Monday, December 20, 2010
But the one thing Ben absolutely gets no say in.........no matter how much he expresses his displeasure.......................is what goes underneath the tree. To say the least, I go a little overboard. I LOVE LOVE LOVE giving gifts. Its something I do well (in my opinion).
My favorite part of giving gifts (even though it really makes no absolute difference) is handing the person a beautifully wrapped gift with a perfectly well-thought out bow and the cutest matching name tag. Vain, I know......but give me this one, okay?
About the tree, we have a few notable additions this year including candy canes (thanks to the Williams' for this tradition), presents in the tree (thanks to Mom for that tradition), candy apple-green squiggles, copper colored mesh garland, and a new topper (its the 4th new topper in two years - I can't find the right one). The tree didn't go up until after Thanksgiving this year, which was about 30 later than last year....but with the tree being stored across the property and weighing about 100 lbs., I needed Ben's help to get it to the house.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
You may have to scroll back and forth between this post and the previous to get a feel of where everything is - but this entrance to the pastures. To the immediate left (outside the frame of the photo) is the small dollhouse and the barn. The right is the shop.
The fence is a 5-wire high-tinsel fence. We used fiberglass posts rather than the steel posts throughout. All of the corners were secured with the h-framed wood posts. There are 4 - 12 or 14 ft. (I think 12 ft., but don't quote me) gates so that we can get a pickup and trailer to each of the sections.
The wire is attached by clips (you can see it better in a couple of pictures down). This section of fence was all wooden so the kids took the old barb-wire and wood sections down. I believe there are 6 possible individual pastures that can be used at any given time in Phase #1. Ben has the plans for which stock goes where - so you'll have to ask him.
The photo below is the catch pen. It has a gate to go into every section, as well as access into the pastures directly behind the barn (or infront of the pole-barn, whichever you like). Along the right side, you can see that we need to put hog-panels/fence in to reinforce this area so they won't "blow-through" the wire.
Our next project, along with Phase #2 is to run a water line back to the pole barn so that we have the option to lamb out there and put stationary water tanks in the back. Its obviously probably too late to this yet this fall - but that would save a lot of time.
As you can see, we're pretty excited ....we're one step closer to getting this funny farm going.
I should mention - we would not have been able to get this project off the ground without the help of the NDSU Judging Club kids who graciously accepted our offer of building our fence in return for a monetary donation to help their travel budget.
We were able to complete Phase #1 this fall, and hopefully - next spring we will complete the second phase of the project! Pictures to come in the next post!
Monday, November 1, 2010
There are also a couple of Crystal Young's prints that I would like to have for my office. (I'll email her so she knows which ones - when my husband calls to ask....hint hint, call to ask.)
More to come. It's only November mind you.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
We didn't exactly get the great snowstorm that the weatherman was predicting.......yet. But at the house and around the rest of Eastern North Dakota we experienced 40-60 mph winds that left me to sleep on the couch among other things.
If you've heard me talk about ND, you've probably heard me mention something about flooding. While we have to worry about the Red River, which is a flowing body of water that emptys into Lake Ontario - others in ND have to worry about the Devil's Lake Basin. The problem with finding a long term flood solution is that while we have our own issues to deal with - Devil's Lake keeps rising and the only place it can empty into would flow almost directly into the Red River. Enough about that.....my point is - this video is scary.
This traveller submitted the footage to our local news outlet to show the 40+ mph winds impact on Devil's Lake. This particular area is called "the narrows" but is a stretch of Highway 57 that connects Ft. Totten to Devils Lake above the lake. Since the dike will hold to roughly 1454 ft. and the current elevation of the lake is somewhere between 1447-1451 ft. its a wonder this road still even exists. Highway 57 was closed yesterday afternoon not to long after this footage was captured.
We could handle the snow - but waves - we don't have anyone to teach surfing lessons.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Also, just so you know -
1. We aren't sure if the snow blower works.
2. We haven't put the plastic on the windows yet.
3. Its October 26th and the high tomorrow is 27 degrees.
4. My husband is leaving tomorrow morning and he still hasn't taught me how to run the tractor.
Wish us luck and send some chicken-n-noodle soup. UPS style.
