notice the odd kernels in this ear.

So that silk didn’t get pollinated for some reason. And the odd shapes, I’m not sure, but obviously, something didn’t all work right. Too cool, too wet? Too dry at that point? Who knows? All part of the mystery.  Splitting the ear, there are nice kernels in there.

See how its’ all dented? But still a drop of milk when I squeeze it. So not quite to ‘black layer’ yet. That will start at the bottom and move up the kernel as it dries. I’m not there yet. I’ve seen a few people starting to chop corn silage for feed. This wouldn’t quite be ready yet either. You want it in black stage before chopping. Maybe another week or two depending on weather. Not that I chop anymore. I kind of miss that. I always liked chopping corn. It smells good and goes easy and was fun to do.

I have one field that has gone down in a kinda random way. I hired a kid to fly his drone over the field. He didn’t know what he was looking for and I couldn’t see what he was looking at, but he did good enough that I could get an overview. The header photo comes from him. (Thanks to Nick Casper’s drone!) It’s called ‘lodging’ when the corn goes down like this.

I don’t think all the deer walking through helped. But the rows and tassels should all be in nice lines. See the mess in part of the field?

Corn puts out extra roots called ‘brace roots’ as it’s gets bigger. Usually they’re 4” above the ground, just to help brace the corn as it gets bigger. Notice these roots coming out 18” up?

An effect of wind and lodging and weather conditions I’m told. Weird. Hopefully it stands until harvest and doesn’t fall over. It’s a mess to combine if they all fall down.

I wish Clyde was still here to add his farm comments.

What was the last ag related commercial you saw on TV?