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Ag Right: Rhubarb, juneberries and life’s surprises

I can’t speak for you, but I’ve found that life is often full of surprises. It happened again this weekend, when I planted juneberries (the blue fruit that look like blueberries) and transplanted rhubarb (a green-and-red perennial vegetable) with my 80-year-old father on our family farm in central North Dakota.

If someone had told me when I was in high school that “One day you and your 80-year-old dad will be planting juneberries and rhubarb,” I would have questioned their sanity.

But times change. The wild juneberry plants on our farm, which we enjoyed so much, are mostly dead, lost to chemical drift. The domesticated ones we planted this past weekend will be an imperfect, though satisfying, replacement.

As the rhubarb, well, the plant is 120 years old, give or take a year or two. It was part of a small rhubarb patch on family owned land. Moving a single plant to the area with the newly planted juneberries — and the apple trees I planted last year — was, for me, a way of linking past and future.

I have no idea what Upper Midwest agriculture will be like 120 years from now. But I hope that rhubarb plant will still be alive and well.

As for the juneberries, they should, with luck, bear their first crop in 2018 or 2019. I’m optimistic that my parents and I will be here to enjoy them. If you like juneberries, let me know and I’ll save a few for you.

Yes, life is often surprising. But it’s satisfying, too.

To read more of Knutson's blog, click here.

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