Sunday, August 17, 2014

Majoring In The Minors

Often I catch myself doing little jobs that need done but neglect to make a plan that would help our operation and team have a direction on what needs accomplished for the week. Even when responsibility is shared someone needs to be the communicator.
We stopped for breakfast at a McDonald's where there were customers lined out the door and the manager was occupying his time cleaning the hoses on the Slurpee machine. While it was commendable for him to do menial work he wasn't accomplishing his major responsibility of feeding people in a timely manner.
We had fun with little jobs this week that were getting ready for bigger more important things. Kind of like wearing swimming suits and cowboy boots at the same time.
The PCHS volleyball team was over late last week. They had a retreat and did a service project helping on the cabin. Their first game is next week Monday evening. Wish you the best girls.
 Also the PCHS board and staff kicked off another year by getting together for supper and Ranger rides.
Jason and David are twins. They grew up in the Dallas area. They both played major league baseball out of college. They married, had families, moved to North Carolina, were successful in the real estate business, and had their own reality cable TV show called Flip It Forward where they fixed up homes for needy folks.
Their TV show was immediately cancelled when the cable network got pressure from the gay community because these men when asked about their view on marriage said they supported traditional marriage the way God designed and intended it to be. Below they are standing with two of their nine children visiting with Chuck.
Rick leaves today for Israel with Bob, Tony, Simon, and a few others. Their purpose is to meet with the leadership in that country and let them know that we as a country still care about and support them since our administration is failing to do that.
Many of you have heard me say, "don't worry about minor details". I meant the nit-picky stuff and learned to say that when my kids were young and helping and I didn't want to break their helpful spirit by micro managing them. Having said that I would and still do run the risk of looking like I don't notice or don't care when in fact I very much do.
 As you go about accepting and accomplishing the jobs you're given don't let the minor things about the job get your attitude down. On the other hand don't forget to acknowledge and appreciate those around that work with and help you.
Find a way to enjoy your work. I like this picture and will need to explain it to you because of my amateur photography skills with my broken cell phone. Kurt, Brad, and Alex are all resting triple decked on the parts shelves we are supposed to be cleaning.:) We are getting ready for our Customer Appreciation Supper this coming Wednesday evening. You are welcome to come. Have a good week.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Week In NW Colorado

This past week we enjoyed a trip to northwest Colorado. We took along our ATVs, a camper or two, and plenty of food. We stayed on a ranch just east of Walden, CO. in a large cabin.
 The ranch lays in a large basin called North Park up in the mountains around 8500 feet elevation in Jackson County. The population of this county is 1350 people, the fourth least populated county in Colorado.
 Our son BJ worked construction during the winter months on this ranch many years ago. The ranch is managed by an Oskaloosa native, Mark. BJ met his wife Cassia here when she worked for the ranch doing horse chores. Her parents, Mike and Melody, owned and operated a hardware store in Walden at the time.
The ranch adjoins a state forest with trails going to the top of the surrounding mountains. Below little Jackson is enjoying a ride with his dad, Kurt, and Uncle Mike.
 We put around 100 miles on our Rangers riding the trails and enjoying the beauty of God's creation.
 Often near the top or by a lake we would stop and eat lunch the girls prepared that morning.
 We learned to fly fish while we were there. It was a trick trying to bounce the lure off the top of the water. We did catch one fish and grilled him for supper. 
The little girls thought they needed to fish as well so they used sticks, twine, and a bobber, (no hooks), to fish in a puddle close by. :)
 Dave and Sheryl are friends of ours. Dave and I serve on a board in Des Moines together. They have a home in the mountains on 35 acres near Steamboat Springs, about an hour away. We took an afternoon and went and visited them.
 After our visit and seeing their house we went out to eat for a change at a Mexican outdoor restaurant next to a creek.
 The following morning Mark, the ranch manager, and his son, Will, stopped by just after breakfast. They said they had to check the cattle on the Johnny Moore Mountain and asked if anyone wanted to help.
 Kurt and BJ quickly agreed to help so they saddled up and loaded 4 horses and headed out. They rode most of the day.
 Later that afternoon when they returned everyone enjoyed a horseback ride.
Grandpa enjoyed playing with the grandkids. We had no radio. The TV didn't work and we had very little cell phone service. It was very relaxing.
We had family devotions in the evenings.
Waldon, CO is not exempt from all the troubles the rest of the country experiences. It has a judge and a district attorney in the courthouse to punish the bad guys. They have folks that drink too much. It has broken marriages and single parent families. The residents there struggle to keep businesses open.
However it was a good visit. It was a time to unwind before a busy harvest season. God's creation and handiwork reminded me of His promises and the fact that He is still in charge in spite of all the world's troubles we heard about on the CNN channel at our motel on our way home.
 Time off is also a time for family to appreciate each other. Thanks for the visit. See you next week.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Making The Transition

