Category Archives: gardening

Spaetzle vs Schnitzel

Our local Walmart store management  tore  out most of the checkout aisles and installed several dozen  self-checkout kiosks.  I refuse to use them, which means I have to  put up with long lines and long waits while my icecream  melts.

Husband and I were in line the other day conversing about a spaetzle-aspragus recipe, when the woman in front of us asked what exactly  spaetzle was. She and her husband had been chatting up the cashier, who happened to be from the same Hispanic community they were from near Bakersfield, CA.  She said she had heard of it but didn’t know what it was. I explained, and then cautioned her that it was different than schnitzel, and then I explained what forms that could take.  She had heard of that, too. Behind us in line was an elderly neighbor from a block over from our house who takes long walks in the neighborhood and wanted to know if we got our produce in. She said she loved watching our garden.

Shopping is a social outing for us, and reinforces our sense of community. We aimed to be Community Psychologists, so I guess things are working  out.

What communities do you belong to?

 

 

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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?

2019 Crop Wrap Up

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

I hear lots of farmers saying “2019,” and they sigh, “It is what it is. And it needs to be over.”  Yep.

For me, it was December 15th, 2018 when the guy ran into me and totaled my car, and from there it was the leg infection and the rain and now the kidney stone and this year just needs to be over and I’m going to start fresh on December 16th 2019! With Jury duty!  A whole new experience!

I was big on having ‘Experience Adventures’ when I was younger. I quit using that term at some point, but I’m still up for an adventure or experience and they keep coming. Attitude is everything. 

Got the soybeans out. Yield was terrible. Mostly just the weather caused that. No one had great yields, but some were OK. I had that one field that was short. The one I said made me sick to my stomach every time I looked at it. That entire field yielded 89 bushels. Well heck. That was a 10 acre field. Should have done 45 bushels each ACRE! Should have had half a semi load from there! Should have had 450 Bushels! I had some fields here at home that ran 40 – 50 bushels / acre. Don’t know what was up with that one field. Planted same day, same variety of bean. Too wet, too many deer eating the tops off, too cool… it is what it is.

Overall, my beans averaged 28 bushels / acre which is about half of what they should have done. Crop insurance will kick in and cover some of the yield loss. At least they got combined before they got snowed on. Price was on the lower side. But test weight was good and soybeans are almost always dry enough that they don’t need to be dried so all that was good.

Corn was done last week. I knew the yield looked good. Which is pretty amazing considering again, it was planted late, it was cool, it rained, it had windstorms, and then it froze early. It averaged 167 bushels / acre. Above average for me. It doesn’t make any sense considering everything done wrong, but it is what it is. With the raccoons pulling stalks down and wasting the corn, deer knocking them down and eating the corn, and turkeys pulling up young plants, it’s a wonder any survives. Every night you’d see deer out there eating. And as I rode in the combine and he finished the last field, we chased 6 raccoons out of the last rows.

And it was wet, but we knew that. The combine was saying 25% moisture. Delivered corn to the elevator (where it really matters) and the loads were between 24% and 28% moisture. It has to be dried to 15% to store it and that cost me $0.50 / bushel to dry it down. Cost a few thousand dollars for drying. Price wasn’t great to start with. It is what it is. A good year, better soils, less deer, it’s not unusual to average 200+ bushels / acre on some farms in some places. The “Pie-in-the-sky” goal is 300. Takes lots of management to make that happen.

My dad, before hybrid seeds, got 50 bu/Acre so he’d be impressed with the 167.

Crop insurance may kick some in as a price insurance coverage. (because I can buy “revenue” insurance too. NOTE: In fact, the agent was here. No payment on corn because even though price was low, the yield was good. They always get ya).

It froze before I could get any fall fieldwork done. I thought maybe with the warmer weather the last few days maybe it would go; I hooked the chiselplow up and ran out and tried and no. Three inches of frost yet and I should have known but I would be mad at myself if I didn’t try.  2019 – It is what it is.

I’m wondering if the warmer weather the last few days might have helped take the frost out? But it rained too and it’s too muddy to try. Oh well. It is what it is. Next year will be better.

I got some cool pictures of the combine at night.

In the end we didn’t make as much money as we do some years. But I’ve been saying we’ll be OK. And we will; We won’t go broke.

The difference between me and the really big farmers is a matter of a few more zero’s on our checks AND bills.

