Thursday, November 2, 2017

All Good Things Must Come to an End.......


Well, the bottom fell out of the weather here in North Dakota. What was crisp cool mornings with mild afternoons turned frigid mornings and downright cold afternoons. This past week, we have not seen highs over the 30’s and the lows have been in the teens. So why have we not left the North Dakota frozen tundra and headed to warmer climates?
Well, three reasons really, 1)This is the best time to deer hunt in this area, 2) my brother Bob has come to visit but the third and probably the driving reason is that Barb is still not back from her hiatus in Pennsylvania and I have no vehicle to move this beast!

Brother Bob came up to do a little duck hunting, visit and get a little taste of “farm life”. Unfortunately the weather really put a damper on the duck hunting. Within a matter of hours overnight all but the largest bodies of water froze solid and the ducks, apparently being smarter than us, moved south. We did get out once breaking ice, setting decoys and waited for the birds. As dawn broke ducks would fly over, look down and see some of their brethren frozen in what looked like a solid block of ice while others saw an opportunity find some open water. Although we had a good hunt the funniest part was watching the ducks landing on what they thought was open water. The landings were gentle but then they would skid and slide across the ice looking somewhat confused when they came to a stop.   
They also put brother Bob to work burning a few bales of cattails from sloughs that had gone dry due to the drought this summer.
Brother Bob, the pyro!

He left the day before Barb was to arrive home from her trip in Pennsylvania. She sent me a few pictures to show me how much fun they were having!
Dylan and Kendall ready for Trick or Treating!

Of course Shane, Jess and Barb went to a brewery

Baby K having fun


Fun at the pumpkin patch
I in the meantime went to work cleaning the rig. Over the past two weeks it became painfully apparent that Barb is the glue that holds everything together around here. I had done laundry several times while she was gone so now I needed to transfer all my clothes from my temporary closet/dresser (aka, her side of the bed) to the real closet and dresser. It had been a few days since I did laundry so I was not sure what was clean, what was dirty, it was all kinda intermixed so I have to resort to……..the smell test. This is an effective but not recommended way to determine what is clean and what is dirty. In the future I need to remember to maintain separate piles.
On the farm side it has been a busy couple of weeks! I attended the Ward County Farmers Union annual meeting with Bob, Deanne and Holly. (Bob is the president) I went mainly for the free meal but was pleasantly surprised when my name was drawn for one of the door prizes. A $25 gift certificate to Cenex! When I raised my hand with the winning ticket I know everyone in the room was wondering “Who is this guy?”.
Bob reading off my winning ticket number!
I also attended the annual steak fry at the Max Civic Club. This is the third year in a row that we have attended this event and everyone knows everyone. (Except for me and my brother Bob) When  you walk in you have to write down your name and how you would like your steak then they bring it to you when it is done. Every year we have to write "with the Finkens" on our piece of paper otherwise we would never get our food!
I also got to drive one of the tractors from Minot back to the farm. A rocker arm had blown out a couple of weeks ago (I won’t tell you who was driving it at the time) and it had to be trucked in for repairs. The dealer charges over $500 to truck it back to the farm so instead I drove it the two hours (at 20mph) from Minot to the farm. Kinda weird as you have to go right through the heart of Minot and the rest of the way is on the key artery into town. But I figured I was bigger than everyone else and they would move out of the way.
Headed down the highway!
Speaking of farm life, one of the main crops here is Canola. An interesting little plant. Growing up I had never really heard of Canola and for good reason. It did not exist until 1978 when it was invented to describe an oilseed that was selectively bred from rapeseed.
Canola Plant

With seeds about the size of poppy seeds, there are several uses for Canola but the most well know is cooking oil. The seeds are crushed and the oil is extracted and ultimately it makes it way into the cooking oil bottles. Imagine how many seeds it takes to fill one bottle and multiple that times the world wide demand. That is a lot of those little seeds being crushed!
A dried Canola pod

