Sunday, June 26, 2016

Who's Your Helper

 Good Sunday morning to you. Early last week we did kind of a mini crop tour checking out roots, soil compaction, plant health, and weed control. The number one thing the crop needs right now is a good drink.
I'm pretty sure it might be Kurt and Emily's anniversary today. If you see them wish them a happy anniversary.
Karl was spraying close to home this week so Kristin and Malaki rode along and kept him company.
 On Monday Atalie, Natalie, and Allison helped Grandma out by picking cherries.
We baled a little second cutting hay. BJ, Matt, and Isaiah are loading on the hay rack. Nephew Isaiah and Emily have three horses. One nice thing about being 60 is folks just kind of expect you'll drive tractor. 
Last weeks picture of the old Christian Grade School caused me to think back in time. Which teachers do I remember really helping me out and having an influence on me? It was the ones that believed I had potential and told me so. The road below is old Hwy 92 going down Bellfountain Hill just before the Des Moines River. 
When I was about ten years old I came back to Christian School after being in public school for a little while. Mrs. Branderhorst had to really get me to buckle down and take school seriously in 5th grade since I coasted most of 4th grade. 
Mrs. Slings was my 6th grade teacher and I liked her because she would talk to me about farming. My dad had a Farmall 806 and so did her husband. One day she asked me to stay in just a minute during noon hour. She told me God had given me lots of potential and even though I loved helping on the farm I needed to try harder to apply myself to school work. She and her husband farmed just a mile from where Kurt and Emily currently live west of Leighton.
I was the new kid in class as a junior in high school at PCHS. My freshman and sophomore years were at New Sharon where I went home most days at 1pm since I had scheduled 6th period PE, and 7th, and 8th periods as study hall. I was a hired man for Walter, and elderly neighbor. Once again I had to relearn study habits. My English teacher was Mr. Blankespoor and even though I didn't admit it  I enjoyed writing. Mr. Blankespoor and I became friends (and still are) because he treated me like an adult even though I was just 16 years old. One day he asked me if he could keep some of my assignments for examples for future classes.
I took time to go to a auction yesterday. An elderly couple was retiring after their son died at 58 years old just two months ago.
A number of Amish folks were there and drove there with their horse and wagons where they parked in the shade near the continuous flow dryer system.
I've been needing to add to and upgrade our folding chairs that we use for our customer appreciation supper. I was able to get an additional 100 chairs bought at this auction.
After going for a ride last evening checking crops Jan and I found a Georges Pizza in Sigourney.
The rains in southern Iowa have been spotty and places are hurting for moisture. Here where we live we haven't had a rain equaling an inch all year.
The crop has been getting along on soil moisture however the cracks in the ground are showing the tank is about empty.
The crop on the better soils still look good. As we have experienced in previous dry years God is in charge, cares about us, and has full ability to help us in any situation.
 Loren served on the council at Pella II with our son, Kurt, and others. About 10 days ago  their council had prayed over Loren because he hadn't been feeling well for some unknown reason. Yesterday Loren passed away from a very fast growing form of cancer. Loren always had a smile for everyone and knew without a doubt that the Lord was his helper. Please pray for Marilyn and the family.
Those of us who are older have experienced God's help and care during our times of worry, fear, concern, hurt, and loss. We have two responsibilities. First we are to talk to God, leaning on Him when we have questions, and remembering to thank Him when we get answers. And second, we are to talk to others, passing along those stories of God's faithfulness to our next generations and to our neighbors.
Hebrews 13: 6 says,  "The Lord is my helper, so I do not have anything to be afraid of".

