Jerry Nelson

Learning from the best

Everything I needed to know I learned from Norwegian bachelor farmers. Our neighbor, Martin, would be a good example. Dad shared machinery with Martin, so I learned a lot from Martin while I was …

Smelling the seasons

Weather permitting, our dog, Bella, and I take a walk every day. Her job is to run ahead and scout for strange scents while mine is to tag along behind and superintend. One might think that …

Farmstead wineries

Farmstead wineries have become quite common. I have nothing against such businesses and am actually quite familiar with the fine art of on-farm winemaking. I was an early bloomer, having brewed up my …

Cow cuddling questions

There are a lot of creative ways to generate extra income on a farm. For instance, when my sister, Diann, and I were grade schoolers, we decided to open a sweetcorn stand at the end of our dairy farm’s driveway.

Making Christmas memories

Christmastime when I was a kid consisted mostly of waiting and waiting for the moment when we could finally open our gifts. That and putting up with aunts and uncles and grandparents, many of whom …

Tractor nostalgia

The pleasant autumn that we’ve had so far has caused me to recall the truism, “No nice weather goes unpunished.” This, in turn, made me think of the coming winter and the unpleasant …

Thankful for Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again when we Americans are spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about an overstuffed bird who is sitting in a small, hot box. We collectively watch with abject …

That old house

My wife and I have two houses on our farm. It’s not that we’re wealthy; it’s more that I’m a victim of my frugal Norwegian ancestry. My great-grandfather Charlie Sveen …

Jury duty

It was quite unsettling some years back when I received that letter from the clerk of courts. My first reaction was, “What now? Am I being sued? Do I have a pile of unpaid parking tickets? …

Autumn chores

It is now officially autumn, which means it’s time to quit putting off your summertime projects and start putting off your fall chores. Back in the days of yore — a historical period …

Farm visitors

Judging by the number of visitors it received, my family’s humble 20-cow dairy farm was a pretty important place when I was a kid.

Country living

Living in the country comes with some distinct advantages. For one thing, it’s pretty quiet out here. I might spend the entire day writing, and when my wife gets home from work in the evening …

Adventures in grazing

A vast assortment of slogans can be seen on bumper stickers, but I like one that I saw many moons ago that said,“Cows don’t give milk. It’s taken from them by force!”   

The dreaded B word

The aging process sometimes has a way of sneaking up on a guy, jumping out and yelling, “Boo!”

The lawncare season

The first truly warm days of spring have arrived, and the snow has finally melted which means we can now see exactly how much junk has accumulated in our yards.   

Minneota memories

“Farmers in Minnesota laugh at us here in South Dakota,” my grandpa Nelson often proclaimed to me when I was growing up. “They think we’re foolish for buying all that fertilizer.”

Dairy expo adventures

The two dairy cows wandered, unfettered, throughout the convention hall. They attracted scant attention save for the occasional pedestrian who posed with them for a selfie.

The outdoor show

Spring is in the air. This brings about some unusual behavior, including those peculiar phenomena known as the outdoor shows. I say they are peculiar due to the fact that these so-called “outdoor” shows are invariably held indoors.

Radio daze

Radio has always been an integral part of farm life. Long before the advent of the so-called internet and the so-called worldwide spider domicile, our trusty radios kept us abreast of what was happening in the universe.

You’re so vain

It never fails to amaze me what people are willing to endure in the name of vanity.

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