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CHISEL PLOWING POTATO GROUND ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM IN MAINE. As soon as a section of the potato field is harveste

CHISEL PLOWING POTATO GROUND ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM IN MAINE. As soon as a section of the potato field is harvested, we use the Lockwood Rockpicker to remove rock piles left by the Juko Potato Harvester. Then we go through the plot with a tractor-drawn IH (International Harvester) 7-Tooth Chisel Plow which has extremely heavy shanks and twisted chisel plow points. The chisel plow requires 15 HP of tractor power per tooth and rips foot-deep cuts into the soil, counteracting compaction and incorporating surface residues.
Here, Caleb’s sister, Amy, is chisel-plowing with an Oliver tractor. Jim follows behind Amy with our IH 510 Grain drill pulled by a second Oliver, sowing Winter Rye and clover seed.
If you look closely you can see a section of ground which has had it’s Winter Rye already sprout up.
Next July the Rye will be harvested as an organic grain crop. In the meantime, this Fall and Winter the Rye will protect the soil from erosion. Caleb, Megan & Jim




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Incredible details of 10,000-year-old trek revealed in fossil footprints


SCIENTISTS REVEAL UNEARTHED DETAILS ABOUT FOSSILIZED 10,000-YEAR-OLD HUMAN FOOTPRINTS DISCOVERED IN NEW MEXICO. A team of modern scientists have deployed detective techniques to tell the story behind ancient and delicate fossilized footprints – including tiny child prints – discovered in White Sands National Park.
‘National Geographic’ reports on this new study published in ‘Quarternary Science Reviews.’ Caleb, Megan & Jim

“More than 10,000 years ago, a woman or young man—a toddler balanced on one hip—set out on a harried trip northward through what is now White Sands National Park, New Mexico. Rain may have pelted the traveler’s face as their bare feet slid on the mud. They paused to briefly set the toddler on the ground before pressing on; a wooly mammoth and giant sloth ambled across their freshly laid tracks. Several hours later, the traveler followed the same route south, this time empty-handed.

“Now, a team of scientists have documented nearly a mile of fossilized footprints from the out-and-back venture—the longest human trackway of its age ever found. ‘I’ve never seen anything quite like it,’ says Chatham University’s Kevin Hatala, an evolutionary biologist who was not part of the study team…

“The prints of the new study are pressed into fine sand, and a thin crust of salt is all that holds their shape together, Reynolds says. The team carefully excavated 140 of the tracks, using a brush to reveal the delicate structures. Yet such fragile forms quickly break down once uncovered, so the team recorded each print with a series of photographs to construct a three-dimensional model, a technique known as 3D photogrammetry.” https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/10/incredible-details-of-10-000-year-old-trek-revealed-in-fossil-footprints/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=SpecialEdition_Escape_20201021&rid=F00573B02E2BD3D108AAD6EECF06B61A

Incredible details of 10,000-year-old trek revealed in fossil footprints



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NATURE’S PENDULUM SWINGS: FALL RAINS RETURN WITH ENTHUSIASM. In the first 17 days of October we’ve seen 5.77″ of rain

NATURE’S PENDULUM SWINGS: FALL RAINS RETURN WITH ENTHUSIASM. In the first 17 days of October we’ve seen 5.77″ of rain in Northern Maine. That is more rain then we received during the entire growing season months of June, July, August and September combined.
Those with wells-gone-dry are grateful for the turn of events. A handful of farmers are still digging their muddy potato ground on days free from rainfall. We’ve been there, done that and confirm it is slow, grueling work. Aside from these stragglers, most all of the Aroostook potato crop has now been safely put into storage.
In this photo – under conditions already fading from memory – Caleb kicks up the dust exiting our potato field after performing a machine repair during the droughty month of September.
Our experience is that here in Aroostook, a day in September is worth two days in October. Caleb, Megan & Jim




