Category Archives: home

Falling Weather

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Rosie and Guildy are still good. They look like they’re finally growing. They’re still spending most of the day hiding under something, but they do come out and go in by themselves morning and night so that’s progress.

We lost one of the creamy colored adult ducks. Still the two black and white, one creamy, one poufy, and 6 mallards. And two guineas. And roughly 52 chickens. Daily egg count is somewhere between 7 and 12, down from summer peak. Newest hens haven’t started laying yet; late October they’ll be 6 months old and they start laying somewhere in there.

This is Rooster #3 — Kelly calls him ‘Top Gun’ because he thinks he’s hot stuff.

Some of the latest batch of chickens have more black around their eyes than other years. They are ‘Black Australorpe’ breed and they have good longevity, but they can be kind of ornery. I like them. Most chickens in a close up just look ornery.

I’ve been busy at the theaters this week. The HVAC being installed brought in a scissor lift and I use it when they’re not. Replaced a bunch of non-functioning fluorescent lights in the theater with LED retrofit kits. Pulled down all the cables for the stage lights so we could redo them. (It just turns into a rat’s nest after a while. Good to pull down and start fresh.)

Created some new doorways and redid other odds and ends over the summer break between shows. On Saturday all the platforms for the seating are going back in place so I must finish the bulk of the work that I want with the lift before that.

I’ve been saying there’s not much happening on the farm. That’s not true. I’M not doing much on the farm, but there’s a lot happening. The corn and beans are both maturing and drying out. Beans are losing their leaves and drying down, corn is turning brown, maturing, and drying out. Birds are migrating, bees are busy, deciduous trees are turning colors, the world rotates, planets are moving, the moon changes phases… there’s a lot happening. Just not by me.

I watch some youTube farming channels; they’re busy getting things ready for harvest. Soybeans could be going in our area in another week or two.

The pod right in the center of the photo has 4 beans in it. BONUS! Most only have 3. Four isn’t unusual, but it’s not the normal either. See the pods at the very top of the plant? Those are the ‘bonus’ pods. Not only because the deer didn’t eat the buds off the top, but the plant develops from the bottom up, so the better the conditions, the better resources the plant has, the more pods it can create. It’s looking like a pretty good year for my crops. Knock on Wood.

WHO HAVE YOU KNOWN, OR DO YOU KNOW, THAT LOOKS ORNERY BUT WASN’T OR ISN’T? 

OR ARE THEY?

DO YOU HAVE AN “RBF”?

Can’t…. Stop….

I decided to put the egg table up Sunday afternoon (since I had to skip Blevins due to continuing cough).  This just involves setting up the candle, cutting wax into teeny bits, lining up the kistkas that I’ll need for this year’s design and also making the dyes I’ll be using.   The actual set up takes less than an hour but there’s a 24-hour lag before I can start working on eggs.  The dyes need to be completely cooled and the eggs need to be room temperature.

Yesterday when I woke up at 5:30 (about the norm), it was all I could do to keep myself from going downstairs, firing up the kistkas and getting started.  I know myself well enough to know that the minute I start, I’ll be obsessed until I’m done.  Sitting in that chair for too many hours in a day just makes my back and shoulders hurt so starting at 6 a.m. is not a good idea. 

There are very few things that I get this obsessed about.  In card-making, I don’t have any problem putting things away at a good stopping point.  Jigsaw puzzles can keep me busy for quite some time but I do tend to run out of puzzle steam after 3-4 hours.  Reading is a passion, but except for the rare “I just have to finish this book right now” situation, I can stop when I need to.   (I do occasionally have to throw YA out of my room if I’m down to the last few chapters of something I’m really into and I was once late to work!)   But once I start the first egg, the decks need to be cleared because I want to keep going and going.  In prior years (before retirement) I used to take the egg week off from work because I’d end up sitting at the table until 2 and 3 in the morning.  Several years ago when I didn’t take the week off, I ended up pulling an all-nighter; that was ugly.

Waiting until 7:30 to go downstairs was a good idea.  I ate all my meals at the table today and except for an hour when there was a tradesman here measuring stuff, I worked straight through to 8:15 p.m.  Then I hobbled upstairs and headed straight to the ibuprofen bottle!  I figure, based on yesterday’s work, I’ll have four more days before I’m done. 