I asked Craig, who was combining my corn, how much they had left to do. He grunted. “A lot” he said. Later on I asked again. About 900 acres he figured. Yikes.

And of course, the propane shortage we had wasn’t helping but I think that’s passed. Even the coop elevator was shut down because their natural gas was turned off. No one had ever heard of that before. Forty years, no one has heard of that. Craig said they use 1500 gallons of LP / day to dry. One day they got 500 gallons. So they just have to wait.

One guy I watch on YouTube (Mn Millennial Farmer) has a huge, multi-thousand gallon tank and contracts his LP for the year. Yep, he has a contract, he just can’t get it delivered either. He wanted a semi-full, got ½ a load.

I’ve heard it was Illinois’ fault. They usually are a month ahead of us combining corn and they don’t usually need to dry it. And it’s not usually this cold this time of year. It is what it is.

Next year will be better!   Right??

The New Martha

When we moved into our house 30 years ago, our neighbors across the street were Ludwig and Martha, an elderly couple of Czech heritage. There were several houses around us with young children,  and the neighborhood was pretty busy at times. Martha and Ludwig were always up for a chat on their porch, and loved watching the children play. Every Halloween Martha made sure she had some extra special treat bags for daughter and her best friend across the street.  Martha and Ludwig passed a few years ago, and middle aged  couple live there now.

I have enjoyed getting acquainted with  the two young children next door to us. They moved in last summer. They are very curious about our garden and flowers, and they like to tell me what has been going on in their lives whenever we are all outside at the same time.  This Halloween I made sure I had  special treat bags for them,  just like Martha. I told daughter I was turning into the new Martha, and she said “Those are big shoes to fill, Mom”.  I hope I can live up to the challenge.

When have you stepped into someone’s shoes? Whose place have you filled? How well did it work?

Irony

Tuesday the temperature here was 75. Yesterday we had a winter storm blowing in.  I was getting ready for work yesterday and I noticed a large welt on my calf. It was a mosquito bite!  I searched and saw it flying around in the dining room. The little devil got me  while I was wandering around the house with my coffee cup. It probably stowed away in the spinach I harvested on Tuesday night. How ironic!   A mosquito bite on the day of a snow storm.

What are the recent or not so recent ironies in your life? Got any good mosquito stories?

Seasons

It snowed here on Wednesday.  The header photo is a view out of my work window Wednesday afternoon.   The buildings in the background are part of an assisted living facility.  The season changed here suddenly, and incontrovertibly.

PJ mentioned yesterday her horror at seeing all the Christmas decorations while she was shopping. I suppose the merchant’s view is that the season has changed, and the store is announcing it.

Husband says we have six seasons out here: Winter, Calving, Spring, Summer, Harvest, and Autumn. I say a sure sign of Winter is green tomatoes ripening in paper bags or boxes in the house.  I ordered glaceed fruit and nuts for my Christmas baking today, another sign of seasonal change.

What are the seasons in your year? What do you look for in nature or in people around you for signs of the seasons changing?

Taking My Show On The Road

The following is an excerpt from an article in our local paper, The Dickinson Press, for September 17, 2019, written by reporter Josiah Cuellar.

“An 18-wheeler loaded with a massive, four-ton potato, on its annual tour of the country, stopped by The Hub at West Dakota Oils which was having their grand reopening Tuesday, Sept. 17.  The Big Idaho Potato crew filled up and welcomed the public to get photos and ask questions to the truck driver, Melissa Bradford, and the “Tater Twins,” Kaylee Wells and Jessica Coulthard.  “No two potatoes look alike, neither do the Tater Twins,” Wells said.  “It’s just a really fun campaign,” Coulthard added. The annual tour began in 2012, and the popularity of it keeps bringing the colossal spud back. “They built the potato truck to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission,” Coulthard said,  “It was originally supposed to be one-year tour, but it got so popular they just kept it going.”  While every trip in the giant, potato-shaped truck is unique, this year’s tour is extra special because it features the first all-female group. “We are the first all-female team that they had on tour,” Wells said. “We get to show other women that you can do anything that you put your mind to, that you can succeed in a man’s world; you can do whatever you want.””

Ok. I think this is pretty silly and weirdly wonderful.  No matter what happens in the next few weeks in Washington, I think it is important to remember that this is what makes us a great nation.

What would you like to load up on a big truck and take on tour? Where would you take it?