I had heard she might be unloading about all the failed relationships through the songs on this disk - but that's not why I wanted it - there's just something about the songs she sings that strikes a chord ..................its quite possibly because of the hopeless romantic in me.
My mom will laugh at this because a few years ago I gave my younger sister Kait and Gretchen a hard time about dancing around screaming "You belong with Me" like a couple of giddy girls. But over the course of this past year - I've changed my tune, I admit it.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I didn't ride in the beet truck last night after work....instead I went to the field that was being topped. I had ridden in plenty of grain-trucks in my time. I had never seen the topper work - and this was the last batch of the neighbors beets to be topped.
See the hidden top amongst the forage, thats the beet. Its been hiding and growing for the past several months accumulating sugar and hopefully making the farmer some money. After you've seen all the special equipment it takes to be a beet farmer - you understand the importance of sugar content and timing. The beet cannot be topped until just prior to being lifted. The farmer I rode with actually was warned by his field scout that they may have to abandon the field they were lifting on and go to a "fresher" field because removing the tops will cause the beet temperature to increase faster.
Basically, the topper is a street sweeper. The underside of the topper is pictured below. It moves along on top of the beet slicking the top right off.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
(To view the videos, simply click on the words that appear discolored and underlined. It will take you to a secured link and you can click on each of the videos as they appear on the right).
In the first video (1) the footage shows the basics of the equipment used in the field which consists of 1 tractor with what they call the "topper" attached that goes through before the other implements and takes the forage top off the beet (this implement is not seen, because the tops were removed yesterday). Other other implements are mid-sized tractors, one pulling the lifter and the other with the cart. Each of the attachments, among other things, is equiped with a large conveyor that moves the beets from the lifter to the cart and then to the semi-truck.
The second set of videos shows how the lifter actually works. From what Josh, the driver, explained to me - the blades at the bottom of the lifter basically cut the ground on either side of the beet and then the beet is scooped up, thrown into the middle compartment where its shaken of the dirt and then conveyed up the belt. There is a small box in the cab of the tractor that controls the width and depth of the diggers - but some have to be adjusted manually. We figured that if there is a truck ready to be filled and we don't have to wait, it would only take about 5 minutes per pass in this field to lift.
This is what a sugarbeet looks like just prior to harvest.
Although it was only 41 degrees this morning when I left the house, all of the sugarbeet farmers had been shut down the last 4 days because the air temperature exceeded 65 degrees throughout the day. Once the air temp. goes over 65 degrees, the beet temperature increases and the beet - if harvested and piled - could start to "cook" for a lack of a better word. In the next video, you'll see how the beets are piled (and will remain piled all winter) - which gives you an indication of how detrimental hot-harvested beets could be if allowed to heat and ferment. They were hoping that the cold front that was moving across the country would keep the temperature down for the next 24 hours so they could make some progress before the weekend's projected storms rolled through.
There is a sugarbeet processing facility in Moorhead, MN which is only about 30 miles from this site - however, each acre of this sugarbeet ground (which I understand is typical) will produce about 22-23 tons (which is about 46,000 lbs). So.........a dual axle loaded truck is considered full a little less frequently than every acre. The farmer I rode with had been running 7 trucks prior to today and they couldn't keep up running loads to the piler that was 15 miles from the field. For that reason, there are localized "piler" sites.
The video you just watched was of the closest piler site for sugarbeet farmers in this area. Its the further most west site in Cass County because the soil topography changes and we move out of the "valley dirt" and into the Lake Agassiz shoreline that isn't as conducive to beets. There is alot of dry-land corn and beans produced in the area of the shoreline. I think I did mention that Cass County (where we live and work) produces the 2nd most acres of soybeans of any county in the entire country - there are alot of soybeans here.
BACK TO THE BEETS.......................................
I should also mention that the growers are bound to harvest limitations set forth by the sugar company they hold contracts with. Depending on the sugar content of the beet (which you could call yield) and the plant's capacity, the company will tell the growers they have to leave anywhere from 0-15% of their beets in the field and turn-them-under. If the sugar content drops or another location can process their beets, the company may "release" some more of the beets to be harvested - but the farmer cannot legally harvest and sell any beets on contract to another company without their consent (which rarely happens).