What do you obsess about?

Dish Drainer Jenga

I saw a funny picture on Facebook last week – dish jenga.  I laughed because it’s true – at least in my life.

Usually it doesn’t come to this but on Monday, it was the perfect dish drainer jenga storm.  YA took the last brownie to work – an empty Tupperware.  Cooked down the last of the raspberries into a sauce. Made a bundt cake – mixing bowl and then bundt pan.  Three jars of pesto – that was a biggie as it uses the salad spinner and most of the food processor and accessories.  Then add in the dishes from breakfast as well as all the measuring cups, spoons and spatulas for all the morning endeavors and I was well and truly jenga’d. 

If the dishwasher were working I suppose I could have filled it up instead and if I’d been willing to get out a dishtowel to dry, I could have put things away as I was working.  But for some reason, while I am willing to stop between steps of projects to wash things, washing AND drying doesn’t seem like a good use of time when I know dishes will dry on their own.  I’m guessing this is the kind of thought process that results in most folks who end up with dish jenga.

I’ve never liked the actual Jenga game very much.  The groups I’ve played in haven’t managed to keep the game going very long and it’s not that much fun when you are constantly having to pick up all the pieces.  And life-size Jenga is terrifying; I only played it once on the beach in St. Thomas and it gave me nightmares.

What are your favorite board games?

Midnight Flight

One of my colleagues was excited last week for the arrival of her mother for a visit from Washington State. She was flying from Spokane to Bismarck via Minneapolis, arriving in Bismarck on the midnight Delta flight.

There are very few commercial airports in ND, and very few commercial carriers that come into the State. I knew exactly what the midnight flight into Bismarck is like. The airport terminal is almost dark, nothing is open, and all the airline counters are closed. There are a couple of lighted offices, and one or two rental car desks whose occupants look exhausted. The long term parking kiosk is closed, so you better have exact change for your parking bill, or else a debit/credit card.

It is sort of comforting, sort of odd to live in such a remote place and know the details of these things so well. I wonder what it will be like to move back to Luverne when I retire, and what new things I will learn, and what old things are still there.

What communities are you the most familiar with? How have they changed for better or worse over the years? What are some of the more interesting airports you have been in?

Learning How To Fetch

Our puppy is a delightful little fellow who never misses an opportunity to teach us new things. These past couple of weeks he taught us to fetch. We didn’t even know it until recently.

Kyrill loves to play with balls. He rolls them around and chases them. They often roll under the sofa and love seat in the livingroom, and the space is too small for him to retrieve them, so he barks and we get them for him.

I became suspicious of the sheer volume. of balls that were going under the furniture. I draped blankets in front of the sofa and love seat to block balls from rolling under, and then I noticed him roll the balls under the unblocked ends of the furniture. He was doing this on purpose! This was a Terrier game!

The Cesky Facebook group told me this is typical of the breed, and they all have yardsticks close at hand to retrieve all the toys their dogs like to shove under the furniture. Who would have guessed?

What are you favorite and least favorite games to play. What have animals taught you? Who has been the most successful getting you to do what you don’t want to do?

Not For Human Consumption

Our puppy is an avid chewer, and we get him faux rawhide treats to satisfy his cravings. Rawhide is hard to digest, and the fake stuff is described in one site as made from “Human grade food ingredients that are nutritious, highly digestible and completely healthy for your dog”.

As I perused a new bag of chews, I noticed in rather large letters these words: Not for human consumption. These were flat and thin chews about 4 X 6 inches in size. There is certainly nothing about them that made me want to start chewing on them. Are there people who would actually think it was ok to chew on these things? Are people that ignorant? Have parents given them to their teething infants? What would make a company put something like that on their products? I just don’t know what to think!

What are some perplexing and unnecessary warnings you have seen on products? What foods do you think are not for human consumption?

Pushing Yourself

This gardening season has lacked much of a strategy except the constant drive to weed and water.

We typically are more planful in terms of weed mitigation in the spring, laying down wet newspapers in the rows and covering it with topsoil, making sure all the soaker hoses are laid down, etc. I suppose having the new puppy slowed us down somewhat, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t until last weekend that Husband decided enough was enough and he bought 30 bags of black cypress mulch to spread in the flower beds.

