Archive for January, 2011

I Stepped in It (Part II)

January 11, 2011

(Continued from Part I.)

Here is the farmer after I asked him for permission, and just before loading composted chicken manure into the spreader. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

And, he was! I stopped to ask him if I could take photos to post on my blog. When doing so, I walked out into the field. Just a few steps.

And, after those just few steps it dawned on me that even though I was just at the edge of the field, I could still be stepping in manure, even if I avoided the big chunks. Oh well. Too late!


A few miles north of Jefferson, Iowa, filling up before the next round (next two photos) in the field. (Click photo to enlarge.)


Composted chicken manure (from the pile in the previous photo) being spread by a Chandler litter spreader. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


Composted chicken manure. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The farmer gave his permission; he also said that the manure in the pile he was spreading was “chicken manure mixed with compost.” Well…that shot my connections from the day before (i.e., the nearby cows, and the sign on the back of the guy’s pickup), but, again, oh well!

I realize this might be a little anticlimactic after Part I. I had so many photos I just had to break it into two parts. Maybe to jazz it up a little we can make believe that instead of me being out and about, it was some other woman. Let’s name her Jezebelle. She’s a photographer for National Geographic. And, she drove into the driveway of the field and went out into the field to talk to the farmer. He offered her a cup of ice water from the cab of his end loader, and they developed a relationship Jezebelle would never forget, only because the manure smell stayed on her mind. Bridges of Madison County-esque!

Now, I must go clean my shoes.

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

I Stepped in It (Part I)

January 10, 2011

My shoes are still in the garage. I had such a heyday (two of them) on Monday and Tuesday of last week, ending with me unwittingly stepping in chicken manure and then getting in the car to drive away (i.e., the car did not smell pretty).

North of Jefferson, Iowa.

Last Monday, on no certain timetable, I drove to Rolfe for an overnight stay. Just north of Jefferson I looked to the west and saw a beautiful picture: a field with straight east/west rows of stubble and a manure spreader* throwing out chunks of manure. By the time I thought to take a picture, I was too far past the rows of the spreader location. By the time I turned around and came back, the spreader was at the opposite corner of the field. It appeared that the operator was taking a break.

I imagine that any farmer (or maybe just anyone, period!) will roll his/her eyes reading this post. Actually, I’m kind of embarrassed to say I did this because it was just so loosey-goosey. However, one thing I’m learning more after leaving full-time teacher-librarian work four years ago and having melanoma (now being almost five years cancer free) is to smell those flowers. So, here’s what I did.

When the tractor stopped at the edge of the field near the manure pile, I pulled off the highway and started to drive up the gravel road. I wanted to ask the farmer if he’d soon resume spreading manure. Just as I got near the field entrance, he pulled out onto the gravel road. Do I stop him? Or, do I just keep driving?

By the time the few seconds passed before we met on the road, I hadn’t developed a game plan. I drove past him and over the hill (so that he wouldn’t think I was stalking him!), planning to turn around. But, there were some cattle just past the hill on the opposite side of the gravel road. Hmmm. Cattle. Manure. I made a connection!

This bovine was over the hill across the gravel road from the spreader/manure pile. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


(Click on photo to enlarge the "bleep" text on this sign.)

So, I stopped and took photos of the cattle. Then I drove back to near the manure pile and saw the farmer’s pickup (which was there the first time I went past.) On the rear window of the pickup was a sign, which, if I had seen it in the Target parking lot, or if Jackson was with me and could read it, I’d think it was highly inappropriate. Somehow, seeing it out in this field, it seemed to fit. I made another connection!!! Boy, I’m really learning now!

This pile is the same field as in the first photo. The windmill was not in this field. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

After taking many photos, I drove the rest of the way to Rolfe, scanning the countryside for another operating tractor/manure spreader. I didn’t see any, but from a distance, took photos of anything that might have been a stationary manure spreader. (When I got home, at closer inspection, I realized that almost all of the maybe-a-manure-spreader photos were of something else.)

Once in Rolfe I ran several errands and did some work at Gunderland, all the while hoping that on my drive back to Perry the next day, the same guy would be out spreading manure north of Jefferson.

Since this is such a cliff-hanger, I’ll post Part II mid-week.

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After I post Part II, I’ll stay out of the manure talk and probably move on to a post about Mother’s watercolors of the Pocahontas grain elevator. Or, something else!

*I later learned it was a Chandler litter spreader.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

The Cattle Chute at Gunderland

January 8, 2011

Gunderland, about 1969 or 1970. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Almost always at this blog I include things that I hope will appeal to people outside of my family, as well as my family. However, sometimes I post something more with the narrowed intended audience being my own family…to keep our heritage fresh in our minds. I figure this is probably one of those posts.