Many of the drivers are local men/women who actually take their vacation to drive beet truck or tractor. The piling stations typically have been opening up in the evening (about 8 p.m. last night) and open all night. When I got to the field this morning the boys had just switched shifts and the "day drivers" had taken over.
This afternoon I'm going back to the field to ride with the trucker for awhile, hopefully tomorrow I'll get a better video of the piler - I snuck up on my way to town - but its a hub-bub of activity and I didn't want to get to close in my personal vehicle.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Winnipeg is the largest city in the province of Manitoba with approximately 600,000 residents. For those of you who don't know, that's just about the same size as the entire population of North Dakota. Manitoba is the province directly north of ND in what I naively will call "Central Canada", they were home to the Olympics some time ago and house a Canadian Hockey League team called the Manitoba Moose. This is only metropolitian area in Manitoba, the next closest city in population has 7,600 people.
We (okay me) strategically planned our agenda because certain venues had some limitations on the times available for us to visit. Ben happily obliged in my taking the lead. Our first stop, after the run-in at the border was to the Royal Canadian Mint. This mint makes all of the coin currency for Canada as well as at least 23 other countries.
If you want more details of anything we mentioned about the trip, shoot us a call or email.
Below is the photo of Ben holding a brick of gold on display in the gallery of the Mint. Its approximately 25 pounds and worth ~$485,000 based on the gold price on Friday when we visited. This area is protected by an armed guard who spends more time answering questions about the value and taking photos than actually protecting the brick from looters.
We quickly found out that many of the activities I planned were only available during the peak tourist season, which evidently ended 24-hours prior to our trip. So...........we managed to adapt and hit a few "reserve" spots including the Convention and Visitor's Bureau (noted in the photo of me as a Scandavian bar maid), the Manitoba Museum (no camera allowed), the Forks National Historic Site and a few token eatries.
In this photo below, Ben is posted on the pedestrian bridge at the juncture of the Assiniboine River and the all Mighty Red River. It was a rather brisk ~50 degrees by this time at dusk so we didn't spend much time there. That evening we endulged on pasta and breadsticks at the Ole' Spagetti Factory in the Forks District.
The next morning we headed off to the Assiniboine Park to just snoop around. Ended up enjoying ourselves and the weather so much that we went through the historic English Gardens and the Lee Mol sculpture Garden as well as the Assiniboine Zoo. Notice anything about the landscaping in the photo?
Our hands-down eating experience in Canada was on Saturday afternoon when we visited the Boston Pizza joint. We quickly devoured the Tuscan inspired variety and commented on how this was probably the best pizza we had ever eaten. Hopefully this resturaunt is in the "states" or will be soon. We did notice that you didn't see any of our popular resturuants like Applebee's, Sonic, or Red Robin.
We also got lost in the Exchange Shopping District, almost mugged by a rather questionable appearing gentleman on the street and sampled "Canada's best BBQ closest to KC" at a local joint (just for your information - the food was good, but couldn't compare to Kansas City BBQ).
Unfortunately for us, we were left with little do in the evenings because the shopping complexes we planned to visit on Saturday evening all closed at 6:30 p.m. which is exactly the opposite of the "states".....usually Saturday's are the open-late days.
We ended out early Sunday morning and made it back to Fargo to eat at TGIF's for the local 4-H fundraising event over lunch hour. All-in-all we had no trouble getting back-and-forth across the border, except being bombarded with questions and considered this a good weekend getaway.
The next trip would have to include a trip to Lower Ft. Garry, the Paddlewheel Tour of the North Red and maybe a trip to the ballet. If we decide to go back, we'll choose a warmer time of year to travel and make time to stop at the Pembina Gorge on the way home.
Our next big trip together will be to Iowa for Thanksgiving and then our big road-trip to Kansas and Indiana for the holidays - we're hoping that if we put up the Christmas decorations, the holidays will come faster!
Monday, October 4, 2010
During the livestock marketing section of my farm-management update, our economist showed the July 2010 (which is still current) unemployment rates by state.
