Dakota and I left for North Dakota in the early morning hours of April 11th. It was a week earlier than previous years but with the lack of snow, drought condition and other projects, Chris said there was plenty to do until the ground was ready for planting.
If you want to skip the farm stuff and get right to the Zoey stuff you can skip the first half of this post.
I set up in the shop as the morning were still in the teens and the shop is set at a comfortable 60 degrees.
They had very little snow this winter so they were desperately waiting any type of moisture. The National Drought Monitor shows pretty much the entire state of North Dakota at a 3L level is means Extreme Long Term drought.
So when they got some snow this week they were thrilled. It only amounted to about 0.5 of an inch of precipitation but at this point they will take what they can get.
They got a couple pieces of new equipment since I was here last. One was a new cart of hauling grain in the field or yard. This beast is huge and holds over a semis worth of grain!
|Look at the size of those tires!|
The second item is a new red combine. They had bought one last year and their salesman called and said they got another one in and gave them a price they could not refuse!
Farm life begins sometime between 7:00-8:00 in the morning and ends between 8:00 and 9:00 at night. to say you are exhausted at the end of the day would be an understatement. The first few days were spent on a 135 acre field they call The Pivot. The reason for that name is obvious enough as the field contains a giant sprinkler known in farm lingo as a pivot. They had upgraded the tires, controls and nozzles this year. Our task for the next few days was to replace the nozzles. 146 of them if my memory serves me correctly. There are specific length hose assemblies for specific locations on the pivot as well as specific nozzles for each location. My task was to assemble each of the nozzle hoses and bring them to Chris and Dylan who were taking off the old ones and putting in the new ones while Farmer Bob installed the appropriate nozzle on each hose. Slow and tedious but over a 2 ½ day period we got them all done!
|Day 1 had snow on the ground as Chris and Dylan were in the lift|
|Day 2 had a little less snow. You can see the old sprinklers on the |
trailer and the new one hanging off the pivot
|Farmer Bob working on putting the hoses together|
Dakota came with on two occasions. The first day she just hung out and watched us. The second day she explored and found one of the many ponds in the area. She was a mess!
|Dakota hanging out when I was in the lift|
|She required a bath after playing in the mud!|
Once that was done the snow had melted and the ground was dry enough for what Chris calls “Go Time” which is when everything else stops and we get the seed in the ground as soon as possible. When the conditions are right you need to take advantage of it. What little moisture this last snowfall did bring needs to be taken advantage of!
Our first field was 220 acres of peas. The seed drill needs to be set up for the specific crop you are planting which means seed spacing as well as laying in urea (for wheat and canola) and fertilizer. These planters are so sophisticated now a days they know the dry areas, moist areas and lay seed accordingly to make the most out of the ground you have. It uses historical data from previous harvest as well as overlay maps from satellite imagery. Beats the heck out of what they use to do back in the day when they just planted everything the same and hoped for the best!
While Chris was seeding, Dylan and I took out a 1/2 mile fence row of 3 strand barbed wire between two of their fields.
|That's a lot of fence posts!|
Removing it would allow them to farm right across the entire field instead of having to go around it. My job was to pull clips and staples off the posts on a 3 strand fence line and finally the posts themselves over a ½ a mile stretch. It was a mix of sand and North Dakota mud so I think I have a pound of mud on each boot. I walked back and forth along that section 5-6 times so I would guess I got my 10,000 steps in for the day! Not once, not twice but three times I was walking and next thing I knew I was on the ground with one leg down a badger hole hidden under the snow. Talk about a good time!
|If you look closely you can see my butt impression on the right side|
The intriguing thing for me as I pulled the fence was wondering who put it up and when was it put up? Some of it was obviously quite modern as it had plastic electric fence clips on it while other sections had old twisted nails.
|This fence post has probably been there for over 50 years|
Barb was scheduled to come up on day 7 of my stay, so day 6 consisted of cleaning the camper and doing some laundry. It is amazing how quickly a camper can get dirty with just one dude and a dog living in it. The fact that the melting snow made it super muddy did not help. Well, that and the fact that Ms. Dakota loves the stinky, muddy potholes!
She is impossible to keep clean in these conditions and more than once I have caught her on the bed when coming in from working. She left so much sand and dirt on the bed at times I thought I was sleeping on a beach!
A snow storm in South Dakota prevented Barb from coming when expected but she did arrive a few days later with her little puppy prize! Barb said Zoey was quite the traveler on the 8 hour drive sleeping most of the time....
I would love to say that Dakota was thrilled to have another sister and welcomed her with open paws but sadly that was not the case. The first thing Zoey did was jump up and grab Dakota by her lip to which Dakota responded with a snarling growl. Dakota does not nip at her but she does growl when Zoey invades her personal space. Luckily Dakota's spot under the table is a "safe zone" as Zoey cannot get up there.
|Zoey trying to get at Dakota|
Dakota is slowly warming up to her. Although they do not play, Dakota tolerates her pulling on her lips and ears now and will even let Zoey jump on her back when she is laying down. It won't be long before Zoey will be laying on her Daisy did.
|Daisy and Dakota|
Zoey is full if energy and antics. She loves to watch TV and play with her friend in the mirror.
She also loves to chew on my book as I am reading!
|This truck has a conveyor under it and if you look closely you can see it wedged on the tracks. |
I blocked out their logo to protect the innocent
|DeAnne holding Zoey during one of the HH's|
|Farmer Bob enjoying a cooling refreshment|
|Dylan in the camper for a late night brew!|