Sunday, September 17, 2017

Life Happens In The Present

Some folks live life so looking for the future they miss out on their purpose in the present. Others are scared to take a risk for fear of failing or thinking they are too young. Finally some are constantly looking backward at missed opportunities and live with regrets. 
Most of this week's stories are examples of young folks not waiting to make a difference. They are living out their lives to the fullest in the present.
Cobie and I became acquainted last Sunday. Her parents had their churches potluck dinner and afternoon service at the cabin. While waiting for lunch she brought me a riddle. She asked me if I could figure out how to get an inch lock washer off a three quarter inch bolt that had a the nut welded on. I couldn't figure it out. She had to show me. :)
Robert and his wife have 3 daughters. Last Sunday afternoon Robert and his youngest (I so wish I could remember her name) sang at the Good News Chapel service. What a blessing.
Because of our dry summer the ground has been hard to push. Mike had been pre-ripping some while building terraces. Yesterday he went to Des Moines and bought new corner bits for his dozer blade hoping they help.
 Brent is a neighbor, friend, fellow farmer, and deputy sheriff in our county. He has been helping us haul corn to Eddyville along with his brother Brian and Uncle Kevin. His grain trailer was built in 1984, the same year he was born, and the hopper bottom doors are getting hard to open. So he built himself a longer crank with more leverage to help with the unloading. I could just see your late father's grin at your ingenuity if he were around Brent.
 Part time helper Kasey rodeos around the state. Last evening he won the bull riding event in Ottumwa. Congratulations Kasey. He is looking forward to working with his grandfather on some farm acres this coming crop season.  
Another one of our helpers, Andy, did his homework, made a plan, worked out details, took a risk, and made a purchase as a young beginning farmer. Good job Andy.
Nephew Isaiah, Jordan, and another co-worker from Oskaloosa volunteered to go down and be part of the 30,000 utility crew members helping get Florida back up on the electrical grid after Hurricane Irma. After working in Stuart, Florida they moved to the western part of the state this past Friday. Thanks for your service guys.
I have always enjoyed sitting in front of a heater on cold mornings and often have my early morning devotions out in the shop. Occasionally our help will get to work early and catch me talking or listening to God in front of my old Knipco. The old thing often smokes and sputters. Well one morning helper Alex came exceptionally early, said he couldn't sleep, and had this huge box. He told me it was my early Christmas present. It was a brand new large DeWalt heater. Thanks Alex.
 BJ has been spending time on both harvest and helping with the construction of their new home. Everyone appreciates his ability to figure problems out and fix things. On this particular early morning he is replacing the large battery on his combine. We often get visitors to the field and BJ is one of the favorites folks like to ride with.
BJ and Cassia's home is progressing. They poured the basement floor this week. Yesterday brother Bill and his son Matt came and helped BJ and Gideon get the electrical service in.
Our corn yields continue to surprise us with some fields in the northern part of our area coming close to last years results. Karl and Malaki were running one of the combines yesterday. One of my favorite 2-way conversations for the week was when Karl said, "We didn't need to pray for rain. We just needed to pray that we would be taken care of". So true. God's possibilities are not limited to our small minds of how things happen.
Jan and I ran to Des Moines early last evening, made a stop at Costco, and then cashed in on a gift certificate for supper. I enjoyed our time together after a busy week. I heard Lou Holtz say one time we need four things in life. Have something to do. Have someone to love. Have something to look forward to. Have something to believe in.
Last week Sunday at our church we commissioned our Sunday School teachers and group leaders.  So what are we doing in the present to make a difference? Who are we helping so they can in turn help? God is interested and in control of all aspects of our lives including the present. We are not to wait until we feel we are able. We will never be able on our own. We don't make a crop out of no rain. Miracles don't happen while we sit, watch, and wait. Miracles happen when we step out in faith and try something we feel is the right thing to do. Have a good week.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Do you have jobs on your list that need to be done so that you can finish a project or meet a deadline? We had several of those at our house this week.
In our everyday lives, in the farming occupation, and even in our interaction with others we all have those action items that need to happen in order to accomplish a purpose or for a project to succeed. In the business world those action items are called deliverables. 
Just like making a plan to move the ball across a football field with the hope of crossing the goal line deliverables move things forward toward a goal. 
Sometimes we get kidded about wasting time visiting. Although that happens occasionally we make a plan and tackle our deliverables as a team. It helps everyone know what's going on and keeps folks knowing what the goal is for the day. Have you ever had a helper ask what's "so and so" doing? Just barking out orders only gives the employer, boss, or manager the satisfaction knowing that goals are being accomplished and not everyone on the team.  
Dry weather has folks feeding and watering cattle in their pastures. BJ chopped corn silage on two different farms this past week.
Thanks Scott for helping haul in. Thanks Nathan for coming and bagging the corn silage.
Thanks Matt and Ryan for finishing rebuilding the corn drive over pit. 
In 1980 we built this corn pit with a drive over grate to unload our wagons and  single axle straight trucks. Although it made unloading easier our main goal was safety. Back then Jan combined and I hauled in and we usually had small kids helping us. Later the kids would haul in and unload corn after school.
The rough plumbing and perimeter tile are in at BJ and Cassia's house. Hopefully next week is grading, the water lines and insulation for in floor heat, and pouring the basement floor. 
Sometimes deliverables can come up unexpectedly. Sometimes you need to ask others to help you with your deliverables. This combine was accidentally damaged when it drove into the shop door with the grain tank bubble up auger in the raised position. Thanks Titan in Pella for helping out.
The equipment folks working on Karl and Kristin's new hog shed are same as finished and Karl will be receiving weaner pigs this coming week. Hog finishers either get in grower or weaner pigs. A weaner pig is just two to three weeks old and  has just been taking away from it's mother.
These little guys thrive in this environment, are healthy, and grow fast. Below Malaki is helping his dad get in the first batch.
We are continuing to harvest and have combined about 350 acres. Farm yield averages have been from 125 bushels per acre south of Oskaloosa to 200 bushels per acre northwest of Pella. The crop yield is extremely variable usually based on soil types in any given field because of our continuing dry year.
We are using the harvested acres relieve some hog pit levels and have been hauling honey. The deliverables of this job is to have a current soil sample on file and have a manure plan which means we are already planning next years crop.
Mike does a good job planning for his next day by always fueling up the evening before. He gets an early start, stops for helping coach football, and often goes back to his dozer after practice. The dirt he is pushing is so dry he has to cut in with the corner of his blade and often doesn't find any soil moisture until about six to eight feet deep.
Whether it's in football, riding dirt bike, at part time jobs, or life in general, I'm so happy when I see young folks tackling their own deliverables. Gideon, Ethan, and John welded the frame on this dirt bike yesterday afternoon after we finished working on perimeter tile at the house basement. Gideon told me he is tightening the shock on his suspension.
Believe it or not there are also deliverables in getting along with people. Those action items we can't neglect in order to have a relationship. Everyone needs affirmed, encouraged, and feel a purpose. Our job is to make that happen by looking outward and not just inward. We also need to respect ourselves however in order to respect others. Sometimes folks beat you up, talk bad, and hope you fail. Remember last week it's our character that matters more than our reputation. Below our crew stopped for Georges pizza while harvesting at the Sneller farm. Bonnie, this is the kitchen you grew up in.
Deliverables involve looking inward evaluating self. They involve looking forward toward a goal. They involve looking outward to others. They also involve looking upward. Have a conversation with God every day. Praise Him for who He is. Thank Him for blessings and being in charge. Ask Him for help and direction. Below the Pella Christian and Des Moines Christian football teams are praying together after competing in a football game.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Year We'll Remember