August is a transition month. You start to think about harvest. You know school is just around the corner. Planning has started for church activities. The nights start to feel just a bit cooler. It's no longer daylight at 5 am.
 August is also a month for relationships and time for visits. It's State Fair time. On the farm it's a good time for vacations. It's a time when you load the Ranger with sweetcorn and visit neighbors. By the way, if any of you would like sweetcorn for free get a hold of any of our family. We have plenty. 
 August is when you have time to visit landlords, to thank them for being able to work with them, to talk about the current season as well as the transition into the next one. August is also a month to show your appreciation for the folks you work for and with.
 You aren't going to believe this but we replanted 180 acres of soybeans this week. It was on the North Skunk River bottom and may well be just a cover crop to keep the weeds down.
 You have to keep the small square baler shined up just for old times sake.
 My father-in-law used to tell our kids that three days of loading bales without gloves would make their hands tough enough they didn't need them.
 Believe it or not August is the month of transitioning into the new crop year for seed corn selling. It seems kick off meetings are earlier every year.
This past Thursday evening Mark and Stacy were asked to speak at a meeting about farming as a family and transitioning the farm and it's responsibility to the next generations. Looking down the tracks that transition is not a destination. It's a process.
 My goal is to give the next generation the opportunity and responsibility to live their dream of farming while they are still young. That means being willing to move over and share responsibility, machinery, land, and capital.
In return they give back new ideas, a hard work ethic, a fun working atmosphere, and a caring heart. It's satisfying to see them become better at jobs than me. They also become assets in and contribute to the community as well as God's kingdom.
 I want the next generation to have a chance to raise their kids the same way we raised ours.
 So many farm transitions now days basically wait until the dad is unable. Many kids nowdays aren't willing to wait that long.
 There is also the benefit of less income tax to pay when turning over land to the next generation and allowing them to use that income to raise your grandkids.
Instilling a love for farming doesn't start when your children get out of college and need a job. It starts by having them under your feet and giving them jobs before they start kindergarten.
 God has a plan and purpose for all of us. Even when we are just little men.
 During this transition month take time to enjoy life. Make time to visit friends. And don't wait until you are too old to watch your children and grandchildren develop their abilities and gifts.
"Nothing makes me happier than to hear that my children are living in the truth." 3 John 1:4

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What About Him

On the spur of the moment we invited the kids over for hot dogs last Sunday evening. I wanted to get together and make a special evening for two of our grandsons who were leaving for the International Cadet Camporee in Canada.
Gideon and Cody's folks brought them to Pella to board two greyhound buses at 4 am on Tuesday morning for a 30 hour trip for Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. Leaving and being gone for 10 days might have been harder for the mom's than for the boys worrying and wondering about them. Oh well, that's what mom's are for. Hope you guys are having fun.
Monday noon we celebrated Zac's 4th birthday. Sweet corn and birthday cake. I read a good quote this week by the late Dear Abby, "If you want your kids to turn out well spend twice the time with them and half the money on them."
Jan and I enjoyed a visit with friends and great landlords, Marv and Jean. About 45 years ago as a young teenager I used to babysit their kids.
Well Friday was to be a sweet corn morning. It was raining. We picked a Ranger load anyway and then backed it in front of the shop to husk it. Many hands make the job go fast and is more fun.
When we came in for lunch on Friday there was corn cooling in the living room in front of a fan with two little foot prints in it. Couldn't resist what that would feel like I guess. When the little people were asked who did it they said, not me, what about him.
Jan's father insisted we mount a seat complete with a seat belt on the fender of a non cab tractor for little riders. Kurt and helpers took care of that job.
We learned this week that one of Kurt's landlords has fast progressing brain cancer. Our prayers go out for Gene and Sandy and their family.
Our crew is planning and preparing for harvest. The weather will determine the timing however we hope to be ready to roll by Labor Day week, just five short weeks away.
My father-in-law stopped by a couple of times this past week. He has always been a go-getter and hard worker. He's 91 years old and mentioned to me in both visits that his days on earth are numbered. As we experienced this week not everyone dies old.
I lost a cousin yesterday afternoon. He died of a heart attack at 53 years old. My dad was the youngest of ten children. There are two left, him and Aunt Kay. Of the forty or so kids of those ten children I think we've only lost five. Robert and Jerry drowned in a pond accident in 1960. Kenny died around ten years ago. My brother Dan. And now Greg. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his father Uncle Harold, his wife Lorriane and family, his brothers Darryl and Jim, and his sister Nancy.
Death is sometimes sudden and seemingly so final. We never know when God says, "I want him". We all need to live as if our days are numbered because they are. In John 21 Jesus reinstates Peter after his resurrection. He tells Peter to follow Him. Peter looks at his friend John and asks Jesus, "what about him?" We are so like Peter sometimes.
I rarely get company early Sunday mornings. BJ and Cassia and family stopped to say good bye. They and Mike and Suzanne left this morning for Canada to pick up their boys.