Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bales, Beans, Sweetcorn, and Grandkids

About a year ago we went through Belle Fourche, South Dakota, an old western cattle town. In the movie, "The Cowboys" John Wayne hires school kids to help drive his cattle to this terminal town. Elliot, Ezra, Zach, Ethan, John, Harris, and Gideon helped bale straw this past week and reminded me of John Wayne's cowboys.
It seems like every week in farming can be identified by it's activities. This week was small square baling 2nd cut hay and rye straw, spraying beans, picking and freezing sweet corn, and a farm full of grandkids.
A thought suddenly struck me as I took this picture. 45 years ago I bought the tractor in front of this load of straw when I was 17 years old. Our oldest grandson is going to be 17 in a few months. On the one hand that's 2 generations ago. That seems like a long while. Farming has only been done with tractors for the last 4 generations. On the other hand that's only 540 months ago. That doesn't seem like that long ago. In either case there has always been seed time and harvest. God has been faithful.
 Sydnie and Hazel are our youngest granddaughters and hung out with us some this past week. Their older cousins Rachel, Amelia, Adi, Natalie, and Allison are going to be on the praise team with me this morning at Osky 1 church. It's friendship Sunday at our church today so if you don't have any other plans you are welcome to join us.
Mike is a friend that works in Eddyville and often stops for coffee on his way to work. Mike also helps out if we need something done with a drone. This past week his father Kenneth past away. Kenneth was retired from working at Vermeers for 32 years. He was the 11th employee Gary hired. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Mike.
The soybeans are growing fast. This is Malaki helping his dad, Karl,check crops. After being dry for about 10 days we received a very welcome half inch to an inch of rain on much of our crop Friday afternoon.
We spray soybeans three times. The third pass is fungicide to prevent disease, insecticide to prevent and kill pests, and fertilizer to foliar feed the plant while it's growing so fast. Timing is crucial and happens at R3. That means when the plant is setting on pods. Many of our early soybeans were rubbing the belly of our sprayers.
I still enjoy mowing and usually find time in the evenings after the rest of the days activities have slowed down.
Jan made a trip to Des Moines this week to prepare for vacation and our customer appreciation supper coming up in early August. She does a great job of planning and organizing.
Mike saw this picture on-line and I thought it was worth sharing. It's a picture of a lightening strike in the very dry portion of southwest Colorado. 
Our sweetcorn has had to overcome some obsticles including being blown flat by a high wind some weeks ago. However it still made ears and yesterday was a sweetcorn day when everyone available helps pick, shuck, silk, cut, heat, cool, package, and freeze.
Kurt and Brad were on a team that competed yesterday in a cook off sponsored by the fire, police, and sheriffs departments. In the evening after judging the public was invited to come for supper.
Life is an adventure and we are to be an example to little people and others to embrace it and enjoy it.
My challenge this morning is to tackle the hard, scary, impossible things God is giving you the opportunity to do. Sometimes we think, but this can't be done. That's when miracles happen. The only way for a miracle to happen is when we take on situations we can't do on our own.
We talk about serving God and others. Are you serving those folks that work for you? That's done by investing in their lives. It's done by making their dreams your goals. It's done by admitting your faults. And finally it's done by leading not managing. Are you a leader or a manager?
Then be the leader God has called you to be. To a mediocre leader success is about growing oneself. To a great leader success is about growing others. That's what being created in God's image is all about folks.
Finally are we just to help folks we know? What about those we run across that are stranded or having troubles? Take the time and the effort to make someone's week special. It might just take a few minutes. It might take a lifetime.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

What's Inside Really

What's inside Jackson? You have to share with Jayden. But Grandpa, Jayden don't like spicy things. That's ok Jackson, you have to share with him anyway. 
 What do we see when we look at folks? Probably their personalities, their character traits, their activities, maybe some faults, maybe even their passions. What will you see if you really look inside them? Probably a desire to be needed, someone that wants a relationship whether they act like it or not. I'm sure some hidden talents not seen on the outside. Don't miss the wonder, the design, and the purpose. It's how God created folks. Don't forget to be an example. Some little folks may want to grow up and be just like us.
