Picture taken yesterday of my son John with his son Owen watching my dad pick corn.  October 5, 2016  DM

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What The World Needs Now, More Than Ever, If That Is Possible…


Stopped by the self-serve apple wagon at noon to check on things and spotted a note in the money jar.  (See above)

It made my day.  DM

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Picture of our Honey crisp apples

I stopped by our self serve apple wagon an hour ago to check on sales… One of the honey crisp that had a blemish in it, so I removed it from the cooler and stuck it in my pocket.   It wasn’t that bad of a blemish so I decided to eat it as I continued on my errands.  Three minutes later, I noticed the texture of the apple seemed a little “off” so I  pulled the apple out of my mouth to take a peek.

(By this time, I had eaten 90% of the apple, all except for the core and the ends..)

Everything looked just fine….until I turned it over.

There was an inch and one half  long  open worm tunnel…



What is the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten? (either by accident or on purpose.)  I promise I won’t tell anyone!😉 DM

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Eating Alone

I was just outside in the garden picking cherry tomatoes for salsa and picking up windfall apples in the orchard when a poem came to mind.  I couldn’t remember the title, nor the name of the poet…just a couple of lines buried in the body of the poem.

I had to find it. (I did)  It made me think about my relationship with my dad.

I know what triggered it.

Today  several of us got together to celebrate my mom and dad’s 60th wedding anniversary.  I would occasionally glance over at mom and dad at the end of the table  and think…I wonder just how many more anniversaries we will be able to celebrate with the two of them.

Here’s the poem…

Eating Alone by Li-Young Lee

I’ve pulled the last of the year’s young onions. The garden is now bare.  The ground is cold, brown and old.  What is left of the day flames in the maples at the corner of my eye.  I turn, a cardinal vanishes.  By the cellar door, I wash the onions, then drink from the icy metal spigot.

Once, years back, I walked beside my father among the windfall pears.  I can’t recall our words.  We may have strolled in silence.  But I still see him bend that way- left hand braced on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my eye a rotten pear.  In it, a hornet spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice.

It was my father I saw this morning waving to me from the trees.  I almost waved to him, until I came close enough to see the shovel, leaning where I had left it, in the flickering deep green shade.

White rice steaming, almost done.  Sweet green peas friend in onions.  Shrimp braised in sesame oil and garlic.  And my own loneliness. What more could I, a young man, want.


View of our orchard and Libby the Great

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Tough Times.. A Muse


The following story comes from the June/July 2016  issue of Our Iowa.  It is a magazine “written by Iowans for all who love Iowa.”  DM


Molly Nichols who now lives in Wray,  Colorado, tells about growing up on a farm with eight brothers and sisters during threshing time.

“We children were standing in the windows watching the men bring in the wagons loaded with bundles of grain.  Suddenly we saw them running the horses with the wagons as hard and fast as they could.  They barely made it to the barn when it began to hail.  

 The hail pounded everything in sight.  The trees were stripped bare, and the large garden we so depended on was gone.

However, we had a mother who was a woman of great strength and faith – a simple farm wife who was very wise and depended on the good Lord for everything.

She lived well for 99 years and taught us children self-discipline.  We were loved and we loved one another.  To this day my eight siblings and I gather at the old home place every year to count our blessings.

But back to the storm.

As we children stood at the window with tears in our eyes, I will never forget my mother’s words:  “You kids go out and gather up some of those hailstones so we can make ice cream.”

Suddenly a tragedy became a party.  More important a lesson learned.

“We did manage to eat that year despite the loss of our garden.  There was always Mother’s homemade bread.  The chickens and beef we raised, cows we milked, and cream and eggs we sold at the grocery store.

Life was good with evenings filled with checker games, singing together around the piano and Mother reading Bible stories to us by a kerosene lamp.

We were rich by standards other than money…and thanks to hardships we endured, we still are.”


When I (DM) read that account, it made me think of my mother and the adversity she has endured.

Her dad died when she was three.  This was back in the 1930’s, before all  the government programs there are today. Her mother chose not to remarry until after her three kids were raised.  Mom remembers eating pigeon pie, fish from the local river , outdoor plumbing, waiting in line for a bath in the washtub out behind her grandmother’s porch.  When mom was in her teen’s she  had to have all of her teeth pulled.  Fourteen teeth at one time, no Novocain.    Mom is in her early 80’s right now.  I told someone  just recently, she still has the spunk and attitude of a 16 year old.

Her and dad still go out at least once a day on a date….once a day! Mom  tells me she doesn’t like to cook😉  Both are very active and intentional about loving people.

