Sunday, June 6, 2010

The First Annual "Rock Pickers Triatholon"

It was a beautiful summer evening in rural Minnesota when my husband (the Agricultural Engineer) asked me to give him a hand and pick a round of rocks in the soybean field. I was working on my stairway project but agreed to wrap it up and head over to meet him at the 'Olson' farm about four miles from our place. He and the dog had taken the 'Gator' to the field and planned to keep the little safari vehicle there for a few days in order to finish the rock harvest.

I arrived and we took off up the soybean rows, finding plenty of rocks that could potentially end up in the combine if they weren't gathered. The round was a long half-mile and after we finished, we decided that one of us ought to walk 'overland' to the next farmsite toward home with the dog. Copper had been swimming in the pond and hunting in the field... he was filthy. Riding in the car wasn't an option for him.

I volunteered to take the walk across the pasture, through woods and down another field to the farmsite...a little over a mile away. On the way, a doe ran across my path...not 20 yards ahead. I should have counted all the little critters I saw, many of which scolded me for being there.

I walked through an open meadow where, two years earlier, we had planted some pine trees right out there in the sod. It was fun to see them peaking above the tall grass, showing off their new soft green needles.

I rounded the edge of a pond and picked a nice little bouquet of wildflowers and watched the geese and their fuzzy little ones swim away from me. One of the parents led the family and the other followed a distance behind, stretching its neck to be sure Copper and I weren't dog-paddling toward them.

Finally, I made it to the farmsite, hopped on the waiting bicycle and headed home with Copper following along in the ditch - tongue hanging out (the dog's not mine..okay, well maybe my tongue was hanging out, too). The wind was strong and fought with me all the way down the highway. I had only gone a mile when Paul appeared in the car. He must have known about my aching legs and my losing battle with the wind. I traded my bicycle for his car and drove home, leaving he and Copper to finish the last leg of the race.

As I arrived at home I congratulated myself for taking first place in the Rock Pickers Triatholon. It was then I realized that I had been joined in the event by an army of woodticks... 19 of them to be exact. What a prize for my first place finish!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Time for Planting

This past Memorial Day weekend, we decided it was time to plant our garden. Paul took one look and determined that it was way too lumpy and needed a better seed bed than he could prepare with just the walk-behind-tiller. He asked me to help him hook one of his tractors to the disk so he could run through the plot a couple times and smooth it out.

This is what a disk looks like all folded up.

I walked over to the disk and yelled at Paul to stop backing up the tractor. He jumped down out of the cab and came over. I pointed to a problem. There, propped on top of one of the folded up disk wings was a robin sitting on her nest, looking a bit nervous.
I told him, "If you unfold the disk, the nest will fall out...I'm sure she's got eggs in there. We better not bother her."
I was kind of surprised but he agreed that we didn't want to disturb the little family. I figured we'd just have to wait a week or so until the babies were gone.

Here's the nest...can you see the mom sitting there...scared to death? Poor thing!

Then, Paul had a brilliant idea. (He gets those sometimes.) He suggested that we lift the nest off the disk and place it temporarily on the digger that was parked close by. Then we could work the garden, bring the disk back and return the nest to its place.

That's just what we did. While I was busy moving her nest, the mama robin flew nervously overhead chirping and calling. I kept telling her it would be okay. But, she disappeared. I was hoping she'd stick around and watch where I set her nest down while we used the disk, but she didn't.

Here's what I found in the nest as I was moving it. Not too cute, are they?

We finished our work and carefully put the disk back into its place all folded up and neat, just the way it was. I moved the nest with the ugly, naked, fuzzie critters back to the exact spot they were before we invaded their world.

I thought maybe the mama wouldn't come back to her mobile home after all the craziness.
So I waited and watch....and she came back!
I'll probably check back in on her in a few days to see how the naked little uglies are doing.
For now, I'll leave the little family alone. I've caused them enough stress.