Well last weekend Des Moines and communities north had 7 to 10 inches of rain and flooding. Water runs downhill and in this case it runs to the Mississippi via either the Des Moines or South Skunk Rivers through southeast Iowa. The overflowing Skunk River backed into this unprotected field in Jasper County and was on about 60 acres. Time will tell what's inside the field and how much crop was destroyed.
As Jan and I were looking at crops in the flooded areas we were surprised at how much wildlife were on the roads. We saw rabbits, snakes, and turtles on the gravel roads since their timber habitat was under water along Romans Lake.
Despite obstacles most crops in our area of the state look amazing. The corn is mostly pollinated and the beans are putting on pods. For those that have some last years crop stored yet don't forget to look what's inside the bins and make sure everything is still in good condition. Falling grain markets since late May makes selling and moving grain a little more difficult. 
2nd cutting alfalfa has complained some and looks yellow due to wet feet. It's time to get it harvested so it has a good chance for the next cutting in 21 to 30 days.
Its the time of year when the stuff that ended it's season last spring by being broke gets fixed. Its also time to start remembering what needs attention before harvest which is just two months away. Below Jim, Kasey, and Kurt are repairing a walking tandem on a field cultivator.
Thanks to Marv and Carol and Bill and Julie's families for inviting us to share Marv's birthday and 4th of July evening with them. I forget what you call these little lantern like things but you light them and the hot air makes them fly away. Everyone was thinking of and remembering Ryker.
Our crew missed manure school last January. It's required in order to be licensed to haul manure for hire. So Alex and I took one for the team and spent 3 hours of a lovely day watching a video. 
We moved in our new house on the 4th of July/2015. Jan told me then we needed to get some landscaping finished. Well 3 years later we're gaining. Thanks to a landlord for some rocks he gets from central Iowa that come up from their fields every year. A benefit farming in southeast Iowa is the only ones we have to pick are the ones we bury from old building sites and the freezing and thawing ground in the winter time work them back up.
Have you ever wondered what's inside a rock? Answer. More rock. The ones we worked with this week weighed around 600 lbs. a piece and they are not even all that large.
BJ grows enough rye every year for our seeding needs for cover crop this fall. Yesterday we combined. Moisture and quality were good. Yield was poor. Oh well. The old timers always said you can't grow a good small grain crop and corn crop in the same year so maybe that speaks well for the corn crop. You see small grains like rye, wheat, and oats like dry seasons. That's why you see them "out west".
I went to the Ottumwa rodeo last evening. I hung around the back pens with Gideon and Kasey and watched the livestock and the cowboys.
Like I said last week we are in a month of a little slower pace. Mike and his friend are bow fishing in Kentucky. Alex and his team are just out of first place in the city golf league. Mark and his family went motocross racing yesterday. I'm sure Jim went to the drag races last evening. BJ and Kurt used to like to compete in side by side races. Gideon and Kasey like to ride bulls. When you look at them it's their hobby, their relief valve, their down time. When you look inside them you see an adventurous spirit, a fun feeling of competing, a sense of accomplishment.
When you really look inside you see folks giving 110%. You see folks not scared of responsibility and tasks at hand, and you see personalities that truly care about each other and help each other out. Do they have faults? Oh yeah. Just like me and probably you. But we are all made with a personality and a purpose that are God given.
What do you see inside homes? Probably furniture, food, and families. When you really look inside what do you see? Some adjectives that come to mind are planning, growing, changing, loving, caring, helping, including, and supporting.
What do you see inside churches? Probably a pulpit, benches or chairs, a piano or organ, some offering plates. On Sundays probably a Pastor or two and a congregation.
When you really look inside what do you see? Hopefully our church families look a lot like our immediate families. Faults? Oh yeah. We live in a fallen world. At supper time just before Jesus was killed his disciples were arguing who was the greatest. Jesus got some water and a towel and  washed his friends feet. Afterwards He asked, "Do you understand what I just did? I as your leader and master served you. You are to serve each other". We are to cherish our spouses. We are to love and support our families. We are to look out for our neighbors, friends, and enemies best interest ahead of our own. As you start a new week keep an eye out for what's inside. Really!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Wearing Different Hats

July in Iowa is about parades and rodeos and tractor pulls and county fairs. It's when towns get together to celebrate. It's when families get together and vacation. Diane and Dave and their family came to get together with family and to enjoy the festivities in Leighton. They drove Diane's father's IH 856 in the parade Friday evening.