The tiny little seeds
One of the things that makes this crop so appealing to farmers in this area is the fact that there is a processing plant in nearby Velva North Dakota. So while other farmers may drive several hours to get to this facility, the Finken's have a relatively short drive.  
Along with the cold came….. you guessed it snow. Less than an inch but snow nonetheless. We were hoping to avoid the white stuff and be long gone before it arrived. I did some final harrowing on the day it snowed as that was probably the last day they will be able to work the fields until the spring thaw.
The snow geese also arrived. In the tens of thousands. This picture does not do it justice but almost every field was covered with geese.
Geese were everywhere! 
Despite the cold, the wind and the snow I went out deer hunting each of the last 6 days but unfortunately no shooter bucks presented themselves so we are going home venison-less. Luckily we received a call from the butcher in Rapid City that our South Dakota deer is ready for pickup!
Brrrrr... it was chilly out in the deer stand!
But alas, all good things must come to an end. Barb arrived home safely after a 16 hour travel day and was greeted by getting hugged,  mauled and licks to the face (you’ll guess who did what). She looked around the rig and said “Oh my”….. I knew my cleaning was not up to her standards but you have to give a guy credit for trying!
Now we are off to our property in South Dakota where we plan to stay as long as the weather will allow us. I would tell all our RV friends to stop by and see us but most of them have had the common sense to head to warmer climates and are in a land far far away……


21 comments:

  1. Glad you got out of ND before you got snowed in for the season. I really did have to laugh over your laundry paragraph!! Good thing Barb is back before things got too bad. Cute grandchildren. I am sure your daughter appreciated Barb's visiting. The canola fields are so beautiful in full bloom. Thanks for sharing the seed pod and seeds. I've never looked at a plant up close. Hope you get a couple weeks in SD before the snow gets too deep. I don't believe you will have many visitors:)

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    1. We have yet to see a canola field in full bloom. We are told that flax fields are equally as beautiful with their purple flowers.

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  2. Brrr! I got cold just reading your blog :-) Sounds like you both enjoyed your time apart. Safe travels as you head south and we hope to meet up somewhere.

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    1. So I take it you will not be coming up to visit?

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  3. Not sure if I ever told you where the word canola came from. From what I've been told, the plants are from the rapeseed family and were bred in Canada to have a lower erucic acid oil content. Can (Canada) o (oil) l (low) a (acid). Thanks again for all of the help. Dylan was the most apprehensive about you leaving since now he will be the one "blamed" when anything goes wrong.

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    1. I just looked it up and you are indeed correct on where that name came from. You are just a wealth of information! At least you have someone else to blame things on say should you ever get the ProTill stuck or something like that!
      Thanks for everything, see you in the spring!

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  4. Damn, I darn near stopped in the middle of you update and went and got a pair of long pants before finishing the read. But instead I just turned down the AC and called it good. You brave "and crazy" people.

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    1. I don't know if brave it the right word but we shall see how the next few weeks go. Hope you are feeling better!

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  5. Somehow I can just picture Barb saying "Oh, my" walking into your rig. But what does she expect after 2 weeks of roughing it on your own. She should feel lucky that you weren't just a pile of bones with 2 plump dogs sitting next to you. It is safe to say that we won't visit anytime soon. Maybe July if the concrete slab is poured.

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    1. The snow might be gone by then but I doubt we will have concrete, you will have to settle for a hardened gravel pad.

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    2. I will start our Go Fund Me page and you can have your concrete.

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    3. It will pay for itself when you charge everybody else to stay on it. Key word is "everybody else".

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  6. Glad you have a little common sense to head at least a little further south!! We might be among some of the crazy RV'ers who go a little too far north next spring, like South Dakota. LOL, time to renew the licenses so maybe we'll have to stop by and see this land of yours, if you're there.

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  7. Love your sense of humour! We always have a great chuckle reading your blog. Anyways stay as warm as you can and no we will not be visiting you in SD anytime soon. :)

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    1. Aw man, of everyone we know we thought you two would be used to the white stuff and come visit us. Perfect weather for Tater Tots!

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  8. Wow...look at all that fertilizer in that field of geese! 🤧

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    1. Believe me, you know when a flock of geese like this has been in a field!

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  9. BRRRRR!!!! Saw lots of canola fields in bloom on the way to AK, sure did make for some pretty fields. Dave may be able to fix the washing machine and dryer but he couldn't do a load of laundry if he had to :)

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    1. Barb does not let me touch her laundry but I can do my own in a pinch!

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