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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Thursday, November 05, 2009


As many of you know, Dan and I were farmers in our “former lives”. It is something you never get out of your blood; from the smell of new mown hay, to the smell of cows breath, to the early morning “cattle calls” and to all the things in between. It is hard, but rewarding work. As the saying goes; Farming is everyone’s bread and butter.

We still like looking at farm equipment, but that is especially something Dan is “fascinated” by. He marvels at how things have changed in the past 20 years.

This afternoon, we have been watching two men working hard at V-cutting the field(s) across the road from our campsite. These fields are all part of the Alligator River refuge. There are X amount of acres set aside for soy beans. Some of it is harvested, some is left for the critters of the refuge….but however it is handled THESE FIELDS ARE WET!

You may remember from an earlier post that we thought that the fields must be tiled because they ARE so wet; that is not the case.

Dan and I have been watching these two guys for about the last 4 hours preparing the field for the V ditching. It is fascinating to watch how it is all done from beginning to end. From what we can figure out, the back hoe first goes into the area that is going to be ditched and searches for hidden stumps and roots them out. Then the ditcher (I’m sure it has a proper name, but don’t know what it is!) goes across the field with the equipment not quite set deep enough into the ground to make the ditch, but more like it is being notched out. Then he makes a return trip setting the ditcher deeper and actually makes the V ditch…and you should see the water run out of the fields and into this ditch! It appears that all of the V ditches start and end at a large culvert (at each end of the fields). This particular field is about one mile across. I’m not sure if all the plots are set as such or not.

I think I told you in an earlier post that there is about a 10 acre “strip” of beans, beside it is 10 acres of all the plants you’d expect to find in a wetland area, then beside it is another strip of beans, and so on. Last week, someone was across the road in these fields brush-hogging all of it. (I believe all the equipment has to be 4 WD….or they would never get through!).

There is a very large ditch between our road and the next road and the Refuge can control how much water is in the ditch with a pumping station that is at the end of our road. This morning, there was very little water in this deep ditch, however, since they have been V-ditching this field today, it is filling back up. The V ditches look to be, I’m guessing here, about 2-3 foot deep….and the water is flowing into that ditch as soon as he cuts it in the field, from there it flows back to the culvert(s) and into the BIG ditch. Clear as mud???

Maybe the photos will help clear it up!
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  1. That"s a BIG tractor.looks to be a challenger brand.I need someing like that for plowing the roads U.P. North.take care.

  2. Wow, what an operation all of that is and an ingenious way to drain the fields...
    I can just see Dan with his nose pressed against the glass and a cup of coffee watching all of this! ha

  3. Tractor Guy...Dan was chomping at the bit...wanted to get on that thing so badly!

    Retired One..heck, nose wasn't pressed against the glass! We stood a safe distance away from the field; he was really throwing the "stuff"!

  4. Tractor Guy...Dan was chomping at the bit...wanted to get on that thing so badly!

    Retired One..heck, nose wasn't pressed against the glass! We stood a safe distance away from the field; he was really throwing the "stuff"!


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