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EMAILTPL1


LOOKING BACK: A POTATO LAND RETROSPECTIVE. Yesterday’s graveside burial service for Bridgewater icon Johhnny Barker had a large turnout despite the cold, steady October rain.
We are reminded that it was just nine years ago – also then a cold, rainy October Saturday – when Bridgewater potato farmer patriarch Eldon Bradbury was laid to rest. We captured Eldon’s passing in our ‘Wood Prairie Seed Piece’ newsletter. That article is offered here and linked below.
This year, except for a few stragglers who have had some bad luck, this year’s Aroostook potato crop is now safely in storage.
Caleb, Megan & Jim

“We got done digging our crop late last week towards evening as a cold rain was beginning to fall. It wasn’t so long before we got a couple inches of rain. It has been wet ground ever since and no one in northern Maine ‘has spun a wheel’ (worked the field) since then. By the sound of the wet forecast ahead it looks like the potatoes that were still in the ground last week will still be in the ground next week.

“While of course it is good that we are done we can’t help but fret about our neighbors who have potatoes left to dig. Potatoes are still the big deal in this little potato town. Other places, a sunny day in Fall is merely ‘pleasant’. Here, a sunny day is recognized by everybody as ‘a good day to dig’. The fortunes of our town still rest upon the success of the potato crop, just like it always has going back 150 years. Everyone hereabouts knows that Fall weather can turn wet and wicked and against a potato farmer in an awful hurry.

“There is always a big collective sigh of relief in Bridgewater when the last potatoes are dug and put under cover. And for most of the last century there’s been nobody in town more relieved to see that last potato picked than Eldon Bradbury…”
https://www.woodprairie.com/newsletters/newsletter_10182011.htm#Lead_Article

EMAILTPL1



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John Nelson Barker Obituary – Houlton, Maine , Dunn Funeral Home | Tribute Arcive


A TRIBUTE TO BRIDGEWATER ICON JOHNNY BARKER. It’s a fair and honest statement to say that everyone who knew Johnny was the better for it.
With his varied, eclectic pursuits and his classic Maine self-deprecating humor, Johnny has been a solid, old-school Bridgewater institution for all of his 77 years.
Johnny is survived by his wife Robin (now retired and the best schoolteacher local kids ever had) and daughter Amanda (formerly a Maine Forest Ranger and now a teacher).
Amanda wrote this Barker-esq tribute which – even if you never knew Johnny – you will enjoy reading. Caleb, Megan & Jim
https://www.tributearchive.com/obituaries/18606136/John-Nelson-Barker/Houlton/Maine/Dunn-Funeral-Home-Houlton

“A man who never willingly strayed too far from home, he spent a lifetime participating in his community. He was the long-time moderator for town meetings, a member of the Bridgewater Fire Department for 49 years, including 27 years as Chief, the Town Fire Warden, a founding member of the Bridgewater Historical Society, the sextant for the town cemeteries, a member and past master of the near-by Aroostook Lodge #197 and the official National Weather Service meteorological recorder for the Town of Bridgewater for 51 years…

“John will be making his last trip around the Buckley Road loop with a final stop at Smith Cemetery to be buried along with his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and nephews on Saturday October 17, 2020 at 11:00 am. Should you wish to join us for a very short burial, please wear a face mask. A reception at the Mennonite Hall on the Boundary Line Road will follow directly after.

“From John’s album comes this clipping: Thought for the Day: We’ve learned to fly in the air like a bird and swim under water like a fish. All that remains is to learn to walk on earth like a man.”

John Nelson Barker Obituary – Houlton, Maine , Dunn Funeral Home | Tribute Arcive



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Exploring “The Crown of Maine”

BOSTON TELEVISION STATION FEATURES AROOSTOOK COUNTY POTATO HARVEST. Boston Channel 5 TV station WCBV has prepared a video report (5:03) which deploys a contrast in the scale of production in Maine’s ‘Potato Empire.’
Featured are examples some of the largest, and some of the smallest potato farms in Aroostook County. Shown are the McCrums in nearby Mars Hill, one of the largest potato operations in Northern Maine. And farming up in the Swedish Colony north of Caribou, organic family farmer Sven Bondeson.
Highlighted is the fact that that Aroostook is one of the last locales in the USA that still closes school every Fall so students can earn money and gain real world experience by helping farmers in working the annual potato harvest. Caleb, Megan & Jim