When you think back what years do you remember?  I dare say they are probably the years with either extra praise or extra pressure.
Many of the years we remember involve people. Either people we have gained or people we have lost. If you are having a year of extra praise look out and up and thank people and God that have helped you. If you are having a year of extra pressure look out and up and lean on people and God to help you. 
I stopped at Pablo and Paula's house to help Alex hook up the drill for a fall seeding job. Since it was just going to take a minute I left my truck running and door open. When I returned this chicken was in the passenger seat waiting for a ride to somewhere.
I took this picture yesterday thinking I was going to visit with you this morning about not seeing the whole picture of our lives when we are up close. When we experience those years of praise or pressure we often don't see the complete picture until we look back and remember years later. 
Eight years ago this is Mike, Coach Kac and his son David. Today Mike and Coach K are working together coaching young men and David is playing football at Dordt college.
In the spring of 2008 Kurt and Karl were graduating from high school. The next spring Mike, who had been operating the families dozer, purchased his own. Our family was busy with crops as well as helping build a football field. Mike and Suzanne's son Cody who was in kindergarten was helping his dad pack the field area with a sheepsfoot while Mike was building up the sidelines for the stadium seats.
Today Cody is playing football on the field he helped build. Thanks Troy for letting me borrow your picture. Your photography abilities are amazing.
As I explained last week we had to over dig BJ and Cassia's basement and ended up hauling and adding 600 ton rock for the foundation to set on. I got a picture of you Ruth. Thanks for the visit. Harold and Ruth are Suzanne's folks.
The rock had to be packed in as it was added and spread.
Yea. Friday Brett and his help got the walls poured. This view is from the south looking at the walkout end of the basement.
Because of the dry weather some CRP acres were released in our county. BJ and Andy are loading the bales that Alex, Kasey, and Andy had baled the day before.
We have been slowly starting to harvest. The ten hybrid test plot just east of our home yielded about half of what it did last year.
No one had as much rain as they had hoped for this growing season however I think the heart of the dry area seems to be further south and east of the acres we farm. Yield is not the only concern. Test weight and absence of aflatoxin are needed in order to have a sellable crop.
For the past ten years we have worked with Cargill/Eddyville delivering our crop straight out of the field and helping them with their September corn supply. This next week we hope to start delivering our contract obligations.
Guess what. We have another little girl in the family. Sydnie was the first baby born Tuesday morning in the brand new birthing unit at Pella Hospital.
She is the daughter of Karl and Kristin and joins her brother Malaki as part of the family.
I can't finish out this visit without remembering the folks in Houston, Texas and their struggles with Hurricane Harvey. I wish I was down there helping out. While our country has angry, negative, self-centered people pulling down statues of heroes not wanting to remember the past we have regular folks who often get talked bad about, often get called red-necks, dropping what they are doing, hooking up their fishing boat to their 4-wheel drive pickup, and driving to Texas to help out and make this a good year to remember. They are the quiet, unsung heroes.
Let's help make this a good year to remember. We do that with relationships. We do that by helping others. We do that by example. Remember, when folks look back, our examples will outlive our achievements.
Also remember, God uses the pressures in our lives to help mold us into what He has planned for us. See you next week.