Sunday, July 23, 2017

Investing In The Next Generation

As you drive around the countryside these days you see farmsteads no longer used or cared about. We hear about fewer farmers, all the jobs being in town, and kids not wanting to come back to the farm. I'm suggesting maybe some of the previous generation of these old places either didn't see the value of their kids coming back to the farm, didn't think there was room for them and their kids, or didn't invest the resources, time, and effort to help the next generation stay.
In the 1972 movie, "The Cowboys" John Wayne is a rancher in Bozeman, Montana. His help leaves him because of the gold rush so he goes to a school house and ask these kids if they would like a job driving cattle to a rail terminal.
Over the course of the movie John Wayne invests in theses kids by teaching them how to drive cattle, how to get along, how to handle adversity, and finally how to love and care about him and each other. John Wayne gets shot by bad guys who steal his cattle. Before he dies he tells these boys how they have become better at this job than he is. The kids get the cattle back and finish the job.
The destination for that cattle drive in the movie is Belle Fourche, a rail terminal town. Jan and I spent some time in Belle Fourche last week while we were in South Dakota. It still has an active cattle salebarn. In the late 1800s cattle from as far away as Texas were driven on hoof to Belle Fourche to be loaded on railcars and taken east to slaughter.
My two favorite pioneers when I was a kid were Daniel Boone and Wild Bill Hickok. They lived at different times. Daniel Boone pioneered in the Cumberland Gap area in Kentucky and Tennessee and died in 1820. Wild Bill Hickok lived 50 years later and died in this town, Deadwood, in the Black Hills as it was called before it became a state. Jan and I also visited here last week.
Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holiday were all outlaws early in their lives and lawmen later. Wild Bill Hickok never liked sitting with his back to the door. However one night he did while playing poker in Deadwood. He was shot by Jack McCall, an unsuccessful gambler. McCall was tried by a miners jury and was acquitted. Later after bragging about killing Bill he was rearrested, tried in Yankton, and sentenced to death. He was hung and was buried with the noose around his neck.
Anyhow, back to why we were really in the Black Hills. Jan and I attended the Cadet Camporee church service near Custer. About 1000 boys and counselors camped for a week here in the hills making their own shelters, cooking their own food, and hauling their own water. Kudos to the men who used their vacation time this year to invest in these boys lives.
Jan and I had two grandsons, Ethan and John, as well as other local boys attend. It was fun to see their camp, meet their counselors, go to a church service, and have lunch with them.
Well, I have too many pictures this week and my time is getting away on this Sunday morning so I'm going to try and speed up before I lose you all. This is Gideon baling straw. 
This is Kasey, Kurt, Andy, and Alex loading on a very hot day.
We are trying to fix the twisters on a very ornery wire tie baler.
After 400 bales we just gave up and went and got backup, BJ and his round baler.
A straw baling day would not be complete without jumping in the pond afterwards. And of course our cowboys go and get the tallehand and see how high they dare to jump.
We rescued a Cat dozer at the neighbors this week with Mark's excavator. The dozer was pushing fill dirt out of an old drained pond.
It wouldn't be summer at our house without sweet corn. We have a couple of batches because of planting dates and maturities. This is our first.
Sometimes investing in the next generation means letting cousins jump on Grandma's couch.
I think 4-H is an excellent opportunity to invest in the next generation. Below Charlie is receiving his award for showmanship.
I think kids having 4-H projects gives them experience on purchasing, chores, recordkeeping, and selling. It can be large animals like cattle and hogs, or small animals like rabbits and chickens. I try and invest in the next generation of community kids by being an active buyer of their livestock projects at the 4-H auction.
Well, finally I hesitate to bring this subject up because my goal is to always have a positive visit with you. However I usually come up with material for our visits based by what's on my mind. I generally share my heart even though that's a vulnerable thing to do. And I found out when visiting at the fair that's it's on everyone else's mind as well. Over the last four hot, dry days we are starting to lose significant crop in parts of our community. Below Karl is getting a load of water out of our pond to try and save some sweet corn and vegetables.
I do need to tell you that since our family farms in a variety of areas we do have farms that have gotten significant rain. We have beans in the well watered areas that are waist high. These beans here at home were planted April 14. They are around a foot tall and are starting to die on the weak soils. We will have to decide next week whether or not to spray for spider mites, a pest that comes with drought, or let them go until it rains. We have had a half inch of rain at home here since late May.
I have experienced significant droughts in my career however not in the last 30 years. This field of corn was tall, dense, and dark green just two weeks ago. It's amazing how good some of these weak spots in the fields looked while waiting on moisture however the hot, dry summer is finally taking it's toll. Even though it's on my mind and it is of concern I want you to know we will be fine even if it doesn't rain for the rest of the summer. What I learned from all those droughts 30 years ago is that the One (God) who is in charge of the rain also loves me and I have a history (His-story) of being taken care of. The hard part for me is not worrying. The hard part for me is watching the ones I love and care about worry. I also realize it's hard when it rains on some folks and not others. When I was young God used droughts to keep me dependent on Him. I reckon He's doing the same thing to the next generation. Remember life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you handle it. Enjoy the rest of your summer and watch for ways to invest in others. 


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