In the last post I mentioned Charles’ (my brother) recollection that Daddy fed cattle one year in the 1950s. That made me wonder what photos my family might have related to those cattle.

Hmmm … Below are two photos of my five siblings and me on/in front of the cattle chute at Gunderland. On both photos my notation says “Christmas 1977.” In these photos, I was a shade over five months pregnant with Abby.

The cattle chute and we were on the west side of the barn (toward the north end) that stood at Gunderland. In the thumbnail photo (above left), the camara is “looking” south-southeast. The right-hand side of the barn is the west side of the barn.

December 1977. L to R: Helen, me (Louise), Clara, Marti, Charles and Peg. The wood pole in the background at the left is in the vicinity of the house. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The photo above shows more of the roof and chute. The photo immediately below shows more of the west side of the barn. Later the roof of the barn was damaged. Neither the barn nor the chute stands any longer. Sometime I’ll post more about that.

December 1977. L to R: Helen, me (Louise), Clara, Charles, Marti and Peg. (Click on photo to enlarge.)


This photo of Gunderland was developed in 1965. The barn and cattle chute are toward the left side of the photo. The cattle shed is between the barn and corn crib; none of these three buildings is still standing. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

The Mystery Item Is …

January 7, 2011

This is a manure spreader beater bar. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

UPDATE January 24, 2010: I just received a subscription notice for this post, so assume that all of the other subscribers of this blog did, as well. I have not opened the editor of this post since I published it, so the notice was sent in error by the blog service. Because this is the second time this has happened, I will check with WordPress Support to see if whatever glitch can be fixed so this doesn’t happen again. Again, I apologize for any confusion. Louise

In the previous post the “mystery item” is ….. a manure spreader beater bar. In their comments, Chris, Glenn, and a gentleman who emailed me knew exactly what the item is, and Patti and another woman were close knowing that it was used to break up something in the field.*

Below is a YouTube video about today’s ABI Classic Spreader. I have no idea if all of the information in the video is valid, but I do know that the segment from the 2:49 minute mark to the 3:56 mark illustrates the principle of the shredder (i.e. what we are calling the beater bar).

I asked my brother, Charles, what he remembers about the manure spreader that Daddy (Deane Gunderson) had/used. Charles said he remembers that it was red, and thinks it was a McCormick. Of course, we don’t know for sure that the beater bar shown here is from our red manure spreader, in which I rode to get to the school bus one day!** But for sentimental sake and since it was found either at Gunderland or where my dad was raised, I want to believe it is the same unless I find out differently. (If you know something about the shape/design of it that would mean it is from a different kind of spreader, by all means, please let me know.)

Charles said that our dad’s spreader was used for both hog manure and cattle manure. Charles said, “I never ran it.” Then, with a chuckle he said, “But I filled it up!” Sometimes with a pitch fork, but mostly with a shovel.

“Dad also had a cage put around the spreader so the corn sheller could blow the corn husks from corn shelling into the spreader. He’d also load corn cobs into the spreader to spread out in the field to get them out of the farmstead, and also for a little bit, but not much, of nutrient value.”

Charles said, “Dad stopped having hogs within a year or two after Grandpa died [in 1956], but then I had 4-H hogs through my sophomore year, which would have been until the summer of 1959.”

“At one time he also had cattle at Gunderland. I think he had cattle only for one year and that was after the barn was built. [Charles estimates the barn was built probably before 1948, and the wood crib was built in approximately 1951.] He bought 100 heifers and fed them to 750 pounds. Maybe that was the year Grandpa died. I don’t know for certain the exact year. Dad took the cattle to market in Sioux City and sold them at the stockyard there. At the time Dad thought he might want to feed cattle again. He soon found out that the cattle someone was trying to sell him were the ones he had just sold!”

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I learned a new vocabulary word last night. Tilth. Bill told me that spreading the cobs, etc. is good for the soil’s tilth. As the Rolfe notable science teacher Mr. Spaulding has told me several times, “A word a day keeps the idiot doctor away!”

*Thank you to all of you who passed along what you either knew what the item is or were guessing. It is fun for me to receive your comments, whether on this blog or in your private communication to me.

**The getting-to-the-school-bus story is told in the third paragraph of this post.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

What is this mystery steel item?

January 4, 2011

(Click on photo to enlarge.)


Anyone have an idea what this item (pictured) is? And, if so, any elaboration of how it works and/or how you were involved with something similar at some point in your life?

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)