It was really hot on Sunday but he insisted he was going to get it all spread out, and so he did, all 56 cubic feet of it. He told me he pushed himself as hard as he could, more out of a sense of pride than anything else. He is not happy with the changes that age is exerting on his body, and wants to be able to work like he did when he was younger. He needed a nap on Sunday after all that. He was so tired he forgot to take his wallet out of his jeans pockets, and it got laundered. I should also add that over the weekend we vacuumed and dusted and made two kinds of corn chowder, potato salad, cherry strudel, and chicken enchiladas. Don’t ask me why. It just seemed like a good thing to do.

I tell myself that once we are both fully retired we will have the time to garden and cook at a more sedate pace and we won’t be so worn out all the time. This habit of pushing ourselves is getting tiresome.

How do you push yourself or pace yourself? When are you likely to overdo it?

Digging Up The Past

Things took a grisly turn in Grand Forks last week when police dug up someone’s yard where a presumed murder victim was thought to be buried. The disappearance of the young woman occurred about 25 years ago. The current residents are unrelated to the murder victim or the alleged crime. The location was a construction site at the time of the disappearance.

Nothing was found. I can’t imagine how the current owners felt about the prospect of a corpse under their front yard. Would they hope something would be found, or would they be disappointed the search was unsuccessful? I would worry the remains were still there and I would think about it every time I mowed the lawn.

Other than finding some Wedgwood porridge bowls buried under several inches of spruce needles when we trimmed off the bottom spruce branches (they had been left there by daughter and her best friend when they were little girls and used the space under the trees as their fort and hiding place), we have never found treasure or horror as we have gardened. Our neighborhood was originally the town’s first golf course. We have found nary a golf ball or a tee.

What would you like to bury in your yard for future generations to find? Where would you hide a corpse ?

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

When we got our first Welsh Terrier in 1990, the breeder, who lived in Mankato, was dismayed to find out we were both psychologists, since psychologists, in her experience, were not good at being consistent and structured with their dogs. They allowed too many misbehaviors and were too concerned with the dogs’ feelings.

We now are on our fourth terrier, and I must admit the Mankato breeder has a point. I wonder why it took me 30 years to admit she was right. It has also made me realize that I have too high expectations for the parents I work with to be consistent and structured with their children, and that I can do a better job in helping them do that, rather than roll my eyes over their failed attempts at positive reinforcement. This training stuff is hard!

Terriers are all heart and intellect. Punishment doesn’t work with them. They also need clear rules and limits. Children are the same. One of the first things I noticed with our new dog was our inconsistent message to him about shoes. Husband has a pair of gardening shoes he dislikes, and has allowed our new puppy to chew, shake, and toss them. Now, we both are well trained in behavior theory, and know that it is impossible for our dog to discriminate between shoes we like and shoes we don’t like. This has led to Kyrill raiding our closets for any shoes he can find. All we can do is keep the closet doors shut and praise him when he drops the shoes he has stolen. It is hard to be positive in those situations, rather than angry.

It is often hard to explain to parents how important it is to praise their children where they are rather than punish them for what they fail to do. For example, if the most positive thing you can say to your child is “Thank you for not using the F word at breakfast” then that is where you are. It is hard for for me to praise the dog when he drops something I treasure, rather than yelling at him for stealing it in the first place.

This is the first dog we have had when we weren’t actively parenting children. I think that has made me more aware of what I am doing, rather than doing what was expedient to get things done at home. Live and learn, I guess. We all have feet of clay.

What do you preach but don’t practice? What is hard for you to admit? What new things do you want to learn?

Mystery of the Week

I can’t remember a summer when so much of my psychic energy is spent thinking about rain, or the lack of rain.  Usually my “flowers not grass” protocol does just fine without much H2O intervention on my part but not this summer.  I’m trying to use as little as possible but it’s been an issue. 

So why is it, that the ONLY day of any precipitation in recent memory was also the one out of two days a year that a case of toilet paper is delivered and left on the steps.

Any ways that Murphy’s law is messing with you this week?