Sunday, May 1, 2016

It All Goes Back In The Box

Our week started with plenty of planting, corn and beans both. Soils were warm and dry and crops were coming out of the ground amazingly fast for April.
The sprayer ran continuously to keep up. Corn on corn gets nitrogen as a carrier for it's herbicides and needs to be applied before the corn plant emerges. Special thanks to the crew for long and productive hours.
How many of you remember playing Monopoly? Really it's kind of a mean game where your objective is to acquire property, buy hotels, and bankrupt your fellow players. Being nice to your opponents doesn't win the game.
John Ortberg wrote about playing Monopoly with his Grandmother.
When the game was over and there were winners and losers his Grandma would say, "remember, it all goes back in the box" meaning what you won was not yours to keep.
Jan told me I needed to go through several boxes of farm records from years ago. I saved a few memorable things, but for the most part they were fuel for a soybean bag fire.
I am on a board that meets in Des Moines once a month. It's mission is to strengthen families and help bring our countries culture back to acknowledging God and appreciating our freedoms.
Jan went to Grandparents Day earlier at Sully Christian School and Friday at Oskaloosa Christian. We are blessed to have grandkids in just about every grade school class. 
Friday evening Osky Christian had their spring program. The kids did a great job.
Friday noon four flat bottom fishing boats rolled in and unloaded their stuff in the cabin.
These gentlemen are friends with Mike and Cody and they came to bow fish with them. They are called the MudbuM boys and they have an outdoor show series on cable TV. They are a fun bunch and we enjoyed getting to know them this weekend.
Jan and I attended Leah and Corey's wedding yesterday in Sully. Kurt and Karl sang. They had their 27th birthday this past Tuesday. Congratulations Leah and Corey.
What do we consider important these days? What do we value most? Yes, we have an obligation to our occupations and the support of our families.
Do we take enough time for the people we love? Are we grateful for what we have? Are we willing to share? Do we genuinely care about others needs?
Life should not be like a Monopoly Game where our main goal is to accumulate stuff. Stuff doesn't satisfy. When stuff gets in our way we can't clearly see others and there needs.
There is nothing wrong with having stuff as long as it doesn't have us. When we are finished, it all goes back in the box and the only thing we can take with us is the memories and souls  of our loved ones. Remember life isn't determined by what we get. Life is determined by what we give.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Showing Up

 One of the blessings of having a seed dealership is relationships. When folks show up to load their corn and beans, often on rainy days there are conversations about weather, markets, farming, and family.
The week started out heading to the field early Monday morning. On Wednesday morning there were some showers go through and slowed planting down for a couple of days.
Last Sunday noon we celebrated Malaki's first birthday. We took a four generation picture. Yesterday was my Dad's birthday. This coming Tuesday will be Karl's birthday. A lot of family blessings over the last 82 years.
Mike called one day and asked if someone could show up and pull him out. He has been shaping waterways on ground going to soybeans.
Our soybean planter had a communication problem and wasn't talking to the tractor monitor properly. BJ patiently spent the better share of a couple of days hunting down the problem. He and Alex finally found an Ag Leader harness cable sending wrong messages. 
And late Saturday afternoon Alex finally got to the field to plant beans.
Kurt has been planting corn with a red planter and BJ has been planting corn with a green one. So there has been a lot of good natured teasing about which one does the best job.
The corn has been taking advantage of the warm soil temps and is coming up nicely. Karl has been busy getting it sprayed before it emerges.
 Matt, a part time helper, and John, a grandson, helped me put in our test plot yesterday. I enjoy grandkids helping and giving them jobs. I told John he could plant the leftover plot seed when we were finished. 
I know fellows that don't get to plant until they're 50 years old because it was always their Dad's job. I appreciate my Dad. He let me start running the planter when I was in 8th grade. John is just finishing up 4th grade.
 This is Jackson watching his Dad plant corn. Our kids and grandkids watch us way sooner and way closer than we realize. It doesn't take them long to figure out what we feel is important and what our priorities are.
 Folks in our communities and folks we do business with are also watching. Do they see us care about each other? Do they see us reach out and be a friend? Do they see us share?
Most of us say we are Christians. Do folks just see us show up for church or do they see us have a genuine and sincere interest in the spiritual lives of those we come in contact with? 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Stories From Today And Yesterday

