Category Archives: Business

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?

Are We Really Ready?

The headlines today say that Facebook is creating  “an immersive environment called Horizon to tempt people into spending more time in virtual reality.”  They’re calling this virtual world “Horizon”.

I just recently finished reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which is about a future in which a worldwide virtual reality called “Oasis” has become the reality for most people.  Despite there being some seriously bad guys in the story, Ready Player One is much more optimistic about this future virtual world than I am.

Having just written yesterday about my unhappiness with my phone game addiction, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to jump into a virtual reality world with both feet. I mean, if you spend lots more time in “Horizon” or “Oasis” or “Eden”, who does the dishes and vacuums the dog hair?  My job of physically sending people to exotic destinations would be kaput.  In Ready Player One, many people got jobs in the Oasis but it still doesn’t answer the question of who makes your frozen burritos and who maintains the building you live in.

So I think I’ll pass. At least for now.

You just got a new planet for your birthday. What would you call it?  Anything special about it?

Binder Heaven

Binders are my thing. Give me a good binder with tabs any day.  I have a binder for my other book club, for poetry that I’ve printed off the internet, for directions, for recipes and for Solstice planning.  Vacations and special events like the solar eclipse also get binders.  I made a binder for YA’s college search and another one for college financial aid.  Luckily at work, I need a binder for each program and I also have a binder for assorted things I need to keep track of.

YA’s injury has generated massive amounts of paper: emergency room paper, orthopedic paper, worker’s comp paper and insurance paper. Every time we leave the house for an appointment, I get handed the folder.  I joked on Tuesday that I was going to put it all in a binder; YA snorted.

So I was surprised yesterday morning when she said “can you put all these papers in a binder?” I didn’t know how serious she was and although I agreed, I didn’t have the project on my immediate radar.  She asked again at 5 p.m. and then 8:30.  At that point I grabbed an unused binder (yes, I have a stash) and some tabs (yes, I have a stash) and we worked on it together.  She sorted out all the papers, I labeled the tabs and 3-hole punched everything.  As she wheeled herself back to her room with the completed binder, I felt a warm glow.  Two binder gals together!

How do you like to organize your papers?  Do you think our society will EVER be paperless?

Blessed Relief

My typical work day consists of seeing clients in therapy, doing formal psychological testing, consulting with other staff, going to meetings, doing paperwork, writing reports, answering and sending work-related emails, and taking care of whatever else my work place might throw at me.

In the midst of all this, I keep tabs on what is happening on my phone and my private laptop that I also have at work.  (I also check the  Blog for activity). My children and Husband are frequent texters. The main job for my private laptop is to provide Bluetooth connections to my sound bar so that I can listen to Classical MPR whenever I have a free moment while I do paperwork.

Throughout the day I also keep track of all the emails I get from the Regulatory Board of which I am the chair.  I can’t deal with the emails that arise when I am working, since that would be frowned upon, even though what I do on the Board is officially State business, and I am a State employee.  I understand the reasoning for this.

I typically get 10-20 emails from the Regulatory Board office each day.  I take care of them in the evening when I get home from work. There was a flurry of activity this morning, and then, blessed quiet this afternoon. I figured out that our Board secretary is taking a four day weekend to go camping.  What a relief!

I wish I were not so tied to my technology. As I read what I just wrote, I can’t believe I do all the things I just described. This just can’t be healthy!

How tied are you to technology? How do you set limits on it and on yourself?

Will You Be My Neighbor?

We have a small four year college in our town that is part of the ND University system. It is traditionally a teachers college, and also has a good business  administration department.   I was excited to see one of the new business faculty is a native of Bangladesh, and brings a family history of an uncle who is the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who created the Grameen Bank, which provides small loans for people in Bangladesh to start their own businesses.  The nephew brings the same sort of social responsibility to his class room, and I am really glad we have in increasingly diverse community.  His philosophy is that  you create business to solve social problems, unlike traditional businesses which are exclusively profit-oriented.

Every summer we have an ethnic heritage festival in which the Germans from Russia, Norwegians, Ukrainians, and Dutch groups have food booths and displays of traditional dress and crafts. The Mexican Americans have now joined the festival, and this year the local Rwandan community featured a traditional dance group.

I am happy to report that everyone in town seems to be getting along for the most part, and I am glad that we have new community members who aren’t like the majority of white mid-westerners.

Who would you like to see move into your neighborhood?

 

Dog Days

I’m not getting much done at work today. During the summer, every Friday is “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” and I am in dog heaven.  I keep dog treats in my cube and on Fridays, I actually have a stash in my pocket throughout the day.

Today in addition to Charlie and Bernie Mac and Vegas (GoldenDoodle, Puggle, Doberman) who are here most Fridays, we have a brand new puppy. 8-week old Dave Grohl (name of somebody in some band that I don’t know about), a golden retriever.  He has the wonderful puppy smell and that squishy soft puppy skin.

Rufus, Mochi, Brandon and Ash are off today but I’ve petted (and fed) a couple of others, whose names I don’t know, as they travel through the building. I’m on a main aisle and I think the dogs can smell the treats in my pocket as they’re going by so they stop by!

What perk would make your Fridays better?

Ben’s Rampage

I was sad to read in the Rock County Star Herald, a weekly paper from my home town to which I subscribe, that the Hills Crescent newspaper is ceasing publication. Hills is a small town southwest of Luverne, and the Star Herald, which owns the Crescent, decided to close it down. They promise that Hills and Beaver Creek news and issues will be covered in the Star Herald.

The Crescent was in publication for 126 years. It was started in 1893 and had 200 subscribers when it started. The first press they used was a Rampage brand press that had been previously owned by Ben Franklin! It was the oldest press machine in the US at the time. I think that is so cool! It only printed one page at a time. I have no idea where it got its name. It doesn’t sound like it rampaged at that pace.

Our current town newspaper only publishes Tuesday through Saturday.  It is delivered by the Post Office, so we sometimes don’t get the paper until late in the afternoon. Were it not for the local court news and the comics, we probably wouldn’t subscribe. I envy people who live somewhere they can get a real paper every day.

What are your favorite and least favorite newspapers?