Navigate / search

Horse Logging “The Forty”

Many of you probably did not know that our steers spend most of their lives at the McGrath farm. It is located at the very South end of Aitkin County not far from the village of McGrath. Named for James McGrath, the owner of a logging camp in the pine forests at the beginning at the last century. Florence’s grandfather, General Grant McCrory, was a hunter for the logging camps and her grandmother was one of the cooks.

Raising Calves – 1940 to the Present

It may seem strange, but I have been involved with dairy cows all my life. My parents said that they kept me in a pen in the barn as a toddler, so I wouldn’t fall in the manure gutter or get kicked by a cow while they milked or fed the herd. I’m sure I was there as an infant too. I grew up helping them with milking, feeding and tending to the calves.

Dairying in Minus 25 Degrees

We have many challenges when the temps are this low, especially when wind chills are minus 50 degrees. With their heavy hair coats, the cows and pregnant heifers seem to do just fine, as long as they are kept dry. Click the image to read the entire story.

Winter Preparations

Winter preparations for the livestock begin about mid October. The water supply to the pastures must be turned off early enough so the cows empty the tanks on the last rotation through the paddocks. Click the image to read the entire story…

Shorter Days of Autumn

With the shorter days of Autumn, the morning milking crew gets to sleep in a little longer, as the cows don’t have to walk far to get to the milking parlor. A dark colored cow is very difficult to see on a moonless morning long before daybreak. We try to keep a good supply of flashlight batteries on hand. Click the image to read the entire blog entry.

Free Wedding Dances

Dave’s mother and father, Georgina Alice Simon and Valentine Jaroslav Minar were married in St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in New Prague on October 17, 1938. Click the image to read an excerpt from Jean’s memoir, and learn what life was like during the early days of Cedar Summit Farm.

Sweet Corn Memories

Grandpa Val in the Corn
Grandpa Val in the Corn

Sweet corn season always brings back a memorable childhood experience. In the late 1940′s my father grew a large field of sweet corn under contract for the Green Giant Company, on a farm that he owned on the edge of New Prague. My mother’s brother, Uncle Henry, was a field supervisor for Green Giant at the time.  His job included scheduling the planting and harvesting of sweet corn fields.

Before the advent of sweet corn harvesters, Green Giant hired large groups of Jamaican seasonal migrant workers to hand harvest the corn. The workers were housed and fed in a housing unit that was provided at company headquarters in Montgomery.

Uncle Henry suggested to my parents that if they prepared a nice noon meal for the migrant workers that they would be very well paid with an excellent job of corn picking even in the afternoon heat. My Mother prepared a fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings including gallons of ice-cold real lemonade. I remember the 12 men napping under our trees after our noon dinner. Mother cleaned 15 chickens for the occasion and there were no leftovers.

What really sticks in my mind was their singing. It was the up-beat Caribbean-style music, like what we heard Harry Belafonte sing years later. Florence and I had traveled to the East Caribbean in subsequent years and heard their steel drums and singing. It brought back memories of that summer in the 40′s, and of the 12 migrant workers and their beautiful singing.

I remember Dad being impressed. There was not an ear of corn that they missed or left lying on the ground. Every ear found it’s way into the truck.

Strange Farm Happenings

Yesterday was another one of those days that could be added to a list of “Strange Farm Happenings”. I was in the house frying up some burger for dinner, because Florence was working at the Creamery until six. My cell phone rang. It was John (our herd manager) frantically calling…

Waiting for the Grass to Grow

Sure is nice to see that the snow is all melted (except where I piled it up with the tractor loader the last few months)! Seemed like a long brutal winter. Especially when I see the woodpile gone and not much hay left for the animals. We all hope for a nice warm rain to get the grass to grow. Read more