Exploring “The Crown of Maine”



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PICKING ROCKS AFTER POTATO HARVEST ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. We finished digging our last potatoes Tuesday, thankful


PICKING ROCKS AFTER POTATO HARVEST ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. We finished digging our last potatoes Tuesday, thankfully without any frost damage, despite three harvest mornings this year which bottomed out at 22oF.
Tuesday night the remnants of TS Delta dropped 2.5″ of rain on our farm. That was more rain – in the one night – than we received in the combined months of August and September in this record-setting Maine drought year.
Here, Caleb is using our 92-HP Oliver 1850 Diesel tractor (made in Iowa) to pull a two-row Lockwood Lag-Bed Rockpicker (made in Nebraska) to remove piles of rocks left behind by the Juko Potato Harvester.
After a long search we had found and purchased this used 1960s Rockpicker which originally had a secondary-side-boom which would convey rocks directly into an accompanying dump truck. The side boom/dump truck combo vastly increased rock-picking productivity and we used the unit to cover every inch of our potato fields. We carted away many, many hundreds of yards of rocks left behind by twenty glaciers.
Located on the edge of the North Maine Woods, our farm has had the reputation of being the rockiest farm in Town. Over time, the reduction of rocks reached a point where we decided to re-fabricate and convert the Rockpicker over to a conventional 1.5 yard hopper-style unit with a hydraulically-operated door which now only requires a single person to operate. Caleb, Megan & Jim




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37 Pictures of Majestic Animals Being Incorrigible Goofs

TODAY’S WELCOME WILDLIFE DIVERSION. For the day after a holiday weekend. For those who could use a few moments of relief from this long lasting campaign season, here are 37 images competing in this year’s ‘Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.’ Levity brought to light by ‘Tenderly.’ Caleb, Megan & Jim
https://medium.com/tenderlymag/37-pictures-of-majestic-animals-being-incorrigible-goofs-fba1d84b2af6

37 Pictures of Majestic Animals Being Incorrigible Goofs



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THREE OLIVER TRACTORS WORKING THIS YEAR’S WOOD PRAIRIE POTATO HARVEST. Our newest Oliver tractors were made in Iowa in

THREE OLIVER TRACTORS WORKING THIS YEAR’S WOOD PRAIRIE POTATO HARVEST. Our newest Oliver tractors were made in Iowa in the late 1960s. In addition to being reliable workhorse machines, one major benefit is they are entirely free of electronic chip technology. Since chips have a designed life of just ten brief years, maverick farmers seeking longevity – and the unfettered ability to repair their own equipment – can steer clear of modern designed obsolescence.
All three of these Olivers are Diesel-powered. The tractor at right is our Oliver 1750 and it’s pulling the Finnish Juko Potato Harvester. Caleb is picking rocks with the middle Oliver 1850 hooked up to a Lockwood two-row Rock Picker. The leftmost Oliver 1650 has forklift forks rigged to the three-point-hitch and hauls out of the field hardwood pallet boxes filled with potatoes from the Juko. Caleb, Megan & Jim




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7 picture-perfect Irish villages we want to escape to


PART II: RURAL IRELAND TRAVEL-DREAMING ON A HOLIDAY WEEKEND. Last month on another holiday weekend we featured a ‘Matador’ article about traveling in rural Scotland.
This time around the focus is on rural Ireland. You’ll enjoy the seven must-see Irish villages Matador highlights. Don’t miss the accompanying incredible photographs! Caleb, Megan & Jim

“The Ireland of our dreams, the one that’s often pictured in rom-coms, is rural. And even though adorable thatched cottages dotting green, rolling hills, or brightly painted houses by the wild Atlantic shore are overly used in televised fictional tales, there’s some truth to them…outside of the urban areas, you’ll encounter some of the rustic aesthetic and dramatic, craggy landscapes you’ve grown to expect. The seven villages listed below will satisfy your needs if what you’re looking for is a pretty, scenic, and sometimes isolated place to explore in the Republic of Ireland, as well as in Northern Ireland.”

7 picture-perfect Irish villages we want to escape to



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