Author: Renae Vander Schaaf

Stop The Pickup – That Looks Interesting!

It seems like we are always in hurry to get from Point A to Point B. The same roads are traveled over and over, until any bump in the road tell us how many bumps are left until our destination is reached. The quickest route to our son’s farm is via the interstate. Therefore, practicality doesn’t allow for much variance. We seldom vary from the one hurried stop that we allow ourselves. After all, we should have been there working three hours ago. In a way our own minds have developed that despicable ‘fly over/drive by’ notion. But last summer, we did something out of the ordinary.  We pulled off the interstate to visit the South Dakota Tractor Museum right at the Kimball exit on I90. This museum opened its doors in 2000. So for sixteen years we have driven past, often commenting on it, but never stopping. Its roots are definitely in agriculture. The idea came from a group of individuals who had restored tractors and each had his own eclectic collection of antique farm items. They made the decision to open a museum so others could enjoy the sundry items. It is still run by a board of seven community members and staffed by volunteers who donate their time to make your visit a thorough enjoyable one with a real education on how these antiques were once...

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Another Small Grain Harvest Season

From early spring the farmer watched the green blades stool out to become sturdy grass-like plants. The oats, spring and winter wheats began to shoot their heads, with the welcomed gentle rains they swelled bursting with life. The sun had shone upon them for weeks, until they slowly began to change color. The farmer and his wife got busy preparing for the first harvest of the year. Combines needed going over, trucks gone through the Vander Schaaf check list. Brothers come to help with the preparation and harvest begins in wheat land where my oldest son lives. The corn...

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Days At The Creek: A Child’s Paradise

Perhaps we really did have our work caught up, or maybe mom and dad were tired of our whining and let us children have our way. The latter is probably more true than the first, but there were times we made our way to the small creek that cut across the west corner of the home place. It was far enough from the farm that it seemed like a vacation, but still it was close enough to walk or ride bikes on the dusty gravel road. The creek, which was too tiny to name, was the perfect place in the summer time when air conditioning was unheard of. Dad must have always hayed this small triangle or he had a cow or two grazing it as I don’t remember the grass ever being tall. But it was the water that drew us. On a hot summer day, the water was warm enough to walk in barefoot, it was usually clear enough to see the bottom. Meadowlarks would sing for us, and Red-Winged blackbirds would perch on top of the one lone tree that had an undignified way of growing. No other trees to encourage it to grow tall and straight, its limbs just meandered every which way. At the tiny creek we would find tadpoles and the little minnows. It wasn’t large enough to sustain fish. That was okay,...

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