Letter to Dave

I have to tidy up one loose end prior to making correspondence with
you, Dave. Last week, my friend Al Melbye asked me if I wrote about
what was happening on the farm because I couldn’t think of anything
else about which to write. I was shocked when he told me that his area of interest was not covered during the column. Now, Al’s main hobby is
washing his car, which may be too narrow a subject upon which to
build a column; however I bet I held his interest during this opening paragraph. See, I always listen, Al.

Farmers have fields around here looking pretty good, Dave. Most of
the ruts from last falls’ harvest are gone although there’s still
some corn that’s yet to be combined. The farmers who waited until now
to harvest are finding corn that’s much drier than last fall.
Unfortunately, the fields are still pretty wet-nothing holds water like corn ground.
I’ve seen several fields with combine tracks that start at one corner of the field and
aim desperately for the nearest field crossing to gain escape from
the mud.

I spoke recently to Mike Anderson from Viking. He and his brother only have a couple
hundred acres of corn left but harvest was halted by rain last
Friday. As young men, Mike and I used to talk about beer and women;
however age has narrowed our subject matter to crops and coffee. I
guess Hank Williams Junior was right about rowdy friends settling
down with age.

The guys with alfalfa finally have just enough dry weather to lure
them out into the field. The alfalfa is thick and has even lodged in
some cases. Lyle Swanson came out to cut our place to cut hay last
year and managed to harvest some black water pipe at the same time.
This year I removed all the water pipe so Lyle’s targets were few
although he did manage to hit a T-post. I like to tease Lyle a
little, but the truth is God never made a more conscientious man. I
just like to needle him a little to keep hay cutting prices low.

We are finally getting indoor plumbing in our section of Bray
Township, Dave. That’s the comparison I make when I explain why we
will soon bury the pipe that we use to water the cattle. I think it’s
a good metaphor as both acts create greater convenience and general
health. Anyone who questions the importance of fresh water to cattle
should go sit in the sun, without a cap and try to chug a little
green pond water. It will make the matter as clear as the pond water
is cloudy.

The last time we spoke on the phone, you were restoring your Farmall
450 tractor. I saw it the last time Jamie and I blew through
Carrington to get my manure spreader. That model of tractor was an
athletic, hard-working beast and we grew up using something similar
on the farm. You said you still have a little work on it but I would
like a picture if you get a chance. I will share it with those who
are reading along with you right now.

One more thing, remember “Ice Road Truckers” is on the History Channel on Sunday nights again. Nothing like watching people drive trucks at forty below to make you appreciate the heat and humidity.

Until next time, Dave-stay like the other side of the pillow. You know, cool.

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