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Blessed To Be A Dad

Today is Father's Day. When you think of a father what comes to mind? A provider. The disciplinarian. Mom's husband. Someone strong enough to open new pickle jars. The one with the big wore out work shoes and favorite hat.
You've heard the saying that anybody can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad. Dad's teach their kids to work but can make work fun by helping them. You have to be intentional to be a dad. That takes time and thought. 
 Being a dad is including kids in busy schedules. Children are affirmed when their Dad shows interest, teaches, and encourages.
The more a dad has his kids with him the more they learn. Mom's have a huge place in children's lives however they can't replace a tough and tender dad.
When kids are taught by their dad they end up not being scared of responsibility and are soon able to do projects on their own. All my kids have become better at things than I am. That's not a threat. That's a blessing. 
Kids know their Dad cares when they are able to be with him.
 Kids also know their Dad cares when they see him helping others. In the picture below are my brother Doug and Ginger's girls, Ki and Olivia, on the left. Son, Karl, and daughter-in-law, Kristin, in the middle. And my brother Bill and Julie's kids, Andrew and Mariah, on the right. They went with our young people's church group to Missouri this week to help folks who had floods earlier this year.
One day this week I was spraying and Brad, our help, was tendering. Brad's wife Julie and Brad's three girls caught up with him and they had dinner together. This is Brad and Julie's third daughter, about a month old.
 Brad and Julie and their family live on a very neat farm just around the corner from us. It used to be owned by Brad's grandpa, Lyle.
We had a busy week spraying and are getting caught up unless it stays dry. If it stays dry the aphids, spider mites, and grasshoppers come and then we will have to spray everything again for bugs.
 I spent some time spraying down south as we call it. Down south the fields aren't always visible from the road and you have to go down a path to find your crop.
 Although I don't admit it very often, farming in the southern counties between the trees has it's own beauty. This is about a 20 acre field on a hill top between the trees about 6 a.m. in the morning. On dry years we have such beautiful early mornings and late evenings.
This is my Dad. He took me with him all the time when I was a little kid. And that's a long time ago because Friday I'm going to be 60.
 I remember as a pretty little kid going to this place. Those of you that are old and local, do you recognize where this is? This was Carmichaels, a Ford tractor dealership north of the fairgrounds. The building on the right was where you walked in and bought parts. One of the two metal hoop buildings was a repair shop and the other was a paint shop. I can still remember 55 years ago the mechanic in the repair shop swearing a lot.
 Although we moved some and I changed schools 5 times my Dad and Mom always sent me to Christian School when they were able and I have always appreciated their example. This was the old Oskaloosa Christian School our grandfathers bought from Penn College for $16000. When you went through that front center white door the principle's office was to the left. Once when I was in 8th grade and had been helping my Dad farm for 4 days in a row Mr. Bouma stopped me and asked me how farming was going because it was time to get back to school.
Because of my Dad being a faithful Christian father, he has influenced 3 more generations.
Next to being an adopted son of my Heavenly Father and a husband, being a dad is one of the greatest blessing I have been given. These are my kids and they are now all parents themselves. These gifts are the few things that will last forever. Have a good Sunday. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Helping Out

Something that takes time but needs to be intentional these days is to encourage our kids to help out and pat them on the back when they do. Often Jackson is the last person at Grandma's on Mondays so Jan has him help clean up.
When kids are included it's not as much about getting the job accomplished as it is about learning to work, accepting responsibility at an early age, and helping them focus on something other than themselves which will serve them well later in their lives. These young men wanted to go swimming so I told them if we picked up one big load of rocks I would take them.
Often kids start out wanting to help when they are young but adults don't take the time or have the time to work with them. These little guys are "fenced" in because they want to go help Grandpa. Notice Amelia is in the background helping Grandma keep an eye on them.
Little people need to be told "good job" when they help out. Big people need it too and Dana, our Dekalb seed sales guy, has always done an excellent job of encouraging us in the seed business and has always offered to help if we need anything.
Last week was another big hay week. With the hot weather, low humidity, and wind, you could just about mow one day and bale the next.
Of course sometimes when baling field borders and waterways the bales don't always cooperate. This one rolled down into the pond. Kurt had to go in and wrap a strap around it while Alex pulled it out.
I try and get in the batwing every day to mow road ditches. This job also allows me to check on crop progress.
Post spraying has switched from corn to beans and is going at a full pace.
We haul "hot loads" to the field meaning our spray gets mixed and loaded at our local CPS. Larry and Justin are mixing this batch. We can haul from 300 to 450 acres per batch depending on how much water we use.
One day we were loading from the semi to the sprayer on the road and a vehicle came along. The driver decided just to go around us in the ditch which surprised me because it was a deep ditch. Well he didn't make it. After we pulled him out the driver was very friendly and very intoxicated.
The corn crop was showing the effects of high temps, wind, and low humidity this past week by curling leaves to try and save moisture.
Early Saturday morning a rain shower came through and like most summer rains it was spotty. We received 2 tenths of an inch where we live south of Osky.
The corn crop immediately responded to the little bit of moisture and will soon be head high.
On Friday morning Jan and I decided to take a half a day off together and head south. I needed to check on some tires at Mayberry Farms in Memphis, Mo. and she had a number of stops as well.
When I get into Amish country I always respect their lifestyle, their work ethic, their in-house community spirit, and their dedication to their faith, however I sometimes wonder if their way of life lacks helping out in their communities to be Christ's love to their world around them.
One of Jan's favorite stops is a meat locker in Rutledge, Mo. run by a Mennonite family. She loaded up on some of our favorites and bought all our kids some treats. She was disappointed they were out of ground bacon, a favorite of ours. 
 While we were shopping a Mom came in with her 5 daughters and 1 son. The kids were all well behaved and the older kids helped out by taking care of their younger siblings while their mother shopped.
Our 3 and 4 year olds helped out last Sunday at church by singing at our Sunday School recognition.
Our church does an awesome job of potlucks. We have so many good cooks. Eating together is a good time of fellowship and has been that way since Bible times.
Malaki came over last night to stay with Grandpa and Grandma. His parents, Karl and Kristin, are youth leaders and are taking our youth group to central Missouri this week to help folks with flood damage. Having high schoolers take a week of their summer to help others is a great thing. I can't wait to hear about their experiences some Sunday morning when they return. I'm headed to church early this morning for their send off, so I need to wrap up. Have a good week.