Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Harvest Time

The  corn harvest is nearing completion now. From here, on Oak Hill in southeastern Minnesota, all the way west to the Missouri river in South Dakota, the precious golden grain finds its way from the fields to its ultimate destinations. That is into the nations food supply or via ethanol to try and help slake our seemingly inexhaustible need for liquid power. I was bringing in the last of the squash from the garden that afternoon when the phone call came. A neighborly invitation to ride along during the harvest.Golden waves of grain lie peacefully in all directions to the horizon.
But giant monsters roam free here
Devouring and spitting out all that lies before them. I get to ride with along. The sense from the inside is akin, perhaps, to piloting a jumbo jet down a runway or guiding a string of barges downriver. It is almost other worldly.
The machine steers itself using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology, although pilot Greg must make the turns at the end of the rows himself. He also must be carefully watching ahead for errant rocks and holes in our path. There is also the occasional crackling of the radio intercom asking for the latest on- the- go test results for "moisture content."
A tractor with hopper pulls along side and corn is transfered from the combine into its bins while we are moving. Not a second can be wasted as as there is still much to do. Everyone keeps an eye on the weather though today is especially gorgeous.
Greg stops to check out something which is plugging up. He quickly resolves the problem. Greatgrandpa Bob drives the Cat with hopper
Corn is transferred from hopper to semi for the trip to the elevator.

Grandpa Dick makes those runs. I ask where son Rick is and find out he is working on getting things ready to fertilize the fields when the harvest is complete. The GPS technology will also guide fertilizing this fall and next springs planting. A narrow band of fertilizer will be laid down and next spring the seeds will be planted within an inch of the target row. Amazing !

Rising above the surrounding countryside the elevators.
The corn is weighed and transferred into the elevator. Each step is carefully calibrated and measurements taken.
With all the fire and fury of this fall's political campaigns, it was remarkable how little discussion was heard during the debates of the issues connected to American agriculture. The survival of America's family farms. Corporate takeover. The promise or folly of converting food into fuel. Pollution and floods. But for this day, I was happy to have been invited along, watching these hard working people help to feed the nation and the world. Your comments are always welcome if you can find the spot...... way down below. Grrrrr.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Prairie Flowers

I live in Bluff Country. An unglaciated disected portion of southeastern Minnesota filled with valleys, hills, farms, small towns and most importantly beautiful spring fed trout streams. Only a short distance to our west, the prairie begins sweeping  across southcentral and southwestern Minnesota, all the way to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mostly cornfields and soybeans now, here and there lie a few vestiges of the original prairie.....