As the day's temperatures get cooler and the hours of sunlight shorter, I've been spending more riding time closer to home. These roads were not only the ones my brother and I started riding on 50 years ago, they were also the roads we drove farm machinery on, hauled hay over, accessed fields for crop work, etc.
As I've already mentioned to some of my riding friends, down at the far end of this distant cornfield there once stood a one room schoolhouse. My mom attended that school through the 8th grade and once the small neighborhood schools consolidated (and buses appeared), the schools all closed. In this neighborhood, that meant that everyone attended in Red Wing.
That building was moved to a neighboring farm, desks removed and soon thereafter used as a chicken coup. During the summers that my brother and I helped mom's brothers on their farm, we helped the chicken coup neighbor clean the chicken manure out of the building that our mom attended school in. Butch's guidance and stories made the work a lot more interesting and fun than it may seem to someone that wasn't there.
Besides this view which I thought was attractive in more than one way, a recent story that Eric had sent reminded me about the old school, the way the roads ran before being widened, straightened and leveled. That story had to do with the Armistice Day Blizzard, the anniversary of which was recently remembered and talked about in the area press. It was Monday, November 11, 1940, a blizzard that took too many by surprise. The Flower Valley School was let out early, mom was 11 and the neighbor with the chicken's helped her get home. Mom's shoe was lost on the way and most likely still out there somewhere.
The above photo was taken in Section 11, on the edge of the first "E" in Creek on this topo, looking north. This USGS Topo map was downloaded from the government site and is the 1950 version.
This morning we woke to a new white coating on the ground; the white coming and going all day with blustery winds, warmer ground temperatures and fluctuating air temps.
I had some shopping to do and was anxious to get out into the weather (using the van) this morning early. I drove up the Bullard Creek Valley and stopped, did a U-turn and pulled over in Section 10 near the "Y" in Hay to take this photo. This is that valley, the white area adjacent to the "Y" on the map above.
It was still snowing albeit lightly;it had let up quite a bit when I stopped for this morning's photo. Difficult to see, the sheep all have snow on their backs. In late November, 1972, I was plowing this now-harvested soybean field beyond the row of trees. It had been dark for hours, my goal obviously to finish the field that evening before heading back for our 10PM dinner during harvest time. Late, maybe 9ish, it had started snowing. I kept on plowing and even without a cab, actually stayed tough 17-year-old comfortable. The amount of heat blowing back from the Minneapolis Moline's inline 6 cylinder plus the tremendous heat generated by the transmission and drivetrain mass directly below my feet kept me feeling less cold than you might imagine. I finished and managed to get the tractor and plow home without running off the gravel roads. Home, chilled and hungry but very proud and happy that I'd finished what I'd been sent to finish.
This is what I was piloting, my favorite tractor of any I've worked with.....
And what I was doing that night....in corn stubble not unlike this YouTube gentleman, 'making it black.' I didn't have a cab though.
Now 6PM and the current radar.....
For the official record, there was no riding done today, October 27, 2017.