Good morning. This week was packed full of farming. We are going to kind of visit this morning about a variety of stories (His-story) reminding me as the picture below says, God is truly our Landlord.
Dry weather and warm temps are a gift during planting time. Our crew took full advantage of it putting in long hours.
Early last Monday morning Dana, my seed DSM, and I delivered a load of seed to his parents in Lytton, Iowa.
 I asked if we could stop at the country church where the neighborhood has been attending for generations. My favorite story about this church is when they close their Christmas Eve service, everyone who has attended Sunday School there is invited to come to the front and sing the last Christmas carol. 
 Dana's parents, Roger and Marlene, are genuine, hardworking folks. Roger sold his John Deere 730 diesel recently at a collector auction in the Quad cities. In their kitchen is an original painting of their tractor being worked on with their dog, cat, and neighbor kids all included.
 Friday we took time to plant some sweet corn with the old 8 row. Ezra, Elliot, and Zach all helped.
 It was Becky's birthday Friday and we enjoyed getting some of their crops in. We picked up rocks awhile. However this rock moved. The boys enjoyed getting to know this turtle before Becky dropped him off in a nearby creek.
Mark stopped with his planter to pick up some seed corn. He and Stacy had an anniversary yesterday.
 Karl sprayed every day and even some nights this week. Our family is having lunch together today with Kristin's family to celebrate Malaki's first birthday.
Jan's Grandpa Frank had a sister Anna that married Louis. Many years ago they lived on a farm in the cement house on the North Skunk river bottom northeast of Rosehill. (It's the same farm where BJ had his anhydrous accident to his eyes by the way.)
When they lived there the road crossed the river to this country cemetery. Today the bridge is gone.
 In 1923 Louis and Anna lost a set of identical twin girls at birth while renting this farm. They are buried in this country cemetery.
These are my great-grandparents Cornelius and Nellie. Cornelius had a hairlip. He was a (some dutch word that starts with D) which means a song leader in church.
 Cornelius and Nellie had a large family including my Grandfather William who married Christine (Tiennie) in 1917. They also had 10 children of which my father is the youngest. Tiennie definitely looks like my cousin Christine.
 My grandfather's oldest sister was Cornelia. She married a converted Jew (Johannas) who was the only son of a Jewish rabbi in 1920. I'll have to ask my Dad sometime what the family thought of that. Anyhow they had six children born in six years. Johannas and Cornelia came to America where Johannas went to Calvin College to be a minister.
 Johannes felt a growing desire to go back to Europe and preach to his fellow Jews. He had a gift for speaking and would draw large audiences when he preached. In 1941 the occupiers prohibited the gospel to be preached and John's work (Elim-Mission) was dismantled. John boldly continued to preach. In January of 1942 John was accused of having "incriminating materials" and was taken to a concentration camp in Germany. In June his wife received word that her husband John had been exterminated for preaching the gospel. Wow. What a special man. I wished I could have known him.
 John and Cornelia's son Isaac later became a Reformed minister. Isaac's son John also became a minister in the Reformed Church. John and Cornelia's youngest son David became a Reformed minister and later a counselor and chaplain in the Christian Reformed Church. John and Cornelia also have a grandson in Des Moines that owns several restaurants.
Thank you Lord for being in charge. Please continue to be our landlord.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

What Are You The Face Of

Good morning. Often our faces show folks how we feel on the inside. What our attitude is. Whether we enjoy our work. Whether or not we are approachable. Has your face showed the folks you're around this past week you're happy to see them? That you have a positive attitude about life?
Earlier this past week we were able to be in the field. Often in our neck of the woods we have certain soils that tend to stay wet, so it's a gift when those parts of the fields are dry. Are any of you old enough to remember the old timers saying, "Plant in the dust and your bins will bust". We all know it takes water to grow a crop however planting without wet holes gives the crop a good start.
Spraying ground going to beans before the weeds come up helps weed control all season long. Sprayers also like dry fields. However they aren't crazy about the wind blowing.
A local manufacturer in Pella gave our Christian Grade School a load of ground rubber for the playground. Since we were needing to get their trailer back we rigged up a way where we could unload the pallets into wagons until folks had time to work with them.
It was a big week for staging and delivering seed corn. Karl was also able to start treating soybean seed. Thanks to Matt, Ryan, Pablo, Brad, and Alex for being such good help this week.
We had an ugly break on a field cultivator wing fold. Kurt and help removed the wing, hauled it in the shop, and rebuilt it. It always helps to go through machinery in the winter however if you are farming, you will have break downs.
Later in the week it rained. This is Alex finishing up fixing a tile in the dark and in the rain. 
We have grandsons on their school trapshooting team. This is Cody using Grandpa's old shotgun that his Dad, Mike, redid.
Rachael, the Secretary of Agriculture's executive assistant called last week, said that the Secretary had seen our family in an article, and would like to meet us. So we did some sweeping where we were having company.
Bill is the face of Iowa agriculture and does a good job. Someone asked me this week why he would want to come see us. Good question. He didn't come to see tractors and planters. He came to see and relate to people.
Besides meeting the family he was also able to visit with friends. He asked Cal about his Farm Bureau trip to South Africa. He talked to Don about he and Bonnie's work with Nicaraguan farmers. Nathan, his staffer, and Mark knew each other from Farm Bureau and were able to catch up.
So I got to thinking, what are we the face of? Hopefully the face of our occupation, the face of a business working for others, the face of family, the face of folks that love the Lord.
Hopefully you all can make it to church this morning. What is your church the face of in your communities? Do folks just go to have a relationship with God or do you reach out to others as well that may not be comfortable in a suit and tie or don't have as many relationships as we all have. Trenton and Ben did a good job of special music last week in our church.
Duet 7:6 says, "Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure". God has given us a time and a place and has a plan for us. He wants His love to radiate in our faces and He wants us to be His hands and feet the short time we are here on earth.