Letter to Dave


Dear Dave,

I think there is nothing as unappealing to me as a lack of
productivity, Dave. Monday and Tuesday were both too wet to
accomplish much outside even though I gave it a half-hearted attempt.
I kind of wish I had just given in and participated in the day from
the couch, watching the same series of shows over and over on the
Military History Channel.

I recently dismantled the “Fodder Monster.” I had created this
wooden beast to produce hydroponic fodder for my cattle but found simulated dress-rehearsals of the practice to be wildly time-consuming. The frame was about the size of a garden shed so I turned the whole mess into a greenhouse. I should have
the greenhouse finished by the time you receive this letter. Never has so much
treated lumber been condensed into one area to create such an overbuilt project,
Dave. I used wooden timbers to the point where I am not sure much
sunlight will reach our tomatoes, peppers and lettuce. We decided to
go with “dutch bucket” hydroponics this season. The last few years we
have used raised beds for our garden but the beds are gone and I plan
to spread out the black dirt on some low points in the lawn.

The Dutch bucket system of hydroponics is basically small buckets
filled with tiny rock which is the medium in which you plant. A
dripper system then feeds each plant a mixture of water and liquid
fertilizer. Excess water drains from near the bottom of the bucket
into pvc pipe and back into the central reservoir. The benefit of
this system is no weeding, automated watering, reduced pests and faster growth. We have never done this before, Dave, so we’ll see if I get to learn from failure or bask in the glory of my
own apparent ingeniousness.


I recently received a small shipment of Canamaize corn from Desmet,
South Dakota, Dave. I could tell the gal who took my order already knew it was the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder without my input; unfortunately it was only after I had said the words. Canamaize works nice with the cattle because the stalks are thin so the cattle can eat pretty much everything. The last few
years I planted whatever corn I could find but leftover bags of inexpensive seed corn no longer exist. In the last decade, agriculture has gone from being kind of a low-stakes business to a more volatile sort of profession where everything must make money and scraps like leftover plot-seed no longer exist for guys like me. I like the Canamaize because it isn’t any taller than me and lends itself to strip grazing. Strip grazing is where I fence off one day’s strip of corn with poly wire and step-in posts, Dave. This method makes the cattle clean-up everything and keep them from overeating the corn which can cause them to become sick.

I took the day off to finish the greenhouse so I better go do it, Dave. 

You’re little bro’

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