Since I'm approaching the anniversary of the completion of my first year on the job - I can't help but think that we made a pretty good choice by moving to North Dakota - both personally and professionally. Can you see why? We've both got great jobs, just bought a great house and have a semi-great pet......AND we're surrounded by really great people. To top it off, we're coming up on the greatest holiday of the year - Thanksgiving.
Not to shabby. Enjoy the Monday.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Today we celebrated another monumental day - Ben's 26th Birthday. Well, actually, we celebrated last night - because I as write this, he's somewhere in Nebraska travelling with his livestock judgers to the next of two contests this weekend!
We've been unintentionally holding a gift card to one of the "PRIME" steak houses here in Fargo since it was given to us by Ben's last set of judgers back in February. It was originally intended to be used on either our closing date for the house or our anniversary - but something came up on both occassions. I think we probably enjoyed the gourmet tastings of a DiGourno pizza, maybe even splurged for the stuff-crust kind.
Back to Ben's birthday. I had done some research into the resturuant and had an idea of what to expect - $20-50/plate for the steak and a la carte sides (which means you pay for those seperately). Thankfully for me, the had developed a small plate menu because I had a hard time grasping how I was going to down a 18-oun NY stip steak. By the way, that's what Ben ordered. I decided since we were on someone else's dime (sort-of) I'd try something a bit out of my comfort zone and went with the 5-oun. filet/lobster tail combo. We were in heaven.
As we moved through the meal, Ben got to open each of his three gifts from me. A NSDU Bison polo, made of breathable fabric for his outings throughout the state. A generic pair of CROCS so he can stop mowing the yard shirtless, in his tube socks and work boots. I can't cure all the "hot-mess" at once, but I can at least put him in more appropriate footwear.
Finally, remember the post about his yearning to wear a "lid"? It was only a matter of time before he actually began wearing it without my consent (if there really is such a thing).....so I figured it might as well be a hat I liked. Why is this about "I" or me? Because I look at him and care about how he looks in public - he's an extension of me, therefore I am judged for how he looks. BELIEVE IT!! Breathe, Corineah. It'll be okay.
I didn't get the exact hat he wanted, which was okay because I ordered it from a place he'll be near this weekend. He'll sneak over there either today or tomorrow and pick something out one he is more drawn too. I'm glad he actually got to open the gift and return it for himself.......it only took two hats and roughly ~$400 on my credit card to get the right one here for the celebration.
(FYI - the first hat the company sent me was a ~$10 straw hat that looked like Kenny Chesney and not the classy chocolate felt I ordered. To make it even better they had just thrown the first attempt into a packing box - anyone who knows about hats knows they are shipped in nice hat boxes.....leaving the cheap straw to have gotten dirty and stained in its 3-day journey up north. I was very very very angry....just ask my co-workers.)
All in all, it was a good celebration. He went home with some new loot, a full belly and was greated by the cat who hadn't pottied on the floor.
Oh Kait, BTW - he was very excited that you called to sing him HAPPY BIRTHDAY this morning at 6:45 a.m. before school. Even if you did replace his name with "LOSER". Good job.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This isn't a complete list, but these are the semi-clean rooms in the house that I could take photos off.
My bathroom upstairs is decorated in the very girly, "powder room" sort of way. I have soft pink paisley shower curtains and pink and green decorations.
This is considered the "parent's room" for right now. Both my mom and Ben's mom have claimed this room as their's when they stay....so hopefully we can get an arrangment worked out when they come at the same time. It's hard to take pictures of the rooms because of all the nooks.....I'll have to do another update once I finish my large list of curtains for the house. In the meantime................enjoy the old curtains I still tote around with us since Sophomore year of college.
The green room is the other upstairs bedroom. As you can see from both photos, the floors are hardwood - which I love. I'm having a hard time putting alot of effort into decorating the walls because we hope to have to repaint and decorate for little ones sometime in the future. So we had fun strategically placing decorations we already own in each of these rooms.
This final picture is just a sneak peak at the dining room. I'm not ready to show everyone yet - because we are still in the middle of painting.....but I did get my red wall. My beautiful, deep, rich and did I mention beautiful red wall? I love it.....maybe this weekend I'll get the rest painted and then show you.
Here's a brief re-cap:
Mom knew I had been in search of a pitcher and bowl set for my next big purchase (dry sink) that would match my "country" decor I had envisioned for our near 100 yr. old farmhouse. Since my search hadn't been going so well - she commissioned a local potter to make one for me.