I appreciate seeing folks enjoy their hobby. Wearing a different hat so to speak. It might be my banker on a Harley. It might be my truck salesman on a tractor ride. It might be my pastor grilling a beef loin. It might be our hired men drag racing or riding bulls or golfing. Ken and Joyce are enjoying the evening in the Leighton parade in their 1970s Cadillac.
No celebration would be complete on Fourth of July week without fireworks. Leighton was full and their side roads were packed as folks came to watch the small towns annual show.
Pella was about as full as Tulip Time as they held their "Ag in the City" Thursday evening. I think it's great when communities can combine their urban and rural neighbors together. It's kind of like a county fair for an evening.
Thursday night in Pella the Marion County Farm Bureau sponsored a tall corn stalk contest. Jackson won the contest with an entry of 10 feet 9 inches.
While visiting Pella we drove toward the north end of town and I showed Jan where our family lived near Calvary church on Elm street when I was in third grade. Yep, believe it or not I lived in Pella for 11 months. My Dad installed carpet with my cousin Dick for Wormhoudt Furniture Store. I rode my bike to Pella Chr. Grade School on Hazel street (the one going by the east side of the hospital) which was a dirt road.
Early last week Jan and I went to watch Gideon and his team shoot in the State Skeet finals in Waukee.
Yesterday evening the PC shooting team got together with families at their home shooting range near Knoxville. Clay shooting allows for a whole different group of kids that maybe don't wear a basketball or football or track hat so to speak. Yet can compete in a sport they enjoy.
With so many kids involved it takes a lot of folks that step up and wear a coach or helpers hat. Thanks to these 20 or more volunteers that give time, energy, and money to make this happen. 
Amelia shot last evening on a team with her Dad and both Grandpas. I know she beat me bad and maybe even all of us. Thanks Jamie for letting me borrow your 12 gauge side by side double barrel shotgun.
Thursday at coffee time Jan told the hired men June 28 has always been a storm day. They looked at the forecast on their phones. No chance of rain. Yep, we had an unexpected storm. In fact we've had unsettled weather all week. Des Moines was a mess last evening with flooding and 7 inches of rain in spots. Below I was coming home from a Family Leader board meeting in Urbandale last Monday evening and drove from Pleasant Hill to Prairie City in a 4 inch rain. Much of the water from Des Moines comes through us in the Des Moines River and the water north of Des Moines comes through us in the South Skunk River. Many of us are pumping water trying to save our crops on the bottoms.
Well, did we do any work last week? Oh yeah. Kurt and Kasey sprayed some fencerows north of Ottumwa while I enjoyed cleaning up the road ditches. Folks ask me what my hobby is. I guess if a hobby is something you enjoy spending time at then mine is mowing road ditches. This field is along the 4 lane just east of the RJ Polaris dealership.
Mike and Andy are building a pond at Andy and Amara's place southwest of Barns City.
The DNR had a project they asked me to help with south of the Des Moines River. We managed to get it leveled off between wet periods and ready for seeding, a project the Pheasants Forever group is sponsoring.
As I was spraying beans up north yesterday I ran across an unfamiliar cemetery and asked my brother about it. He told me about the family who used to own and operate the ground in this area way back when and how many of them who had lived all over are buried here.
Yesterday Jan had some of the crew help her pick cherries. Then she made them a pie and brought it out to the office. Earlier in the week on a wet day she had us come to the house for ribs. It's not unusual for Jan to put on Snapchat that she's planning on lunch and feed a dozen of us.
The gals put on a different hat and tried their skills at paddle boarding. Good job in the background Cody. Thanks for the picture. I'm looking forward to vacation with you all in a couple of weeks.
This is a random picture off the internet and I don't want to intrude on folks privacy. Jan was in Drakesville on Friday and saw the funeral of Merlin, an Amish boy who was killed in a hit and run accident close to his home as he was walking home from church last Sunday night with his two brothers. My point this morning isn't that we know some of the family because of their very capable woodworking skills. My point is that the 1200 folks that attended the funeral had the assurance and comfort that Merlin is in heaven. I hope you have that comfort as well. As I watched Howard and his Amish crew replace brother Bill's hog shed roof this past week their hats represented their faith in our mutual God and Savior. I hope my faith shows.