Letter to Dave

Dear Dave,

This week, you sent me an article from a North Dakota newspaper, “the
Jamestown Sun.” It detailed the incredible amount of traffic that
passes through your home town of Carrington, North Dakota. The Bakken
formation oil patch has increased commerce, and general bustle, in
your area by quite a lot. You work within the distance of a good golf
drive from the intersection of Highway 281 and 52 but that is a
location at which you would not want to “play through.” Traffic at
that intersection passes by about 3000 times per day. I saw recently
that 3rd street and Labree avenue here in Thief River Falls has
approximately the same traffic intensity. The main difference is that
Carrington’s population is about one-quarter the size of Thief River
Falls so that creates an amazing impact. Carrington is one of the
prettiest and most independent towns I’ve visited and I suspect all
of this business will only serve to improve it. Oh yeah, I almost
forgot-you also have one of the healthiest farm economies around too.
I guess a person needs to remember how lovely their wife is even when
another pretty girl walks into the room.

Last year the gophers chewed through the underground water line which
services the cattle. Repairing the leaks was a fairly laborious
exercise of jogging in place. I used a “gopher getter” last year and
again just last week. I turned the water on this year grimly
expecting cruel geysers of unauthorized water release but was
absolutely shocked to find nothing but well-behaved refreshment. It
has been cold here (highs mid forties or so) so I wouldn’t expect
tons of gopher action however there has been absolutely no digging at
all. I wish I would have done this back when I had to bale hay
through and over all of those mounds or spend time cleaning the slugs
of dirt and alfalfa out of the haybine.

I guess most of my letters usually find their resting place a top
farming. I tried bale grazing on a limited basis this winter. Bale
grazing is simply the act of fencing off small groups of hay bales on
your pasture then allowing the cattle in to eat the bales one group
at a time. The main result of this act is that the cattle deposit
their manure in the pasture where it will becomes next seasons
fertilizer. There is some waste of hay however much of it will
eventually rot into the ground and re-seed or fertilize. It also
eliminates starting up a tractor. Anyway I plan to bale graze on a
larger scale this winter and even picked up an Arctic Cat snowmobile
for the task. I had snowshoes for transportation however snowshoeing
seems to me to be a task that people excitedly talk about and then
quietly, rarely actually perform.

I better wrap this up, Dave. I have a bro-date this morning with a
friend who’s been sick the last several months. He needed home-bound
isolation to protect himself from infection but he’s better now and
has a complexion the envy of pasteurized milk and so needs some
outdoor time.

Tell all hello and congratulations to Carrington as it supports and
benefits from North Dakota’s resources.

You’re little bro’

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