It seems to fit in that corner of my pretty-pretty pink ladies room quite nicely. And I love that it doesn't look new (even though it is) and the rose decals match almost perfectly with the girly pink and green decor already in that room. See an upcoming house tour post for more photos.
We also got the itching, based on another gift my parents came bearing, to do some landscaping. Since I had three extra sets of expert gardening hands, I took advantage of the mum and mulch sale to get the house looking "homey".
Our yard looks SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better since Ben removed the 8-ft. tall lilac bushes (don't worry, they'll grow back). So much so, that it's fun to mow and they potted plants my mom put together can actually be seen and not hidden. If you look closely - you'll even see the sparkly blue butterfly my sister made for me to put in the plants!
We even (thanks to Grandma) got a color-coordinated scheme of mums leading up to the porch of the house. It's amazing how some cheap re-charging solar lights and red mulch can really make a flower bed look nice.
Also, I have an affinity for clamatis flowers, and since it was too late in the season to find a Jack Dandy version - I settled for the pink (I can't remember the exact name) one. We relocated a white gate from somewhere else on the property and planted this bed that is directly out from our kitchen window. That way, I can smile and think of my family every time I see it (and cuss a little because I forgot to water my flowers ;)).
The entire landscaping movement was inspired by this last gift my parents came bearing. They had wanted to do something for us as a house-warming gift (and anniversary). So with our help picking out the orientation of the stone and the font - they did the rest. What an awesome market lamb right?
So we decided it needed to be highlighted with some flowers - including the KS sunflowers and a couple of lights. Dad helped us configure the potted plant so the lamb would stick out from the back-splash brick around the house. Mom and Grandma helped me plant the flowers and Grandma/Grandpa wanted to purchase flood lights for us so you can see the stone in the evening.
More on their trip later, but I wanted to show family and friends all of the outside work we did and the new rock! We are so excited - and it makes it look like someone actually lives at our place.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Hopefully after state fair, we'll slow up a bit.
We are looking forward to our quick "vacation" to the cities coming up soon!
School is just around the corner again, and we're hoping to sneak away at least once before Ben's schedule is absolutely full!
Have a good weekend!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
We're still trying to finish the renovation, the contractor is finally back to work from a really LONG holiday weekend. Hopefully we'll be completely settled in by the time we have family visiting in August.
As for the weather, the natives claim its really muggy......we think its a beautiful '70 degree day after the rain. Our first big thunderstorm rolled through since we bought the house. It's funny that we got a little anxious about it - mostly because the satellite reception is non-existent even during a light breeze and the FM area weatherman doesn't really cover our part of the county.
About 4 a.m. the storm rolled in, thankfully the vehicles were already in the barns from the earlier (much tamer) storm that rolled through the previous evening. We were asleep in the spare bedroom upstairs because the contractor was supposed to come back and we packed up that room so he could work.
With 60 mph gale force, hurricane like winds - the windows were rattling and it didn't take more than a gust or two for Ben and I to shoot straight up out of bed, decide to ready ourselves for a potential basement visit and shoot down the stairs.
Ben sustained a minor injury as he hurried down the stairs, knocking the doorbell ringer off the wall. I tried to thoughtfully grab Bernice as we headed for the main floor - but once I handed her off to Ben she had to fend for herself - he sure wasn't going to put his life in danger to save the measley cat. Plus, she got him pretty good across the stomach.
After a about 30-minutes or so of gathering our flashlights, candles, matches, tennis shoes and wallets - we decided to chance it and fall asleep on the couches in the living room. Thankfully the storms blew through with just minimal damage to our property.
We lost a younger tree in our south yard and some rather large dead branches off a tree near the crick. It took us both to move it out of the drive so we could cross the bridge and drive to work. I also lost a couple of pumpkin plants who couldn't survive the winds....but we were lucky.
The creek is about about 1 1/2 feet with the 3 inches we got at the house and the 4 inches that Buffalo got the same night. Our creek runs east from Buffalo so we'll get the down run of all that rain.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
In the hustle and bustle of work, moving and this home renovation I was a little hesistant about the timing - but what I didn't realize is how much I would enjoy the break from our daily stresses to just enjoy the time together and do some things around Fargo that we hadn't made time for yet.