I hear stories all the time.

Ling, the owner of a local restaurant  lost both of her parents several years ago in China.  Mom and dad are regular customers.  Mom told me, just last week, Ling sat down beside her at break and put her head on mom’s shoulder.  That just warms my heart.😉


And finally, on a completely unrelated note, after all of the craziness that has been in the news this past week, I have decided to take another step back from my media intake.

Still plan to blog, but not going to attempt to keep up on all the unrest.  Rather, I’ve decided I need to focus more time and energy  keeping on top of things on the home front…repairs, weeds, dishes, etc.

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Spent an hour and 1/2 moving wood chips with my brother’s skid loader yesterday.

We had a thunderstorm sometime in the middle of the night.  I vaguely remember stumbling out of bed and unplugging the computer.  Even with a surge protector on, we’ve lost two  computers so I’m not taking any chances.🙂

When I looked out the window this morning  I could still see standing water in the tracks and tear marks from my multiple trips through the orchard.

It won’t take long for the ground to heal.  The tracks will fade.

I noticed a new gopher mound by the pile of mulch yesterday. I wondered if he’d found something tasty under that pile of chips and leaves.  Up until now, gophers  still get a free pass.  Means my soil is getting aerated.   The moles too, have free run of the place. Tunneling, burrowing and churning the soil.  I love the feel of wildness.  I am not one of those people who has to mow in a certain direction, so everything looks just so.

I am on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I am a farm boy, with an independent bent.

We moved to the country when I was nine.  Didn’t realize how much of an influence the sights and  smells of farm life were seeping into me until years later.

To this day, the sweet smell of  my neighbors curing hay stirs within me the desire to bale hay.  I can still hear the sound of our metal elevator, the “thump” as another square bale headed up the incline into the mow.

That was my favorite job.

Mowing bales.

The hotter the better.

Drenched with sweat,  It was a matter of honor to keep up with whomever  was unloading the wagon.  Sometimes dad would have us sprinkle salt on a load of hay- “Too help it cure he said, and keep the barn from burning down.” He said.

Eventually, after thousands of bales, we would reach the opening on the barn roof that the elevator was poking through.    That meant I could ride to the ground between loads.

You haven’t lived until you’ve felt the cool breeze against the sweat of your body, just after mowing hay, on a hot humid day in July, with the temps in the upper 90’s…  your body covered with chaff…

We never had a thermometer in the haymow, but I’m sure it would have been well over a hundred.

Simple times.

Simple pleasures.


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Back To Eden


  1.  Paradise
  2. The garden where according to the  account in Genesis Adam and Eve first lived
  3.   A place of pristine or abundant natural beauty.


The scent of  freshly ground wood chips is still on my fingers.

I stumbled across an hour and forty-three minute video called “Back To Eden” earlier this week. It’s a documentary  about Paul Gautschi’s  experiments and experiences using wood chips as a heavy mulch in his gardens.  The information on that video needs to be shouted from the rooftops. Seriously.

Here’s a link:

If you’ve read any of the earlier posts on this somewhat dormant blog, you know I am a big fan of the “Ruth Stout” heavy mulch, gardening method.

I believe it is hands down,  an easier, smarter,  and more time effective way to garden (speaking just for myself) than the traditional method of gardening I learned growing up.

The Back to Eden video  takes Ruth Stout’s method to another level.

The biggest problem I had  with Ruth’s method, was trying to find enough old hay, or grass clippings, each season.  Mulching with old hay and or grass clippings  really does create a rich soil, with hundreds of earthworms, but it also disappears pretty quickly.

In my case, having three different  good-sized garden plots I wanted to grow in, meant I  could not stay ahead of the mulch demand….

Until now.

This past Tuesday, after watching that movie,  I did some calling around.

I got a hold of our local utility company, asking if they would put me on the list for wood chips. The lady couldn’t promise me anything, but said she would relay the message to the guys in maintenance.

Thursday afternoon, just after I got home from work, a straight truck, with a covered dump box, full of wood chips pulled into our driveway.  I showed him where I wanted it.  He asked me if I wanted another one?

“Absolutely!”  I said.

It was the first of four loads.

As I wheeled the wood chips back and forth from the pile this morning to the pumpkin patch, I couldn’t help but think of the literal Garden of Eden.   The temperature was perfect. There was a light breeze.  I could hear wrens chattering, a robin, and a couple of crows in the distance.

Saturday morning sunrise

Early morning picture from last season. (When I still had an old hay bale)


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