After taking them out to the house (photos to come later) we took Kait to our version of Chucky Cheese. Sorry, no photos. The resturaunt is called SPACE ALIENS. Its great for kids because it has an arcade and the building is in the shape of a UFO with Alien garb all over the place. We did our best to make sure she walked out with a couple of goodies - but I think it would have been cheaper to just purchase things from the souvenior shop rather than on the games to get tickets for the "give-away" items.
On Saturday we did alittle shopping around. The boys went to some garage sales and the girls went to the thrift stores. We all ended up with some neat finds - I love garage saling and treasure hunting.
During the afternoon we heade over to the Red River. I really wanted them to see the mighty Red - since its was once a major port of transportation, shipping and the major livelihood of many early settlers up here in the North. Also, I wanted them to get a feel for the amount of water we have to deal with during the spring. The river was slightly elevated - due to recent rainfall - but during the summer its still about ~30 ft deep in some parts. Its substantially more water than we are used to dealing with in Kansas.
This pontoon takes tours up and down the river and we hoped onto it about 3:00 p.m. Including the five of us, there were two other passengers and two captains so we got the intimate tour. It was actually nice because the captain let Kait drive the pontoon for the majority of the trip. Granted, it was only about 1 hour long - but for her it was a pretty big deal.
He also snapped a quick photo for us with the life saver before we left. It was really neat, plus I got to share my limited knowledge of area agriculture with the other passengers - they were corn farmers from Iowa on vacation. Midwest seed dealers, too!
We dinked around some more on Saturday, I think we went to a furniture store or two? I can't quite remember.
Sunday, after another quick visit out to the house (this time with the camera in tow) we hauled a load of goodies out and did some more brainstorming about work for our contractor who was to start on Monday. Once back in town, we headed to Younker Farm's Children Museum for awhile.
It was Father's Day weekend - so after frauntly representing Kaitlynn as Ben and I's daughter - we got the boys in for free. Kaitlynn really enjoyed the interactive exhibits, including the painting station. I did get my fair share of painting done also.....who says Kait gets to have all the fun?
We even had to visit the photo cutouts for some pictures, but I will admit it had started to get warm during our visit - so we didn't spend too much time out in the direct sunlight.
We wanted to show them campus, the Fargodome and other things associated with NDSU. But we didn't anticipate the Fargodome being locked........however, Ben snuck in through an open locker room door and got us in! Evidently there was a high school football camp going on and they didn't really seem to care that we were lurching around snooping while they were running drills!
So we got them down on the field for a couple of quick pictures. It is pretty neat because its rare for a college team to have an indoor stadium to play in - but up in the tundra its a necessity. Dad and Ben also snuck into the football team's locker room - but the girls weren't that brave. Especially not with Kait being there - we didn't want to expose her to any potential nudity!
We ended the weekend with another helping of home cooking and Kait getting stir crazy. None of the three were used to just hanging out all weekend without work to do or free range to play when and where you want anytime so that got to be challenging. I think they enjoyed themselves up here, I know I enjoyed having them here. Kait was so bored with no toys or people to play with come Sunday night - so I think it was good they headed home Monday morning.
I just want to end this post by saying "Thank you for coming! It was the best way to spend our anniversary weekend, Father's Day and my birthday with Mom and Dad and Kait! We hope the rest of the family gets to come soon - the house should be done by that time! We love you all very much!"
Saturday, June 12, 2010
We got the official word the that the photos were uploaded and ready for our viewing pleasure. This if just some of my many favorites. You can view the rest of the photos at this link. Josey does a great job (and is VERY reasonably priced)........and we would definitely recommend her to anyone needing senior, wedding, family or engagement photos done. I'm very pleased with how the photos turned out, especially since its been almost 7 full years since we've had family pictures done. Our family has grown considerably since then with the additions of my hubby, Grady's gal and the two little girls.
We'll be making an order in the next couple of weeks - so if you are interested in ordering pictures, please let me know. In the meantime, don't hesitate to admire and then give Josey a call for your next photo needs!